They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Berserk, Berserk 2nd Season, Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai, and more!
MAL Score: 6.32
Now branded for death and destined to be hunted by demons until the day he dies, Guts embarks on a journey to defy such a gruesome fate, as waves of beasts relentlessly pursue him. Steeling his resolve, he takes up the monstrous blade Dragonslayer and vows to exact vengeance on the one responsible, hunting down the very man he once looked up to and considered a friend.
Along the way, he encounters some unlikely allies, such as a small elf named Puck, and Isidro, a young thief looking to learn swordsmanship from the former mercenary. As the ragtag group slowly comes together after having decided to join Guts in his quest, they will face incredible danger unlike anything they have ever experienced before.
I put off watching this series for a while because all I had heard was extremely negative! Then my inner contrarian was awakened and I reasoned that the internet anime community also hates a lot of series that I love. Maybe this series isn’t so bad? WRONG! I swear this series was produced by the Rapehorse himself!
The internet anime community only has a couple “sacred cows” where you will get flamed to a crisp if you dare say a negative word about them. One is Legend of the Galactic Heroes and the other is the Berserk manga. Many corners of the internet regard it above Watchmen as the greatest graphic novel of all time. 4chan loves Berserk so much that even badmouthing the manga on /pol/ would make people go “WOAH…too far dude! Freedom of speech has limits!” Yet despite the slavish devotion Berserk has online, Japanese producers have always been skeptical and thus rather tight with their money. The original Berserk anime had recycled animation and non-animated splash pages to a degree that was occasionally comical. The soundtrack replayed the same songs over and over. Cool portions of the manga had to be cut out. Yet it was still regarded as a classic and rightfully so. Berserk 2016 on the other hand is outright, indefensible GARBAGE!
Plot and characters:
Berserk 2016 already had a difficult task because the Black Swordsman Arc is… honestly the worst point in the entire manga. It has glimmers of brilliance, but is weighed down by Miura trying to be so dark and edgy it becomes unintentionally hilarious. Examples of this include the infamous rapehorse and a nun warrior burning innocent people alive while fingerblasting herself. The dialogue includes such over the top classics as “Miracles make me wanna PUKE!” Caska comes down with classic soap opera amnesia. Adapting this portion of the manga was always going to be hard, but Berserk 2016 flat out eviscerates Miura’s work.
Remember the creepy yet emotionally powerful Rosina Arc that helps introduce us to the new Post-Eclipse Guts? Gone. They cut out the whole thing and gave us some schmuck apostle with no backstory that we have ZERO reason to care about. Remember how morally disgusting Farnese was at first and how big a deal it was that she gradually became good and turned face? The anime version of Farnese blushes at the site of blood and has never killed anyone. Her sadism is implied briefly, but NOTHING like how she was in the manga. The best portion of the entire Black Swordsmen Arc is Miura’s impressive ability to actually get the reader to forgive Farnese and want to root for her. The anime fucking ruined it! Characters are watered down, crucial backstory is cut out, and important arcs are entirely skipped. Most baffling of all is that the gore is cut way down from the movies and even the nipples are censored, let alone privates. This is fucking BERSERK! You can cut down some of the pointless squick nudity like the bathhouse chapters with Farnese and Caska. I would actually thank the anime for sparing us the cringe of Schierke’s loli ass shots. However, you can’t simply cut all blood and nudity of Berserk. It is too iconic and integral to the gritty feel of the story. It is true using too much blood and nudity can lead to backlash and unintentional comedy. Look no farther than the internet’s favorite punching bag Elfen Lied. However, going the opposite direction and making a PG-13 Berserk actually robs Berserk of the shock and awe edge that helped Berserk stand out and win over casual fans in the first place.
HOLY SHIT is the art awful in this series! It uses cell shading CG like Valkyria Chronicles on the early PS3 only the character art is shit and the animation is about 5 frames per second. This means the characters move clunky and unnatural like this was filmed in fucking stop motion. When the skeletons attack it looks exactly like a scene from “Jason and the Argonauts” or “Army of Darkness”. The art in the 2nd and 3rd movies greatly improved from the 1st movie, but the series looks WAY worse than the 1st movie! This art is so bad it simply has to be seen to be believed!
