Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: A
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: MVM Entertainment
- MSRP: ¬£19.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Berserk
Berserk Vol. #1
By John Robinson
April 13, 2003
Release Date: September 03, 2007
Audio: When I first viewed episode one on that cold and lonely Friday night, I was greeted by a one of those meaning-free typical anime opening songs that for some suspicious reason weeds it's way into your head.
I have come to love it though, as well as the end theme (usually I don't care for them, but this is an exeption.) Being the anime purist I am, I listened to the Japanese Stereo, and I found it to be beautifully acted.
Sound effects are above-par (especially for a Television series.)
Video: When it comes to image quality, I can be picky, and Berserk is no exeption. While I had no trouble with charicter designs, I believe the clarity and sharpness could have had that extra push. To be fair however, Berserk was originally released back around 97-98, so for a television series at the time, it's not worth bickering over.
Packaging: My! What lovely packaging this has!
Somewhere along the way, I have lost sight of what makes a anime attractive. Berserk approaches this with a rough hewn leather-like cover, along with a sketch of Gatsu in the middle. This suits Berserk well, seeing as it is a "rough" series.
Menu: It's an interesting approach to be sure. You navigate via tombstones and have the lovely silouette of hanging bodies in trees.
On the positive, sunny side, navigation is quick and easy.
Extras: Remember how I said I liked the charicter designs? Well now you can admire them as well as I can, thanks to the art gallery included here.
There is the intruiging "outtakes" feature as well, but it's only available in english, which makes it very un-attractive for me.
Content: Like wine and cheese, it is quite clear that anime heros and swords longer than they are tall go well together. Berserk faithfully proves this fact, and downright embelishes it too.
We open with a handful of castle guards harssing a young woman at a local tavern. Enter Gatsu, the Kuroi Kenshin (black swordsman.)
These are mere fodder for Gatsu, so he just guns them down, courtousy of an arm mounted crossbow. He leaves one man alive and tells him to tell the lord of the caslte he has arrived. After some brief dialogue at the castle, we engage in an epic battle where the lord (who turns out to be a demon) is cut in half by a grumpy Gatsu.
Gatsu rests by a tree, and then reminesces over his life.
And so begins the tale of Berserk.
What I particularly love about Berserk is that there is so much from so little. There's a lot of anime that really wants to be something like Berserk, but they fail at some point. Why?
Balance. Berserk has the right amounts of battle, story, drama and scattered comic releif that makes for by far the best anime series I have seen so far. Berserk is, undoubtably, brutally violent. But there's a lot more in there too. At it's heart, Berserk is about courage and the struggle to survive. Love it or hate it, Ican most definately recommend this series. Berserk will hook any anime viewer that has a taste for epic, dark, fantasy.
52" Sony Projection Television, Standard Sony DvD player