Posted by psgels on 4 June 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

So, things have been very quiet in terms of movies. However, starting from now, we’re in for a year in which the line-up is going to be the best in many, many years. And what a wonderful way to start this streak of awesome movies than with Berserk’s remake. Remake anime are tricky. I hate them if they don’t add anything, or are nothing more than a glorified recap. With those things, you can just as well watch the original thing, making them completely redundant. When they’re done well though, I just can’t complain. Berserk’s movie is one of the best examples of that.

It adapts the same story as the TV-series, but the tone and execution are so completely different, and both adaptations have their own merits. The TV-series was dark, subdued and incredibly gloomy, using is long length perfectly to set its atmosphere. It let everything play out very slowly, and as a result was a tad padded out here and there. The movie however has a much brighter colour palette, its pacing is much faster, and rather than the gloomy atmosphere, it creates the atmosphere of an epic fantasy series. This also really reflects in the soundtracks: the TV-series had Susumu Hirasawa’s magic do a very depressed and dark score. The movie instead is full of choirs and orchestras, having a much more bombastic feel.

And then there are the visuals. On one hand we have the TV-series, which has the better art style of the two (outdated? Hah, I disagree; I have more problems with most anime characters nowadays looking too similar), creating some stunning designs and images, at the expense of a lot of still frames. Then there is the movie, which really excels in its animation. The TV-series had some amazing consistency, while the movie is much more experimental, even though it had to make some sacrifices for that.

Because yeah, if there is one complaint that you’re going to hear about this movie, then it’s the fact that the creators had to resort to CG for the actual character models. And really, for character-models done in CG, this really is one of the better examples of combining 2D and 3D, but it still stands out. The creators definitely prioritized movement over looking consistent, and it shows: the movement in this show feels very smooth and natural. The fluidity of the scenes is great.

Where this movie also stands out is a specialty of the director that Studio 4C got for this movie: Toshiyuki Kubooka, who previously directed Remaining Sense of Pain from Batman: Gotham Knight. He already showed there a great knowledge of human anatomy that he used in his gore, and he also uses this very effectively in this movie, giving a real edge to the combat scenes.

So, is this movie on par with the Television Series? I can’t say that yet, as it only adapted, what? The first ten episodes or so? They haven’t even reached the part where Berserk gets really, really good, but even then this movie had my constant attention and it was excellent at both building up and delivering solid action scenes, and it still has really good acting. It’s all really well balanced, but yeah: the downside is less time to flesh out some of the characters. Especially the side-characters suffered from this.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Managed to condense the Berserk storyline to movie-format. Wonderful balance and really went with its own direction.
Characters: 8/10 – The creators did a great job in bringing the characters to life. Unfortunately, the movie is only an hour long, and some side-characters suffered from this.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Really, the only reason why this isn’t a 9 is because of the CG. Perhaps the budget isn’t as big as some other movies, but the sense of aesthetics of this movie makes it a visual feast nonetheless.
Setting: 9/10 – Still maintains that unique take on the medieval setting here.

Suggestions:
Berserk
Rurouni Kenshin – Tsuiokuhen
Vampire Hunter D – Bloodlust

24 Responses

  1. Sacchi says:

    I’ll disagree with the animation. Fast paced movement and action during the battles looks wonderful, but the moment a character is doing something normal as talking or just walking it’s awful. The animation is quite bad overall in my opinion.

    The only reason why the movie is saved is because this is Berserk, and it has a great plot even if it’s rushed in this movie. The voice acting is also well done alongside the soundtrack even if the animation isn’t as smooth as everybody would like. Just rewatch the first scenes, when Guts is yet to kill that fat knight.

    I’m not sure whether the animation gets better as the movie progresses or you just get used to it. Still, an alright movie, I’d rate it 6-7/10. I rated the original berserk 10/10, it’s just that the CG pulls me off a lot.

    • wicked says:

      really for using computer graphics it did an admirable job of not looking artificial. I remember watching a special feature on an ova that utilized the same style, and they lamented on the difficulties of getting the expression and movement right by over-exaggerating/tweaking the models for certain camera angles. Some movements are still awkward, but in action scene the fluidity is excellent.

  2. Nimra says:

    Great review. I agree with most of your points and overall score. I think it would’ve looked a little better without the CG, but it wasn’t awful by any measure. I’m glad they didn’t shy away from the gore; they better not sugar coat the ending of the third movie (can’t wait!). My main complaint is that there were a few really dramatic and important moments (the demon seeing Griffith’s necklace and when Griffith gets shot with an arrow) that seemed underdeveloped. No one actually seemed surprised that either of these events took place.

    Overall I enjoyed it, wish it was longer.

  3. kovaleski says:

    where can i find this movie subtitled

    • Kaiser Eoghan says:

      You can find it up on animetake or animefans ftw. I downloaded the 720 version from ifile on animefans ftw.

  4. b00bage says:

    I couldn’t stand the fact they didn’t use the original voice actors from the tv series. Which meant that I gave up watching it partway through.

    • Scruffy says:

      How on earth could they use the same voice actors?? The anime was was done in 1997!!!

      • b00bage says:

        Your point? It isn’t like any of them are dead yet.