Remember how the original Berserk had “Forces” and “Behelit” and other memorable tracks? This soundtrack has none of that! Not to mention the voice actors are almost all amateurs because the producer clearly doesn’t give a shit about this project. The worst of all though is the fucking STUPID sound that occurs every time Guts swings his sword. They go with this metallic BOOONG sound that viewers have described as an empty oil drum being hit with a hammer. This same sound happens no matter what Guts hits with the sword and turns what should be serious scenes into comedy gold. They basically turned Guts into El Kabong! Berserk shouldn’t be making me think of Hanna Barbara cartoons from the 1950s!
1 episode of Berserk 2016: This is SHIT, maybe it will get better?
2 episodes of Berserk 2016: I think I’m beginning to lose my sanity!
3 episodes of Berserk 2016: I hear it’s amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-Kiri Rock. I need scissors! 61!
4 episodes of Berserk 2016: DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!
This adaptation focuses on Guts trying to locate and eventually rescue Casca who has very much turned into an invalid after the traumatic events of the Eclipse. This is mainly due to the negligence of Rickert who as a former Band of the Hawk member was concerned with the mental state of Caska who was under his protection the whole time. This responsibility is ultimately Guts’ one in the end but would make his main objective seemingly more difficult. Learning about the details of Caska’s movements, Guts along with a new companion named Isidro who is obsessed with him and aspires to emulate his heroics find themselves in the desolate refugee camp called Albion. This is where the tower of ‘Conviction’ run by the Holy Iron Chain Knights is located and where the main events takes place.
Apparently the damage was already done when the fans of Berserk realised that the first few episodes did not cater to their expectations. Let’s be real here, anyone here knowing Berserk’s relationship with CG animation should have had the mindset of wanting an average/decent adaptation, only to get a big f*ck you when butchering the source material. If you are reading this then you are a brave soul indeed after experiencing this abomination that may have scarred you permanently. The verdict of most fans by now will probably be dismissing the show and refusing to acknowledge its existence.
The series barely manages to retain the authenticity of the manga with it being a decent portrayal of a dark fantasy series. It still possesses that gritty, inhumane atmosphere that is commonly associated with Berserk. It could even pass off as a post-apocalyptic setting due to the state of events within Albion where poverty and desperation is strife due to an outbreak of the plague in certain cities in the Midlands leading to an influx of refugees seeking help. Religion is the main theme for this arc as it is seen as the way forward when experiencing hard times – basically the only means of salvation for these commoners who would do anything to survive. This is evident in the numerous amounts of individuals being put to death after being accused of being heretics hence is linked to the tower of ‘Conviction’, where all sorts of horrific torture and other forms of extreme brutality taking place in the name of religion.
The hate for the animation techniques used in this anime is probably the single reason why many dropped the show. I abhor the use of 3D and 2D animation ever mixing and to me are like oil and water when done in a mediocre fashion. The ratio between the two is the most disturbing factor personally, as I’m actually impressed by the hand drawn animations which are sparse and are used occasionally as a means of conveying certain facial expressions such as Guts purely concentrating for the kill. This is short lived though as we are expected to put up with the unsightly 3D which infuriates me.
3D models of the characters make up the majority of the animation but are heavily altered with shadings being applied to everyone and the rest of the designs being drawn over by the animators. If there is a positive from this show (though not many) the character designs are consistent but is not always the case as there are times when normal animation is used randomly in certain scenes such as the girls from Luca’s group.
The more episodes you watch, you gradually become more accustomed to the CG which would be case for those who managed to stay on. There is no smooth movement from the animation as it can look jerky at times mainly through different shot compositions such as close ups and its use in the background. The last thing that needs mentioning was the opening had good animation but that is just pure deception compared to what actually takes place.
