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Messages - Roderick

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Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: June 27, 2013, 04:56:35 AM »
How could this studio flop this project so badly? I mean, they been working on this thing since 2009 right? Didn't they take their time? This is like the fast food drive through version of Berserk. It cheap, not all that tasty as the advertisement dictates, a little bit unrecognizable at times when eating watching it, and bad for you.

I'm all for the entertainment equivalent of a greasy fast food burger if it's essentially promised and expected from the get-go, but the trilogy commits a greater crime by processing and delivering fast food leftovers out of a banquet of prime cuts of steak.  And unlike what the advertisement indicates, there's no soft drink to help wash it all down.  :troll:

Podcast / Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 36
« on: June 24, 2013, 06:53:25 AM »
Entertaining podcast :ubik:  Just a few thoughts I'd like to add

I personally don't think these movies ruin the series for me.  As with watching the first two, they've helped me realize how great the manga is or even how good the '97 anime is in comparison.  Like its many missteps would jog my memory in recalling how much more effective and well crafted the source material is or how it did or (most often) did not live up to the '97 anime.  However, I do think it does cheapen the franchise with such lazy crap.

As for my least favorite. I honestly can't decide.  I used to think that the first movie was the best, but really they all now blend into one mess of ineptitude and mediocrity.  I think right now in retrospect I'd consider the first film the most forgettable, while the other two at least have some humorous "what were they thinking?" embarrassments that at least keep them memorable.  I think both 2 and 3 have a higher camp quality than 1, but between the 2?  The Doldrey and Charlotte  scenes are pretty hard to top, though some of the oddball changes to the Eclipse come close.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Golden Age Arc III: Descent [Review]
« on: June 23, 2013, 04:49:10 PM »
  • Gaiseric scene too heavily underscores the similarity between SK and him--same blade, glowing eyes and all. Originally, Guts makes that inference. Here, it's simply laid out on a plate. Lame.
Good point.  It also doesn't help that the Gaiseric scene is shown within minutes of the introduction of SK

  • Carcus doesn't break his sword, so there's no punctuation to the scene. It just ends with them crying. Utter failure.
Oh man, that's right.  I was looking forward to that, but just led to Carcus weeping.  Utter failure is right.

  • The old woman/Conrad & Ubik is portrayed as far too manipulative and literal instead of casual, mischievous
I also didn't like this unsubtle change , but I let it slide. 

  • Carcus' death shown on-screen, finally confirming that he didn't just run off and marry that xenomorph apostle. Case closed, you guys!
Haha, pretty anticlimactic too.  After wondering what horrible death Carcus faced in his compromising position (too horrible to even show?) his death turns out to be as bland as possible.

  • Casca doesn't go down fighting.
Oh God, that was bad.  Like in Movie 2, Casca doesn't even put up a fight before her impending rape like in the manga.  To Movie 2's credit, they at least left in the stab with a pointed stick.

  • Guts' "OH Face" during love scene. Cumming rainbows.
The sex scenes in the movie were pretty poorly handled overall, but the Guts x Casca scene was definitely the most awkwardly handled of the two.  The music was the only good part in a scene.  At least they fought the urge to include an equivalent of the Griffith x Charlotte foreplay scene in Movie 2.

While I thought Griffith's character portrayal was less terrible than his costars in the movie, that lack of subtlety in his feelings toward Guts was definitely a downside.  I guess they felt the need to make Griffith's motives more blatant after he was stripped of most of his complexity in the previous two movies.

  • Griffith's descending scene is straight out of the star gate sequence in 2001. Previous reviewers simply saying "cavemen" just scratches the surface: He has knowledge over all time and space, cell mitosis, other galaxies, all human history. The most fanfictionalized portion of the movie.
  Very similar indeed, with Griffith's vision of the infinite mysteries of the universe going almost parallel with David Bowman, though made worse through the the need to simplify and explain Griffith's conclusion after witnessing it all.  I may go so far as to call it the most fanfictionalized portion of the whole movie trilogy

  • And the most egregious failure of the movie: Guts *surprises* Femto? Really? Femto has to use his power to subvert Guts' effort? Utterly absurd fan service.
It also doesn't help that it mostly apes Guts' encounter during the Black Swordsman arc with Guts "almost" hitting Femto with his sword before getting effortlessly knocked back.  If the Black Swordsman arc is ever animated it's going to look an awful lot like deja vu.

  • What's with the shuffling-motion sex animation? Happens with both Guts and Femto. Seriously, these guys fuck like I clap. I'm docking points.
Agreed.  Like the last movie, much of the sex looks like flat, unstimulating humping

  • No demon child? Unforgivable.
It kinda makes sense since the movie doesn't cover any Volume 14 material, but they should have done more with the post-Eclipse set-up, especially the demon child.  I seriously doubt future movies, if they actually get made, will cover the Volume 14 material before the Black Swordsman timeline and the demon child very important to the ongoing story and lore, while highlighting the deteriorating and increasingly frustrating relationship between Casca and Guts.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Golden Age Arc III: Descent [Review]
« on: June 23, 2013, 03:21:19 PM »
Erica mentions him when Guts asks where they are. She said they were in Godot's hidden cave, no further information given  :puck:.
Rickert is shown during the scene in which Guts returns to the camp, so he's been there all along. He just disappeared between Griffith's rescue and the Eclipse. Again, no further information given.
Another odd omission, because his ominous line to Guts would come across quite cool on the big screen, I think. Much like his cut scene from Movie 2.

