Human are not only cruel and vulgar, they also have weak memories and they usually judge by their most recent experience of something. The dreadful animation of Berserk is a hard thing to forget and not even that last hand-drawn tavern brawl was enough to get the stench of the dreadful CGI, but it was enough to leave a bittersweet aftertaste and a ‘what if’ scenario that will linger in the hearts of the fans for a long time. This was a good finale.
Japanese Title: 人間の都市
City of Humans allowed Berserk to bring the series to a kind of semi-closure. It didn’t have that big bombastic impact we might have expected from Berserk, but we must not forget that this title is a magnum opus in the making. The story is vast and if you want to know the whole thing you’d better read the manga. Heck, I’d better read the manga.
What it did have was a collection of nice moments that set the pace for the next step in the story. Isidoro realizes for the first time that he has to kill to survive and that slashing humans is not the same as throwing little spiky bombs against trolls. Against humans, Guts is not needed beyond the necessary punch or kick. His greatest moment in this episode was one I didn’t expect. He was the one that reminded Schierke that she has a family now.
I have a place to go home to
And Guts has a new band he can call home as well.
That’s the price you pay for staining my comrade’s new clothes
Schierke may have felt lost. An ugly duckling among ducks, but her difference has nothing to do with either the cruelty of the world around her or the level of commitment her comrades feel towards her. Yes, the world is a disgusting place where humans are the pinnacle of cruelty. Yes, Schierke may feel a bit alienated and lost, and she does find a kindred soul in Griffith’s seer, Sonia, who feels the same way she does. Yes, we do have a certain moment of bonding between two interesting characters who still don’t know that they are enemies. Yes, we have hanged slaves and war in the forefront. But we don’t have any monsters, apostles, trolls, zombies, demon armors, spirit realms, or anything of the like. This was a story of men and the messiness that comes with being human. And how in such a world, a little witch can find reasons to smile.
The human world is vulgar and foolish. It’s ugly. Even with all that, I can smile.
Tavern Brawl: No matter how frustrated you are about the anime that last bar brawl was really good. For the first time, you could see the characters have real expressions and move like regular human beings. Isidoro’s face was not a big blub of ooze but really felt like he had a big fight with someone. Farnese was attractive and feminine. Casca the same. You could also make Serpico’s face and his eyes didn’t seem like they were permanently closed. All these observations were made, of course, while trying to look behind the rolling credits, because, of course, they had to taint the best animated scene of the series with falling letters. I am sure that the Blu-ray will have the same scene without the credits.
Little Casca: That little Kushan girl looked like a chibi version of rugged-work Casca. Did they they just deform the character model?
Isidoro and Mule: There is no better bonding between men that a brawl from which both get out bruised and happy. This is not the last time Ijidodo and Mule cross paths, but I wonder if the next time will be as enemies.
Here’s a fairytale: To people who have not seen the 1997 anime or the Golden Age Arc movies, Sonia’s fairytale may seem out of place. I was a bit confused at first, but then I realized that everything she said was actually a recollection of the events that happened until now.
Themes & Trivia
Berserk on Hiatus: Kentaro Miura went on a hiatus just as the anime reached its finale. The hiatus will probably last until Winter 2018. Maybe we’ll have a new Berserk season as a celebration for his comeback?
Stereotypes: Witches wear pointy hats, carry sticks, and do Jedi mind tricks. Pirates wear eye-patches and have wooden legs. A fairytale about an ugly duckling.
The bad thing about adaptations is that comparing is inevitable. Many fans are treating an anime adaptation as an attempt to breathe life to the stillness of the manga. Ask any Berserk fan, and I’m sure you’ll get the usual dose of ‘I just want it to be perfect’ speech. There are of course those who don’t even mind the crappy CGI as long they have a Berserk anime. I understand both positions. It is a fact that the anime stayed true to the story of the manga. The advocated of the 2D Berserk masterpiece that everyone wants base their claims on the 1997 anime and the Golden Age Arc movies. It has been done before. It was awesome. Why change it?
Maybe there will come a time when we’ll see the perfect Berserk anime, but until then we must remember that this is just a story. And the story is all that matters. We can debate for weeks on why animation matters (and it does, up to a certain degree) but in the end, was the CGI really that horrible that it absolutely destroyed the experience for you? If you answered yes to that last questions, then you have to probably question the level of entitlement you feel over the creations of the anime industry. And after all, the power to praise or punish a title lies in your wallet.
‘THE STORY CONTINUES’
Whether that cryptic message in the end was just a cue for people to buy the manga or a sign that the anime is going to be back, it remains to be seen. My wish is that after two cours of awful CGI, that last 2D scene that reminded us of the 1997 anime is a promise that the next cour will be entirely hand-drawn and will keep the CGI for where it’s really needed.
Did you like the final episode of Berserk? Let us know in the comments below by using either the forum or the Facebook tab! Join us in our new forum and let’s talk about our favorite series! Also, don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic anime reviews for Spring 2017.