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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Golden Age Arc III
The Advent


Starring (voice): Hiroaki Iwanaga, Takahiro Sakurai and Toa Yukinari
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 06 October 2014

A year following on from the events of the last film, Guts is determined to rescue Griffith from his jailors. Whilst he succeeds, Griffith is no longer the person he was and the rescue sets off a sting of events which will change those involved forever...

Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III - The Advent (2013. 1 hr, 48 min, 05 sec) is the third in a series of films based on the manga written by Kentaro Miura. The film was directed by Toshiyuki Kubooka from an Ichirō Ōkouchi screenplay.

There is so much that is better with the third film in the series. The first two were a bit dodgy with the CGI, but with Advent the CGI is near perfect. The film is full of visual intricacy, gorgeous vistas and gore which is a little too visceral. The new CGI gives the film a fluidity which makes you forget that you’re watching an animated movie. The use of CG animation has also allowed the film to make the presentation visually dramatic with the use of shots which swoop down and around the characters. You notice the level of detail in the smaller things, the way the water flows or a leaf dances in the wind. Shot for shot, the film just screams quality.

If you haven’t watched either the anime show or the previous two films then you’re going to feel a little out of your depth as it works fine as part of a series, but lacks a lot of information which would have made it a stand-alone proposition. It takes a little time to work out that the story is happening in a faux medieval European setting, but it is difficult to work out the character motivations or why Guts needs to prove to Griffith that he is worthy. The pacing is a little uneven, but then they have had to truncate the original manga, leaving out many of the subplots.

Guts worthiness is central to the film, as it places the characters in increasingly more violent situations as we experience just how far Guts will go, believe me it’s pretty far. This aspect of the film and the depiction of rape makes the film unsuitable for an under 18s audience and even then I’m not sure that it is even that suitable.

Outside of Hentai, and other banned/heavily edited films, I don’t think I have seen such graphic violence, more than one scene made me wonder how they got the disc passed by the censor. A lot of anime contains violence and a lot contain blood, but often they are taken to an extreme which reminds you that it isn’t supposed to be a representation of reality. Advent presents its gore this side of real, often making it an uncomfortable watch.

Although the PR blurb promises a veritable smorgasbord of extras on the Blu-ray, the DVD gets zip, zilch, nadda, unless you consider chapter choice as an extra. Even though it’s the DVD the picture is still sharp and beautiful, you also get the options of listening to either the original Japanese audio track or the English dub and for once I think the dub is actually better than the original which at times sounds a bit weak compared to what you’re watching.


Charles Packer

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