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I think about this film a little differently from the other reviewers. I have read the Manga, and I have watched the anime, and I am interested in what this anime version adds to what has already been published.
In my opinion Berserk fans should read the original, because it has everything--every last little detail, ranging from the evolution of Miura's drawing and storytelling style, to scenes omitted from both the animated series and the movie. These details are important for people who want to know the characters of Berserk and its world as well as possible. It also takes more risks artistically: plot points are more likely to be delivered out of order, there is more foreshadowing and symbolism, the number of sub-plots is greater....adaptations usually transform or simplify the original to match the conventions of a new target audience, so that its features can be more immediately recognized, digested, or even predicted. The original lacks these changes, and so is in a sense also a document of Japanese culture.
I would recommend this movie with some caveats. If you can't read the original, you should watch the first 21 or so episodes of the animated series, and then watch this film. Watch the first two movies of the new trilogy later. Too much of what makes you care about the characters, and be concerned about their fate--which is grossly affected by this film--is missing from the first two movies. What is omitted is too important to the overall story: it explains why Guts thinks the way he does, why the characters came to be the way they are, their motivations, values, knowledge, etc. Too much of what follows won't make sense, or won't register with you, if you are not aware of what the characters care about.
Assuming you do the above, the third movie is an excellent adaptation of probably the most powerful portion of the Berserk narrative. The animation makes the events come to life very clearly and very effectively. The mood is sustained, the suspense is maintained, the characters "look cool", and anticipation is built up for the next installment.
13 of 18 people found this review helpful.
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