Top positive review
128 people found this helpful
on September 3, 2012
I'm going to start this review with a bit of backstory. This may be a long read but this is Berserk so I'm going to take my time and get this right.
The original Berserk anime is infamous for its massive cliffhanger ending. I was never into manga until I watched Berserk, then I simply HAD to read the manga, because I literally could not live with not knowing what happened next. The fact that Berserk is one of the most well drawn and well written (if poorly updated) manga series ever made.
For years the fans clamored for season 2, even after it became clear that it wasn't going to happen there were still some hold outs, but eventually even they died out as well. Then the past few years we have started to see a lot of old uncompleted anime series get reboots. Some like Ultimate Hellsing were just what the fans were waiting for, others like Inuyasha: Final Act were rushed and kind of disappointing. But if any anime deserved a reboot, it was Berserk. And now here it is, the long rumored Berserk reboot that we have waited for all this time.
Now I'm going to review the actual series itself of Berserk (be patient the movie review is coming).
I don't really look at Berserk like a manga, to me it's more like a great work of art, and it reads more like a classic novel that will survive the ages. It's also easily one of the best drawn series I've ever read. The detail Miura puts into his work is spectacular, and his stories are breathtaking. As we follow Guts on his journey we see him go from an aimless wanderer, to a soldier and a friend struggling to find his place in the world, to a revenge driven sociopath fighting his fate as he travels down his dark road, to a man doing his best to heal from the wounds inflicted upon his mind, body, and soul by the dark hand of fate.
His journey constantly exposes us to the very best and the very worst of humanity. We see the darkest and most depraved things imaginable happen in these pages, which only makes it all the more heroic when we see the characters we've come to love climb out from the darkness and hold on to their humanity against all odds. Berserk can make you cry one moment and laugh another, look on in horror at a characters depravity then cheer another's heroism.
There are really only two negative things I can say about this series. The first is that the updates are very irregular, Kentaro Miura will take very long breaks, and they kind of happen pretty often too. But what can I say; quality takes time, when you take a look at some of the artwork I can see why each page could take an entire day to create.
The only other thing isn't really a complaint since I don't have a problem with it, but as a warning to others the series is very dark. There are extremely brutal death scenes, with a lot of gore. There is also a lot of nudity, including some very graphic rape scenes. This series is NOT for the faint of heart, and certainly not for children.
Ok on to reviewing this actual movie, Im going to break it down into pros and cons.
- Great quality. The animation is absolutely superb, and the battle scenes were stunning. In particular I want to praise the Guts vs Griffith fight as well as Zodd's transformation. In fact I actually want to praise Zodd's entire scene. The big battle scenes were also warrant mention (although I think I already did that).
- Excellent sound track, I loved the music in this movie. I didn't think it would be possible to top the soundtrack for the old anime, but this at least matched it.
- Good cast. I used to watch nothing but dubs, but after my girlfriend forced a few subtitled anime on me I've grown a great appreciation for Japanese voice actors and this movie has some great ones. Their also recasting the original VAs for the English dub, which I've always felt was one of the really good English dubs out there. So whether you're watching it subbed or dubbed you should be happy.
- The story is very compelling and manages to hold on to the feelings and themes of friendship and loyalty that are present in the original anime and the Golden Age manga arc.
- Most importantly to me, it wasn't rushed. Inuyasha: Final Act was clearly rushed, and was a big disappointment to the fans. Covering over two hundred manga chapters in 26 episodes is a disgrace, no matter how pretty the animation is. And I'm happy to say that Berserk did not make that mistake. There were a few scenes that were cut, but nothing important was lost. The most important scenes are still there and are handled well.
- This won't break your bank. Most anime is pretty expensive, but fifteen dollars (seventeen blu ray) is pretty good, especially for a movie that clearly had a very high animation budget.
- While it wasn't rushed there are a few scenes that were left out. Most notably Guts' childhood is just covered in a series of flashbacks that don't explain much. While this didn't bug me, there might be a bit lost for those who haven't read the manga or seen the original anime.
- This is my main gripe, and the only thing that made me consider giving this less than a perfect five star rating. There are a few times during the CGI battle scenes where some of the characters faces get this kind of cheesy PlayStation 2 graphics look. It happens a few times during the opening castle siege, and once or twice during Guts' fight with Casca (that was what really bugged me because it was such an important scene). It didn't happen so often that it ruined the movie though, and the fans have been vocal enough about it that I'm sure it will be cleaned up for future movies.
So all in all this is a quality product. A great movie for old Berserk fans or newer people just coming to the series. I own the original Box of War anime set, as well as the remastered version, and every volume of the manga. I'll be proud come November to add this to my collection.