Warning: SPOILERS for Berserk: The Golden Age Arc – Memorial Edition episode 5A new Berserk Serials that have adapted Studio 4°C’s three films into TV series format precisely included the central “fire” or “campfire” of the dream scene that was omitted from the original trilogy. Unfortunately, the adaptation doesn’t come close to how the 1997 anime portrayed the moment.
The “Bonfire of Dreams” speech is a pivotal moment in not just the Golden Age, but the whole Berserk as it is the first time that Guts and Casca are paired up after the battle against Chuder’s general Adon Coborlwitz. After their defeat at the hands of Adon, Guts and Casca had been forced to survive together in the wilderness, and the fact that Casca was both emotionally and physically vulnerable as a result of the altercation drew her closer to Guts. Up to the “fire of dreams” scene, Casca chooses to heal and speak with Guts, during which time Casca learns that he may leave the Band of the Hawk, sparking conflicted feelings about him and Griffith for the first time.
In episode five of Berserk: The Golden Age Arc – Memorial Edition titled “Campfire of Dreams,” viewers finally get to see that moment within the context of Studio 4°C’s artistic direction. Mostly, 1997 anime and Berserk The Memorial Edition’s renderings are virtually identical, with the biggest visual difference being the scale at which the latter effort captures the night sky and the distant expanse of the campfires. But those who first fell in love with the original anime will find it nearly impossible to fully embrace Studio 4°C’s adaptation.
How “Guts’ Theme” Changes Everything in 1997 Berserk Anime
Besides the new Berserk series’ heavy use of CGI, what this new scene lacks is the 1997 anime song “Guts’ Theme.” While beautiful, the new track lacks the emotional build-up of the original. Part of the problem lies in how the newer song is lyric-heavy, resulting in the singer’s words conflicting with what both Casca and Guts are saying. Conversely, the entirety of “Guts’ Theme” is a heartbreaking collection of non-lyrical vocalizations that do not distract from the dialogue. The original Berserk anime had an uncanny knack for using the two-part structure of “Guts’ Theme” to highlight specific emotional moments. IN Commemorative edition, the new track plays throughout the “campfire of dreams” speech, making the conversation feel monotonous. Meanwhile, the 1997 anime brought in the soundtrack halfway through the scene just as Casca says “… like a bonfire of dreams.“So from that moment on, as Casca and Guts continue to speak poetically, everything they say is naturally elevated.
The fact that there are notable highs and lows in “Guts’ Theme” adds to the overall experience, so when these high points arrive, the already emotional moment is further amplified. The first time this happens, Guts talks about how much his philosophy of life has changed. And when the second crescendo comes, that’s when Casca realizes that Guts might be thinking about leaving the Hawks.
Apart from the original’s theme which masterfully elevates Casca’s bonfire metaphor, the development of Guts’ philosophical outlook on life and Guts’ eventual departure, Commemorative edition failed to adapt the whole scene. The moment when Guts shoves Casca into Griffith is still missing. Not long before, Guts had just realized how important Griffith was to Casca, and in the 1997 anime, he acts on this knowledge to help her. So while Berserk‘s Commemorative edition tries valiantly to capture a defining moment from the 1997 anime, the overall emotional weight leaves a lot to be desired.
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