What'd you rate it, Rod?

Okay, I redact those first two points.  Thanks for the corrections.

I generously rated it 2/5, though it's leans more to a 1.5/5.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Golden Age Arc III: Descent [Review]
« on: June 23, 2013, 09:47:05 AM »
Finished watching Movie 3 and while it's not quite the trainwreck I expected, it's still pretty awful in many ways. I've decided to break down my thoughts down to what I thought into a predictably lopsided list of pros and cons.


- The prison descent.  Very good direction in regards to the Gaseric reveal, depicting the horrors of the prison, and following the torch to the branded corpses.  Much of this was cut in the TV anime and the movie depicted it fairly well

-Scenes at the Hawks camp.  The bulk of the character development happens here with many scenes from the manga faithfully adapted.  Some great direction, art, and animation in spots.  Thais may be the highlight of the whole movie.

-Skullknight.  While he has been watered down somewhat in this adaptation, he was still a striking presence and as a character was handled adequately

-Pre-sacrifice Eclipse.  The "introduction" to the eclipse was handled about as well as I reasonably expected.  Once  Griffith sacrifices his companions, it gets more dicey.

-SK vs Zodd.  Not perfect, but cool enough on its own to be enjoyable

- Griffith character development.  While nowhere near flawless in execution, he comes out the least tarnished in this film.  Despite some remaining holes thanks to the previous two and a few odd direction choices, his motivations and emotions were fleshed out decently enough to make his scenes in the movie work better than those of most other primary characters.

-SK Eclipse rescue.  Generally fine execution and a well done adaptation for the most part.


-Guts & Casca's character development.  Guts is the worst offender.  The lack of depicting his inner thoughts and fleshing out his many flashbacks and backstories is critical at this point.  The reasons why he left and came back, why he's a natural struggler, etc remains elusive in the film adaptations and is only left to rather open interpretation.  His relationship with Casca is also pretty undercooked--he loves Casca because...? (More on this later).  Casca's individual depth is similarly lacking.  Unsurprisingly, much of what does get fleshed out with these two is through their relationship with Griffith.

-Guts' glorious return.  Why does he return?  Who knows.  To add insult to injury he has very little interaction with the other Hawks other than Casca afterwards.  He just shows up because the plot demanded it.  The lack of any scenes of his past years wandering is a seriously flawed omission on many levels.

-Silat the Kushan thug.  Other than his looks and fighting technique, there is absolutely nothing memorable about this skinny guy whom Guts defeats in the blink of an eye.  He has no real character to speak of other than being a strawman baddie for Guts to effortlessly knock down and never be spoken of again.  What a waste.

-Guts' and Casca's night of passion.  While some moments during their fight and Casca's free fall are well done, the whole scene of those two together is so stripped down as to be anemic.  I guess we learn that Guts cares for Casca and how they both feel about Griffith, but that is really about it.  There is no depth here due to the removal of all the scenes and dialogue that made their relationship so complex.  The manga showed how fragile their emotions really are once they let their guards down and sharing their inner demons.  Aside from the beginning fight, which alludes to possible deeper emotional complexity, we get a sex scene followed by cute banter.  Bah!

-No Godo or Godo residence.  As the filmmakers would rather not bother delving into Guts' life outside of the Hawks, the depiction of Guts' actions and insights in those sequences at Godo's place is unsurprisingly gone.  As Godo did not interact with the Hawks, his entire character and connection with Rickert and Ericka is deemed disposable (more on this later).

-Snoopy Skully.  Why did SK have to meet Guts during his lovemaking?  Was there no better time?  Very silly decision on the movie's part.

-Infiltrating and Escaping the dungeon.  Okay, so the Hawks get into the dungeon through some vague secret entrance through stone tombs.  I can buy that, but how the deuce do they escape?  Guts kills a bunch of guys on the stair and the very next scene is them boarding a stagecoach.  What?  Not only do we get no explanation on why they don't use the secret passage to escape, but they don't even bother showing Guts waste the soldiers, just eliminating any possible suspense in the Hawks escaping the dungeon.

-No Bakiraka assassins or Wyald.  Had these scenes been included, this probably would have comprised the end of the third movie with the Eclipse comprising the fourth.  That is, if the film team cared about having a faithful adaptation.  But once again these two sequences remain unanimated, because further insight into the Kushans, Apostles, and te Eclipse ceremony is something utterly disposable to get the the Eclipse faster.  Whatever.

-No pre-Eclipse Rickert scenes.  Not only is any interaction between Skullknight and Rickert established in the film nor does he witness apostles beforehand, Rickert gets no character development whatsoever.  He shows up at the Eclipse after being separated from the Hawks for years...just because.  When Ericka appears for the first time, Rickert is friends with her...just because.  What was Rickert doing all those years?  The movie doesn't care.

-Berserk beaver.  The movie (the R18 edition anyway) shows copious amounts of vaginal nudity.  Which some of this was in the manga (minus the bush) there seems to be many more exposed shots of Slan's nether region which Slan mostly covered up in the manga panels.

