Berserk Golden Age Arc III: Descent [Review]

How would you rate this movie?

  • *****

    Votes: 18 12.6%
  • ****

    Votes: 31 21.7%
  • ***

    Votes: 28 19.6%
  • **

    Votes: 32 22.4%
  • *

    Votes: 34 23.8%

  • Total voters
Figured we'd need a topic for reviews, please post your thoughts/ reviews here and also cast a vote! (keeping the spirit alive of earlier polls, I've combined the poll-text)

Maybe Heisenberg's post can be moved here?
Ok I just finished the movie. I'm gonna start out by saying that this movie is easily the best of the trilogy, however it's also a lot of what we've come to expect. So basically if you liked the previous movies, be prepared to like this one even more. If you thought the previous two films were shit, then I don't think the improvement in quality here is going to be enough to save the film series for you.

So the first ten minutes we've all seen on youtube in terrible quality, so I won't go too in depth on that. The shaky cam flashback/vision thing that Griffith had in the dungeon, while handled much better than the Guts and Casca flashbacks, still seemed like it could have been done better. It was more about illustrating the way Guts made Griffith turn away from his dream, but for those who haven't seen the 90s anime or read the manga it might be somewhat hard to pick up on.

Switching the snake baron with the female apostle was an odd choice, but the change in size isn't as strange as people on here have made it out to be. The snake apostle shows up as tall as the trees in the manga as well, even though when he fights Guts he's much smaller.

Silat's appearance is fairly memorable, but without subs it's difficult to tell how honest they were being to the character. It seemed as though they were making him out to be more sinister than he really is in the manga. There were some spectacular visuals in his fight with Guts and Casca though. Guts' return seemed forced though. Watching the movies consecutively it seems almost as though no time has passed from when he departed to now (at least from his perspective. He never hears about the raid on the Hawks or anything. Having him randomly Batman in to save them without ever explaining to the audience where he's been or how he knew to come will be hard to swallow for anybody who hasn't read the manga.

We get a bit of development for the Hawks when Guts first comes back, but not all that much.

Casca attacking Guts and breaking down sort of comes out of nowhere, but the scene itself is pretty well done. The animation is great here, especially the background with the trees and waterfall, and Casca as she's going over the cliff...

UNTIL THE CHOPPY ANIMATION SHOWS UP AGAIN TO RUIN OUR IMMERSION. After a few seconds of that garbage the scene goes back to normal, and the way the rest of it plays out is actually pretty touching. The sex scene itself was graphic, but without being complete fap bait. One problem I had here is that I felt they were a bit dishonest with the scene. As we know in the manga Casca is in pain at first, and then of course Guts chokes her and has that big breakdown, and it ends with her accepting his dysfunction and taking a "wound" to protect him (emotionally). In the movie the sex scene is made out to be all sunshine and rainbows (literally, they pan to a rainbow at one point). The scene was good from a cinematic point of view, but as I said, not what it was supposed to be with the original story. Neither of them make any mention of their sexual abuse that I could discern.

We've all also seen the Skull Knight's first appearance on youtube and know it was awesome, all I'll add to this it looks incredible on Blu Ray on a big screen tv. They have some spooky clouds roll in and Casca refuses to wake up, not sure if they're going to keep the cloud thing for every appearance he makes, but it fit well enough here.

The next scene we see is Guts Casca and their merry men sneaking into the castle to rescue Griffith. They skipped the rescue planning, but we all probably saw that coming. Time constraints, whatever. It's hard to tell exactly what Charlotte says about Gaiseric, but the scene seemed to be the same as it was in the manga. The one difference that might be the "confirmation" that people were talking about, of him being the Skull Knight, is that his eyes are glowing. But SKs eyes glow purple and Gaiseric's were kind of red, which might just have been a reflection of the fire all around him. Also it might just have been an artistic choice, the character was surrounded by bodies, blood, and fire, so it's obviously not a literal flashback. We even get to see the branded bodies at the bottom of the pit. I'm VERY happy they included that, I really expected it to be cut. We never see the king molest Charlotte.

The violin music when they find Griffith seems almost satirical, I would have gone with something else. Other than that they do a good job of capturing everyone's shock at the state they find Griffith in. Guts going 'berserk' on the guards during the escape is perfect. Another little preview of what he'll be like after he becomes the Black Swordsman.No Bakiraka or Wyald.

More terrible CGI when Casca fills everybody in on Griffith's condition. A bit more character development after with Judeau (not enough though).

