Thursday, July 7, 2016

When Does the Next Berserk Episode Comes Out? Where Can I Watch it?

Although this is probably easy to find out, I though I'd compile when and where you currently watch the next episode.

First of all, considering most of you reading this are probably not in Japan currently (like I), we have to rely on online steaming. Fortunately, Crunchyroll secured the rights to stream in simulcast. I unfortunately don't know the exact time the episode is released, but if it's anything similar to last week, you should be able to watch it at the following times:

7:30 am PST
10:30 am EST
2:30 pm UTC

Note that in order to have full access to the episode on that time, you need to be a Premium Subscriber. The episode will be available for free user a week later (the first episode will be available for free user from July 8 until October 14 2016).

You can view the episode here:

Ok so secondly, for those of you lucky enough to have access to Japanese TV broadcast, here are the upcoming airing time:

MBS TV: Friday August 8th, 27:00 
(aka 3:00 am on Saturday morning)
Regional TV channel,  Mainichi Broadcasting System, broadcasting mainly in the Kansai area. The Japanese call sign would be JOOR-DTV and depending on your location, the channel number might vary:

Osaka Prefecture * Channel 16 all across the prefecture.

Nara Prefecture
* Channel 39.

Shiga Prefecture
* Channel 16  mostly, except in Otsu-Ishiyama where it tunes in at channel 44.

Hyogo Prefecture
* Inagawa: channel 38.
* Yamasaki: channel 21.
* All the rest: channel 16.

Wakayama Prefecture
* Hashimoto: channel 42.
* Gobo, Kibi and Tanabe: channel 47.
* All the rest: channel 16.

Official page for Berserk on MBS TV:

TBS TV: Friday August 8th, 26:40 
(aka 2h40 am on Saturday morning)
Tokyo Broadcasting System, another pretty huge channel. Mainly broadcast in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki, and Tochigi. The digital channel, under the call sign JORX-DTV can be access from the following channels:

* Tokyo Tower: Channel 22.
* Mito: Channel 15.
* Utsunomiya:  Channel 15.
* Maebashi: Channel 36.
* Hiratsuka: Channel 22.

CBC TV: Friday August 8th, 27:31
(aka 3h31 am on Saturday morning)
Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting, mainly broadcasting in the Aichi area. Accessible on the folowing channels under the call sign JOGX-DTV: 

* Nagoya and Nabari: Channel 18.

* Toyohashi, Gamagori-Tahara, Chuno, Nakatsugawa, Nagara, Takayama and Ise: Channel 16.

So hopefully this proves to be helpful to some of you! I will probably review the second episode on next Saturday so stay tuned!


Friday, July 1, 2016

Berserk (2016) - Episode 1: The Branded Swordsman - Review and Thoughts

Ok, so let me start off by saying that I apologize I haven't been updating this blog as much as I promised a few months. Life has been busy between my degree, work and travel mostly in the last few month and although a ton of stuff happened regarding Berserk , I didn't find the time to write about all that.

However, the first episode of the new series got recently released and today being a holiday and all, that means I have all the time in the world to go into details about my thoughts of the first episode. This will basically be an extended version of what I wrote on the Berserk subreddit megathread about the episode.

I'll simply break down the episode into different highlights that I noted after watching the episode a first watch.

1. The Opening: "Inferno" by 9mm Parabellum Bullet

I liked the OP in general. Quality animation (for the most of it) with some re-used scenes form the movies. Consisted mainly throwback at the Golden Age characters and the Eclipse, so not a lot of foreshadowing for what's to come in the series, which I don't mind. Some nice symbolism too with the Band being all burned down, actually there was a lot of fire in the whole OP, so they really went down with that theme all the way.

The song itself, "Inferno", which really connects with what I've just said about fire, by "9mm Parabellum Bullet", was ok at best. A lot of oldschool fans of the first anime adaptation are probably not as happy with the result. "Tell Me Why" by "Penpals" was a much more slow paced song that despite that, still had some heaviness to it and really connects with what the character were going through as the series progressed. I don't really see that happening with this song.

