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Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I - The Egg of the King
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He trusts nothing but his own sword. He has no place to call home. The lone mercenary Guts travels a land ravaged by a hundred-year war. Moving from battlefield to battlefield, his skill and ferocity eventually attract the attention of Griffith, the leader of a group of mercenaries called The Band of the Hawk. Desiring Guts's power to help him achieve his goals, Griffith succeeds in recruiting the distrustful Guts by challenging him to a duel and defeating him.
As the Band of the Hawk fight together and their bond as a unit grows stronger, Griffith and Guts's bond deepens as well. With their continued success on the battlefield, Griffith achieves the first step toward his lofty goals: his band of mercenaries becomes recognized as a full-fledged army within the Midland Kingdom. Despite all their success, Guts begins to question his reasons for fighting for Griffith's dream, which, unbeknownst to Guts, is destined to bestow a monstrous fate on them both.
Berserk: The Golden Age, Arc I--The Egg of the King was released in Japan in early 2012, at the same time as Berserk: The Golden Age, Arc II--The Battle for Doldrey, with a third film slated for early 2013. Based on a popular manga by Kentaro Miura, Berserk follows the career of Guts, a taciturn mercenary who fights with a huge, two-handed broadsword. When he's defeated in hand-to-hand combat by the effete but deadly Griffith, Guts joins his elite mercenary corps, the Band of the Hawk. Griffith aspires to a kingdom of his own at the very least, and uses the skills of his fiercely loyal Hawks to gain status by aiding the Kingdom of Midland in its protracted war with Chuder. Part of Griffith's power seems linked to an odd, red gem he wears around his neck: the Egg of the King. Like the broadcast series of Berserk (1997), director Toshiyuki Kubooka's feature presents a dark, violent vision of medieval warfare that is grittier and gorier than most chivalric anime adventures. The filmmakers combine drawn and computer animation for large-scale battle scenes that borrow from the Siege of Gondor in the Lord of the Rings. But Golden Age, Arc I feels more like a succession of set pieces than a coherent narrative, beginning with Guts' initial duel with Bazuso, an ax-wielding giant who resembles a mecha version of the Michelin Tire Man. The relatively brief (77-minute) running time doesn't allow for much character development beyond indicating that Guts is haunted by internal and external demons. Golden Age, Arc I was clearly meant to be seen in conjunction with the second film, as the story simply stops with no real conclusion. Those caveats aside, this new version of Berserk represents the state of the art for violent, big-budget anime. (Rated M, suitable for ages 16 and older: graphic violence, violence against women, nudity, gore, grotesque imagery, alcohol use) --Charles Solomon
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The animation though is bar none the best I've seen. It's fantastic and beyond praise worthy. The battlefield scenes are wonderfully done and the gore is just as vivid as I hoped it would be. This show/series/movie collection has some of the best mature content in all of anime. We get a powerful and masculine protagonist as well, something many and most anime's lack and in place, give us weak willed children to watch. The story in the manga is much more extensive and goes far beyond the end of the series and the end of these movies. So if you do like this then there is amply more content to enjoy.
If you're tired of lame heroes, predictable villains, and censored content for the masses then BERSERK cannot be missed.
The animation I found was incredible and the tones are even more darker than before. This is the Golden Age of Berserk and in my opinion the best that it has had to offer so far. You will feel the camaraderie and grow to love the Band of the Hawk and it's leather the White Hawk Griffith. But what starts out as something so great quickly turns to something so heinous.
I do have a few issues with this however. While the CGI is pretty good I could have done without it to be honest.The back ground music is forgettable in my opinion.The anime series have very good back ground music that I actually still have on my mp3 player even now. I am surprised they could not have done better in this area or at least used the anime series background music.One huge problem is the amount of time they have is not enough to go over the largest amount of materia they have to cover. Because of this the film's rushes through certain events quickly.Personally it might have been better to just leave some things out rather than fly through them. The fast pace hurts when it comes to developing an attachment to the characters and understanding all of the little plots and issues going on with the story line. My biggest complaint is that it is going over material that was covered in the anime series already. The majority of people who will be Watching this are most likely fans who have been eating to finally see material after the eclipse.They could have skipped all of this as far as I am concerned as the anime series dealt with this part of the manga better.
In all worth buying for fans of the manga and people that like this type of entertainment. For fans looking for new material it may not be worth it to be honest.For newer fans I would suggest watching a friend's copy of this and buying the anime series as it does the portion of the manga far better than this does. I would not have purchased this is I was not such a big fan of beserk and wanted to support it. My suggestion is to get the film's and and anime series together for a better understanding for new fans. Older fans may want to wait for the price to drop considerably before purchasing this.
I'll probably end up buying the second and third movies just because as a diehard fan in the States, we're not given many opportunities to actually enjoy Berserk. But in no way am I validating this movie or the others in doing so.
On its own, it's a decent enough film. The pacing is quick, the battle scenes are exciting, and there are some moments between characters that are well done.
It would have been vastly improved by an expanded soundtrack by Susumu Hirasawa, who really understood the fantasy that Miura was going for, and with a complete overhaul or outright removal of the CGI elements. A longer run time to actually explain half of the supporting characters would go a long way toward the impact the third movie will have on the cast.