The sound is one aspect that probably goes unscathed in my review as the voice actors did a reasonable job at performing their characters. Characters such as Farnese and Mozgus sound just like I had imagined them when reading the manga which was unexpected. The soundtrack is a slight disappointment as it can’t compare to the greatness of Susumu Hirasawa’s one for the original series. This series just has one theme that I find worthwhile whereas the other has plenty to offer in comparison despite it being half an hour long. The background sound use is adequately used in most cases except for Guts and his use of his broadsword which can come off as being similar to striking a metal bannister when obliterating his enemies.
I was very much hyped about Berserk getting an adaptation because everyone hates cliffhangers after the 1997 Berserk finale. I wouldn’t even call this a direct sequel as it assumes you have prior knowledge of the manga when watching and for an anime-only would be difficult to follow. This show is not worth your time and so like they say, avoid it like the plague.
Let’s start with the main problem, the animation. It is bad! When I though I got used to it after the first episodes but another punch in the face came. Silly censorship incarnated into characters with no genitals. The animation is a mix of CG and drawn one. The CG parts are really strange. However it’s not like a total fail. Some parts were beautiful. Some were sadly, hilarious. So I can’t agree with statements like “The whole animation is terrible!”. More like “Some parts are funny. (When they are not supposed to be funny.)”
Enough of that. If you forget the animation, then this anime is pretty good. Exactly what I expected and wanted to see as a sequel to the original series. The dark and raw atmosphere is still there, even darker. Guts is as badass as always and you even see some old characters not only in flashbacks.
There are also new characters that are really well made with a focus on their inner feelings. They are just humans after all and they act like that. There are some inner conflicts and deep thoughts. Also some epic quotes that we “anime only watchers” were waiting for!
The sound effects are very specific, especially Guts and his sword slashes will leave a trace in your memory. The music is a treasure. Really an amazing OST. (Susumu and his Hai Yo really reminded me the previous anime adaptations.)
So I have really enjoyed this show despite the bad expectations I had after watching the trailer. I was really wondering if I should watch or drop it. Glad I stayed. You know it was also announced that the season 2 is coming next year. Give it a shot, survive the animation torture and you’ll never regret it!
2: Berserk 2nd Season
English: Berserk: Season II
MAL Score: 6.60
Demons have now become commonplace around the kingdom of Midland, which has fallen into chaos. The swordsman Guts still cannot stay in one place for long due to his demonic brand. He could always manage to protect himself when he was alone, but now he has the added challenge of protecting former Commander Casca, a shell of her former self who neither remembers nor trusts him. They never have a moment’s rest with the constant threat of demons, and they need a place where Casca will be safe till they find a way to heal her. Their elf ally, Puck, tells of the mystical land of Elfhelm, which is supposed to be a safe haven from the demons that ravage the lands. Tired and with only a vague hope, they struggle on to find a place to live—and they still need to find those responsible for the madness they are forced to endure.
It’s the 4th of July everybody! As an American, I will celebrate my country with one of our time honored traditions…beating the dog shit out of something weak and defenseless. Everyone is lining up to shit on Eromanga Sensei. Worst animu of the year! Sure that’s pretty low hanging fruit, but I’m going even lower. If bashing Eromanga Sensei was the equivalent of America’s pummeling and carving up Serbia, picking on poor Berserk 2017 is like the 1983 invasion of Grenada!
Berserk 2017 has 2 clip show episodes in a 12 episode run! That’s really all I need to say to illustrate how fucking shit this series was. That could be the entire review right there!
