Berserk: why now is the right time to jump onboard

Jun 27, 2022 | News



With the recent news of the Berserk manga continuing without the original creator, Kentaro Miura, we’ve decided to give you just some of the reasons why now is as good a time as any to jump onboard the cult, dark fantasy series.

The story of Berserk

Berserk follows the life of Guts. Birthed into a puddle of blood from a mother hanged from a tree and raised into the hellish life of a child soldier. He finds himself recruited into the Band of the Hawk. A mercenary group led by Griffith, an enigmatic leader with great aspirations to rule a kingdom of his own.

During his time with the Hawks, Guts finds himself letting go of his childhood traumas and forming close bonds with those who dedicate their lives to following Griffith in achieveing his lifelong dream. But does Griffith share the same loyalty to those that follow him?

Miura’s tale includes themes of revenge, redemption, friendship, and the importance of following one’s own path in life. Though the series holds a reputation for brutal gore and violence, underneath is a personal, character-driven story.

Kentaro Miura’s art

Miura’s excellent artwork is definitely one of the highlights of Berserk. From the horrific demon-like apostles and terrifying God Hand to beautiful landscapes such as the Mansion of the Spirit Tree, the illustrations are a wonder to behold.

Along with a talent for portraying the otherworldly aspects of the universe he created, Miura had a great ability to portray a character’s emotion through deeply expressive artwork, from bloodthirsty rage and complete despair to joy and hope.

Seeing one of the greatest artists of any illustrated media hone his craft over the span of 364 chapters and 30 years is a treat to witness, rarely seen in western comics.

Miura’s influences

Miura’s series was inspired by a vast number of both eastern and western works, with both Conan the Barbarian and the Elric of Melniboné novella series being cited as the inspiration for the setting of Berserk.

The series’ visual style was influenced by artists such as Tetsuo Hara of Fist of the North Star acclaim and Go Nagi’s Devilman inspiring the demonic appearances of the Apostles.

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser has also been cited for inspiring the concepts of the God Hand, a mythical group of individuals rumoured to have existed for over a millennium, Considered demons to some and angels to others (get it?)

So if you like the idea of a sword-wielding anti-hero facing off against grotesque demons and cenobites, this is the series for you.

Why Berserk looks so familiar

Even if you’ve never heard of Berserk, its influences on other manga, videogames, and even Hollywood films are inescapable.

The creators of Attack on Titan, Vinland Saga, Blue Exorcist, and many more have credited Berserk as being a direct influence on their work. In either themes, artistic style, or storytelling technique.

Many of FromSoftware’s games have taken visual cues straight out of Miura’s work, including armour sets, weapon designs, enemies, and location.

However, Berserk’s biggest influence on the medium is probably from Guts’ iconic weapon, the Dragon Slayer. A sword as tall as its wielder and so unwieldy for a regular person, it is often considered a slab of raw iron. Creating the staple of the oversized sword. Without it, we would surely have never gotten Cloud Strife’s, Buster Sword.

The next example is more of an easter egg than anything, but it still has an undeniable tie to the Manga series.

A man driven by ambition kneels in a shallow lake. In his hand is a small trinket, tied to a sacrifice. Behind him hangs a red eclipse in the sky. If you’re already familiar with Berserk maybe your mind went to Griffith at the advent of the eclipse. If not, maybe you thought of one of the highest-grossing Marvel movies of all time.

That’s right. Even Avengers: Infinity War owes something to Kentaro Miura’s magnum opus.

The legacy continues

Following Kentaro Miura’s passing, the future of Berserk was uncertain. Little was known of what Miura had left regarding continuing the story without him or if the ending was known by anyone.

However, Kouji Mori, a lifelong friend, and co-worker of Miura revealed he in fact knows the full outline of berserk, up to its conclusion, and would continue writing the series with Miura’s assistance providing the art.

Mori revealed in an open letter on Twitter how he planned to stay loyal to his friend’s original ideas and continue the story on his behalf:

“I have a message and promise to everyone. I will recall the detail as much as possible and tell the story. Also, I will only write the episodes that Miura talked to me about. I will not write episodes that I don’t remember clearly. I will only write the lines and stories that Miura described to me. Of course, it will not be perfect. Still, I think I can almost tell the story that Miura wanted to tell”

This looks promising to us fans hoping to see a true ending to Berserk with the latest chapters headed by Mori proving popular. However, if Mori’s plans don’t work out as hoped, we will always have 364 excellent chapters for anyone who enjoys a well-written story and beautiful artwork created by Miura himself.

How to get into Berserk

There are a few ways of getting into Berserk.

First are the published editions from Dark Horse Comics. These included the standard paperbacks, published at the standard manga size, or alternatively the deluxe editions. These include 3 volumes of the paperback editions per book and are printed at a larger, modern comic book size, allowing you to enjoy every detail of the art to its fullest.

If you’re a bigger fan of anime than manga, then there are a couple of options for you as well. The 1997 anime adaption is a loyal adaptation of Berserk’s second story arc The Golden Age and is a great introduction to the world and its character.

However, if the 1997 animation style is too dated for you, there is the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc trilogy. These films cover the same arc as the 1997 series. Although some key points in the story are skipped over in this adaptation, they act as a great sample piece for the manga, to see if the series would be for you.

So whether you’re a manga or an anime fan, there’s an option for you to try Berserk.

Have you read Berserk before? Do you think Mori’s continuation of the series will live up to Miura’s legacy? Let us know on our social media below.

By Liam Priestley

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop