UPDATE October 2, 2022: This live updated article has been replaced by a newer story about the Berserk Season 3 release date. The latest update is that a mysterious Berserk countdown is pointing to a new Berserk anime announcement in December 2022. For more details, please click on the link. The remainder of this article remains as last updated in 2019.
Berserk Season 3 is both feared and desired by fans of the series based on the way that the Berserk 2016 anime turned out. Thankfully, there’s good reason to believe that mistake won’t happen a second time. What’s more, there may be a Hollywood live-action Berserk movie lurking in the shadows.
The story for the anime is based on the long-running Berserk manga series by Kentarou Miura. While the Berserk hiatus is infamous in wotaku circles, the mangaka has managed to output 39 volumes since starting serialization way back in 1989.
The official English translation is provided by Dark Horse Comics. New volumes usually come out within a year after the original Japanese release. As of July 24, 2018, the English translation is caught up with the Japanese release, although multiple chapters have not yet been released in the tankobon format.
This article provides everything that is known about Berserk Season 3 and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.
Berserk manga’s ending leaves plenty of room for more anime episodes
Anime-only viewers who jumped into the series with Berserk 2016 were very confused. The first episode dropped audiences into the middle of the action without providing a recap even though it had been many years since the last anime adaptation of the manga series.
The anime first started with the Berserk 1997 anime produced by animation studio OLM. The three Berserk movies by Studio 4C that released from 2012 through 2013 covered the 11 manga volumes of the Golden Age story arc.
For Berserk 2016 and 2017, the Berserk anime series switched studios again to GEMBA, a subsidiary of Digital Frontier (GANTZ: O). GEMBA made the decision to skip the next short story arc, the Lost Children, and jump straight into the Conviction story arc of the manga series. That story arc started with Chapter 95, ended in 82 chapters with Chapter 176, and was covered by volumes 14 through 21.
All in all, Berserk 2016 skipped some manga chapters but it covered the major events of the Conviction story arc with 12 episodes. Berserk 2017 covered over half of the Falcon of the Millenium Empire story arc, which was contained in Volumes 22 through 35 (or Chapters 177 through 307). For anime watchers who want to read ahead in the manga, Berserk 2017 finished off with the events described in Berserk Chapter 249.
Thankfully, the manga series currently has plenty of chapters available for producing Berserk Season 3. There are 57 chapters left in the Falcon of the Millenium Empire story arc. The current Fantasia story arc, which began back in 2010 with Chapter 308, is still ongoing in 2018 with 49 chapters completed. Therefore, there are over 100 manga chapters available for making Berserk Season 3.
What’s more, when Miura started the Fantasia story arc he estimated that he was about 60 to 70 percent done toward reaching Berserk’s ending. However, the Berserk creator admitted that he himself does not “know anything for sure when it comes to the future.” Therefore, the Berserk manga’s ending should provide room for even Berserk Season 4 in the future.
Berserk 2016/2017 – What went wrong?
To say that anime fans hated the animation style of Berserk 2016 is almost an understatement. There was much gnashing of teeth on Reddit and many a meme bemoaning the TV show’s visuals. So, how could the Berserk anime have gone so horribly wrong?
It started with GEMBA and anime producer Tetsuro Satomi wanting to go with 3D computer graphics for the animation. The problem was that GEMBA had only done production assistance up until that point. So, GEMBA was tasked with doing the full production for the first time.
At the helm was director Shin Itagaki, who had previously directed Devil May Cry in addition to being an episode director for a variety of popular anime including Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Itagaki wanted to replicate the high detail of the manga art with a 3D/2D hybrid.
Unfortunately, this vision caused the studio to waste a lot of time trying to find a balance that was feasible based on their time and budget. Many high detail 3D models were scrapped and simplified versions had to be recreated. By the time the models were being animated, GEMBA only had four months to spare before the big premiere in Japan.
The time crunch meant it was impossible to 3D render the lighting effects for environments as originally intended. Studio Millepensee (which was helping GEMBA) had to manually apply texture effects in many cases because the software wasn’t automatically tracking everything as intended. The staff was forced to compromise on a variety of technical issues, resulting in the low-quality animations that anime fans will remember for years.
Or will they? The final scene of Berserk 2017 was memorable just because it was entirely done using 2D animation. It’s possible that GEMBA produced that scene in recognization of anime fans’ outcry. It’s also possible the 2D scene is a promise of things to come and Berserk Season 3 could be produced in that art style.
Live-action Berserk movie rumors jumpstarted – and then yanked – thanks to James Gunn
Shortly before Comic-Con International 2018, director James Gunn teased fans by telling them he was planning on making a big movie announcement at SDCC.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 17, 2018
This mysterious symbol was the only hint. Some fans thought Gunn was teasing Berserk movie 4 or maybe a live-action Hollywood adaptation of the manga series. That’s because symbol resembles the Brand of Sacrifice, a cursed mark branded on Guts.
Others thought the symbol might be related to the Bloodborne video game series. Gunn was also a fan of Grant Morrison’s comic Nameless so that was another possibility.
Unfortunately, no one will ever know if a Berserk movie was intended or not. The controversy over Gunn’s old Twitter tweets caused Sony Pictures to cancel the announcement at San Diego Comic-Con 2018. The status of the unknown project is still on hold and it’s uncertain whether it will be revived in the future with someone besides Gunn as writer/director.
