OP Sequence

OP: 「Inferno」 by 9mm Parabellum Bullet

「竜殺しの大剣」 (Ryuu-goroshi no Taiken)
“The Branded Swordsman”

Much like Guts himself, Berserk fans are cursed – no matter how many times our favourite manga gets an anime, it will never be the adaptation we want or deserve. I don’t even know where to begin in describing this episode, but all I can say for sure is it was one disappointment after another. If I had attempted to write this post immediately after finishing the episode then you could expect some vulgar exclamations, but given time to consider everything the anger I felt at first has turned to disappointment. The most obvious reason for this was the terrible, awful, hideous, CGI. I almost feel bad for posting screencaps of this episode… But I and many other Berserk fans knew it was coming and had prepared themselves for it. I thought I was ready to swallow what we were given, but this is probably the worst example of a 3D anime in recent memory. At least titles like Ajin and Sanzoku no Musume Ronja have some creative flair to them. Here there are some attempts at creativity, but it almost always fails, and the result is art and animation that I’d expect from a cheap PS2 game from 2001.

But it’s not even the bad art or animation that make this episode so unbearable – it’s the directing. As I mentioned in the Summer 2016 Preview, Itagaki Shin is at the helm here, and if you didn’t know he’s the director of several seasons of Teekyuu and its spin-off titles. I actually think Teekyuu is smartly directed for what it is; it blitzes through the gags at a breakneck pace, speeds up the dialogue, and the rushed nature of the jokes becomes funny in itself. Sadly, that rushed directing also translates here. There were so many panning shots that barely gave any time for the viewer to actually see what was on-screen, and the whole thing felt so zoomed in. It almost seems like none of the original vision from the manga is present here, which is especially painful. Fans of the manga will tell you how great a read it is, and the artwork and panelling is a large part of that. Take that away and replace it with swift, shoddy directing and the whole thing feels cheap and difficult to care about.

Thirdly on the disappointment list is the simple fact that this isn’t a very good adaptation of the source material. A few years ago I was of the belief that adaptations had to stick to the script, but I’ve now changed my view that a director’s vision can shine through if they change certain things and the result pays off. I’m fine with an adaptation not following the manga word-by-word, but this is just taking it too far. By the end of this episode it appears we’re rushing through 6 volumes (apparently), and are missing out some of the exciting sub-arcs from early in the manga. We cut forward to see characters that don’t appear for hundreds of chapters, and the preview shows that this isn’t going to follow the story in any sensible way. We’re jumping from one event to another with no thought for what comes between and how much world building or set-up is excluded. In a perfect world, a Berserk anime would take its time, linger on the scenic shots, make Guts’ struggles come across on-screen, rather than rush through the content to get to the major moments later on in the run.

If you did enjoy this episode, then I’m glad you were able to looks past its many flaws. If you’re totally unfamiliar with Berserk then this may not be too bad, but it’s also a real shame if this is the first impression you get of such a well-made, highly acclaimed title. This does not reflect the quality of the manga, and it goes to show that Berserk fans are unlikely to ever get the anime adaptation they want. There are so many little details that irk me as well, like Casca’s dark skin from the manga and 1997 anime being bleached to the point where she’s practically glowing, or Puck’s humour feeling totally flat, but I’ve pointed out enough things that I didn’t like here.

I was actually considering blogging this even if this first episode wasn’t especially good, if only because Berserk is a noteworthy franchise and plenty of people are sure to check it out. But I presume many, like me, will be tuning out after this premiere. It was one of the biggest disappointments in quite some time, and my expectations were already low to begin with.


ED Sequence

ED: 「瞑目の彼方」 (Meimoku no Kanata) by Yanagi Nagi



  1. I think this review is too negative, and comparing it to a PS2 isn’t exactly fair. Berserk did have a PS2 game, and it’s quality isn’t even near this anime. In fact, most japanese PS4 games released so far are not better than this in terms of 3D animation. I have enjoyed it, even though it is true, that the manga is way better.

    1. Too negative? Seriously? When other crap mangas get a decent adaption and masterpieces like Berserk are handled like THAT, you cannot be too negative. This does not even deserve a review (thanks to Samu nevertheless)so bad is it.

    2. That was actually the first thing I thought of when I checked this episode; it literally looked like that old Naruto game I played the other day. I’m sure that there are people who can chew through a seemingly bad animation if everything else is worth it and I’d like to count myself among them, but this was… so bad.

    3. I think it is just fair enough. It looks exactly like shitty generic PS cell shade animation. However, there’s plenty to hate on here outside of the animation. I can’t think of a single area that this really excelled in. I’m not a huge fan of Berserk but I enjoyed the first series. Didn’t have high expectations one way or another for this, but yet still grossly disappointed.

    4. I couldn’t lie and pretend anything about this premiere pleased me – sorry if that comes across as too negative. I mean, I didn’t have to reach far to pick all the bad parts that I mentioned in the post. Its flaws are clear as day, so ignoring them would be an injustice to those who thought this is a fair representation of the manga.

