Finally, Berserk delivered an episode for which it can be proud. No unnecessary dialogues (if you count out a couple of indo dumps), amazing action (if you count out the rape trolls) and all characters had their moment of glory.
Episode 20 was a great episode, but only if you take out the ugliest villagers you’ve ever seen. I don’t know who was scarier: the trolls, Slan, or the no-nipples boobs and mannequin children?
Japanese Title: クリフォトの汚濁
This must have been a very confusing episode for people whose first Berserk series is this one. That’s why I’m going to keep the plot section brief and put all the things you should know in the Themes and Trivia!
Guts is reunited with the only female of the God Hand Slan, a succubus who has a fascination with the Black Swordsman and the darkness that resides within him. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, bear with me for a little longer.
The main theme of the plot is about believing both in yourself and the people you consider your comrades. Farnese may be scared to death to the point that she reminisces on her childhood and how easy it was to hide from your problems but now she is not the weakest link. She has someone even weaker who looks up to her for guidance and protection. She is not the mindless inquisitor that used to oppress people through a false sense of strength. She now has to rely on her inner, and very real, strength that will enable to her to fight for Casca and her new friends.
The same applies to Isidro. I like the little rascal so much and I was so happy that he took matters into his hands and protected Schierke and the villagers. Guts trusted him with the rear guard and with the bombs and he took advantage of all the weapons in his arsenal to make sure the little witch was not disturbed during her incantation. He is finally a hero and a worthy member of this group.
Preview: At last, we will see Guts going after the new Band of the Hawk! And if we are to believe the title, we will see Guts in the Berserker armor that we see in the opening sequence.
Last Sketch: That last illustration of our group was amazing and I’m so happy that Guts found new comrades. What happened to the Band of the Hawk was a tragedy that I hope this time Guts will be able to stop.
Arrows: Unless he is getting them back from the bodies, I can’t see how he rearms himself. I know, this is fantasy fiction. But I had to point that out.
CG: I am not that appalled by the 3DCG, but damn those were the worst naked bodies in the history of anime. Especially after those amazing 2D shots for Farnese and Guts, the 3D animation felt a bit sub-par.
Themes & Trivia
We had a few new Berserk trivia in this episode.
Sword of Actuation: In case you missed that part, the Sword of Actuation is the same Sword of Thorns we have seen the Skull Knight wielding, but coated in Behelits he stores in his stomach. That’s right, he ingested behelits from defeated Apostles and he uses them to coat his sword in a red-like fluid full of behelit eyes. Of course, the power of such a sword is to create a rift in the space-time continuum. It’s the Skull Knight’s personal transporter.
I owe him another debt
Qliphoth: A few episodes ago, we learned from Flora about the Interstice, that border realm between our reality and the Astral World. Qliphoth is one of those realms and the one the trolls call their home. It resembles a tree, and since Schierke used the power of the Earth Spirit to win against the trolls, it seems like Qliphoth is the exact opposite of the Spirit Tree. In religious imagery, Qliphoth/Qlippoth/Qelippot or Kelipot, is the representation of evil or impure spiritual forces in Jewish mysticism, the polar opposites of the holy Sephiroth.
When you gaze into the darkness, the darkness gazes into you, as well
Slan: Qliphoth is the work of Slan, the only female of the Super Sentai demonic group of super-beings called the God Hand. Since I am writing these Trivia for those unfamiliar with Berserk, so know that one of them is Griffith, the handsome Hawk that is also Gut’s former best friend who raped his girlfriend and wants to take over the world. Back to Slan now, she is usually a beautiful succubus who now decided to use the trolls intestines to take a corporeal form. Slan is a sadomasochist who thrives on cruelty, and that’s part of the reason we see a troll orgy taking place in the caves. She is in clearly fascinated with Guts and in this episode she is also urging him to use the behelit he has in his bag to acquire the power he needs to go after Griffith. We all know that he will, especially after seeing the title of the next episode.
Pierce me with your big, thick sword
Dragonslayer: Did you know that Gut’s sword has a name? According to the Skull King, due to the slaying of countless apostles, demons, and now the impalement of a God Hand, the blade has been getting more powerful each day that passes. It was the first time that we saw it glowing the way it did, maybe signifying the fact that it got a huge boost in power.
Despite the darkness, the intestine succubus, and the raping trolls, this was also the episode where the group trusted each other to rely on their individual talents so they can survive that hellhole. Isidro had one of his most badass moments in killing that big troll and even Farnese managed to kill a demon or two to protect Casca. Guts, that big untrusting guy, finally accepted the group as his comrades and trusting friends, something he never knew he’d find again.
Troll Orgy with Thick Swords
The episode was full of sexual innuendo and not only, but it was understandable since Slan was involved. This episode was a reminder that Berserk is a dark and sometimes grotesque story in a world that is cruel and unforgiving.