Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

The Golden Age Arc 1
The Egg of the King


Starring (voice): Hiroaki Iwanaga, Takahiro Sakurai and Toa Yukinari
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 24 December 2012

An epic tale of friendship and rivalry, betrayal and bloodshed set in a European-style medieval fantasy world racked by civil war, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc 1 - The Egg of the King opens with lone swordsman Guts slaying a massive, armour-clad enemy champion during the storming of a castle. His prowess in battle catches the eye of effete but deadly mercenary commander Griffith, who invites Guts to join his feared company of freelancers, The Band of the Hawk. The Egg of the King focuses on the relationship between Guts, Griffith and Casca - the group's sole female warrior - as they fight side-by-side on the barbaric battlefields of their war-torn land. In The Band of the Hawk, wandering warrior Guts has finally found comrades worthy of his friendship and admiration, but will the power-hungry Griffith's soaring ambitions prove to be their doom...?

A gory and brutal medieval fantasy series, Berserk is among the most popular seinen (men's) manga in Japan, and with over fifteen years' worth of story in print and millions of volumes sold, a movie adaptation can only hope to bring the smallest portion of the series' wide-ranging continuity to the screen. Sensibly, The Egg of the King adapts the story arc focusing on the origins of the relationship between the principal characters, with the drama and horror to come only hinted at.

The writing and characterisation on display in Berserk are more subtle and intelligent than its flatly generic medieval fantasy setting suggest: indeed, the atmosphere of feudal intrigue with dark hints of supernatural menace bubbling away in the background bears comparison with Game of Thrones. While the blunt-speaking roughneck Guts appears simple enough, in his burgeoning friendship with the ambitious mercenary Griffith his fighting talent and intelligence blossom: the flaws in their friendship are tragically apparent to both Griffith and the audience long before they are to Guts.

Griffith, for his part, is a sympathetic portrayal of a man with lofty ideals and the burden of a noble destiny; his speech about the nature of friendship is arresting, with what will evidently be far-reaching consequences for those who overhear it. The other characters suffer by comparison, notably female mercenary Casca whose role as a potential romantic foil to Guts and Griffith is sadly undeveloped in this opening instalment.

Studio 4C's production job is a little uneven, with some truly excellent action scenes and character work let down by stretches of wooden-looking CGI, notably during the opening battle. The musical score is outstanding as expected from composer Shiro Sagisu (Evangelion, Bleach) and the voice cast perform admirably, notably Takahiro Sakurai who hits just the right note of ambiguous nobility as Griffith. While The Egg of the King suffers from being the introductory portion of a massive saga with which fans will already be intimately and critically familiar, it's a fine anime movie in its own right and promises good things for the next chapter.


Richard Hunt

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£13.99 (
£13.99 (
£15.99 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.