Griffith has reappeared at an unknown castle in the midst of a human battle. The Kushan army tries to kill him but he is defended by a host of Apostles. There is Zodd of course, and we are introduced to: Grunbeld with his scaled armor, Locus with his long spear, Irvine with his demonic bow, and Rakshas, an exile from the Bakiraka clan in the Kushan Empire. We also learn the blonde girl’s name is Sonia, and that she has the psychic ability of clairvoyance, with a bit of telepathy as we’ll see later. All of them, with the exception of Sonia, are Apostles.
The battle of course eventually ends in bloodshed for all the humans locked in the courtyard, with the exception of the prisoners. The human soldiers had barricaded the doors in order to prevent Griffith and his defenders from escaping; it is that move which ironically causes their demise. The young witch sees this battle through to its finale via the dove, except that this time Griffith notices her watching him.
From this point the episode switches its focus temporarily to Guts and his band of allies. Farnese tries to persuade Guts to let her and Serpico travel with him, and for him to “be her guide”, even going so far as to cut off her braided hair buns. Guts relents and says she can do what she wants, whether that be to follow him or do otherwise, but he will not be her guide in anything.
As the group prepares for the night battle ahead, Guts reflects that he really has no choice in whether or not his comrades travel with him. For the first time he has lost of control of himself against even Casca, and he needs their help to protect her at night from the evil spirits… and possibly from himself. He realizes he can’t remember the last time he saw Casca smile. ;~;
The episode switches perspective yet again to a young lad named Mule Wolflame who is in the middle of a battle against what looks like a Kushan platoon of soldiers. Suddenly a voice in his head cautions him against further movement as large spears fly overhead and decapitate the first row of Kushan soldiers in front of him. As Mule and his fellow soldiers stand stunned, some of Griffith’s Apostles arrive with platoons of their own. Griffith himself is not far behind them, and his men are waving his banner. The new Band of the Hawk has arrived!
Sonia uses her psychic ability to tell Griffith where the enemy’s commander is, and he wastes no time killing the man. After the battle Mule is taken to the Band of the Hawk’s camp, where he is very surprised to see how happy everyone is. No prisoners are hurt or upset; everything looks very peaceful.
Sonia arrives at this moment and takes Mule to see Griffith. Along the way they encounter Locus, who explains why the Band of the Hawk has accepted foreign troops into their ranks, a concept that Mule vehemently protests against.
Sonia then leads Mule through the demon forest, where two demons attempt to restrain them but are beaten down by two other Apostles, Irvine and Grunbeld. The latter gently scolds Sonia and asks her to speak to him first the next time she wants to enter the demonic forest, which she agrees to do.
Finally they reach Griffith, who is communing atop a hill with the spirits of their troops who have just died in battle. Around him are the loved ones of the men who died. Griffith appears able to “resurrect” their spirits for a few moments in order for their family and friends to see their apparition and say their goodbyes. After Griffith theoretically sends their souls on to some kind of afterlife, Sonia rushes up to him and falls all over him; it’s easy to see some similarities between Casca and Sonia in how they behave(d) around Griffith. Mule approaches Griffith to introduce himself, and finds himself overwhelmed by some powerful emotions inside him. Before he can think twice, he pulls forth his sword and swears his allegiance to Griffith. Inside his head Mule’s logical conscience understands that what he’s doing is almost as if beyond his control, and that he shouldn’t be pledging his sword to a man he’s just met. Mule becomes the last main member of Griffith’s new Band of the Hawk.
After the credits the episode touches base with Guts and his crew as the monsters start to emerge from the darkness. Farnese has been tasked with protecting the fire and keeping Casca from running off. Oh boy. At least Guts has more hands to help him fight monsters this time.
My thoughts: Fuck yes, I love this show so much. <3
I didn’t go into detail in my last review, but this season’s opening theme is “Sacrifice” by 9mm Parabellum Bullet and the ending theme is “Issai wa Monogatari” (“Everything is the Story”) by Yoshino Nanjou ft Nagi Yanagi [the singer who sang the closing theme in Berserk (2016) ]. I adore both tracks. The theme played during the preview for the next episode is “Ash Crow” off of Susumu Hirasawa’s newest album by the same name, but I don’t like it at all. If you liked the themes from Berserk (2016), several of them are on Hirasawa-san’s latest CD and I recommend that you pick it up.
The series so far hasn’t really specified where this season of Berserk is taking place, so I’m assuming it’s still in the Midlands.
Other than that, I’m looking forward to the next episode. If anyone is interested, the Wikipedia page for the cast of Berserk characters has some interesting comparisons between the old and new Band(s) of the Hawk, but obviously there will be spoilers so read with caution.