Published: Aug 25, 1989 to ?
Genres: Action, Adventure, Demons, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural, Military, Psychological, Seinen
Authors: Miura, Kentaro (Story & Art)
Serialization: Young Animal
Score: 9.161 (scored by 19637 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
Popular Tagsaction fantasy horror seinen
Sep 30, 2010
Have you ever hated someone so much, that your whole life was focused on finding that person and ripping him apart?
Have you ever hated someone so much, that you would forget about your humanity, purge it all just to find enough power, for one, single fraction of a moment, one chance to get your revenge...
What would your eyes look like in that very moment...? Insane? Terrified? Passionate? Happy? Or maybe... satisfied...
Look into his eyes, and find nothing there..."
When I first learned that there is something like Berserk manga, I was a bit surprised. That was some 7 years ago and little did I know about relations between anime and manga. Either way, I took my chances and downloaded several first volumes.
You can imagine my surprise when I noticed that the manga is a far cry from the anime which really made my day some time ago. Having struggled through the first chapters I moved on to the next volumes. You know, the anime itself is, in all its ingenuity, only a small fraction of the whole manga... As small as several volumes with some deleted scenes and a bit redone ending at that. However, by the moment I reached 'the anime plotline' in manga (which is volume 3) I got already interested in the manga itself.
I think that there's no point in summarising the plot. You can read it above, and for the sake of not spoiling anything, I think you should. You have to, however know this: Berserk manga, in terms of plotline and characters development - is by far the best manga I have ever read, the most complete one, the most multi-dimensional one, the most memorable one... Nowhere else will you be told the stories of sub characters so bluntly and yet discreet that you won't even notice. Nowhere else will you receive such a huge dose of information, and yet still be able to comprehend it effortlessly. This is something uncanny, and frankly, I doubt that anyone ever will be able to reach the level.
The characters are just great. On one hand we have Gutts and Griffith, shades of black and white, fire and water. Being so different, neither can live without the other one. They're like Yin and Yang, two halves of the same coin - even in his darkest moments Griffith still finds himself as Gutts' friend, although few minutes later this friendship changes into hatred and horrific envy. Their whole story is like that, they start off as great friends who would die for each other with smiling face, but only one of them is really committed here.
Characters shine even more when we consider other protagonists and antagonists. No person is left shallow and without a story to tell. Miura-sempai explains everything in a given time and briefly enough to keep you interested. Unlike in other titles where antagonists exist only to serve as a powerup training bag for the protagonist, here all demons have their motives. Even the smallest monster is explained, by which you get attached, even to such scumbags.
The story itself is brutal, broody and hectic sometimes. But you never really lose the track if it. You can have two mini-arcs in one mayor arc, but you'll always remember what the team's real destination is. In this way, Miura-sempai makes it clear to you, that Gutts, although a little less passionately, follows his path and even if he was to be destroyed, he would neither falter nor go back. And the same goes for Griffith, who despite his appearance (nowhere else will you notice that appearance is deceitful so much as in Berserk) is a very strong-willed and straight-forward character. And in all this, having seen all the atrocities that happen in Midland, you never ever think of Griffith as the wrong one. He's not wrong, he's just following his dream, a dream that was clouded with Gutts appearance in his life.
The art itself, is a state of art to watch and read. Detailed panels, hundreds of characters on one page during a hectic battle, highly textured monsters and what I love the most - fluid, realistic and clear fighting scenes. You don't need Kubo trolling with ink to see that Gutts has his speed even despite the weight of his sword. You don't need hundreds of straight lines to increase the dynamics of the scene - Miura-sensei manages it all without a loss in quality.
Facial expressions are something completely else. Even if you cannot follow the plot for some weird reason you can always judge whether the character is good or bad by just looking at his or her face. Those are very detailed and so rich in expressions that you never get bored. You can feel the difference between smooth and angelic appearance of Griffith and a brute, yet kind rectangular face of Gutts.
The mangaka puts a lot of effort into shade and light in Berserk. By that we get a very distinctive nights, sunshines and sunsets as well as dynamic shadows (however awkward it sounds) that no anime director can mime. It's simply sensational to look at all that and even be able to read the story of it... It is clear to me, that Miura-sensei is trying to end up with a sort of masterpiece in terms of manga. And you know what? He's pretty close to achieving this.