However, I’m a tad more professional then that so let’s get on with the review. This series covered the part of the manga where Guts meets Schierke, gains the Berserker Armor, and fights the New Band of the Hawk. Basically this is the part of the manga where Miura abandons the “Ow the Edge” feel of the Black Swordsman Arc and makes Berserk a shonen with occasional tits and gore. I’m exaggerating of course, but the tone has changed vastly and it often seems to almost venture into shonen territory. This SHOULD make it easier to adapt into a fun and fluid anime right? Unfortunately it would seem not. They cover very little of the manga in these 12 episodes, not only because there are 2 fucking clip shows, but because the pacing isn’t great. If they were going to make it short and sweet, they could at least put serious attention and detail into the battle scenes. However, the art budget got gutted AGAIN, so this series often looks even worse than Berserk 2016! The battle scenes are predictably lackluster, so we mostly get padding and dialogue. Does it even end at the logical point with Guts gaining the Berserker armor and standing tall against Griffith’s minions? Nope. The series rushed that scene and farted on for another episode so we could meet Bonebeard the Pirate…the character near universally considered to be the worst character in all of Berserk. Yes, he’s worse than Puck. Since this series bombed and there are no plans for a Berserk 2018, this is where the Berserk anime journey ends…with Bonebeard the fucking Pirate! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
If you had told me last year that Berserk 2017 would look even worse than 2016 I wouldn’t have believed you. How could they possibly sink further down when they had reached the center of the Earth? From that point, any direction would be up. However, Studio Gemba has accomplished the unthinkable. There are a lot of anime studios I love to give shit: Toei, ARMS, 4C, OLM, etc. Those are all GODLIKE though compared to Gemba. Only Idea Factory can compete head to head with Gemba when it comes to being an absolute shitstain of an animation company.
Were my expectations high following last years’ travesty? Nope. Was I STILL somehow disappointed by this trash? Yep. Berserk 2017 isn’t even good as a guilty pleasure. Keep in mind my standards aren’t that high. Dragonball Super is something I watch as a guilty pleasure. Berserk 2017 is to Berserk what Superman 4 was to Superman films. It is a blow so devastating that it may never recover. As successful a cult following as the manga has, it will likely be YEARS before we see another attempt at a Berserk anime if ever.
It’s basically the exact same, except the pacing problems have gotten better. There really isn’t too much too say, the CGI art is trash, but if you have read the manga you’ll take what you can get. Obviously the ending is incomplete because the manga continues on much much further, and is still ongoing.
I’d say don’t watch this if you haven’t read the manga, because it will confuse you and will be the least bit enjoyable. For me I love seeing manga come to life through animation even if it isn’t the best so I did enjoy it to a degree, and overall will give it a 7.
I decided to give the Berserk franchise a chance with the introduction of the 2016 season and if I had to compare that season to 2017’s there are a couple things I can mention.
The story for this season was amazing as always and it is what keeps me coming back to watch week after week. I didn’t have any issues with how the pacing was done.
I felt like the directing was a bit better this season than in 2016 although this was mainly for about 75% of the series. The last 1/4 had some major issues that I couldn’t look past. Much of the same can be said for art and animation. The addition of 2D animation for some scenes were more than welcomed on my end but if you are one that do not like the mixture of 2D and 3D in shows then it might be a bit jarring for you.
The soundtrack is what you would’ve been familiar too from the 2016 season and it is great as always. The introduction of new characters as well as the development given to some members of the cast was appreciated. Overall I was able to enjoy this season of Berserk a little bit more than I had the first season.
If you are coming across this anime for the first time, I’d suggest you give episode 1 of the 2016 season a go to see if the 3D CGI would sit well with you. After that I recommend you check out the Berserk anime that came out in the 90s(or the movies if you’re short on time) or you can read the manga for which I keep hearing great things about. I hope my thoughts on this show was useful to you!
1: Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai
English: The Magnificent Kotobuki
MAL Score: 6.86
In a barren frontier where people trade goods with each other in order to help each other survive. The Kotobuki Squadron are bodyguards for hire, led by a strict but beautiful squadron leader, an unreliable commanding officer, and a true artisan of a crew chief. Alongside pilots who don’t lack for personality, they take to the air in dogfights, letting the engine noise of their Hayabusa fighters ring out in the skies.
Yet again, we have another CGDCT (“Cute Girls Doing Cute Things”) anime, this time in the reigns of the old 20th Century times when most people are air/sky pirates and doing their own stuff. Everything that we all wanted that encapsulates about being an air pirate, from airship bases to dogfights, it’s all here. What more could you ask for this being a sci-fi action-adventure flick of inspirations from real like and even video game adaptations polishing the looks of this anime? Simply an underrated gem and it’s good.
Going into The Magnificent Kotobuki, this show tells the stories and adventures of the main Kotobuki squadron of girls (Kylie, Reona, Zara, Kate, Chika and Emma) who are bodyguards for hire, for mercenaries that require some extensive help in all forms and sizes. Along with their airship Hagoromo housing their useless captain (Saneatsu) and one hell of a commanding lady (Madame Loulou), they’re ready to set off into the uncertain skies.
