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Berserk – 13, 14

OP Sequence

OP: 「サクリファイス」 (Sacrifice) by 9mm Parabellum Bullet

「ほころぶ世界」,「冬の旅路」 (Hokorobu sekai, Fuyu no tabiji)
“The Rent World”, “Winter Journey”

‘Tis the season of plenty it seems, as dual episode starts and early airings greet our presence. Not to be outdone is Berserk’s sequel, which rushes out gates with not two, but three back to back episodes. Yeah, yeah, the first may have been a recap, but got to admit it’s pretty awesome. If in need of a refresher or just plain new to the show, I’d seriously recommend giving that recap a whirl before reading on though because Berserk wastes no time returning to the thick of things.

When Berserk left off nearly a year ago, The Tower of Conviction had fallen, Griffith (Sakurai Takahiro) was reborn in a new corporeal body, and Guts (Iwanaga Hiroaki) had finally reunited with Casca (Yukinari Toa). Instead of taking a breather, the story—more or less—pushes right on into this season’s plot: Guts wants Griffith’s head, Griffith wants his kingdom, and a whole host of other characters end up caught in the wake of their travails. It’s a pleasant pace Berserk is setting, and certainly doesn’t leave anyone wanting for action. After all, we immediately get a brawl between Zodd and Guts, a succinct demonstration of Kushan conquest, and a “sex” scene certain to give Cross Ange a run for its money (more on that later). Seems the producers did learn a thing or two from last time.

Of course, however, not everything has improved. As expected the 3DCGI remains prevalent, showcasing its lackluster impact when viewed against the 2D scenes. Personally the 3D animation never bothered me, but it’s hard not noticing it at times, such as Rickard’s hilarious running scene, or those noticeable ghosts. Then there’s the sound effects which can get a little surreal at times, in particular the swords; might just be me, but I’m pretty sure bashing broadswords together does not sound like beating on metal plates. At least the background music and OP/ED are very much on point. Combine that with the pacing Berserk is setting—along with the material being adapted—and the show might just make up for its questionable animation. Probably not enough to change every mind of course, but I’d argue this adaptation definitely deserves some benefit of the doubt now.

The interesting bit for me though lay in what story was revealed this week. Instead of going all in on Griffith’s ride into the heart of Kushan’s warriors, we received some backstory on Faranese (Hikasa Yoko) and Serpico (Okitsu Kazuyuki)—definitely not expected, at least for me. Having never read the manga (yeah, yeah I know, sue me) the depraved, chaotic behaviour of Faranese—and Serpico’s secretive blood relation—surprised the hell out of me, although a lot of last season’s actions now make more sense because of it. It especially showcases how important Faranese’s request to Guts is because this girl in her previous life would never even entertain the thought. Particularly amusing too is how Faranese’s actions weren’t even the worst on offer. Purifying flames, burning your half-brother’s mother alive? Pure child’s play, let’s try some demon-induced rape. Nipples or no, the two stage Casca defilement definitely widened the eyes in a sickeningly intriguing way, the sort of moment you want to look away from, but cannot no matter how hard you try. Casca may be mentally broken, but I’d imagine she will have a hard time warming back up to Guts following that stunt. Just shows that Guts’ vengeance—and his own sanity—will not be lacking in collateral damage.

With a firm basis—and some provocative scenes—under tow, Berserk is certainly set to blaze into this season with style. Faranese and Serpico are now part of the gang, Puck (Mizuhara Kaoru) and Isidro (Shimono Hiro) are back for comedic relief, and we have a white haired pretty boy set to f*ck things up for some Kushan troops. No idea where this all leads, but I’ll be damned if Berserk didn’t pique my interest hard. Not enough to impulsively convince me to cover this of course, but easily enough to warrant hanging around for another episode or two. I’m quite curious seeing where this sequel leads.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「一切は物語」 (Issai wa Monogatari) by Yoshino Nanjo feat. Nagi Yanagi

Preview

April 8, 2017 at 1:23 am
21 comments »
  • April 8, 2017 at 3:16 amboingman

    Some of those screenshots look so beautiful, but as a manga reader the first two eps. of the first season scared me away.
    Will probably give it another chance.

    • April 8, 2017 at 10:05 pmPancakes

      If you can get past the 3DCGI I would, this season so far is a serious improvement compared to the last.

      • April 9, 2017 at 5:14 amjltrm

        with all due respect, how would you even know? as you admitted yourself, you haven’t read the manga

  • April 8, 2017 at 4:01 amMisa

    So glad somebody is trying this for plot progression, instead of spending the entire time running the point of OMG, the ugly ass 3DCGI, into the ground. (Yes, it could look better or just be 2D, but for whatever reason they didn’t go for it., IDK why).

    Thank you Pancakes =)

    • April 8, 2017 at 10:46 amsam453oh

      What they did to the manga is unacceptable, and we should scream we don’t want 3D so that we won’t get another **** adaptation

    • April 8, 2017 at 9:17 pmMonorei

      They didn’t go with 2D because of how detailed the characters are (their armor, specifically). The show would need a movie-sized budget to make all of this 2D for just a few episodes.

      This is why the manga is still the best way to experience Berserk, the original art is completely unparalleled within the industry.

    • April 8, 2017 at 10:07 pmPancakes

      Hah you’re welcome :P

      I was never one to let animation get in the way of the story. So long as the art is not some modern art monstrosity, I’m down for watching pretty much anything.

