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Berserk Golden Age Arc I: The Egg of the King
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by Jay Seaver

"Bloody good start; show me how it finishes."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2012 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: As you can see from the number of descriptors in that title, the "Berserk" manga is huge, and this 70-odd-minute movie covers but a fraction of it. As a result, "Egg of the King" isn't close to a complete story, but it's a pretty good start to one.

Guts (voice of Hiroaki Iwanaga), a mercenary who carries an incredibly large sword, has turned the tide in battle by defeating the monstrous Bazuso, but delines to join the army, instead taking his reward and setting out for new challenges. He's soon recruited into the Band of the Hawk by its leader, the striking Griffith (voice of Takahiro Sakurai), and they are soon close companions - an arrangement that makes warrior woman Casca (voice of Toa Yukinari) jealous. Griffith possesses a strange, living amulet, the Crimson Belehit (aka "The Egg of the King"), and though the Band are loyal comrades, Griffith increasingly seems to have his own agenda when he enters into a contract with the Kingdom of Midland and starts romancing the king's daughter Charlotte (voice of Aki Toyosaki).

And that, no kidding, gets the story frighteningly close to its end, at least for this episode. Expecting full closure from a film that both has "part one" in its title and is based upon a serial that has run for nearly 25 years so far is foolish, but this one's climax seems like it would be a turning point in other films, leaving the audience wanting to see how it plays out right away rather than waiting a few months for the next installment. That being said, it's good set-up; the Guts/Griffith/Casca triangle functions more on loyalty than sexuality, but the movie acknowledges that the latter certainly seems to be in the air (Griffith is the sort of very pretty man where the audience might infer it anyway). Folks should find the characters interesting and the cliffhanger compelling not just for what will happen as fallout, but what it reveals about Guts.

In the meantime, the audience is treated to some really fantastic action and animation. Director Toshiyuki Kubooka uses a lush blend of cel-based and digital tools, resulting in a slick, polished look, with an impressive solidity to the character designs and the sort of camera movement that implies CGI backgrounds but doesn't call attention to them. The music is rousing and operatic, and the battle scenes are suitably bloody and intense. Larger-than-life elements blend in very well with the conventional medieval imagery.

Kubooka is directing three "Berserk Golden Age" movies, with the second ("The Battle for Doldrey") already playing Japan and the third expected by year's end. It's as yet unknown whether they will combine into an impressive epic or fizzle out, but they are off to a good start.

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originally posted: 08/07/12 01:04:04
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2012 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the Fantasia International Film Festival 2012 series, click here.

User Comments

2/17/14 Uwmsqvdi It should also consider history of Scotland at a safe place and ciali Halo Universe," he pr 4 stars
8/07/12 Michael Amazing movie! Keep it up! 5 stars
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Directed by
  Toshiyuki Kubooka

Written by
  Ichiro Okouchi

  Hiroaki Iwanaga
  Takahiro Sakurai
  Toa Yukinari

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