Watch Berserk: The Golden Age Arc - Memorial Edition Online - The Ultimate Guide for Anime Fans
Berserk: The Golden Age Arc Trilogy - A Review of the Epic Anime Movies
Berserk is one of the most acclaimed and influential manga series of all time. Created by Kentaro Miura in 1989, Berserk tells the dark and brutal story of Guts, a mercenary warrior who fights against demons, monsters, and evil forces in a medieval fantasy world. Berserk has inspired countless fans and creators with its rich lore, complex characters, stunning art, and mature themes.
One of the most popular and important arcs in Berserk is the Golden Age Arc, which spans from volume 3 to volume 14 of the manga. The Golden Age Arc focuses on Guts' past as a member of the Band of the Hawk, a group of elite mercenaries led by the charismatic and ambitious Griffith. The arc explores Guts' friendship, rivalry, and love with Griffith and Casca, a female warrior who is Griffith's right-hand woman. The arc also depicts how Griffith's dream of becoming a king leads him to a tragic fate that changes the lives of everyone around him.
The Golden Age Arc has been adapted into various anime formats, such as a 25-episode TV series in 1997, a video game in 1999, and a trilogy of movies in 2012-2013. The movies are titled Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I - The Egg of the King, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II - The Battle for Doldrey, and Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III - The Advent. The movies are produced by Studio 4C, a renowned animation studio that has worked on projects such as Memories, Mind Game, Tekkonkinkreet, and Genius Party.
In this article, I will review each movie in detail, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their impact on the Berserk fandom. I will also compare them to other anime adaptations of Berserk, and discuss some of the criticisms and controversies they have faced. Finally, I will give my personal opinion on whether I would recommend watching them to anime fans.
The Egg of the King - The First Movie
The first movie in the trilogy introduces us to Guts, a lone wolf mercenary who wanders from battlefield to battlefield, seeking only to survive. He encounters Griffith, a young and charismatic leader of a band of mercenaries called the Band of the Hawk. Griffith is impressed by Guts' skill and strength, and challenges him to a duel. Guts loses, and becomes Griffith's subordinate. He joins the Band of the Hawk, who are hired by Midland's king to fight against Chuder's army.
The movie shows how Guts gradually becomes friends with Griffith and his comrades, especially Casca, who initially dislikes him for being reckless and selfish. Guts also learns more about Griffith's dream of becoming a king, which he pursues with unwavering determination and charisma. Griffith possesses a mysterious item called the Behelit or Egg of the King, which is said to grant its owner's wish at a certain time.
The movie ends with Guts killing one of Midland's nobles who tried to assassinate Griffith out of jealousy. This angers Midland's king, who orders Griffith's arrest. Guts rescues Griffith from prison, and they escape together with Casca and the rest of the Band of the Hawk.
Some of the strengths of the first movie are:
It establishes the main characters and their personalities, motivations, and relationships.
It showcases the action scenes and battles with fluid animation, dynamic camera angles, and realistic sound effects.
It captures the atmosphere and tone of the manga, with its dark, gritty, and violent depiction of war, politics, and human nature.
Some of the weaknesses of the first movie are:
It skips or condenses some important scenes from the manga, such as Guts' childhood flashback, Griffith's speech at the fountain, and the assassination plot.
It reduces some secondary characters to minor roles or cameo appearances, such as Corkus, Judeau, Pippin, Rickert, and Nosferatu Zodd.
It uses CGI animation for some characters and backgrounds, which can look inconsistent or unnatural compared to the hand-drawn animation.
The Battle for Doldrey - The Second Movie
The second movie in the trilogy portrays the war between Midland and Chuder, which culminates in the siege of Doldrey, a fortress that holds strategic importance for both sides. The Band of the Hawk are hired by Midland again to participate in the battle, hoping to earn recognition and glory for their achievements.
The movie showcases the skills and courage of the Band of the Hawk, who manage to infiltrate and capture Doldrey despite being outnumbered and outmatched by Chuder's forces. The movie also explores the relationship between Guts, Griffith, and Casca, who develop feelings for each other. Guts begins to question his loyalty to Griffith's dream, and wonders what he wants for himself. Casca reveals her past to Guts, and how she was saved by Griffith from being raped by a noble. She also confesses her love for Griffith, but realizes that he only sees her as a comrade. Guts comforts her, and they end up making love.
The movie ends with Guts leaving the Band of the Hawk after defeating one of Chuder's generals in single combat. He decides to pursue his own path in life, without being bound by anyone else's dream. Griffith is shocked by Guts' departure, and feels betrayed by his best friend. He tries to cope with his loss by sleeping with Princess Charlotte, Midland's king's daughter. However, he is caught by her father's guards, who torture him mercilessly for his crime.
Some of the strengths of the second movie are:
It delivers an epic war drama with thrilling action sequences, intriguing strategies, and intense emotions.
It deepens the character development of Guts, Griffith, and Casca, showing their inner conflicts, desires, and regrets.
It improves on some aspects that were criticized in the first movie,such as adding more scenes from the manga,such as Zodd's warning to Guts,and giving more screen time to some secondary characters,such as Judeau,Casca,and Adon Coborlwitz.
Some weaknesses of the second movie are:
It still skips or condenses some scenes from the manga,such as Guts' encounter with Silat,and Griffith's conversation with Charlotte at her balcony.