There are, however, some bad points too. The manga is not for everyone. I would strictly add parental advisory and 18+ to it. Nowhere else will you see so much nudity, sex and violence as in this manga. It's not a hentai-like nudity and sex though. Berserk shows a violent world with all its aspects, hence these parts were as relevant as any other to make the story as believable as possible.
I'm glad I was able to read the manga. It's one of the best titles ever, if not the best so far. I sincerely hope though, that Miura-sensei lives up to the expectations and finishes this story in a fitting way. Judging by his up-to-date work, it's more than possible.
Apr 29, 2008
The first three volumes may discourage some of the readers because it's starts off kind of slow and the initial artwork is not quite up to today's standards. However, after the reader begins the Golden Age arc it is nearly impossible to not be pulled in and become addicted to the series. It is chock-full of action, drama, character development, twists and turns, and just a dash of romance. It defies generalization and is just damn good storytelling.
After the Gold Age arc wraps up the story come back full circle to where it left us at the end of volume 3. But by then the rhythm of the manga has changed completely. The reader has established a deep connection with Guts, Casca, and Griffith and that only grows more as the story continues. You'll be confronted with conflicting emotions and think things like "I really want to see Guts put Griffith in the ground" and at the same time "Griffith is just so damn cool". These conflicting thoughts and emotions just go to show how invested the reader becomes with the characters.
Another good thing about the Berserk story is that the protagonist (Guts) is not always the focal character in every chapter. In fact, nearly all of the major supporting cast members receive a considerable amount of page space for their own stories to be fleshed out. Each of these side-stories is not only unique and extremely well developed, but also very deep and revealing as it shows the reader why these character are the way they are. One of the side stories that I found most intriguing was Farnese and Serpico's as it was so beautifully orchestrated as part of the manga as a whole.
The only problem with the story, in my humble opinion, is the introduction of magic in the manga. I feel that the magic the group "acquires" in volume 24 is somewhat exaggerated and does not suit the dark atmosphere of the story. In fact, at times it can even make some of the chapters feel a bit shounen-esk. But even still, it's pretty much impossible not to enjoy the ongoing story that is Berserk.
Art - 9.6
The artwork in the first few volumes of Berserk won't do much to impress many of today's manga readers, but at the time when the series was first serialized (1992) it was certainly well above average. Those initial volumes feature many very unique character designs (especially the apostles) and also sport a relatively high focus on detail. However, where Miura really shows off his latent artistic talents early on is through his ability to create crisp, clear, and highly fluid fight scenes.
One of the few negative aspects of the early volumes can be identified as the simple shading techniques that Miura used. Also, sometimes the character faces will look just a bit "off" and it can be a little distracting. However, these minor quality issues were most likely due to the time constraints that were in place at the time and not entirely the fault of the artist.
Then as the series progresses the reader gets to watch the artwork literally evolve. As we learn more and more about the characters and the world in which they live, the characters themselves and their environments become more and more visually detailed. The simple shading from the early volumes is eventually replaced by a hand shading technique which gives the series a more gritty and surreal overall feeling. The character designs become more crisp and facial expressions sometimes are so vivid that one look at a character's face is often enough to tell the reader exactly what the character is thinking. By the time the reader makes it into volumes 20 and beyond Miura has made it very clear that he means for Berserk to be truly regarded as a work of art just as much as it is a masterfully epic piece of storytelling.
In my own experience I have seen very, very few other manga series that can even approach Berserk's later volumes on an artistic level and, unfortunately, I highly doubt that I will ever be able to find its peer.
Characters - 9.5
The very first character you will meet in Berserk is Guts, the "Black Swordsman" with a dark past and a score to settle with his demonic enemies. Certainly not a very revolutionary character at first glance, but even though he may start off as such, his character quickly expands, and ends up as one of the most believable and human characters I have ever witnessed.
As the story unwinds, you follow Guts through his past, allowing you to experience his personality change during his constant battle against fate. You follow Guts through waves of despair and hardships offset only by the flickering fires of friendship and trust. Eventually, Guts becomes like a maelstrom of opposing emotions, and the question arises, will he continue on his path of all-consuming revenge even if it means losing everything he has come to care for?