-Teflon Guts.  Unlike the manga, Guts recieves next to no cuts or lacerations during his fight with multiple apostles.  There is hardly any blood on Guts at all until he falls into the blood pool with its contents fusing to his body, looking more like a spray-on shiny red paint.

-Griffith's "descent".  While the art design is unique and stylized, much of this is the movie's non-canon interpretation of Griffith's psychological and physical transformation into Femto.  It bears little resemblance to the manga's interpretation and assumes to give Griffith new motives in wanting to be Femto.  Much of it felt unnecessary and hollow.

-Gaston's final moments.  Because the film team either didn't want to pay anyone to voice Gaston or to go through the trouble of animating his head exploding, Guts only has Gaston's decapitated face to remember him by.  Considering Rickert got hardly any development Gaston had no chance at even getting this token scene animated.  We were lucky Guts bothered to look at his face.

-Guts' rubber arm.  Seriously, that stretched out arm looked ridiculous as he was tugging away.  To make matters worse, Guts' couldn't even bother severing his arm completely, only loosening it up and slowly yanking his muscles apart like taffy (gross!)

-Freudian Guts.  The movie repeatedly juxtaposes shots of Femto's violent rape with Guts repeatedly stabbing his arm with his broken blade.  Uh, no.

-Guts gets a shot at Femto.  This was a really stupid addition just for the sake of showing off some cheesy supernatural hokum from Femto.  Okay, lets ignore that this completely contradicts the scene in the Black Swordsman arc in which Guts would be rendered unconscious due to his brand by being that close to Griffith and that it goes so far as have Guts actually directly overpower Griffith's barrier with a broken hilt.  Even as movie-only material it also contradicts the later scene in which Femto attempts to fend off Skullknight and is surprised by the power he possesses.  When blasting Guts 50 feet into the air, he shows absolutely no surprise like he's fully aware of his power.  Just embarrassing.

-Zodd MIA.  After SK's rescue, Zodd apparently vanishes either apparently defeated by SK or just left without caring about the outcome of the Eclipse.  He shows up only during the duel to state that he's had a rivalry with SK for 1000, but doesn't bother to be around when SK leaves and returns a couple minutes later?  Zodd really gets shafted.

-The epilogue.  Mostly one hot mess after another.  Guts wakes up in a cave and because the movies didn't bother establishing that Guts knows who Ericka is or vice verse, Rickert does all the exposition here that isn't already cut.  I didn't have a problem with the Casca scenes.  Guts leaves in a panic amidst mostly impersonal memories of the Hawks, is attacked by the ghosties, and STEALS SK's SWORD and proceeds to kill them.  This only causes SK to comment that he is the personification of the struggling man, or something to that effect.  Why?  Who knows.  It would have had more of an impact if the movie left in Guts telling off SK and vent the feelings that lead to his Black Swordsman persona, but as is, it just ends with Guts taking swipes at ghosts.  Lame.

-Black Swordsman teaser.  Seems almost like mandatory fanservice.  He gets this armor and weaponry from nowhere, equips it and leaves again with no acknowledgement of Godo's existence despite it all being his stuff.  One would hope this means the Black Swordsman arc is the next movie in the line-up but I know better.

-Music.  Passable, but pretty generic for this feature.  There are a few decent tunes, but the soundtrack absolutely pales in comparison to the TV series.  Some odd choices, like the piano solo being the cue for Femto's rape of Casca, stand out as well.

-Sloppy CGI models and 3D animation.  While it's handled better in some areas, such as the God Hand or Silat sequences, there are many other times where it just looks amateurish.  Midland soldiers and much the the Hawks look terrible with the bare minimum of detail, often looking like rounded glass action figures with eyes, a nose, and face painted on.  The animation of the 3D models also tends to be either (or both) jerky and lethargic.  Carcus on more than one occasion looked like a malfuctioning robot.

-Facial expressions.  As a film that is suppose to evoke the feel the manga, this fails pretty hard.  Miura knew when and how to exaggerate the the characters when necessary, this case being extreme emotion.  Through out this whole movie the facial artwork has a toned down quality to it, most likely hampered by heavy use of 3D models and using conservative on-model character layouts to a fault.  When Guts is driven to the edge of sanity to the point of hacking his arm off the art never strays from a stock "very angry" expression.  Guts desperate cry after Femto finished raping Casca is notably weak in terms of both art and voice acting.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: March 29, 2013, 11:00:39 PM »
The first one was alright, though the only real memorable part was meeting Ryan (Kill!)

I played the game and overall I thought it was very good myself.  The story is a lot more cohesive than the original Bioshock, which had a more cryptic approach to its storytelling.  Not to spoil anything, I found the narrative takes a pretty sharp diversion halfway through the game from an overarching action/adventure story and social/political themes to a more specifically sci-fi narrative.

