Anime / Animation, Films, Japan, Recommended posts, Reviews

Berserk Movie 3: The Advent

The conclusion of the first big story arc will keep you eagerly awaiting the next…

Third and final part of the “Golden Age” arc, this film shows the end of Griffith and his Band of the Hawk, precipitated by Guts’s decision, near the end of the second movie, to leave Griffith to pursue his own life.

After the previous two movies had covered about 20 chapters each, this third one covers from chapter 40 to about chapter 90 (volumes 9-13). There are 28 more volumes to adapt (the first three, that depict events after the eclipse, and the volumes after the Golden Age arc, currently 25): that may probably take 6 more movies, although the pace of the manga gets slower in later chapters, so they could be adapted to a shorter overall screen time. The Golden Age movies were released between 2012 and 2013, but from what I can see nothing was released this year: it may be some time until we get the whole of Miura’s work on the big screen.

(I’m not even going to say anything about the animation style and quality, I’ve already expressed my opinions in the other two reviews.)

At this point in this series of movies, I can’t honestly write much without discussing plot points and how they’ve been adapted. If you haven’t read the manga, the best I can say is: there’s blood, and monstrous beings, and dismemberment, and rape. If you still hadn’t realised how nasty Miura’s world is, the events shown here will drive the point home with all the subtlety of a broadsword. But if you liked the first two movies, you really have to watch this one as well, to see how far Griffith’s ambition will go, and how easily evil influences can twist the meaning of acts of love.

On the other hand, if you have read the manga, or don’t mind some plot spoilers, read on.

To compress 50 chapters in less than two hours, the authors have skipped several parts that may be considered secondary, to concentrate on the big events: how the Hawks rescue Griffith from the dungeons, how the budding relationship between Casca and Guts plays into Griffith’s helplessness and jealousy, the summoning of the God Hand, the eclipse, and the rebirth of Griffith as Femto.

Some scenes feel a bit disconnected from the main narrative, like the attack of the Bākiraka, or the fight between Zodd and Skull Knight, but even in the manga they make sense only in the larger context of the machinations of the God Hand and the Kushan invasion.

The horror of the eclipse is shown with lurid colours and vivid imagery, you can feel the terror that overpowers the Hawks, and the disregard of human life by the God Hand. The scene where Femto rapes Casca is particularly horrifying, you can see how little of Griffith’s humanity is left in Femto, and you can understand why Casca’s mind breaks (the rape should contrast with the lovemaking scene between Casca and Guts earlier in the movie, but that scene is so badly directed, and the expressions so badly rendered, that the contrast is almost ruined).

Despite the minor flaws, this conclusion of the first big story arc confirms the overall quality of the adaptation, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next arc.

Berserk Movie 3: The Advent is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from Manga Entertainment.

Home media details

Distributor: Manga Entertainment (UK)

Edition: On DVD and Blu-ray (2014)

Blu-ray only extras include:

  • Interview with Aki Toyosaki (voice of Charlotte) and Minako Kotobuki (voice of Rickert)
  • Interview with Eiko Tanaka of Studio 4°C at San Diego Comic-Con 2012
  • English Outtakes for Berserk Movie I
  • English Outtakes for Berserk Movie 2
  • English Outtakes for Berserk Movie 3
  • The Battle For Doldrey US Premiere Highlight Reel
  • Production Gallery for Berserk Movie 1
  • Production Gallery for Berserk Movie 2
  • Susumu Hirasawa “ARIA” Live Concert Performance
  • International Trailer for Movies 1 to 3 (UK)
  • Trailer for Movie 1 (UK)
  • Trailer for Movie 1 (Russian version)
  • Teaser for Movie 1 (UK)
  • Special Digest For Movie 2
  • Trailer for Movie 3 (Japanese)

About the author

Brought up on Japanese animation in Italy in the 80s, now an anime and manga enthusiast who prefers good stories and characters to "endless battles and characters that just grow ever more powerful!" dakkar works as a software developer in London... More » Creative Commons License
This review by Gianni Ceccarelli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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