Episode 18 of Berserk brought the trolls in town. In between we had the chance to see how this whole ordeal is changing our troupe of wandering adventurers, but in the end the philosophical inquiries turned into an all-out Dynasty Warriors massacre of ugly-looking trolls.
The reverent was right: ‘Clinging to strange superstitions will not solve anything.’ Probably not, but the people who do might.
Japanese Title: 魔群との死闘
I enjoyed Episode 18 immensely and not just because of the fight with the trolls. Each character had their chance to shine through either their character, their badass power, or both.
Schierke’s magic power is undeniably strong. I am still pairing them together with Isidoro when it comes to size and character dynamics, but her abilities cannot compare with his meagre sword skills. Not that there is any need to compare the two, but they both have an elf for a companion. A comparison was unavoidable.
Serpico’s hawk-feather sword and air-elemental cape made all the difference in the beginning. He can slash his way from a distance and avoid projectiles. He can also fly, which is the coolest thing ever. Guts does what he does best: he swings that huge sword of his through countless troll bodies without breaking a sweat. Isidro and Puck are still the comedic duo but they crack their jokes at the same as being useful in battle. Farnese, even if battle-wise is not much more useful than as a troll-repellent, she is the character that experienced the greatest change. She went from hating inquisitor to caring protector and for the first time in her life she found a purpose that makes sense. She protects Casca with her own body, as does Morgan for Isidro’s sake.
The old man’s sacrifice made all the more sense after their little talk by the river. Isidoro is young and restless. He want to follow his dreams but he wants to do it in a way that makes sense to him. A rebellious way that doesn’t allow anyone else in the picture. Morgan’s story takes into account that rebellious nature but with a word of caution: all is well will dream and adventure and freedom but when other people mingle with your plans then life could take you on paths you’d never imagined you’d ever take. It is human relationships that define us, more than any other trait. It is Casca that makes Farnese realize the error of her ways. It is Farnese that keeps Serpiko in bay. It is Guts that gives Isidro a role model to follow.
CGI: I didn’t mind the CGI in this episode, and to be honest, I felt like Shin Itagaki was a bit restrained in this episode. No sudden camera changes and no need for vomit bags. Spinning was kept to a minimum, and the shots of the temple and the scenery were presented quite nicely.
Themes & Trivia
Hack-and-Slash: Do you want to relive the epic blood-fest battles of Berserk? Do you wish for a chance to take Guts into battle and kill hordes of enemies? If you have a Playstation 4, then you can play Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, known in Japan as Berserk Musou. It is a hack-and-slash game developed by Omega Force and published by Koei Tecmo, the company behind the Dynasty Warriors video game series.
Take a look back in the history of humanity and you will find countless religions, numerous beliefs, and myriad mythologies. Ancient hunter-gatherers were animists. They believed in the spirit that existing in everything in nature. Then came the polytheistic religions and monotheism, only to be overrun by modern ones like capitalism and humanism. People can only go with the flow of their times. They will believe anything that will grow the crops, save their loved ones, or get them a house. Real change, though, comes through actions and no matter what people believe, it’s what they do that makes all the difference.
People are then free to attribute that change to whatever higher power they wish. We often thank God for things in which he obviously played no role, like when a doctor cures us from a decease or a loved one survives a crash. The boundary between reality and superstition is blurry, but it’s there for anyone willing to see it.
The Power of Magic
Episode 18 of Berserk gave us a taste of things to come. Each of the characters is battling her own demons and when Griffith and his knights get into the picture, it will take more than a sense of purpose to bring them down.