Berserk (ベルセルク Beruseruku?), also known as Sword-Wind Chronicle Berserk (剣風伝奇ベルセルク Kenpū Denki Beruseruku?), is a 1997 anime adaptation of part of the Black Swordsman arc, continuing through the Golden Age arc of Berserk. The series is licensed by Madman Entertainment, MVM Entertainment, AnimeWorks and is produced by OLM, Inc.
It was introduced in 1997 where it was first broadcasted on Nippon Television in Japan. The series, despite removing plot-threads and key characters, was viewed as a critical and commercial success.
The anime series was directed by Naohito Takahashi and produced by Oriental Light and Magic, airing on Japan's Nippon Television starting from October 7, 1997 and ending on March 31, 1998. The Anime covers Volumes 1 (Chapters 1 and 2, though fused into Chapter 1 along with reference to later Chapters in Volume 2), the end chapter of Volume 3 (where Gambino discovers Guts at a tree of execution), Volumes 4 through 10 and then Volumes 12 and 13 in the manga. Volume 11 is omitted entirely in the anime to remove the character Wyald, but the events of the volume are instead replaced with a similar (but much shorter) scenario involving human characters.
To make the animated series fit within 25 episodes, changes had to be made. Characters like Puck, Donovan, Skull Knight, Theresia, The Count and Wyald were removed, as well as the opening scene with the Female Apostle was omitted (though she still exists during the Eclipse). The Count's story, Guts' fight with Wyald and many explicit scenes have been edited heavily, removing much of the gore in favor of heavy bloodsplatter instead of eyeballs, brains, innards and otherwise flying all over the place. The sex scene between Casca and Guts was cut down, as well as Femto's rape of Casca.
- Main article: List of Episodes (1997 series)
|01||The Black Swordsman|
Kuroi Kenshi (黒い剣士)
|A girl is being assaulted in a bar when Guts walks in. He kills all the assailants but one and orders him to tell his master, the Baron, that the Black Swordsman is coming. Guts later finds and kills the Baron and removes a demonic relic called a Behelit from around his neck. Soon after, Guts remembers the events in his past of how he killed the knight Bazuso and would encounter the group who would change his destiny: The Band of the Hawk.|
|02||Band of the Hawk|
Taka no Dan (鷹の団)
|In a flashback, Corkus attempts to rob Guts, and Casca is drawn into the battle. Guts defeats her, but is then grievously injured by Griffith. Griffith orders Casca to lie with Guts during his convalescence. When Guts recovers days later, he challenges Griffith who wishes to enlist the swordsman to his group.|
|Griffith defeats Guts, and makes him a member of the Band of the Hawk. The Hawks go on a midnight raid and Griffith chooses Guts for the most important position of rear guard, Guts succeeds and the band hails him as a hero.|
|04||The Hand of God|
Kami no Te (神の手)
|Three years pass as Guts and the Band of the Hawk gain in skill. Guts reminds his childhood of raised by his adoptive father and mentor Gambino, though he was forced to kill Gambino when he tried to kill the boy as he blamed him for his wife's death.|
|05||A Wind of Swords|
|Guts is now a commander in Griffith's army. Guts is taking risks in battle, and although he succeeds, Casca takes him to task for it. Eventually, Griffith is knighted as a viscount in the Midland court to the nobles' dismay. Guts saves the Hawks in battle, to Casca's chagrin.|
|06||Zodd the Immortal|
Fushi no Zodd (不死のゾッド)
|When Guts leads his men to raid a castle under Chuder occupation, Judeau reveals the keep to be overseen by a legendary warrior known as Nosferatu Zodd who is said to be immortal. When only one of Guts's men barely made it out alive before dying from his horrific injuries, Guts decides to enter the keep. Guts finds what remained of his men before he finds and fights the inhuman figure that is Zodd. When Guts manages to actually hurt him, an excited Zodd decides to stop holding back and transforms into a monster that nearly kills Guts before the entire Band of the Hawk comes to his aid. While the monster is distracted, Griffith attempts to get Guts to safety before Zodd notices them and blocks their escape route and defeats them. Zodd was about to kill Griffith until he sees the Behelit around Griffith's neck, ceasing his attack. Zodd than sprouts wings and flies off while telling Guts that Griffith will be his doom should his dream die.|
|07||The Sword's Owner|
Tsurugi no Aruji (剣の主)
|Though he and Guts are still injured from their encounter with Nosferatu Zodd, Griffith uses it to get closer to the King of Midland and his daughter Charlotte. Guts and some of the Hawks feel that Griffith is pulling away from them.|
|Griffith and Guts continue to have success in battle and Griffith is made a count. The king's brother general Julius is furious about this as he and Minister Foss plot Griffith's murder with a poison arrow during an upcoming hunt.|
|During the hunt, Griffith and Charlotte grow close before the former is shot in the chest with a poisoned arrow. Luckily, Griffith's Behelit took the arrow as he deduced Julius to be the culprit and recruits Guts to secretly kill the noble in secret during the festivities to occur that night.|
Toutoki Mono (貴きもの)
|Guts assassinates Julius, but is emotionally scarred when forced to kill Julius' son, Adonis to conceal the deed. Later, he hears Griffith say that a true friend would have to stand for his own ethics, and not follow Griffith blindly.|
|Griffith and the Hawks lead the march into battle against the Blue Whale Knights. Casca has a fever, and when she falls unconscious off a cliff, Guts goes with her. They are washed downriver, and Guts finds a cave where he must keep Casca warm with his body.|
