It’s very rare that a product is released that the staff just didn’t care about. It might seem easy to sit in an armchair snarking about how your grandmother with arthritis could produce better animation than Berserk, but the reality is that anime is hard to produce. Very hard.

The most recent target of armchair “industry experts” has been the latest adaptation of Berserk, directed by Shin Itagaki and produced by Liden Films. Now, seeing the lacklustre CGI production, along with some poor narrative pacing, fans have flooded to Director Itagaki’s MyAnimeList page, spewing abuse. In particular, the lovely “_Zwei_” wrote a letter to Shin Itagaki stating:

You need to die for what you did to Berserk, right now.”

Some would call esteemed critics like “_Zwei_”, a ‘troll’. I prefer the terms, ‘a despicable waste of sperm’ or more simply, a ‘[REDACTED BY THE EDITOR]’. We like to think that a language barrier is enough to separate ourselves from the anime industry, but it’s been proven time and time again that members of the industry are well aware of their international coverage. Because who could resist Googling your own name?

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However, it’s not just that “Zwei” along with various other finger-pointers are varying levels of asshole, it’s that it’s not entirely understood how much of a bloody miracle it is that Berserk is getting a continuous adaptation in the first place. Originally written by Kentaro Miura for Hakusensha, the series has become a cult icon. Selling very well for a monthly seinen serial, Berserk has captured a dedicated audience and even those that don’t watch it, are aware of it through reputation.

Take that last line into consideration and imagine you’re working for Hakusensha. You see, the purpose of adaptation is to boost sales of the original source material. So who needs another Berserk anime? The first one did its job, the second one reintroduced the franchise to a modern audience and they both did their job successfully.

berserki

Done.

Berserk 2016 never needed to exist, but thanks to a huge group of varying circumstances, it’s somehow managed to happen. A Japanese streaming website wanted the rights to it, NBC Universal was interested in the brand, Omega Force wanted to make a Berserk themed Dynasty Warriors game and even Ultra Super Pictures and Liden Films jumped onto the production committee just so this thing could get made. It’s a bundle of odd names and it’s doubtful that anyone ever expects to make money off it (Except Koei Tecmo, who probably have some faith in Berserk Warriors).

Berserk-Game-Screenshot

Berserk is a product of compromise. A deal with the devil, to be somewhat more thematic. A new adaptation could be made and it could even be a sequel, but it’s not going to be with a superstar director with a superstar writer. It’s not even going to be produced in 2D, since the best that could be managed would be a series of still-frames. Can we get Polygon Pictures? No, of course not. You get GEMBA. Who are they? Fuck knows.

Hopefully you’re getting my point here about Berserk

Berserk is on a barely sustainable production model with a 3D studio who have never produced their own series before. Even when Teekyu director Shin Itagaki is drawing good storyboards, it’s a struggle to be able to actually bring them to any meaningful life. Even the script supervisor and CG Directorial staff have very little experience with anything like this.

5-Berserk-2016-review

But it was this or nothing.

And not once have we had evidence of this being at all a product of laziness or a lack of care. So when MyAnimeList’s “LoneWolf” asks, “Is this really the best guy they could find to adapt something like Berserk? I feel like he didn’t even read the manga,” the answer is Yes.

Not only was he probably the best option under the circumstances, but he was absolutely passionate about it. He even drew several drawings on Twitter, including this one showing his excitement at having been given the opportunity.

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This isn’t a “Shut up and eat what you’re given” article. This is an opportunity to reflect on the realities of anime production. It’s really really not easy and getting some products made, particularly a third anime adaptation of Berserk are the results of miracles. And by miracles, I mean bad business decisions for the benefit of anyone who’s begged to see more Berserk on TV.

Even the assholes who start sending anime directors death threats.

Posted by Callum May

Guest Writer from TheCanipaEffect.com

13 Comments

  1. Sorry man, but this article reads way more like an angry rant than any sort of analysis, or anything meaningful at all, really. All it seems to say is “Making anime is harder than people think, don’t send people death threats.” Which, yeah, both of these things are true. Death threats are bad, and ANY art is hard to make. But what does this change about the anime itself? I suppose it gives me a slightly new perspective, knowing that it’s something the people involved wanted to make rather than a cynical cash grab, but that doesn’t change the quality of the show. Once I’ve finished reflecting on the realities of the anime industry I’m still left with a bad show.

    If it was this or nothing, then yeah, I’d prefer no adaptation over a bad one, passion project or not.

