If you don’t know Kentaro Miura’s Berserk Manga, you should read it now. Berserk is the best Seinen manga I’ve read so far.
I have personally read dozens of Seinen-type manga but I feel that none of the stories can approach Berserk.
This manga is a Masterpiece and is unfortunately underrated when compared to how popular shonen manga is today. I who have become a fan of the comic Berserk feels that this manga is like a cult, where some people may have heard the name but haven’t read anything from the manga, but those of you who have read it must have understood how interesting this manga is.
Even so, it was noted in 2015 that the sales of his manga currently hit 27 million copies in Japan and 8 million copies internationally, which is quite good.
If you are happy with the Dark Soul’s and Bloodborne game series that exploded in the market, the creator of the game, Hidetaka Miyazaki, admits that the dark themes in his game are inspired by Kentaro Miura’s Berserk comic, because he loves Berserk so much that he even designed it. one of the characters in Dark Souls, Artorias, based on the description of Guts, the main character from Berserk.
Like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, Berserk is set in the middle ages of the west, as there are kingdoms that are dominated by a monarchy. Berserk has a portion of the drama story that is interesting, solid, and not boring to follow. The world of Berserk is also colored by mythologies, certain cultures, or folklore from various parts of the world which are the inspiration in this world.
What makes this comic interesting is its solid story, solid drama, there are plot twists in several chapters, also not forgetting that the exciting battles are the main spear show of the Berserk series. The stories and plots in Berserk are more directed to dramas full of tragedy and irony that can attract the “real” human nature, the original I mean is not positive things but the bad traits of humans themselves. In Berserk, you will be shown how cruel and heinous things humans can do to other humans when it concerns themselves, or the interests of others. Therefore you will find a new philosophy or perspective when you start reading this manga.
Talking about tragic things, maybe those of you who are tired of seeing tragic-themed anime but are made whiny like angel beats, or Clannad’s can see Berserk as a more manly tragic alternative. Unlike Berserk, the tragic themes that are here are not made for you to represent, you will be more terrified of how rotten and corrupt every scene and story that occurs in the world of Berserk. However, it depends on your point of view when reading it. Because in my opinion, the tragic portion of Berserk is indeed diverse. But here’s the best part, you will feel a connection with each character, your feelings will be mixed about who is wrong and who is right.
The twist is also one of the plots that can spearhead the story of Berserk. Many unexpected things happen in this manga. At first, you feel that the enemy that Guts are fighting is indeed a monster that must be killed then suddenly your perspective is overturned when you find out surprising facts about the enemy that Guts are facing. To be more precise, there is a portion of the story that will certainly make you feel sympathy for the enemy that Guts are fighting, but of course, some enemies deserve to end their life.
What’s the story about Berserk?
Berserk isn’t a comic for those with a weak heart or a stomach that’s prone to nausea. It’s kind of dark.
Berserk is set in medieval Europe in the past, tells the story of Guts, a black swordsman and former mercenary who has a pretty sad life story.
Born under his dead mother hanging from a tree, Guts was picked up by mercenaries and cared for by prostitutes with mental disorders.
Guts do not have a beautiful childhood like other children, perhaps due to the environment he grew up in (he was labeled a bad omen about how he was born and found), at 6 years old he had to help his adoptive father on the battlefield and 12 years old started worked as a mercenary because his father did not want to support him anymore, during the first war Guts managed to survive and felt he had earned his father’s respect.
At the same time (12 years old) young Guts was captured and raped in his tent by a pedophile man who admitted that Guts’ father had sold him to him, Guts did not believe and rebelled at the same time resisted, but lost strength with the pedophile. He never denied this truth, until his father confirmed it. Guts accidentally kill his father, at that time all the mercenaries of his father’s friends try to kill Guts, he inevitably has to run from the place and wander alone to survive.
After years, Guts became a mercenary who was classified as famous because he succeeded in killing a famous knight named Bazuso. Because of that, he managed to attract the attention of Griffith, a commander/leader of a group called the band of the hawk. He had offered Guts to join and work under his command, but Guts refused. Finally, Griffith challenged the Guts where the loser had to swear loyalty to the death against the winner. In this fierce battle, Griffith succeeded in defeating Guts, and like it or not, Guts must be loyal to all the orders Griffith gave.
In his leadership, the band of the hawk won every battle and made the group famous throughout the kingdom. From initially having a small army, the band of the hawk began to grow and had hundreds or even thousands of soldiers loyal to Griffith, including Guts. Griffith is considered a man who is believed to bring a bright future for all of them.