The other characters that appear throughout the course of the story come in all different shapes and sizes and all play their roles perfectly, just as support characters should. The more important support characters, protagonists and antagonists alike, are all draped in many layers of depth, making their characters both solid pillars and interesting ingredients within the plot as a whole. From Griffith's burning ambition to the skulduggery of the God Hand, from Puck and Isidro's antics to Farnese's troubled past and uncertain future, the characters all appear vivid and alive (Although alive might not fit The Skull Knight...) and all have their own emotions, personalities and ambitions. The supportive cast show their brilliance in how they appear to the reader as actual players in Berserk's grand game, and not just as passive plot devices.
With such a cast of strong personalities and vibrant, living characters, Berserk easily cuts it's way (no pun intended) to the top score in this category.
Enjoyment - 10
The fact that I sat and read through all 295 chapters of this exquisite manga in one sitting should justify the perfect score for enjoyment! The manga has great characters - heroes you root for and empathize with, villains you can't help but admire for their ruthlessness and charisma. The artwork is dark, brooding, and gruesome and complements the story well. And what a riveting story it is... It hooks you from the first chapter and sets the stage for the most intriguing revenge themed manga on the market. Its success is testament to its quality. My only complaint is the excruciating waits between chapters.
Also, I must throw in a cautionary note: this manga is quite definitely not for the faint hearted. There is a considerable amount nudity, sex, gore, violence, and, for the lack of a better word, bad-assery!
OVERALL - 9.69
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team members were:
8GaugeBrett - Who wrote the Art section and combined the individual review parts together into a whole.
Amaity - Who wrote the Enjoyment section.
Baman - Who wrote the Character section.
Ianmessku - Who wrote the Story section.
Here are their individual scorings for the Manga:
Category - 8GaugeBrett, Amaity, Baman, Ianmessku
Story - 9, 10, 9, 9.5
Art - 10, 9, 10, 9.5
Character - 9, 9 , 10, 10
Enjoyment - 10, 10, 10, 10
Overall - 10, 9, 10, 9.75
In the club wide poll held for Berserk it received an average overall rating of 9.53 read more
Nov 24, 2008
The storyline line is superb - one of money, love, betrayal, and death. Each of these themes seem to be ubiquitous yet vacant throughout the story. Albeit a bit slow in the beginning, the plot rockets off, forming a most complex and elaborate tale that is sure to suck you in like a vacuum.
The art is amazing as well, though a tad bit confusing at times (as is the case for most action manga). The decapitation and maiming seem to look somewhat authentic relative to the weapon swings and cleaves - a huge plus in my book.
The characters are all fascinating in their own respect. Some big, some young, yet all adventurous and brave enough to fit in such an epic story. Each character is introduced and then reintroduced at a later time with even more background information on them.
Lastly, the mangaka seems to do things differently in this manga then in others. This thing seems to be the "pragmatist POV," the POV any sensible person would take. This made me elated. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read and find out. read more
May 3, 2010
The story is incredible in every way imaginable. It starts out with a few small arcs featuring the Black Swordsman named Guts who hunts down demons known as Apostles. We aren't really sure why he does this at the beginning but the mangaka, Miura indicates that there is a lot of history between Guts and these Apostles. The setting is realistic fantasy at first with dashes of supernatural and high-fantasy elements sprinkled here and there. Guts doesn't appear as a very likable protagonist at first. He's rude, cynical, wooden and somewhat insane. The only definite characters are him and his elf sidekick, Puck. There is definitely a strong sense of mystery at first with Guts' motives being hinted at very subtlety as he makes his way through these self-contained arcs. There are no real characters that one can attach themselves to and the tone is extremely bleak. Themes such as existentialism are brought up quite often as the audience wonders why Guts continues at what seems to be a hopeless goal. Its eventually revealed that he has a personal vendetta against one of the God-Hands named Femto, one of the 5 deities of the Berserk universe.