The immersion is also better this time around, with Columbia given a much better overall atmosphere than the first one--though the fact that it is more populated with NPCs probably helps.  There are a some lengthy fetch-quest style mission diversions that sort of slow the game down (one almost laughable in its ultimate pointlessness) yet they still manage to add moments of plot and character depth.  Some serious anachronisms bugged me early on as clashing pretty strongly with the supposed 1912 setting, and while much of it is explainable once the latter sci-fi plot developments are introduced, Booker and Elizibeth definitely don't talk like people born in the 19th century.  Odd considering most the the NPCs and audio logs do better in at least attempting historic accuracy in that regard.

The gameplay is very much like the first game with a few extra gimmicks added to it.  No real complaints there, but there wasn't a drastic departure in that regard.  It felt more polished, the some of the more detail-oriented aspects of it are a bit lacking.  For instance very little of the environment is destructible outside of mission-specific objectives, even bottles getting only dents from machine gun fire.  Also, enemies are the damage-sponge sort that only really get pause from direct gunfire when knocked down or killed.  Lastly, why does the "Dollar Bill" vendor have the same vocalized audio sound bites as the ones in Bioshock?  It was annoying in Bioshock, and it continued to annoy me in Infinite.

The story I guess but also the whole style and atmosphere was a turnoff. Just didn't do it for me. I didn't think it was scary or anything and the enemies seemed almost too childish or cartoony. I'll check Infinite out though. Can't not play a game when it's getting reviews like this is.

It's worth a shot, but this game is not that much different in those respects.  In the latter part of the game, it does go for more of a horror-like atmosphere and there's a pretty heavy camp element in some of the combat and enemies (i.e. killer robot George Washington) and there is a fair amount of action movie style one-liners throughout.  It's an improvement over the original in general, but no guarantees it will entirely suit your tastes.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: February 16, 2013, 10:17:27 PM »
I've actually seen it reported that the R-18 version's runtime is 107 minutes, and the R-15 version is 113 minutes. (source: Can you make sense of that? :ganishka:

Those boring parts where things aren't getting killed or where characters aren't showing any skin had to go.  Necessary cuts for the R-18 experience  :troll:

Seriously though, this is most confusing.  The Japanese Film Classification and Ratings Committee also have the same runtimes for the two versions, 1 hour and 53 minutes for the R-15 version and 1 hour 47 minutes for the R-18 version.  What gives?

Of interesting note is that the R-18 version was given its rating a month before the R-15 version was accepted.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: February 05, 2013, 08:23:28 PM »
Actually, the way that sentence is worded, it sounds more like: "Boy, they really went overboard with this thing!"

I'm wondering about that myself.  The film crew has made attempts to "update" action sequences in the previous films.  Maybe there's more focus on the specific slaying of Carcus and Pippin among other things?

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: February 05, 2013, 08:08:27 PM »
"Descent is quite simply the most graphic mainstream anime movie I have ever seen."
Considering what the main movie demographic boils down to, it's hardly surprising.  Especially when the article's hook is "The Third Berserk Movie is by Far the Most Violent Thing I Have Ever Watched" there's really not much else to say.

"Berserk: Golden Age Arc III: Descent reigns supreme and delivers an experience surpassing even the original manga in both emotional turmoil and eye-wrenching ultra-violence."

"Wyald? Pff. Pansy" :troll:

No surprise the reviewer makes no attempt to back up such an idiotic statement outside of an empty claim that "their (the cut content's) removal gave the movie both focus and a better pace".  Yeah, scenes like the developing Casca and Guts relationship sure got in the way of the real focus of the story :ganishka:

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: February 05, 2013, 02:15:51 AM »
Those indeed look very good.  I personally find the background artwork to be one of the best aspects of these movies.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: February 03, 2013, 08:27:38 PM »
Source: and

Well, looks like the bastardization of the series isn't over yet.

Seriously, the characters so far are very hollow in these films with Guts being among the worst offenders.  I seemed slightly salvageable after "Egg of the King," but the second film pretty much blew those chances wide open and is already past the point of no return.  The third film looks like the same compromises of action and plot progression over the character development necessary to make that progression worthwhile.

The Casca/Guts romance is the only thing that seems handled at least well enough to believe that Guts loves Casca and is psychologically affected by what happens during and after the Eclipse regarding her.  It's definitely flawed and rushed, but it's more of a "It could be worse" scenario.  Otherwise, Griffith's relationship with the Hawks and Guts/Casca, and vice versa is so weak that there is no way the Eclipse is going to have the intended emotional impact outside of general pity in the Hawks getting mercilessly killed off (if that)

What happens after the Eclipse and how it is adapted is still very important if the "saga" crew has any serious intention of continuing this project.  It's already pretty screwed because the films series hasn't offered many chances to get emotionally invested in Guts personally outside of his ability to fight his way out of tight spots.  However not including the demon child, the conversation with Skullknight, coming to terms with Casca's current condition, etc is a seriously dumb movie because they are among the most significant scenes in how Guts becomes the Black Swordsman and how Guts identifies himself and his struggle in that new persona.

