Berserk 2016 Episodes 1 through 4

Episode 1 – The Branded Swordsman
If you have seen the Golden Arc movies than you will be right at home with this first episode of Berserk 2016. First let me say that I am not a “huge” Berserk fan. The movies were interesting and somewhat fun even if the the last one was a bit strange or should I say went off the rails. This new television series looks like it takes up where the last movie left off. And this series is not for the little ones! My daughter (11 years old) would not enjoy this one. But I am getting off track. I am not a big Berserk fan though when Guts makes his first appearance I had an inner sigh of “Yes, its great to be back home.” What is it about older series that we enjoy seeing again in an updated version. I was the same way with Lupin when it came back for 26 episodes. This time Guts has a elf Puck to keep him company. Or is Puck a stand in for us the views. The first episode just jumps back into the action as if we were never apart. It is set up for 24 episodes. How much of the graphic novel will do or how deep will it go, only time will tell.  I wonder if all the episodes have been completed? The music is by Shiro Sagisu who has a very nice resume. I have seen quite a bit of his stuff. He handled the music in one of my favorite anime series “His and Her Circumstances”. Plus it should come as no surprise that he worked on “Evangelion” and Berserk: Golden Age Arc”. The primary voice cast from the Golden Arc movies are reprising their roles in this series.
Episode 2 – The Holy Iron Chain Knights
Well the violence doesn’t really let up in the second episode. And of course we have the required flashbacks to the last movie in the Golden Age Arc. I have to say that after the second episode I am all in for the whole season. I still wonder how far this series will take us in the manga which is still running. The character design is a little bit different from the Golden Age Arc movies. I think this is a good thing. There is no way I could watch the original series. I don’t care for the 90s artwork. With the early episodes the main characters are going to set up. I don’t expect this series to really get going for a few more episodes. Or until everyone shows up! Then the story will start moving forward. The only fear I have with this series is the typical fight, fight, looks like hero is going to lose, then he wins. But as long as the artwork, character designs and music is good, I will continue.
Episode 3 –  Night of Miracles
First thing I have to make note of is the sound affects for Gut’s sword. It sounds like someone is banging pots together. It doesn’t really sound convincing to me. Though the fight scenes were really exciting, that sound affect definitely threw me off. I would rather not get ahead of myself – but Griffith shows up next week. And really have we not been watching and waiting for him to show himself. Does this mean that the show if finally going to take off. Are all our actors in place? In all honesty I don’t think this series is going to answer or resolve any question? Or will it even advance the story of Guts all that much. As the manga is still on going I doubt it. I will watch and see how far along the time line it takes us. As far as this episode goes, not much happens really. Farnese do Vandimion does learn a little about herself in this episode and she doesn’t like it.
Episode 4 – Epiphany
There’s a lot of talking in the first half of the episode. Guts has to rehash why he is here and maybe were he went wrong. He gets some help from Godo. As this is a series for the more adult out there, Godo’s lecture to Guts is pretty harsh. And upon hearing Godo’s evidence as to were Guts screwed up, I agree with Godo’s summation. Is it going to change Guts’ chosen path? No. If it did, we won’t have a story and the series would be over in four episodes! Introduced in this episode besides Godo are Casca, Erika and Rickert. Don’t know if we’ll ever see these characters again. It was a nice respite from all the violence we get in the second half of the episode were we meet up with Farnese and Serpico. They are guarding the Bishop Mozgus, the Inquisitor for the Holy See. While the troop is heading for St. Albion, Farnese is having flashbacks to episode 3 where she gets in touch with her darker side. Over all everyone is having tons of fun in this episode once we meet up the Bishop. He has his henchmen to do the punishing in typical Beserk sytle. It was a hard time to be alive. If demons didn’t get you, taxes or war did! Again, I enjoy the overall storytelling. The music is reminiscent of Berserk the movie. There is a certain level of familiarity and comfort with the plot line. Will Guts get his revenge? Does he still want his revenge? And will the story really kick off when Griffith shows up again? And I don’t mean just in the opening credits. You know we are all waiting for his return to scene. Am I watching to see his return? The problem with Griffith is that he is such a dominant character. He is drawn or written with all the focus on him. The spotlight shines only on Griffith. Even in the movies, with Griffith stage front, Guts always takes a back seat. Guts shrinks from view. For these 24 episodes will Guts be able to hold his own? Guess I’m going to have to watch and find out.