Susumu Hirasawa
Berserk


5.0
classic

Review

by Jerrad USER (1 Reviews)
December 6th, 2021 | 23 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: RIP Kentaro Miura (1966-2021)

Berserk's Golden Age Arc features some of the most graphic examples of violence, brutality, and horror in manga, with a solid argument to be made that it has only been outdone by its own subsequent arcs. Anyone who is familiar with the series however is aware of the degree of heart, complexity, emotion, and beauty that serves as the foundation of its narrative, with the 1997 anime exemplifying that depth more successfully than any adaptation thus far. The soundtrack plays an integral role in bringing that narrative to life by establishing a dense atmosphere that perfectly complements the adaptation’s direction and art, and by fleshing out the arc’s central characters.

Everything apart from the opening and closing themes is unmistakably digital, and given the year of the adaptation’s release, the soundtrack could have easily doubled as an OST for a PlayStation or Sega Saturn dungeon crawler. Its battle themes are hopelessly dark, foreboding, and industrial, with icy and metallic textures that brilliantly amalgamate with sword clashes, battle cries, and the dialog spread throughout the rendition’s 25 episodes. The most notable exception to this is the Beheilt theme, serving as the backdrop to some of the series’ most pivotal moments like the two duels between Guts and Griffith. The flute melody against echoes of crystalized arpeggiated synths is a perfect marriage between serenity and agonizing suspense, highlighting the tension and importance of the scenes that it accompanies. The soundtrack’s peak and most iconic piece is Guts’ theme, comprised of swells of sampled voices drowning amidst an ocean of reverb, struggling to swim above shades of digital piano beneath the surface. The theme’s genius lies at its ability to highlight the trauma and emotional scarring that fuel Guts’ rage, isolation, pain, and struggle in discovering his own raison d'etre, with each dimension of his psyche eventually culminating in a decision that forever changes the Band of the Hawk and the world of its central players. The soundtrack’s only low-point is the opening theme, albeit only in respect to the cohesiveness of the rest of the OST. A campy, lo-fi Japanese garage band song on a fully hand drawn anime is about as 90s as it gets, and while it fails in exemplifying the tone and content of the story, it is catchy and charming, my rose-tinted glasses are more than willing to give it a pass, and at the very least, it serves as a palate cleanser between episodes that usually end tragically.

The 1997 anime unfortunately seems likely to be the most faithful and best executed Berserk adaptation for the foreseeable future. At least it is a classic, right? The 2012-13 film trilogy fills in important gaps that the series left out due to time and budget constraints, and it has its own moments of awe and brilliance, with the third film being a notable standout due to its imagining of the Eclipse. Nonetheless, this rendition of the Golden Age Arc has the most heart, the most attention to detail, is most loyal to the manga, has the best atmosphere and art, and the best soundtrack, which stands as being one of the best in anime overall.


user ratings (18)
4.4
superb
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Comments:Add a Comment 
beefshoes
December 6th 2021


8249 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This started as a sound-off, but I submitted it as a review once it became too lengthy. I thought that it would be cool to have a thread to talk about Berserk, and to give this adaptation and OST some love. I also made an effort to avoid spoilers.

MrSirLordGentleman
December 6th 2021


14821 Comments


Ahh Berserk

One day you'll be done justice on anime form

Hard rip to Miura. A true artist

Casavir
December 6th 2021


4795 Comments


Yeah, this OST is awesome.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2021


58346 Comments


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD_rb6ATsJE&ab_channel=AdamG

Digging: Freshman Biology - Only Thing I Want To Keep

beefshoes
December 7th 2021


8249 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'd happily wear a brand of sacrifice for a quality/faithful adaptation of the whole series, and it's a travesty that the 2016 series was the last to be produced while Miura was still alive.



dedex
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2021


10249 Comments


Damn. RIP legend

Get Low
December 7th 2021


11774 Comments


Pos'd. Great review, great anime.

Mort.
December 7th 2021


16952 Comments


Behelit is v good

Digging: Dance Gavin Dance - Afterburner

ChaoticVortex
December 7th 2021


1258 Comments


Great review, great score. Pos'd

Flugmorph
December 7th 2021


25558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

why are you talking about other anime adaptations here though

Digging: Mol - Diorama

beefshoes
December 7th 2021


8249 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I know that it's not relevant to the OST, but I wanted to make reference to the film trilogy in case there were people who read the review who don't know the series, and are looking for places to get into it if they're not able to just jump into the manga.

rabidfish
December 7th 2021


7190 Comments


Or maybe try just reading the f manga, loser.

Digging: Morphine - Good

MrSirLordGentleman
December 7th 2021


14821 Comments


"but I wanted to make reference to the film trilogy in case there were people who read the review who don't know the series"

While the first movie's CGI is kinda cringe is not even close to the 2016 series. The third movie is best animated Berserk by far for me. Better than the '97 animation. I feel it's a way better representation of the eclipse

beefshoes
December 7th 2021


8249 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Agreed. I generally love the movies, and especially Zod, the scenes with Skull Knight, and the ending contrasted with 97's. It's a shame that Wyald's chapter wasn't included, and I wish that it had been a full series instead of being so condensed at the expense of character development. They got me into Berserk though, so I'll always have some nostalgia for them in spite of growing to prefer this. The 97 version just handles the Arc better overall, with godtier atmosphere and music.

botb
December 7th 2021


15055 Comments


I wish a prestigious studio would pick it up and do it justice. The world deserves to see an animated version of the conviction arc

Zig
December 7th 2021


2366 Comments


I enjoyed the '97 anime, but the manga stuff is too brutal for my eyes.

beefshoes
December 9th 2021


8249 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's not for the faint of heart that's for sure, but goddamn does it make for one of the greatest stories of all time.

kk420
December 9th 2021


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Miura, Malone, Reinert...wtf man why are all my idols dying

ghostalgeist
December 12th 2021


636 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

guts theme is like



life changing



this was such a good series

Get Low
December 12th 2021


11774 Comments


Did Gus ever defeat Griffith or did the mango never make it that far?



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