      1. I´m grateful for the review Samu-san, I knew this was not going to be an adaptation that would be on the same level as the masterpiece the manga piece but there is stil a certain magic in seeing the story animated after all this time; I started reading the Berserk manga in July 2006 and I found mind blowing such a good (but dark as hell itself) story hasn´t been animated pass the Golden Age arc. Still this going to be a 24 episode adaptation and so we should have a little hope that this going to get better later on, it´s too early to give up on the show.

      2. @Samu I am personally not that familiar with Berserk aside from seeing and hearing about it around. To be honest I was looking forward to this series if only to see “what’s it all about”. To be perfectly honest I wanted to tune out after about 3 minutes into the episode but kept saying to myself that it might get better given the fame attached to it.

        Sadly I have to agree with your review and honestly I have no intentions of seeing any future episodes. If anything else, I might give the source materials a try considering how fans such as yourself seem at least equally disappointed with what we saw. Thanks! and never be afraid to tell it like it is. Some die hards may complain but the vast majority will respect you more for it!

      3. It’s really not as bad as your review makes it out to be, but there’s certainly nothing particularly outstanding about this adaptation so far. Your main beef seems to be the CGI and the camera work, but for me the CGI works (barely… but we’ve seen much worse), and the composition wasn’t all that bad either, so I think it’s quite subjective.

        The general grim mood of Berserk does get captured adequately here (making this episode about Collette’s tragedy went a long way to setting the mood IMHO), and cramming as much exposition as they did into one episode (basically 14 volumes’ worth in the first few minutes, but of course this is basically manga reader / prequel watcher pandering) was a tall order anyway.

        There is no way to do a good Berserk adaptation to begin with, simply because the manga is so outstanding in the first place that any adaptation would be butchering a world masterpiece.

  2. This is just how today’s anime industry is, most “crap mangas” gets 12-13 episode adaptations, though one could argue about how decent they are, I think that nowadays a lot of 2D anime looks worse, than this Berserk adaptation.
    I do agree with your point, that a masterpiece like Berserk would deserve more, but in the past years I can hardly recall anything where I could say it was an excellent adaptation (sadly).

    1. I think at this point people just want a normal adaption. After what we have gone through, including this one, it can only get better.

      Also, there were a lot of excellent adaptions in the past few months at least: BnHA, haikyuu, re:zero, daya no ace, jojo, just from the top of my head.Some may not be the normal anime viewers usual cup of tee, but that’s not point.

      If a ddecent studio picks it up, it is guaranteed that it will sell tons of blue rays. not countng the possible money they would make in the western countries.

    2. It’s not even today. The same studio has been using this artwork for Berserk for around 10 years (their first Berserk product is not that old, but we were getting leaks years before the first movie was released). A shitty studio got their hands on the license and now we all have to suffer for it.

  3. WTF happened to Casca, she looks like a different character altogether, i didn’t recognize her at all !?

    And all this jumping around the story makes it just a series of spoilers rather than being a coherent story, HUGE disapointment, the old TV series and Movies were much better than this (specialy the first TV series), at least they cover a portion of the story that can be treated as a self-contained story on it’s own with a clear beginning, middle and end .. The problem is that they pretty much cover the same early manga material, i was hoping new series would start where the movies left off, i thought this will be a co-ordinated effort .. But alas .. I thought wrong.

  4. CGI in anime only works when that CGI sells something. Taking a look at Arpeggio of Blue Steel for example. If that anime was just all characters, it would probably be very hard to watch. But it sells itself on the faithful ship recreations, Tron lighting, plus missiles and lasers galore. You also had Knights of Sidonia which really relished in particle effects and ambient lighting.

    This animation of Berserk, I feel isn’t selling anything. Isn’t selling anything visual, and certainly not selling the story. The original anime of Berserk at least had beautiful paintings, a great soundtrack and was a relatively solid adaptation. I wouldn’t mind if they went back to the old style and had half the fight scenes just canvas paintings.

    If they are at least going to go 3D, at least put some effort into the models and render it at true 24fps. I think some companies need to get it through their mind that 3D “anime” doesn’t need to be 13fps or whatever, or even needs to look like hand drawn animation. Take a look at Saint Seiya Legend of Sanctuary. You look at that, and you can tell it’s anime inspired/is anime. Space Pirate Captain Harlock is also a good example. But they don’t need to resort to killing the frame rate and reducing the render steps to achieve it. Give Berserk to Toei, and give them a budget as well.

    The 3D films of Berserk I will admit was ‘aight. Models were on point for what they were, and the atmosphere was illustrated nicely. Especially the Eclipse. But the atmosphere in this felt more like a typical fantasy anime.

    Goodwill Wright
    1. The film trilogy is a godsend compared to what we’re getting here. I’ve only watched the first film but I hear the third was especially good (though I don’t think I’m in the mood to watch what happens right now…)

    1. Yep, they took a dark-skinned character (I’ve honestly never been clear as to her actual ethnicity) and whitewashed her, ’cause they can? And… that’s a thing that happened.