The Advent - The Third Movie
The third movie in the trilogy depicts the downfall of Griffith and his betrayal of the Band of the Hawk. It also portrays the horrific events of the Eclipse and the birth of Femto, a godlike being that is part of the God Hand, a group of powerful entities that manipulate causality and human destiny.
The movie begins with Guts returning to the Band of the Hawk after hearing about Griffith's capture and torture. He reunites with Casca, who has become the leader of the band in Griffith's absence. They decide to rescue Griffith from the Tower of Rebirth, where he is held prisoner by Midland's king. They succeed in freeing Griffith, but find him mutilated and broken, unable to speak or move. They also discover that his Behelit is missing.
The movie shows how Griffith struggles to cope with his loss of everything he cherished: his dream, his body, his charisma, and his friend. He tries to kill himself with a shard of glass, but fails. He then sees a vision of a castle in the sky, which reminds him of his ambition. He realizes that he still has his Behelit, which was hidden inside his body. He activates it by shedding blood on it, which summons the God Hand and transports him and his comrades to another dimension.
The movie reveals that Griffith was destined to become one of the God Hand, and that his Behelit was meant for him. The God Hand offer him a deal: to sacrifice his friends in exchange for a new body and power. Griffith accepts the deal, and renounces his humanity. He becomes Femto, a dark and winged creature with a helmet resembling a hawk's beak. He then watches as his former friends are slaughtered by hordes of demons and apostles, creatures that have made similar sacrifices in the past.
The movie focuses on Guts and Casca, who try to survive and escape from the nightmare. They witness their comrades being killed one by one, including Corkus, Pippin, Judeau, and Rickert. They also face some of the apostles, such as Wyald, Locus, Grunbeld, and Zodd. Guts fights with all his might, but loses an eye and an arm in the process. Casca is raped by Femto in front of Guts, which causes her to lose her sanity. Guts is saved by the intervention of Skull Knight, a mysterious warrior who has a grudge against the God Hand. He rescues Guts and Casca from the Eclipse, but not before Guts sees Femto's face under his helmet.
The movie ends with Guts and Casca being taken to a safe place by Skull Knight. Guts wakes up from a coma and finds out that Casca has become mentally unstable and afraid of him. He also learns that she is pregnant with Griffith's child, which was corrupted by Femto's rape. He vows to take revenge on Griffith and the God Hand for what they have done to him and his friends. He leaves Casca in the care of Rickert and Erica, a young girl who lives with them. He then sets off on his quest for vengeance, armed with a huge sword called Dragonslayer and a mechanical arm that conceals a cannon.
The Golden Age Arc trilogy is a remarkable adaptation of one of the most epic and tragic stories in manga history. It succeeds in bringing Berserk's world and characters to life with stunning animation, sound, and music. It also delivers a powerful message about human nature, ambition, friendship, love, and fate.
However, the trilogy is not without its flaws. It suffers from some pacing issues, cutting or rushing some scenes that were important or memorable in the manga. It also relies on CGI animation for some parts, which can look out of place or distracting compared to the traditional animation. It also faces some criticism from fans who prefer other adaptations of Berserk, such as the 1997 TV series or the 2016-2017 TV series.
Personally, I would recommend watching the trilogy to anime fans who are interested in Berserk or dark fantasy in general. I think it is a faithful and respectful adaptation that captures the essence and spirit of Miura's masterpiece. I also think it is a good introduction to Berserk for newcomers who want to get into the manga later on.
However, I would also warn viewers that the trilogy is not for the faint-hearted or easily offended. It contains graphic violence, gore, nudity, sex, and rape scenes that may be disturbing or triggering for some people. It also ends on a cliffhanger that leaves many questions unanswered. It is not a happy or uplifting story, but rather a bleak and brutal one.
If you are looking for an anime that will challenge you, shock you, and make you feel something, then you might want to give the Golden Age Arc trilogy a try. But be prepared for the consequences.
Q: Where can I watch the Golden Age Arc trilogy?
A: You can watch the movies on various streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Crunchyroll. You can also buy the Blu-ray or DVD versions online or in stores.
Q: Is the Golden Age Arc trilogy a sequel or a prequel to the 1997 TV series?
A: Neither. The trilogy is a reboot of the 1997 TV series, which means it retells the same story from scratch, with some changes and additions. The trilogy covers the same arc as the 1997 TV series, but does not continue from where it left off.
Q: Is there going to be a fourth movie in the trilogy?
A: No. The trilogy is complete with three movies. There are no plans for making a fourth movie as of now. However, there are other anime adaptations of Berserk that continue the story after the Golden Age Arc, such as the 2016-2017 TV series and the 2019 movie Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight.
Q: Who is Skull Knight and what is his role in the story?
A: Skull Knight is a mysterious warrior who wears a skull-shaped helmet and rides a skeletal horse. He has a history with the God Hand and Femto, and seems to know more about the world than most people. He helps Guts and Casca escape from the Eclipse, and gives them some clues about their future. He also appears in other arcs of the manga, where he aids Guts in his battles against the apostles and the God Hand.
Q: What is the significance of the title Berserk?
A: Berserk is an English word that means "out of control" or "frenzied". It can refer to several aspects of the story, such as:
Guts' fighting style, which is often reckless and savage.
Griffith's ambition, which drives him to do anything to achieve his dream.
The Eclipse, which unleashes chaos and madness upon the world.
The Brand of Sacrifice, which marks Guts and Casca as prey for demons.
The Berserker Armor, which enhances Guts' strength but erodes his sanity.