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Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 9, 2014 by  



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Violent, tragic, sexually explicit and audacious, these are words that can describe the animated film based on Kentarou Miura’s hit manga series.    And the third film in the “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc” is no doubt a shocker!  Studio 4°C no doubt manages to bring the pages of the manga series alive in “The Advent” and this third film will no doubt leave fans craving for more!  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © KENTAROU MURA (STUDIO GAGA) HAKUSENSHA/BERSERK FILM PARTNERS. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent

YEAR: 2013

DURATION: 107 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio), English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: April 14, 2014

Originally Created by Kentarou Miura

Directed by Toshiyuki Kubooka

Screenplay by Ichiro Okouchi

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Naoyuki Onda

Art Director: Goki Nakamura, Yusuke Takeda

Chief Animation Director: Naoyuki Onda

Animation Director: Satoshi Iwataki

Anime Production by Studio 4°C

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroaki Iwanaga/Marc Diraison as Guts

Takahiro Sakurai/Kevin T. Collins as Griffith

Toa Yukinari/Carolyn Keranen as Casca

Aki Toyosaki/Rachael Lillis as Charlotte

Houchu Ohtsuka/Mark Thompson as Laban

Kazuki Yao/Sean Schemmel as Gaston

Kenta Miyake/Michael Alston Baley as Nosferatu Zodd

Minako Kotobuki/Michael Newman as Rickert

Rikiya Koyama/Jesse Corti as Adon Coborlwitz/Julius

Takahiro Fujiwara/Patrick Seitz as Pippin

Yoshirou Matsumoto/Doug Erholtz as Corkus

Yuuki Kaji/Christopher Kromer as Judeau

It’s been a year since Griffith’s imprisonment by the Kingdom of Midland. Once praised as the saviors of Midland, the Band of the Hawk is now on the run and on the brink of breaking apart. Much to everyone’s surprise, Guts returns to the Hawks, and the search for Griffith begins!

After his success in the battle of Midland, Griffith, the leader of the Band of Hawks was proclaimed a hero.  But with Griffith’s loss against Guts, in which Guts leaves the mercenary unit, changes happen immediately.

Feeling a loss of morale after his loss, Griffith sleeps with Princess Charlotte and is discovered by a maid.

This leads to the King wanting his revenge by capturing and torturing Griffith while having many of the members of the Band of Hawks being killed.

In “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent”, after a hiatus from the Band of Hawks, Guts returns to find out that the Band of Hawks has been decimated and that Griffith has been imprisoned.

And when Guts, Casca and the surviving members of the Band of Hawks goes to rescue him.  They find Griffith, but now malnourished, in a weakened state, tortured, broken and no longer the same, strong man they once knew.

What is “Berserk”?

In 1990, the manga series “Berserk” was published by Hakusensha for Jets Comics. Created by Kentaro Miura, the series would be serialized in “Young Animal” and a 25-episode episode anime series was made. Also, video games and now an animated film series.

With the first animated film “Berserk Golden Age Arc 1: The Egg of the King” released in Japan on Feb. 2012 and in the U.S. courtesy of Viz Media on Blu-ray in Nov. 2012.

The second animated film “Berserk Golden Age Arc 2: The Battle for Doldrey” was released in theaters in Japan on June 2012 while the third animated film “Berserk Golden Age Arc III: Descent” was released in theaters in Japan on Feb. 2013. And now the second animated film was released by Viz Media in August 2013.

While many fans are drawn to the series for its medieval storyline, its violent action-packed storyline and its characters, for some, it has been a series that Kentaro Miura has taken his time with, as one to two volumes of the manga series are released each year. And as of 2o13, a total of 36 volumes have been released. So, for 20 years, this storyline has been released slowly but still is going strong and admired by many readers internationally.

As the films feature different animated artwork and voice acting since its 1997 anime series, the animated film series is produced by Studio 4°C and is directed by Toshiyuki Kubooka (“Gin Rei”, “Gunbuster”), screenplay by Ichiro Okouchi (“Angelic Layer”, “Azumanga Daioh”, “Brave Story”, “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”), music by Shiro Sagisu (“Bleach”, “Kimagure Orange Road”, “Nadia – The Secret of Blue Water”, “Neon Genesis Evangelion” series and films), character design by Naoyuki Onda (“Armitage III”, “King of Thorn”, “Ergo Proxy”) and art direction by Goki Nakamura (“King of Thorn”, “Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence”, “Cat Soup”) and Yusuke Takeda (“Armitage IIII”, “.hack/Quantum”).

“Berserk: The Golden Age Arc 1 – The Egg of the King” begins with a war between two countries. With one proud general asking the enemy for anyone to beat him in battle, no one volunteers to fight him except one. The Byronic hero known as Guts. Guts kills the general and his fight catches the eye of the mercenary group known as the Band of the Hawk.

After collecting his payment for killing the general, Guts is attacked by the Band of the Hawk and easily cuts them down. The group’s leader Griffith then sends the female soldier Casca to fight him but before Guts can kill her, Griffith shows up and shoots an arrow towards Griffith’s arm. Guts then tries to fight Griffith but to his amazement, Griffith is so quick and stabs him with his sword.

When Guts wakes up, he finds out he has been out and he was nursed back to life thanks to Casca and Griffith.

Upset that his enemy saved him, Guts wants to fight Griffith once again. Griffith tells him that if he beats him in battle, Guts must join the Band of the Hawk and essentially, he will own him.

The two then get into a fight but once again Griffith wins in battle and Guts must join the Band of the Hawk. He also tells him that he will be responsible for killing Guts, no one else. And that his motivation of needing Guts is to rule his own kingdom.

