Label: Manga Entertainment
Release Date: 12th August
Release Type: DVD/Blu-ray
This is easily one of the most violent pieces of animation I’d ever had the pleasure of watching. If that’s your thing then chances are this review has already interested you. Berserk The Golden Age Arc 2: Battle For Doldrey never hesitates when delivering controversial content such as bloody ultra violence and surprisingly intimate scenes that leave very little to the imagination. However this, along with the movie’s surprisingly short runtime, sacrifices would could have been a intricate plot of political intrigue, into one that barely seems cohesive at times. We are still given an interesting tale but it misses out a vast amount of content from its manga origins and suffers because of it.
This movie is a direct continuation to its predecessor and begins with a small battle to reintroduce its core characters before thrusting us back into the thick of the plot. We are quickly introduced to a quirky group of mercenaries known as the ‘Band of The Hawk’ which comprises of a cast of fairly likeable main characters, although some of them aren’t developed enough due to the brief screen-time they have.
The Battle for Doldrey is, of course, the central part of the movie. We are given very little context behind this and are blindly left to enjoy the film’s visuals rather than appreciate the plot. This leads to an gruesome yet brief battle where very little is at stake to keep us invested, until we spend the closing third of movie observing quite a sombre and dark conclusion. Some characters become irritating and outright illogical at times. Why on earth would an enemy continue to appear when there have been so many opportunities to kill him? This kind of logic ruins the experience, and takes away the serious nature of the plot. Thankfully the epilogue sets the scene brilliantly for the third and upcoming movie which is set to be the most violent and heart wrenching of all of the instalments thus far.
Aesthetically Battle for Doldrey is a still a gorgeous movie, perhaps even better looking than the previous entry. It struggles to find a piece of common ground between traditional 2D animation and full blown CG madness. The constant transition between 2D and intense CG battle sequences makes for a package that becomes hard to fully appreciate. This is especially true when so many CG character models come across as lifeless and ghostly, who exist only to be torn apart in the most violent way possible. Thankfully the vibrant colour palette that accompanies the medieval inspired art design allows the animation to shine, especially on blu-ray.
Battle For Doldrey isn’t particularly heavy on the plot compared to the manga but still manages to deliver an entertaining and incredibly violent action anime. The third movie is still shrouded in mystery but judging by brief previews it is sure to be even more horrific than this one. Medieval enthusiasts and those looking for a good yet violent time should definitely catch up and check this one out, just don’t expect to be drawn in by an intricate story – if you want that I’d recommend the manga counterpart. Let’s just hope that the third and final outing gets its act together and keeps us gripped until to the end, as the potential for a thrilling conclusion is certainly there.