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DVD Review

Volume 5 - Requited Desires


Starring (voice): Nobutoshi Hayashi, Toshiyuki Morikawa and Yuko Miyamura
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 19 May 2008

In medieval times a man lives or dies by the sword. Guts has joined the Band of Hawks, an elite fighting force who fight for the Kingdom of Midland against their mortal enemy the  Cudan, but can a man born from his dead mother’s  womb really change his destiny or is he condemned to be shackled to the wheel of fate as each step he takes brings him closer to a fate that will change Guts and everyone around him.  With Midland safe from invasion Griffith is now disposable and the queen moves to have him removed...

Berserk: Volume 5 - Requited Desires, continues the well scripted, if equally weakly animated, story of Guts and the Hawks. This latest volume covers episodes eighteen to twenty-one, so only one disc to go to finish the show.

Chapter eighteen: Tombstone of Flames. Although it looks like the queen has gotten her way by poisoning the commoner Griffith, before his tryst with the princess gets out of hand, things are not always what they seem as the assassin is cut down during his escape by Guts. Griffith is indeed alive and, though he may look angelic, his cold blooded burning of the Queen, and her co-conspirators, shows that he has a ruthless streak.

Chapter nineteen: Separation. Guts has literally had a gut full and determines to leave the Hawks. Griffith continues to show his ruthless side when, rather than let Guts leave, he challenges him to a duel to the death. But Guts has grown both strong and skilful with his sword and cleaves Griffith’s sword in two before leaving the Hawks for good. Enraged with his defeat Griffith seeks out the princess and takes her. Although satiated by his act of both power and revenge Griffith is unable to make his escape and is apprehended by the castle guard.

Chapter twenty: Sparks. Guts returns to his home and Godo the sword smith. While he practices his sword craft he ponders on the meaning of his life, likening it to the sparks which flash off clashing blades. In this moment Guts determines never to belong to another, but to stand alone, his own man. Before he leaves he discovers that the Hawks are on the run, with bandit hunters close on their heels. When their camp is discovered it looks like they will be overrun and killed, that is until Guts turns up.

Chapter twenty-one: Confession. The hawks are battered and bruised, but still determined to rescue Griffith. Within the camp there are those who welcome his return, whilst other find it difficult to forgive Guts’s year long absence, including Caska who tries to kill him.

Audio options remain English or Japanese with optional subtitles and the extras have an interview with the producer of Berserk, Tushio Nakatani (18 min 01 sec) which is another welcome addition. There is no production art this time, but they continue to include the, so called, outtakes (8 min 40 sec) which remain amusing rather than laugh out loud funny, but still worth watching. The show is presented in 4:3 aspect ratio.

One of the interesting story elements is the duel transition of Guts and Griffith; certainly over the four episodes here Griffith has become more amoral as Guts starts to discover that what he wants is freedom and honor. It will be difficult to know how these two can ever be reconciled.


Charles Packer

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