Band of the Hawk (鷹の団 Taka no dan?) is the second episode in the Berserk series and the first episode of the Golden Era arc. This arc covers Guts' young life, leading up to events of the first episode, The Black Swordsman.
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, but when he comes to, he challenges Griffith.
A battering ram breaks through a pair of gates leading into a fort, which allows a large number of soldiers to rush in. A nobleman leads them as he calls out: "Off with the General's head!" The invaders are stopped by a single large knight wielding a battle axe, leaving them too afraid to approach. The man is identified as Bazuso, the 30 Man Slayer, also known as the Bear Slaughterer.
Finally, a young Guts steps forward to fight Bazuso, who is at least twice his size. The other soldiers are skeptical about Guts and wonder whether he can even lift his huge sword, much less wield it. Bazuso laughs at him, saying that it's pathetic that a child is fighting and that they must be short on soldiers in the army.
Guts rushes forward and immediately puts Bazuso on the defense, swinging his sword and eventually cracking Bazuso's enormous axe. He then gets under Bazuso's guard, cutting into the man's side through his Armour, while the axe uselessly shatters against Guts' helmet, which is knocked off from the blow. Guts then finishes off Bazuso while he begs for mercy.
From above, Griffith and 3 other men watch the fight between Guts and Bazuso, discussing the short lived battle between the two. The soldiers agree that while Guts may be strong "he's no match for our leader (Griffith)" while Griffith remains silent. Finally, he gives the word to evacuate the fort.
Outside the fort, the nobleman pays Guts, saying that he was impressed, even if Bazuso's death was a fluke. The man then offers Guts a proposition: working for him on a regular basis, eventually tripling his pay and promoting him to a ranked warrior, which he adds is something no mere mercenary could hope for. Guts ignores the man and counts out his money, checking that the gold coins are real and walks away, saying: "Our contract expired today, didn't it? Seems the fighting's over around here." The nobleman again tries to convince Guts to stay and work for him, saying he doesn't need to risk his life at the front and grabs his arm. Guts immediately pushes the man away, curling his arm into himself, exclaiming: "Don't touch me! Don't you ever touch me."
Guts leaves with his pay, walking down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Farther away, a man looking over one of the many hills sees Guts and announces it to the rest of the group. Some other men join the first and recognize him as the one who had just killed Bazuso. They were prepared to let him go, seeing as their job is over and they were no longer enemies when Corkus comes over. After reminding them that Guts probably received bonus pay for killing Bazuso, he then looks over his shoulder and asks his leader, Griffith, what they should do and the answer is simple: "Do as you please."As the men are running off, someone laughs and the group stops. Corkus identifies the person as Casca, who asks if they really think they can defeat Guts. Corkus answers with: "I'm the one who was supposed to kill Bazuso and become famous. I won't be satisfied until I kill the wanderer who came between me and my glory," to which Casca simply says that they'll die then. Corkus chooses to ignore her warning and walks off to fight with Guts.
Judeau watches all this and bemoans Corkus' idiocy and turns to Griffith, asking if that really was alright, but receives no answer.On the path, Guts stops and scans the surrounding hills, thinking to himself that perhaps it was just his imagination. Just then, the men come out on horseback and Corkus orders Dante to get him. He is sliced through the midsection (and later dies). The next to attack is Errol who manages to cut Guts' right cheek before his arm is cut off. The horsemen stop and one exclaims: "Dear God. This is guy is just too damn powerful."
From the top of the hill, Judeau angrily says Corkus needs to either "fight or get out of there. He's going to get himself killed" while Casca sits back saying that she told them that would happen. Griffith, still not getting up from where he's lying, says that Casca had better got help them, but she angrily says that its all Corkus' fault, eventually agreeing to go.
While the horsemen argue about who is going to attack next, when Guts starts to rush them but is stopped by an arrow that is suddenly shot into his arm by Casca, who has come to their rescue. She orders Guts to stand back, but he refuses to move, pulling the bolt from his arm and stands ready when Casca rushes him on horseback. The two exchange several blows and Guts ends up knocking off Casca's helmet, surprised to find out that she is a woman. Casca falls to the ground, but manages to get up and fight Guts again.
The onlooking men are surprised to find that Guts is driving Casca into a corner, since none of them, except Griffith, can beat her. Casca is also surprised by Guts' skill and the strength behind each of his blows.
Casca is knocked the ground again, and Guts is about to strike the finishing blow when a spear appears between the two. Griffith has come to join the fight. Casca warns Griffith that Guts is very strong and to be careful. Griffith asks if Guts will put up his sword, but Guts refuses and so his opponent's sword is drawn, a thin blade. He is able to block Guts' huge sword one handed and stabbed him in the side with a single strike. As Guts collapses, he thinks: "Too fast."
