Berserk is a brilliant anime that I’d consider a must watch for anyone who likes and enjoys anime. From the outside looking in this show appears to be some kind of dark, demonic action show but it really isn’t. There’s a lot of gore and action in most episodes however it never seems to be the main purpose and idea. It really feels like the characters are the most important part of the story and how they interact and react to each other in the scenarios that take place.
The world of Berserk is completely medieval and bad ass. The world feels very real and political and the drama that takes place during these politics is really entertaining and feels joyful to watch. It genuinely felt so gripping that no time at all had passed whilst watching the episodes! The world also feels structured. What I mean is that it doesn’t feel like the creators are randomly creating characters to place in the world, it feels like they already exist and the characters just run into them because they were in the right place at the right time (or normally the wrong place at the wrong time) which really creates an entertaining story.
The narrative follows the story of Guts, an extremely strong swordsman who has had a very difficult, traumatic past and runs into a band of mercenaries called the band of the hawk. It then follows the drama with the leader (Griffith) and the commander (Casca) as they go about their adventures in trying to achieve Griffith’s dream for the band of the Hawk.
The philosophy of these ideas and the consequences of them are a major theme of the series. The anime explores the consequences and benefits of war, ambition and purpose and doesn’t try to persuade you either way. It shows you the lives and events of the people in the war (which has lasted about 100 years) and allows you to draw your own conclusions and ideas about what’s going on.
The story gets continuously more and more dark as it progresses to an ultimate finale at the end which (without spoiling anything) is pretty good, that’s all I can really say.
All anime’s are pieces of art in one way or another with some themes or messages that are presented but this one feels like it’s on an entirely different level. Theirs clear purpose, themes and ideas expressed here that feel so very real and the work and ideas of the creators and manga author Kentaro Miura shine through in every aspect of this show.
A common criticism that I hear from the show is that it looks bad or that it has bad animation. Do not worry about this at all, the animation isn’t stellar but it’s not terribly bad. If you find the story and ideas that I’m telling you interesting then you really won’t care about the animation at all: I hardly noticed the low animation quality myself. The aesthetic and visuals are also brilliant, it really brings the story to life and the old animation look just adds to the medieval and old time setting in my opinion.
This anime has pretty much my favourite sound track. I love the atmospheric music which is prevalent in the slow calm moments of the series. Everyone loves “Forces” but I really like “Earth” and “Gattsu” is probably my favourite song of all time never mind my favourite track in an OST.
Overall this show is a gory action anime with so much more. It’s massively refreshing from the standard action show and explores really interesting themes that you might find yourself thinking about for your lifetime even if you eventually forget the show. This show is absolutely not for everyone and the manga is rated 18+, though as someone younger than this I can say that it’s not really worth that rating. Theirs tragic things but they won’t disturb you or creep you out if you have any tolerance at all but If you can’t stand the image of an anime character chopping a guy in half then you’ll be absolutely fine.
Just watch it. Simply just watch it. I could (and indeed I have) write far more words reviewing this telling you about how good it is but I don’t feel it’s necessary. If you like the idea of war and everything I’ve told you about then this is definitely an anime for you.