Berserk Manga Review (Part 13): The Battle of Doldrey

Forget all that character growth from last time! The time has come for the final battle of the Hundred Year War! It’s all about battle and murder now!

Oh, we can fit some character stuff in there too, I guess.

With Tudor on the back foot, Midland decides it’s time to strike and end the war once and for all. There’s just one problem with that: their forces are holed up in Doldrey, a nigh impregnable fortress on the border of the two kingdoms, which is primarily manned by the Purple Rhino Knights, Tudor’s deadliest force. While the rest of the Midland army is hesitant, Griffith volunteers the Band of the Hawk to handle the task alone. It’s the deciding moment of the war; will the Hawks be able to handle it?

There’s a lot to unpack in these chapters. We’ve got character growth, we’ve got foreshadowing, and of course: the largest battle in the series to date. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s really good!

Each of the three main characters, Guts, Griffith, and Casca, get their own moments of growth and triumph here. Casca gets her revenge against Adon and proves herself as a commander of the Hawks. Griffith gets to stab the creepy pedophile he sold his ass to once (this is the only series where I can write sentences like that; Berserk is fun). Guts… well, he had all his character growth in the last few chapters, but he does get to fight a General Boscogn, who is really cool.

I wish we saw more horse-back combat in the series; panels like this make it look amazing!

Meanwhile, the rest of the Hawks are… fighting. There’s a lot of that. Almost like it’s a battle or something.

Speaking of which, the actual battle itself is… just okay. Griffith’s ‘mind-boggling’ tactics are clever, sure, but they aren’t nearly as genius or interesting as some of the other stuff we’ve seen from him before or would see in the future. The one-on-one fights – Casca VS Adon and Guts VS Boscogn – are really cool, though, featuring some badass choreography and swordplay. Guts even gets a surprise helping hand through Zodd!

Zodd is always an instant win in this series.

All the best character stuff occurs after the battle. Mainly between Guts and Casca. The man literally sweeps her off her feet. It’s so damn sweet and it puts a smile on my face every time!

It also makes me really sad when you remember how the Golden Age ends. But the same can be said for just about everything in the Golden Age. This whole saga is a massive bummer on repeat reads.

Top ten coolest Casca pages.

This mini-arc is also jam-packed with setup and foreshadowing for events to come. Not just for the Golden Age, either. Several of the characters introduced in this section play a major role all the way down in the Conviction and Falcon of the Millennium Empire arcs! Alas, their roles in the Golden Age itself are basically non-existent, aside from making a few comments about Griffith and politics.

One of them has a pretty dope beard, though. So that’s a plus.

Battle of Doldrey is an alright section. It’s got some great character work and the fight scenes are dope. But the battle itself is just okay. It’s a decent enough end to the Hundred Year War.

But in its defense: the consequences of the battle lead to some of the best stuff in this part of the Golden Age. So that’s a definite plus.

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