[Spoilers] The horrors and impressions of the animated sexual violence in Berserk: The Golden Age Arc (2012-2013) leaves with viewers

Sexual Violence Trigger Warning

Berserk: The Golden Age Arc is a movie trilogy and an adaptation of the original Berserk TV show and manga by Kentaro Miura. The first two movies were directly from the already established TV show. This fantasy, horror anime follows the life of Guts and his adventures with his mercenary group: Band of the Hawks. With beautiful and creative style by switching between CGI and animation, compelling and in-depth characterization of the cast, and suspenseful and epic fight scenes, this anime has easily risen to be one of my favorite anime. However, the third movie, The Advent, takes a dark turn, and ends with a very graphic rape scene. This gruesome scene called into question my education of sexual assault, and the implications of animating rape scenes.

To understand this brutal scene, I feel context should be briefly explained. The main character, Guts, was originally a solo mercenary, until he met Griffith, the captain of the Band of the Hawks, and Casca, the other captain. Griffith defeats Guts in battle and forces him to join the Hawks. After years of battling with the Hawks, Guts falls in love with the Hawks and dedicates his life to realizing Griffith’s dream of establishing his own kingdom. Finally, the Band of the Hawks earn the right to be considered nobles, but Guts decides to leave the Hawks and establish his own dream because he wishes to be Griffith’s equal. To stop him from leaving, Griffith battles Guts, but after years of fighting at war for Griffith, Guts surpassed him and easily defeats Griffith. Without getting into too much detail, Griffith plunges into despair and makes poor decisions that makes him and the Band of the Hawks enemies of the kingdom. In his despair, Griffith turns on the Hawks and sacrifices them for his own power. Guts returned to stop him but failed and witness the destruction of his friends.

This is where suggestive content begins, and I advise readers to take heed. Griffith then proceeds to rape Gut’s love interest and the other captain of the Hawks, Casca. This scene needs no more depiction due to the heinousness. After watching this, I had to really sit and think about what I saw and the impacts it has on the plot and the viewer. Concerning the plot, I was horrified by what happened to Casca Initially thinking about it, I thought it was disgusting that they reduced Casca to an object for the powerplay between Griffith and Guts. However, I quickly realized that this couldn’t be right because rape doesn’t reduce people to objects. Casca throughout the movie was a very powerful well-written character with depth, individuality, and inspiration. What happened to her was traumatic and I must learn about this trauma to understand her characterization in the future, but that shouldn’t distract me from the fact that she still embodies the same grace and inspiration. This scene started a rampant conversation in my head and shed light on my lack of education of sexual assault and the survivors of such attacks. Also, this scene questioned the usage of such graphic scenes, and whether these scenes are appropriate. On one hand, these scenes are horrific, and at their worst, they can be triggering. On the other hand, they open the door for discussion, and censoring such material almost feels like silencing the conversation. I’m curious what my fellow classmates and readers think. How do you feel about anime’s depiction of sexual violence? Do you feel it’s handle well or poorly? Should there be censorship or is the discussion to vital to have. Leave a comment, like, and subscribe!

2 thoughts on “[Spoilers] The horrors and impressions of the animated sexual violence in Berserk: The Golden Age Arc (2012-2013) leaves with viewers

  1. I haven’t watched anime with sexually violent scenes other than Perfect Blue, so my perspective might be limited. But at least for the rape scene in Perfect Blue which is quite realistic and triggering, I think it is essential for the composition of the movie. The rape scene highlights the theme of the anime, the switching identity of the main character Mima and her conflicting emotions. So the scene shows her determination to be a “real” actress but also acts as a source of confusion and guilt. This is all I can say about anime’s depiction of sexual violence but I’m curious to know about others that contain such scene and their implications on the film.

  2. Hi Paul,

    I am curious about the impact of the trauma on Casca. How does the assault affect her? How does she change afterwards? Is the attack integral to her development as a character? Or is her attack merely framed as an attack on Gut’s masculinity? If the series focuses on Casca and her identity, I would interpret the scene as more complex–and perhaps integral–to her character. If she is just supposed to be “Gut’s girl,” and her attack framed as an attack on Gut, then I would say it is extremely problematic.

    Cheers,
    Amanda

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