Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen - Memorial Edition ベルセルク 黄金時代篇 MEMORIAL EDITION
Berserk: The Golden Age Arc – Memorial Edition story: He has believed only in his own sword. With no friends, no family, and no home to return to, Guts is a lonely swordsman who travels around as a mercenary in a land shaken by the Hundred Years War. Guts is able to handle a sword longer than he is tall and easily defeats powerful enemies. Griffith, the leader of the mercenary group “Band of the Hawk,” has his eye on Guts. Griffith, who has a commanding power unimaginable from his beautiful appearance and great ambitions, wins Guts in a duel and brings him into the Band of the Hawk to fulfill his own dream.
As they go through numerous fierce battles together, their friends become bound by trust. The bond between Griffith and Guts, in particular, has become something special. Eventually, the Band of the Hawk rose to become the regular army of the Kingdom of Midland, but this was only the first step in Griffith’s quest to reach the top. Guts, on the other hand, is taken in by Griffith’s “dream” and begins to question his life of just wielding a sword. But what Guts doesn’t know yet is the terrible fate that their endless dreams have bestowed upon them…
Golden Age arc. The iconic story arc of Berserk, marvelous manga created by Kentarou Miura. This is the third installment of it in animated format, or I should say “final version of the second installment”. Let me explain. TV series from 1997 was the first anime adaptation of Golden Age arc. Later we’ve got the movie trilogy released in the years 2012-2013. Memorial Edition is just episodic version of the movies, however with many additional things added to the original material, such as improved art, animation, new music tracks, additional scenes, new cuts, etc. That’s why it’d be wiser to call the Memorial Edition as the final version of the movie trilogy, just in episodic, TV series format, and greatly improved in many ways.
Art and animation have gone through many improvements. Some of them were small, but made a huge difference if compared to the exact scenes from the movie trilogy. More detailed facial expressions, 2D close-ups, improved CGI. Everything can be found in Memorial Edition and all changes I noticed myself were either good or very good. Sure, still few scenes had odd looking moments with either weird looking CGI or animation feeling odd, but they were way less noticeable than in the movie trilogy. I was able to detect one, maybe two moments like that. Each one lasted for around 1 second, so unless you are not paying too much attention to such elements, you might not be bothered by such moments at all while watching Memorial Edition.
Music was already good in the movie trilogy and it was delightful to hear one more time tracks composed by Shirou Sagisu during the movie, however, what I absolutely loved in Memorial Edition was hearing Susumu Hirasawa’s music once again, including one brand new track. Mika Nakashima’s performance was great as well, same as “Wish” song.
Episodic format really helped in making the whole series more enjoyable to watch and anticipate next week’s episode, especially if somebody started watching it completely blindfolded, without being familiar earlier with the series from 1997 or with the movie trilogy the Memorial Edition was based on. While I could still feel that many scenes should’ve been slower, but richer in content known from the manga, I didn’t feel they were rushed as much as I had felt while watching each one of the three movies.
Few words on additional scenes: they were of high quality and fit the rest of movie material. They blended well with it and had good direction. While there were more extra scenes than I thought there would be before this series had started airing, it’s a shame there weren’t more of them. They’d surely flesh out few characters more and improve the story by adding more depth to it. Like I said, additional scenes were awesome to see, but after finishing this series one might think not about how they were in the show, but how this show could’ve been like had there been more of them.
In conclusion, I recommend watching it. It’s the very definitive version of Golden Age arc anime created by Studio 4°C. Sure, it is not perfect and story-wise it is inferior to the series from 1997, which had more episodes. But nevertheless it was done with passion and care for details, and was simply extremely entertaining to watch. It’s definitely superior to the movie trilogy.