As soon as this is revealed, the manga goes into a very long flashback of Guts' entire life up to the present. It explains how he joined a mercenary group called The Band of the Hawk and became friends with the leader, Griffith. We see that Guts' enjoyed his life with the Band, and was friends with many of the mercenaries. Themes such as comradeship, identity and love are brought up which is stark contrast with the themes in the present. While reading all this, there is a nagging sensation that the audience hears at the back of their heads: this can't last. Miura skillfully throws in elements into the story and brings them up again much later. Its all masterfully weaved together, and as the past starts to catch up with the present, you can't help but dread the outcome of it all. And finally when the Eclipse rolls around, all sorts of emotions surge up such as sorrow and anger. It all comes full circle when the audience realizes that it was foreshadowed since day 1. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what we call masterful storytelling, and the best part is that its only one-third of the story. Truth be told, the manga could have ended after volume 13 and it would still be spectacular but Miura goes the extra several miles and turns Berserk in the stuff of legends.
The characters in Berserk are phenomenal and are expertly written. Many characters undergo vast changes, and it all feels natural and not forced at all. Despite how they all appear at first, you can't help but come to like them all, shortcomings and flaws be damned. Guts becomes one of the best protagonists after a while, a true tragic hero in every meaning of the phrase. It really is a pleasure just to see all the characters interact and to see all their quirks. A chapter can be filled with nothing but dialogue and exposition, and it will be every bit as interesting and compelling as the action-packed chapters. The characters and story go hand in hand, they are all products of their environment and fit so well with the setting. All the fantastical elements fit just as well if not better. Berserk doesn't really require that much suspense of disbelief at first but once you get into it, it doesn't really matter what it pulls, it all seems possible and the sky is limit.
The art is easily some of the best I've ever seen in a manga. The level of detail in the drawings is absolutely insane, everything looks so good. Characters all look great and have their own style and flavor. Faces are never recycled and even background characters all have a distinct look from each other. One of my favorite parts of the drawings are the eyes, their not overtly huge like in most anime and manga, but have a unique design that fits the characters well. Its not ultra realistic like Vagabond or Blade of the Immortal, yet the artstyle it sports is just as good if not better.
Overall, Berserk is easily the best manga I have ever read. From its well developed and written characters to its deep and intricate plot. There's loads of action, blood, gore, nudity, violence, horrific monster designs and I love every bit of it. Truth is all the extreme elements of this manga simply play second fiddle to the characters and story. There is no manga out there that has captivated me like Berserk, it has no equal. I don't even need to read every manga in existence to tell you that. You could take it as fanboy rambling, but I'm not kidding you when I say Berserk is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. If you have the time to read this review, than you sure as hell have enough time to open a new tab and read the first few chapters of Berserk. You won't regret it! read more
Apr 17, 2011
However, overcoming that this manga is a masterpiece all over - up to the currently last arc, millenium falcon, sadly, where it just feels too mainstream, too arbitrary and too normal.
Whatever, that is just one story arc. Each time I'm re-reading a part of Berserk, my mind is just blown away and I hate myself for having rated Berserk down to "only" 8 temporarily because of a certain disappointment of the latest arc. Before that, it delivered over 25 volumes (!) of pure awesomeness. Every time I'm re-reading it I feel the urge of marking every second page as a brilliant highlight of arts nad staging, well knowing that the other 50% of pages will follow next time.
And also everytime I'm re-reading something, I'm understanding more of it. By no means Berserk could be considered a flat story only because it contains much action, gore and has no problems of displaying nudity. This story is deep, the character developements are complex but plausible and understandable, and the overall setting is more than epic.
Do you think that these are too many superlatives for this to be a potentially fair review? Dig through the first two or three volumes until Berserk catches you, and you won't be able to help yourself but to agree. read more
Apr 25, 2010
One thing I do want to add is that the manga does not start at the chronological beginning. I strongly recommend that if you want to avoid major spoilers and get the most emotional impact from the story, you start reading at VOLUME 3 PAGE 169 ("Golden Age, Chapter 1"). This is the chronological beginning of Berserk. It is an ~11-volume flashback that frames the rest of the story. In the middle of volume 14 there is a "2 years later..." time skip. When you reach the "2 years later.." mark, this is when you go back and read volumes 1 through 3 completely, then continue with 14. read more
Dec 5, 2012
Words of wisdom and complete despair. Griffith’s speech at the top of the ballroom stairs is truly sublime and grotesque in nature. Many would agree with what is being said but only few expected the horrors this speech would imply. Welcome everyone to my review of Kentaro Miura’s masterpiece, 'Berserk'.
