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Halex

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  • Joined Aug 18, 2013
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Berserk - Watching Guide

This is one of the best stories ever with a good balance of action, deep character introspections (especially regarding making difficult decisions) and many interesting themes with parallels to real life. It really has something for everyone, just bear in mind that it will be a harsh violent ride. I can only hope that this anime finally gets a remake in the future with proper graphics, but in the meantime, we have to work with what we have.
1 Berserk

Berserk

First, I should mention that the manga is one of the best in terms of quality with highly elaborated graphics that are incredibly detailed, written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura. Very few artists can create something like this and this is perhaps one of the greatest challenges the animators face in order to create a faithful adaptation to the source material.

The manga is currently the best medium to enjoy this story, however, I'm an anime fan, Berserk Manga is the only manga that I have ever attempted to read and after several years I'm still in chapter 1, despite liking the story and the art so much. Manga is just not the ideal medium for me, it can't keep my attention the same as a good anime does.

For this first series, they use a minimalistic approach, it still retains the layouts and recognizable panels from the manga, but not as much detail. I find it surprising how well it has aged considering how old it is. It belongs to the 3-year-anime-boom when some of the best, and most enduring shows were created.

  • Skip Episode 01 - This episode is part of the next arc (Black Swordsman Arc) and is the same as Episode 01 from the 2016 Sequel, so you won't be missing anything. The one from the 1997 series is not a good introduction for what you'll see on this arc (Golden Age). Furthermore, it fails to introduce an important character and since is the only episode from the Black Swordsman Arc, it feels out of place, not being relevant to the story of this season.
  • Watch Episodes 02 to 20
  • Optional Episodes 21 to 25 - The story on these episodes is covered more extensively in the third movie Berserk: Golden Age Arc III - The Advent. However, these episodes show slightly different content but not as much in-depth as in the movie, they fail to introduce an important character and they are quite rushed in the ending. I would still recommend watching both this version and the movie (as there are some parts that are done better on this version), but if you just want to continue with the main story, then jump to the movie.
  • Alternatively, you can just watch this season to the end and then jump at 52 minutes into the 3rd movie, Berserk: Golden Age Arc III - The Advent, at the start of the Eclipse, so you can watch both versions. Despite the old style, the graphics & characters are much better in the 1997 version and way more memorable than in the movie.

Why You Should Watch/Read: Berserk? (It contains some spoilers in order to explain the why so only watch this video if you are really hesitating about starting this show and pay attention when they say you should skip the video in order to avoid anything major)

The dub is good.

2 Berserk: Golden Age Arc I - The Egg of the King

Berserk: Golden Age Arc I - The Egg of the King

Skip on First Watch, is better to see this movie when you want to rewatch the series.

For these movies, the animation style has changed to a combination of regular animation & CGI and is quite good for being CGI, but not as good as hand-drawn shows.

This movie condenses Episodes 02-10 of the 1997 Series and as you can imagine, it feels extremely rushed, missing some of the best parts of the show. However, it does have some extra scenes not present in the 1997 version and even when the content is the same, it seems to present it from a slightly different perspective, there are less censoring of both gore & sexual scenes, including rape. They also animate the action instead of just panning static images.

The dub is good.

3 Berserk: Golden Age Arc II - The Battle for Doldrey

Berserk: Golden Age Arc II - The Battle for Doldrey

Skip on First Watch, is better to see this movie when you want to rewatch the series.

This movie condenses the events of Episodes 11-20 from the 1997 series. I prefer the story as it's presented in the 1997 version but this new take on the animation is worth it when rewatching the series.

The dub is good.

4 Berserk: Golden Age Arc III - The Advent

Berserk: Golden Age Arc III - The Advent

Watch.

This is the equivalent of the last 5 episodes of the 1997 series, but it goes further into the story, currently serving as the best bridge between the "Golden Age" and the "Black Swordsman" arcs.

The dub is good.

5 Berserk (2016)

Berserk (2016)

Watch. Continuation of the story.

These sequels have received a great amount of criticism (The linked videos contains some spoilers). To be fair, the music (although repetitive), voice acting and even the way the story is presented are quite good, but everything is dragged down because of the animation style, which is one of the most hideous 3d CGI I have seen since Popee the Performer (but that was a parody, not a serious show like this). Apparently, they wanted to make the visuals worthy of the manga and they misjudge what was required to achieve that look, the staff didn't have the qualifications to take over this massive undertaking either, taking most of the time they had to create the show just for testing animation styles and then having to settle on what we currently have. Even so, these sequels rank fairly high (considering the badmouthing they received) and are currently the only way to continue the story other than reading the manga. The story still comes through, a testament to the greatness of the plot, themes, and characterization!

If you are a manga reader, then you'll probably be happier to just stick to the manga and forget of the anime altogether until a proper remake is done. 

These sequels were created 19 years after the first season, which gives me hope that the story will one day be completed (hopefully with a worthy remake and during my lifetime) and other shows that are also left incomplete may one day reach their ending. I can only dream!

The dub is ok.

6 Berserk (2017)

Berserk (2017)

Watch. Continuation of the story.

And after 20 years, 1 remake, and 3 seasons later, we finally find out why this series is called "Berserk", it feels like we have barely reached the end of the first part and now the main story is about to begin!

The dub is ok.

7 Berserk (2017): Recollections of the Witch

Berserk (2017): Recollections of the Witch

Skip, it's just a recap of the 2017 series.

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