Golden Age Arc III: Descent
Movie 3 Poster
Japanese Title: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇III 降臨
Romanized Title: Berserk Ougon Jidaihen III Kourin
English Title: Berserk Golden Age Arc III: The Advent
Director: Toshiyuki Kubooka
Writer: Ichirō Ōkouchi
Runtime: 120 minutes
Release Date(s): February 1, 2013 BR / DVD 19th June 2013
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Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey Berserk (2016 Anime)

Berserk Golden Age III: Descent (ベルセルク 黄金時代篇III 降臨 Berserk Ougon Jidaihen III Kourin) is the third and final movie in a trilogy of films adapting the Golden Age Arc from the popular manga series Berserk. It serves as a prequel to the 2016 anime series.

Synopsis Edit

Having a vision of himself as a child seeing a castle on a hill while playing war before finding Guts behind him, Griffith awakens in his dark and shadowed cell. Griffith watches a single brick in the wall pushed out from the its slot from which small, deformed masses of flesh appear. These creatures address Griffith as their "Prince" and claim that he is sought for an audience. Griffith peers through the hole in the wall and sees an infinitely large space filled with four inhuman silhouettes and horrific visions of his comrades' deaths. One silhouette address Griffith as "kinsman" and "king of longing" and tells him that they will soon meet at the appointed time and place.

A year has passed since what remained of the Band of the Falcon had been branded outlaws by the King of Midland. Armored men led by a foreign assassin attack their secret camp, take Casca hostage, and threaten to behead her if she does order her men to surrender. She is saved by the surprise appearance of Guts, who forces the assassin and his men to fall back. While the rest of the Falcons welcome Guts' return, the following day Casca takes Guts to a secluded area and attacks him. Blaming Guts for Griffith's downfall, she claims his defeat of Griffith and departure ruined their leader. During the duel, she stabs him in the stomach. He grabs the blade's edge with his hand and cries out to Casca, wondering why he was wrong to leave the Band of the Falcon to choose his own path. Casca, visibily disturbed by Guts's profuse bleeding, asks him to stop, and pushes away from him. She first confesses to Guts that she understood his reasons then confesses that she wanted to be by Griffith's side because she loves him but has had to accept that Griffith cannot love her. She tells Guts to look after the others before she attempts suicide by jumping down a waterfall.

However, Guts grabs her hand, and Casca complains that he keeps risking his life for her. They become intimate underneath a nearby tree with moss-covered roots. Both accept that they have deeper feelings for one another. Guts asks her to leave with him once they save Griffith, and Casca realizes that she is in love with him and agrees. After sex, Guts and Casca fall asleep in each other's arms. Guts awakens hearing a noise from the dark brush as the sky darkens. He sees a mysterious skeletal horseman who addresses him as "Struggler," obliquely describes an event that will soon occur, and that he can escape the death that awaits his comrades. The Skull Knight then turns and fades into thin air as Guts yells at him in vain for answers.

Guts returns with Casca return to the camp and learns that the Falcons learned the location of Griffith's cell. While Rickert is sent off alone to the mountains to find a safe route out of the country, Casca organizes Guts, Judeau, and Pippin into one squad to save Griffith while a second squad led by Corkus will cover their escape. Sneaking into Windam, Casca's squad meets their informant: Charlotte. The group enter the Tower of Rebirth where Griffith is imprisoned. As they descend a long flight of stairs, Charlotte explains that the Tower was built above the lost capital of the kingdom of the Supreme King Gaiseric, whom she reveals worse a skull shaped helmet. Judeau recognizes the story of the "legendary Skeleton King," and notes that his empire was destroyed by five "gods."[1] As Guts dismisses Charlotte's tale, she angrily protests and begins to explain that at the bottom of the pit only to be interrupted by spooked Anna, her maid, dropping her lantern. Unseen by the squad, the lantern eventual reaches the bottom to reveal piles of corpses. The heads retain their desiccated skins and the Brand of Sacrifice on their foreheads.

