Worth a watch.
Right off the bat, we are thrust into a medieval era world that is inhabited by demon creatures and this burly character wielding a sword thats twice the size of him and a crossbow for a hand, is tasked with hunting them all down. And so ends episode 1. We are then transported way back in time so see our hero's humble beginnings. The anime tells the story of Guts, a headstrong warrior with an awesomely sized greatsword and his journey through the war that has shaken the land. But all is not as it seems as a sinister and darker presence waits behind the curtains, waiting to be revealed. What I personally like about Berserk is that it doesn't actually follow a strict storyline per se, but more of a timeline and what Guts does in that time. In fact, you could almost say that the entire story is actually about the mercenary leader Griffith, but since the show revolves around Guts, it gives the show a nice change of pace; going from one battle to the next, in depth character progression. We are shown a beautiful medieval world that feels like it was ripped from high school textbooks and the power plays and hierarchy all help to feel totally immersed in this story.
I would have given it a higher score, however what ruined the anime for me was the ending. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved it, turned EVERYTHING on it's head and opened up so much. Buts that all it did. The manga to my knowledge has been going on for absolutely ages, and Berserk ends its only season on such a turning point, you can't help but feel angry that there isn't more. Granted, that's the sign of a good story, but I believe that the studio should've stuck on for at least another season. But the harsh truth is that no matter how much we kick and scream, we aren't going to get a continuation of the Berserk story in Anime form. So just be aware hat this show will suck you in, show you an amazing world, then violently stop.
Berserk is classed as a vintage anime and for good reason. It has a very classic and nostalgic feel to it which is refreshing after personally watching a ton of modern animes. The colouring and use of gore is particularly well done as it is done tasefully but also to an......entertaining degree. Think of a more sensible and mature Tarantino gore flick. The fight scenes are also done to good measure as well as Guts' actual character model. You can't help but not look at him wielding his badass sword and not go "Dam, he's awesome!!". But apart from the gore and nostalgia, nothing too noteworthy about the animation, but still enjoyable.
Interesting choice for intro music but it did grow on me. However what really got to me is the choice of music when it's a touching moment. On the OST the actual name of the song is called Guts and it's an absolute masterpiece. It portrays the mood of the scenes perfectly and is abnormally mesmerising and calming in a world of constant battle and blood, really giving the dynamic of the show it's third dimension.
I'll talk about the three main characters briefly and without spoilers.
One of my favourite protagonists literally because of how badass he is. A simple swordsman with enough tenacity and anger to rip apart entire armies. It's so satisfying to like an awesomely powerful character and watch him tear apart bad guys with ease. Being a simple character to start with, it is also really enjoyable to see his development as he progresses through the storyline; he understands what he wants to fight for, what to die for, what it means to not be alone etc.
Irritating as hell, couldn't stand the wench! But in saying that, most animes always have a character who is just really annoying (Krillin, Envy, Near). But the show wouldn't be the same without them as they drive that dynamic that makes other characters act certain ways or make you feel a certain way. In other words, they are portrayed to be annoying for whatever reason, yet they always grew on me (except for Near, screw you Near) and Casca is no different. As the anime progresses, like a lot, like the last quarter, I started to like her as her personality opened up more and we see her more human side not the whining fan girl.
Now this is a tricky one. As I said before the storyline kind of revolves around Griffith's path to power. And in doing so, we see him change the most out of all the characters. As a character model, he's pretty lame, but as a character he's actually really good. He portrays a righteous and good man, and people flock to him to aid in his conquest. However, time and pain takes their toll on Griffith as he witnesses what has to be done to reach his dream, and eventually warps him, making him an extremely interesting character to observe.
All in all, the characters are very well portrayed with fascinating and cruel back stories, giving making them feel very real and you cant help but feel attached to them, wondering what will happen to them next episode.
Dubbed or Subbed?
I personally watched this dubbed as I was borrowing the DVD from a friend. The dubbed version is actually pretty good, i especially enjoyed Guts' performance. Considering how bad some vintage dubs are (Akira) It is nice to see a good, old anime dubbed well. Just be warned, Casca sounds annoying in both languages.