I don't see this happening with this song. Sure, it has some catchy moments, but as a first impression, I think it was an ok choice at best. However, as always with anime OPs, I like to ive them a grace period of a few episodes to see if the song as potential to grow on you like so many.

9mm Parabellum Bullet don't have an extensive anime song backlog. Aside from the opening for the 2008 anime "RD Sennou Chousashitsu" entitled "Wanderland", they haven't done much in the anime industry.

2. CGI/Animation

Surely one of the most controversial and dividing factor among fan. Maybe dividing is a bit of an overstatement, since I'm under the impression the majority didn't like the idea/were afraid it'd be shit. Well, I must say I found myself not too bothered by the - at times very obnoxious - CGI. Some of the movement looked really clunky and "video-gamy", but the flow of action sequence was generally not too bad. I did notice they took some shortcuts though in those said action sequences: I noticed they opted for various cuts that left out what would have been very detailed action sequences. Most of the "big scenes" are close-ups of Guts and the Dragonslayer; very rarely there are wider shots of him killing the spooky skeletons or chopping down that tree. In overall I'd say they were passable. I did found myself being hyped up in one of the fights, so that's at least a good sign.

Where I think most of the negative aspect of the CGI lies would be in the facial expressions. Generally, the exaggerated features of anime characters makes it really easy for the animators to have the characters express different feelings. The CGI totally kills that advantage over regular animations; most of the time the characters' face seem to bland and lifeless. I understand Berserk is a gritty and dark series, but that doesn't mean all the faces need to be neutral at all time. There's a serous lack of shading on the faces making gritty/frowned faces almost impossible to achieve. The faces are also always the same color with some added global lights. I mean, look at Guts' face after the big fight of the episode:

You would expect it to be at least a bit dirtier. I hope it won't stay like that the whole time. Speaking of bad CGI and expression-less face, here's another one:

I mean, look at Colette's face. This is such a basic face, it looks like it's from a 2010 Japanese video game...

One other artistic choice they made that really stand out is the shading and the very heavy use of diagonal "manga style" lines to accentuate shading on the models. I really think this is a hit and miss. It can look good at some points:

Notice the line gradient from left to right, with the lines becoming lighter. I'd say the above screenshot is some quality work, but unfortunately this cannot be said for other parts of the episode:

This really speaks for itself... the mix of bad CG model/animation plus the crude shading lines doesn't mix well at all.

So yeah, to wrap it up, I wouldn't say I'm that disappointed in the animation: it is nowhere near great, but it's passable enough to not break immersion too much, although some passages are really awful and make you remember you're watching some poor CGI animation. The latter is what needs to be gone. I don't mind the so-so quality, but at least have consistent so-so quality so the viewer doesn't get reminded of that.

3. Sound/Music

The sounds effects were quite enjoyable I must say. Notably the mixing they used for the Dragonslayer was exactly how I would expect a huge slab of steel to sound like. The part were the narrator talks about the sword (a narration most fan will probably remember) got some really good sounds effect to compliment that. To the sound of heavy oscillating metal when Guts swings to the loud and heavy impacts sounds, sounds that had different variation too, not just the same clip used multiple times. So yeah, I'm really pleased with the SFX so far.

As for the BG music along the episode, nothing really stand out too much: some generic ambiance music here and there. There was some catchy metal/orchestra segments that synergized well with the action at some times, but nothing that will make me look forward the soundtrack CD release...

The insert of "Hai yo" by Hirasawa Susumu during the preview at the end was a good surprise though. I'm not aware of the level of involvement by Hirasawa in the whole production, but I'm surely hoping there will be more.

They also reused during the preview a variation of the "Blood and Guts" by Shiro Sagisu, song that was used primary as the ending credit of the movies (among others). That is good since that song was quite good and moody; a perfect fit for Berserk.

