Like most fans, I was excited for the new Berserk anime. Unlike most fans, however, I had chosen not to watch the original anime. The consensus of my friends is that the original is an amazing, quality adaptation, but it’s exclusion of the character Puck discouraged me from watching. The original anime focused on story arcs that didn’t need Puck. But in the manga Puck is one of the most important characters. Puck is among other things, is comic relief and made the overwhelmingly dark storyline readable to me, also I like Puck.
The new Berserk includes Puck, so I decided to watch it. The first three episodes are impressively faithful with his character. Unfortunately Puck is really the only thing that’s done right. The timing is horrible. I agree that they didn’t need to cover Golden Age again. It’s familiar to all fans. This adaptation not only doesn’t cover Golden Age, but it trimmed the The Black Swordsman Arc into one jumpy 25-minute episode. There’s precedent for having an episode to introduce the characters and plot, but in Berserk that‘s not doable. For example Guts doesn’t talk an introductory monologue for him wouldn’t work.
Most anime convert a manga plot arc into three or four episodes. To make the new Berserk flow smoothly the writers could easily have had Guts meet Puck on his way to fight the unnamed count who serves as the main antagonist of the Black Swordsman Arc. That storyline would have allowed three-four episodes to introduce the characters and give an entertaining bloody beginning to a 12 or 24 episode anime. Instead the creative team skipped straight into the Conviction Arc, which, as I feared, doesn’t sense on its own without preparation or adequate flashbacks.
So far, I am extremely disappointed with the way the new Berserk anime is going. The creative team seems to be speeding up the story to quickly get to parts of the manga were never animated. Sadly they are failing, because it can’t be done. Puck’s inclusion, while important, has not made the anime watchable.