I know this series has been around for ages (like me), but I never read or watched it. Since they decided to bring it back, I decided to jump on the band wagon finally. I was fully expecting blood and gore, but not what came next. Before I dive too much into this, lets review the history of Berserk.
We have to thank Kentaro Miura for not only writing, but also illustrating this manga series. Though it originated back in 1988, it didn't become a full volume until Hakusensha published it in 1990. Within 7 years of its launch, it became an anime series. However, it only lasted 25 epsiodes which was just the first arc of the story. In 2012 we have these films released with a new look at the series. Their intent is to show the whole series this time as seen in the manga.
Summary as ripped from ANN:
"Guts, a man who calls himself "The Black Swordsman" looks upon his days serving as a member of a group of mercenaries, the Band of the Hawk, nicknamed "the Grim Reaper of the Battlefield." Led by an ambitious, ruthless, and intelligent man named Griffith, together they battle their way into the royal court, and are forced into a fate that may change their entire lives."
Where this summary ends, is where the craziness truly begins. I very much enjoyed the first story arc, The Egg of the King. It was brutal, but also showed compassion. It brought together everyone in a nice neat package. We met all the main characters and can see a possiblity of how this will flow for them all. Then comes the second part, The Battle for Doldrey which rips the entire group apart. I will forwarn you now that this isn't a 'kids' flick in this arc and going forward.
Preview for Berserk: The Golden Arc II
The Battle for Doldrey is very much an 'in your face' with the gloomy reality of humanity. Not only do you get some full frontal nudity thanks to Casca AND Griffith, there are also some sex scenes and not always consentual. Yep, there is a couple near rape scene in this series with poor Casca. Speaking of her, Guts finds out she is on her period when he is trying to get he out of her wet clothes - ewwwww. Even the one that looks consentual with Griffith and the Princess could be construed as a seduction rape. He climbs to her window, comes in unannounced and starts seducing her. She of course is overcome and submits to him. All of this is what shocked me as I wasn't expected this. I went into this series as a virgin, but came out a man or something like that.
I have been watching anime for years and even seen anime porn / hentai. I am not condemning this series at all, I just wasn't expecting to see that. Yes, I should have researched more or looked at the past series. Normally we get to see boobies and pantsu shots which I have always liked. But this took it to the next step with what is shown. I have to give kudos to the crew producing this as they didn't shy away from any part of the story. I am amazed that I haven't heard/seen more chatter about the second arc for the way it rips the humanity from the Band of Hawk and Guts. It is just how life is though, we are happily on our merry way and then something comes along to detour that. How do we react to it, how do we cope and how can we move on after such a damning experience is what life is about.
I can tell you now, that I am mortified and intrigued by all this. I have been sucked into this series as I want to know how this all comes to a conclusion - if it ever can. I am now looking forward to getting the third arc, The Advent. I have it on pre-order from Amazon. I can only imagine this to get worse.
Ok, I did read some online sites and I know for a fact this gets even more fucked up.
My Conclusion: Get the Manga, the first anime series or this new series. Any way you go, this is a must for any Otaku as it puts you in the middle of it all and NEVER says that it is sorry.