Written by Rachel Freeman
Season 2 of Berserk began this past Friday with a two-episode special. Needless to say, I’m always excited to be able to watch episodes back-to-back rather than wait a week in between. So I’ll break down the episodes individually and give my overall season premiere score.
*WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED SEASON 1 OR READ THE MANGA, THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS*
Episode 1: “The Rent World”
In this episode we are introduced to an eerie forest that a group of kids wander into and witness the trees begin to shake with haunting laughter, followed by a demon rising and flying off. Nice and ominous, right? Next, we are reunited with Guts, Casca and Puck, who have returned to Erica and Rickert following the events of Season 1. Erica is excited to see them and asks Guts if he and Casca can finally stay with them now. Guts gives a hollow promise, knowing that he is still marked and therefore beasts will still come for him and Casca, putting Rickert and Erica in needless danger. On their way back, Erica casually mentions a beautiful man who showed up and said he knew Rickert. She didn’t know his name, but he had long silver hair. Guts is immediately thrown into a rage and takes off to face off with Griffith before Casca can see him. Rickert doesn’t know what Griffith did though because Guts never told him the truth. So, of course, Rickert is elated to see Griffith and doesn’t understand why Guts wants to kill him so badly. Rather than fight for himself, Griffith, the villain, classically calls in someone else to fight – Zodd.
This is where the episode really takes off. The battle between Guts and Zodd is one of the most epic anime sword fights I’ve ever seen. The movement, the sparks flying as their heavy swords collide. And the sound effects! Ah. I was honestly worried the first episode back was going to be a bunch of talking, but the action takes off in the first 10 minutes.
Of course, eventually Griffith and Zodd leave. Guts must reveal the truth to Rickert, as well as leave with Casca and Puck immediately before demons start flocking in. Meanwhile, we witness the Kushans invading a kingdom, brutally murdering all of the men and taking the women and children captive for who knows what purpose. But don’t worry. A creepy blonde girl assures them that the Hawk of Light (AKA Griffith) is coming and he will save them. Sure. He’ll save you. For now. We still don’t exactly what Griffith’s plan is, because he isn’t Griffith anymore. He’s Femto, a demon. And I highly doubt he’s going to be humanity’s true salvation.
Episode 2: “Winter Journey”
Guts, Casca, and Puck have begun their journey, but the demons aren’t far behind. Guts is still haunted by terrible visions, mostly of a black dog that keeps enticing him to murder Casca. But this is Guts we’re talking about. Like he’s going to fall to demon mind games so easily. Casca gets scared and runs away, so Guts chases her down and has to tie her up. She gets away again, she murders some bandit dudes, Guts gets her back, Isidro, Lady Farnese, and Serpico meet up with them. All of this happens though between flashbacks of how Serpico and Lady Farnese met and their weird bond/relationship/thing formed. Oh, and it explains to us why Farnese is super messed up. Which gets really dark.
Ultimately though, this episode is pretty uneventful. A lot of dialogue and backstory. While it’s enlightening and still entertaining, a lot of information is thrown at you about Farnese when she’s only in the episode for like two minutes. I feel like these details of her past could have been revealed more naturally and maybe even on different occasions in other episodes rather than BAM! HERE’S EVERYTHING AT ONCE FOR THIS CHARACTER MOST OF YOU HATE! I mean, even knowing her past, I currently still hate her. But apparently she gets better (according to my friends who read the manga). While her story was dark and sad and twisted, it left the episode very not-actiony and the plot wasn’t really furthered either.
While I greatly enjoyed the first episode back, the second didn’t meet the standards set by it. Even so, I’m so pumped Berserk is back and you should definitely be watching.