Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III-The Advent (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 23-Jul-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Trailer-x1 for another film
Interviews-Crew-Eiko Tanaka (8:10)
Interviews-Cast-Aki Toyosaki and Minoko Kotobuki (12:37)
Outtakes-Movie 1 (27:50), Movie 2 (14:01), Movie 3 (21:05)
More…-The Battle for Doldrey: US Premier Highlight Reel (2:01)
Gallery-Movie 1, Movie 2 Production Galleries
Music Video-Susumu Hirasawa “Aria” Live Concert (4:51)
Trailer-International Trailer, Movies 1 to 3
Theatrical Trailer-Trailers Movie 1 UK and Russia
Teaser Trailer-Movie 1 (UK)
More…-Special Digest for Movie 2
Theatrical Trailer-Movie 3 Japan
Trailer-x1 for another film
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 112:42 (Case: 107)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Toshiyuki Kubooka
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Kevin T. Collins
Jesse Corti
Colin DePaula
Marc Diraison
Shingo Egami
Doug Erholtz
Takahiro Fujiwara
Hiroaki Iwanaga
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Shiro Sagisu


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, action and music video

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Plot Synopsis

     Berserk - The Golden Age Arc III: The Advent (Beruseruku: Ougon jidai-hen III – Kourin to give the film its full title) is based upon the manga by Kentaro Miura that was first published in 1990 and is still going strong after 25 volumes or so. An anime of the manga started on TV in 1997 and ran for 26 episodes before ending abruptly. This film trilogy follows the same golden age story arc as that TV series, albeit greatly reduced in running time but with a much bigger budget. Berserk - The Golden Age Arc I: The Egg of the King was reviewed on this site here and Berserk - The Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey here.

     At the end of The Battle for Doldrey Guts (voiced by Hiroaki Iwanaga / Marc Diraison) has defeated Griffith (Takahiro Sakurai / Kevin T. Collins) and left the Band of the Hawk. Griffith and the Band of the Hawk had won the war against Chuder for Midlands, but Griffith had overreached himself in his ambition and the Midlands King ordered his capture and torture and the ambush and destruction of the Band of the Hawk. As Berserk - The Golden Age Arc III: The Advent commences, it is one year after those events and the remnants of the Band of the Hawk, now led by Casca (Toa Yukinari / Carrie Keranen), are on the run from their enemies. Camping in a forest they are attacked, but Guts reappears and helps defeat the attackers. Casca has discovered where Griffith is being held in the dungeons of the castle, and a successful rescue is launched. But Griffith has been badly tortured: the tendons in his arms and legs cut so he cannot stand or move his arms, and his tongue removed.

     Griffith is an emaciated shell of his former self and Casca, Guts and the rest of the Band are unsure of what to do next. But with the advent of an eclipse the Great Nocturnal Festival, which only occurs every 216 years, brings forth a horde of demons, the Four Guardian Angels and the Skull Knight. The Golden Age has ended and the Age of Darkness begins as the true nature of Griffith’s kinship and ambition is finally revealed.

     Fans of the manga and / or the TV anime have expressed opinions as to how well the films function in the Berserk canon, however this is a review of Berserk - The Golden Age Arc III: The Advent as the final film in an anime trilogy. And as a film I can say that The Advent is both beautiful and distressing, with a power and intensity that left me breathless. It looks stunning, with intense coloured landscapes of yellow, green, blue and crimson, while the final section is all greys, blacks, whites and crimson blood. The sound design is immersive and loud and with sex, nudity, violence against women and action that is chaotic, brutal and very bloody with bodies pulled apart in sprays of blood, this is very adult anime.

     Berserk - The Golden Age Arc III: The Advent brings the Berserk - The Golden Age Arc to a powerful, bleak and shattering conclusion. The first two films, and the first half of this film, take place in an almost recognisable Medieval European setting, albeit with copious helpings of murder, torture, sex, nudity and brutal and very bloody battles. But after about 55 minutes, The Advent turns into something quite different and becomes a horror / fantasy sequence with ghouls, demons, the Skull Knight and a sickening trial for Casca. The ending of the film is extremely bleak but, as a text message points out, this is just the beginning and there is clearly another journey for Guts, and Casca, to take.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Advent is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original release ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG 4 AVC code.

