It is a cruel fate to be a Berserk fan. To be teased with a short sign of hope time and time again, only to have it end abruptly or be something you did not want. Then something comes out of nowhere, with its announcement hope began rise in the hearts of many. But it was a hope that would soon die.
If you were hoping for the story to pick up right after the Golden Age Arc or the Eclipse, well than it is best to let your hope die. The story skips multiple story parts and jumps toward the end of the Black Swordsman arc. In which they decide to change things and have other characters be introduced early.
The pacing in the show is frantic at best. Things jump around quite a bit and is quite awkward. The characters don’t get to show much..Well character in the scenes and the randomness of everything is rather off putting.
I think the worst thing about this is, it is not as good as the Manga, or the original anime series. Besides just being a mess on its own, knowing that it doesn’t live up to those just makes it all the more painful. I will be giving episode two a watch, just out of hopes sake. But my expectations are about as low as they can be.
The visuals from the beginning caused huge controversy. Instead of using 2D animation, the show uses a mixture of 2D/3D animation. Now I am by no means a hater of 3D anime, if it is done well. But it is not done well here. The CG looks worst than shows that were using it 5+ years ago, while some scenes arn’t as bad as that and some rare ones look decent, as a whole the CG use makes the show just painful to watch. In many instances characters will look somewhat goofy or strange, which isn’t the type of thing you want in a Berserk series. The animation makes it hard to take the situations seriously.
There are instances of 2D animation, they are pretty quick and are decent with the characters looking more like themselves. It is odd that Guts looks so much like himself at times, then others not. Had the visuals been more consistent things may have been better, but they are not.
As a whole the visuals are just bad to mediocre. The characters look odd, enemies just stand in the background waiting patiently for their turn to attack. There is very little to praise about the visuals.
Quite frankly the sound design is pretty horrible. Just about everything about the sound in the episode was bad. The voice acting for all the characters was rather flat and without much emotion. Other characters were just plain obnoxious and over the top, which seemed extremely out of place.
The music is honestly atrocious with the exception of the song playing during the preview. The theme from the newer movies “Blood and Guts” returns, and is even worst than the last rendition of the song, with it being overpowering and plain awkward; not to mention super corny. Aside from that particular song there is plenty of what I can only describe as straight to VHS Horror movie music. But that’s not all! There is plenty of awkward sound effects to add to the boring sound design. Luckily the song playing during the next episode preview was pretty dang good. Though it was brief and likely will only be used there.
The sound of the show has literally no imagination or heart. They feel hollow and dead, much like the shows Skeletons that sit back and wait for the shows reveals! As I said, the sound design of the show is bad, not only bad but bland.
In the end
Overall, I cannot give this a recommendation to anyone. Not Berserk fan nor newcomer. There are slight glimpses of what could have been a good series,but thanks to horrible direction, bad sound design, mediocre action and just plain bad story telling there is so little to actually praise that I cannot find it in myself to be kind to this series. I had hope, I knew it was not going to be amazing, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. But this, this just took my hopes and crushed them.
The saddest thing is, this may just kill our chances of ever getting a good Berserk series again. At least we still have the original series, and the manga. Maybe those can bring us some comfort.
“Maybe it did exist. I was too stupid and stubborn to notice it, but what I really wished for back then was here. Why do I always see these things after they’re done and gone?”-Guts