Because of some carelessness he was caught and imprisoned by the King. For 1 year he was tortured until Guts, Casca, and another band of the hawk friends managed to save him. Because the torture he received continuously for approximately 1 year made him permanently disabled and no longer in a condition that allows him to lead his group anymore.
Desperate and wanting to give up encourages Griffith to end his own life and accidentally activates the Crimson Behelit he received as a child. He, Guts, and Casca, and their friends are trapped by a black vortex in which there are terrible monsters named Apostles led by God Hand who is the god of the monsters. Griffith is given the choice to be reborn as a god hand and fulfill his dream or give up and die at that moment.
But that choice had to be paid for with something that was most valuable to him, and something that was most valuable to Griffith at that time was his band of the Hawk friends. Griffith finally decided for him to sacrifice the band of the hawk along with Guts and Casca in it. The sacrifice ceremony is known as the eclipse ceremony.
During the ceremony, all members of the band of the hawk get marks on their bodies indicating that they have been sacrificed by the person who started the ritual. Those who have this mark will be severely devoured by the demons and apostles, The ceremony will be completed when a new apostle or god hand is reborn. Guts and Casca got to watch their friends slaughtered and devoured alive by the apostles like students waiting for free food from the celebration venue.
Guts and Casca were also the last people to survive the celebration until Griffith was reborn as a member of the god hand named Femto, starting to rape Casca in front of Guts in a pool full of blood from the band of the hawk. In a pinch, Guts tries to save Casca until he has to cut off his left hand just to stop Griffith. His efforts failed and he had to witness the woman he loved being stained by Griffith to the end including the loss of his right eye.
Angry, sadness, and despair enveloped the Guts. In the end, he was saved by the skull knight and Casca from this terrible ritual. Guts and Casca are cared for by Rickert and his half-sister Erica who live with an old sword maker named Godo. Rickert is one of the youngest members of the band of the hawk who happened not to be with them during the ritual.
Guts who was unconscious for days finally gained consciousness and tried to visit Casca because he was worried about his situation. After meeting Casca, Guts must accept the harsh reality again, because he finds Casca’s state of being crazy and has an excessive fear of men who try to approach him.
In a state that has not fully recovered, Guts ran into the forest, as if he was trying to run away from the fact that his friends and women he loved had just disappeared. In this desperate state, Guts is approached by the skull knight who has saved Guts. He tells Guts that he has the stamp from the previous ritual and the stamp will not disappear until the end of Guts’ life, and from then on he must be able to adjust himself to live in “Interstice” a boundary between the world of the mortal and the world of the dead.
From this stamp, after sunset, all evil spirits will appear and try to devour and take over the body of the Guts. Guts are like torches thrown into the darkness where moths will swarm the light looking for new warmth. Skull knight gives the choice to Guts whether he will surrender to his destiny, or destroy the evil spirits throughout the night in other words, Guts will never feel back to a deep sleep at night and the darkness will become a new world of Guts. Guts without hesitation take the second option, he declares war on the apostle and god hand who in the comics are considered as gods in the world of the dead and vows to kill all apostles, god hand.
Destiny … destiny … destiny … destiny … SHUT THE HELL UP! How ’bout you save your high and mighty crap for after I’ve been haunted to death, skull-face? Sacrifice? Offering? Destiny? Quit spoutin ‘out a bunch of cryptic explanations! The point is, this is war! It ain’t different from any other war! The last one standing wins! Listen here! I’m beat ‘all a’ you back down to Hell! Tell those ugly pale-faced bastards for me! If I get hit, I will hit back! Tell ’em leavin’ me half-eaten is gonna be the end of you! I’ll hunt and kill all those wretched monsters … and all of you … DOWN TO THE LAST ONE! THIS IS … MY DECLARATION OF WAR! – Guts
With a giant sword called the dragon slayer, an artificial hand that functions as a small cannon, a mini bow-gun that can be attached to Guts’ hand, coupled with his distinctive black armor, Guts begins his holy mission to take revenge and does not hesitate to finish off all humans who hindered himself from taking revenge. From then on, the legend of the black swordsman spread throughout the kingdom where Guts brought death wherever he went.
