I thouroughly enjoyed this anime series.
If you decide to watch the first episode and are turned off by the vagueness and seemely corny dialogue DO NOT make the mistake of giving up on the series - at least give the second episode a try.
The story is very deep and there are many levels to the plot. The themes of love, lust, kinship, destiy, fate, perserverence and failue are painted beautifuly across the 25 episode series.
The animation was not extra ordinary but it was certainly good enough to keep my attention without complaints. There was lots of violence, cutting people in half, arrwos to the head, two invincable knights, a few demon battles, and even a scene of torture. But while this show is definately badass, the violence is not there just for the sake of it - as the series progresses, the ceaceless slaughter is defiend through each characters point of vierw providing ample room for speculation theories about the more abstract direction of the plot (LOST style).
There were only a few songs on the soundtrack but that being said I did not find myself missing that element. There was one beautiful track that they reserved for the most romatic (and in my opinion best) moments of the series that always gave me goose bumps. I watched the English dub and the voices were well done and very memorable
The characters are what makes this anime. The way they are woven into the plot is essential to understanding the story and the deeper meaning behind the events that unfold.
Overall theres lots of violence and none of it is really repetitive. Lots of sword swinging in a crushing midevil style compelete with a blacksmith cameo every now and then. Beware that you're going to have to get used to the fact that the lead role Guts just isnt gonna get hit with an arrow in the face ever which is kida unreasonable but one could say important to the plot.
DONT BELIEVE others that say the ending ruined the anime because it made it for me.
At first i was dissapointed with the last episode and finding out that there was no happily ever after conclusion to what seemed to be a little more than halfway through the show. But something told me that they didnt just stop creaing this work of art at the most crutial point in the series. After the last episode I rewatched the first one and relized that the series was just about perfect as it was. The trancendental theme of fate is part of the series' jagged ending and works cyclicly into the first episode which after watching a second time gives rise to a wealth of new ideas and plot interpretations (Once again in a LOST fashion).
Ultimately, I loved this show because it was about human nature, self-defence, love, fighting, pride, life, death and rebirth making it not just a show but an experiance.