I’ve been inspired by Martin’s post on Berserk to offer my own thoughts.
I’ve always jokingly called Berserk, “The story of the Anti-Christ and his best friend.”
That said, Berserk is the perfect show. Really, I mean it. The characters are well-crafted and not only that, they actually move the story forward. Every one of their actions leads to a reaction. The relationship between Guts and Griffith reminds me of the relationship between Brandon Heat and Harry MacDougall. They are a pair who are necessary for each other. Guts derives his self-worth from Griffith and Griffith derives his self-worth from controlling Guts.
The plot is one of the most tight I’ve seen. Even when there is a plot hammer, it’s so well-hidden and natural it just flows in like it was meant to be there. The setting is internally consistent and fitting for the tone and mood of the show. (Even if it’s a little bit bland.) The themes are well-presented.
Even the oft-complained about ending of the show neatly ties up the show if you consider the show to be about their friendship and not to be about fighting monsters. In fact, I would have problems reading the manga after watching the show because the only way the story could go from here is downhill.
In fact, I would recommend any anime viewer watch Berserk once (because I’m going to have some spoilers after this.)
So why not, huh? Why don’t I just make it my number nine and have done with it?
The answer is pretty simple. Berserk is not a show I enjoyed, it was a show I experienced. It didn’t make a mistake with its plotting or structure or character or theme. It didn’t make a mistake other than its final solution to its central question: Can a person challenge fate?
Berserk says no and it doesn’t say no in a fun, campy way of most American romantic comedies. It doesn’t even say no in the “this is why this has to happen” way Donnie Darko uses. It says no in a “the God hand will crush your petty existence” way.
It doesn’t let you off the hook. Martin is certainly right; you will like the Band of the Hawk. You will care about Casca. You will want Guts to figure out what motivates him to fight. Even if you don’t agree with him, you’ll even find yourself rooting for Griffith’s Machiavellian plots.
Then it will proceed to destroy those things, one by one, until they are lying bleeding and broken on the ground.
Because really, who’s rooting for the Ant-Christ?