      And I say that as one who feels that Casca’s character got absolutely shafted after the Golden Age arc. Granted, I hate what happened to her, but I could’ve lived with it if it had served any broader purpose. Instead, she was turned into a brazenly shameless plot device, demeaned and degraded in virtually every conceivable way. This was just rubbing salt in an already brutal wound.

      Ryan Ashfyre
  5. “comparing it to a PS2 isn’t exactly fair”

    Quite right, at least PS2 cutscenes are 30 fps, unlike this garbage. Which is something i will never understand, dont Japanese people SEE how horrible this 5 frames per second animation look like ? It’s a frigging render ! Just leave it alone for another month or two, and make the bloody 24 fps animation ! No need to draw additional frames ! No need to do ANYTHING other than wait a bit !!! Is modern Japan too inbred to understand that ? Just that alone, would make strides towards this trash being more acceptable.

    1. Yup, when I saw the trailer I thought it was horrible too, but I was gonna watch anyway. I wasn’t disappointed in what I saw, but I also wasn’t thrilled either. I’ve pretty much set my expectations pretty low ever since the movies came out.

      Bamboo Blade Cat
  6. More than the animation, I’m so incredibly disappointed in the directing, editing, and writing. Personally, I don’t really care if this isn’t a perfect adaptation–I think a lot of early black swordsman stuff is boring and I’m happy to skip it–but this episode was all over the place, and as Samu said, there really isn’t any time for worldbuilding or even character building. Guts felt shallow. Puck fell flat. Casca was…well, she’s hasn’t formally appeared yet but considering the only shots of her so far are her reliving her trauma (and often nude), that doesn’t bode well. At all.
    Everything about this was so shallow. Compare the scene of Guts killing the little girl here to the scene of him killing the noble boy in the movies; one was an important character moment that triggered a series of very important events, and the other was just cringe-worthy shock value. It’s not hard to guess which is which.
    Then the cinematography and editing was just nauseating. Too many fast pans, scenes too zoomed in, and wonky scene transitions that didn’t make sense. I was relieved whenever there was a quiet moment of sit-and-talk because I could visually understand everything going on.
    Buuut, despite all the negativity I am going to continue watching this, even if just for a little while. As I said, I don’t need this to be a perfect adaptation, but I do hope to get even just a little bit of my original enjoyment of Berserk out of it.

    1. Maybe I’ll keep watching again, but I doubt it. Especially if there are legitimately good anime coming out this season, which looks to be the case. Good luck, hopefully you aren’t completely broken by the end!

  7. sigh….that’s all i can say. Shin itagaki’s directing here is really poor; not to mention the visual direction is ass as well. Samu i agree with everything you’ve said in this post. Wow, i never thought id be this disappointed with berserk. I mean the 1997 anime also had extremely poor animation but the art direction saved it; here, nothing visually stands out as something to appreciate. The music choices are also pretty schizophrenice; again, sighhhhhh

  8. First off all, let’s get this out of the way, but Guts!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Overall, I thought it was ok. The animation just reminded me of Ajin/Sidonia. It could’ve been as bad as the movie animation which was just terrible, so I can get used to this. If only they could somehow go back to the original animation…but I’d have better chances seeing a pig fly.

    Though a few negatives, and one that will never be the same is the music. Imo, anyway, the music was a big part of what made the series so great, and I really didn’t expect to hear anything remotely similar here.

    Guts. His face looked a little long or something sometimes. Maybe it was just the angles.

    Casca. What the hell did they do to her?

    Griffiths. Wasn’t a fan of his characterization of him smirking, though I dunno if that’s just Guts’ recollection of events, but I don’t think they needed to add that if it wasn’t. I liked his original emotionless, cold, and blank look.

    Overall, I’m just happy to see some Berserk, though we’ll have to see where they take the story.

    Bamboo Blade Cat
    1. Bamboo Blade Cat // “Overall, I thought it was ok. The animation just reminded me of Ajin/Sidonia. It could’ve been as bad as the movie animation which was just terrible, so I can get used to this.”

      Huge disappointments expressed by (some) fans of the original manga makes me think I definitely have to check the manga as soon as possible. But Yes, It was ok for me over all too like you, though I burst out laughing at some crappy CGI scenes like . It felt like I watched a puppet show rather than anime. That never happened when I watched Ajin/Sidonia (my favorite shows).

      1. I’m not sure if I wanna check out the manga, I don’t really want to constantly compare the two. Plus I read that the original series took some liberties in developing the Guts and Griffiths relationship that wasn’t in the manga, which certainly added another layer to the show.

        I’m just surprised some people even liked the Golden Age movies. It was mostly a retelling of the series, with some additional scenes (and other removed due to time constraints of course), and the animation was so horrible I couldn’t watch it. In fact, that was my introduction to Berserk. I said, what’s this? Watched 7-8 mins of it before deciding to watch the original series and having my mind blown. Then I watched the movies just to see the new parts.

