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Berserk 5: Requited Desires

(return to disc)

Content rating: 8
Posted 2003-08-11 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by kurt on 2003-09-14 02:25:00

Brief summary of the action: Griffith reaches the zenith of his power when he outwits the leaders of those at Court who wish to destroy him. We see that Guts is the one man he trusts, whom he almost treats as an equal. But it all comes tumbling down when Guts won't settle for the almost, but dares to strike out on his own, away from the Hawks, seeking his own destiny. Guts passes a year on his own, returning to the band when he hears of their desperate plight. He and Caska find out that they missed each other more than they each had imagined.

What is really going on here is a restatement of the theme first sounded in the initial episodes: does a man shape his own destiny, or is he merely a pawn of higher forces? Griffith and Guts are exceptional men with a burning desire to defy fate. In their first encounter, Griffith defeated Guts; the second time around, it is Griffith who is defeated. I believe that the true measure of a man is his reaction to adversity. Guts spent three years serving in the Band of the Hawk, watching, learning, and ceaselessly practicing his craft. He emerges from his servitude stronger than before. Griffith, on the other hand, loses his nerve and his cool. He commits a rash and foolish act in the futile hope of proving himself. I think that this is the beginning of the end (and, based on a very brief scene at the very end of the final episode, it seems clear that his days as a favorite son of the gods have come to an end).

I continue to be impressed by the way that the writers manage to explore deep themes within the confines of an action-filled costume epic. Well, actually, the word "action" doesn't describe this show very accurately; as I've mentioned before, the budget doesn't allow much in the way of smoothly flowing battle imagery.

Some additional nice touches are Judeau's quiet humility and the anonymous -- but familiar -- soldiers from Guts' company who welcome him back. I fear that they won't come to any happy end, but they remain faithful to their captain. Gambate kudasai!

The outtakes, again, made me laugh out loud a number of times, which boosts the Packaging Rating way up there. However, there are two grammatical errors in the text on the back of the box, so I'm pulling the rating down a notch or two.

Equipment used when writing this review:
Sony DVD player, JVC 27-inch TV, stereo speakers

Content: 8 Video: 6 Sound: 7 Packaging: 8 Menu: 7

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