The scene where Griffith breaks down in the water is the best emotional scene in the series so far (and one of the only ones that wasn't screwed up in some way). Way better than the 90s anime. You can really feel his frustration and despair, right before he finds the Beherit. Best immersion so far. Then everybody looks up and see's the eclipse starting to happen, and you know the shits about to hit the fan.

I didn't really like the shaky way the Beherit's face rearranged itself, but the overall scene where Guts touches Griffith's shoulder and it starts to scream is great. There's an extremely spooky feel to the setting once everybody is transported to Hell. The Godhand intros are great, especially Void's. We even get a non choppy flashback/vision of little Griffith. The scene with all the corpses is creepy as all Hell. Although one tiny beef here, it would have been better had they included the scene in the last movie of that child soldier who died in Griffith's service.

At this point I should mention that the scene where SK rescues Rickert is completely skipped over. If there's an explanation as to why he's not with the others then I missed it due to not understanding Japanese. Most of the apostles are CGI, but it in no way takes away from the scene. If anything it adds to their creepy appearance. That being said if they continue to CGI them all when Guts takes them 1v1, in the light of day, I'll take issue with that. Each of the main characters get their individual death scene. It stays fairly true to the manga. Although the apostle that kills Judeau looks stupid...

The scene with SK and Zodd is fantastic, although we don't get to see the whole fight. Not that we ever actually get to see them fight in the manga anyway. They always exchange one or two blows, then it cuts to a different panel with Rickert or Grunbeld remarking on the epic battle we're missing...

We see Griffith tripping balls while he's undergoing the transformation with some weird images of cave men killing each other and such, not sure how I felt about that.

Femto's unveiling happened a little fast, considering how much they built up everything else. Not really a fan of the choice of music either, when Femto first started uh... you know... to Casca. Once the idiotic music stopped the rape itself and Guts' mutilation were pretty horrifying. It was more or less in tone with the feel of the manga. The SKull Knights entrance was one of the most badass things we've seen in these movies.

Casca's loss of sanity is almost sickening. In the sense that you wanna laugh at her reactions at first, until you remember the context of the scene and then feel ill.

One wtf moment I had. Guts already has the scar across his chest from where Slan slashes his armor off in the troll den? Some storyboard artist goofed a bit here.

The film ends with Guts seeing the sunrise after fighting off the spirits all night. Now there is some good and some bad news here. The good news is, after the credits we get to see, DUH DAH DAH DAH

Guts suiting up as the black swordsman!

The bad news is that this means they completely skipped the birth of the demon child. I am going to be pissed as Hell if they don't show that in the next film/OVA/episode/whatever. And I don't mean as a choppy fucking flashback...


Staff member
"Enjoyable/ good, but disappointing in certain aspects."

Again with this wishy-washy answer? This is a terribly worded poll answer that covers a wide range of possible feelings. Poll answers should be distinct. Otherwise people pick it because it fits in with multiple reactions.
Walter said:
"Enjoyable/ good, but disappointing in certain aspects."

Again with this wishy-washy answer? This is a terribly worded poll answer that covers a wide range of possible feelings. Poll answers should be distinct. Otherwise people pick it because it fits in with multiple reactions.
I don't really think the wording matters that much. It's basic 1-5 star rating. People will pick that option if they liked the movie but not enough to give it a perfect rating, however it's worded.


Staff member
Heisenberg said:
I don't really think the wording matters that much. It's basic 1-5 star rating. People will pick that option if they liked the movie but not enough to give it a perfect rating, however it's worded.
A basic 5 star rating would be much more neutral, and preferable. These wordy answers are written in a leading manner. "This... but this!"
Feel free to edit the poll Walter, I don't know how to edit the poll. To me, they weren't leading/ misleading the reviewer to imply something they didn't already express in their review.
Heisenberg said:
We see Griffith tripping balls while he's undergoing the transformation with some weird images of cave men killing each other and such, not sure how I felt about that.

I laughed when I read that.
And WTF is up with skipping the demon child's birth? The very best we'll get now in the next movies or w/e they chose is some flashback of it happening, IF they even chose to do that.
I really want to see the demon child wandering the land looking for hugs in the next animation. Even if it means having a silly flashback...
SamNeillium said:
I really want to see the demon child wandering the land looking for hugs in the next animation. Even if it means having a silly flashback...
I wouldn't care if they make it a real flashback, but not this choppy no dialogue shit.
... the trilogy is complete!


Well, I have yet to watch the entire film, but I thought I'd give some details of the bluray.