It goes without saying that further installments are pretty screwed if they skip the Black Swordsman arc, most obviously because it completely uproots and mangles the Guts/Puck relationship and how both slowly come to terms with the complexity of Guts as the black swordsman, which only needed to be reinforced when the black swordsman returned after the Golden Age arc ended.  It's going to be even worse considering how much of Miura's visual comedy was watered down, if not outright extinguished, in this Golden Age film series.  RIP chestnut Puck.  :puck:

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: February 01, 2013, 05:19:28 AM »
I believe Griff was the first to say it, but structurally the Black Swordsman Arc already sort of feels like a movie. It's Guts on a single mission. And we see him falter, succeed and then end up out of his league, in a place he never expected to be, directly confronting his nemesis and introducing readers to a larger, darker world. It's a pretty amazing story, almost hand-delivered for screen adaptation.

So I guess the forthcoming speculation will be if we're actually going to see the Black Swordsman Arc done now that this Golden Age trilogy is going to be over and done with in the coming weeks.  And what the chances are it will be good  :schnoz:

I still wonder if there is this mentality of how the Black Swordsman arc would be too confusing to movie goers. We all know it's not hard to follow and that the few things we arent sure of (how this Guts character is in the state he is in, the child) adds to the mystery. I get this feeling that they think it wouldn't be easy to digest for the people they are trying to sell tickets to.

If a Black Swordsman film is going to happen next, they'll probably do one of those pandering "recap" opening sequences that was included in Movie 2 or at least something to that effect reminding viewers what happened during the Golden Age arc and thus erasing much of the mystique Guts had during that arc.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: January 31, 2013, 07:21:58 PM »
On the other hand, important scenes like Griffith's flashbacks and dream/fantasy sequences will likely not be as faithful as the TV anime's were if the first two are any indication.
-Griffith's delusional alternate future, where he's with Casca with a kid named Guts and a dog named Pippin
-Griffith's God Hand conversation sequence doesn't include the child who died, because of course he was cut from Movie II.
Oh, fancy that.  :griffnotevil:

Notes on Viewing:
-Griffith's rescue sequence ends shortly after the escape from the tower. (called it :void:)
-Ends with Guts donning his Black Swordsman armor, a final monologue, but unclear what direction is next

Man, it really does look like a remake of the last 5 TV episodes.  I'm hoping there is more to it between the rescue from the eclipse and donning that armor.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: January 31, 2013, 07:07:47 AM »
I think you're doing the TV adaptation a disservice. =)

Oh, I get you there.  I was more specifically referring to the volume 10-13 content, which appears for now to strangely have very similar omissions, especially regarding Griffith's rescue and escape.  More noticeable since the episodes that covered those volumes skipped or altered the source material the most (aside from the Black Swordsman arc) and is content that many hoped would be restored in the new adaptation  So far, it looks like the new improvements are the anime debuts of Silat and Skullknight along everything from the Skullknight rescue on to wherever the movie decides to end.  Additional scenes surrounding Guts & Casca's lovemaking might also be an improvement if they don't screw it up.  On the other hand, important scenes like Griffith's flashbacks and dream/fantasy sequences will likely not be as faithful as the TV anime's were if the first two are any indication.

The TV anime certainly does appear to look better in comparison since the TV series contains more faithfully adapted manga material than the film series has so far.  On that level, the only thing the first two films have over it are more explicit sex scenes, the King of Midland whipping Griffith, a glimpse of Donovan, and the original torturer.  Of course this is apparently at the expense of several of the in-depth character development, flashbacks, and plot elements.  So far, it's a rather poor compromise.

I'm a little surprised that Wyald didn't make the cut.  Don't get me wrong though.  I didn't think they cared enough about Berserk to try to be faithful.  It's actually the opposite.  The more I see of this studio's work the more they remind me of those Berserk readers who don't really understand the series and always complain because Berserk isn't constant fighting, one encounter right after another.

I thought so for pretty much the same reasons.  Those scenes, along with that of the Bakiraka, are pretty action-packed and fall in line pretty well with what the filmmakers seem more determined than anything to showcase in the film trilogy.  That and the noticeably significant amount to female skin that made the cut in the second film (namely, the T&A), which the Wyald scenes have plenty of.  Maybe the nude, decapitated female cadavers didn't appeal the the same crowd?  For those reasons it sort of made sense why he didn't make it into the TV anime (censorship and all that) but the film is already rated R18 comes across more as apathy toward the source material.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: January 30, 2013, 08:36:19 PM »
I guess the $64,000 question now is if any of the Bakiraka are still in this adaptation.  By the looks of it, they'll all be replaced by a single "rematch" with Silat that might last a full minute.

Even expecting a worst case scenario with this movie, it's still very disappointing that more than an entire volume's worth of material is cut out to basically have a streamline theatrical version of the TV adaptation with the exception of the additions of Silat and Skullknight.  I really hope this is the last one.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: January 30, 2013, 03:54:57 AM »
Better quality than yesterday's upload.  Claims HD, but the native resolution of the leaked footage is SD.