Fast forward several years later and Guts is seen fighting alongside the Band of the Hawk as a commander but his thirst of fighting and wanting to put himself in the battle before anyone, upsets Casca who screams at him for not taking the group into consideration. But still the men of the Band of the Hawk value Guts heroics and look up to him as a hero. As does Griffith.

One day, the Band of the Hawk goes after a rumored monster known as Zodd the Immortal. As usual, Guts goes into fight the thing before anyone else does and to his shock, Zodd is a monster. Despite being beaten, Guts manages to injure Zodd and earning respect by the monster, who now wants to fight and kill him. But the Band of the Hawk come to save Guts and Griffith tries to save Guts but both are injured while fighting Zodd.

As Zodd is about to kill Griffith, he sees the Behelit around Griffith’s neck. Zodd tells Guts to not trust Griffith, he is not a friend and by following him, it will lead to his death. And the monster flies away.

Guts is not sure what that warning meant but he is curious why the monster escaped when he saw Griffith’s Behelit.

As the two heal, Griffith continues his question to get closer to the nobles and the King.

In “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc 2 – The Battle for Doldrey”, Guts has stuck with the group for three years in his own personal mission to pursue Griffith’s dream together with him and so he can be his equal. As Guts has shown how awesome of a fighter he is on the battlefield, with the promotion of Griffith to nobility, Guts must make a decision if he wants to pursue helping Griffith and the Band of the Hawk. Meanwhile, The Band of Hawk make their way to capture the impenetrable Fortress of Doldrey from the Empire of Chuder. Will they have a chance against an army of 30,000?

In “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent”, Guts has returned to the Band of Hawks to find out that many of the men were killed by the King and Griffith was imprisoned and tortured.  Finding a weakened, broken and tortured Griffith who no longer resembles the man he once was, the Band of Hawks have looked towards Guts as their new leader.

And while Guts and Casca have grown closer, for Griffith, being weak and unlike the man he once was has become too much for him that he makes a decision that will that will lead to tragedy, sadness and incredible anger.

VIDEO:

“Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio). The first thing that long time fans will see the creative difference that Studio 4°C brings to character designs but also giving a new look with detailed art backgrounds and the studio’s integration of 2D and 3D which they are known for. The anime is colorful, while not super detailed when it comes to shading of the characters, the art backgrounds and mechanical designs are quite pleasing to watch.

But I’m sure viewers will have a subjective opinion towards the overall look of the film versus how things looked in the original 1997 anime series and compared to the manga series.

The biggest difference with this third film is how the violence and sex scenes are presented.  There is no doubt that Studio 4C wanted to bring Kentarou Miura’s pages alive in the film adaptation.  While visually beautiful, the third film is no doubt bloody, violent and also sexual.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD 5.1 MA with English subtitles. The dialogue and music is crisp and clear and while most surround usage is during the action sequence, the film utilizes a wonderful score from the legendary anime composer Shiro Sagisu. The voice acting is well-done on both Japanese and English soundtracks but it’s important for people to know that the voice acting does not utilize the same talent from the original 1997 animated TV series.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent” comes with the following special features:

  • Interview with Eiko Tanaka – (8:11) Interview with Eiko Tanaka of Studio 4C at SDCC 2012
  • Promotional Video “Breakthrough” – (5:05) Promotional music video
  • Outtakes – (21:35) Outtakes from “The Advent” and “Egg of the King” (28:45)
  • The Advent Promotions – Japanese teaser, trailers, three TV spots and Viz Media Trailer.
  • The Battle for Doldrey US Premiere Highlight Reel – (2:01) Char and Amy at New People Cinema for the world premiere English dub of the first two films.
  • Gallery – Using your remote, you can cycle through various sketches of characters for “The Battle for Doldrey”.

 

berserk-3b

With the third animated film in the “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc” trilogy, “The Advent” was a violent and shocking conclusion that will no doubt make fans of the films demand for more film adaptations of Kentarou Miura’s popular “Berserk” manga series.

“The Advent” introduces us to the creation of the major antagonist, major character deaths and shocking developments that takes the pages of the manga series and brings it to life.

There is no whittling down the storyline’s violence or sex scenes for this final film, the emotion, the turmoil, the sadness, the anger and also love to the most despicable scenes from the manga is brought to life through animation with efficacy.

While it’s difficult to discuss this film without spoiling it for anyone planning to watch these three films, I will say that the bond between Guts and Casca has finally grown and to see Griffith unlike the brave fighter of the first two films is surprising as he has been weakened, broken, tortured and no longer the same man.

And what happens in the second half of the film becomes surreal yet shocking.  And one can only hope that viewers are not left hanging and that more films based on the series are created.  And I’ll leave it at that.

For those new to “Berserk”, it’s important for them to know that like the animated TV series and the manga, this is one of the most violent series that was featured in Japan. And that violence carries onto the animated series. There is a lot of blood, a lot of decapitations, bodies cut apart, guts spilling out… this is a series that will appeal to those who like violent swordfighting action. The third film also features a major sex scene and also a rape scene, so consider yourself warned.

The Blu-ray features a colorful pallete with beautiful art backgrounds and utilization of 2D and 3D was good, dialogue and the beautiful music was crystal clear but not too immersive as I would have hoped. And fortunately this third Blu-ray disc features special features which is a plus!

Overall, “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent” is an entertaining yet violent action animated film based on the manga series.  It goes beyond the banal action or sex as the storyline is geared to the birth of evil and how the major antagonist in the series was created.

Violent, tragic, sexually explicit and audacious, these are words that can describe the animated film based on Kentarou Miura’s hit manga series.    And the third film in the “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc” is no doubt a shocker!  Studio 4°C no doubt manages to bring the pages of the manga series alive in “The Advent” and this third film will no doubt leave fans craving for more!  Recommended!

 

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