were not called dark ages for nothing.
Battlefield carnage and an inflexible class system are the realities of
the day. Yet, the charismatic leader of
a band of mercenaries has unthinkably lofty aspirations in Toshiyuki Kubooka’s Berserk the Golden Age Arc I: The Egg of the King (trailer
feature anime adaptation of Kentara Miura’s popular manga series, recently
released on DVD and Blu-ray by Viz Media.
relatively young looking Guts is a ferocious sword-for-hire if paid well enough,
but he is not a joiner. Nonetheless, the
mysterious Griffith is determined to recruit him for his “Band of the Hawk”
mercenary troupe. While Guts easily
overpowers Griffith’s best warriors, including the fiercely loyal Casca, he is
no match for their angelically effeminate leader. Bested in a fair fight, Guts swears fealty to
Griffith, quickly becoming his favorite.
to Guts’ reckless courage, the Band of the Hawk earns the gratitude of the
Midland Kingdom. Much to the shock and
disdain of the nobility, Griffith is rewarded with a title. However, he has even further ambitions,
including catchy the eye of the Princess.
It will probably end badly if you believe the prophecy of Nosferatu
Zodd, but you can’t always accept the word of giant demonic mercenaries.
the Berserk series was produced in
Japan (with the original Japanese soundtrack available as a DVD option for
purists), it was clearly shaped by the Medieval Europe that served as the
foundation of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and most subsequent epic fantasy
series. Yet, the anti-heroism of Egg is rather distinctive. Indeed, the opening battle sequences are
unusually stylishly by anime standards, yet surprisingly brutal.
for mature audiences, Egg should be
considered anime for Game of Thrones fans. Blood will definitely run. There is even some brief fan service provided
by Casca. While most of the target
audience is probably already familiar with the franchise characters, new
arrivals pretty much have to roll with the punches. We can glean there were some difficult
childhoods in the past, forging everyone into lethal warriors. Of course, how much characterization do you
need in the middle of a full scale siege?
As dark and moody as Egg gets, it never lets the angst interfere with the action. As a result, the awkwardly titled Berserk the Golden Age Arc I: the Egg of the
King delivers all kinds of hack-and-slash, making it a fitting stocking
stuffer for a reasonably “grown-up” fantasy fanatic awaiting the new season of Thrones and the final Wheel of Time novel. Recommended pretty enthusiastically for genre
and anime fans that prefer blood and guts over magical devices, Berserk … King is now available for home
viewing from Viz.
Labels: Animated films, Anime, Berserk series, DVD, Fantasy cinema, Japanese Cinema, Manga-based films