Betrayal. Rage. Vengeance. These are all attributes given to the Guts, former Raider Commander of the Band of the Hawk in the Berserk universe. Now, this is referring to the gritty CG version that was released 6 months back, not the now 20-year-old anime rendition of Berserk. I’m addressing this here as a follow up to my Throwback Thursday post to describe the violent progression of Guts and his tale of death and loss. I fell in love with the series after episode 1 and went back, watched the entire 25-episode original series, 3-part movie retelling and some 300 chapters of the manga (Berserker armor is amazing and made me very excited for the anime continuation.)
Ok pseudo copy/pasting done, we can start up with how absolutely badass this man has gotten in the subsequent 3 years after the eclipse. Casca gave birth to a daemonic fetus post daemon coitus and was reduced to a mentally incapable traumatized state and Guts now finds himself wielding a monstrous sword called “Dragonslayer” because it was designed to slay dragons, which no longer existed in this world. It manages to kill daemons or as the series refers to them, Apostles. Now I glossed over the apostles in the last article because, in the anime, you only see one until the eclipse and Zodd is a bit of an odd duck where the Apostles are concerned, but in this arc, Guts finds himself rarely fighting normal humans and going toe to toe with massive creatures literally spawned from the depths of nightmares.
Onto Guts’ armory, we have a very interesting assortment of weapons, ranging from throwing knives he learned to use from the late Judeau to a Chu-No-Ko (Chinese repeating crossbow) to the Dragonslayer, to his prosthetic arm, which is also my favorite. Essentially, post self-amputation, Guts found himself dragged to the mountains by the only survivor of the Band of the Hawk (because he wasn’t with the rest of them) Rickert. Godo the blacksmith then designs a prosthetic magnetic metal hand that allows him to wield the Dragonslayer, mounting the Chu-No-Ko, and best of all shoving a fething cannon into the arm, allowing him to blam Apostles in their stupid faces.
Now we find the Holy Chain Iron Knights (Crusaders basically working for the Roman Church equivalent, the Holy See) have been tracking the Black Swordsman for years after stumbling upon the horrid remains of the Band of the Hawk post-eclipse. The series takes some liberties with timing and location of events but the key members of the Holy Chain Iron Knights are their grox-shit insane leader, Lady Farnese, their grizzled second-in-command, Vice Commander Azan (who has the most glorious helmet), and Serpico, Farnese’s herald who happens to be a genuine BAMF with a rapier, being one of the only normal humans to take on spirits/daemons without getting literally and metaphorically reamed.
After a bit of daemon/zombie slaying by Guts, receives a nightmare of Casca being burned alive. Returning to Godo on the mountainside, he finds Rickert has become a damn good smith and forged swords as grave markers for the hundreds of fallen Band of the Hawk members, Casca has run off to God-Emperor knows where and Godo is full blown stage 4 dying. Setting off with an elf (really fairy) named Puck towards the Tower of Conviction, he once again stumbles upon a rash and borderline irritating thief boy named Isidro about to be slaughtered by thieves when they, in turn, are slaughtered by Kushan (for those of you that didn’t read the article, imagine crossing ninjas with Persian Immortals from 300) and they are in turn slaughtered by Guts who has spent so long killing feth awful daemons that mere humans are almost an afterthought.
Concurrently, Farnese and her knights are Oscar Mike to the Tower of Conviction with an inquisitor in tow (literally the Spanish Inquisition equivalent to the Holy See and trust me, no one expects them) when they are ambushed by pissed off farmers who had their families “judged.” This ends about as well as you’d expect with the inquisitors coming out pissed off and wrecking people with various torture devices. At the actual Tower of Conviction, we have Casca in her mentally incompetent state being cared for by the most charismatic hookers you’ve ever met, barring Nina because to hell with that bitch. A couple of orgy-loving cultist encounters later Casca is worshiped by a cult as the Black Witch thanks to the help of the daemon fetus.
So we find all the players coming together with Casca about to be executed, the insane Inquisitor Mozgus and his crew have become angel-esque Apostles, and the Tower of Conviction has become a battleground with few survivors in the outside area remaining. The dead acting as another sacrifice, Griffith is then channeled into the world via his rape-induced Daemon Fetus. Farnese and Serpico along with Isidro and Puck head out with Guts on what aims to be an amazing adaptation of the manga if you can ignore the CG. While I can’t recommend this as hard as the 1997 version, I do say you should read the manga because it includes a number of awesome scenes that were omitted from fiercer battles to horrifying child scenes.