Berserk Ougon Jidaihen I: Haou no Tamago
If anything deserves to get a complete makeover and a bunch of movies adapting the entire manga, it’s Berserk. It was a decade ago when I saw the original TV series and fell in love. Having picked up the manga which is still ongoing, it marks the longest period of time I’ve ever followed one series–because its just that good. Fortunately, the rumors about it being adapted into movies came true, because the TV series’ cliffhanger ending just didn’t do it justice!
No worries—you don’t need to see the TV series to understand the film because they both start out at roughly the same part: Guts coming in to kick some Bazuso butt! Berserk is a fascinatingly dark, medieval tale, centered on Guts who is known as The Black Swordsman. He had always fought and won his wars alone until he got suckered into joining a mercenary group called The Band of the Hawk, lead by pretty boy Griffith (White Hawk). Cue the fangirl screams.
The main appeal of this series is the unlikely friendship that grows between these two men. The Black Swordsman serves as the powerful, brute force of the team, while the White Hawk conducts brilliant leadership towards his dream to have his own kingdom. And you just gotta love the crew with all their clashing personalities. Need a little fantasy? Not a problem. Among their many battles is the fight against Nosferatu Zodd, a monster rumored to be immortal as well as a legendary swordsman. Their bravery attracts the King of Midland, who takes an instant liking to Griffith. For the rest of the film, Griffith works to earn his place among the nobles and subvert jealous enemies, as he grows ever so closer to the king’s beautiful daughter. This has always been my favorite part of the series, so it was great to see it revamped!
The number one complaint you’ll hear people make is that the CGI is just too much. Often times, you might feel like you’re watching a video game. While it can take a little time getting used to, it still adds a lot of nice detail, allowing for a hundred army men to be animated at once. If anything, it’s a major improvement over the still pictures and shoddy animation used in the original TV series. Studio 4C really brings the Berserk world to life with its rich, colorful background art and distinguished style. Not to mention Griffith is hotter than ever. Squee!
Once again, Susumu Hirasawa composes the opening theme song. I’m already a big fan of his, so it was instant love for me. The rest is brilliantly done by Shiro Sagisu. I had been listening to the soundtrack on YouTube long before the movie became available, and it’s easily one of my favorite anime OSTs of all time. Even if you don’t like Berserk or you’re not planning to watch it, at least check out the music!
For the most part, this film does a good job in staying faithful to the manga, blood, gore, and all. It skips over the first three volumes like the TV series did, but nothing major is lost in the story. Guts’s background is also explored more in-depth in the manga, though there’s still a chance they could squeeze in more details later. The only thing that disappointed me was that they skipped over the water fight scene (with a very sexy, naked Griffith). Argh! How could they do that to us poor fangirls? D:
Although the adaptation of Berserk is promising and exciting, we’ve still got a loooong way to go with these movies. This film starts in the middle of volume 4 and ends in the middle of volume 6. That’s roughly two volumes of material (out of 36 that currently exist). I still hold it to whoever’s in charge of this project to adapt the majority of the manga, since a few characters that emerge much later in the story are shown in the opening credits. But no matter how long it takes, I’m in it for the long haul! Who’s with me?
Mimi’s Score: 9 Meeps out of 10 (Great)