The Berserk anime series is based on the manga series of the same name by Kentaro Miura. The episodes are directed by Naohito Takahashi and produced by Oriental Light and Magic. The first thirteen volumes of the manga are covered, including the first two arcs: Black Swordsman and Golden Age. The 25-episode anime adaptation Kenpū Denki Berserk ( Kenpū Denki Beruseruku) aired between 7 October 1997 and 31 March 1998 in Japan on Nippon Television.
The series focuses on the life of Guts, an orphaned mercenary warrior who calls himself "The Black Swordsman" looks upon his days serving as a member of a group of mercenaries, the Band of the Hawk (Taka no Dan). Led by an ambitious, ruthless, and intelligent man named Griffith, together they battle their way into the royal court, and are forced into a fate that may change their entire lives. Each episode uses two pieces of theme music, one opening theme and one ending theme. The opening theme is "Tell Me Why" by Penpals. The ending theme is "Waiting So Long" by Silver Fins.
Episode list (click on titles for download)
01 "The Black Swordsman / Kuroi senshi"
A girl is being assaulted in a bar when Guts walks in. He kills all her assailants but one, making him tell his master that the Black Swordsman is coming. Guts attacks the master, kills him, and removes a Behelit from around his neck. On disk called War Cry.
02 "Band of the Hawk / Taka no dan"
In a flashback, Corkus attempts to rob Guts, and Casca is drawn into the battle. Guts defeats her, but is then grievously injured by Griffith. Griffith orders Casca to lie with Guts during his convalescence, but when he comes to, he challenges Griffith. On disk called War Cry.
03 "First Battle / Uijin"
Griffith defeats Guts, and makes him a member of his mercenary band, the Hawks. The Hawks go on a midnight raid, and Griffith chooses Guts for the most important position, protecting the rear. Guts succeeds and the band hails him as a hero. On disk called War Cry.
04 "The Hand of God / Kami no te"
Three years pass as Guts and the Hawks gain in skill. In a flashback, Guts is shown being raised by his adoptive father Gambino. He teaches him to be a warrior, but one night he tries to kill Guts because he blames him for his wife's death. Guts kills him. On disk called War Cry.
05 "A Wind of Swords / Kenpū"
Guts is now a commander in Griffith's army. Guts is taking risks in battle, and although he succeeds, Casca takes him to task for it. Griffith is knighted, and the nobles become jealous. Guts saves the Hawks in battle, to Casca's chagrin. On disk called War Cry.
06 "Zodd the Immortal / Fushi no Zodd"
Guts and Griffith battle Zodd the Immortal, and they both lose. Zodd sees the Behelit around Griffith's neck and tells Guts that Griffith will doom him. Zodd then changes into a monster and leaves. On disk called Immortal Soldier.
07 "The Sword's Owner / Ken no aruji"
Griffith and Guts are injured. Griffith uses this in his political machinations; getting closer to the nobles and the King. He also flirts with the King's daughter. Guts and some of the Hawks feel that Griffith is pulling away from them. On disk called Immortal Soldier.
08 "Conspiracy / Inbou"
Griffith and Guts continue to have success in battle and Griffith is made a count. General Yurius is furious about this, and the minister Foss plants the idea of murder in his mind. The plan is to shoot Griffith with a poison arrow during an upcoming hunt.
09 "Assassination / Ansatsu"
Griffith and the Princess are growing closer during the hunt when Griffith is shot in the chest with a poisoned arrow. The arrow strikes his Behelit, and he is unharmed. Griffith finds that Yurius is behind the plot, and sends Guts to kill him.
10 "Noble Man / Toutoki mono"
Guts assassinates Yurius, but must kill his son Adonis because he is a witness. Guts is emotionally scarred by this evil deed. Later, he hears Griffith say that a true friend would have to stand for his own ethics, and not follow Griffith blindly.
11 "The Battle / Kassen"
Griffith and the Hawks lead the march into battle. Casca has a fever, and when she falls unconscious off a cliff, Guts goes with her. They are washed downriver, and Guts finds a cave where he must keep Casca warm with his body.
12 "Together / Futari"
Casca tells her story: Griffith helped her save herself from rape, so she followed him. She watched him with a pederast lord to earn money to create an army. When Guts came, she knew that she would not be Griffith's chosen friend.
13 "Prepared for Death / Kesshikō"
The commander of the Blue Whale Knights and his crew find Guts and Casca. Though completely outnumbered, Guts tells Casca to run and stays to fight. Some men go after Casca, catching her and holding her down in order to rape her. Guts continues fighting.
14 "Bonfire of Dreams / Yume no kagaribi"
Casca defeats her attackers, and she and Guts end up back at the camp. Guts and Casca share a tender moment, where Guts explains that everyone in the camp has a dream but all he has is his sword, causing Casca to think he's leaving.
15 "The Decisive Battle / Kessen"
An impossible battle must be fought, and Griffith volunteers the Hawks. They are attacking the pederast Lord's castle, and Griffith has the Hawks attack and then pull back. Their boats are burned and there is no where to retreat to.
16 "The Conqueror / Shouri sha"
The retreat was a ruse and Casca takes the castle. Guts fights with the opposing general and his weakened sword breaks. Zodd, from a great distance, throws his sword to Guts. Guts defeats the general and the Hawks have another victory.
17 "Moment of Glory / Eikou no shunkan"
The Hawks won the battle and the war. The King holds a ball for them, and they dress up like nobles. The Queen and Foss hatch a plan to poison Griffith, and he drinks from the cup. Earlier, Foss receives a letter from Griffith.
18 "Tombstone of Flames / Honoo no bohyou"
Griffith and Foss have double crossed the Queen and her co-conspirators. Griffith has them locked in a castle, which is set on fire, killing all. Guts decides to leave and Casca runs after him. He tells her that he does not want to be caught up in Griffith's dream anymore.
19 "Separation / Wakare"
As Guts leaves, he is challenged by Griffith. Guts defeats Griffith by breaking his sword. Psychologically damaged by the encounter, Griffith goes to the Princess' chambers and makes love to her. As he leaves the next morning, he is apprehended.
20 "Sparks / Hibana"
A year has passed and Guts is living with Godo, a swordsmith, and his granddaughter Erica. Guts learns that the Band of the Hawk are now wanted outlaws and Casca is the captain. Guts goes to them and finds them battling mercenaries.
21 "Confession / Kokuhaku"
Together, they drive off the mercenaries. Casca has a plan to rescue Griffith from the dungeon where he is held. Casca blames Guts for Griffith's problems, but realizes it isn't his fault. They make love and Guts asks her to go away with him after the rescue.
22 "Infiltration / Sennyuu"
Casca and Guts go into the dungeon to rescue Griffith. They find him and bring him out, but he is horribly maimed. Meanwhile, the Hawk members at their camp are slaughtered by monsters led by a green fairy.
23 "Eve of the Feast / Zenyasai"
Griffith is now mute and crippled. Casca feels she must take care of him, and tells Guts to leave. Griffith takes a wagon and runs off, finding his Behelit, which creates hell on earth and awakens the God Hand.
24 "The Great Eclipse / Nisshoku"
The God Hand are awake, and they inform Griffith that he is to become one of them. He must sacrifice his friends, for his baptism. Guts climbs a mountain of flesh to try and stop Griffith from becoming a demon.
25 "Time of Eternity / Eien no toki"
According to Griffith's will, all the Hawks—except Guts and Casca—are sacrificed and devoured by demons. Griffith then rapes Casca as Guts cuts off his own arm and has his eye gouged out, in order to stop him. After the end credits a healed Guts leaves Godos house to have his revenge on Griffith.