        All I can be sure of is they’ll never recapture the magic of the original series, which had a lot to do with the older, classic animation, the wonderful soundtrack that just added so much to the scenes, and the proper time to allow the story to unfold.

        Bamboo Blade Cat
      2. Guys, regardless of whether you find the adaptation OK or not you owe it to yourselves to check out the manga which is simply excellent. There’s nothing to even think about, even if you only ever read a single manga in your life then this is the one to read.

    2. Yes, the films cut out a lot of content but I’m keeping my commentary on the visuals.

      At least the one thing the films had over this series is the 3D. This coming from someone who was going into the movies trying to be disappointed about the character art and 3D animation. I came out pleasantly surprised though that it at least looked like Berserk.

      Only part of the 3D I will pan is that they made Guts wield his sword a bit too proficiently. Making it seem less of an achievement of his 100 man kill. Which I think in the original anime was depicted quite well. Third film Eclipse was done well and rendered quite stunningly. I also think they did a pretty good job on Zod as well.

      Goodwill Wright
  9. I didn’t hate this as much as most of the other fans seem to, but that doesn’t mean I liked it. Like Samu said, the thing that really stood out to me was the directing and editing; it just feels out of place in a series like Berserk. To be fair, to do this series justice, especially the post-Golden Age arcs, must be very taxing for a director. You have to find a balance between the intense action and increasingly large set pieces and the more quiet moments where we see how this eternal struggle affects Guts. There was a little bit of the latter in the episode, but it brings up my biggest issue with the series, the pacing. It looks like this adaptation will cover the Conviction arc, which I can understand since it’s the first long arc that can possibly take up a whole season. Only problem is that this means we will have to rush through most of the material up to that point and probably a lot of the arc as well.

    With that out of the way, I’ll probably keep watching for two reasons: it’s Berserk, and there is one new track by Susumu Hirasawa.

    1. toshiyuki kubooka handled it very well in the movies; it’s really a shame they just couldnt bring him back on board for the series. His directing really captured the tone and feel of berserk

  10. As someone who hasn’t got around to Beserk yet, even I found this disappointing. The animation was incredibly lackluster at best–for all the complaints previously regarding Sidonia and Ajin, at least Polygon knows how to minimize the limitations of the format. This 3D style comes across as cheap and amateurish (just look at those skeletons and trees).

    The one benefit is the story is coherent enough. While apparent there are significant chunks missing, it’s easy to piece things together into a general picture. Only problem is that I do not think this makes up for the poor artwork or the sense of rushing I get. Hell even the sound is uninspiring. I was expecting something wickedly destructive when hearing Gut’s sword hit something, but the impact was like a stick beating on hollow metal.

    I’ll stick around for the next few episodes, but it’s going to take some serious improvements regarding key structural elements like art, sound, and pacing to convince me this is worth any more of my time.

    1. You should just watch the original series, which is far superior to the movies, and certainly to this. Then you can attempt to watch this again, but I definitely wouldn’t want this to be my first foray into the world of Berserk.

      Bamboo Blade Cat
  11. Interesting. …. for whatever reason I can’t seem to understand, the characters look to be animated with hand-drawings AND CGI. That is even MORE perplexing than my previous prediction that it would be entirely in CGI.

  12. hows the frame rate of the animation? Is it a smooth 30-60 frames per second, or the “traditional” anime frames per second like in Expelled from paradise?

  13. Don’t you guys understand the meta that is happening here? Because we believed that this anime adaptation would be sub-par, we were punished with a sub-par anime adaptation. Jokes aside, I felt the same as many others. The inability to tell what was happening with the fight scenes, the confusion about the anime’s starting point, the bleaching of Caska and the strange overall direction which made it feel a bit more….generic shounen….? It’s not the best term to describe what I was watching, but that is what it felt like. As though Berserk is a cool guy with a cool big sword that doesn’t afraid of anything instead of watching a man struggle (since they literally call him struggler a few times in the manga) in multiple senses of the world. Strife from physical demon confrontations and the psychological ones from dealing with humans who may as well be demons, his own inner demons, and his past.

    The Walker
  14. No surprise this is a mess, but Can someone explain to me why this happened?

    Berserk is a very popular manga, isn’t it? Why wouldn’t they OK an anime with the talent & budget it deserves? Surely a 200+ episode anime done right would be raking in the cash????

    1. From what i can remember, the anime ended before a certain point which fans of the manga were really wanted to see happen. But the anime itself didnt do many of the battle scenes due to their budget at the time. Then the 2D CGI hybrid movies came in which also did the same things as well as ended at the same point as the animated anime.

      Im not sure what happened to OLM inc the studio behind the 1st animated series, or even Studio 4c (and other 3d companies) that did the CGi movies, but they are not working on Berserk 2016 but it is Millepensee who’s only major production was Teekyuu.

      My guess is that the people who are in and planned the Berserk 2016 project decided it was better to follow the CGI movies style. And since we will never know their reasons and anime production committees rarely (if any at all) pay attention to fan/critic feedback (in japan) its safer to assume its cheaper to produce it this way.