3 discs

- 1st disc, R15+ version with 4 audio options (jpn stereo, jpn dts, jpn dolby digital 5.1, jpn commentary dd 5.1), jpn subtitles, special features

- 2nd disc, R18+ version with ONLY ONE AUDIO OPTION... and it's sadly jpn stereo... as in NOT SURROUND SOUND. There is NO menu, NO options to toggle any audio tracks, NO subtitle tracks, etc. nada. ONLY STEREO!!!

- 3rd disc, CD, with 3 tracks: BERSERK_episode2_lunar conquest suite, Blood and Guts_despair version, BERSERK_episode3_lunar eclipse suite. All of them sound of the same as the songs from the previous movies, except for the 1st track (lunar conquest). During the middle of the track, there is some Susumu style music going on! Although, I don't think it's actually Susumu, it's a good imitation.

Also comes with a poster. Haven't unravelled it yet though...

So yeah, the big bummer here is that the R18+ version only has stereo as an audio option. This is really frustrating. Part of the joy of these movies for me is the tremendous soundscape and surround sound. The battles (and I can imagine the Eclipse) will be much more thrilling to watch with glorious dts. So... in this case, I think I'm going to have to opt for the R15+ version for now. From what I've read, it seems like it's still the most graphic anime ever, haha, so I think I'll be alright. One day I'll get to the R18+ version. I really hope that when Viz releases the bluray stateside they will have a full DTS or DD5.1 audio track for the R18+... Seems silly not to.


praise be to grail!
This time around, I took a cue from Griffith and took a bunch of notes...


Unfortunately, I'm not that great of a reviewer and most of what I wrote is shit, so I'll try to summarize...

While the 3rd movie was visually better than the first 2, it still felt incredibly half-assed. Too much was cut. I'm disappointed again.

Maybe I'll do a more in-depth review later. Meh. This has been an experience.


Things I Liked:
-Slightly better animation, less crappy CG
-Skull Knight being there
-The animation sequence when charlotte was talking about King Gaiseric
-They did a decent job of making Griffith look genuinely fucked up and pathetic in this movie.
-The eclipse was brutal at times and it was nice to see certain apostles
-I liked the Griffith's "transformation / plummeting" scene. Even though I had no fucking idea what was happening in it. I think they just drew trippy shit half the time, but it *looked* cool.
-Slan's BUSH

Things I Hated
-Shitty CG
-Silat comes off like just some asshole
-Fucked up the love scene
-Fucked up Griffith's rescue
-Fucked up the escape
-No Wyald
-No emotion that was there in the manga was properly expressed
-Judo doesn't get his last words
-Guts VS Femto: There is a moment where Guts almost lands a blow on Femto... And Femto, while raping Casca, has a face like, "This CANNOT BE!" Then he uses his bird powers to push Guts away again properly.
-Lots of other stuff


Last Guardian when? - CyberKlink 20XX before dying
Think you can scan or transcribe those notes Gobs? I can't read most of it. BIRD COCK stands out though. :femto:


praise be to grail!
Dar Klink said:
Think you can scan or transcribe those notes Gobs? I can't read most of it. BIRD COCK stands out though. :femto:
Sure. Here's my notes.

-Opening seq Grif kid kinda looks cool
-Animation vastly improved
-Hawk again.... Oh birdy...
-Knight toy is Griffith's??
-Kid Griff distracted by Guts WTF
-Griffith can see into the future??
-Giant Snaketits
-Opening theme sorta growing on me
-No Guts on his own...
-Shitty CG Horses
-Silat sounds like a prick
-And looks like one
-Guts' entrance not as cool
-Wobbly Silat (weapon) noise cool
-This is horse shit.
-Skip RIGHT to love scene...
-Awkward moment, Casca VS Guts
-Guts' blood looks like chili
-Expressions exaggerated
-Love scene. Only gave me sort of a boner
-"I waited a whole year for some sweet sweet love making and Guts came in like 5 seconds like a frat boy and poor Casca was a knot hole in a tree that somebody shoved Vaseline in." - Grail
-Skull Knight is a perv &/or mood ruiner
-Look at them butt cheeks
-No transition to Griffith's rescue
-GAISERIC!!! (drawing of cartoon dick ejaculating)
-Nice lantern falling
-Griffith looks fucked up
-Lots more 2D animation in this
-CG looks shitty again. Guts escaping
-Awkward escape: Shields on spears
-Getting chased by nobodies
-Saved by Carcus??
-Way to go Carcus
-Nice that they put (Griffith) armor scene in. Guts dressing him up
-Wyald would've helped create despair
-No Griffith's fucked up body dangling in front of them all
-Griffith looks FUCKED UP & pathetic when attempted-raping Casca
-Griffith imagining castle cool when he's in the carriage
-Good job at showing Griffith pathetic
-Eclipse beginning FX cool
-Now is NOT the time for shitty CG
-I love Slan NICE BUSH!!
-Void's brain is too small
-Why are they giants
-Is Slan saying all Void's lines?
-Don't like the blue
-Chocolate pretzels rule
-20% more maggots
-Oh I guess Rickert is gone
-I hate yinyang apostle
-No last words??
-Griffith sinking scene is SO COOOOL ... surreal but cool looking
-(Guts) yelling out names in wrong order
-Bye bye Gaston
-Femto ROARS??
-Too much hesitation on Guts' part (when Femto begins raping Casca)
-Hate slow-mo effect
-Femto powers stopping him? Guts fighting back??
-Skull Knight RULES
-Slan wound?
-Guts isn't pissed enough fighting these things off
- _________
Oh my god, notes! Gonna read em after I see the movie, sooooooooooooo tempted hahaha ... *eyes scroll up by accident* D'OH! *looks at keyboard* ... Did you pause the movie to write all that down?