The squad eventually reaches the end of the staircase, locate Griffith's cell, and find a naked, malnourished, and scarred Griffith lying face-down on the floor. When Guts holds Griffith in his arms, Griffith tries, vainly, to strangle Guts. Guts and Judeau momentarily removed the metal helmet covering Griffith face, react in horror--the viewer does not see his face--and tell Casca to not look at him. The Torturer suddenly locks the door trapping them all in Griffith's cell as he expresses delight that he now has more people to play with. When Guts slowly rises and asks him if he is responsible for Griffith's mangled appearance, he believes he is safe and gleefully describes every act of torture he committed on Griffith before showing off Griffith's severed tongue as his lucky charm. Enraged, Guts bust through the door and impales the Torturer in the process with his sword. After using his dagger to cut off the Torturer's own tongue, Guts lowers his sword to send the begging torturer falling towards his death. Midland soldiers alerted by the Torture arrive, and Guts fighting his way through them as the Falcons leave Charlotte and Anna and escape. When the King of Midland learns of this, he orders his men after them.

The Falcons successfully repel and elude the pursuit and arrive at the grassland plains near the border of Midland. Examining Griffith, Guts and Judeau realize his tendons have been severed. Judeau informs Casca that Griffith will never be able to walk nor hold his sword again. Heartbroken, Casca relays the information to the rest of the Falcons which shakes the group as they silently comes to terms that Griffith will never be able to lead them again. Some of the Falcons realize that Casca could still lead them. She concludes the meeting and explains to Guts that the rest of the Falcons still depend on Griffith's dream, unware that Griffith is watching them.

When Casca tends to Griffith's bandages alone, he tries to rape her; however, he can only feebly attempt to mount her. In response, Casca merely embraces his broken body for awhile. Afterwards, Casca tearfully tells Guts that she cannot bring herself to leave Griffith with him as they planned, and she pleads to Guts to go without her to pursue his own dream. Griffith, still awake, witnesses Casca and Guts' conversation. He has a vision of his dream as a boy self running towards the castle. Seeing only the castle and nothing else, Griffith somehow takes horses' reins in his teeth and propels his cart away from the camp with Guts and Falcons pursuing it. The cart breaks and Griffith is propelled into shallow river. Regaining consciousness with his left arm almost broken off, Griffith attempts to end his life by impaling his neck upon sharp branch emerging from the water. However, at the last second, he moves his neck away from the point of the branch and suffers only a shallow puncture wound. In the waters, Griffith sees his lost Beherit. Guts and the others find him as the Solar Eclipse begins. As Guts sees strange humanoid figures on the other side of the river, blood from Griffith's neck slowly runs down his arm and and reaches his Beherit, which rearranges itself into a complete face. Guts reaches and touches Griffith in time for the Beherit to let out a scream as blood pours from its eyes. The scream changes the area into another world.

Casca orders the Falcons to be calm and take formation. As Guts carries Griffith back to the others, the strange humanoids exclaim that the time of the Eclipse has come as the God Hand appear one by one, starting with Slan. Void welcomes the Falcons and Griffith to this ceremony as the latter recognizes the God Hand from his visions in his cell. When he hears Void call Griffith "kin", Guts yells at the God Hand that Griffith is not a demon like them. This amuses Slan who expresses admiration for their friendship while explaining to Guts that he and rest of the Falcons are to be sacrificed so Griffith can become like them. The smallest of the God Hand, Ubik, adds that it is honor reserved for the one who obtained the crimson Beherit, the Egg of the King.

While Guts explains that he and others have no intent of letting the demons sacrifice them, Void clarifies that it is Griffith himself who shall offer them up, and that this has been long preordained by Causality. With that, the God Hand member Conrad causes an enormous hand comprised of horrific faces to rise up from the ground, carrying Griffith up while Guts is forced to climb in pursuit. Ubik shows Griffith a vision that showed him what kind of person he truly is in that he has been willing to walk over numerous corpses to reach his "castle." As Guts finally reaches the top of the hand, Void advises Griffith to sacrifice his loyal "wings" in return for new "wings of darkness" to fulfill his dream. Seeing Guts as the person who made him forget his dream, Griffith utters the word "sacrifice" to sacrifice the Band of the Falcon.

