Berserk : Night Banquet of Burning at the Stake

Episode 6

“Hiaburi no yaen” (火あぶりの夜宴)

We left everyone in episode 5 pretty much in some sort of danger. Who survives will only be known to us in this episode.

Its hardly surprising that a cliff hanger like last episodes is hardly going to worry us, of course Guts isn’t going to die or let someone around him die. He gets rid of the apostles that have taken over the victims of the Holy Chain Knights and then runs into the Skull Knight who warns him of what is to come. Guts turns him and his power away to save Casca on his own merits. A noble and brave thought but the Skull Knight leaves him with a warning, things aren’t going to be easy.

At the tower and Farnese looks to get some of the pain she’s feeling off her chest with Father Mozgus who is the craziest man you’ll ever meet so why she thinks going and talking to him is going to be helpful I don’t know. Serpico as always follows her closely and becomes more and more interesting by the episode.

I loved getting to meet the torturers that came with Mozgus in this episode. The one in the bird mask that has to be fully clothed at all times else he’ll come out in boils gave us such a interesting look into who they are and why they do what they do. Mozgus saved them and made them what they are and who are they to turn their backs on the man that gave them meaning in their lives?! Not only that but if their God gave them Mozgus then they should be proud in the work that God gave them?

Mozgus is the kind of person in reality that terrifies me the most. Even without the killing and torturing people who are so blinded by what they believe, and I don’t even mean religious beliefs, they will justify just about anything to fit their world view. I have to wonder if Mozgus even actually believes in a God or just enjoys prying on those that need that hope in their lives to get his own way. The man is pure evil.

If we go back to the problem of the animation Nina is the number 1 victim of terrible animation. She looks like a china doll, nothing shows up on her blank face, her mouth barely moves when she talks. The girl is in pain, she struggles with everything she has to do, she has a man that is in love with her but she’s in emotional turmoil… None of that shows up on her face. Its a face you want to drop and see shatter into a million pieces. Nothing at all ever registers on it which means that when she drags poor Joachim to a pagan orgy, as one does under the gaze of a holy temple, the whole scene was just so boring. Some of the animation on the pagans, especially when they slowly get taken over, was grotesque but anything with Nina failed to register as anything more then wasted time.

Talking of Nina and Casca, they were saved at the beginning of the episode by the fetus of Casca’s dead child. By the end of the episode they were once again in trouble. After a good old spanking from Luca they end up having to save Casca from the Pagans. Again though it was the fetus that saved her whilst something spooky saved Joachim.

Like a few times you need to keep your eyes peeled for after the credits for some insight into my favourite character, Serpico. And Farnese, and to see Isidro follow after Guts once more. I don’t know why they had to have all of that after the credits if I’m honest, OK it isn’t the most important pieces of information but it seems so strange to me to have credits and then a good minute or so more of actual show related stuff on before the Next Time advert.

I say it isn’t the most important because it basically just shows that Serpico isn’t all he seems to be again, his own family were burned at the stake by the looks of it and he had to put up with idiots claiming him to be a heretic. He’s got a kind soul but he also doesn’t care what others think.

Farnese once more we just see that she gets turned on by other people being tortured or burnt alive. Such a strange kink for someone like her to have. She also was kind of raised into it, she was brought up on a burning ground and with fanatics around her it became second nature. Its hard to understand where her head would be, I think a lot of people say that her getting nearly raped by the horse is meant to make her instantly someone you’d sympathise a little bit with, just a little bit, but I think after getting to the tower and seeing that there are so many sides to her its much easier to start to sympathise with anyone. I mean after meeting people like Mozgus and hearing what his torturer had to say you learn a little more about the world they are in. Seeing the suffering you’ll see what their religion means to them. Add that with snippets of her backstory and just seeing her struggle makes her much more sympathetic then being nearly raped by a horse when she is the biggest bitch in the world anyway.

Again I’m writing this review after already watching what comes after. The first time I saw this episode it dragged and I felt like screaming at the TV to just make it end. It didn’t seem to go anywhere and having a big chunk devoted to Nina, who I find boring enough to make me fall asleep, was just terrible. Now in hindsight I see that it was the beginning of changing gear, going from introducing new viewers to the concept and important characters and raising it up to actually go into the story they want to tell. On second viewing it flows much better and doesn’t get bogged down as much because you kinda know that its just the beginning of the next step.

So in all it isn’t a bad episode but the weakest one by far in the series. Half the reason it took me so long to once again catch up with Berserk after only just catching up with it in the first place!

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