In case you missed it, Berserk is back. With its return I reviewed the first episode, and my review was less than favorable. One week later the new episode has aired, with that I have another review.
Luckily for us the story is far more coherent this time around. The direction is for the most part decently handled and far less stiff and random than the first episode. While I would not say it was very good, it wasn’t jarring or unnatural. There is a pretty large complaint though, the episode seems to spend too much time trying to catch up viewers on past events. This wastes a lot of time and does get a bit annoying. The time wasted on flashbacks would have been much better spent flushing out the events that are currently happening.
The story also does cut a very good moment for Azan, while not crucial it is a scene that would have helped develop the character. This is more something that will likely bother the fans of the manga though.
As a whole, the direction and pacing was much better. If not for the super quick pacing and the constant catch up it would have been more enjoyable. In the end while not perfect it does seem to be leading the show in a much better direction.
The animation this time around is quite a lot better, it is still not at the level of being good but it was less distracting than the first. There are many moments in the show that do cut away from the CG and it feels awkward. The styles do not match and it takes you out of the show. This is even worse in the Flashbacks, they are fully animated. The problem is, the flashbacks all look Very different from eachother. This leads to the episode feeling a bit disjointed and odd at times. Though this does lead to some great shots.
Another problem is the action, it is just bland. It had a few moments that looked decent. But it also had a few very bad moments. Such as when Azan fights Guts…The fight was bland and at times really bad, the awkward blur, repeat attack was the obvious low of the fight. The problems with the fights does not end there, as with episode one the enemies just stand around. Guts literally runs past them and they don’t really do much of anything, it is horrible.
The animation leaves a lot to be desired, it is still very awkward and stiff. The people feel very lifeless a lot of the time. It honestly feels as if the animation is not actually finished.
Thank God the music in this episode is far superior to the trash music of the first. Some of the music in this episode was legitimately good. The sound effects are pretty subtle, none really stand out to me which is probably a pretty good thing.
Sadly the voice work is still pretty sub par, While Guts is ok the rest of the cast is mediocre to bad. I’m not sure if it is the voice direction or what but it can be distracting. In particular Serpico and Puck are the worst. Puck is plain annoying, and not in the good way. Serpico though is just a very typical casting and does not fit very well, it is a shame to hear his casting be so poor.
While the series shows a lot of improvement from the first episode it has also convinced me to wait on the series. Even though the shows direction is not perfect it is at least watchable. The parts that holds the series back most is the poor animation and poor voice work. These two things both need massive improvement and we will likely see some with the Bluray release which will likely coincide with the Western release.
If you hated he first Episode, you should check out the second. If not maybe wait, then come back when the show gets its final release.