Twelve Moments in Anime 2010 No. 6 – Hell on Earth

Berserk is a series that impressed me more as it went along. The first episode is just OK; however, when it gets into the flashback that comprises 99 percent of the series, that’s when the show really gets rolling and never stops getting better, right up until the very end. Unlike a lot of people, I actually love the ending, except for the very last moment where it ends on a somewhat awkward, abrupt note. Other than that, however, it’s fantastic, for the very reason that everything builds up to it in the most horrifying, dreadful way.

The ending sweeps everything in the series away as if it never mattered at all, and it is awesome for doing so. Why? Because it reinforces the main theme of “DESTINY FUCKS OVER EVERYONE” in the cruelest way possible. Berserk‘s ending goes for broke in how the demon lords manipulate everything to get their way; Griffith is so broken that he practically has to go along with their deal, and his rite of initiation is to defile the woman who had loyally followed him from day one. Everyone in the Band of the Hawk dies save Guts and Casca. The world itself becomes a misshapen, hellish landscape. And a new demon lord is born.

Every action and interaction in Berserk builds to this point: Every step climbed fuels Griffith’s lust for power; every relationship formed strengthens the blood sacrifice; and Griffith’s friendship/rivalry with Guts provides the fear that, maybe, his dream might not come true after all . . . except when that demon voice sounds off so temptingly in his mind. The Egg of the King is just begging to be used . . .

Berserk is the rare anime that is perfectly planned from start to finish (luckily, it has a well written and structured base from which to draw). If only this were the rule rather than the exception.

5 Responses to “Twelve Moments in Anime 2010 No. 6 – Hell on Earth”

  1. I dunno if it does have a well-written and structured base. I think the anime imposed good writing and structure on the coarser material (and I don’t mean the ‘mature’ content of the manga) which led to the seeming perfection that this TV show gives us.

    I read Scamp’s recent take on Berserk the animation and he said it well (as he did for LotGH) that Berserk is actually quite accessible, that I would say is remarkable despite its epic sweep (which is amazing for a 2 cour series) and its dark subject matter.

    Then goddamn does it bring the hammer down on you.

    • Well, I was just going on what I heard about the manga, but I suppose you would know better since you have read it.

      Definitely agreed about Berserk’s accessibility. The characters are easy to be interested in, although not entirely likable in a traditional way. I thought Guts was cool, though, and Griffith was much cooler than I thought he would be.

  2. DAMN RIGHT! I love the ending to this series too!

  3. HA! I didn’t even see this on your blog until I did my own favorite moments post. And believe me, this was on it. I don’t hate the ending either. I never peeked ahead in the manga so I never saw this coming. But after watching enough anime you learn to accept these kinds of endings. I appreciated it for the execution, if not the emotional punch and brutality it packed. Berserk’s finale is one of the few examples I’ve seen of a night terror actually come to life.

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