  15. As a Berserk fan since 2003, does it make me a bad fan that I didn’t hate absolutely everything here? I liked the OP, and it has better animation than the actual episode itself lol. Humor with Puck was good and spot-on. The CGI is so low-budget, but thanks to shows like Ronja and Knight of Sidonia I’m used to full-length CGI. 3D CGI in anime is something I hated for a long time, but realizing how prevalent it’s become now, I guess you just have to get used to it. It’s here to stay. A shame that the CGI couldn’t be better, though.

    As expected of the Ben-to director, there are too many quick shots and other unique directorial choices. It makes for something stylish, but also gives you motion sickness…
    Not sure if it was the best choice for Berserk.

    The music is awful. The scene with Colette was completely ruined. And that “BLOOD AND GUTS AND BLOOD AND GUTS AND BLOOD AND GUTS” song is abysmal. I hated it in the movies and I hated it here.

    All being said, I can deal with the shoddy 3DI CGI, but skipping arcs like the rest of the Black Swordsman and Lost Children is painful. Also, randomly adding Isidro way before he’s supposed to be introduced was just weird. And I sincerely hope it’s just the lighting when it comes to Casca. For now, I’m withholding judgment until we get a better chance to see her. So, yeah, I didn’t hate everything! But I hated most things! A ringing endorsement!

  16. Reading the comments, I think I’m the only human on the whole wide world who watched this first episode and thought instantly, that the BDs will be a must have 😛 No kidding!

    Das Waltzerchen
  17. Miura-sensei why did you even agree/allow this shitty atrocious anime adaptation to happen after the horrible movies… I sincerely hope they at least paid you a lot of money, because your great/epic manga was better off without any anime adaptation at all!
    What I would really like to know is the following: Was there really no studio/anime staff capable nor interested in animating faithfully the glorious art/panels Miura-sensei draws to bring his magnificent epos/manga alive on screen? Or was Miura-sensei asking too much money from any of those studios? Or what…? I was always under the assumption that the Berserk manga/saga was quite popular in Japan; just imagine this saga for example animated with the budget and care Ufotable put in their “Kara no Kyoukai” or “Fate” franchise or how Bones studio/anime staff handled “Sword of the Stranger”. I know it would cost a lot of money but they could do it 1 movie/OVA “Gundam Unicorn style”. This would give them plenty of financial breathing space and time to slowly adapt the story in its fullest glory while cashing in like crazy (!) on the BD sales in Japan and worldwide.

  18. Here is something i never really understood with adaptations, why rush to the so-called major moments?
    One of the reasons those moments are considered major moments is thanks to the build up to that moment, so by removing the build up you would also make those moments less impactful right?

    For example the reveal of Yagami light finally being discovered by L to be kira, that would be a lot less impactful if there was no build up in the first place thanks to rushing. Or the end of the previous adaptation of Berserk if i remember correctly where Griffith ultimately betrays Guts. That would have far less of an impact without all the build up.

    So why is it so hard for animation companies to figure out that those major moments are made that great thanks to all the build up?

  19. Ancient sprawling epic dark fantasy with a day job of pushing every moral and ethical limit peaks early in mid-story then fades as the mangaka draws it out far beyond reason and then repeatedly abandons it unfinished for months and years at a time.

    Of course the anime adaptions are iffy. I mean, it’s pretty problematic to run a very popular series when the author becomes most likely to end the latest chapter with “See you next time!” instead of “See you next month!”.

    It doesn’t help that the visual and content styling of the manga is deeply rooted in an aged stereotype of 80’s heavy metal DnD boys-only swords-and-sorcery fantasy but any aesthetic changes made by a studio to update or mainstream the look a little bit would very clearly have a negative impact on the harsh story content. You can’t “pretty up” Berserk. The tropey look has to match the idea of a main character named Guts; BtW thank you, community, for using Guts and not trying to pretend it’s Gastu simply because you think “Guts” is too ugly. It’s supposed to be ugly. As is the art. As are many of the characters. As is the story.

    I don’t blame any studio today for not wanting to put a lot of resources into an “old guy” story which is most than a decade past peak, has an iffy, unreliable creator who seems to have lost the point, and sticks out like a sore achy thumb amid the shiny, glossy, pretty anime which tenderly tiptoes around the casual sensibilities of today’s audience even when delivering the gallons of blood and senseless murders which are no longer shocking due to constantly being suffered by today’s ill-fated anime schoolchildren. We’ve become immune to shock and now anticipate it; just review the expectations of the Lost Village show. It renders the shock of Berserk kind of useless; it’s no longer ground-breaking but still quite offensive.

    I admit I’m even confused as to why they are trying, let alone now. If they couldn’t fund a continuation back when audiences were expecting one it seems that it would have been better to simply apologize, write it off, and move on. Did somebody hijack Muria and lock him in a room until he drew up 3 or 4 chapters for release this year? Is this anime a celebration of that? Is this show just being made to fulfill some ancient contract with the publisher which has gotten passed around as studios collapsed, reshuffled, and traded properties? Did someone finally decide to bite the bullet and clear the back burner of some lingering crud?

