- Directed by Toshiyuki Kubooka
- June 23, 2012 (Japan)
- Based on Kentaro Miura’s Berserk manga series
Band of the Hawk
- Guts-Marc Diraison
- Griffith-Kevin T Collins
- Casca-Carrie Keranen
- Judeau-Christopher Kromer
- Rickert-Michelle Newman
- Corkus-Doug Erholtz
- Pippin-Patrick Seitz
- Gaston-Sean Schemmel
Members of the Midland Court
- King of Midland-Christopher Corey Smith
- Princess Charlotte-GK Bowes
- Julius-Jesse Corti
- Adonis-Colin DePaula
- Anna-Lisa Ortiz
- Hassan-Michael Sorich
- Raban-Marc Thompson
- Void-Jon Avner
- Slan-Cindy Robinson
- Ubik-Liam O’Brien
- Conrad-Sean Schemmel
- Skull Knight-Jamieson Prince
- Bazuso-David B. Mitchell
- General Given-Sean Schemmel
- Gennon-Steve Kramer
- Adon-Mike Pollock
- Boscogn-TJ Storm
- Torturer-Liam O’Brien
- Silat-JB Blanc
- Erica-Michele O’Medlin
After many years Griffith’s ambitions finally come to fruition before it all falls apart.
As I write this it dawns on me that Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II-The Battle for Doldrey is a pretty self-contained story despite being not only a sequel but a midpoint in a trilogy. Viewing this and enjoying the film is not entirely dependent on watching Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I-The Egg of the King. Accessibility like that is rare.
I must say this is much gorier than the last film. And overall more violent. There is a rape scene (via flashback) close to the beginning of the movie. The character of Casca, while being attacked, has a flashback to the events that connected her to Griffith and the Band of the Hawk. This bit of animation is certainly not for children. There is a great deal of very mature content here.
There is very little actual story here. The main thrust is Griffith finally getting the kingdom he has been talking about since the last movie with a large chunk of this narrative taken up by the titular battle. It’s very Lord of the Rings-esque in that a lot happens and the battle ebbs and flows. It’s great to watch but it’s not actual story. Unlike any LOTR conflict it does not move the story forward but rather generates excitement.
Serious problems arise after the fight when Griffith sneaks into the king’s castle to sleep with Princess Charlotte. I can’t remember the last time I saw an extensive sex scene in an animated movie. Or ever really. But here we get one between Griffith and Princess Charlotte. It is not just implied but shown in enough detail that this deserves an R rating.
Things get really icky when while being tortured in custody Griffith correctly deduces that the King of the Midland Court wants to sleep with his own daughter and the reason that the king is livid is because Griffith took her virginity before he did. Not sure if that is something unsettling that will connect in the next film or one more thing to make a viewer uncomfortable.
The most interesting thing to occur in The Battle for Doldrey for me is at the very end. Griffith is being tortured alone by this weird guy who rips the egg necklace off of him. When startled by the egg opening its eye, he drops it into a storm drain and then things just got weird and freaky with it. It had been relatively quiet in the first film and was not even a factor here. Yet those closing visuals hinted at something big which is a great way to get you psyched for the closing chapter.
You may notice I have not said anything much about the character of Guts. There is a good reason for that. He is barely in this and really does not matter to the story. Aside from saving Casca in the opener and exiting at the end he really does not do too much yet the relationship between he and Griffiths is supposed to be a definitive element here.
The Battle for Doldrey has superb music. There is no denying that. I do wish the opening music had been more orchestral and skipped lyrics. That is my only complaint for the music. Other than that it perfectly sets the tone and enhances the film.
The animation is absolutely amazing. There’s a little bit more CGI used in this it seems, but it is blended seamlessly with standard animation. In my personal view it’s the way to go. It allows for a much more cinematic experience that doesn’t poorly age as technology advances.
The designs of the characters are great. And the level of detail is amazing. I couldn’t help but notice that the horse armor this time around looked a lot like triceratops. Seriously. It was cool, don’t get me wrong, but a little distracting for the kid in me who read every dinosaur book he could get his hands on in the library.
There is some heavy talking in this, but that’s the norm more often than not for Japanese animation. And that’s a problem. They mistake talking for story. Show rather than say. I think if they cut out some of the dialogue from this as well as its predecessor this all could’ve been one whole movie.
Aside from my own personal issues Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II-The Battle for Doldrey isn’t bad. I won’t call it great, but it is certainly entertaining. But it’s also certainly not for younger animation fans. It is aimed at adults. Not terrible but if you’re looking for something a little different it’s certainly worth a watch.