Content Warning: Gore, abuse
What’s is about? All his life, Fate Graphite has been kicked and shunned due to his magical skill, Gluttony, a skill he inherited at birth. Always hungry, always craving, he’s one of the lowest in society, looked down upon each and every day. Then, one day while working as a gatekeeper, he discovers that the hunger hiding deep inside is actually a dark, powerful skill that might lead him from the dregs of society to its upper echelons…
I’m not new to the realm of power fantasies: when I was in graduate school, I spent plenty of time watching and reading all manner of comeuppance anime and light novels. I can understand the appeal, even if I no longer find it interesting.
Still, that previous experience came with me as I watched the premiere for Berserk of Gluttony, a show about a young man whose rise to greatness is only getting started.
So, let’s get into it.
Episode 1, “The Have-Nots” opens on a red, red field, filled with the gore of fallen beasts under an even redder moon. A man in a mask stands, crying for more, more, more: more foes, more fighting, more to fill his bestial desires. Perhaps, this monstrous man’s appetite may never be satiated…unless?!
Post-opening, things are much tamer; we encounter more beasts, but we also get into the meat of Berserk of Gluttony’s desaturated animated story: the story of a poor man named Fate Graphite with a skill that leaves him eternal craving.
A secret skilled called…Gluttony.
From there, it’s a pretty routine story set in a fantastic euro-inspired realm. There’s noble cruelty, cantankerous adventurers, and holy knights that are definitely the enemies of the people, especially to Fate. (I mean, they throw his wages at him then step on his foot: that’s genuinely evil to me.) But things begin to change when Fate has a, dare I say, fateful encounter that activates his skill, showing his true potential.
Berserk of Gluttony looks well enough: it’s filling the familiar hole that a demographic of anime viewers crave. It’s a power fantasy, it’s a bit edgy, it’s decently animated, and sometimes, that’s all folks need. I’m glad it’s here to fill that niche because the reality is, this might be someone’s first show. Hopefully, it’ll encourage them onto more series beyond this because I don’t think Beserk of Gluttony is where anyone interested in anime should stop.
That said, I didn’t find anything memorable from this premiere: Fate Graphite is just another lanky, brown-eyed, black-haired boy who uses a sword. I don’t want to say he’s a dime a dozen, but…he’s just this season’s everyman who’s going to have a group of classically beautiful women follow him around on a quest for greatness. That might sound harsh, but also, it’s kind of true: he’s not remarkable, and while I’m sure he’ll be more memorable in like, say…twelve weeks, right now, Fate isn’t even vaguely engaging enough to hook me for his rise to greatness.
(And that’s even with the talking sword he buys—and like, I love a talking weapon.)
If I had to chose something that hooked me, it’s the music, which is done by Ono Yuichi. It’s pretty solid RPG-esque background music, blending in well with the voice acting, which is also really solid. Other than these two elements, though, there’s not much capturing me here. Safe to say I don’t think we’re working with a surprise darkhorse series this season y’all: it’s very WYSIWYG here. What you see, or in this case watch, is what you get. That’s all there is to it.
Ultimately, this premiere feels a lot like going to Golden Corral, an apt comparison seeing that Fate’s always craving more, more, more. For our non-American readers, Golden Corral is a cheap, family-friendly buffet filled with everything from steak to salads to ribs to a chocolate fountain…though COVID might have killed that one.
That said, it’s what it is: it’ll fill you up, but it’s certainly not going to be the most impressive thing you ever eat. Berserk of Gluttony is kind of like that: it’ll do if you need something on in the background, but I don’t expect it to be revolutionary.
If you’re someone who likes the seasonal dark fantasy male-led show then hey: give this a try. There’s no shame in liking what you like, including shows like this that are a rags to riches power fantasy. In fact, I think they can be great escapist fiction, when handled right and when not done at the exclusions–or brutality–of marginalized groups. For now, Beserk of Gluttony is just your routine one: there’s blessedly no slavery–yet–and no shock factor abuse to, ugh… “spice things up” like some anime have decided to do in the recent past.
So yeah, if this is your thing, feel free to swan dive in and enjoy Fate’s story. Just don’t anticipate this one being a feminist favorite.