For three years, Guts believed his mission was to pursue Griffith's dream together with him. But in order to become Griffith's equal and truly be called his friend, Guts realizes he will have to leave the Band of the Hawk. At the same time, a bloody battle to capture the impenetrable Fortress of Doldrey from the Empire of Chuder is about to begin. The Band of the Hawk will face an army 30,000 strong!
Critic’s Log - Earthdate: May 1, 2014. Review #85: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey The second part of a trilogy is often the most important piece of any trilogy. Man, does a lot happen in this one. That being Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II - The Battle for Doldrey The Band of the Hawk participates in the Midland war campaign. During the campaign on the bloody battlefield, they conquer and win decisive victories that lead them to Doldrey, an old fortress that will decide the outcome of the war. Amid all this carnage and brutality, Griffith’s words still resonate in Guts´ mind and and he contimplates what he should do once this conflict is over. To be technical, this second part of Berserk’s Golden Age movie trilogy is a Studio 4°C production and the previous film suffered with inconsistent use of CG animation that looked awful with the 2D animation that looked really good. This time, the CG animation is still there but not as heavily used. There are some CG moments here and there and I am starting to see why the CG animation is being used in these movies. It is often used during the army battle sequences. This is to save money with the animation budget, however with a series like Berserk, it would have been nice if another studio (especially one that has gotten well-recognized) could handle it instead, but I digress. This is a very difficult manga to adapt into an anime, and the animation is starting to show improvement but it isn’t perfect. The music by Shiro Sagisu continues to compliment the soundtrack extremely well and I have no further comment for this particular review, but I could have something more to offer when I go over the third Berserk movie. As for the Japanese cast, I don’t have much to say since the quality of voice acting is the same as the first movie. As with the English dub, it’s doing great so far in these movies. It continues to impress me. Now that I’ve seen this second part, I can point out that this is where the characters really shine in this film as well as the third movie (which I will review next) Guts is becoming more three-dimensional in this one, Casca is becoming very likeable, and Griffith really is interesting in this movie too. The rest of the Band of the Hawk are just as watchable but they support the main three leads pretty well for the most part. In the previous movie, the length of the first movie was pretty short. This time, it’s around 1 hour and 30 minutes. The story’s pacing is a little better this time around but there are some moments from the original anime and even in the manga that I was a little disappointed that were left out. Casca’s backstory is reduced just like Guts, and the Queen of Midland’s role was severely reduced. Not to mention, a character known as Minister Foss has no part in these movies. Hell, Griffith’s apparent assassination attempt by poison was not put into this movie during a specific moment in the story. It is a little spoilerish, but I’m only comparing what was in before and was excluded in the movie. If this is to save time, I understand. at the same time. It would have been nice to see those moments portrayed in the movies. If there is something the original anime did not display, it is a sex scene. This is technically a spoiler, but hear me out. In the original anime, The sex scenes were toned down. This movie does not hold back displaying a sex scene. This is an upgrade compared to the original anime. I should point out that I don’t buy into the “Sex sells” message whatsoever. The sex scenes in the manga actually serve the story, they aren’t necessarily in there for fanservice even though Berserk is known for its violence in the anime community. As a whole for this entire second movie, The effort put into this second part does pay off to some extent, only time can tell when the third and final part of the Golden Age Arc movies comes in. Which I will tell in my next review. But in all honesty, I don’t wanna go. Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II - The Battle for Doldrey is available by Viz Media, the original manga by Kentaro Miura is available by Dark Horse. With all that said, the Second Berserk movie has honest effort in improvement with its animation, it may not be perfect, but the story’s pacing isn’t as rushed as before and it is a very important piece in the trilogy which will lead to the third and final part of the Golden Age movies. The story is far more interesting and intense, the characters shine, and the music compliments it all. This movie does not fully redeem the first one, but I’m glad I stuck through and passed the first part just to get to the second part that doesn’t look too bad. It’s not perfect, but most of it turned out fine. I give Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey a 9 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT! Feel free to leave a comment.
