Berserk tells the story of a swordsman, Gutts, who is taken in by the mercenary captain Griffith. Griffith leads the Band of the Hawk, and they do good business in the hundred-year war between Midland and the neighbouring country. Gutts matures from a promising youth to the captain of the Raiders division. With his sword (almost as big as he himself is), Gutts mows down all of his oppontents.
Griffith has a dream: he wants to become a king. And with his successes in the war, he quickly catches the eye of the generals in the army. As Griffith and his band rise through the ranks of the army, they gain a good position at the court, much to the dismay of the nobles who consider Griffith a 'mere commoner'.
When Gutts announces he doesn't want to be stifled in someone else's dream, he leaves the Band. He beats Griffith, who is shaken and makes a stupid mistake which gets him branded as a traitor. The Band is hunted down, but when Gutts rejoins them, they spring Griffith from jail.
And thn Griffith's pendant, the "King's Egg", activates. Griffith turns into a demon prince, and the Band of the Hawk gets eaten. By demons. In gory detail, two episodes long. Yes, the series is pretty bloody upto that point, but I didn't really have to see humans being chewed up by demons. Also, I would like to see the loyalty of the mercenaries to their captain be rewarded -- I don't want to see Griffith sacrificing them for his own dream (even though it is clear that they are merely a tool for him, to get close to the court).
And when we see Griffith have sex with Caska, while Gutts has to cut off his own right arm (it's stuck in the jaw of a demon) to get to them, the series ends.
Yes, I know the story continues in the manga, but sheesh... It's not a very positive or satisfying ending.
- A 'realistic' military storyline;
- The Band of the Hawk provides an interesting mix of characters;
- Interesting thoughts on ideals and dreams.
- Blood spatters everywhere;
- The abyssmal (literally!) ending gives no resolution.
All in all, I think I could have done without seeing this series. I'll give it a 4.5 -- mainly because of the ending.