    Reply

    1. The thing is that, what he’s trying to prove isn’t that Berserk 2016 isn’t a bad show. So of course you’re still left with a bad show. If anything he’s explaining why it is bad. And yes it is kind of a rant towards people who think it’s bad for the wrong reasons.

      Reply

  2. One of my favorite old JRPGs on the PS1 is Star Ocean: The Second Story. The soundtrack is great, the world is interesting, and there are so many cool mechanics (like item creation, long before every game had obligatory “crafting”) and character specialties to play with. And the mood of the thing is fantastic!

    It’s a shame about the battle system, which I think is terrible. And it’s a REAL shame, because the battles are what you spend a majority of the time doing in a JRPG! Still, I somehow love the game in spite of seriously disliking the very core of the gameplay.

    That’s kind of how I feel about this Berserk series. I love the source material. I like how they tie it directly into the recent films through music. I like how they change “art styles” when flashing back to scenes from the Golden Age arc, actually using what looks like 2D animation. I like the Hirasawa insert song. I like the story. I just like Berserk all around.

    It’s a shame about the quality of the CG and, even worse than that, the animation. I thought the CG was distracting in the films, but this is so much worse. It literally looks like a pre-rendered cutscene from an early PS2 game. It’s not a good sign when, in an animated series, you look forward to scenes of motionless characters talking because the framerate during the action is so low. That’s most of the experience as you watch this show: “wow, this looks bad.”

    But I like it anyway, in spite of its flaws. I’ll keep watching. I’m glad we got a show, because I didn’t think it was going to happen, even after the films. But it looks terrible. It’s okay to acknowledge that.

    Reply

  3. “But it was this or nothing.”

    Pretty sure that’s the whole point of people complaining, everyone would’ve preferred nothing over this pile of crap.

    Reply

  4. This or nothing? Anyone with an ounce of sense would prefer nothing, you stupid fuck.

    Reply

  5. I personally like the show. Yes it’s CGi and yes it looks like a PS2 cutscene, but I have never been a manga reader and I watched the original series and it left me on such a cliff hanger that I wanted more and had to wait. The art style reminds me of Knights of Sidonia and I adore that show. I’m glad they brought Berserk back and it’s getting attention again. I only hope they continue an anime adaptation.

    Reply

    1. Glad I’m not alone in that. Also no one seems to comment about the sound design. The Dragonslayer sounds immense when it is swung about, and the impacts of attacks sound amazing. The soundtrack and voice work are also handled well. I don’t mind the CG at all, as it is still the Berserk story I’ve loved since I first got into the series years ago.

      Reply

  6. Sorry, but your post doesn’t make any sense.
    This or nothing? Hell fucking nothing.
    Im a huge Berserk fan. But man…the showi t’s worse than shit.

    And Im glad that people are angry. Maybe next time, when another serie in similar situation, this will not happen again.
    If you can put your 100% in something. Just dont fucking do it.

    Reply

  7. Wow, a lot of fuckers in the comments, I see.
    ” “This was this or nothing.” That’s the problem, we would’ve preferred nothing than this shit.”

    Well, that’s great. But you did ask about a sequel, you wanted it. If you didn’t see it coming just after the movies, why haven’t you think that there was no reason for producers to invest into a sequel?
    If there is no interest for them, they won’t give a large amount of money. But you did continue to pray for a sequel. And you have it now. A miracle like the writer said. It smells bad but it’s proof that praying for sequels is not vain. Don’t make producers regret that. If they continue like that, maybe there will the other seasons of Berserk with more funds and a better quality. Continue to pray, animators are just fans like you.

    Reply

  8. So many “fans” are unreasonable and sounds like angry teenagers.

    What a shame.

    For one, I’m happy that we get more Berserk and I thanks the team with my whole heart for their hard work.

    Reply

  9. It’s really not so much that the animation or cgi is bad. it’s the fact that once again an animated berserk release is heavily edited which skips over certain elements of the Manga as well as an entire arc. Other than that, I’m happy enough to watch anything that’s berserk. But make no mistake, if something’s bad, it’s bad no matter how or why it’s bad (production companies, investors, directors, writers, etc etc). At the very least, this series is better than the cash grab crappy movies that came out before it.

    Reply

  10. Nope, he needs to feel absolute hate came from the fans. He made the shitiest anime ever and he needs to know how bad it is.

    Reply

  11. Usuckitagakis Cock August 24, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Googled where to send hate mail to Shin Itagaki – was not disappointed.

    Reply

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