The gigantic hand closes around Griffith while Void proceeds to brand the Band of the Falcon, stating their deaths shall give life to the "new child of darkness". The ceremony goes underway as the inhuman beings that serve the God Hand, the Apostles, transform into their true monstrous forms and begin to massacre the Falcons. Guts can only watch from the top of the enormous hand while making a futile attempt to break Griffith free despite knowing this was his decision. He must soon defend himself from the Apostles climbing up after him. Down below amidst the slaughter, Corkus runs for his life in maddened delusion before surrendering to and being killed by a Female Apostle. Pippin sacrifices himself to cover Judeau as he flees with a horrified Casca. Judeau dies protecting Casca from a pursuing Apostle; however, other pursuing Apostles capture her. All the while, feeling each of his comrades' agonizing deaths, Griffith feels himself losing his empathy as he sinks deeper into another plane of existence where he is shown by a higher power the great design of the world itself.

Under the observation of the God Hand, Guts fights Apostles on his way down before he freefalls into a lake of blood containing the severed remains of the Band of the Falcon. Guts calls out to Judeau, Pippin, Corkus, his old raiders unit, and any other survivors, but he receives no replies. His voice breaks off when he calls out to Casca, seeing what appeared to be Pippin on top of the hill. Guts runs over, only to find it is Pippin's dead body hollowed out as lure by a slug Apostle, before finding himself surrounded by Apostles parading with the remains of his comrades. This drives Guts over the edge as he attempts to fight them all before a loud heartbeat is heard, drawing all their attention to the giant hand as it opens to reveal Griffith: transformed into a being that Void christens as Femto.

Using his wings to land a few feet away from Guts, Griffith stretches one arm out horizontally to have one of the Apostles bring the barely conscious and naked body of Casca before him. Guts watches in horror as Griffith begins to rape her, unable to move when Borkoff|an Apostle]] bites down on Guts' left forearm. But the sight of Casca being violated by his former commander drives Guts to sever his own arm to free himself. The God Hand watch with interest and amusement as Guts lunges towards Griffith to stab him in the face with his broken sword, but Griffith hurls Guts back with a telekinetic attack, then several Apostles pin Guts down. Guts struggles futilely as Griffith rapes Casca, who she pleads to him not to look. This is the last thing Guts sees with his right eye as one of the Apostles' claws punctures it.

Suddenly, the Skull Knight forces his way through the interstice and briefly clashes with Void before fighting his way through the Apostles to reach Guts and Casca. After escaping a gravity field Griffith produced, the Skull Knight rescues Guts and Casca. The God Hand find this unforeseen turn of events fascinating. Slan remarks to Ubik that they cannot see all possibilities, while Void deems it to mean nothing as Griffith's ascension has marked the becoming of a new age for man: The Age of Darkness.

Four days later, waking from a dream of the fallen Falcons marching towards a light, Guts sees Rickert and is told that they are in a cave near the house of a blacksmith named Godot and his granddaughter Erica. Having saw the whirlwind where they were suppose to meet, seeing the Skull Knight fight Nosferatu Zodd before entering the storm and emerging with Guts and Casca, Rickert inquires about what happened to their comrades. This agitates Guts as he asks where Casca is, learning from Erica that she is bathing at a waterfall deep within the cave. However, Casca cries out when he touches her, and he learns that she appears to have lost her memories, her ability to speak, and now has the mind of a scared child.

Despite Rickert's pleas for him to stay, Guts runs off into the woods before collapsing from exhaustion on a grassy field as the Sun sets. Guts then finds himself bleeding from the neck without an obvious wound. Guts then hears whispers and murmurs from the rustling grass, and himself attacked by spirits that attempt to take possession of his body. The Skull Knight arrives at that time and tells Guts that the Brand of Sacrifice, which keeps him in a constant Interstice, has cursed him to be forever hunted by specters and other creatures of darkness. Taking the Skull Knight's sword, Guts tells the figure that this is no different from war. He spends the night fighting his ghostly opponents until sunrise.

Guts adorns himself with new equipment, including a prosthetic hand and the large sword Dragon Slayer, before setting off on his quest to hunt down and kill Griffith and the Apostles.

