Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
There are those who believe that the future is set in stone. That we are devoid of free will because what will happen has already happened and we have no say in our actions. We are just going to do what we were supposed to do and events will unfold the way they were supposed to unfold.
Berserk is once again flirting with the concept of destiny. Its linear plot seems to follow Gut’s dreams by the letter, and it only remains to be seen: Is the future unescapable?
Do you believe in fate?
Isidoro and Puck had to their comedic skits very early in this episode. The rest of the plot had no space for laughter. To be honest, I was not surprised that Guts found the Skull knight on his way to St. Albion. He usually is near to the main events, and we also needed someone like a prophet to tell us what is going to happen next. What good is a fantasy medieval story without at least one prophesy, right? After all, he didn’t say anything we didn’t already know. Guts is going to be part of the most important event of the last thousands years, Casca will play her role, Griffith will be there to attend the party, and lots of blood is going to be spilled. Hurray, can’t wait.
“Do not have more than one you care for” Skull Knight
Back in St. Albion, Farnese is having doubts about the validity of Mozgus actions. Just as I thought that Farnese is actually showing some signs of perfectly good brain activity under all that bigotry, she is thrown back to blindness faith by a prostrating Mozgus and a sermon about an emperor, an angel, and the absoluteness of God’s will. Even his disciples show their good side, caring for some cute crows and sharing their story of how they were judged by their deformities by the ignorant masses and how they were saved by God’s mercy. They are not exactly happy that they have to torture people, but they are proud. It’s God’s will. Hurray again.
Berserk is a study on human psychology. Instead of playing it safe, the series tries to create circumstances in which good and evil show their moves on the grey dancefloor of moral ambiguity.
In the third and final part, the episode makes a full circle and centers on the refugee camp once again. We already knew that Nina has some kind of STD that prohibits her from working, but I must admit that the reason was far more impressive that a mere lack of proper protection. Nina is adored by Joachim, a young customer who feels a little more romantic about our blonde prostitute. It’s true that human relationships develop even in the harshest of conditions, especially love. But while Joachim is more than willing to love, Nina is desperate to be loved. She drags little Joachim to a cult-like ritual, where people succumb into orgies brought forth by inhaling a powerful hallucinating substance. Berserk relies heavily on Christian imagery for this scene, as the shamanistic ritual along with Goat-like figure and the snake (of Genesis) are clearly symbols of a satanic faith.
Eventually, Joachim, disgusted, tries to flee the NO NIPPLES ALLOWED orgy (damn stupid censorship laws) and he is eventually killed by the cult members. We could have pages of analysis regarding the imagery during this scene. Instead, I am going to finish this plot summary with what might be the most amazing scene I’ve seen this season: Luca, the mother-figure of the prostitutes’ clique, offers redemption to a jealous and angry Nina by spanking her behinds. It was an act of benevolence and of love to a spoiled child that needed guidance. At least that’s how I saw it. Feel free to share your opinion on the spanking down in the comments.
Last but not least, Casca, since she is not clearly in any position to fight evil spirits, is protected by the deformed baby that gives Guts his prophetic nightmares.
Come on, Griffith. We know you are close. COME ON.
Gaiserik: The story that Mozgus tells Farnese inside the temple is about the legendary Emperor who brought together the warring tribes of Midland under one flag. Gaiseric established the first continent-wide empire 1000 years ago. The fact that his story was shared in the same episode as the appearance of the Skull Knight, further justifies many fans’ claims that Gaiseric and the Skull knight are one and the same. Gaiseric is also based on the historical figure Geiseric (389 – 477 AD) who was the King of Vandals and Alans during the Roman Empire. His kingdom became a major Mediterranean power, rivaling the decadent Roman Empire.
Prophesies: Prophesies in fiction have almost infallible properties. They are almost never wrong, the oracles who foretell them are almost never false, and the prophets are always proven right in the end, especially if they prophesize a chosen one. No matter how many twists to the prophecy you encounter, in the end it is fate that wins the fight. Maybe fate is inescapable after all.
Sun Blisters: The disease that the Bird demonstrates to Farnese is most probably Porphyria cutanea tarda. The disease is characterized by onycholysis and blistering of the skin in areas that receive higher levels of exposure to sunlight.
Berserk is a fabulous example that animation is not the primary pillar that holds a good anime on its feet. It’s the drama that makes a good story, and Berserk reads like a good book.
NEXT TIME: The Black Witch (黒き魔女)
©KENTAROU MIURA(STUDIO GAGA) HAKUSENSHA/BERSERK PARTNERSHIP