Spoiler-Free Review (In the sense that I don’t discuss major details on plot or characters):
Every person and their mom know how much I love 'Berserk', to the point of obsession. It is the perfect blend of many genres and styles of literature. It borrows many concepts including: tragedies (ie: Shakespearean tragedies, Death of a Salesman, etc…); literature classics that involve themes such as life experience (ie: Siddhartha, The Catcher in the Rye, etc…); the bible, organized religion and philosophy (ie: Plato and the realm of ideas); fantasy adventure classics (ie: Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, etc…); and many western movie epics (ie: Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, etc…). The scope of this story is incredible but the main problem some might point out is: do all these big themes and concepts mesh well together while at the same time keeping a cohesive pacing and plot? Yes it does because all these big themes are separated by story arcs and sections where they each get their moment to shine while at the same time creating a perfect transition for the next part of the story. These shifts in themes also keep the story from not ever becoming stale and/or boring. All the while, the word “berserk” is the over arching theme of the entire manga. The uniqueness of the story in 'Berserk' is also unrivaled. While it does take many aspects of traditional and modern literature such as the tragic hero (Golden Age Arc) and individual societal drama (Conviction Arc), Miura added his own twist to everything like his opinion on the moral values of the themes he presents (which are all great might I add) and his own unique fantastical elements (Behelit, demon’s, God-Hand, etc…). Childhood rape is another topic that Miura delves into and it is safe to say that he handles it with complete respect and understanding. It is not a topic he simply glosses over in order to shock the reader, but is a full on subject and consequence within the story. The subject is handled with great care, subtlety, and realism. Miura makes sure that every moment, theme, and action taken within the story is a build up for the final act within the certain arc. 'Berserk' is not simply a bunch of ideas blended together but a mix of different puzzle pieces that are carefully fit in place in order to create a truly monumental achievement in story telling.
All these different themes seem very good but is the story any fun to read or is it all just standing around and talking? Well do not fear because there is action a plenty in this manga which is all very well detailed. The action in and of itself is brilliant, and character movements are all drawn and dictated with precise panel accuracy to the point of obsession. To add to how incredible the action is, 'Berserk' itself is probably the most beautifully drawn manga (this includes comics and graphic novels) of all time. This statement of it being the best could probably be debunked, but I have not yet come across a better art-work. The character proportions and details, the world and backgrounds, the fantasy creatures, etc… are all marvelous to look at. Do not be surprised if you start staring at the art for hours on end, it is that good. Kentaro Miura in an interview said that it took him about 24 hours to finish drawing just one panel and be satisfied with it. Goes to show how much he cares about detail.
The main character Guts is the very definition of a tragic hero. His character arc is beyond that of any other protagonist and his emotional torments are unrivaled. To truly understand this man’s point of view is to go through hell itself and beyond. Every arc adds to his growth, redemption, and eventual becoming of a hero and mentor. It is truly beautiful and poetic in nature. His character complexity just continues to grow (the manga is still publishing) and eventually he will become the definition of enlightened, or so we hope he will be? One of the many ways for a great protagonist to shine is through a great villain. Thankfully, Griffith is the very definition of a perfect villain. Taking on the classic tragic literature elements of the villain once being best friends with the protagonist, Griffith takes this idea and magnifies his betrayal to the point of complete horror. Imagine taking a man, forcing him to watch everything horrible in life and everything personally horrible to him. Griffith does exactly that and the magnitude of his crime is unbelievable. This crime is all done in the name of his own goals and dreams. The starting top quote of the review spoken by Griffith is taken all the way to the extreme. Griffith was once a man who was in love, happy, childish, angry, intimidating, fearful, compassionate, heroic, etc... But he replaced all that in order to simply follow his dream. He became the very embodiment of the anti-Christ, a man who cares only about his own selfish ends, who looks majestic in nature but is a complete and utter villain, who schemes and fools the world into believing that he is the savior of mankind. As for Guts, he learnt from this betrayal and became the very man Griffith should have been. He became the hero that everyone now looks up to. The last and only step he must now face is to defeat his inner rage, which has been building up since the beginning of the series. He must rid himself of this berserk instinct and darkness inside him. In doing so he will turn into the true hero he is meant to become and defeat the anti-Christ known as Griffith once and for all.