First 10 min:

I've got to say, the CGI and cel-shading looks a lot better in this video.  It looked more blob-like in the previous video.  Also the Snake baron stand-in is more clearly a giant-sized version of the Carcus seducing, arm cannon eating apostle that has been previously mentioned.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: January 29, 2013, 07:09:34 PM »
Something else: (I'm not sure if this was posted already)
Am I the only one who thinks this is really inaccurate for many reasons?
It just seems as if they only published this to make the new fangirls go "OMG poor pretty Griffith what have they done to you"
I just wonder how the hell he can blink in the beginning of the movie without eyelids... Also I doubt the torturer would have removed this much skin at the same time because his job was to keep him alive, so I've always thought Griffith must have been covered in scars due to his skin being regularly harmed but he never had wounds this big because they wouldn't really heal so the guy wouldn't enjoy wounding him again...
There must be a reason why Miura never showed him without the helmet after the torture, so if they remove his helmet in the movie... :mozgus:

If the helmetless model sheet was all there was, I wouldn't be worried too much since it (should be) meant as a rough idea to the animators where to draw wounds and other details for the animation of this new imprisoned/tortured Griffith.  However, since the we're also getting a model sheet of helmeted Griffith with absolutely no shadowing around the eyes and mouth obscuring these detail, it could be another story.

The movie team could still shade over those details and make them less noticeable, but we could indeed get a helmetless Griffith close-up in the movie.  I agree, that it works much better when we only get Guts reaction to seeing Griffith's face to give the reader an idea of how grotesque and horrible was made to look.  Also, it really doesn't make sense for him to have that much skin missing without scar tissue over it, though hopefully a full helmetless shot doesn't make it into the final movie.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: January 29, 2013, 10:08:37 AM »
Accidentally skipped that giant apostle being in the place of the Snake Baron.  I'm not even sure that is supposed to be the same one from the beginning of Vol 1.  Looks more like some cheap stand-in using a leftover armored knight 3D model shaded over with some supernatural wispy features thrown in.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: January 29, 2013, 01:08:00 AM »
I agree that Silat sounds like a random heavy, generally suited to the types of guys Guts has killed after a single encounter.  Not unique or memorable at all.

Also, as Walter noted, I don't expect any more of Griffith's flashbacks/visions from the Eclipse to occur.  It seems all of them are condensed into that scene before the creatures appear through the wall.  The additional, obvious hints to the eclipse were also unnecessary

I was also hoping that the extra time spent on that feature would have meant improved CGI models and 3D animation, but it's clearly not the case here.  The same old cheap soldier models and newer ones like for the creatures oozing(?) through the wall looks rather poor.  The low resolution of that clip may have been a blessing in disguise in this case.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Saga Project News
« on: January 27, 2013, 07:13:40 AM »
Skully just couldn't wait for Guts to put on some pants.  As it is it looks like he was had a good view of the Guts/Casca sex scene and didn't have the patience to wait for Guts to get dressed afterward. :SK:

My favorite part is how Guts' sword goes flaccid at the end of the encounter.  :ganishka:

That really was perfectly hilarious.  Guts' sword/hilt placement, and the moment Skullknight is gone...

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Golden Age Arc II: Capture of Doldrey [Review]
« on: January 05, 2013, 06:48:50 AM »
It's not merely a matter of things changing, though I see how that'd be a convenient exit strategy. Quite simply, these movies suck all on their own. Characters don't reach logical conclusions. Actions are taken without meaningful explanation. Character origins are obscured or simply removed, which makes things confusing for everyone involved. There are so many missed opportunities for development that are instead traded for new or extended action/boning sequences. Seriously, how is that still not being understood?

I agree that this is the crux of the issue with this series at the moment, especially with this second film.  Characters at this point are seriously one-dimensional and the more complex key plot points clash with the undercooked characterizations when the film can't rely on the most basic of motivations.  Guts' duel with Griffith is the most serious offender in this regard.  The movie literally has no (or very weak) build-up to this moment character-wise--it just happens because it happens in the source material and leads to the events of Griffiths imprisonment and the Hawks' exile.  A drunken barroom brawl would have made as much sense.  Griffith's dreams and ambitions aren't even hinted at let alone mentioned, which is shocking given the material covered.

Also, considering these are suppose to be self-contained features intended to generate box office on their own merits, they pretty much only get by on the action and the promise of "adult" content.  They're pretty much like an extended Republic serial in which any downtime is perfunctory exposition set up the next action set piece, more so the 2nd.  So they basically have spectacle and an epic scope to fall back on, but even on that level they aren't very noteworthy.  At the very best, the CGI is competent, but unremarkable and at worst, embarrassing.  There are noteworthy flourishes of high-quality presentation and animation there but it is highly inconsistent.  Comparing either of these movies even on this level to Akira is laughable considering Akira boasted some of the finest animation work in its day, rivaling the best of its contemporaries.  Even today, the level of detail in its animation is laudatory.

The action, which at this point seems to be the raison d'Ítre for this project's theatrical release, is also pretty standard.  It's okay on its own terms but mostly is rather basic hack-and-slash stuff and is pretty lacking in creativity (let alone the artistry, freshness, and level of detail of the manga's violence) once the novelty of decapitated faceless 3-D models wears off.  The attempts at mixing up the action with thrilling attacks and techniques is pretty out there.  After Boscone's tornado spin that looked like a Mortal Kombat finisher, I was half-expecting Guts to start killing people by punching them in the face and Pippin to show up with a cannon mounted to his back.

