Berserk – Episode 3 Review

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After successfully escaping the Holy knights that had imprisoned him, Guts steals their leader away and flees towards his original objective nearby. Pursued by one of the underlings, what will happen when Guts reaches the gates? And why is the girl so important?

After escaping the encampment, we can see a manse in the distance- one that Guts had been planning to “visit”. Serpico, in pursuit, is passed by by evil spirits that are attempting to kill Guts. Upon entering the grounds, Guts is besieged upon by demonic hounds with glowing, purple eyes. Farnese is clearly distraught by the supernatural entities around them and panics, running away in the mansion even after being saved multiple times by Guts. She encounters the “lord” of the mansion, but he is more intent on eating her than helping her. An extended battle between the Apostle and Guts takes place, and we are able to truly see the amorality of the world surrounding Guts and Farnese. Although Guts proves to be a relentless killer, the pitying elements of the Apostle do not justify his cannibalism in any way. Reuniting with Serpico, Farnese orders him to kill Guts, which he refuses to do- especially after seeing the corpses of hounds and the Apostle. Although, Serpico does test Guts’ reactions with a swift strike, but his sword is demolished as per his expectations. Farnese and Serpico leave the scene with Guts walking away to pursue other Apostles and kill them- they being his only lead to the God Hand and his plan to eventually slaughter all of them. The episode ends with some further story being revealed on what is happening in the Midland kingdom after Griffith’s “demise”.

Despite the simple plot of this episode, it gives us a good insight into the nature of the world and how different it is from most other fantasy settings- despite humanizing elements of the backstory of the cannibal, he is truly guilty of eating those in the mansion. Some solid worldbuilding takes place in the episode, but honestly, the quality of animation is somehow getting worse. It was worrying to see so many sexual and violent elements of the source material already being forced to be tuned down significantly, but to top it off, the animation- 3D and 2D- both simply look stilted and rushed. I normally try to be forgiving to animators because the nature of the industry is gruelling and awful, but there’s simply no nice way to put it- the show just looks terrible. The manga-effect on the CG has already grown stale and looks very awkward when put into motion and when put still.

While some of the musical cues seem to have grown in maturity and focus less on the ROARING BADASS GUITAR SOLOS that plagued the first two episodes, it simply cannot redeem the quality of the show as a whole. The story is still great even with its fast-forwarding, but so many elements of the significantly better movies keep getting thrown in as though the show assumes the viewer is flat out not familiar with the source material. And, most of these scenes take place in 2D with the new character designs that look strange and foreign compared to the source material. This season has already become a show that is degrading faster than it is able to recover itself, and the downslide looks inevitable. It was a troubling thought when Lidenfilms took over from Studio4C, and now we can literally see why. Besides a very few good moments, most of the show has only gone downhill.