One of the most hyped up films I was looking forward to seeing this year, over the last couple of weeks, admittedly, my anticipation for the film has simmered. Even if there’s some awkward CG, what I’d seen of the 2D animation in the trailers looks breathtaking. Gatts is a young mercenary, fighting across the lands with his brute strength. After one particular battle he becomes a member of the “Band of the Hawk”, a mercenary group where he meets Griffith, the leader of the “Band of the Hawk” who is an ambitious man and the holder of Behelit, a mysterious egg shaped amulet that he wears on his neck. Following a tragic past and a lonely life, Gatts finds some solace in the company of “Band of the Hawk” where he particularly develops a complex relationship with Casca, the only female soldier of the group and second in command after Griffith. As the war against the Chudar Empire grows, “the Band of the Hawk” are constantly hired by the King of Midland to fight against the Chudar. As the battles carry on one after another, “Band of the hawk” continue to grow in power with Griffith determined to become stronger. One certain incident reveals the vague power of the behelit after Gatts and Griffith face a formidable enemy who is beyond human.
To make things more clear, this trilogy is adapting the same story arc that the TV anime covered but it will more closely following the manga and obviously have a much higher budget. Understandably so, it would have been too expensive to use entirely full animation techniques in 2D. The use of 3D CGI avoids budget, time, and animator staff constraints while still allowing for the depiction of epic battles and detailed sword fights. One thing that must be pointed out it is called Berserk, and for that it has a lot of violence and even nudity. However, it is toned down considerably from the manga. As the series comes to a close, you find yourself saying “Is that all?” No. In fact, the series entrenches only about a third of the entire story thus far. The manga is currently 29 volumes that run about 250 pages each.
For one thing, there are plenty of people that will be watching this that did not watch the series or read the manga. Given the age of the tv series, it’s not at all surprising that they felt the need to revisit the early parts of the story in order to lay the ground work for what is to come. It’s dark and not for many people who are looking for something fun and happy like Pokemon. Berserk also has one of the most saddest, darkets and down right depressing endings ever. Though at times the animation quality could be better, the style here is a little different in that they follow few of the regular anime guidelines. Some of the characters have big eyes, but beyond that they are proportioned perfectly, giving the animation a sense of reality, which of course only adds to the intensity of the story. A larger budget was probably never a possibility, and I’m much happier with this than nothing. Limited 2D animation probably would have been less distracting, but fully-animated fights are a big plus for something like Berserk.
All in all, was it worth the wait? Sort of…especially knowing Arc II is right around the corner. There are significant milestones throughout; not just a lot of build-up for one great climactic ending. Meaningful happenings occur on a regular basis, and there are many subtle underlying themes that I missed the first time around on the series. Berserk Golden Age Arc I: Egg of the Supreme Ruler is by far one of the most intricate films to be released in Japan. I really can’t say anything bad about this film since I have been a fan for quite some time. When your watching this anime, don’t rely on personal knowledge from the manga, or you shall be slightly disappointed. In the end, this is an awesome anime, and I am on the edge of my seat just waiting for the next arc to unfold.