The Godfather of all fantasy manga. Berserk is considered one of the most enjoyable, mind-expanding, creative pieces of art introduced to the manga world. There is hardly any analogy I can think of that could compare to its greatness. Well it’s like Candyland made real or a real money tree growing in your yard. It's one those things that just takes the words out of your mouth, if you catch my drift. Alright! I have much to say about Berserk so this review might be a tid-bit lengthy.
Insane!!! Few manga can compare to the pure imagination of this plot. Few manga can stand side by side to this towering manga of awesomeness. Few.....have what it takes to cross the line into Madness. Berserk has crossed the bounds few dare approach and taken the plot to a whole new level. Past to present, the history of time is revealed and we are presented with one man's past and later present. The epic journey of one man who survived the pit of hell; no, he never survived entirely. Gatts is out to defeat is old friend and along the way many unbelievable obstacles get in his way. Faced with incredible monsters and the darkness that slowly envelopes what light he has left, it is a fierce battle the entire way.
Seeing the monsters, incredible sword battles, and everything is truly enjoyable. The plot is fast paced, except when you are forced to suffer for 2-6weeks with no new update. Talk about hell. Anyways, incredible mind numbing story with every aspect of an amazing read one can ask for. Berserk hits hard every chapter and Gatt's situation worsens each hour. What is great about this manga is how Kentaro (the Mangaka) builds up to the suspense and then finally drops the bomb. That's what we readers look forward to, not some agonizing stretched out plot. Each quest or challenge is something new, no reader has ever seen before. Kentaro brings a new idea, new inventiveness each and every amazing chapter. This manga is not some Bleach or Naruto where it eventually starts to get boring (like the new chapters). One constantly wants to find out how Gatts is going to survive the next time. Kentaro, with his gift, manages to keep people on their toes with excitement. This fantasy is in its own league.
A world fabricated out of the darkness and creatures of the cursed, this manga is not some happy fun time plot. Actually, I don't think there is a bit of happiness in this manga, except knowing that Gatts survived another day. It just does not get any darker than this, but why should it? The plot is explaining how one man is on the brink of derangement and forced to face a GOD. Yeah, I would want to kill myself to. The plot exceeds all expectations and the reader never, ever guesses what could possibly happen next. The joy of following a man over the edge to hell is not something many manga have. Berserk does this with style though and every detail counts in the epic journey for revenge. The plot is not light-hearted! Showing the true nature of man: grotesque, god awful, sick, twisted, unholy, repulsive scenes are drawn out. (Yeah its goes way beyond what any anime would show) Adventurous, exhilarating, mind-blowing, incredible, elite, these are some of the thousand words that describe Berserk's boldness to step into a new realm. Witness the great adventure to destroy God, but be prepared for what's in store, it might be too much to handle. Witness a berserker.
Painting is to Picasso as Manga is to Kentaro(mangaka). That should give you an idea at how great this art is. Flawless in design, and flawless in even the smallest details. It's no wonder why it takes so long to release mainly because the author does all his own drawing and tries to get everything perfect. Like this manga goes beyond the normal amount of art needed to be in a manga. Take HxH for example, I feel compelled to say I won’t read that because of the art while Berserk's art has attracting qualities. It’s almost as if there does not need to be a continuation of the anime the manga is so well drawn out. Each and every monster is beautifully illustrated. The buildings and just everything is a work of art. The dark shadings bring everything to life and truly turn Berserk into a masterpiece.
Each and Every character is well rounded and dynamic. Meaning they all change and all have very unique personalities. Take these 3 for example, the 3 main characters go through dramatic change of the course of time and become a different person almost. Beautifully told characters, we find out everything about them and see ourselves hoping for them. I can only say so much about the characters, there's a whole 300+ chapters available for one to follow their incredible adventure. Thus I lay some foundation in hopes you all will further explore them yourselves.