    Understand, I’ve been reading Berserk since the first US anime release, back when fans insisted on “Gatsu” even when Muria issued a clarification. I waited for an anime continuation … for about a decade. Then I gave a great big Meh since the manga would always reign supreme. And then the manga turned to slowly trickle like thick drying blood to a sputtering, annual gasp of nothing-still-happening. And now, NOW, old demons return to haunt in full color and awful CGI.

    Go away, foul fiend, go away!

    1. There’ve been some very good… I’m not sure if ‘reboot’ is the right word, but whatever… of aged properties the last few years. Jojo, Ushio to Tora, that comedy with the 5 identical brothers, etcetera. Those older shows can feel tremendously fresh to modern audiences because they’re so different; they have a certain style that we haven’t seen in decades, and newer fans haven’t seen at all.

      Yes, it’s an edgy 90s aesthetic in Berserk, but the manga oozes blood and style from every pore. The anime just… didn’t make good use of the medium, I guess? The art style isn’t terrible (barring the occasional hilariously long horse-face on Guts) and even the CG looks okay in Samu’s screenshots, so I suppose it’s partly an issue of animation but mostly just not a very good translation to the screen. As Samu said, picking a director who’s mostly done frenetic cutesy slice of life/sports comedy probably wasn’t a good choice for a manga that glories in Guts’s slow descent into darkness and lovingly records every torturously slow bone-crunching swing of his Dragonslayer through hideous monster flesh.

    2. You are wrong on many accounts, older manga are seeing a sort of renaissance this decade, Jojo, Ushio to Tora, Parasyte are all examples of very old manga (some of which are still ongoing like Jojo) which recived very good adaptions, and above that were pretty successful too.

      So your claims regarding studios being iffy about Berserk because of its dated 80s/90s aesthetics and style don’t have any basis in reality, all those other mangas are equally old or older than Berserk, yet because of that .. Because they are so different from what is available now in the market.

      As for the state of Berserk Manga, that’s no excuse either, Jojo’s manga is still ongoing too .. It has been for decades just like Berserk, yet Jojo keeps getting one series after the other every few seasons that cover each arc of the Jojo manga in a satisfying, coherent and fulfilling way (and there is still plemty of material to animate left) .. Why is it so hard to do the same with the Berserk manga, if they did a 24 ep series for each arc every few seasons they will have enough manga material to go on for years, which will also allow them to produce each season with the polish, attention and care they deserve (with beatiful 2D animations like Parasyte or Attack on Titan), it 100% can be done, cause if a relatively minor studio like David can handle Jojo then Bones or Madhouse could surely create an amazing jaw dropping adaption of Berserk (heck, WIT were pretty much unknown before their amazing Attack on Titan adaption, and i respect so much how they delayed 2nd season -eventhough i’m so eager to watch it- in order to ensure its quality and content are on par with 1st season, that’s the mentality needed to handle adaptions right there).

      Alas, it seems Berserk is cursed like its hero, its license keeps getting mismanaged time after time with lots of wasted potential, hope one day someone will step in and create the adaption Berserk Manga deserves, like how Full Metal Alchemist got a second chance with the fantastic Brotherhood adaption.

  20. Once this is over, I’ll have to rewatch the original to cleanse this from my brain. Don’t want to do it before it’s over, or else I’ll probably stop watching this altogether!

    Bamboo Blade Cat
  21. what fucking was that. this is deep shit very shity anime for bast manga ever wtf
    please some tell what is going on in anime world fuck u japan how lit this happen omg
    i will born all the manga i have omg……the first anime was better that this shit coming up
    before the first the 3 movies …….the cgi destroy the anime world

    me now
  22. Yeah, uh, not sure what to say that hasn’t been said. The visual presentation/style is not good to put it nicely – on multiple levels. >_> It’s one thing if it’s just bad CGI and the rest is fine, but yeesh, that was just the start. I guess it’s the director’s “thing”/style, and they want to put their own stamp/mark on the series. *sigh*. Yeah, uh no. From what I know, the original series (“Season 1”) is quite well received so what’s wrong with taking the same approach?

    I read the manga looong time ago, and frankly, I had a tough time gathering my bearings with Ep. 01. So I marathoned anime Season 1 (hadn’t watched it). IMO Season 1 is quite a good, faithful/accurate and pretty inclusive adaptations (2-cour/25 eps. helps). Time well spent watching Season 1, but that covers up to most of volume 13… which is the stuff I remembered fairly well. Fine, off to skim volumes 14-17. Now I finally know where we’ll be next episode. On top of visual miscues, this episode did not do a good job of reintroducing viewers to the story at all IMO. Felt too much like being thrown into some random part of the story.

