In the End, the Winner is Still the Last Man Standing

Back in 2012; Berserk: The Golden Age Arc attempted to tell one of the most iconic dark fantasy stories in pop-culture. The trilogy was an adaptation of the turbulent journey of the beloved hero and those around him. Memorial Edition re-cuts the films into a televised adaptation with additional scenes while keeping all of its defining moments. 

If you saw the film trilogy, don’t go in expecting something totally different. It has all the hallmarks that defined the trilogy (both good and bad) along with a few moments that add to Guts’ backstory. It also brings all the issues that come from when a film saga is cut up into a televised series. If you’re hoping to use The Golden Age Arc – Memorial Edition as an introduction to the series, I suggest you reconsider. Go read the manga or watch the 1997 series. I say this because I don’t want potential fans to have a bad impression of Berserk.

It should be noted that I’ve only read a little of the manga. Hence, this review will not be comparing The Golden Age Arc – Memorial Edition with the manga. Instead, it will be rated on its own merit. I’ve also seen the original movie version, thus I will be comparing the quality of the re-edit.

His Own Reason to Live

As with the film trilogy, this is an adaptation of one of the most iconic and influential works of the dark fantasy genre. The Golden Age Arc set the foundation for the overall series as it follows the defining journey of Guts along with the rise and fall of his friendship with Griffith.

Following a successful siege, Guts is forced to join the Band of the Hawks (the most powerful mercenary army) by its charismatic leader Griffith. Reluctant at first, he grows to become one of the group’s best warriors. Overtime, Guts grows to admire Griffith to the point that he sees him as a best friend. Unfortunately, this view is not shared by Griffth (on the outside) as he sees his army more as a means to an end. 

Once the Band of the Hawks achieve the status of nobility, Guts sets out to find his own dream. Heartbroken; Griffith falls into a moment of weakness that puts everyone on a path to damnation. 

Living for the future

If this is your first exposure to Berserk, be aware that it’s nothing you have seen. Compared to the manga, this and the original film adaptation are more tamed. But do expect a lot of carnage and disturbing moments (you have been warned).   

Even if you haven’t read the manga or watched the 1997 series, all of this will look familiar. You have seen so much of this (characters, villains, or worlds) in other works. Be it in video games, other anime works or dark fantasy have drawn inspiration from this story. Its influence as a work of pop-culture is unquestionable and most of it is on full display in The Golden Age Arc. I bring this up because those unfamiliar with the series may see it as a “by the books” dark fantasy when in reality it set the foundation for others to follow. 

Memorial Edition is a chance for fans to see an adaptation of the acclaimed series. Its take on the “Eclipse arc” is still an unforgettable moment. Breaking down the films into an episodic format is also perfect for those who prefer a serialized format. At the same time it does add some new scenes that add to the overall story. While not on par with the 1997 adaptation, it does its best to retell the iconic story.   

The Reward for Ambition

Despite its efforts, all the problems that plagued The Golden Age Arc are still present. Memorial Edition only adds a few new issues to the overall mix.

When it comes to taking a film or OVA and re-cutting it as a TV show, hardly has it been done with quality. If you’ve seen the original, the bad editing is very obvious. If you haven’t seen the original then you will not notice it but you get the feeling something is off. Berserk: The Golden Age Arc – Memorial Edition is no different as it falls into this trap. I understand that it has been edited to under 30min for broadcast, but it has been done at the expense of quality. 

However; these are just issues exclusive to the Memorial Edition. The problems that plagued The Golden Age Arc are still present and can’t be overlooked. 

The obvious issue is the animation quality. Episodes from The Egg of the King and The Battle for Doldrey have a quality that ranges from decent to being an eye soar. Its heavy reliance on CG animation during major battles results in a moment that looks dull. The quality does somewhat approved when it comes to The Advent but it’s still questionable at times. Considering the quality of the 1997 series, these moments are an insult to the series’ overall legacy. Thus, one should not expect this to change for the Memorial Edition.

From a storytelling perspective, not going into details about Guts backstory did a lot of harm. Without the needed information, his character is just a generic silent-type hero without a real personality. Nor do the moments in which he opens up become significant. While the Memorial Edition attempted to rectify this, those additional scenes still don’t tell a complete backstory. Even someone who hasn’t read the manga has a good idea of how important those details are to the overall story. 

That Idol You Worship

For those who have wanted to get into Berserk without reading the manga, Golden Age Arc – Memorial Edition is absolutely not the way to go. Either take the time to read the source material or find a way to watch the 1997 adaptation. This adaptation is best for fans who just want to satisfy their curiosity. 

Berserk is one of the most influential works, absolutely do not make The Golden Age Arc – Memorial Edition your introduction to this masterpiece. One should just read the manga first then give this a watch-through (only to satisfy a curiosity). It may be one of the most iconic works, but it seems that nothing will come close to an adaptation that is on par with the 1997 series. 

Disclaimer: I watched the entire season on Crunchyroll, which I pay for myself.

8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Berserk: The Golden Age Arc - Memorial Edition





  • A retelling of the most influential work of dark fantasy.
  • Its take on the Eclipse arc is still unforgettable.
  • Additional moments adds value to the overall story.


  • Editing and transitioning obviously feels off.
  • As with the film, a heavy reliance on CG animation.
  • Not going into details about Guts past.


  1. For a moment I thought this was one of those woke reviews but I see your criticism is all about the quality of the anime and not the source material.

  2. Berserk is my favorite manga but the new movies and shows have been disappointing. I’m glad you warn people not to watch it if they never read the source material. Always start with the books and you need to read more Berserk!

  3. This give’s me hope for other arc’s getting an anime adaptation. Plus if you watch closely on the intro you can actually see snippets of other characters from other arcs.

  4. WTF? You gave The Golden Age Arc – Memorial Edition a 4/10 but you give Redo of Healer “Complete Recovery” a 2/10! That makes no sense as this version of Berserk is trash while Redo of Healer “Complete Recovery” is a much better anime! THIS IS WHY NOBODY TRUSTS WOKE JOURNALISTS ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Its wacked they gave Redo of Healer Complete Recovery a 2/10 but some how Berserk is a 4/10 even though Redo of Healer has a better animation quality and story!

    • Redo of Healer is trash anime, Berserk is one of the GOATs, this is not that hard to understand. Of course he will give a shit Berserk anime a 4/10 because it’s still better than some trash kock off!

  5. THANK YOU it’s just hard to watch. The animation style is really unsettling at times while trash at worst! They’ve skipped a lot even in this cut. The sound design is mediocre, the color palette is way too bright, the music is mid. Nobody should make this their gate way to Berserk!

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