Plus he will later have Berserker armor. Berserker Armor is the craziest battle gear I have seen here. If this armor is active, it will take over the entire nervous system and leave the user numb to all physical pain. This makes Guts able to fight with maximum ability and strength. Because the armor is even able to make the big sword swing from Guts harder than cannonballs. Berserker armor can also restore the physical state of Guts which allows him to fight again, but the recovery seems harsh and painful enough to just see it.
For example, if Guts’ hand is broken in the opposite direction, the armor will force the Guts’ hand to twist into its normal position, and steel needles will pierce through the Guts’ flesh to forcibly strengthen the muscles and bones that are destroyed. So don’t get me wrong, this armor doesn’t heal the Guts, but only temporarily patches the Guts body. Worse, this Armor will also attract the evil side of the user, and the wolf form in the Berserker Guts armor is a form of Guts’ ego. Guts often lose consciousness when wearing this armor and their fighting style is wilder like a beast and very risky than usual.
Berserk like most manga has several arcs that bring up new themes and problems faced by Guts and several other characters. The theme that is most often raised here is the theme of Religion and the role of religion for each Berserk character. This reminds me of a crusade where the conflict was triggered by differences in belief, but behind the guise of religion, the main purpose is to benefit the upper class and to expand power.
Of those, my favorites are the sections of Lost Children, Birth Ceremony, Falcon Millenium, The Guardian of Desires, and The Golden Age. This is because the chapter or arc is rich intense conflicts and battles to read. I never get tired of repeating every moment in each chapter for me to read over and over again. One of my favorite moments is when Guts tries to save Casca from people who want to burn him because they think Casca is a witch.
At that time Guts fights a pastor who has been turned into an imitation apostle who has fanatical faith in the god he worships. The conversation that continues to stick in my brain is me is in this part:
Father Mogus “Can you not hear them ?! These voices of supplication ?! Every person who congregates in this place now desires, as one hears, SALVATION! They are eagerly awaiting the time of God’s Victory. Do you mean you care not that tens of thousands of believers shall lose their lives in exchange for one evil witch? “
Guts, filled with rage, replied “Don’t make me laugh. All they do is PRAY! Every last one of them when the fire’s under their ass, any of them do is bow down. TEN OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE SHOULDN’T CLING TO JUST ONE WOMAN ”- The Tower Conviction Arch. Berserk Chapter 169 page 8-10.
Not only that, many of the scenes in Berserk made me stop to breathe and shake my head because of how mature the delivery of every new moral and philosophy is presented in Berserk.
There are some of my Favorite Quotes while reading Berserk.
As I said, anyone who gets killed ’cause they got caught up in someone else’s fight is small fry. If they can’t live their life freely, they’re better off dead. Those two didn’t have the strength to protect themselves from a “walking disaster” like me. That’s all there is to it. If you’re always worried about crushing the ants beneath you … you won’t be able to walk. – Guts
HAHAHAHA… In terms of timing, anyway, that’s the worst joke I’ve ever heard. Fuck you, I’m HUMAN, right down to the bone. Don’t ‘mistake me for one of you Freaks. – Guts
In ancient times there was a holy woman who dedicated her life to the aid of the poor. She had never turned her back on anybody who had been thrown from the society of man, whether due to plague or destitution or similar matters. Until the hour that they were summoned to appear before God, the dying were each tucked under blankets and at peace. It is said that she would gather each in turn to her breast and hold them like a mother. Once she discovered an old man who had become so thin and worn out that he had fallen dying by the roadside. As always, she gathered the man to her breast and held him. But it was he who spoke first. “I who now waste away on a pathway like this, I would approach no one. This is proof of having spent my proud existence in isolation. Please, this sublime moment to be. Don’t dishonor the hour of my death with your warmth. “ – Father Mozgus
Bloody as f * ck!
In addition to the tragic, ironic, twist, the Berserk manga presents a story that is more .. fucked up…
How fucked up is this manga? I conclude this. If you want to find a manga that is full of young children being eaten alive by their families, young children raped when they are young, women are being raped in turns by trolls non-stop until their genitals are crushed plus die horribly from giving birth to baby trolls that tear their host’s stomach, babies are turned into a soup to eat, a mother must see her child being eaten by monsters, a best friend rapes her best friend’s lover in front of her own two eyes until she sees your friends made sacrifices and eaten alive by terrible monsters. Those chilling parts are just a few of the things you will find in Berserk.
I have to say that sadistically this manga will open new perspectives on your view of life. Where life is not always filled with happiness in every corner, sometimes life will be very cruel to you and nothing can help you to get out of that situation.