Seeing all three movies side-by-side does look epic. Sucks on the inconsistency as far as sound/ features goes for the R15+ and R18+. I don't see the benefit in not giving the end-user all options for an optimal viewing experience.


Feel the funk blast
Gobolatula said:
-I liked the Griffith's "transformation / plummeting" scene. Even though I had no fucking idea what was happening in it. I think they just drew trippy shit half the time, but it *looked* cool.
Yeah, I was almost thinking that the Idea was going to show up when it first started, but then
the cavemen
threw me for a loop. :ganishka: It was interesting to see them try something so different. Also, not to be mean, but it was nice to get a break from the regular animation...

Gobolatula said:
-Slan's BUSH
:slan: This just in: the carpet does not match the drapes!

Anyway, despite a few nice surprises (the lantern falling to the bottom of the tower, Griffith's pre-Eclipse moment at the lake) it was more or less what most of us expected: better than the first two, but ultimately falling short as an adaptation. I think the biggest culprit was Guts and Casca's love(?)scene, which pretty much follows the precedent set in the 2nd movie's Griffith/Charlotte scene. That is, missing the entire point and going for some cheap titillation. There's no convincing basis to their relationship in this movie series, which sets the creators up for some serious problems if they want to continue into the Black Swordsman Arc and beyond.

Also, what was up with Rickert? Did he get stuck in traffic on the way to the Eclipse or something?

PS: In answer to your question Canty, I've got to go with the first cover. :guts:
With the caveman I think they were going for the old cliche the first caveman clubs his neighbor to death and thus evil was born, etc. Kind of in theme with the Idea being made up of the evil that exists in human hearts and so on and so forth.

I forgot to mention Guts almost stabbing Femto. I wasn't sure if they were trying to show Guts almost overpowering him, or Femto just screwing around with him. based on the laughs from the apostles afterwards I got the feeling it was the latter.
Goddamn, I just saw it and overall, knowing the previous two were shit, I thought this one was good overall, or maybe I should say more enjoyable. I guess I had really low expectations. But It has its high points, and they just made me hate the way they went on about these movies even more. Because they could have been so fucking good.

One thing that I did genuinely like is the sound effects. And the background art. Them together really made me feel like I was in the eclipse.

There's still really shitty cgi that just takes you out of the moment tho. Some people say they aren't bothered by it, but I try, and I just can't. It's a huge turn off.

The post-credit scene is the tits. That's how ideally it should always look.

I was into it in many parts. Although I'm not saying I'm happy with the movies, this one surpassed my expectations. So yeah, it left me a sense of satisfaction for the most part. I still wish they hadn't made them tho. I would have rather waited for something better. Also I should note that I haven't slept for a while... maybe that changed the experience a bit.


Staff member
Thanks for the reviews guys, though it sounds pretty dismal from what's been said... I'm not surprised, but it's amazing that they managed to fuck up simple things like Guts being pinned down by apostles.
I'll start this off by saying, as bad as the first two films have been in terms of (downgrading the mythology, having the cast be mostly undeveloped and really making the pace feel almost too quick for anything to really happen) I was having doubts about the third film...Honestly though, it was good. Not great but good.

