My thoughts on the Berserk adaptations are provided below.
Aside from reading a small amount of the manga a very long time ago, my first encounter with Berserk was via the Ougon Jidai-hen movies sometime around 6 years ago. My memory of the movies is fading, which is what triggered my watching the original 1997 TV adaptation. I enjoyed the movies and rated them 7/10. I liked the story above all else.
Anyway, I watched the 1997 TV adaptation of Berserk much more recently, and here's what I have to say about that:
The original adaptation is better in terms of visuals and overall production quality, especially with consideration to production year. I much prefer the art style of the original adaptation. It also has a longer total runtime which is used effectively for greater character development and more plot detail. I would say it is better directed as well.
The story itself is very good, and the adaptation is well executed and well directed. Berserk's strongest characteristic is the writing, but in one respect it is also its greatest flaw from my perspective. My biggest issue with Berserk is the main character — Guts. He is poorly characterized and simply boring as a main character. The series would be much better if Griffith were the main character and Guts were a side character. Griffith is a far more compelling and interesting character than Guts. The same could even be said for Casca, albeit to a lesser degree. Although the 1997 adaptation does a much better job of exploring Casca's character arc than the movies. In any case, I wish that Guts hadn't soaked up so much screentime.
The setting is classic dark medieval fantasy. It is fairly immersive. It is complemented by the high level of visual detail, most notably in landscape frames and backgrounds.
The OST is suitable and pretty good overall (aside from the grating OP and ED songs). However, it would have been nice if there was more variety in the OST, considering the length of this series. Some songs, although they are good, are repeated quite frequently. Voice acting is good as well; the VAs are quite well matched for their character roles, and there's a wide range of voices among the cast.
My overall rating for the 1997 TV adaptation: 8/10Post too long. Click here to view the full text.