4. Voice acting

Nothing outstandingly bad or good I think. Iwanaga Hiroaki, who voiced Guts in the movies as well, did a good job before, so I'm confidant he'll get it right for the series as well.

I was not a great fan of Puck's voice, by Mizuhara Kaoru, but I think I can get over it.

I loved the narration though. I believe it was made by Ishizuka Unshou, who also happened to be the narrator and Void's voice in the original series. Imediatly noticed as the episode started since I'm currently re-watching all the Initial D series and he's voicing Bunta in there.

5. Story/writing

One of the main weakness of the episode, as many stated, is its writing and the way it was put together. It did not feel like a continuous story at all, but rather like a bunch of scenes stitched together to make a 20 min long episode. Farnese and Schierke get a few seconds of screen time without anything else during the rest of the episode, but at the end for Farnese. Most Berserk fan won't mind that, but this would be incredibly confusing for a new viewer and totally pointless. They try to have the first few introduction scenes as an intro to the "huge epic story" ahead, but it doesn't work at all.

All the rest of the scenes are just about Guts being somewhere at some time. No clue what he did after the Eclipse or what's his current goal (again most of the long time fans know, but I'm putting myself in a newcomer shoes now).

The whole bandit ambush thing also felt really unnecessary. I understand they wanted to establish the fact the Berserk universe is dark, full of blood and malice, but it could have been done another way.

The series is directed by  Itagaki Shin, who doesn't have stellar portfolio so far... I'm a bit worried about that and hope the supervision of Miura will help straighten things up.

6. Preview

Looks like more story will happen in the next episode with Farnese and the Iron Chain Knights catching up with Guts. Big question about the next episode: will the horse scene be there or not?

Final Thoughts

Did I enjoy the episode? Yes. Am I looking forward the next one? Yes. I'd say that' a good start as far as enjoyment goes, but that's ultimately up to my subjective criteria to enjoy something; I can totally see why some of you are going to trash the series and deep down I am somewhat disappointed our beloved Berserk didn't win the Animation Studio jackpot and got some higher production budget.

It's surely worth a watch, but don't set your expectation to high (for now).

To give it a note (which I don't believe in that much as a rating system), I'd give the episode a:

3.3/5 or C+

The episode is available legally for streaming on Crunchyroll for Premium members:

Until next time,


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

New Berserk Anime, Blog Revival, and More...

I guess I should start by stating that it's been much too long since I've updated this blog. I stumbled upon this lately and thought it wouldn't be such a bad idea to renew it and give it a new breath of life.

This blog used to be really just a rushed attempt I made to agglomerate all news regarding the Berserk movies release, announcement, rumors and such and proved to be much more successful than I anticipated. But then major anime news outlet caught on and all the secrecy behind announcement wore off when the movies actually started to be released.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Berserk Movie Trailer - Golden Age Part 1

I know I've been late on this, here it is, for you enjoyment if you haven't already seen it (which I doubt); a trailer for the first berserk movie :

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Berserk Film : Due January 2012

That is all, my friends.

Let the countdown begins.

Edit: On the 15th of July, a website for the movie franchise will open. You can reach it here, though it is password protected.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Recent twitter posts

Since April everything has been pretty dull concerning the Berserk movies; next to no updates and very little concrete information. As some of you may have noticed, I've been pretty late on the little that happened on this blog. You can blame the real life issues for that, but also that I judged the announcements pretty useless considering the focus of this blog is the movies and not the manga.

That being said, I'm still alive and I have read the latest twitter feed that finally tells us something is going to happen on July 8th. There's no telling what will be announced considering the last months of silence, though I highly suspect a release date.

On that, there is no mistaking; I will post the announcement on the 8th ASAP no matter what.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Twitter Translation 13

I've been slacking off on the -few- tweets lately mainly because they're all about Berserk serialization in Young Animal, nothing of good value about the movie(s). Here's the latest one anyway :