New Year Brings Welcome Surprise for Berserk Fans

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Well, 2016 is a thing now.

Another year has indeed passed and with it, many resolutions for the next one have been made (and broken). Shows, new and old hold promise of being bigger and better—and the great entertainment void that is January opens its great maw again.

I could go on and on about how January is a singularity of no releases or how Shades of Blue is totally gonna bomb… but instead, I thought I’d talk about an old gem and personal favorite from 1997 that’s making a comeback in 2016.

Berserk.

Specifically the 26-episode anime adaptation of the Golden Age Arc from Kentaro Miura’s 37-volume and counting behemoth of the same name. Berserk is a game of politics, bucket loads of cheesy gore and surprisingly brilliant characters.

Berserk follows the mercenary Guts (who is exactly as tough as the name suggests) and Griffith, the resident obsessive and mercenary leader who forcibly conscripted Guts after seeing him kill the laughably acted Grey Knight Bazosu. Guts then goes campaigning with Griffith and company to collect gold and glory, and ultimately usurp the reigning king of Midland and fulfill Griffith’s dream of ruling a kingdom.

BerserkWarCryThe story is simple enough, but it’s superb in its execution, mostly due to its two “main” characters. Guts has been a mercenary all his life and lives battle to battle with no purpose in life other than surviving. Griffith was born a peasant, though through charisma and a good sword arm alone he built the most feared band of mercenaries in the land, all of whom hold him in god-like regard, to the point where they will outright belittle Guts for even trying to be at Griffith’s level (despite the fact that most of Griffith’s plans heavily rely on Guts’ abilities).

Both characters are relatable, as almost everyone at some point has lived day to day without a grand plan like Guts and everyone has dreamed of themselves as an all-important, flawless beings like Griffith.

However, as the series progresses, Guts begins to long for a reason to exist and grows as a character. Griffith on the other hand changes very little, but the viewers’ knowledge of him does. Without giving away too much, a lot of Griffith’s motivations give off a very different vibe toward the end of the show.

Speaking of the end of Berserk, it’s really the only weak point of the story. From what I’ve read, the proper ending was rendered impossible due to a character that was crucial to the ending being cut because of budgetary constraints. While it’s awful that this happened, those who want something closer to the original intent can always read the source material, a manga first published in 1988.

Overall? Berserk is a grand little title and there’s never been a better time to jump on the bandwagon (the very, very long bandwagon). Not only has the series writer (as of this writing) brought Berserk out of hiatus, but the show has been picked up for a second season (nearly 19 years later) which continues the story and is expected to drop sometime this year.

(Images are official publicity material.)

TV Talk is a regular television column written by Robert Pulford, Current Staff.

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