The perfect protagonist. A man who has seen the depths of hell yet returned, physically. A part of him rotted and was consumed on that day while the other part is slowly going insane. As we watch Gatts kick ass and fight for revenge, we witness the single shred of light slowly start to trail off. He's not your average hero, well he's is not really a hero; he does not have high moral values or anything and seeks revenge and a new life. His past was brutal filled with killing and death. We know everything about this man and his dark past yet root him on to fight another day. He cares about human life and has no remorse for the demon bodies he endlessly slaughters. He swings a big ass sword and later gains an evil even he finds hard to control. He is the single most badass mortal non superpower character in any manga. Mental worn yet still carrying a huge burden to save his people, his adventure, his pain, and his story is not any among this world.
The evil that consumes all the light. This man is who is tearing the world apart and releasing cursed beasts to roam around. He is the unattainable, seemingly unbeatable enemy Gatts must face. Cunning in his persuasion to the people, he has managed to make it look like he is the light in the dark. He is the White Hawk. Nothing compares to his power, he was once the legendary leader or the band of the hawk, which represented all that is holy, yet still remains the same. He changes from respect to feared and as we learn of his past, we feel compassion and some remorse. In the end though, what he does is inconceivable and just leaves us horrified yet amazed at his power.
As many come to find out, she’s like a bag of sand, a dead weight to Gatts. In the beginning she was 3rd in command of Band of the Hawk but after that fateful day, she has never been the same. She fears men, cannot understand the world around her, she’s a mere shell. While in the past Gatts started to love Caska, though he still protects her, he only wishes to change her to how she was now. Caska is helpless and only a burden. Yet we hope for her well-being in the name Gatts will have a glimmer of hope, something to hold on to. I wait every chapter knowing they are that much closer to helping Caska. In a world with hell on Earth, it’s amazing to see a woman such as Caska still alive.
Overall if you have not already read this or will not then I seriously pity your soul. The best mind-blowing, adventurous, tragedy, thriller, fantasy, and romance a manga can get. It is the Godfather of manga. It paves the way for future bound breakers. Berserk has an imaginative, unthinkable, fresh plot. The story flows like water. Darkness consuming the world bit by bit, there really is not a whole lot of hope. A man at the breaking-point with not shred of hope to hang on to. This is an Epic tale that should be read by all. Honestly I'm having trouble; there isn't a big enough word to describe how amazing this manga is. Sadistic leaders, ferocious monsters, if everything could go bad, it has in Berserk. This is a story of a struggling man to free the world of darkness. It’s a thrilling manga with every aspect of a read a reader could ask for. This deserves every bit of the score it received, it is a manga with immense potential and really enjoyable. All fantasy/epic tale lovers should read Berserk and find out this manga is much deeper than it appears to be. Anyone who has read Berserk will tell you it's worth it. An adventure not worth missing.
(Re-upload of my first review)
The story revolves around Guts a man out for revenge but soon his background is explained as a boy who didn't have parents from the day he has born, but instead has been raised by a band of mercenaries who had found him. Being in a band of mercenaries he enters battles at a very young age. We see him go from battlefield to battlefield while he grows up which leads to a great tragedy hurting himself and all his dear friends. Will he search for revenge with the danger of losing himself in his own anger and hate to become a monster himself. Or will he protect what he got left. We see him struggle with these internal conflict while constantly being attacked by demons and mythological creatures.
Personally I've split up the story into 3 separate sections.
1. The anime section
Which has no big differences with the anime, we see Guts searching for revenge which is followed by the flashback of his life up towards the present day.
If you have seen the anime there is not much to add, it shows the hard life Guts has had and how he rages through the battlefields with his enormous sword and strength.
2. The revenge section
We continue where the anime has stopped and continue the story while he searches for revenge. This is personally my favorite part, it is extremely grim and dark while he slowly gets consumed by his own anger and hate. He will not hesitate to cut down anyone who opposes him. I just really really loved this part, Guts fighting and trying to survive having no moments to rest often covered in blood, surrounded by darkness, flames and body parts. With chapter 16 as my personal favorite.
Guts does not speak much but when he does it creates good quotes and one-liners:
''If I have to worry about the ants I crush beneath my feet....
..I couldn`t even walk around.''
''Look. Look around you carefully. Strain your eyes at the darkness around us.
At the darkness around me.
You said anywhere but here, this is where, here at the border.''