It's impossible where to begin seeing as these films have had a few ups and alot of downs, Descent manages to make up for all those somewhat and ends up being a great closing act for the Golden Age Arc. Although to be fair what happens in these films isn't anything we didn't already see or read about from the very beginning. So I will go through some parts of what I thought were the highs and lows of this movie.

I think the one thing that sounds out still is the Animation being so woefully conceived throughout this film, the CGI is still so unfinished and incredibly wonky and it ranges from being sloppy to just being complete wank. Especially when you see the characters move that's when everything looks awkward and really needed to be properly looked over before being handed in for finalization. For example the transformation of the Behelit and how that scene which would lead in the Eclipse really seemed very uninspired and lacked any gravity especially seeing how that scene was carried out in the 97 anime and in the manga especially really added alot to that. So still the CG is flabby in most parts and stands as the huge problem among so many others.

The 2D on the other hand is still beautiful, there are a great number of times when the film can be/and is amazing when you see how detailed the backgrounds are and how the characters designs look and move from time to time, just seeing that take into effect really was quite breathtaking mostly in the flashback of Gaiseric as well as the tomb of the branded corpses was nice to see that in animation form.

With certain introductions of well known characters like Silat & Skullknight finally appear in animation form was a real treat to see them in this film, only though Skullknights appearance right up to where Guts and Caska have finished their canoodling seem out of place and really should have only appeared right up to where Guts was on his own again for this time in ages. I am disappointed beyond belief that Wyald & the black dog nights were cut out of this film, his character I always was fascinated by not because he was a violent rapist criminal but because of his apostle status always stirred as something interesting, but for so many reasons it feels fine to leave him out.

The characters really I feel over the course of these movies, you really did not care weather or not they died because none of them received any of the fleshed out and well carried development that occurred in the manga & 97 anime. That still stands as a major problem for me as growing attached to the characters from the original duration of the story.

The Music which ended up being nothing more than bland, uninspired and forgettable in the 2 first films is reduced to being incredibly inappropriate as this film plays along because looking at certain scenes in this movie which looking back on the 97 anime only ever worked with Silence so you enjoy the atmosphere of what is going on or with the music Hirasawa provided just because it hit at the right moment. Not to mention the Bombastic and forced Orchestra strings really just seemed to be shoe-horned in right at the last minute. One scene above all others which is a good example is the Rape Scene which having some jarring piano score play whilst this horrible act was going on really it felt less heartbreaking and more unintentionally funny, it took alot of sadness out of that scene for me and made it weird to watch that scene.

To see the Rape Scene as well however, unlike the 97 anime where it was not as graphical or as hard hitting really was cranked up and was as heartbreaking and vile as it was in the manga so I am pleased the film didn't tone that down a tad, however by ruining the scene where Guts is pinned down by the Apostles like Aazealh mention where in Guts charges and just as he is about to strike at Femto just gets pulled back by some psychic blast (AND THEN PINNED DOWN BY THE APOSTLES!) it's amazing how that powerful scene could get ruined and changed in a minute.

So really what can I say about this film is, it has it's moments and manages to do everything the manga did so well and the 97 anime didn't have and at the same time promises some gorgeous animation from time to time. But my biggest problem really with this film was it felt that everything that was in this arc that took place in this movie either happened way too quickly or was not properly carried out long enough and suffered from that habit of cramming too much into a limited running time and just felt like it lacked the time and care it deserved.

Now that this arc is over I am somewhat dreading what will become of the other arcs and how much of that will be chopped up and beaten to death by people with little knowledge of the story. This would have made more sense to make a new TV series than make a trilogy of films that ended up downgrading and changing so much of what makes this story so incredible.

Also one thing I want to point to close this off, as underwhelming and drab the Behelit scene was. The use of slo-motion and mechanical whirring sound effects that sped up and slowed down in that scene worked perfectly in what that scene was trying to get across, One thing that pleased me among many criticisms I have with this film.
I guess that was Rosine who flew by the screen after Puck's cameo? What a fucking mess. There are some cool effects and some very nice 2D animation at times but it's a travesty of an adaptation. It is the 'best' of the three films, but that's not exactly a compliment at this point.

Apart from the awkwardness of Guts being slightly under dressed during their first meeting, Skull Knight steals the show completely. Gaiseric's story was the other highlight of the film. Nice to see a part of the manga adapted without some sort of change.


Staff member
Julalien said:
Gaiseric's story was the other highlight of the film. Nice to see a part of the manga adapted without some sort of change.

From what I gathered there seems to have been some pretty significant changes actually.
Top Bottom