This is one of those rare times when the anime clearly outshines the original manga. I have heard people praising the manga for its violence, graphic nature and story. However, as the manga goes past the Golden Arc (story the animated series covers) the story and art style are too erratic for me to enjoy. The original animated series is where people should start and stop. I still need to check out the movies once they complete, but I'll probably still stick with the OVA.
For me this is the best representation of medieval animation I have ever seen. One could say this is the Conan Barbarian of the anime world. Mercenaries are commonplace in the battles being fought and here we follow a quiet moody protagonist who moves through the times always in survival mode. We see him grow from his adolescence into manhood, all of it revolving around the life of a mercenary and one mercenary band in particular, Band of the Hawk.
The anime completely captures the characters and times the supernatural element perfectly. Those who enjoy a dark demonic presence that constantly shrouds the battlefield will enjoy this series. When the story goes to impact the viewer it does so like a sledge hammer. The story shows its weight gradually and builds up to very strong moments.
SCORE 10/10I very badly wish there was more, but this series is perfect. Had the creator kept the manga in 14-28 volumes and completely revolve around the God Hand I would praise the manga more. However, comparing the two I suggest STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THE MANGA (with no satisfaction or end in sight...) and immerse yourself in the OVA.