This is a guide no one asked for, but I am providing anyhow! Actually the reason I am providing it is because I have had conversations with people about the tattoo on my right bicep which is the “Mark” or “Brand” – “of sacrifice”. It’s a tattoo I have always wanted ever since I watched the Berserk anime as a teenager. That’s how much I love this series. I don’t remember when I first watched it, but the first season came out in 1997 for a frame of reference. It’s my favorite anime of all time. I have watched the first season at least twenty times, if not more, because it’s that good. Netflix is to thank for reviving the series back in 2012-2013. Anyhow, everyone always asks me:
What do you recommend?
Before I begin I just want to issue a few suggestions:
- It goes without saying I strongly recommend everyone give this anime a watch.
- THIS SERIES IS NOT INTENDED FOR CHILDREN. SERIOUSLY. ADULTS ONLY.
- If you like the anime, I suggest reading the manga, because as is always the case – the manga has all of the details.
- This is a horror fantasy series.
- I never noticed this until I read a description of it somewhere.
- I loved it so much I didn’t care, I never thought of it as horror ever.
No spoilers here so you can read this without worrying about me revealing any key events.
The series order is actually quite straight forward because there isn’t a ton of it unfortunately. To make matters worse the author passed away regretfully on 05/20/2021 😭. Luckily it will be resumed, but that remains to be seen…
1997 TV Series Season 1
- The 1997 TV series is 25 episodes of excellence.
- Everyone should start here.
- You should watch it in Japanese with English subtitles otherwise you are dead to me. If you watch it in English dub you are WRONG and you should FEEL BAD.
- You need to enjoy the bad Engrish intro song because it’s terrible and charming at the same time. The lyrics are hysterically bad and make no sense.
- You need to understand that this series is a beautifully self-contained story that loops infinitely. This may not make sense right now, but it doesn’t matter because you should binge this series. Without spoilers here is what I am talking about:
- The series starts where
Guts(our protagonist) is already known as the
Black Swordsman. He is missing his left forearm (not a spoiler I promise). He is going through a town to find an Apostle. Stuff happens and then he has a flashback to how his story got started.
- Enter the flashback to a young Guts
- 25 episodes of awe inspiring amazingness later you end up with Guts as the Black Swordsman again to go find an Apostle and he reminisces back to his young days.
- This loop continues infinitely. Amazingly well done.
- The series starts where
2012 Netflix CG Movies
At this point I started hearing people say to me, “Hey have you ever heard of Berserk? There are these three movies, it’s great.” I – being the fan boy that I am of this series – started quizzing people on what they saw and I learned quickly that the movies are an incomplete abridged version of the perfect 25 episode series from 1997. Well whatever 🤷🏻♂️ I guess it got people into Berserk so I am happy, but they did cut out too much content in my opinion. Conversely, they ADDED content at the end of the third movie! That was exciting for me to see animated for the first time ever!
I don’t like the CG – I think it sucks. The cell shaded look is just cheap in comparison to the painstakingly hand drawn animation style of the 1997 series which I found to be far superior. The only thing I have heard people complain about in the 1997 series is that there were too many stills that were moved across the screen. I don’t find this to be a valid criticism because hand drawn animation is difficult. Therefore techniques such as using stills and moving them are used to save time and effort. The stills that were shown are typically conversations being had by the characters from afar or the tales being told of a battle happening geographically somewhere else. In other words keep your shirt on, it’s not a big deal.
Unfortunately, the CG just made everything look like a PS2 video game and it was hard for me to get passed that. It wasn’t refined enough and I feel that this title commands more respect than that. DO BETTER NETFLIX.
There are three CG movies that Netflix had commissioned and they are as follows:
- Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I – The Egg of the King
- Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II – The Battle for Doldrey
- Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent
There isn’t much to instruct here other than the trilogy creators seriously gloss over some very important details which IS covered in the 1997 series. However, it would be remiss of me to not point out that the 1997 series is ALSO missing some very important details such as whole characters. Characters such as the the elf Puck who is a main character! I do understand their decision to leave out the character though because the 1997 series never went past the Golden Age Arc which is what the 1997 series is all about. Hence why Guts has this long dream sequence about his “golden age”.
Interestingly enough though in the very last movie there is an interaction with
Silat who is a significant member of the
Kushan people. I bring this up because this is new footage that was never included as part of the 1997 series. This is the only reason I think it’s important to watch the third movie at the very least. Or hell watch the whole thing because why not? More Berserk, even if it is CG garbage, is better than no Berserk #AMIRIGHT? #BERSERKISTHEBESTTHINGEVERCREATEDEVER
2016 TV Series Season 2
I was shocked when I learned that there was going to be a second season. It was too good to be true. I was able to watch it immediately because I have a Crunchy Roll subscription which every good otaku (anime nerd) requires. I had already been reading the manga by this point so I was able to compare what I read to what was being shown. The only thing I can say is they screwed up some very insignificant details – so overall okay. The animation quality is definitely not the same as the original which shouldn’t surprise anyone.
It’s also probably quite jarring for people to go from Season 1 to Season 2 without having educated themselves first with the manga. There are characters that appear to have show up all of a sudden. As if they were randomly thrown in. However, they are actually supposed to be there and are not random at all. I recommend reading volumes 1 through 14 of the manga at the very least before getting into Season 2.
Sadly, you wait like the rest of us. I don’t know what’s next because there are only 41 volumes and I refuse to read the last five I have until I know there are going to be more. If I finish what I have then it will be over and I will be sad. Luckily, I bought all 40 volumes before the creator passed away on eBay in one shot. Sadly since my purchase only one volume was released (41) and then the creator passed away. The creator took his time to write the story and he wasn’t in a hurry. Frankly, I think that’s totally fine because the story telling quality is unmatched. I hope his best friend can carry the torch and produce something as amazing.
This story needs to end! I need to see
Casca whole again!