The Battle for Doldrey is the second entry in Studio 4 C's trilogy of Berserk Golden Age Arc films, and it is a direct continuation of the first movie. If you haven't seen the first film, The Egg of the King, then I advise that you either watch that film first or check out my review of it before you continue.
The Battle for Doldrey focuses more on the politics underlining the Hundred Years War than the previous film did. Following the first film, the Bank of the Hawk, under the command of Griffith, have been hired by the army of Midland, who are locked in an on-going war with a rival nation named Tudor. As the name of the movie implies the center piece of the film revolves around a battle to gain control over Doldrey, an impenetrable Tudor stronghold which Midland has ordered Giffith's band to capture.
Like the first film, the majority of the movie revolves around the relationships and interactions of the Band of the Hawk, however unlike the previous flick, the Battle for Doldrey creates a rift among the lot. In order to set up the next film and continue the arc, a dissension between Griffith and Guts must be established. Thankfully, the Battle for Doldrey does a great job of balancing the peaceful times with the warring sections and delivers a satisfying tear in their relationship.
Politics and character development are the backbone of the story.
Produced in conjunction with the first film, there's little difference between the production of the first two movies. Detailed animation coupled with seamlessly integrated CGI is still the hallmark of the film, and much like the first movie, the low rate of animation can be quite dizzying during battles. The quality of voice acting is still high, and there's plenty of blood, gore and even nudity this time to appeal to basic instincts.
If you were a fan of the first film, then it's given that you will want to watch this one. And if you enjoyed this film, there's little doubt that by the film's end, you will be anxiously twitching in your chair in anticipation for the third and final film in the trilogy. The character and story build up is starting to pay off, and big changes are certainly coming. It looks like the beginning of the next film will mark the moment where the original anime series abruptly ended, and after seeing the preview for the next movie, I got a sick curdling feeling in my stomach from remembering the displeasure I had with that "ending."
Left and Center: The actions and narrative are debased by the poor frame rate. Right: Things are getting real.
If you were weary about jumping into the Berserk Golden Age films before, after viewing two of the three films now, I highly advise that you do. While I can't attest to the films' adhesion to the manga, I can say that the characters, story, world, and tone all make Berserk one enthralling adventure well worth the price of admission. Some might still be off-put by the inclusion of CGI and the low frame rate, but the action and story should more than make up for it in the end so long as the third film pays off on all the set up.
EPISODE RATING: Amazing.
From left to right: The battle of 100 men, Casca becoming more feminine, and this man is now a nobleman.