This week’s episode of Berserk picks up immediately after last week’s climactic cliffhanger, with Guts and Casca finally reunited amidst a throng of possessed cultists. As the demonized mob clash with the witch-hunting force of Holy Iron Knights there seem to be many parties working to cut that reunion short.

Please be warned some of the discussion in this article will mention the manga and may possibly include spoilers for events of the previous anime and this current series up through this episode.

After proving his worth last week, Isidro is entrusted to protect Casca and Nina while guiding them out of the cave. Guts is forced to lag behind in order to deals with the apostle-like, goat headed monster cultist. Serpico uses the distraction to intercept Guts on unfavorable terrain, but is ultimately defeated by the Rob Roy maneuver before making his escape. Isidro helps the two women descend the cliff to safety, where they run into the waiting arms of the Holy Iron Knights, courtesy of Joachim who was in turn led by the creepy watching eye entity. Once again Guts is stymied and Casca and Nina are captured and taken to St. Albion. We see Nina’s struggle between her fear and her shame at blaming the harmless but sweet Elaine (Casca). Nina’s cowardly instincts prove to be her undoing as she is picked to experience the horrors of the dungeons first. Meanwhile Guts, Isidro and Luca make their way to St. Albion to mount a rescue…

This episode puts the spotlight on the relationship of Guts and Isidro, who has been shadowing Guts for a long while now. While Isidro will never admit it, he idolizes Gut’s ability to navigate this dangerous world and wishes to earn his acknowledgement. We can see Isidro’s effort as well as his disappointment at his failure to protect the two women. Guts perspective on the boy is less clear, but he certainly makes for a better father figure than Gambino did.

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Berserk (2016) has shown us Guts’s subtle progression from his semi-feral state in the first episode to his current self. Guts’s interaction with Rickert & Erica where he learns of Casca’s disappearance as well as his subsequent chiding by Godo marked a turning point, re-focusing Guts on what is truly important to him. The repair of the Dragonslayer as well as Guts re-arms and armoring is a nice metaphor of this.

Puck in his own way has helped to re-humanize Guts, who no longer has to travel alone, providing a counterpoint to the horrors that visit the Black Swordsman nightly. Puck also serves as an ambassador to humanity of sorts (which is funny since he’s an elf) seemingly welcoming Isidro into the fold, however unofficially. Plus having a tiny flying scout who is invisible to some humans is helpful, illustrated both in the current and previous episode. When you count the counsel of the Skull Knight and assistance of people like Luca or the father and daughter from the first episode, Guts probably has realized he is not as alone as he thinks, despite the loss of all his comrades in the eclipse.

A few more character observations:

Casca, I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting this particular voice acting. This performance is less child like and less feminine than I had imagined reading the manga. Its way more… I dunno, brain-damaged? Still it works, and fits Casca doing all the funny stuff in the background, like trying to eat things or patting sad people on the head.

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Nina, yes she sorta sucks, but even reading the manga, she’s understandable because the character is very real. Confronted with how terrifying and horrible the reality she lives in is, coupled with her disease, her actions are more than plausible. I view her with exasperated pity probably similarly to how Luca sees her. Interesting to contrast this side character with main characters like Shinji from Evangelion or Subaru from Re:Zero, I wonder how people view them?

Serpico, also got a bit of spotlight in this episode. There is some more of his backstory relationship with Farnese to be revealed (if this series makes it to that part of the manga), but safe to say he is very attuned to her mental state. Seems like Serpico to notice of Farnese’s mania in regards to the sight of the Black Swordsman and went off to deal with the problem himself. He did bit off more than he could chew even in favorable conditions, but admitted to himself that even that level of risk taking was against his character. It’s a nice little insight into Serpico’s personality as well as raises some questions as to whether or he acting purely for Farnese or more personal motivations.

That’s it for me for now, I should be back in one or two weeks. ShadowHaken and I have been alternating (for the most part) our reactions on this new series. Thanks to Shadowhaken for covering me last week. Be sure to check out our posts for the previous episodes.

If you have any thoughts or reactions of your own, please share them in the comments. I also do an OP/ED of the Day post biweekly Thursdays, if you happen to feel like a hype dance song, check out my latest post from the live action Akagi.