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.
St. Albion is home to an unimaginable evil, and each episode brings a step closer to its inevitable confrontation with Guts. Every little event seems like it’s meant to happen, an unescapable fate, an unpreventable karma.
There was a light intro just before the opening theme, enough to remind us where we are: Guts finally found Casca and he jumps between her and the Great Goat. Farnese, like the confused leader she is, orders her knights to kill anyone that doesn’t surrender. Blind to the truth of her faith, she does what every bigot leader would have done, she reacts with a closed mind in a situation that demands witty leadership. Guts entrusts Isidoro and Puck with guiding Casca and Nina to safety, and throws himself in the battle.
It’s not typical of Guts to trust people, and his confidence in Isidoro is refreshing. It’s definitely not a move made out of despair, and it gives Guts a human side we are not used to seeing.
The battle against the Great Goat was short and exciting. Although in normal scenes the 3D feels alien, during the well-choreographed battle the peculiar animation style added to the action.
“Allies injected with fear are even worse foes than the enemy”
In a narrow mountain pass, Serpico and his flurry rapier confront Guts. We’ve always known that Serpico is more than he seems, but during this battle he proved that his wits are as sharp as his blade. How do you win against a dexterous opponent when you are Guts and you can’t swing your huge blade? You grab the rapier’s edge with your bare hand and smash the blade to smithereens with your artificial arm. We need scenes like this to be reminded that Guts is not a big overpowered bear that rushes into battle and slaughters things. He is a cunning strategist and an astute warrior.
It seems Casca is Guts’s white whale (see themes). She and Nina are captured by the Holy See knights and are jailed in St. Albion. Luca, Guts, Puck, and Isidoro head to the monastery-fortress to save the girls. In the monastery, Nina is chosen among the two to attend a not-so-glamorous torture session.
White Whale: A white whale or a holy grail is something that’s always out of reach. An unattainable goal. The first refers to Moby Dick, the whale that Captain Ahab maniacally hunts, and the second refers to a dish, plate, stone or cup (depending on the myth) that is part of an important theme of Arthurian literature. According to legend, it has special powers and is designed to provide happiness, eternal youth and food in infinite abundance.
Cowardice: Inside St. Albion, the Imp chooses Nina as his next torture victim. The method he uses to pick her is evident of the morally grey area that exists in various ethic models. He first chooses Casca and waits for Nina’s reaction. Her hesitance to help her ticks the Imp’s twisted sense of morality. He despises cowardice and he is disgusted by Nina’s reluctance to help her friend.
“In the end everyone looks out of themselves”
Horror: Horror is one of the most prevalent themes in Berserk. While in St. Albion, Nina tries to stay strong by clinging to her memories of the only mother-figure she has in her life, Luca. He tries to borrow some of her strength through her teachings, but when she enters the torture chamber she is confronted with a reality so grotesque that she wets herself. How do you stay sane when confronted with true, absolute horror?
It was a well-rounded episode. The first fight against the Great Goat was brief and exciting, the battle with Serpico was clever and witty, and the selection process of the Imp and Nina’s struggle with herself was enough to bring a philosophical tone that was tainted by the reality of the torture chamber.
Not the best episode, but certainly not far behind the rest. The series is consistently good. But I do have one little complaint: WHERE IS GRIFFITH? Maybe I should read the manga. Maybe.
Eight episodes in the series and I am still alienated by the peculiar 3D animation style and awed by the amazing 2D drawn scenes. It’s a Scottish shower, but I don’t mind. Eight episodes in the series and the quality hasn’t dropped an inch. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next episode.
NEXT TIME: Blood Flow of the Dead, 亡者の血流
©KENTAROU MIURA(STUDIO GAGA) HAKUSENSHA/BERSERK PARTNERSHIP