        • Scruffy says:

          The point is there is no way their voices would sound the same now anyway. TBH this argument is as lame as the dub haters if not lamer

          • wicked says:

            since most character are men, and actors are all professionals, it’s likely that they can keep their voice quality the same. Kevin Conroy still does a great batman for the games and the recent Justice league movies and Batman:TAS was 1992?

            but still there are so many reasons. First and foremost, it’s a new adaptation by a different studio, so to set it apart from the original series, voice work was one of the easiest thing to change. Not to mention CVs could have retired(certainly Caska’s CV haven’t done much regular role outside of the new Evangelion movies), CV might have been busy with other works or priced out of budget. The opposite could also have been true and they simply gotten more popular(maybe better in some cases) actors and actress for this generation. It’s not all for the old fans

    • dudeintheocean says:

      That is by far the lamest reason to stop watching this epic movie. lol. What a whiny loser you are. Studio4C are like “Oh dear, lets go hunt down the original voice actors now” hahahaha.

      • tktym says:

        “What a whiny loser you are”

        Takes one to know one. You are whining and resorting to insults because he is “whining” (voicing an opinion that you don’t agree with)? N*gga Please.

  5. 祈是条母狗 says:

    but…but Berserk is SUPPOSED TO BE DARK!

    I don’t mind the movie at all but the TV-series is way better (of course the manga is the best).

    • wicked says:

      but it’s the golden ages, and it’s not even the dark part of the golden ages, everything should be hunky-dory and happy- ish

      • Roldan says:

        If child-murdering isn’t that dark then i don’t know what kinda world you live.

        The problem with the soundtrack is that it doesn’t have the gloomy dark themes when it needs to. I mean that whole scene was kinda ruined for me because the tension wasn’t as high as TV series had.

  6. Sei says:

    I wonder whether it is going to be dubbed soon. I remember that I quite enjoyed the English dub of Berserk TV-series, especially whoever voiced Griffith.

  7. Puran says:

    I really liked the last 20 minutes (after the assassination) , that made more impact to me than it did in the TV Series. Everything else I didn’t like very much. It wasn’t bad, but the characterization suffered a lot.

  8. F says:

    Owning and having read all of the manga up to the current released volume, I only have praise for this movie. The animation is fantastic (I honestly don’t see a problem with the use of CG, especially in large scale battle scenes – I mean really, have you ever seen a battle like THAT in anime before?) and the music, the music is easily the best score I’ve heard in a long while. The movie definitely did just to the source material.

    10/10 – I eagerly await the second and third movies.

    • Anon says:

      I thought I was going crazy because I thought, contrary to pretty much everyone else in the community, that the CG was very natural and fit in well. I really don’t know why everyone has their panties in a bunch about it. Turns out I’m not the only one who liked it though.

      Also yes, it’s not as dark as one might expect of Berserk, but the really dark stuff happens later. There’s a reason why this is the Golden Age.

      The regrettable parts are where material had to be cut and rearranged to fit the time requirements, like the night raid where Guts earns his place among the Takanodan or the Grifith bedside audience scene. But I’m OK with them skimming these parts that we’ve already seen animated because I am dying to get to the Millenium Falcon arc.

      • Badesh says:

        I was shocked at the beginning, because some of the first shots looked downright horrible. Like a bad Cell-Shading playstation 2 (!) naruto game. I still don’t know why they didn’t fix that.
        But after that it just took off. What a blast. What an impact some of the action scenes had – i went “wow” literally. And the silent parts were just wonderful as well. It’s an awesome experience, i can see me watching this movie very often – which doesn’t happen that often for me. I definitely approve of the heavy CG usage in this one. For the importent parts they switched to drawings anyway.

        Psgels, your written Review sounds like a 9. But you have expressed your valid critizism. So i’m okay with it ;)

  9. Karry says:

    It’s not 82.5/100 ? I’m shocked !!!

  10. roldenstien says:

    i thought it was awesome, xD easily 87.5 worthy

  11. Gamal says:

    As an aspiring filmmaker and a lover of Berserk i was so disappointed with the 2012 Berserk the Egg Of The King movie that i took the 1997 TV series and edited into a 2 hours and 35 minute movie (2012 movie is only 80 minutes). For me the egg of the king movie has no heart and no soul with no character development. This is how the movie should have been http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-B8BiZ4JP0

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:24 PM)
    Death billiards getting an announcement like that, I’m pleased with the news but am surprised by it. It was the best of those shorts that have been cropping up in recent years.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 05:39 PM)
    Well well well….Death Billiards is getting a full anime. The short was a great and does have potentail. I like. I like a lot.
  • Syndrome
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 04:23 PM)
    Ok, fourth episode of Psycho Pass was really good. I was afraid of what this second season would looks like, I’m strating now to get hyped.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:25 PM)
    @Realist: Stereotyping is intrinsic to human beings in too many ways, so much so that even when a “safe”, “attractive”, “normal” looking person is caught out they still become surprised at the revelation, even if they admit that stereotyping is wrong.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:14 PM)
    I think I’ve got a good handle on Yamaguchi Mikoto as an author now, I also read the first volume of Mayonaka and as I thought, it began deceptively and that maybe there wouldn’t be too much to it, but turns into something surprising, far more interesting.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 01:38 PM)
    @Trass, I can sort of understand that. Though as you likely noticed, psgels isn’t as active as he used to be. So rather than let this blog die a slow death it would be better to see something done with it. We ain’t prefect but well people improve over time.
  • Trass
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 12:47 PM)
    I came back here after a long while and saw how the blog is active again. I was really excited but then found out it’s not psgels who are writing the posts anymore… I’m happy but really sad at the same time ;w;
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:31 AM)
    *this time
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:28 AM)
    @K-off: it wasn’t the most visually impressive episode anyways, so it’s alright is time.
  • k-off
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:19 AM)
    @Bam I know you’re going to point it out, so yes, I know the screenshots aren’t very good…But it was very difficult for me to find a decent clip that wasn’t a spoiler in this episode.

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