The first thing I’ll require you to turn your senses off to, is the storytelling: it’s a very non-linear approach, and that storytelling is based off the endless amount of adventures of the Kotobuki girls in their slick Hayabusa planes that are airworthy of all dogfights in the skies. For one, we get a lot of emphasis on the main girls: Kylie, a pancake-loving girl, once mastering with her mentor Ol’ Sab on flying, and she is an excellent pilot with skills keen to the most dedicated. Emma the short, chibi-esque girl, aside from being Kylie’s childhood friend, she seems to be the one who holds grudges, but alongside her, another great pilot on the observational side. Reona, the leader/captain of the Kotobuki squadron, the pilot with the most “girl power” with a lot of experiences clocked under her belt. Aside from being the most sensible pilot, she is one that gets to the bottom of the truth and executes her mission without fail. YOU GO GIRLS, girl power!
And, that’s basically it for the characters. Oh sorry I almost forgot, the antagonist Isao, once an ace pilot who saved Reona’s life. However, in his pragmatic business, whoever views his clown-tricking abilities are those that might look like an insensible joke from a typical person at first, but when he gets serious, he knows how to manipulate people. What an ass.
The VERY startling point is the art and animation. From the same studio who did the disgusting demeanor that is the Berserk sequel (of sorts), GEMBA (with collaborations from WAO World) took an approach that is very unheard of: Mashing both 2D and 3D, and adding in lots of CGI into the mix. What resulted was a very jarring experience to even watch an episode through and not suffer hallucinations. Thank God this isn’t another Hand Shakers though.
In my opinion, it was a risk trying to incorporate both 2D support animation (from WAO World) and 3D (main cast of) characters (from GEMBA), but when used and utilized right, it could be something else. One thing I’ve really liked though is the dogfights, in particular the endless amount of planes’ camera motions pertaining to the pilots that the animators wanted to emphasize. It’s kinda like the modern A380 with its tail camera perching for passengers to be wowed. Not the greatest of greats, but not bad too.
OST is also decent. In fact, I had a lot of vibes from Crimson Skies (the video game) as the dogfights’ music plays throughout the series, it is damn reminiscent of it and largely captures my attention for the good and great amount of dogfights this series has to keep the action pumping between the frenemies. ZAQ’s OP is great, an atmospheric throwback to old 1930s style with its aesthetics and music, and the decent ED by the Kotobuki squad to end their missions on a good note.
But then again, my recommendation of this show can only be purged on the minority of fans who like or love the old times of sci-fi sky pirates with its full-on action-adventure modes. Wonky animation aside, this isn’t a bad show, it’s just that while there’s nothing really going for it, at the back of your minds, it will be like: “Just stick till the end of the episode.” And that is where the show’s magic happens and take hold of you, to go in deep and further.
To me, it is enjoyable, but how about you? Give this one a try, forgo all expectations, and you might like it.
For a story about aviation, I was fully prepared to be cast into a world where aircrafts is much more than just what they are. The first few episodes immediately dives into a world where we witness the technology and importance of aviation. Technology related to aeronautical practices is a common sight. This came to me as no surprise considering the anime advertised itself with many of its promotional material in such ways. What did catch me off guard and I regret to say is that the show could have been so much more.