The secondary characters are all incredible in their own right. Guts’ friends are divided into two groups. The first group of friends are the ones that gave him a family for the first time while at the same time each giving their own advice on how he should go on in life. They all have an interesting back story and are quite well developed, some more than others. These friends feel like people and each one of them is smart in their own way. However things change with the second group of friends. Guts’ is introduced to a new family but this time it is him that gives them advice and guidance thanks in part to the experience and knowledge he’s gained through out his journey. This second group of friends are much more interesting than the first because since they all have issues they need to overcome, each and every one of them have an incredibly well handled character arc. Guts through experience, learns to rely on his companions and they all connect with each other in different ways. The fantastic thing about each and every character in 'Berserk' is just how natural and subtle their development is. Nothing ever feels forced or thrown in your face. It is all very well paced and sometimes poetic in nature which are either done through great dialogue or subtle character actions that are well detailed. Paying attention to the drawings and art is crucial not only in terms of beauty, but character development as well. Character expressions are all taken into account and are very crucial to the story. Every interaction between the main and secondary characters has a purpose and that includes the comic relief characters/moments. The amount of attention to detail is simply astounding.
The final subject that must be touched upon is the tone and violence of this manga. Many have complained that this series contains too much gore and nudity. If one is too delicate to look at grotesque and violent actions, then this manga can easily turn some people off. However, I assure the readers that the nudity and extreme violence all have a purpose. What does it mean to be human? Love, hatred, pain, pleasure, life, and death (readers of 'Berserk' know what moment I am referencing) are all taken to the complete extremes in order to find out that answer. Like I stated in the beginning of my review, 'Berserk' is the definition of sublime and grotesque. It is beautiful in both aspects of the extreme. This is the tone that is kept through out each and every arc. That is why the story has that “epic” feel which no other manga has ever been able to replicate.
To call 'Berserk' perfect after all the praise I’ve given would still be a lie because the series is not over yet and nothing is ever truly “perfect”. There are many ways in which Kentaro Miura can make a mistake in the later upcoming chapters. There is also one more minor companion among Guts’ group that has not had much back story or development, something I’m hoping Miura will fix in the later chapters. Some people have criticized some certain parts of the manga like the first intro Black Swordsman Arc or the beginning of the newly started Fantasia Arc, but the nit-picking can easily be rebutted. The Black Swordsman Arc was meant to introduce the world of 'Berserk' which includes: the main protagonist and antagonist, the fantastical and medieval world they live in, the tone and intense action, and the over arching theme of the whole series which is Guts’ inner “berserk”. It is a fantastic set up and gets the reader aware of what type of journey they are about to embark on. As for the beginning of Fantasia Arc, the same introduction argument can be used because the world and rules have changed drastically since the last arc. This is all really pointless to debate because this story arc has only just begun.
'Berserk' is by far the smartest, most diverse and well developed story I’ve ever seen and/or read. This includes comics, movies, novels, TV series, anime, etc… It is perhaps the greatest piece of literature of our generation and Kentaro Miura deserves ever single praise he gets. It is in my opinion the closest story to have reached perfection and I feel truly privileged to be reading such a masterpiece. Thank you very much Mr. Miura.
Jun 28, 2008
One line: "Highly detailed scenes. Very impressive and complex plot. Lively and varied characters. Berserk rules!"
- [ Story - 10 ] -
Berserk is about Guts, an exceptionally skilled swordsman and his adventures with The Band of the Hawk, along with its leader, Griffith, and other characters like Caska. After a betrayal, Guts is branded as a sacrifice by the God Hand and loses all his friends and his love, set to be killed during The Eclipse. He fights like an insane, becoming an Eclipse survivor. Following this, he is cursed and always attracts evil spirits and violence around him. He now devotes himself to fighting God Hand, his betrayer and all evil accumulating around him, even at the cost of whatever he came to cherish in life, accumulating scars after scars, and risking the lost of everything, including his life. All for revenge.