     The print looks beautiful. Some scenes are deliberately soft looking as though shot through a gauze, but the landscapes and some sequences feature stunningly vibrant colours of yellow, green, red, blue and crimson, while the final section is all greys, blacks and crimson. Lines are firm, blacks and shadow detail are fine.

     I did not notice any marks, dirt or similar artefacts or issues except for minor aliasing.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate in either audio track.

     The English subtitles are in a white font. They seemed error free and were easy to read. The subtitles cannot be changed or selected on the go. Instead, you must select “Japanese with English subtitles” from the main menu. Japanese speakers cannot remove the English subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of Japanese or English DTS HD- MA 5.1. I listened mainly to the Japanese audio, and sampled the English dub. Both are stunning.

     Both the Japanese and English dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The sound design right from the opening was loud and aggressive utilising all the speakers. Arrows fly, thuds reverberate from body hits with edged weapons, horses’ hooves resonate. During the demon sequences the audio was even more loud and immersive, with cries and rumbles and lots of panning and directional effects. The sub-woofer was fully utilised adding bass to everything, and the demon feet reverberated.

     The symphonic score by Shiro Sagisu was fabulous, diverse, epic and heroic. It was supported by the theme song by Susumu Hirasawa.

    An excellent loud, aggressive and enveloping sound mix.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The first two films had no extras. They seem to have been held over for this third film.

     I don’t usually comment on menus, but this is one of the worst; it is annoyingly slow and chunky, and I found it difficult to get to the second page of extras. It was easier on my computer, where a point and click can be used.

Start-up Trailer

     A trailer for Bleach: Hell Verse (1:00) plays at start-up.

Interview with Eiko Tanaka (8:10)

     Tanaka from Studio 4 C is interviewed at San Diego Comic Con in 2012. She answers (in Japanese, subtitled) text questions about making the manga into a movie, the involvement of manga creator Kentaro Miura, deleted scenes and the adult and violence elements of the series.

Outtakes Movie 1 (27:50)

     Goofs, laughing and general silliness in the recording booth by the American voice cast doing movie 1. Occasional takes have some music and effects, most do not. Pointless and boring.

Outtakes Movie 2 (14:01)

     Ditto: movie 2.

Outtakes Movie 3 (21:05)

     Ditto: movie 3.

The Battle for Doldrey: US Premier Highlight Reel (2:01)

     Happenings in San Francisco at the US premier of movies 1 and 2.

Interview with Aki Toyosaki and Minoko Kotobuki (12:37)

     Aki Toyosaki (the Japanese voice of Charlotte) and Minoko Kotobuki (Rickert) sit together and answer (in Japanese, subtitled) questions about their own characters, relationships between characters, voice acting and their favourite scenes.

Movie 1 Production Gallery (2:31)

     30 screens of artwork, preliminary drawings and sketches. Silent, advances automatically.

Movie 2 Production Gallery (1:48)

     21 screens of artwork, preliminary drawings and sketches. Silent, advances automatically.

Susumu Hirasawa “Aria” Live Concert (4:51)

     The series’ theme song performed live on stage by the composer.

International Trailer, Movies 1 to 3 (2:59)

Trailer Movie 1 (UK) (2:00)

Trailer Movie 1 (RU) (1:45)

    Russian trailer.

Teaser Movie 1 (UK) (0:30)

Special Digest for Movie 2 (3:42)

     Berserk - The Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey in 4 minutes! Scenes and music, no dialogue.

Trailer Movie 3 (JP) (1:52)

    Japanese trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our Region B release seems identical to the Region A US release. The Region B UK release is listed as available October 2014. The Japanese Region A version has no English subtitles or English dub. Buy local.

Summary

     Berserk - The Golden Age Arc comes to a shattering conclusion in the third film of the trilogy, Berserk - The Golden Age Arc III: The Advent. This is bleak, intense and powerful anime, definitely for adults.

     The video and audio are very good. Extras are a mixed bunch.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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