Berserk Season 3 Release Date
As of the last update, GEMBA, NBC Universal, or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the Berserk Season 3 release date. Nor has the production of a sequel been announced. Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the Berserk Season 3 premiere date will occur in the future.
Berserk 2017 ended with Episode 24, City of Humans, and finished with a 2D scene that set up the next part of the story. While it may have just been a blatant call to read the manga, GEMBA also left audiences with the message, “The story continues….”
As previously noted, there are more than enough manga chapters available for Berserk Season 3 to be produced now rather than wait on Miura. The main issue is the financial side, with one report noting that the 2016 reboot “sold very badly, only 803 copies.”
Of course, Blu-Ray copies sold in Japan are just one factor. Streaming revenue has become the 800-pound gorilla in the modern anime industry and the series was popular internationally on Crunchyroll. What’s more, in 2017 Crunchyroll and NBC Universal Japan (NUEJ) announced a partnership to co-develop anime, including “titles based on existing content.”
“Crunchyroll has always been a trusted partner in bringing the series we produce to screens everywhere internationally,” said James Takagi, Managing Director of the NUEJ. “With Crunchyroll, we will make the newest and best anime titles accessible to audiences outside of Japan. Together, we look forward to working with fresh and exciting talent to bring anime fans around the world more of what they love — premium anime content.”
It just so happens NBC Universal Japan was the major player on the anime production committee for Berserk 2016/2017 and the press release even mentioned the Berserk anime by name. Does that mean Berserk Season 3 is inevitable? Probably not, but at least it’s not a stab in the dark.
Berserk Season 3 Spoilers
While anime audiences either loved Berserk 2017/2017 or bemoaned the CG animation, it can be argued that GEMBA picked a great stopping point in the Falcon of the Millenium Empire story arc. Guts and his party were staying at a canteen while searching for any ship willing to sail them to Skellig, the island home of Puck where Elfhelm is located. They hope to be able to cure Casca of her dementia because the island exists between planes and is home to wise elves and mages.
Such a simple quest to find a ship quickly escalates because Farnese goes to her family, the House of Vandimion for help. Farneses’ father, Federico de Vandimion III, initially rejects her request for a ship because it’s claimed that she tarnished the family name with her actions. They’ll only grant her request if she marries her brother’s childhood friend, Roderick of Ys.
Not only is the family squabbling, Guts is challenged to a duel and a monster suddenly invades the banquet hall. The face of Emperor Ganishka forms itself out of the fog and declares war on the Holy See. All of this action is just preparation for an invasion by the Kushan Empire, which has attacked the city and several ships in the harbor on fire.
Roderick is Farnese’s childhood friend and seeks to help her by offering his ship, the Sea Horse, to Guts and his party. They must fight their way to the harbor and Guts even forms a temporary alliance with the sword master, Nosferatu Zodd, to combat Ganshika’s fog apparition.
The number of opponents is so overwhelming that Guts almost loses himself to the Berserker Armor. He allows the Beast of Darkness to take over his body, allowing him to fight back against the hordes. With the help of Schierke, Guts does not surrender completely to his inner darkness and regains his sanity.
Although the Kushan Empire suffers a defeat, Emperor Ganshika uses the life force of those killed by the fog to perform a ritual sacrifice so he can gain more power from the astral world. Ganshika transforms into a giant monster and faces off against Griffith and his Neo Band of the Hawk.
The Emperor is losing his mind and becomes obsessed with killing Griffith. The corpses of the stomped soldiers become monsters on the battlefield. In response, Griffith and his Apostle follower charge into battle while changing into their true forms, astonishing the human Falcon members.
The battle culminates in Griffith causing Skull Knight to accidentally redirect a swing from the Sword of Actuation at Ganshika. The slash opens a fissure deep into the astral plane and the Emperor transforms into a white tree. The Falcons see a new city mysteriously appear nearby the ashes of Wyndham and Griffith dubs the city Falconia.
The cut into the astral plane causes a world transformation event where the supernatural world overlaps with the physical world. The members of the God Hand to appear in the physical world along with creatures straight out of fantasy. Trolls, giants, unicorns, dragons, hydras, and other mythical creatures now stalk the earthen plane, causing humans to flee to Griffith’s kingdom of Falconia to find an escape.
Rickert meets Griffith inside this new capital. Upset that Griffith was willing to sacrifice allies to build this utopia, Rickert slaps Griffith across the face. Rickert is eventually forced to flee the city and he forms his own company.
Meanwhile, Guts and his party are traveling worlds apart to reach their destination in Skellig. The blast of bright white light from the astral world caused by Ganshika’s death envelopes the physical world. Felt even far away by Guts and his party, they feel like the world is being split apart. Guts’ brand even begins bleeding.
Journeying on the Sea Horse, Guts confronts Captain Bonebeard and his ghostly pirates. They even have a run-in with a Sea God. Reaching Skellig does not lessen the danger since they find themselves befuddled by countless traps that protect Elfhelm from intruders.
Berserk Season 3 will probably find a stopping point somewhere in the middle of the Fantasia story arc, perhaps with the defeat of the Sea God or the arrival at Skellig. The next part of the story is unfinished and features their attempts to restore Casca’s sanity. They are astral projected into her mind, but this dreamscape journey is still incomplete as of 2018.
Let’s just hope the anime Berserk Season 3 does not take resemble the manga and take a long hiatus. Stay tuned!