    I’m not dropping this – yet. Again, the visual presentation was sorry lacking, but for some odd reason, right now I don’t outright hate it as much as many seem to do. Can’t say why, just don’t. Personally, this season isn’t a strong one for me so I’m going to give this at least a couple more episodes. Hopefully at least story-wise it will settle down starting next episode. If it can get that much right, I might be able to deal with f’d up visual presentation/style. Maybe.


    @Samu. FYI – Season 1 (Ep. 25) ending to next episode preview is about 2/3 (roughly) in manga volume 13 to close to the end of manga volume 16 = about 3 manga volumes total, not 6 volumes. There’s definitely some material in those volumes which I do NOT think should have been cut. However, I don’t have any major issue with cutting the “elf/mist valley” arc. “Sub arc” as you call it (I’d say even “side story” almost) which was OK, but isn’t all that important. Per above, I do agree about insufficient “world-building”/re-introduction to the series in general.

  23. Kind of a shame, I thought the mist valley arc was a great introduction to Guts’s darkest days. I wonder if they just didn’t want to deal with underage mothgirl nudity?

    1. @Guile: It wasn’t bad and there’s definitely some important transition material in those volumes, but still kind of a side “arc”/”story” overall compared to later material IMO. If there’s time, sure, include it, but if not, better to cut that than some later stuff IMO. My guess is simply a lack of time/more important stuff they wanted to cover. This season may reduce some of the nudity as well. Don’t know on that.

  24. You what is really sad about this spisode? That Guts warned Adolf not to get involve with him, evil spirits were after him (and that´s putting it nicely) . The most heart crushing part is that these were good people, not mercenaries or selfish nobles, just good old regular people heilping a guy in need, do you have any idea how hard it is to find this kind of good people iin the Berserk universe!?.

    1. Not sure you read the manga or not, but those brutal scenes early on in the manga are key scenes in hammering in what type of mood and tone Berserk was going for.

      It’s sad and shocking at first but as things keep progressing and you realize the reality of Berserk’s world you will understand why things are the way they are.

      But manga aside, isn’t that how things in the real world work (minus the demons/evil spirits), plenty of innocent people die everyday for no fault of their own, either because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time or because they tried to do some good deed that backfired into their faces, when you think about that Berserk’s world isn’t that far fetched or different from our own.

  25. This show used to feel ultra violent, now it feels ordinary.
    Perhaps i watched too much game of thrones.

    Speaking of which, medieval violence fantasy never seems to get old.

  26. lol Honestly I’d take the old Berserk art’s than this. If only they took that gritty old art and do it with better animation today then we will have fucking gold.

    1. Also I don’t think Berserk is a masterpiece. An unfinished work can never be a masterpiece. You don’t call Lord of the Rings a masterpiece without Return of the King. You don’t call The Dark Side of a Moon a master piece without side two.

      1. Finished or not what Berserk offers and the sheer breadth of emotions -sadness, shock, disgust, awe, amazement, ..etc etc- it invokes in readers/viewers (i love the old TV series and consider it a self-contained arc/story and an anime masterpiece) is unlike anything else out there, that alone is enough to raise it to the status of masterpiece, masterpieces aren’t about perfection or completion, many complete works of art and fiction are utter crap and many incomplete ones truly deserve to be called masterpieces for what they achieve and what they invoke in those who witness them.

    2. Totally agree, i think the 2D animation used in the recent Berserk movie Trilogy was pretty damn neat and captured the gritty feeling of Berserk really well, some of the scenes animated with 2D animation style were truly mesmerizing .. although the CG in the movies was still a bit meh (still far better than the crap here).

  27. Sure as hell, I wasn’t ready. First I thought that they made the strange line shadow to mimic Kentaro Miura drawing style, but I was unable to watch the first episode completely.

    Are the other Berserk’s adaptations as bad?

    1. Honestly I have always loved the first adaptation. It might not have the best animation, but I really love the art, the tone and the soundtrack of the series. Guts theme is just ethereal. The movies are ranging for below average to good. The CGI is crap but it gets better and less the more you go. It’s very flawed but I don’t think it’s bad as this current adaptation.

    2. Watch the old anime, it’s an entire arc of the main story and can be treated as a standalone story, the 2D art and animation aged a bit but are still quite good (specially compared to this crap), and the entire OST is fantastic (aside from the weird choice of OP song), if you liked what the anime offered and wanted to know more about the characters and world of Berserk i’d recommend the manga (the new movies cover the same arc as the old anime with updated visuals and few new scenes, but only watch them if you can stomach a mix of 2D and CGI in your anime, again the CGI in the movies is still better than what you saw here).

      1. Lol, the OP song. I was like, why the hell didn’t you just use “Forces”? You got one of the most epic songs in anime ever, and you aren’t even going to use it?

        Goodwill Wright
  28. Can someone tell me what the hell is preventing a good adaptation of Berserk manga with lots of episodes like they did with Fairy Tail, Bleach, Naruto or One-Piece? I mean, this manga is practically BEGGING for it!

