It’s not easy being Guts, as the latest episode of Berserk is apt to demonstrate. Episode 4 revolves a lot around Guts self-reflection after realizing that his former lover, Casca, has run off. While his initial reaction is to be angry with Rickert, he realizes that abandoning Casca 2 years ago following the horrific events that left Guts gravely wounded and broke Casca’s mind may have been a mistake. He commits himself to finding Casca and protecting her, no matter what.
Working with Rickert and Godo, Guts has his equipment sharpened and polished so that he’s refreshed and ready to hit the road again. We then catch up with Lady Farnese and her company as they escort the infamous torturer Lord Mozgus. A fanatical zealot, Mozgus is on his way to assume command over the city of Albion. During the journey, Farnese and the company are attacked by bandits angry with Mozgus for slaughtering their town due to their “lack of faith”. Unfortunately for the bandits, they did not account for his personal band of assassins/torturers that are able to quickly dispatch them. The poor souls that remain are sentenced to death by the breaking wheel as Farnese appears to enjoy herself a little too much at their agony and suffering. Just as the episode ends we catch our first glimpse of Casca post time-jump. Definitely not all there, she’s dragged away from the gruesome sight drooling and giggling as the screen fades to black.
The episode overall felt a bit slow. Sure it’s nice to see Guts being a bit more reflective on his previous actions, but it dragged on for quite a bit in the first half. Still, the reveal of Mozgus definitely brought some hype for fans who were looking for an antagonist to follow.
The animation still treads a fine line between unique and downright bad. When it leans more towards the manga-style it looks fine, but whenever 3D elements start being incorporated, or CG, it looks comically bad. It’s unfortunate, but at this point I’m not holding my breath for a sudden improvement in the animation quality.
We’re officially entering into the conviction arc now, so it’ll be interesting to see what gets edited/censored out and what they decide to show in all of its full, grotesque glory. There were certainly some reservations made with the horse from episode 3; time will tell if the same changes are made going forward.
Overall, Berserk continues to be thoroughly average. The only real driving force that brings me back is seeing these arcs brought to life. Unfortunately, with this animation style I may ultimately decide it may be better to keep the memory from the manga instead.
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