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AICN Anime - Berserk Makes Its Furious Return

Logo handmade by Bannister Column by Scott Green
Arguably a decade overdue, Kentaro Miura's violent medieval horror Berserk is making its return to anime. Think back to when anime was considered incendiary and not just comfort media for geeks who want to indulge in 2D fantasies. The late 90's saw the advent of late night anime, producing well regarded, mature works such as Serial Experiments Lain. Meanwhile an appetite for such content on VHS, then DVD was developing in North America. Produced in 1997, released in North America by Media Blasters in 2002, few anime cross-overs met demand with supply the way that Berserk did. Its high impact trangressiveness was what was hope for from "Cool Japan," back when it still was. The genres that Berserk fit into are ones that are often driven by spectacle, and as such, I argue that given what video games can now produce versus what they were in 1997, and given the type of genre video games often approach, the position of that sort of anime eroded. Yet, Berserk's characters are realized well enough and the tension of their conflicts is palpable enough that the years and the competition hasn't drained the enthusiasm for more Berserk. The anime opens with towering, battle ravaged "Black Swordsman" Guts wandering out of the mist, past bones into a dreary fortified settlement. What little good there was in the world has been eclipsed. Guts is marked by a brand on the back of his neck, haunted by ghastly spirits and tormented by demons. And, while they seek to consume him, his rage returns the favor as he seeks to throttle the nightmares. In spaghetti western fashion, he comes in out the rain to pick a fight with the local miscreants, putting a cross bow bolt through the head of one and cleaving another with his slab of a sword before they knew what hit them. It's their boss that Guts is after and he throws his body into the conflict, allowing himself to be tortured and brutalized to get within reach of his foe. Berserk then jumps back to the point at which a newborn Guts was discovered by mercenaries under the hung body of his mother. It's a loop, exploring how that infant became the Black Swordsman. Never comfortable with one mercenary group or satisfied with the prizes that motivate other men, Guts moves on until he is drawn into the circle of charismatic mercenary commander Griffith. The anime turns its focus to medieval warfare and politics as Griffith employs Guts and his Band of Hawks in schemes to capture himself a kingdom. As Guts tensely serves Griffith, and Griffith advances his ambition, agents of the abyss begin to bleed out of the shadows and into the world. Everything cracks up as matters that transform Guts into the Black Swordsman come to a head. I've argued that the cyclical structure of Berserk serves to underscore Guts' development, but plenty of others have found the original anime to be too open ended and been eager for more, especially since Kentaro Miura's 20 year, 35 volume run on the original manga is still going (with frequent hiatuses). Lack of additional Berserk has frequently been held up as an example of how anime has failed to capitalize on international interest.
Well, volume 35 of the manga shipped with a sleeve announcing that more Berserk is finally on the way. Singer, occasional voice actor Gackt (New Fist of the North Star) has also narrated a commercial to that effect. Hiroyuki Kitakubo (Robot Carnival, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) has commented that Studio 4°C (TekkonKinkreet, Genius Party) is producing full CG animation for the project. And, a Twitter account has been launched.
Hats off to raito_kun for uncovering much of this.

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  • Sept. 28, 2010, 4:02 p.m. CST

    Oh. My. God!! :O Never thought I'd see the day. Movie or Series?

    by SirGaryColeman

    Anyone know if this is a movie or a series? I probably should read the article.

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Does it continue where the anime left off?

    by Dapper Swindler

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Wow, the end of Berserk

    by Dapper Swindler

    Is just pure fucking nightmare. It's powerful and pointless at the same time. Rich with chaos and madness and nothing more.

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Are you sure this isn't just a promo for the comic?

    by SirGaryColeman

    God, that'd crush my spirits. I can't seem to find much info on this.

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 4:09 p.m. CST

    It says "35" at the end. As in Volume 35 of the manga.

    by SirGaryColeman

    I need more info! My heads gonna explode! I truly love this series.

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 4:36 p.m. CST

    Hell Yes!!!

    by Ripper99

    I always felt that Berserk was such a rich universe that deserved to be explored more. I LOVE the anime, I loved the way it ended, just wanted more. They better continue with the story, or do another flashback with him looking for Griffith. This is the greatest news to come out in a long time!!

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 4:40 p.m. CST


    by Guu-sama

    That's good to hear. Ought to be interesting.

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Awesome news

    by Chief Joseph

    I hope the new anime sticks around for a long time and doesn't just end abruptly like the last one. (And so many others that I like get canceled halfway through like Fist of the Blue Sky or Guyver).

