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DVD Review

Volume 6 - God's Hand


Starring (voice): Nobutoshi Hayashi, Toshiyuki Morikawa and Yuko Miyamura
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 07 July 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, with Griffith a prisoner the remaining Hawks set out to save him...

Berserk: Volume 6 - God's Hand sees the last four episode of the show. Overall the story has remained of the highest calibre, even though I still feel that it is let down by its Saturday morning animation.

Episode twenty-two: The Infiltration, and Caska with Guts's help attempt to break Griffith out of the Tower of Rebirth, whilst at the same time others of the Hawks are being decimated by Demons. Guts finds an emaciated and naked Griffith near to death only for them to be captured themselves, but let’s face it this is Guts, a one man army, so expect a lot of the old red stuff to flow.

Having pretty much kept to a medieval theme, it’s kind of strange to introduce demons at this juncture and while it helps this dark show get even darker, it still jars a little.

Episode twenty-three: Eve of the Feast, and the Hawks are fleeing the king’s men with the delirious Griffith, having run out of time they face the oncoming cavalry. Having made good their escape the Hawks contemplate their future, a possible future without Griffith. Even Caska finds it difficult to come to terms with what has happened to her former commander. Meanwhile Griffith’s hallucinations lead him to steal a wagon.

This marks a move back to Berserk's more effective story telling style, Griffith's hallucinations often bring into question what it is the audience is actually watching, though I did keep wishing that he would take his helm off as it made him look like a chicken.

Episode twenty-four: The Great Eclipse, and all hell has broken loose, literally. The Hawks find themselves in a blood red landscape made of many tortured faces. The army of demons make Griffith an offer to become one of them, an offer he finds hard to refuse.

This particular episode contains some very effectively horrific imagery, though like much of the show, this is adult in nature. I’m still not sure about the sudden change in direction of the show.

Episode twenty-five: Time of Eternity. Griffith having embraced his destiny the Hawks are all branded as sacrifices, but even against the whole of the demon world and amongst the fallen bodies of the Hawks, Guts fight on, while Judeau attempts to save Caska. The show ends with what must be the most downbeat finish to any show I’ve seen.

Well that was grim; all I can say is for the love of god don’t show this one to the kids they’ll have the willies for months.

The disc comes with a few extras, there is the usual outtakes (10 min, 16 sec) with the English dub actors goofing around, the Little Mermaid S&M song is particularly great, not sure what Disney will make of it though; a TV advert for the show in Japanese; Paint it Berserk (3 min, 22 sec) which shows a street artist painting a Berserk collage; another opening sequences (1 min, 11 sec) and bizarrely another full on one (2 min, 48 sec). Picture is 4:3 with either an English dub track or the original Japanese with subtitles.

All I can say is that the ending takes such a sudden shift into a much darker place, that you feel the need to go back and watch the whole thing again to see how many clues you missed. I still think the animation is pants, but for the ending alone the show deserves full marks.


Charles Packer

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