Berserk-Volume 2: Immortal Soldier (1997)

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Released 12-Dec-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Gallery-x10
Gallery-Production Sketches x35
Outtakes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Cowboy Bebop, Vampire Princess Miyu
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 92:24 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Naohito Takahashi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Nobutoshi Hayashi
Masuo Amada
Akira Ishida
Yűko Miyamura
Toshiyuki Morikawa
Norio Wakamoto
Tomohiro Nishimura
Unshô Ishizuka
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Susumu Hirawasa


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    This is the second disc released from the Japanese animated television series Berserk, centred around a successful warrior named Guts who acts as a mercenary in medieval Europe.

    Guts is a young mercenary who wields a massive sword and is a formidable opponent on the battlefield. After a short battle, he is taken under the wing of a mercenary leader known as Griffith and becomes an integral part of his group. Griffith is the head of a highly successful mercenary group known as The Band of the Hawk. This band of battle-hardened warriors becomes legendary after numerous successful campaigns and the group gains the confidence of the King of Midland. The group's rise in status helps to further Griffith's ambitions for power.

    Berserk is a twenty-five episode anime series that is based upon the popular Japanese manga series by Kentaro Miura. The series uses a traditional cel style animation technique and often has only minimal movement with a large number of static shots and pans across static backgrounds. Like many Japanese animated shows, this series contains a number of supernatural elements, but these are considered unusual in the character's universe.

    This second DVD release contains the following four episodes, I have included a very short description for each but as these may contain some very minor spoilers you may wish to skip directly to the Transfer Quality section.

Zodd The Immortal
    The Band of the Hawk capture an enemy stronghold but are held at bay by a single immensely strong soldier in the castle keep. This enemy soldier easily deals with five hundred of the Hawk's raiders and it appears that the legend of Zodd the Immortal is true. Zodd is an incredibly strong warrior that has reportedly been involved in battles for over a hundred years and Griffith and Guts must work together if they hope to defeat him.

The Sword's Owner
    After their encounter with Zodd, both Griffith and Guts have numerous injuries that must heal. As they recuperate at the castle, the King plans to formally recognize Griffith for his efforts and he is to be raised to the peerage with the title of Count. As the war continues, the enemy enforces a strategically significant stronghold and the Hawks are sent to capture it.

Conspiracy
    The Hawks implement an innovative plan to capture the heavily fortified enemy castle. After a bloody battle, the enemy castle falls and the victory pleases the King. The Hawks are then requested to provide protection for a royal hunting expedition. Jealous of the attention that the Hawks are receiving, a plan is formed to eliminate Griffith.

Assassination
    While protecting the Princess during a bow hunting expedition, an assassination attempt is made against Griffith. Luckily he survives the attack, but there is some evidence as to who is behind the attempt. After confirming his suspicions about the assassination attempt, Griffith asks Guts to take care of the situation.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented at the original full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    The transfer is slightly soft throughout but it is able to easily display the animation's full detail. No low-level noise was detected at any stage during the transfer. The transfer displays excellent shadow detail and is able to reveal the details of the original animation during the dark scenes.

    The transfer utilizes a varied but always slightly muted palette that often uses large patches of solid colour. These colours are accurately reproduced and there is no bleeding present at any time.

    A number of small Gibbs artefacts may be seen around the opening credits for each episode, but they are only very slightly distracting.

    No aliasing artefacts were detected at any time during the transfer.

    A small number of minor film artefacts are present throughout the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 0:42, 3:03, 3:47 and 5:21. All of these artefacts are quite minor and are only minimally disturbing. There is obvious film grain present throughout the transfer and its presence is moderately annoying.

    A small amount of telecine wobble may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of this problem may be seen at 0:12, 2:41, 87:07 and 91:49. This wobble is quite minor and is only slightly disruptive. In addition to this problem, the image also appears to bounce slightly at a number of scene changes throughout the episodes. This slightly distracting problem is likely due to the image moving at splice points and may be seen at 2:35, 3:14 and 3:52.

    A number of NTSC to PAL frame rate conversion artefacts may be seen during the high paced scenes at 3:32, 79:03, 79:14, 79:26 and 87:58. These artefacts are only obvious for a short period of time and are only slightly annoying.

    A single set of yellow English subtitles is provided on this disc. These subtitles are always clear and easy to read but are presented in a rather blocky typeface that is slightly distracting.

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

Audio

    English and Japanese Dolby Digital 224 kbps 2.0 soundtracks are provided on this disc. I listened to both in full and personally found the Japanese track to be preferable.

    The dialogue during both tracks is clear and easy to understand at all times.

    As this is an animated feature, there are the expected obvious problems with audio sync for each soundtrack. No dropouts were detected at any stage during the transfer.

    The original score by Susumu Hirawasa varies in style considerably during the transfer but surprisingly always suits the on-screen action. The opening and closing audio tracks for the series are performed in English and I initially found these to be quite annoying, but as the series progressed I found them less irritating.

    The surround and LFE channels are not utilized by this transfer.

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

Extras

Menu

    The animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Production Sketches

    This is a gallery containing 35 production sketches and character designs.

Art Gallery

    This gallery contains ten different pieces of art from the series.

Outtakes (6:50)

    This extra is a number of outtakes from the recording of the English audio track. This section is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Berserk (2:05)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Cowboy Bebop (1:29)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Vampire Princess Miyu (0:31)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English based Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version includes a textless opening so my very slight preference would be for this version, but as the first disc in this series includes this extra I do not feel this would be a major consideration for the majority of viewers.

Summary

    Berserk is a highly entertaining anime series that should appeal to a wide audience as it has numerous action sequences in addition to a strong character-driven storyline.

    The video transfer is of high quality and shows no significant artefacts.

    The choice of audio tracks will appeal to fans of both dubs and subs.

    The small collection of extras is a welcome addition and will appeal to fans.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Friday, May 09, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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