So… This show has been weighing on my conscious for some time. It’s the inevitable story that gives you nightmares at night, despite how good of a show it was. Let me just say right off the bat that despite being made way back in 1997, this show can still stand among many good anime of the 2000’s. It’s got fighting, strategy, intrigue, rape… Now I say rape in a way that it will haunt your dreams for years to come. I never understood the phrase “tentacle-rape” until I watched this anime. And now it will never leave me. But all of this is beside the point. Let me explain the show in a bit more detail so you can get the gist of it.
Berserk is about a character named Guts. I know, it already starts out badass, and on some levels gross. The character Guts gained his name more through the way he was born than his mother slapped him across his tiny face and screamed, “Guts.” That would also be a cool intro to the show, but not the exact way they were going for. Guts is named Guts because he was born, despite all odds, from the ravished and destroyed body of his mother, plopped right down on the ground from the tree she was hanged on. This beginning already gives way to “violent beginnings bring violent ends.” And that is Guts’ entire purpose.
Guts, main character and badass hero from "Berserk"
And this is where the story picks up. Guts is a badass emblem of light during the Dark Ages. He goes around, arm-mounted crossbow and gigantic sword in hand, and slays what appears to be demonic cross-breeding monsters. This is only the first episode, mind you. After this, we are Gun Graved (Sucks) towards the story’s beginnings. Guts meets Griffith, the rag-tag leader of the Band of the Hawk, and they run train on absolutely every enemy they cross. Guts becomes a major key player in Griffith’s plans, and this pisses off the only female in the show who is worth anything, Casca. I can’t believe how many times she was naked in the course of this anime. Quite shocking for a woman in men’s clothing.
The episodes are quite gradual in their progression and usually deal with one battle at a time. Besides this one episode with an undead super-vampire type deal. That was straight out of left field. And I know I shouldn’t ruin the ending, but prepare to have your mind blown. I’ve tried to explain it to people, but its something better seen than heard. And suffice it to say, there are several other arcs in the story, and this 25 episode anime is only the beginning. Keep that in mind.
Not a lot to comment on as far as voice acting goes. Some characters suffered at the hands of the dub while others prospered. I watched the first episode in both Japanese and English, and based on that I usually choose how I’m going to watch the entire anime. (By the by, I chose Japanese subbed for Samurai Deeper Kyo, those of you who read that review. Far superior.) Two notes to make about the voice acting are that Marc Diraison (Guts) is quite good and brutal, although a bit on the heroic side. Kevin T. Collins (Griffith) was quite good and really brings a true acting quality to the anime. One thing that made the anime for me though was Sean Schemmel’s (Better known as Goku from Dragonball Z) played a minor character, Conrad (although I remember Guts calling him Gaston…). It was fantastic. The animation was typical of the 90’s, but did not detract from the great story and pace of the anime. I would definitely give this anime, and hopefully there will be more of this anime soon, an 8 out of 10.