*SPOILERS* *trigger warning*
Okay. Where to even begin with this one. I was so so so excited when the news for a new Berserk anime came out. I rewatched the original series multiple times. I read fan theories. I had long discussions with friends who love Berserk as much as I do. Suffice to say, I was well and truly deperate for this anime. But oh, how the disappointment hurts.
First, this is a CG anime. I’m not a very big fan of CG, but I’m willing to give it a try if the CG is good. This is not good. Oooooh no. Not by a long shot. The weird thing is that the quality is so varied. In some scenes, it looks great. It looks so similar to the grittiness you expect from Berserk, the violence, the gore, the intense action – it’s all there. But then in the next scene, the animation takes a nosedive to look choppy, rushed, and just generally badly done. Now, I still watched the whole anime because, despite its flaws, I actually got into it. The story might not have been the best thing ever, but I just love seeing the characters I know and love on the screen again. Guts has lost almost all his humanity, he has such scars from the past and he is unwilling to emotionally connect with people. This is made obvious from the first couple of episodes, where he laughs at the deaths of two people he meets on the road, claiming that because they were weak, they didn’t have the right to live. Or something like that. The old Guts would not have acted in the same way. He might not have wept tears of grief, but he would not have scoffed at the deaths of two innocent travellers.
I’m also not really a fan of how they depicted Casca. She is suffering from severe mental illness after being brutally raped and hurt in the original anime, but I feel that they could have depicted her as less a damsel-in-distress kinda woman. The reason I loved her so much in the original was because she was strong, kind, and passionate. In this version, she has lost the ability to speak, she depends on others for her survival, and she acts little better than a small child left to its own devices. While I do think that she would, realistically, not be okay at all after the things that happened to her, I also think the producers here went and made a strong female character into a silent, pretty thing for Guts to rescue. Continuously. Because damn, this girl can not keep out of trouble.
So, if I didn’t like the depiction of the characters, the story, or the animation, why did I even watch this and more importantly, why don’t I hate it?! Because I don’t hate it at all. Sure, I think it’s disappointing as a follow-up to the original Berserk anime, but I also think it has its strong points. The music is intensely catchy, the theme that is played during the battle scenes makes me hum along every single time. And, of course, the ending where everyone’s favourite ‘love to hate’ character shows up, made me hyped for the second season. Because there will be one in 2017. And while I’m not as hyped for that as I was for this one, I will be watching it. Berserk 2016 is not great, but it’s okay. For fans of the original anime, I’d say just watch that and then read the manga. For others who don’t mind some poor animation and barely-there story, watch the show. At 12 episodes, it’s hardly a huge time investment anyway.
Also, how did they manage to make Griffith, who was already the most bishie thing, even more bishie?!