It would be a bit easier if these were intended as TV specials or OVAs made to generate a quick buck, but releasing it as a feature film puts it under more scrutiny.   At this point, the series has a generic B action movie look and feel to it, except it's trying to masquerade as a though-provoking and complex drama.  Sort of like the desires of the filmmakers to produce entertaining, junk food entertainment is at odds with the source material.  You'd think there would be good opportunity to include much of the manga's penchant for consistent doses of goofball humor, but the movies take themselves dead serious so much of the time (as Aazealh pointed out) that it seems the movies themselves are putting on a front to cover their own slapdash presentation.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Golden Age Arc II: Capture of Doldrey [Review]
« on: January 03, 2013, 03:31:27 AM »
Much creedence was given by some reviewers to the editing during the final sequence, which splices together Griffith's seduction of Charlotte, a bar scene where Casca seems to smell the sex they're having, and Griffith's subsequent torture at the hands of the king. But somewhere around the time of the penis insertion, I was already checked out. The exaggeration of this scene for purely titillating purposes was simply gross. I honestly am dreading what they're going to do with the Eclipse. Like Charlotte sobbing in Griffith's arms before he twists her nipple, will Casca's rape also be serenaded by a tender love theme before they get down to the action?

Yeah, I sort of take back my more positive slant on that scene in regards to how Griffith's motives were depicted in that scene.  In the manga and even the TV anime it is depicted as a seduction/rape scene.  In this film, we get what appears to be a more consensual sex scene that goes out to titillate, while the manga's scene is definitely more uncomfortable.  While it's not something one would notice having never read the manga, it does alter Griffith's (and Charlotte's) character in this movie along with changing the tone of the whole scene.

Podcast / Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 26
« on: December 18, 2012, 11:44:47 PM »
The podcast on the first movie was hilarious so I look forward to listening to this one, which I'm ashamed to admit I haven't gotten around to listening to yet.

I didn't outright hate the movie, but it is a pretty sorry adaptation in general.  It certainly has lowered any expectation that the 3rd movie will be remotely good outside of a few key scenes here and there.  The trailers look pretty sweet, but I suspect the majority will be as amateur an effort as the second or just slightly less so and will be the biggest hatchet job as far as a faithful adaptation (pretty obvious at this point)

Podcast / Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 26
« on: December 17, 2012, 05:35:23 PM »
Great podcast again as always. I did see the first film and it was more or less a disappointment. One thing I was curious about that you guys didn't mention; is there any scenes in the second film where they do that weird slow motion flashback cut? Like they did with Guts' childhood with Gambino? Man that was absolutely awful in the first movie.

The Casca flashback outdoes the Guts flashback in the awful category.  There are a few other uses for effect, but they are brief and more easily excusable.

Anime Asylum / Re: Berserk Golden Age Arc II: Capture of Doldrey [Review]
« on: December 17, 2012, 09:44:48 AM »
Okay, watched the full, uncut feature today on DVD and I'll sum up my experience.  The last 20 minutes of the film is some of the best Berserk-related animation in recent memory.  Everything before is mostly embarrassing.  It's like there were two different movies being made--one low-budget CGI feature that has no business in a movie theater and one very nice-looking hand-drawn/2-D feature that save the movie from being a waste of time.  Too bad the heavy CGI segments nearly dominate everything up to the ballroom scene.

The movie starts out alright with the Hawks battling Adon and his men, and the Guts/Casca scene at the beginning just before the 100 man fight looks as good as I would expect from a theatrical feature.  The CGI didn't look quite as awful as I remembered from the first feature with some generally good quality cel-shading, and the scenes of Guts rescuing Casca and spending those tender moments had some great animation.  With some reservations.

The dream sequence involving Casca being saved from the rapist has to be one of the most self-indulgent scenes in the whole movie.  Not content-wise (though heavily cut from the manga) but in the overly obvious "this is a dream" pretentiousness practically overshadowing what is going in the dream itself.  Thankfully, it's the only such dream sequence used in the movie.  As mentioned months ago, the flashback is cut to the bone to just show Casca's rescue.  Nothing more.

Once we get to the 100 man fight, the movie really goes down hill.  The action fails to be very engaging on Guts' front, with much of the action looking more like footage of the hack-and-slash gameplay from the Dreamcast video-game.  The carnage and near-hopelessness is his situation is pretty much lost here thanks the the overly shiny and stiff-looking armored mannequins that are suppose to represent ruthless mercenary soldiers. Add to that general lack of grit and sinew that made the manga or even TV anime adaptation so memorable and the video game comparison fits pretty well.  This isn't a knock on video-game-style graphics as by today's standards, this movie's CGI is many notches below the norm--the bloody Playstation 2 3D modelling and animation put much of this movie's attempts to shame.  This goes for Doldrey too in a somewhat lesser extent but any 3-D modelling and cel-shading of anyone outside of the main cast is just piss-poor all around  (and Boscone & Gennon .... *shudder*).

The choreography during this fight and the Doldrey fight is also pretty lacking most of the time, as it is mostly generic hack and slashing motions that often don't even try to use the manga as a guide outside of a few exceptions.  Even the most gory and visceral scenes look weak.  Also the musical accompaniment during the 100 man fight is pretty unusual.  Not terrible per say, but the acoustics don't seem all that appropriate and certainly don't help add to the tension the scene is suppose to convey.    

