ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Anime Reviews: Berserk Golden Age Arc III - Descent

Updated on May 16, 2015

With improved visuals, tighter writing, and perfect handling of the Eclipse arc, Descent is the first solid entry in the trilogy, and hopefully not the last.

Title: Berserk Golden Age Arc III - Descent a.k.a. BERSERK Ougon Jidai-hen III - Kourin
Genre: Action/Drama
Production: Studio 4°C
Film Length: 110 minutes
Air Dates: 2/1/2013
Age Rating: 17+ (strong graphic violence, sexual content in both a normal and extremely horrifying variety)

Summary: After the events following Griffith's imprisonment, the Band of the Hawk have been hunted down and reduced to scant numbers of loyal survivors led by Caska. One night, professional assassins with a platoon of soldiers storm the Hawks' camp, enacting a massacre--that is, until a familiar face steps in and turns the tide in the Hawks' favor. After a year of soul-searching, Guts has returned to back up and fight alongside his old comrades. Not long after, the Hawks hatch a plan to break into the king's castle and rescue Griffith from his incarceration, in the hopes that their leader will lead them to great heights once again. Meanwhile, Griffith lies in his cell, driven to insanity and despair, until he sees otherworldly visions of dark beings, who tell Griffith that a great destiny still awaits him...

The Good: The 2D animation; powerful character moments; highly disturbing...just as intended!
The Bad: Side characters left in the dust; forgettable score; the 3D animation, as usual
The Ugly: For a non-pornographic series, there sure is a lot of porn...

You know what? I have hope for this movie series now. The Egg of the King was an abominable train-wreck of a film, and The Battle for Doldrey was okay, I guess, but this? Descent is not only the best film in the series, but also just a plain good film. It seems like the third time was the charm, after all. So then, let's talk about Descent, shall we?

First of all, just as mentioned in the highlights, the 2D artwork looks really good this time around, striking the right balance between modern smoothness and classic Berserk-style grittiness. The use of colors and shadow are also quite striking, setting up a dark and suffocating atmosphere, even out in an open field. To put the icing on that particular cake, there are a lot of interesting settings and backdrops in this film, and the art design makes each and every one truly unique. And of course, the animation itself is quite fluid and often pretty spectacular to behold. For the most part, this is a very good-looking film.

But the real improvement with this film lies in its developing of our main characters. For the previous two films, all the characters just seemed to exist for the sake of the machinations of the plot, but in Descent they finally begin to come into their own. They haven't yet quite perfected these characterizations, but I could finally sympathize with Guts and Caska when they find Griffith in his deteriorated state, and I could finally sympathize with Griffith's obsessive drive for greatness when it's been taken away from him--now of course, the original TV series did all of this even better right from the get-go, but we gotta take baby steps here, and any improvement is still an improvement. Luckily for us, this isn't a case of "too little, too late," as the character development couldn't have come at a better time!

Whoo-hoo! Eclipse arc time! Who's ready to have their expectations trampled into dust and watch horrible, horrible things happen for 45 minutes straight? I sure was! And now the second half of the film continues to haunt me even after separating myself from it for several weeks, embedding truly disturbing images into my brain and overwhelming me with a tremendous sense of shame and disgust. And you know what? That means the director has done his job perfectly. The fact that I felt the same sense of horror and shame that washed over me while reading the original manga, mostly with my jaw on the floor and eyes unblinking, means that Descent truly is a faithful adaptation executed with great skill. I can pretty much guarantee that this film's climax will stay with you long after it's over.

With all that said, however, Descent isn't gonna get away scot-free. Even though it's the best film in the series thus far, it still has its fair share of issues. For example, even though our main characters get some great development and ample screentime, the side characters have been all but forgotten, serving mainly as window dressing. Judeau, Corkus, Pippin, Ricket, Gaston, and even Princess Charlotte appear in what I can only describe as bit roles or cameos before the Eclipse, and considering that they are all an integral part of what made the Golden Age arc leave an impact on us fans, the writer's negligence of them in the story is disappointing.

That is pretty much the film's biggest flaw, though. Otherwise, the soundtrack is utterly forgettable, failing to make much of an impression on me at all, and that God-awful 3D animation continues to show its ugly, emotionless face, and served only to pull me right out of the film and distract me with its awfulness until the 2D animation finally came back and saved my eyes from the pain. Minor faults, to be sure, but they are faults that are difficult to ignore.

So, yeah. Descent is actually pretty good. If you can overlook its faults (as well as handle the extremely plentiful amounts of violence and nudity), then I'd recommend giving this film a look, especially if your only experience thus far with Berserk is the original TV series and you've since longed for some closure (which you actually do get here!). Overall, I'm quite excited about these films now, and I can't wait to see the next arc unfold.

Final Score: 7.5 out of 10. While still nowhere close to perfect, Descent finally manages to capture the atmosphere as well as the human element long present in the Berserk manga, but painfully absent in the two previous films.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)