Anime that takes on aviation as a major theme is also becoming a more popular trend in recent years. It hasn’t taken off quite yet like isekai but from this Winter season alone, we had at least two titles: Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai and Girly Air Force. However, let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai has confidence to be its own show. As an original anime, it doesn’t have to rely on manga material to be faithful or as a continuation from some prequel series. Anime like this isn’t afraid to take risks although it didn’t capitalize on its concepts. Let me just say that the first episodes themselves accomplished little more than becoming a flight simulator. Indeed, I can’t say this enough but when you have a full squad of badass girls as pilots, you know this is going to take off as a sky fueled action show. It doesn’t take long to realize how skilled the main characters are when the first episode shows their abilities to take down hordes of enemy aircrafts. War veteran Zara is the most prominent to notice for her battle experience. However, don’t count out the rest of her squad. Characters like Chika, Kate, Kylie, and Emma are not to be underestimated when they are in their cockpits. Even a little girl like Chika can be described as “dynamite come in little packages”. Throughout the series, they participate in many dogfights that first came as exciting but soon became very predictable. Let’s face it, this anime sells the Kotobuki squad as the aces in the sky. Their feats are easily noticeable for their complex aerial maneuvers. Some episodes even consists of its squad members chasing down their foes in what seems like near impossible scenarios. But if you guessed it, they make it look easy. Now I don’t want to designate the characters as “overpowered” as they certainly do find themselves struggling on occasions. Still, it’s not very fun when the whole show make others look bad after each episode. I’m not going to lie, after watching a good portion of this series convinced me that the Kotobuki squadron is like an end boss video game; only that the they are badass girls.
Overlooking the characters, I think perhaps the show holds some value when it comes to its mysterious world and technology. In fact, the aircrafts themselves makes me wonder how much potential it really has. A weapon is only powerful as its user is what I would think. While the aircrafts aren’t very high standard, they are capable of making dogfights look realistic. The pilots ride the sky and gives a feel of being right there with them in their cockpit. When an aircraft is shot and melts down, it gives the impression of life or death. Being able to depict a war-like feeling almost every episode actually makes the show exciting at times. The downside is that the whole idea can get repetitive fast. Trust me, once you’ve seen one dogfight, it feels like you’ve seen them all.
One of the more interesing aspects of the show is its economic system. This includes how mercenaries are hired such as the Kotobuki squad. Furthermore, there’s monopoly that can’t be overlooked in such an unstable world. I think for what’s worth, the anime manages to makes its world a breeding ground for conflicts. The Kotobuki squad not only have to deal with enemies in the sky but also corruption among corporations. It adds fuel to the already desolate world that makes surviving all the more difficult. Luckily for the Kotobuki members, they don’t have much trouble living their lives but you can just imagine for some of the poorer folks. The World War like atmosphere often puts less fortunate people in jeopardy when they don’t have the resources to fend for themselves. It’s a sad and grim reality.
Making an anime featuring aviation isn’t easy nor is animating aerial dogfights on a consistent basis. The strange combination of 2D and 3D art style can take a bit of time to get used to. In fact, the character models looks like something from a video game in its alpha stage. It reminds me a bit of Apreggio of Blue Steel at times only without the high level technology. When in its 2D form, character designs are pretty normal on most terms although fan service is evident on occasions. Madame Lulu, Zara, and Naomi are a few examples as the show try to make them busty. But on most occasions, the show sells its animation in the sky where the real action takes place. The dynamic quality of the framework and fluid movements (when ignoring the 3D models) makes the action look convincing. It’s just that when you see it so many times, it loses its relevance.
Honestly, this show feels like a flight simulator. The story isn’t very well written despite the immense amount of potential. Characters lack development as the show focuses way too much into the action. It almost feels like playing a video game at times like Battlefield or something when every episode just bites into the action and consumes it without stopping. My impression of the whole show didn’t change at all from the first episode to the end. There’s just so much potential in this anime that eventually became a showcase of mediocrity.
Story- fair 6: The story relies on a daily plot that were simply random.
Art- Very Good 8: The graphic and 3D images where awesome. Btw there is a one time Zara fanservice and that is all you’re gonna get.
Sound- Good 7: I have nothing to say about the characters voice , btw the score is for the sound effect of the machine guns that we hear around here.
Character- Good 7: Well girl power is all over the place in this anime, and as we see with the Kotobuki Corp, Chicka, Reona, Kyrie, Zara, and Kate each represent a certain bad ass that what a man has that them girls can also have as well.
Enjoyment- Very Good 8: Forget the story just enjoy the dog fight, cu’z is what this anime is about.
Overall- Very Good 8: It is as what my rating says, so should this have a manga version????? Well, it’s a good anime, but making it a manga, no way Jose, it’s best to leave it as an anime.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai
2. Berserk 2nd Season