Berserk (2017) – Episode 9 [The Berserker Armor]
In preparation for her impending death, Flora prepares the berserker armor with a protective ward for Guts. As she works, the Skull Knight keeps her company. Finally the enemy arrives: Grunbeld, with many lesser Apostles. The Skull Knight attempts to fight to protect Flora, but he is unable to fend off all the enemies and Flora’s mansion is set on fire.
Meanwhile Schierke and the others are returning from the Qliphoth when Guts suddenly faints in the middle of the path. Schierke is able to tell that an earlier wound has healed physically but not spiritually, meaning the injury is at risk of opening up again and Guts could die. At the same time, Schierke is able to sense that Flora is in great danger. Farnese and Casca remain hidden in the forest while Guts, Schierke, Isidoro and Serpico hurry to Flora’s aid.
Guts’ group arrives back at the forest mansion in time to see it engulfed in flames. Schierke rushes inside to try to find Flora, but is so upset that she can’t cast her magic properly. Then Schierke hears Flora’s voice inside her head, and it tells her to get the berserker armor to Guts.
For while Schierke grieves for her mistress inside, Guts is attempting to fight Grunbeld outside. I say “attempt” because Guts’ wound from earlier has opened up and he’s unable to fight effectively. Heck he’s barely able to stand on his feet and use his massive sword to block Grundbeld’s attacks. Grunbeld is very disappointed in Guts’ perceived lack of fighting skills, having heard that the Black Swordsman was an amazing fighter but now seeing that the real thing is not living up to its reputation.
A stone golem manifests in front of Grunbeld and distracts the Apostle while Guts manages to stagger away from the fight. Schierke’s voice inside his head shows him where to go, and what’s waiting for him. Inside the safety of the treasure room, Isidoro and Serpico help Schierke get the demonic armor onto Guts’ body. Schierke knows it’s a huge risk having Guts wear the armor when he’s already so badly injured, but she also knows that it’s his last chance to survive.
Zodd has also arrived by this point, and he’s supposed to be fighting the Skull Knight but really they just end up talking to each other. However the entire battlefield grinds to a halt as Guts emerges from the secret treasure room with his new armor on.
It’s immediately clear that this armor will make Guts far stronger than before, stronger than he’s ever been in his life. Guts’ inner monologue notes that his mind and body no longer care about the pain he felt before; rather now his being has become a slave to the inner dog, the dark beast residing inside of him. As its rage overcomes him, the armor physically morphs so that the helmet becomes like a dog’s head. And as his allies watch this new transformation, Schierke knows that this new power will come at an extremely high price…
My thoughts: I’m sorry to see Flora go, she’s such a gentle character, a rarity in Berserk. Her death will force Schierke to grow up and go through some character development, so it’s not like Flora’s death is in vain. Really I just wish we knew more about Flora’s past history with the Skull Knight, but it’s not something that’s had much revealed about it, even in the manga.
I’m excited to see Guts’ battle with Grunbeld, if the two get to fight in the next episode. It looks like the next episode will also be switching back to more of what’s going on with Griffith, so that will be a nice change of pace.
Only a few episodes left, and then who knows how long fans will have to wait for more Berserk anime. :(