Thursday, July 25, 2013

Berserk Golden Age Arc: Advent

Advent is the third and final film in the Berserk Golden Age Arc trilogy of films produced by Studio 4 C. If you have not seen the first two films prior to reading this, then I advise that you do or get caught up by reading my reviews of them which you can find links to . Advent is the direct continuation of the the last film's story, and as such, spoilers for the prior movies may be contained within this review.

Thus far, Berserk has presented itself as being little more than a complex drama between the trio of our main protagonists. That aspect is important to highlight because it defines the emotions and relationships of those characters. However, Berserk is much more than a simple war story with deep characters. Advent marks the true beginning of Berserk, and with its ending, Advent puts us back at the actual start of the narrative.

A year has passed since the last film and Guts' departure from the Band of the Hawk. During that time, Griffith has been held prisoner and continually tortured while the Band have been on the run from Midland. There's no explanation why, but Guts returns to visit the Band, and from there, they set about rescuing Griffith from the castle. This is but the start of the film, but Berserk fans will already know that the Eclipse is the real center point of the movie.

The story is even deeper and more captivating this time.

Once every 216 years, an Eclipse occurs, meant to choose a new member to join the God Hand. It's a horrific event that involves demons, sacrifices, and the rise of a new demon lord. This is where Berserk becomes what it truly is: not a story about warring nations, but one of men versus demons while still maintaining the connections of the core trio. The Eclipse was the end of the original anime television series, and though the first episode of that series showed events that followed after it, the series' ending was highly disappointing due to its lack of resolution.

The price of power comes at no small cost.

Thankfully, Advent does a much better job with the ending while also adhering closer to the original manga. There is still no resolution to Guts' story, but since Studio 4 C only promised to tell the story of the Golden Age Arc with this trilogy, you can't fault this film for its conclusion. And by comparison, Advent's ending is leaps and bounds better than that of the television series.

Once again, there is little difference between the production of this film and the previous ones. The only thing worth mentioning is that the dizzying frame rate that occurred during big battles in the prior films seems to be mostly eliminated here. While the visual style, a mixture of CGI and hand-drawn art, remain the same technically, Advent is a lot more stylistic thanks to the oddity of the Eclipse and the demons and darkness that stem from it. Not that the early portions were bad, but from the moment the Eclipse occurs, Advent becomes incredibly captivating.

From left to right: The Skull Knight, The art style is intriguing, It doesn't just end here.

Advent is a great continuation of the trilogy and an acceptable end to the Golden Age Arc. Once again, if you've held off on viewing the films until now, then I must urge you to see them. Put together, Berserk the Golden Age Arc is a joy to behold. Seeing this trilogy reminded me that Berserk is truly something special. I can only hope that the rest of Berserk's manga arcs are converted in a like-wise manner for all anime fans to enjoy. And if not, then I think I'm going to have to finally start reading the manga, because thanks to Studio 4 C, I'm hooked into Berserk more than ever.

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