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The Berserk anime is really, really ugly

The second season’s getting torn apart

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berserk anime Liden Films/GEMBA

The classic Japanese action series Berserk’s return to television was highly anticipated by fans before its premiere last year, but now that the show nears the end of its second season, viewers’ feelings have changed.

The penultimate episode of Berserk season two aired in Japan — and on Crunchyroll, which simulcasts the anime stateside — last week, and some of its most memorable scenes are still making the rounds on Twitter. The reason: their animation.

Here’s a key example from episode nine (the 21st episode overall), which has gone particularly viral:

That might not even be the worst example. Check out this one, clipped by a Redditor:


This one’s also pretty striking:

The new Berserk anime’s unique blend of computer-generated animation and the traditional 2D style is often the culprit for its stilted, unnatural-looking scenes. In this short clip, the problem seems to go beyond that. The zooms are awkward; the way the characters move is uncomfortable; everything just seems ... off.

“Holy shit,” wrote one viewer in a discussion thread about the episode. “Watching this I've mostly been of the mind ‘Yes, the animation is severely lacking, get over it,’ listening to people complain about it. But this week, holy shit. That is some exceptionally terrible animation. I'm not even sure some of it technically counts as 'animation.’”

Diehard fans of the original manga from which the anime is adapted try to look past the animation and enjoy the show for what it is: the first animated version of Berserk since 1997. But ever since it premiered in summer 2016, many viewers have been unable to see past those CG visuals.

“I was genuinely enjoying it because I stopped paying attention to the CGI at some point and stopped giving a fuck, but man it looks terrible,” a top Reddit post criticizing the anime reads.

“I really do enjoy the show,” another user responded. “It's nice to see color and motion to stuff that hasn't been done before, and damn the openings are perfect. But the bad parts are almost impossible to defend.”

Reviews from sites like IGN have similarly called out the CG visual style as a detriment to the series, even when the story and hand-drawn work shines. With episode nine serving as the ultimate proof of that, fans just hope that the next episode will redeem the season. If nothing else, perhaps its eventual Blu-ray release will include scenes with completely revised animation, a common occurrence for anime. Berserk’s first season looked a lot better when it hit shelves in late 2016 for that reason.

Episode 10, the season finale, airs June 9, after a one-week delay.

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