Yep, there is no mysterious power that immediately rises when the main character is pinched or someone who suddenly helps the main character help defeat their enemies like most mainstream shonen comics today. Guts are not someone who is born with certain special powers, he is just an ordinary human who has the strongest determination when compared to most comic characters.
Berserk THE FIGHT’s ?!
The battles in Berserk are pretty brutal and there isn’t anything quite like jaw-dropping moves that have cool names. But don’t worry, the battle images in Berserk are very tense and intriguing. I can be made curious to continue reading through each page just to find out what will happen next.
Indeed, berserk is not the same as with most Shonen manga and this is probably because the Berserk genre is Seinen where the genre is intended for adults. Guts characters are characters who fight because of the basis of hatred and revenge, unlike most manga which fights because it is based on truth and justice which is full of nonsense.
Guts are not the type of person who wants to save someone else if that person gets in the way of his revenge. He will not be a late hero who can save everyone at once, even Guts himself once endangered the life of a little girl because he was used as bait by Guts. Guts will do everything to be able to kill his opponent.
The battle here truly defines the battle between life and death. Not a few Guts tear himself only to find gaps from the enemies he faces such as through fire, cutting off his left hand, passing through thousands of volts of electricity, and don’t ask how many bones he breaks in each battle.
Guts have extraordinary strength because he can use a super large sword called Dragon Slayer which is his main weapon, made by an old blacksmith named Godo. In his reference Dragon Slayer weighs around 180 Kilos, no wonder Guts, who since childhood was accustomed to using a sword as big as him, has enough strength to swing this enormous sword. Dragon Slayer can injure astral beings and various types of supernatural beings. This is because the Dragon Slayer has often been bathed in Apostle’s blood, which was killed by Guts, making the sword have a special ability like this.
The Guts were less well equipped for the apostle. Such as throwing knives, small grenades, the left hand is made of iron which can be converted into a small cannon or automatic bow gun.
What I like here is that there are no complex battles and all of them are purely Guts tactics and reflexes to create gaps that allow them to defeat their enemies. No teacher teaches the main character deadly techniques or hidden abilities that will arise if the main character is in a pinch. Guts are 100% human and will hurt just like any normal human. What made him able to defeat his enemies was his survival instincts that had been honed since childhood and his experience of fighting alone on the battlefield since he was 12 years old.
In addition, the battles in Berserk are classified as straightforward where the main character does not lecture until the enemy is converted, there is no unnecessary conversation between Guts and his opponent. The two were only brought together to kill each other. The battles that are here are indeed solid and no-nonsense for each execution. All of the Guts’ tactics have one goal only, which is to finish off their enemies.
Berserk fulfills all expectations and opens new perspectives to me in reading manga. Reading Berserk is like reading an almost perfect manga dream for me and of course Berserk has the best image quality of any manga I’ve ever read. I personally from childhood liked characters with large swords and battle scenes filled with angry screams.
Even though much shonen manga has angry scenes like the ones I mentioned above, seeing Guts fight against an apostle no one can get close to everything in Berserk. Like Gon in Hunter x Hunter, Guts allows himself to burn the flames of revenge for his enemies and it is also a grudge that keeps Guts “sane” and focused on his goals.
Guts understand his limitations as humans and he will not allow the enemy to be able to achieve these weaknesses. If it is equated, maybe the struggle for life in Berserk can be aligned with the Gantz manga where they only rely on their best abilities as humans who only rely on their weapons and equipment to defeat monsters that are comparatively far superior to any human.
Freedom in every battle between Guts and his opponent can display the darkness that is characteristic of the manga Berserk. The world of Berserk, which at that time was a war between kingdoms and countries, was able to show the effects of this war. For example, people had to lose their homes, or adults and children had to starve to death and contract infectious diseases, women were kidnapped and raped by the enemies of the kingdom, and many others.
Berserk has made an anime series and a movie. But I think these two things can’t fully take away the essence that made this Berserk famous out there. Many people are disappointed when they see Berserk films because the essence that makes Berserk attractive is only about 30% that is entered. Perhaps these things were triggered by various ridiculous censorship and the addition of poor adaptation that many fans disappointed.
Not a few people via Youtube, Reddit, or other big forums (even 9gag) suggest not to watch Berserk films, but to start reading Manga¬ Berserk at that moment. Yup, I have to agree with their statement. You’ll only see Berserk’s original “Face” when you’ve read his manga which is much darker and sadistic to follow.