Griffith's words about true friends still resound in Guts' head. They haunt him on the battlefield and in his downtime, making him question his moves and motivation. This doesn't stop him from fighting for Griffith as the Band of the Hawk joins the other forces of the king to take down Doldrey, a nigh impregnable fortress that has never been successfully besieged. In between battles, Guts continues to ponder where his life is headed if he sticks with the Band of the Hawk, strengthens his bond with woman warrior Casca, and ultimately makes a decision that will have a great impact not only on his future, but on the rest of the Hawks' as well. So, if you’re like I and you watched the first movie before the series but you managed to watch the second movie after (or at least the dub version that aired on Neon Alley), the events taken place mostly resembles of episodes 11-19 with a few parts that might have been skipped over, most likely the events that happen in episode 18 but it doesn’t stray too far from its narrative with a few scenes that involve the characterization of Casca, her past, and her dealing with the misogynist warrior she went up against….oh, and the way she deals with him in the end is very satisfying, that is, if you thought what happened in the series wasn’t deserving enough of that guy. Characterization does exist in here but mainly for the main three characters, that being Guts, Griffith, and Casca and for the other members like Corkus, Rickert, Pippin, Codeau, etc. are merely just side characters doing whatever in the background and there were some slight changes in characterization, especially Griffith in the last 25 minutes of the movie, but if you already know what happens in that runtime, you don’t need me to explain it. The animation is just about the same as the last movie, as while Studio <cite>4°C continues to struggle with their problems of CG usage in the movie as it still looks like an early computer demo of the movie rather than the finished product and the music is still as epic as the last movie and the series, the theme from last time is still here although the end credit music has a change in instruments for the first half.</cite> <cite> </cite> <cite>The Viz Media/NYAV Post dub is on par with the last film although I thought in the first half, Carolyn Keranen’s performance as Casca felt less energetic than she did in the TV series, but mostly in the scenes where she’s being confronted by Guts. Marc Diraison’s performance was more light-hearted as Guts than the last time and the unimportant characters’ performances, as forgotten as they are, rate from OK to acceptable.</cite> <cite> </cite> <cite>FINAL VERDICT:</cite> <cite> Well, I don’t have much to say as I already did say it in the last review but if you want to know more about Berserk in under less than 10 hours, the movies are a good deal. This one does have all the action and battles from the series but missing a few important details that can make it incomplete to others. Still, I would give it a watch and then a potential buy.</cite>
The story continues where the last movie leaves off. The main focus is Guts reflecting on what Griffith defines an equal and true friend and the decision that Guts comes to and the effects it has on the team. Of course by revealing this, if you have any familiarity with the manga and/or the 1997 series, you have an idea of where it starts and where it ends. However, there will be 3 cameos from manga exclusive characters in this movie which is quite a treat.The animation feels more uneven in this than it does in the last movie. This is more prevelant in slowmotion. It feels really choppy like a disc in your game system skipping at times. But it runs much more smoothly at faster speeds. The violence and the gore is very well graphically depicted and makes up for some of the flaws this series has. The violence is just manically massive which is of course the nature of the franchise. I really enjoyed the scene where Guts becomes the 100 man slayer. But to me, the series broody effects would be more immersing if it was more grainy like in the 1980s and 1990s animation styles. The difference in soundtrack compositions is also more notable. It is more orchestrated and has more acoustic sounds as opposed to the grand chorus style of Hirakawa Susumu. I feel for some fans who have had exposure to the previous series and the games, it will feel unnatural. But to newcomers, I suppose it does work. Other than that, the soundtrack reflects the atmosphere pretty good but of course I'd rather have Hirakawa do everything again. In this movie, I felt that the performance of Guts' new seiyuu isnt really that great. These are part of the story arcs was where the original seiyuu really captured Guts. Caska's new seiyuu I just don't feel. Sakurai is ok as Griffith, but doesnt have the coldness that Morikawa Toshiyuki has. I really don't feel the voice acting in this one. I thought the last movie was ok, but this movie really made me miss the original voice cast. I suppose newcomers without any exposure to the original series or the games will be fine with the voice acting. Nobutoshi Canna really defined Guts in the original series and in the DC and PS2 games. I feel that this new voice actor just doesn't capture Guts as intimidating or as a bad ass. To me, he comes across way too much as a sarcastic cynic and tries to bring too much humor to the character. In the end, I feel the only way we can see the true potential of these new Berserk installments is when this trilogy is over. What the fans want to see is the post golden age arc animated. Quite frankly, I am glad we have these new installments, but I want to see the berserker armor animated and all the other bad ass shit. And get the old seiyuus and Hirakawa to do the series again.
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