Like I stated in Arc I’s review, 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. The cool thing about it? All three movies of the Golden Age Arc are coming out in the same year! Arc II is now upon us, and I was hoping to see a bit of originality in the storyline instead of just a rehash ala Evangelion reboot. The Battle for Doldrey focuses on the epic battle by the Kingdom of Midland to retake Doldrey Castle from the Chuder Empire. Make no mistake about it folks, we’re coming closer to see the Eclipse. Arc II explores the most dark route yet by exhibiting a much darker tone that we’re all more used to seeing in the manga counterpart. Arc I may have whet your appetite, but Arc II is what you have been wanting. The blood FLOWS endlessly in this film.
Berserk was far more real to me than any of the candy coated Evangelion and Escaflowne of sorts. You can really feel the emotion erupting straight from the characters – like you are fighting alongside them, experiencing the pain and the glory and the love and the tragedy; the struggle. You can really identify with the characters. And, thanks to their continued success on the battlefield, Griffith achieves the first step in fulfilling his goal: his band of mercenaries becomes a full-fledged army within the Midland Kingdom. With a running time of just over 100 minutes, they did a good job condensing down the series. The main question on everyones mind who were looking forward to this film was what exactly happened to Griffith during his jail time at the tower of Rebirth? Griffith was continually focused on his goal of achieving his dream of obtaining his own kingdom, willing to sacrifice anything and everything to achieve it. The film indentifies well with this mission and dives deep into the psyche of his torture.
The brutal torture of Griffith does not hold back. Another subtle storyline is the fact that once Griffith emerges from the shackles of pain, Arc II of this Golden Age explores that fact he has romantic feelings for Gatts, even reaching a jealous Casca’s suspicions. Quite the ballsy move since Arc II decides to have multi-layers that actually work in its favor. It contains an interesting mixture of violence as well as dropping in a touch of humor, typically at the expense of its characters vulnerability. It isn’t all good though, and since we are dealing with a condensed story (even for the big screen), the story tends to move at a confusingly erratic pace but is still engaging. Time will only tell if the cliffhanger ending makes a smooth transition to the third and final film.
Without revealing spoilers, the hints of reincarnation are also made apparant. Griffith becomes central as a reincarnated human where he now leads a newly formed Band of the Hawk. This opens up lots of variations to be explored in Arc III. Viewers need to keep in mind again, this film is extremely violent, especially the toture scenes. Griffith tendons got cut in both arms and legs, pulled out his nails, tore off his skin, burned with hot irons and boiling water, and took out his tongue. Although it may be morbid to get a thrill out of seeing this, I can’t deny it just sends a wave of excitement through me knowing that the Eclipse is coming and everything is literally about to go to bloody hell. My verdict is this was a smooth transitional film piece that compliments the first arc but presents the material in a much more macabre and dark tone. Expect the whole story to wrap up fairly quick after this, in what is shaping up to be the best series to film adaptation of all time.