Berserk is a dark, violent series, definitely targetted to an adult audience. It also contains significant amount of nudity and sex, even rape. Ok. now you are warned.
The plotline is extremely detailed and complex, going from the present, to Guts' background story extensively, before returning to the present and moving on. This is makes very good chracter development and background story elaboration. You are told about most of the characters, how they are related, and why they behave as they do in the present. I felt that no detail lacked. Very very well made!
The story is very captivating too. There is no humor, since it's almost a tragic story, about real suffering at the lost of loved ones and dear friends, because of the betrayal of somebody held in high-esteem. A superb plotline, which views the classic "man fights demons" from a very different angle, as if you were inside the story. The problem is that there is no "good side" to balance the evil powers, so Guts is all alone in his fight for revenge, with no help at all. Berserk takes another look at religion and its concepts, at god and the foundation of faith, at friendship, love and betrayal. Overall, Berserk packs an incredibly complex plot, which is definitely worth discovering.
- [ Art - 10 ] -
The first volumes have quite poor art, with simplistic toning as shading. Even the characters are sometimes weirdly drawn, with wrongly positioned facial features and some other things.
The artist, Kentaro Miura, shows his true skills as the story goes. As the volumes go on, the level of detail, the quality of the drawings and shading increases exponentially, making Berserk a true piece of art. It's definitely one of the best illustrated manga I've seen till now. The characters and specially environments are magnificently detailed. You will see pages dedicated to picturing the environment, on which you will maintain your stare!
Just give a glance to the armor of Griffith or even Guts. It's extremely detailed, down to the nearest mail. Plain impressive. The art is sometimes "heavy" with shading, but this weakness is compensated with detail and intricate shading.
Miura excells in depicting complex fight scenes, with Guts surrounded by enemies, and in great, gory details. Those spread pages are a real pleasure for the eyes. Specially when you get to see the environment too. Miura is definitely the details-man!
- [ Characters - 9 ] -
This manga takes character development to a whole new level. You are given every small detail about all the major characters, and how they are related to all the other characters. The development is made at a great pace, not too fast, not too slow. You will be given details just when they are required. You won't be complaining about lack of details about characters in Berserk.
There is nothing very extraordinary about the characters. In fact, they all seem normal! Guts looks kind of evil and loveless at first glance, and Griffith, seems to be kind-hearted. That's just at first glance though, because the characters have incredible depth. So much that the reader can almost feel the emotions of the characters. You will even pity Guts at time, telling yourself "poor guy...".
The characters are driven by their emotions and ambitions. Guts wants revenge, and channels all his anger and frustration in his fights, even hurting those he cares about in the process, literally becoming berserk. Griffith has ambition and will stop at nothing to reach his goals. The God Hand is pure evil, despite the word god often associated with good in their name. Such a lively and varied cast of characters makes Berserk great.
Interesting enough, Berserk is one of the few series where the main character is not always present and hogging all the action. Sometimes, Guts is not even doing anything great, save for some talking. This gives other characters some role, which makes Berserk even more interesting, since you get to discover side characters. An example would be the Farnese/Serpico arc.
Then why 9 and not 10? Because in my opinion, Griffith gets too much attention. It's just my opinion though! :P
- [ Enjoyment - 9 ] -
Berserk is not something you are going to enjoy, considering the violence and dark theme. You are going to appreciate it, if I may say. That, I did!
The detailed art, the non-lacking story line, the varied cast of characters and the plot twists make Berserk totally great, unsurpassed in its genre in my opinion. You will get to admire, hate or even support the characters as Berserk progresses. As I said earlier, you will become part of Berserk.
Why 9 for enjoyment? Because I didn't like Guts getting trashed incessantly for nearly 25 volumes by overwhelming force and not getting any powerups! It was plain unfair, specially considering all odds are against the guy.