Notes Edit

The film covers the end of Griffith's torture in the Tower of Rebirth to the aftermath of the Eclipse, with the following differences compared to the manga:

  • Guts' first duel with Silat is not shown. Instead the movie skips to Silat's ambush of the remaining members of the Falcons after their first year in exile.
  • The flashback to Guts' rape at Donovan's hand during his and Casca's first time making love does not occur, and he does not start to strangle Casca.
  • The Skull Knight's warning about the Eclipse happens shortly after Guts and Casca make love, instead of being the impetus for Guts to rejoin the Falcons.
  • Rickert's encounters with the Count, Rosine and Puck's circus troupe are written out of the story.
  • Casca's immobility as a result of being horrified at the sight of Griffith's crippled body leads Judeau to take the keys from her and unlock the torture mask himself. Originally, Guts shouts to Casca to give him the keys.
  • Rather than the Falcons taking Charlotte hostage to escape from the tower, she returns to a separate belfry where she can survey the Falcons in their escape from Wyndham without her. The Falcons ambush the gates and a caravan is prepared for Griffith so he can escape.
  • The King of Midland does not age considerably after the one year time-skip and simply orders a division of the Midland Army to give chase. Consequently, Corkus' ambush is directed towards the chasing army and the escape goes much more smoothly without the encounters with the Bakiraka assassins.
  • The flashback to the King's attempt to rape Charlotte does not appear in the film.
  • Like in the 1997 anime series adaption, Wyald and the Black Dog Knights do not appear in the film, with Zodd's second appearance before the Falcons being written out and the band finding out Griffith's disabilities on their own.
  • As Griffith is thrown out of the caravan, he does not imagine what a normal life with Casca could have been like with his disabilities.
  • Rather than his final words comprising of a failed love confession, Judeau dies in Casca's arms regretting that he ended his life being "all talk".
  • Casca's last scene before the rape at Femto's hands has her being rushed by demons instead of having her sword broken.
  • When Guts emerges from the lake of blood during the Eclipse, Gaston is already dead.
  • Guts does not see Casca in the grip of the tentacled Apostle. Instead, his encounter with Femto starts with both of his arms free, and Guts has his left arm caught by Borkoff when he tries to get to Casca as Femto starts to rape her. He also yells "What the hell do you think you're doing?!" at Femto as he's molesting her prior to this.
  • Guts does not scream Griffith's name when he frees himself from Borkoff and charges Femto.
  • While Griffith is raping Casca, Guts attempts to stab him, but is stopped by Griffith's telekinetic abilities. However, the sheer power of Guts' determination and hatred allows him to force himself forward and thus almost manage to stab Griffith in the eye with the broken sword, but he is quickly blasted back by another surge of the new God Hand member's newfound powers. It is only when Guts tries to get to him again that the Apostles pin him down.
  • In Guts' first encounter with restless spirits, the Skull Knight does not toss him the Sword of Thorns; Guts takes the Sword of Thorns of his own accord and attacks the spirits until daybreak. The "declaration of war" speech is also cut down considerably.
  • The film covers the story up to Vow of Retaliation before time-skipping to Guts, having acquired the prosthetic cannon arm, his new black armor and the Dragon Slayer, walking off into the snowy night to go after Griffith and the Apostles as the Black Swordsman. This means that the miscarriage scene with Guts and Casca's child, the final night with Casca in the elf mine, and the fight with the Keeper of the Hounds where Guts uses the Dragon Slayer for the first time are not present in the film.

Cast Edit

Cast Seiyū Voice Actor
Guts Hiroaki Iwanaga Marc Diraison
Casca Toa Yukinari Carrie Keranen
Griffith Takahiro Sakurai Kevin T. Collins
Judeau Yuki Kajii Cris Kromer
Pippin Takahiro Fujiwara Patrick Seitz
Corkus Yoshiro Matsumoto Doug Erholtz
Rickert Minako Kotobuki Michelle Newman
Skull Knight Akio Ōtsuka Jamieson Price
Void Shinji Ogawa John Avner
Slan Miyuki Sawashiro Simone Montgomery
Ubik, Torturer Chafurin Liam O'Brien
Conrad Rikiya Koyama Sean Schemmel
Nosferatu Zodd Kenta Miyake J. David Brimmer
Silat Yuichi Nakamura J.B. Blanc
Charlotte Aki Toyosaki Gina Bowes
King of Midland Nobuyuki Katsube Christopher Corey Smith
Old Fortune Teller Guin-Poon-Chaw Barbara Goodson
Erica Ayana Taketatsu Brianna Knickerbocker
Apostles TBA Liam O'Brien, Christopher Corey Smith

Appendices Edit

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