One of the most popular manga and anime series in history is Berserk. If you are a hardcore anime fan then there is no doubt that you will have come across Berserk at some point due to the high popularity and numerous media surrounding it.
Written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura, Berserk follows the protagonist Guts, a man whose mission is to take down the monsters known as Apostles using his sword, appropriately named the Dragonslayer.
The series shows the trials and tribulations that are thrown his way and delves into an array of different topics such as betrayal, freedom, and revenge.
However, with two series, three films, and an array of video games available alongside the manga, where do you even start when it comes to Berserk? We’ve gathered everything you need to know about the series and what order to watch it in.
So whether you’ve never watched the show before or are wanting to rewatch it from the start, this guide will give you the best order depending on how you want to view the story.
Before we delve into what each series contains, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the background of Berserk. As mentioned before, the story follows Guts in his quest to rid the world of the evil Apostles in a universe set in an alternative medieval Europe.
Born from the womb of a woman who was executed, Guts is cursed by demons after his former friend, Griffith, sacrificed him to archdemons making him a force to be reckoned with.
The main plot follows Guts on his quest for revenge and was originally conceived in manga form before being adapted into an anime series, several films, video games, and novels to name a few.
The manga has sold over 40 million copies showing the global interest surrounding Berserk.
When it comes to anime, the first TV series adaptation aired in 1997, and the second series aired in 2016. Despite the high levels of gore and violence, Berserk has often been regarded as one of the best anime series in history and is often referred to as a classic.
Bringing plenty of nostalgia for anime fans both young and old, Berserk still continues to shock the anime community thanks to its relentlessness.
This 1997 series is often regarded as a classic and a must-see for any anime fan. Adapting the “Black Swordsman” and “Golden Age” arcs, Berserk (1997) was made by Oriental Light and Magic and saw Naohito Takahashi running the show as director.
It isn’t completely faithful to the manga as some characters are completely omitted or merged into one but what makes this such a beloved series is the fearlessness in its portrayal of the story.
Compared to the manga, the violence is toned down although this isn’t to imply that it doesn’t have its fair share of gore.
The episode “The Great Eclipse” has become infamous for its explicit content showing Griffith undergo the ultimate betrayal as he willingly sacrifices his people to become a member of God’s Hand.
Nearly 20 years later, Berserk (2016) was released and serves as a sequel to the “Golden Age” arc which is explored in the movies that were released in between the two series.
Due to TV becoming more openly violent and explicit, this series ups the ante in what they allow themselves to show.
This series incorporates CGI and also brings in characters that were cut out or merged in the 1997 series, making it more faithful to the manga than the original series.
A lot of people still prefer the original series due to the nostalgia and reputation it gained on release but this series has also seen much success.
This series is classed as a standalone but is often regarded as the second season following the previous year’s entry. This is because it follows the previous series directly and follows the “Hawk of the Millenium Empire” arc.
The 2016 and 2017 are often viewed in tandem because of this and the result is a 24 episode arc which is one episode less than what the 1997 series has.
What Order Should I Watch Them In?
So now that you know the background information of Berserk and the anime series, you will have a better understanding of what order you should watch them in.
Technically, the best way to view it is that there are two series (if you merge the 2016 and 2017 into one) with a 20-year gap in between. You may want to consider watching the films in between if you want to fill up the story although the series can be watched individually as well.
Here are some of the orders you can watch them in.
The most basic order you can watch Berserk in is release order which is probably the easiest as this simply means watching Berserk (1997) followed by Berserk (2016).
If you are watching the show for the first time, this is probably the best order as it will help you to see the differences in the style and how well the anime is adapted from the manga.
For those who want to view Guts’ story from beginning to end and want to have the most fulfilling journey possible, the chronological order is the best way to go about this.
Luckily, this also means watching the content in release order as each series and movie follows the previous segment. If you are wanting to watch it in chronological order then watch the movies as well so you can fill in the gaps.
- Berserk (1997)
- Berserk: Golden Age Arc I – The Egg of the King (2012)
- Berserk: Golden Age Arc II – The Battle for Doldrey (2012)
- Berserk Ougon Jidaihen III: Kourin (2013)
- Berserk (2016)
- Berserk: Recollections of the Witch (2017)