Berserk (1997 TV series)

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Berserk
剣風伝奇ベルセルク
(Kenpū Denki Beruseruku)
GenreAdventure,[1] dark fantasy[2]
Anime television series
Directed byNaohito Takahashi
Kazuya Murata (assistant)
Produced byToshio Nakatani
Toshiaki Okuno
Shūkichi Kanda (animation)
Written byYasuhiro Imagawa
Music bySusumu Hirasawa
StudioOLM TEAM IGUCHI
Licensed by
Original networkNippon TV
Original run October 7, 1997 March 31, 1998
Episodes25 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Berserk, also known as Berserk: The Sword-Wind Romance (剣風伝奇ベルセルク, Kenpū Denki Beruseruku), is a Japanese anime television series that aired from 1997 to 1998. An adaptation of the manga Berserk, it comprises 25 half-hour episodes produced by Oriental Light and Magic and first aired on Nippon TV.[3] The episodes adapt part of the manga's Black Swordsman arc, continuing through the Golden Age storylines.

Plot[edit]

Though the manga storyline remains largely intact, many changes were made, with the modification or elimination of characters, some of the series' most violent and brutal scenes, and material that would have extended the storyline beyond the planned run of the anime series. Themes of friendship and ambition are more developed and emphasized than those of causality and the supernatural, all of which were made with the approval of series creator Kentaro Miura.

Production[edit]

Music[edit]

Susumu Hirasawa composed the soundtracks for both the anime and video games, using an eclectic selection of instruments. He received the offer to compose music for the series due to Miura being a fan of his works and listening to them while he works on Berserk, that also led to Miura almost never requesting a specific composition for him to include. Hirasawa has said that Berserk does not feel like a self-restrained story, and that composing for the series is similar to the sensation of unlocking one of his inner restraints, leading to compositions on a "Berserk style".[4] Hirasawa's work on the series led him to meet Yūko Miyamura, which led to musical collaborations between the two. Hirasawa's album Technique of Relief builds off of his work on the series and the Miyamura collaborations.

Hirasawa recycled some earlier works for the series: "Take the Wheel" (from Aurora) and "Kun Mae #3" (from side project Shun's Kun Mae in a Calculation) were re-written and re-recorded as "BERSERK -Forces-" and "Murder", respectively. Music from other composers is also used in the series: "Madre Assente", from Ennio Morricone's The Blue-Eyed Bandit soundtrack, is used on the scene of the Queen's funeral.

The opening theme is "TELL ME WHY" by PENPALS, the ending theme is "Waiting So Long" by Silver Fins, and the insert song (used on the "next episode" segments) is "BERSERK -Forces-" by Susumu Hirasawa. PENPALS went on to re-record "TELL MY WHY" (subtitling as "alt. version") for their 1998 studio album Americaman, while Hirasawa has re-recorded "Forces" multiple times over the years.

Cast[edit]

Character Japanese voice English voice
Guts Nobutoshi Canna Marc Diraison
Griffith Toshiyuki Morikawa Kevin T. Collins
Casca Yūko Miyamura Carrie Keranen
Rickert Akiko Yajima Michelle Newman
Judeau Akira Ishida Christopher Kromer
Pippin Masuo Amada Jeff Ward
Corkus Tomohiro Nishimura Mark Sebastian
Nosferatu Zodd Kenji Utsumi J. David Brimmer
Void Unshō Ishizuka Jon Avner
Slan Atsuko Tanaka C.L. Jones
Ubik Chafurin Christian Collingwood
Conrad Toku Nishio Sean Schemmel

Release[edit]

Berserk first aired from October 7, 1997 to March 31, 1998 on Nippon TV. VAP has released thirteen VHS and twelve VCD including two episodes each (a single one in the last VHS and three in the last VCD) from 1998 to 1999 in Japan. The seven discs "DVD-BOX", using Audio-CD cases, was released in Japan in 2001, with the seven volumes being re-released later in individual DVD regular cases in 2003.

Soundtrack[edit]

The Sword-Wind Romance
BERSERK
Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedNovember 6, 1997 (1997-11-06)
LabelVAP VPCG-84639
Producer
  • Mitsuru Ōshima
  • Azuma Urata
  • Kinya Yokoegawa & Shigetarō Hara (exec.)
Susumu Hirasawa soundtrack chronology
KAMUI MINTARA
(1993)
The Sword-Wind Romance
BERSERK
Original Soundtrack

(1997)
LOST LEGEND
(1999)
Singles from The Sword-Wind Romance BERSERK Original Soundtrack
  1. "BERSERK -Forces-"
    Released: November 1, 1997 CODA-1383
  2. "TELL MY WHY"
    Released: November 6, 1997 VPCC-82104
  3. "Waiting so long"
    Released: November 6, 1997 VPCC-82105

At the time of the anime's production, Hirasawa was signed to Nippon Columbia, while VAP is the production committee member that has the home audio/video release rights, which led to disagreements; the opening and ending themes were created by bands signed to VAP. The soundtrack was released by VAP, the obi promotes only the VAP bands, while Nippon Columbia and HIrasawa's personal label TESLAKITE get a courtesy credit in the liner notes. Hirasawa's theme for the series was released as a single five days ahead of the soundtrack by Nippon Columbia/TESLAKITE, with no mention of VAP in the packaging.

All tracks written and performed by Susumu Hirasawa, except where noted.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."BEHELIT" 1:55
2."Ghosts" 1:41
3."Ball" 1:08
4."Gats" 3:35
5."Murder"
  • Hirasawa
  • Sacol Trakranprasirt
  • Supat Kuntatun
9:29
6."Fear" 3:26
7."Monster" 4:03
8."EARTH" 4:23
9."BERSERK ~Forces~" (TV Version) 1:56
10."TELL ME WHY" (TV Version) (performed by PENPALS [ja])
  • Hayashi Munemasa
  • Seiya Kamijō
  • Kinya Kamijō
1:15
11."Waiting so long" (TV Version) (performed by Silver Fins)
  • Hitomi Takenaka
  • Mitsuhiro Asakura
1:22

Reception[edit]

Berserk received critical acclaim from critics and audiences who praised its dark fantasy narrative, visuals and musical score. Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network praised the series, giving it a score of A stating, "if you have a single bone in your body that's interested in dark fantasy, do not pass Berserk up. It is the finest example of its genre available on the market today and is based on a manga that nearly surpasses all others in terms of quality and popularity. The TV series was a resounding success and remains enchanting, entertaining and truly terrifying to this day. Watch this show."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Berserk 6: God's Hand - DVD". Madman Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 23, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "Berserk DVD 5 - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  3. ^ Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2015). The Anime Encyclopedia: A Century of Japanese Animation (3rd ed.). Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 978-1611720181. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  4. ^ "自分の中にある規制の鍵をひとつ開ける、という感覚に近い" [It's similar to the sensation of unlocking one of the restraints I’ve built up within myself]. Berserk: Golden Age Arc I - The Egg of the King (pamphlet) (in Japanese). Studio 4°C. 2012.
  5. ^ Bertschy, Zac. "Berserk DVD 5". Anime News Network. Retrieved 11 June 2016.

External links[edit]