  • April 8, 2017 at 7:01 amKarmafan

    The 3d CGI does not bother me. The story itself is excellent and more then makes up for the weak CGI. Some anime viewers are just too hypercritical.

    • April 8, 2017 at 10:09 pmPancakes

      Inclined to agree here, the amount of hate the first season spawned was a sight to behold. Yeah the animation was poor, but the overall show was decent and IIRC followed the manga relatively closely. Definitely did not deserve a lot the knee jerk criticism.

  • April 8, 2017 at 11:06 amMormegil

    Yeah. Wow. I’ve noticed that there does seem to be a significant number of double episodes, double-length episodes, and special pre-air(or even recap) episodes this season. It’s already a packed season, as is. Makes it even harder to keep up.

    I’m not going to dwell on the 3D CGI too much since I’ve gotten used to it by now, but when you see screens up there like the Casca end card for episode 13 and the Griffith picture next to it, sadly it’s a reminder of what it could have been with a decent budget and better animation. But…oh, well. No use in really complaining about it. We’re stuck with it. Been this way since the movies. And it’s not changing anytime soon.

    People may disagree, but I feel like the adaptation hasn’t messed up with the story or characters yet. It’s doing a decent job, with the exception of the Lost Children arc being skipped in the 1st season and some things. But more than anything, it’s going to be exciting to see certain scenes finally animated this season. And Schierke, the little witch girl. She’s one of my favorite characters.

    • April 8, 2017 at 10:12 pmPancakes

      The story is actually the one thing I think most fans agree on. As adaptations go it’s quite faithful and hasn’t really deviated into anime original territory.

  • April 8, 2017 at 11:11 amYudistira Lana

    Berserk 2017 totally Watchable now, little less choppy camera angles, pretty smooth editing, 3D and 2D art being blended perfectly, the producer really have learn

  • April 8, 2017 at 11:36 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    I read a lot of the manga, but I also wasn’t too bothered by the 3DCGI.

    It’s definitely noticeable still, but compared to the first season, it doesn’t feel as…choppy or something? It feels more smoothed out and more integrated to the scenery and whatnot, especially when watching Guts fighting Zodd.

    • April 8, 2017 at 10:15 pmPancakes

      Yeah the animation has definitely improved. For me it’s obvious in the character movements, they’re less clunky and smoother, a lot like Ajin featured. Still problems in areas (ex. the running scenes), but nothing overtly awkward.

  • April 8, 2017 at 3:26 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    Still looks like CRAP…but as a BERSERK loyalist, i must stay the course

  • April 8, 2017 at 7:33 pmdaikama

    Things are certainly kicking in to gear. Not that Berserk really has much of any down time, but story is taking it up a notch from last season. Visual presentation, including CGI, is what it is. Agree with some others that overall it might be a bit better (either that or I just got used to it). Regardless, it’s a known quantity by this point so either you go with it or you don’t.

    “Pure child’s play, let’s try some demon-induced r*pe. Nipples or no, the two stage Casca defilement definitely widened the eyes in a sickeningly intriguing way, the sort of moment you want to look away from, but cannot no matter how hard you try.”

    Yeah, it’s definitely a disturbing scene, but one with purpose since so much of the story plays off of that. Still, as a manga reader (off & on from loooong ago), it’s also something I’m well aware of. So when it comes up in the anime – skip! No interest in seeing that again regardless of medium. As for no nipples in the anime, I find that odd. Consider just how super violent, gory, mature stuff Berserk is in general, before you even add demon violation & such. So, demon r*pe is OK to show, but dare to draw in nipples and “Now you’ve gone too far, sir!” O.o Not a big deal either way, it’s just that given everything else depicted, I find nipples an odd place to draw a censorship line for this anime.

    • April 8, 2017 at 10:18 pmPancakes

      I’m guessing the sexual nature of them is to blame. This season already airs late (allowing for the bloody violence), but probably can only avoid the censorship bars by removing the nipples. Still a funny choice, but I guess the producers made the decision in order to keep the scene’s alterations as minimal as possible.

      • April 9, 2017 at 3:15 pmKarmafan

        Buy the DVD/BLU and you will probably see nipples.

  • April 9, 2017 at 6:36 pmornehx

    Come on guys… I feel the graphics and animation has notably improved. Anyway I wasn’t bothered by the ‘shitty’ CGI in the first place
    I am all in for the plot and orgasmic fights

  • April 11, 2017 at 11:21 amKinai

    I am sorry. I am really sorry.

    I like Berserk but I can’t stand the horrible animation. Sorry… :’(

  • April 11, 2017 at 4:59 pmDanpmss

    The animation improved by a lot in this second part, and the adaptation of the whole thing (besides the first 3 episodes of the first season) is pretty much a panel-by-panel adaptation with the exception of some selected scenes and dialogues (like some bits of Farnese’s flashback and some short dialogues with the Skull Knight, so far).

    Any Berserk fan saying this is unacceptable right now, when the direction and the low-budget animation are so much better as well (direction in some scenes in the first season were atroucious, I must admit) isn’t a real fan of Berserk. We won’t ever get something nearly as great as the manga animated (either the key story elements or the animation will go down (movies and new anime)… or both (old anime, though it still is the superior adaptation and it’s by far the one with the best art and atmosphere, in my opinion).

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