Everyone cheers and are very impressed when Griffith is able to defeat Guts in one stroke. Guts forces himself to stand and prepares to attack Griffith again, but collapses before he can. He manages another moment of consciousness to glare at Griffith before passing out due to his injury.
Guts has a dream that he is just a child, running from a terrifying monster, which won't die no matter how many times he attacks it. He begs Gambino, his adoptive father, to help him but Gambino simply says, "Don't talk nonsense. Don't you remember? I am no longer alive in your world. You ran your sword through my body that night. I was in agony, and then I died." The giant hand pins down Guts while Gambino continues saying: "You were the one that deserved to die." A bunch of skeletons surround Guts chanting "You should die" while Guts cries out that he's sorry.Guts is seen to be wrapped in bandages and thinking "Don't touch me. Don't touch me." He is then seen with Casca lying next to him and Guts notices that she has black eyes. He finally fully wakes, unsure of where he is and tries to stand, which he finds to be a painful experience. He finally walks out of his tent and into a mercenary band, noting how young all the members are. He then notices Griffith and Casca arguing in front of another tent and Casca angrily approaches. Guts is surprised to see that she has black eyes, but does not have time to speculate on it, since Casca punches him in his wound and he falls to his knees. Casca tells him that if she had had her way, Guts would have been left for dead.
Judeau, who is sitting nearby sharpening his throwing knives, says Guts shouldn't let it get to him. He adds that Casca is a restless type, who is always rebelling against her life as a mercenary, speculating that its probably because she is so good at it. He continues, saying shes probably just angry because Griffith ordered her to lie with Guts for 2 days to keep him warm after he lost so much blood, saying that Griffith had said that it was a woman's duty to warm a man.
Griffith walks over, holding Guts' sword, saying "A great weapon, a bit much for me though," and returns it to its owner, asking Guts to walk with him.
As they walk through the mercenary camp, all the mercenaries stand around, watching the two. Griffith informs Guts that they are the Band of the Hawk, whom Guts admits to hearing rumours about 'the mercenary company known as Death on the Battlefield.' But after hearing the rumours, Guts thinks to himself that he never epected the band to be composed of only 'kids.'
Corkus can be seen talking to Casca and Rickert (pronounced Ricket in the anime) who (rightly) assumes that Griffith would ask Guts to be part of the Hawks, since he would be such a great addition to the army. Corkus becomes angry and blames Guts for killing Dante and injuring Errol and refuses to pretend that those did not happen. He turns to Pippin, asking if he agrees, but does not receive an answer from the usually quiet man.
Griffith and Guts reach the top of the hill and Guts demands to know why Griffith did not kill him when they were fighting earlier, when he had the chance. Casca comes and hides behind a tress, listening into their conversation. Griffith simply answers "Because I want you to join me, Guts." He adds that he was very impressed with Guts' skill, saying that during the fight with Bazuso, Guts was magnificent. He continues, saying:
"Just the way you fight, it seems you value victory more than your own life. You never yield an inch. Even when faced with a monster like Bazuso, or outnumbered by a gang on horseback. On the contrary, you would rather recklessly engage any opponent that crosses your path. You are brave, but I believe you purposefully put your life in danger and seek the meaning of your existence by battling to preserve it."He finishes by saying that Guts is fascinating and much to his liking, again saying he wishes for Guts to join him. Guts becomes angry, not sure why Griffith is telling him all this and demands to know what would happen if he chooses to say 'no.' When Griffith seems confused, Guts becomes even angrier and flatout refuses, "Don't talk as if you know so much. What do you know about me? You've never talked to me. How could you know anything about me?" Guts demands, but Griffith simply states that Guts is right, that he only has a 'feeling' about him. At this, Guts becomes enraged that Griffith is treating him like a friend after he had stabbed him. Guts says that he won't forget what Griffith did to him, and that he doubts Griffith will forget that he killed 2 of his comrades.
When Griffith asks what Guts wants, Guts replies saying that its simple and draws his sword, stating that he wants to put a hole the size of his sword in the man before him. Griffith inquires into what he would receive should he win their bout, and Guts says that he can do whatever he wants with him. Griffith agrees, saying that he "rather enjoys settling things with force," also drawing his sword.
Casca comes out from her hiding spot, prepared to help fight, but Griffith orders her to not interfere no matter what, that he will have what he wants.
Guts rushes forward to start the fight, ending the episode.
Next Episode Preview
Void begins by saying that the story has begun and that they are entwined by fate. He says: A boy cries out and a girl feels. A young man who has fought for his survival with his sword embarks on his journey. He wonders where destiny will take him.
This time, the images shown are of the fight between Griffith and Guts and again select members of the Band of the Hawk.
Characters in Order of Appearance
|Golden Age Arc|