|Casca tells her story: Griffith helped her save herself from rape, so she followed him. She watched him with a pederast lord to earn money to create an army. When Guts came, she knew that she would not be Griffith's chosen friend.|
|13||Prepared for Death|
|Adon Coborlwitz and his Blue Whale Knights find Guts and Casca. Though completely outnumbered, Guts tells Casca to run and stays to fight. Some men go after Casca, catching her and holding her down in order to rape her. Guts continues fighting.|
|14||Bonfire of Dreams|
Yume no Kagaribi (夢のかがり火)
|Casca defeats her attackers, and she and Guts end up back at the camp. Guts and Casca share a tender moment, where Guts explains that everyone in the camp has a dream but all he has is his sword, causing Casca to think he's leaving.|
|15||The Decisive Battle|
|An impossible battle must be fought, and Griffith volunteers the Hawks to reclaim the Fortress of Doldrey from a Chuder noble named Gennon and the Purple Rhino Knights in his service. After Guts learns of Griffith's unsavory history with Gennon, the Hawks begin their assault before pulling back. Their boats are burned and there is nowhere to retreat to as Gennon and the bulk of his army leave the fortress.|
|The retreat was a ruse and Casca takes the fortress, defeating Adon and the few remaining guards. Guts fights with the Rhino Knights' command Boscogn before his sword breaks, only to gain a sword that was provided by Zodd from a great distance. Guts uses the sword to kill Boscogn while Griffith kills a wounded Gennon to assure the Hawks' victory.|
|17||Moment of Glory|
Eikō no Shunkan (栄光の瞬間)
|The Hawks' reclaiming of Doldrey marked the end of the One Hundred Year War between Midland and Chuder, the King holding a ball for the mercenaries in their honor. But the Queen of Midland, Charlotte's stepmother and Julius' secret lover, hatches a scheme with Foss to poison Griffith during the banquet. However, Foss received a letter from Griffith hours prior.|
|18||Tombstone of Flames|
Honoo no Bohyou (炎の墓標)
|Having forced Foss to aid him, Griffith allowed the Queen to believe she succeeded in poisoning him so he can he burn her and her co-conspirators alive after locking the tower they were celebrating in. Guts, having once more aided Griffith in removing his competition, decides to leave and tells a pleading Casca that he does not want to be caught up in Griffith's dream anymore.|
|As Guts leaves, he is challenged by Griffith and manages to defeat him and earn his freedom. However, Guts did not realize his actions had psychologically damaged Griffith as he spends a night of passion with Charlotte in a lapse of judgement. When Griffith leaves the next morning, he is apprehended and arrested with the Hawks branded as criminals.|
|A year has passed and Guts is living with Godo, a blacksmith, and his daughter Erica. Guts learns that the Band of the Hawk are now wanted outlaws and Casca is their captain. Guts goes to them and finds them battling foreign mercenaries.|
|Guts helps the Hawks as they drive off the mercenaries after their bounty. Casca has a plan to rescue Griffith from the Tower of Rebirth where he is held. Casca blames Guts for Griffith's problems, but realizes it isn't his fault. They make love and Guts asks her to go away with him after the rescue.|
|Casca and Guts go into the dungeon under the Tower of Rebirth to rescue Griffith, finding him now mute and horribly crippled. Meanwhile, the Hawk members at their camp are slaughtered by monsters led by a green fairy.|
|23||Eve of the Feast|
|Casca feels she must take care of Griffith, and tells Guts to leave. But Griffith, horrified at what he has been reduced to from a year of endless torture, takes a wagon and runs off. But seeing the Band of the Hawk following him, Griffith finds his Behelit and unintentionally activates it as a group of people were watching, bringing everyone present to the Astral Plane where four demons awaken.|
|The four demons of the God Hand have woken and inform Griffith that he has been chosen to be their final member. But for his baptism, Griffith must offer his friends to the group of people who gathered, revealed to be the God Hand's Apostles like Nosferatu Zodd. Guts climbs a mountain of flesh to try and stop Griffith from becoming a demon, though the God Hand influence Griffith by showing him visions of his past to convince him that the lives of his men are trivial in regard to the fulfillment of his dream.|
|25||Time of Eternity|
Eien no Koku (永遠の刻)
|Despite Guts's attempt to reach him, Griffith accepts the God Hand's offer with the Apostles assuming their true forms to commence the Eclipse; feasting by devouring those branded as offerings. In the end, only Guts and an unconscious Casca were momentarily spared as Griffith, reborn as the God Hand demon Femto, rapes Casca in front of Guts. Forced to cut off his left forearm to stop his former friend while his right eye is gouged out, Guts manages to escape back to physical world with Casca. Having his wounds healed, he eventually leaves Godo's house to have his revenge on Griffith and the Apostles.|
- This was the first anime to be produced for Berserk.
- Well known among fans of the series, the English dub of the anime featured several humorous outtakes with voice actors either improvising lines, quoting movies or randomly bursting out into song. A few of the outtakes even spawned into internet memes.
- Additionally, the opening song for the series, Tell Me Why became parodied and famous on the internet for its "Engrish" lyrics and overall happy tone being completely off from the dark and tragic nature of Berserk.
|Black Swordsman Arc|
|Golden Age Arc|