  29. The funny thing is, that the animation when you get those stills looks really good. It is when it actually is moving in a 3D sense that the shows visuals stumble badly.

    This honestly looks like a project I worked on in school for 3D models. Except the stuff we worked on was much better than this. 🙁

    Honestly, everything about this single episode just falls flat. Nothing seems right. Disappointing really.

    Dorian S.
    1. I agree. As a 3D modeller myself, I find it really easy to make models look good. But I’m hopeless (at the moment) at animating. The animation suffers from being too rigid, and the low FPS doesn’t help it one bit. It’s hard to tell whether the bad animation was due to the inexperience of the animators, or the visual direction of the director.

      Goodwill Wright
    2. You know, I thought that as well. After looking over the screencaps I thought: “I’ve made this episode look way better than it actually is”. It’s kind of my duty to pick the best screencaps to highlight the episode, but it’s perhaps not a true reflection of the quality of the episode.

    1. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. It is yours, after all, and your right to say it. I personally thought it was a betrayal to the series, but we’ve all expressed that already. What did you like about this episode?

      The Walker
    2. Wow, i didn’t expect words of encouragement.
      I was expecting angry replies or silence of disapproval.

      1. I love medieval violence, don’t know why.

      2. I never liked Pakku’s (naked fairy) appearance before,
      but this one looks cute and agreeable.
      Perhaps the facial style has been upgraded to current anime guidelines.

      3. The last time I read the original manga was many years ago,
      so I probably don’t have a frame of reference for making comparisons.
      I’m probably looking at this episode as if it was its own source material.
      (is this the likely case for young viewers ?)

      4. But I do admit the animation of cel-shaded 3D models
      look like shit in most scenes.
      Even homemade motion capture would look better than this.

  30. Wow so I just marathoned Berserk Redux, thought I’d check on this to see whether the new adaptation was worth my time… turns out the answer is no? (Even though I really love knights of Sidonia and thought Ajin was actually pretty awesome).

  31. I personally never expected the anime to live up to the manga. The manga is at such a high quality no anime could retell such a rich story at the pace the manga had in an age of Naruto. No 13, 23, or 200 episode anime could emulate the immaculate art consistently throughout every episode and cover “all” the nuances of Kentaro Miura arcs, characters, and plot points. My only real gripe with the aesthetics is its brightness and its blood. There needs to be more blood and less color. The tree scene should have been overflowing with blood and the color palette should have a more bland/ dull, like BvS. As a 34 year old who has been watching anime for 27 years, I wish anime never became popular in America then maybe anime would not have become this watered down, censored BS that has to appeal to international markets. Imagine if Fist of the North Star would be animated today and you’ll have something like this.

  32. Newest Berserk adaptation so far:
    >no succubus sexual killing at the first seconds
    >holy iron chain knights appeared before anyone else including guts (debut in volume 14)
    >schierke appeared soon after them (debut in volume 22)
    >guts appeared -> epic opening starts (24 episodes of casca’s graphical rape scene at the beginning of each because of that, tho)
    >discount white casca (for the moment, maybe it’s just the luminosity of the opening)
    >guts didn’t use his sword at the bar
    >guts didn’t use his crossbow at the bar
    >guts acts in the first scene like a somber but nice quiet guy instead of an edgy killer machine teenager like he was like in the manga
    >isidoro is there despite only being presented 18 volumes later
    >puck’s appearance is retconned to his latest form from the beginning
    >they cut 70% of the black swordsman arc despite that being the premise of the show
    >colette goes CLANG after getting cut in half by guts
    >the lost children tree is there, despite them skipping lost children entirely
    >casca isn’t there, despite the tree scene being there without a proper context
    >farnese encounter at the second episode preview, not counting the golden age arc, they skipped more or less 5-6 volumes worth of content
    This is going to be fine, right? First anime adaptation also had a terrible first episode, right? And this means the rest is going to be overall amazing just like the old anime, right?

  33. I went through with it with IMAGINATION i mean come on people. if it gets popular HOPEFULLY the manga will cont. and release a lot faster!! because for a VERY VERY VERY loooooonnnggg time updates are slow but still Awesomely good.

    Niels B
  34. It’s all a punk and next episode Guts and next week it will be revealed that the show will be a cooking competition with each char a contestant. BERSERK Chef!! Which combatant will reign supreme?!

  35. I don’t know, I can definitely see this as absolutely infuriating to the kind of people who wanted a 90’s anime throwback, or a full-on grimdark adaptation of this series. I honestly loved this, admittedly it bothers me a lot less because I am not a diehard fan of the series. Still, this adaptation is the exact level of unapologetic campiness I enjoy seeing from anime.
    Honestly, right after a scene where you see a woman being dragged away, panning from a shot of severed heads on a rack; I just burst out laughing because of how ill-fitting and awful the CG is.

    Berserk 2016 is seeming less like a good adaptation of Berserk, and more just an absurdly great “so bad it’s good” type anime. I found myself with a big dumb grin on my face by the end due to how absolutely ridiculous this adaptation was.


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