When things go south what do you do? Do you pray to a higher power, like the believers in Berserk? Do you use a set of ideals to justify your actions? Or maybe you lay your hopes to the actions of other men and women?
These are the shadows of ideas we encountered in this episode. A mixture of faith, action, and ideals, all entangled in a fight for survival.
Japanese Title: イデアの影
Guts feels the shackles of destiny guiding his every move as history seems to repeat itself. Souls are sacrificed, Casca is on a tight spot, and the Apostle Egg is on its way to take the place fate has already chosen for it.
So in a nutshell, what we saw in this episode: Guts managed to kill Mozgus in both his old and new form in what might be the best action scenes of the series. Casca was saved from the burning pyre by Isidoro and the rest of the side-characters gang who also took on and killed the Disciple twins. The goo is devouring everything on its way. Guts has Casca in his hands and he is determined to protect her, but that’s not going to happen, is it? We still have one episode to go, and what is a Berserk arc without Casca being tortured or raped or having something done to her that will bring Guts to a state of berserk?
Now, let’s discuss some of the highlights and a few themes and background knowledge you might have missed if you are new to the series.
Narration: Skull Knight’s voice was the best choice for a background narration during some of the action scenes. Berserk is not just mindless action, and it certainly tries to avoid the cliché philosophical generalities of most anime I know. Blending them in was a smart move and it made the episode all that more enjoyable.
Action Scenes: I might have already mentioned this, but the action scenes were awesome. From Guts flying through the ooze to stab Mozgus to the priest turning into a giant stone angel and Guts having to stuff him with bombs, I was dumbfounded by how exciting these scenes felt. I’m not always right when I try to pinpoint the exact reasons I liked a scene, but this time I think I got it right: the scenes had the right combination of slashing and talking. There was also a nice flow that I have to credit to the direction.
Guts and Casca: I can feel it. This is not the last time Guts is going to rush after Casca. Poor girl. She’s been through so much. Even though, that small sadistic part of me wants to see what will happen to her and how is Guts going to save her, or not.
Themes & Trivia
Demon Child: So, the Apostle Egg takes the small baby into his loving belly and brings him along for the world-changing ride of his life. I believe that the writers have knowingly avoided any reminders of who the child is for two reasons: First, maybe they assume that everybody has read the Golden Age Arc. Second, and I’m saying this because I haven’t read the manga, there is something going to happen in the last episode that will reveal its identity. Yet, since it is public Berserk knowledge as it seems, here it is: This Demon Child that saved Casca on numerous occasions is the offspring of he and Casca, brought into the physical world as a small misshapen imp after being tainted by Femto’s rape of the pregnant Casca. Who is Femto? Now we are going deeper into the Berserk lore and this is not the place for a full summary.
Faith and Change: The episode is playing with the notions of faith and change throughout. We have two opposing camps with a few people on their way to change sides (and a few more clearly confused where they belong). One camp are the blind believers: Father Mozgus, the mob, a few of the knights. The other camp are the people who believe that action is stronger than words: Guts and his friends. In between we have Farnese who is still trying to decide what is real and what is not and Azan who is a believer who acts instead of praying. In the end, the underlying notion that prevails is that bigotry and blind faith are based on feelings of hate, egotism, and cowardice. Whether it’s a ‘fool’s courage’ like Luca, or the strength of a man with a purpose, like Guts, words are just empty vessels if not supported by deeds to support them.
Now that we are approaching the final episode, I think I am close to deciding what I feel about that 2D and 3D hybrid style. I am not going to say anything now; I keep it for the series review that will come in two weeks.
We are going to have a full series review after each series completes, so don’t forget to add Manga.Tokyo to your bookmark list or RSS feed (you can find the RSS button on the top left of the page).
And the rating is…
This was my favorite Berserk episode. The great action scenes were blended nicely with the philosophical chin-wagging that was actually well tied to the plot. We only one episode left, I except all hell to break loose in the conclusion. After all, is there really a good Berserk story without Griffith?
NEXT TIME: Those who Cling, Those who Struggle (すがるもの, もがくもの)
©KENTAROU MIURA(STUDIO GAGA) HAKUSENSHA/BERSERK PARTNERSHIP