3. ''The pursuit of happiness''While slowly gaining new friends we see him and his party search for happiness by escaping all the demons. From here on the story gets a lot lighter as he tries to forget his revenge. This is noticeable in the dialogues but the drawing style as well. Though he cannot forget/escape his search for revenge completely as they still are being attacked by demons and mythological creatures at regular intervals. This part also contains a lot more fantasy elements such as trolls, witches and mermaids.
The art is great, good attention to the small details and a changing drawing style depending on the emotions/''feel'' of the characters and events. For example, when the storyline gets more dark and evil and battles occur the background will become (pitch)black, there will be much use of black and big dark lines and many scratches to make it look chaotic and dark. Though (tiny point of attention) it is sometimes too chaotic in my opinion, sometimes during the most chaotic periods of a battle some of the bigger pictures are to chaotic and you need some more time to figure out what exactly is happening.
When the battles have finished and the story gets more cheerful this is also reflected in the drawings with a lot of white, great sceneries and a good attention for the small details. Here as well I’ve found a tiny point of attention as sometimes the dialogues are very big and there is a lot to read suddenly, especially when something is explained.
Not much to say about it, the characters and their backgrounds have been made very well. You can understand their actions because of their backgrounds and feel sympathy for them. I especially liked how the manga did make fun of itself by having puck explain why he keeps following Guts. ''Without me the manga would be to dark and not sell as good''. One thing I miss so far is the loss of (strong) Casca. But it does create new openings as Guts must choose between what he wants and what is best for Casca.
So overall because of the small points and the fact I liked the extreme darkness which has subdued a lot at the third section I will give this manga a 9,2.
When I was little, I was a comic book fan. As opposed to everyone who liked Spider Man and stuff like that, I became more attached to the darker ones such as Spawn and The Punisher. Then I left the whole format alone for ages. Then I got into anime, and one of the first things I enjoyed was Berserk. At the same time, I rekindled my love for comics with ones outside the mainstream, like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac with all its dark and gory glory.
So, with a new respect for the comic format, and a newfound love for anime, I started reading Berserk. I read all the way through it, and since, while I don't find it particularly good, read occasionally to catch up. And let me tell you this: Berserk is definitive proof that while manga does things that western comic books don't do, and shifts the focus into different directions, it does not mean it can compare in any way to the cream of the crop.
Even among manga, Berserk remains the single most overrated work. The characters manage to be dull, their backstories stereotypical in the way of 80s comics (the heyday of the dark trend of the western industry), and all in all, manages to seem downright dull in a world where everyone has moved on since Berserk could in any way be considered fresh.
The story has one good part, which has been made into a series and then into movies. The rest of it is utterly generic. This is meant for eighteen year olds, and as opposed to a lot of the more intelligent works out there, holds very little value to more mature readers. The artwork may have been impressive at one time, but it grows tired after the first two hundred issues or so. The characters don't elicit anything from me. The entirety of Berserk would have been better off if condensed to half the length and with sharpened art; it isn't like the characters are deep or the plot complex.
I really don't recommend Berserk to the seasoned reader. While it has its moments, overall, it is just slightly better than average, and not worth plowing through the huge length.
Ah, Berserk... I guess this is a manga that won't need an introduction, does it? It's just a great fantasy/action/adventure story (golden age arc is extremely good), good character development and drawings that can be real pieces of art.
The only problem is that there hasn't been a new chapter for a while now, and there is barely any hope for a decent ending within our lifespans.
All in all, a must-read manga, be sure to enjoy what has been published already.
Berserk (First Impressions)
I have seen the anime
I read 2 chapters
I own 5 volumes
Story:Guts, known as the Black Swordsman, seeks sanctuary from the demonic forces that pursue him and his woman, and also vengeance against the man who branded him as an unholy sacrifice. Aided only by his titanic strength, skill, and sword, Guts must struggle against his bleak destiny, all the while fighting with a rage that might strip him of his humanity. Berserk is a dark and brooding story of outrageous swordplay and ominous fate, in the theme of Shakespeare's Macbeth.
Volume 1: Read 2 out of 3 chapters
Chapter 1: The Black Swordsman "5/5"
Chapter 2: The Brand "5/5"
Volume 2 (Not yet read)
Volume 3 (Not yet read)
Volume 4 (Not yet read)
Volume 5 (Not yet read)