For three years, Guts believed his mission was to pursue Griffith's dream together with him. But in order to become Griffith's equal and truly be called his friend, Guts realizes he will have to leave the Band of the Hawk. At the same time, a bloody battle to capture the impenetrable Fortress of Doldrey from the Empire of Chuder is about to begin. The Band of the Hawk will face an army 30,000 strong!
Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II--The Battle for Doldrey (2012) continues the three-part retelling of Kentaro Miura's manga that began with Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I--The Egg of the King. During a battle with an invading force from Chuder, Guts and Caska are separated from the rest of the Hawks. Guts saves Caska's life but receives little thanks for his trouble. While hiding in enemy territory, Caska describes how Griffith earned her loyalty by saving her from a rapist. The Hawks arrive just in time to rescue Caska from Chuder soldiers--and find Guts surrounded by the bodies of 100 foes he's just dispatched. The strategic Castle of Doldrey is the key to the century-long war between Midland and Chuder; Griffith and the Hawks seize it, despite its impregnable position and huge defensive force that includes the Holy Purple Rhino Knights. As he did in Egg of the King, director Toshiyuki Kubooka combines drawn and computer animation in large-scale battle sequences that borrow heavily from the Siege of Gondor in The Return of the King. But Kubooka pushes the gore to inadvertently comic excesses as arms, heads, weapons, and gobbets of blood fly across the screen. After the victory, Guts leaves the White Hawks as he no longer wishes to be the tool of another's ambition. The shattered Griffith seduces Princess Charlotte of Midland. Furious, the King tortures him and decimates the Hawks, leaving the plot to be resolved in the third film, slated for release in 2013. Although the manga of Berserk was praised for the depth of its characterizations, there's not much depth to the animated characters: the monosyllabic Guts remains little more than a brooding cipher at the center of the action. The graphic violence and sexual content in The Battle for Doldrey is not for the squeamish. Rated M, suitable for ages 18 and older: graphic violence, violence against women, nudity, gore, grotesque imagery, torture, attempted rape, sexual intercourse) --Charles Solomon