Pretty amazing action and has a truly imaginative setting/atmosphere that I enjoy quite a bit. Maybe it's the bad translation (NOT complaining because it's free), but the deeper ethical/moral issues that I've read and heard about simply aren't coming through as of this volume. Everything up to volume three is basically a hook that starts you in the middle of Guts's monumentally epic vengeance quest. We learn he's an asshole and Miura spends a good chunk of time building up someone we're in awe of, but kind of detest before delving into the backstory - which is where things really get interesting.
Shout out to Miura for pushing the envelope with this one - especially for when it was published. You have to really have a strong stomach for some distastefully brutal (but realistic) stuff when you go through this one. Molestation, slavery, gratuitous battlefield violence and demonic rites are scattered throughout. I wouldn't call them unnecessary or even unsavory as they contribute to the world-building in positive ways. It just happens to be a really crappy world (which the Middle Ages of reality also were). Looking forward to this one picking up some steam. I read comparisons to Byronic heroes and good-evil dualities that give me the shivers, so it's worth trudging through some of the mediocre beginning...hopefully.