- [ Overall - 9 ] -
If you can handle the violence, gore, fighting and sex, you will want to see Berserk, simply because there is nothing better than Berserk when it comes to those themes! :D
I am not convinced about the re-read value yet. I find it difficult to go over all those dark plots again. It's going to be a once-off-love-it series I guess. For me at least. read more
Jul 17, 2011
- A tale about a man and his sword
The story of berserk is centered, around Gatsu , a man equipped with a massive sword and his humongous strength. Destined to live a life of battle, and constant struggle.Gatsu discovers from young age, , that he can only trust his sword, and must fight everyday, just to stay alive.
From boy to adult, Berserk shows Gatsu's life though countless battles, as he grows from a simple mercenary to one of the most powerful and feared knights of the land.
Being a mature manga to the core,you can expect the world of Berserk to revolve around violence/gore, primal instincts, existentialism, faith, relationships, despair, loss, life, death and everything in between. These elements are constantly being used to give depth to the story and characters, resulting in dark and gritty plot.
For the most part, this is a good thing, the problem is that Berserk, tends to overuse some elements, that in my opinion don't enrich the plot or the overall experience, with the main two being rape and torture.
Somehow the author is a big fan of these and really likes to overused them. while in some cases they make sense, in others i couldn't help but feel annoyed to see the same character being a victim of rape for the seventh time, or every bad guy torturing random people .
Fortunately, despite all the violence, Berserk has a good amount of comic relief, offering some really silly humor that give a nice contrast, to the darker scenes.
One of the things, that you can say about Berserk's characters, is how "real" they feel, and even though the story is set in a alternative historic setting, is hard not to relate to them in one way or another.
One of the reasons for this, is that besides Berserk's large cast, every character acts and looks differently, being instantly recognizable just after a few pages.And although some characters are weaker than others, they all share the author's attention to detail, having their own inner struggles and back stories.
In fact, most of them are given a little "screen time" to show what happened to them up to that point of the story, giving the reader insight over their motivations and personality .
And in my opinion this is one of the problems of such a large cast of characters, while for some readers, the back story information might be a nice touch by the author, to others that just want to follow the story of the main characters, is just to much information in what is sometimes a very convoluted plot, with so many things happening at the same time.
Berserk art is in my opinion simply one of the most detailed and impressive out there. Not very manga can reach Berserk's art quality in terms of fight sequences, violence/gore, to character faces, clothes, weapons and backgrounds, everything is drawn to almost perfection.
If there's one manga that deserves a 10/10 in terms of art, is definitely Berserk.
I could have enjoyed Berserk, a little bit more if it wasn't for the plot getting so convoluted at times, or the over repetitive rape scenes, other than that the action and the fate of the characters keeps bringing me back to this manga, even though it takes forever for new chapters to be released.
- great action scenes
- top notch art
- interesting story, with complex characters
- great character development
- mature plot with lots of violence and gore
- great comedy bits(comic relief)
- convoluted plot
- overuse of certain violent scenes, such as rape, torture, etc.
Overall score: 9
May 9, 2009
The story is set during a medieval Europe style world and is divided mainly into three major arcs (for now at least since this is an ongoing series and will most likely have more major arcs in the future). Each arc is very different from each other for instance the earliest arc is comprised mainly of man on man combat and plenty of castle siege scenes so expect plenty of soldiers and dead bodies littering the pages, while the second arc focuses on Guts killing probably the most disturbing monsters in manga history.
The artwork is exceptional good considering this is a long running series that started during the late 80's. There are plenty of highly detailed scenes and this can be very disturbing since it is extremely graphic with plenty of severed heads, decapitated bodies and exposed intestines. It also contains plenty of hard core sex scenes which gives you the feeling that you are actually reading a manga title. Regardless of the shear brutality within these pages, the reader will be able to appreciate the amount of detail here such as the unique armor sets of individual soldiers, the grotesque individual details on the monsters and the extremely detailed environments that range from small villages to castle dungeons and the city sieges.
Characters are pretty well developed and mostly focuses on the main character Guts and his relationship with other major characters but the rest of the cast also share a fair amount of exposure. All characters have a dark side and it can be difficult to actually determine who the good guys are since the main character himself is sort of like a demon in nature.
For the enjoyment part, if you like a deep story and plenty of action then you'll love it. There are plenty of chapters that only contain battle scenes
Overall if you like an action packed blood thirsty manga with a monster fetish then this title is for you read more