ANIME & MANGA - Review
11:07 - 18th December 2014, by Andrew Osmond

Berserk 3

It’s easy to point out what’s wrong and unsatisfying about the Berserk films, whose faults often reflect the shortening of the source material. (They’re based on the epic manga by Kentaro Miura, plus an earlier TV anime adaptation.) Consequently, the films will probably always be undervalued by fan pundits, though this last part strives heroically – and there’s something genuinely heroic about Advent – to lift the trilogy to greatness.

The Advent starts like Return of the Jedi, with Guts and Casca freeing their imprisoned leader Griffith, the man they love and honour. But instead of Ewoks, the story goes on to mutilation, madness and Armageddon, for the characters if not their world. Rage, pity, despair and vengeful madness converge into sublime hysteria, as landscapes turn into lakes of blood and mountains of heads. The film has caught flak for its demonic sexuality, which can’t help but recall Overfiend. Yet it’s playing out a dark fantasy as old as Dracula, a sacrificial rape where the victim desperately desires her rapist. (It’s balanced, Irreversible-style, by a delicately-played consensual love scene.)

The film has more of an ending than the TV version, but doesn’t pretend to complete the story, which hasn’t finished in manga form. Beyond Guts, Griffith and Casca, the other characters are vague sketches (or hyperlinks to longer versions of Berserk), overshadowed by a deus ex machine warrior with a few scant lines of backstory. Yet within its limits, Advent throbs with power.

Much more explicit than its predecessors, The Advent is the most powerful Berserk film by far.
SCORE: 4/5
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