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Berserk 6: God's Hand

(return to disc)

Content rating: 9
Posted 2003-08-12 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by kurt on 2003-09-25 20:09:00

The very first episode of this series tells us exactly what's going to happen .... and in these, the final episodes, we watch it unfold, just as we knew it would. And yet, we can't look away. It's like a car crash, or, better, a man trapped on the roof of a burning building. He's going to jump, he's going to jump to his death, there's no escape -- and we see it all, helpless to prevent it.


The choice is laid before Griffith: continue along the path you have chosen, a road paved with the bodies of those who have died for you, and those they have killed along the way, or reject it, abandon your dream and shrivel up into just another ordinary human being. It's exactly the same as the challenge which Galadriel faced, and overcame. But Griffith is not strong enough to resist the siren song of power. He submits, and becomes a demon.

This sounds abstract, but quite literally describes the action in these episodes (which are numbers 22-25; note that there is no episode 26 in the series). In the final two episodes, the Band of the Hawk is thrown into a supernatural arena. It's not for the weak of stomach: let's just say that demons don't have the most fastidious eating habits. Let me also warn those who are upset by violence visited upon women to think carefully before watching the final episode. Sigh.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Trite, but there it is. This story is yet another illustration of the maxim.

As I thought back upon the entire show, I realized that a simple way of viewing it -- Griffith as The Bad Guy, and Guts as The Good Guy -- wasn't quite right. Sure, it has some truth to it, especially after the midway point. And it does provide another Lord of the Rings analogy -- Guts follows Aragorn in looking foul yet seeming fair. But consider: although Griffith is most certainly and definitely responsible for the deaths of thousands, Guts is no innocent. He, too, has killed many, many men. And not just men -- children, too. Yes, most of his killing took place on the battlefield, and, no, he wasn't the leader of the group ... but, wait, he was the leader of a unit of the Hawks, wasn't he? So are the two men really so different? Did Guts really have a change of heart when he decided to set out on his own?

Berserk provides the viewer with plenty of weighty material to ponder. There aren't many anime about which I can say the same.

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

Content: 9 Video: 7 Sound: 7 Packaging: 8 Menu: 7

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