First let me preface this by saying I have not read the Berserk manga yet. I didn't find out that the anime only covers the first arc of the manga until after I had finished watching episode three. Likewise, I didn't find out that the manga has been running for a little over two decades now. I'll get to why this is important in a bit.
Anyway, I just finished watching the Berserk anime series this morning, and I have to say I've never been more uncomfortable physically, mentally, or emotionally watching anything. Ever. At the same time I haven't been this fascinated and caught up in something not print-media related in awhile. First Pippin sacrifices himself to futilely save Judeau and Casca. It sucked but I managed. Then Corkus tried to run away like a little sissy girl, had a mental break, then succumbed to his downstairs brain and paid the price for it. Whatever, no big loss. Then Judeau got all kinds of mangled and bought it. This really sucked, this guy was arguably one of the most likable characters in the series. And finally Casca. I won't get into the details of it in case you haven't seen it yet so it doesn't ruin the full impact, but this is where I would have turned most other things off. I totally understand why Guts was so pissed off in the first episode now. Gotta say, hacking your own hand off with a broken dagger is pretty freakin' hardcore. Almost more hardcore than taking down one hundred men single handed.
Just as things start getting really, really psychologically shattering for Guts (as if the entirety of the last three or four episodes weren't enough) and credits. Wait, what? Shit. Really, there's no more? Shit. All I get by the end of the credits is another, "Don't get yourself killed"?! Really? Damn you Japan in your slightly more lenient than, but still just as frustrating as, the U.S. censorship. Did Guts somehow manage to get Casca out of there alive? Better yet how does Guts get out of there alive? What about the where he got that iron hand cannon prosthesis thing? How much of Griffith, creepy as mo'fo' he was, is still in whatever the hell emerged from that cocoon looking thing? If any of you who might read this blog post know the answers to this, please by all means feel free to say absolutely, positively nothing. As I said at the very beginning I haven't read the manga yet, but you bet your ass I'm going to be reading about as much of it as I can possibly get my hands over the next few weeks. I hear it is far more extreme than the anime and that's saying a helluva lot. I'm pretty stoked about seeing the author's full original intent. I must say I am glad I watched the anime first. At least I can't really be disappointed with adaption since I saw it first like I was when I watched Dan Brown's Angels & Demons or a certain HBO vampire series' second and current seasons after I finished reading the books (in case you are wondering I am f%$@ing sick of vampires now, and I haven't even thought about watching the goddamn Twilight idiocy).
Finally one last thought, the author of this series has got to have one dark, twisted, scary ass mind to have thought up something as fantastic and horrific as Berserk.