Berserk : The Holy Iron Knights

Episode 2

Seitessa Kishidan (聖鉄鎖騎士団)

After being attacked and watching the Monk and his daughter die and having to  fight his way out, Guts is confronted by the Holy Iron Knights…

I’ll get it out of the way first I guess. The number one reason that I didn’t review this earlier was because I struggled to WANT to watch it. I love Berserk’s story and its just as great as we deserve. The soundtrack is a thing of beauty and really heightens the drama throughout….

But the artwork lets it down.

I’ll start sounding like a broken record I’m sure but its so off putting. Its important though because it does take away a lot from the anime.

In fighting scenes whilst the fighting itself is absolutely awesome it fails to deliver the final blow when the animation of the chopped up bodies looks so ridiculous. Similarly when Guts is being interrogated by Farnese and he angers her the only reason you know this is because she screams extremely loudly, her face is completely passive, the animation doesn’t give for emotion to pass on the static faces. She whips him and there really isn’t any blood to it and when you see the blood on Guts it just… Doesn’t have the impact it should’ve.

For me it makes it difficult to watch because the soundtrack and story gets let down by the visuals and its a headache of a mess.

The story is really great though. Anyone who has ever been a fan of Berserk in any way will love it. The flashbacks can get in the way a little but add to the bubbling inside Guts head, the Bridge Knight was brilliant and there was a lot of telling us things (who the Holy Iron Chain Knights are, small bits on who Guts is…) which didn’t become too much because it was intertwined with a lot more action.

After cornering Guts and getting lucky, Farnese ends up getting nothing out of him when trying to torture information out of him, mainly because she let him get to her and upset her, she ends up his hostage. Pluck informs Guts that Farnese is unable to see him.

You see a lot happens in the anime but for me its hard to enjoy it when the animation just blows so bad.

Like it feels much more like the first anime introduced new fans to the dark and violent side of Berkserk, this episode explained a lot of things new fans will need to know, but for the old fans the actual visuals are there to give them something whilst all this is being explained away. It doesn’t work though. There is no emotion, no drama, nothing but blank faces mumbling at each other.

The Bridge Knight was my favourite though. It didn’t really matter about their faces because he had a helmet on the majority of the time anyway so the power of the emotion and drama from him came from his voice and his voice actor did a wonderful job.

Fighting scenes are pretty spectacular even if the ending to a sequence is a bit disappointing. They manage to build that drama in the fight, when Guts was being surrounded by Knights and their panic started to set in because he was too fast for them, it all worked wonders till he chopped a load in half and the animation let it down so badly. Again when fighting the Bridge Knight it was all going really well until Guts jumped over him and… Cut a bunch of people in half which was again disappointing thanks to the animation and then got himself hit which was even more disappointing.

It looks more like taking the actual still panels of the manga and flicking them through instead of animating them.

Just a little bit disappointed.

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