Casca's escape scenes were alright (minus the shitty CG) though she appears more helpless than in the manga, getting pinned down without taking out any of her captors.  Also, some additional breast grabbing was added to the mix.  Obviously to add to the 3-D theater experience  :carcus:

Then, we get to the more obvious pacing issue(s) in this movie.  After the Hawks save Guts and Casca, capture Adon(??), we get some time for the film to breath a little.  However, all that is included in the film is a few minutes of Midland's armies talking about hiring the Hawks for the capture of Doldrey and introductory footage of Gennon before the climactic battle.  No bonfire of dreams, no character development among the Hawks, not even an explanation of how Guts was ready for a deadly assault after being heavily wounded just moments ago.  Just some brief exposition to keep the action junkies happy with another battle almost right away.

Not much more to say about Doldrey outside it is an improvement if only in sheer scope and somewhat better cinematography.  The CGI scenes look like textureless footage of Total War gameplay, but an epic quality does seep in.  The background artistry far outpaces the foreground animation at times that the movie looks like a work-in-progress rough cut that was released prematurely.  The scenes of the battle are mostly faithful the the manga up to a point.  Adon is used as a hostage for some reason and frees himself to fight Casca this time around with Casca vs Adon ending with a stab through the head.  Boscone shattering Guts' helmet is far less impressive in this movie and the less said about the Zodd-less execution of Boscone the better.

One very unusual (and personally unwanted) addition was the added "cost of war" battle scene panning after Gennon gets killed.  Not only being unnecessary, it also implies that the Hawks killed all of Gennon's servants/slaves in the bathing area.  Uh, okay...

Next comes the nadir of the film--No Hulk Hogan pose done by Carcus :mozgus:  (hyperbole, sure, but it was one of my favorite moments)

As we all know, there is no Foss assassination plot in this film, and the ballroom scene is where it becomes most obvious.  Without the buildup and pay-off of the assassination, the ballroom scenes in this movie come across as needless padding that only builds up to Guts dancing with Casca and the Hawks having a good time.  Though at this point, any additional scenes with the Hawks is welcome since they don't really seem all that developed up until this point in the movie trilogy and they still come across as one-dimensional (outside of Guts, Casca, and Griffith).  I agree with earlier complaints on the ballroom dancing padding, though it's not all that long.  Though the long shots of the waltzing crowds appearing to be depicting animatronic dolls rather than people don't help any.  And the spinning.

Okay, now here's where the movie actually gets good barring one huge hang-up:  Guts immediately starts leaving the Hawks the next scene with hardly any build-up and no actual decision being made by the character prior to this point on screen.  Most of those scenes (Bonfire of dreams, Midland pub scene, etc) were cut for the sake of time constraint.  All we have to go by is the end of Movie 1 where he overhears Griffith talking to Charolette.  While it is an important catalyst for Guts' decision, Movie 2 never brings it up again (outside of the "prologue" before the opening credits) nor is Guts ever shown even toying with the idea of leaving before it happens.  Then I suppose there might be some exposition explaining why Guts is leaving as he's leaving, but it's too late and by this time is far more illogical and selfish on Guts' part than it is depicted in the manga or previous anime adaptation.

However, getting past that, the duel scene is gorgeous and superbly handled, probably the best scene in the movie.  Feature animation at its finest and great direction on one of the iconic scenes in the series.  At this point I actually start getting engrossed into the movie.

No Skullknight encounter in this film, but it may be included in the third movie, so I'm willing to overlook that for now.

What's next is the second-best sequence in the film--Griffith's surprise rendezvous with Charlotte and ensuing sex scene.  No, not because of the sex, but how well the whole scene plays out both in quality animation and direction.  Yes, Charlottes reaction the breast grope is unintentionally funny, but the sex scene itself is both artfully done and convincingly erotic.  The violin piece also adds much to the scene as the action and Griffith's emotional tensions build, ending with the haunting scene of in a fetal position on the bedside.  The cuts to the Hawks spending their last moments of freedom were also well-integrated.

The final torture scene is a well-done closing scene of the film.  While the King's attempted rape isn't shown, his true intentions on Griffith's torture and imprisonment are certainly clear in the film.  Also, its good to see a faithful adaptation of the sadistic torturer and not that blasted goat man from the TV anime.

All-in-all, I'd say it's a step down from the first feature.  The near back-to-back battles and fighting in this film take up the first hour of the movie and is handed pretty poorly to boot character development suffers a lot in this one compared to the first movie, though it's still possible to make sense out of some of the characters' actions in the film (Gennon was surprisingly well handled).  The high artistic standard of the manga cries out for a well-animated adaptation and the predominately CGI character design and animation cheapen it almost beyond recognition.  While sometimes the cel-shading is good, much of it bears no resemblance to Miura's work with the hand drawn scenes taking most of the slack.  There's violence, but there is no artistic quality to it or even comparably gruesome outside of a bizarre depiction of Boscone bathing in a shower of blood as men he decapitated soar into the heavens.  

Really, the movie only really gets its footing after the ballroom and becomes less of a chore to sit through.  Too bad it happens in the last 1/3 of the movie.  All-in-all it is a very uneven movie and not something I will watch in its entirety for a while.

For anyone who cares, I voted "So-so," and that's being very generous.

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