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Woot! Finally!

    by Uopap

    I don't watch anime anymore, but THIS? FUCK YEAH!

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 5:43 p.m. CST

    best news i've heard since... well, ever.

    by jackknifed_juggernaut

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 6:08 p.m. CST




  • Sept. 28, 2010, 8:45 p.m. CST

    I'm hoping for a full re-do.

    by JudasPriestly

    The original anime is what got me into Berserk, but there was SO much content & characters that weren't included. The thought of seeing and hearing an animated Skeleton Knight, the battle with Mozgus and his minions, and Guts in berserker mode against Grunbeld.... makes me salivate!

  • Sept. 29, 2010, 12:52 a.m. CST

    That's awesome!

    by DrGoodspeed

    Probably the only anime I truly liked besides Cowboy Bebop. Berserk is totally bad ass. Man do I have some texting to do.

  • Sept. 29, 2010, 3:01 a.m. CST


    by Demerson

    ... Scott Green has an article worth reading. Also, slowpoke.jpg

  • Sept. 29, 2010, 3:10 a.m. CST

    Berserk fan

    by Rollofpennies

    I watch my Berserk box set every month. Bout time this came out.

  • Sept. 29, 2010, 6:05 a.m. CST

    Amazing News!

    by dawi_pawi

    Cant wait to see it! "Even the horses are cut in half!'' Just hope it still has the 'amazing' opening song!

  • Sept. 29, 2010, 8:52 a.m. CST


    by quicksilver80

    Indeed, the ending is the stuff nightmares are made of...pure unadulterated cosmic it!

  • Sept. 29, 2010, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Hell Yeah!

    by bat725

    What a way to start my day! BEST. NEWS. EVER!!!

  • Sept. 29, 2010, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Good series, hated the ending however.

    by Stalkeye

    Casca's rape was borderline Hentai, but it had to be done for stroytelling purposes. Still play the dreamcast game from time to time and it still beats out plenty of the recent crop of cookie cutters (first person shooters,lame adventure based gaes, etc.) as it was one of the very first games to introduce quick time events way before resident evil 4 and god of war.<p>cant wait for the new series.

  • Sept. 29, 2010, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Do they say 'Coin Detected in Pocket' in this one?

    by Baron Karza

    I love Berzerk & Evil Otto

  • Sept. 29, 2010, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Ninety (90) days, it is, gentlemen!!!

    by The Bicycle Sharer

    I'm gonna repost this in a few other talkbacks. Please be kind enough to help me out.<p>In honor of D.Vader and in response to Harry Knowles's email in which Harry threatened to permanently ban D. Vader if **WE** became annoying in our protests ("Chris will have a 90 day ban, unless he and his friends get annoying, in which case his ban will become perm.") Ain't it cool, guys? Threatening to ban someone for a protest initiated by OTHERS? And remember - this is from the fat liberal protest-worshiping toad himself! Guess "peace" and "love" and "power to the people" ain't exactly all that when it's directed at the capricious whims of you, your contributors and your site.<p>For purposes of solidarity and protest, I'm taking Ain't It Cool out of my drop down menu, set my Outlook Reminder, and am avoiding this site for ninety (90) days - I'll return 12/28/10. If Vader's back, cool. If not, well, like others have said, there are plenty of OTHER sites to get this shit from. The one redeeming grace of this site has been the talkbacks and the people (smart, stupid, crazy, fun, insane, wild, angry people) in the talkbacks. But it looks like Harry et al. have decided to behave in a dictatorial and willfully impulsive manner, alienating many talkbackers. I'm done. See you in ninety!

  • Sept. 29, 2010, 4:18 p.m. CST

    Coolest news I've ever heard on here

    by viks

    As a person who has volume 34 of the Manga in the mail right now, I'm more excited about this than any future television or movie release. Berserk anime ended abruptly the first time because it was meant to be a cliffhanger ending to the first season. When the show didn't get picked up for a second season it sucked for all the fans. The only big thing missing from the anime is "Puck" (Guts' fairy sidekick) and the "Skull King" (a sorta guardian of Guts whose intentions are still unkown). I think there could be a clever way of introducing them right now in the story without having a total remake. The Skull King was off camera when he rescues Rickert from the eclipse, so that's an easy intro as he rescues Guts and Casca. Puck can just join them afterwards too.

  • Nov. 16, 2010, 4:13 p.m. CST

    English Dub Cast

    by JDFord

    I just hope they can get some of the VO actors from the original anime back for this new project. Marc Diraison, at the very least. ~J. D.