Berserk

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RoyalOss's avatar
Aug 31, 2015

(Re-upload of my first review)

Story

Summary
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.

Review
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.

Art
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.

Characters
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.

10/10 story
9.5/10 art
10/10 characters
9.2/10 overall
TheMajor5's avatar
Jan 28, 2010

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.

Story 10/10  

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.

Art 10/10

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.

Characters 10/10

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.

Gatts

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.

Griffith

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. 

Caska

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 10/10

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.

10/10 story
10/10 art
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Ahobaka's avatar
Nov 7, 2015

Holy damn. If you're looking for super detailed gore, you've got it right here. So far my most favorite manga´- and for a reason. Berserk rouses a lot of feelings inside you, some you didn't even know you had. Rage, sorrow and amazement for example. You never know what will happen and it's really frustrating. Who knows how long this manga will be around, will there ever be end to this, will Kentaro Miura ever be able to finish Berserk - who knows. But I would like to see the end, because I haven't got a lightest idea what it'll be like.

The art, or more like how in the world. No wonder it takes him like a month to finish one chapter. The art itself is a reason to read Berserk, because it will blow you away. And it just gets more detailed and impossible the further you go into the world of Berserk. I love Kentaro Miura's art with all my heart because it just is that amazing. You have to see it for yourself to understand. Every panel makes you go 'woah!'.

There's so much to the characters. I can only curse Miura for making all the damn plot twists he can. The characters are changing all the time and the character development is really good at times. Some of the characters make you question your judgement and make you feel all kinds of emotions. I think an author has succeeded when their characters (or story) make you feel real emotions, like rage or sorrow, making them seem like real people you could love or hate in real life. Miura really surpasses that talent.

A fair warning, Berserk contains a lot of gore and guts (hahaha) and rape and disgusting things like that. They're super detailed most of the time, thanks to the amazing art. But it doesn't make the story any less amazing. Well, for me the beginning of Berserk is the kind of Berserk I love, though it doesn't mean I don't like the current Berserk. But it was kind of more interesting, the story I mean. There wasn't much happening, but it was really interesting and gross. Now it's kinda interesting and even more gross. But the current chapters lack something and don't really stir my interest as much as in the start. Anyhow, the beginning of Berserk is an experience itself which I hope I could get back.

Dark, gross, amazing and unbelievable Berserk that makes you scared of the monsters under your bed and tosses away your appetite.

8/10 story
10/10 art
8/10 characters
9/10 overall
deideiblueeyez's avatar
Jan 17, 2013

I was reluctant to approach this, having just steered through the anime and thinking it was boring. Sorry, but anything with that shoddy of animation isn't worth my time.

But I for some reason decided to read Berserk, probably just so that I wouldn't lie to myself when I would inevitably put "DROPPED" after reading a chapter.

Oh my God. I was so wrong.

This manga is...a masterpiece. People gush over their favorite things without taking into consideration the flaws and whatnot, but as far as I know, there aren't any glaring flaws to this manga.

This is the pinnacle of anti-hero, demon-slaying, grudge-filled, action-packed, medieval-themed, bloody and gore-iffic manga. Every manga that attempts these genres should fall on its feet before the mighty tomes of Berserk.

Characters:

So many characters, so many personalities. Every character, whether appearing in a few panels, an arc, or a mainstay in the whole series, has their own look, personality, likes, dislikes, fears, and agenda. You see the darkness in peoples' hearts, their greed, lust, psychosis, neurosis, hedonism, religious fervor, apathy, chivalry, hypocrisy, sadism, hatred, philanthropy, selfishness, selflessness, determination, ambition, obstinancy, stubbornness, insanity, and everything else on the Wikipedia list of emotions. No one is completely without fault or sin, but there are many sinful characters and beasts out there designed to make everyone else's life a living hell whether it's through their religious zealotry, their complete lack of humanity, or because they're Satan's spawn, pure and simple.

Story:

What drives the story are the characters themselves, and the monsters Guts and his friends are forced to duel or have the misfortune to disturb or intrude upon. They come to him by fate, and the suffering and the bloodshed never seems to end. After awhile it seems that good fortune will never shine upon the bloodstained anti-hero that is Guts, but then a tiny little light shines; a small child smiles, a village is saved or acknowledges him and his friends not as monsters but as human beings, a person learns the error of their ways...small things sprinkled here and there that make life seem worthwhile, make the fighting seem to have a purpose, at least for a little while. The story of Berserk is much like The Odyssey. Will Gutts ever be able to rest peacefully in the arms of someone who loves him? Will his past mistakes and the monsters within him ever cease poisoning his mind? Will the monsters ever leave him alone? It is a story that you hope for a happy ending because of all of the suffering the main characters have gone through, yet think that a bad ending is justified because optimism would be completely out-of-place in an adventure like this, not when everything that has happened has. And yet, you hope this story will never end, because it is the tale of a man's life, and in a sense one believes it should continue on for as long as a mortal's life--that is to say, 70 or so years.

Art:

the art gets the job done. The gruesome and the horrific are drawn exactly that. Nightmares that have been only reserved in the mind are put on paper with startling accuracy. The most bloodcurdling of torture, the phsyical limits of the human body, are drawn with such disturbing accuracy and apathy..no not apathy, but matter-of-factness. The whirlwind of motion is enough to make anyone dizzy and confused, but the aftermath will nearly always be a bloody heap of monster/human flesh. The scratches of the ink pen depict a dark and unforgiving universe where the innocent are slaughtered indiscriminately and monsters fill the inky darkness. The pugilists and corrupt officials are insane and ugly, the soldiers and mercenaries decked head-to-toe in fine armor and metal plating, the demons grotesque and insanity-inducing. Everything is drawn in a painstakingly accurate and nihilistic, ruthless fashion. No one is given "Free Parking". Pain is unavoidable, suffering is optional.

If you like any of these genres: Action, Military, Swordsman, Medieval Times, Demons, Blood/Gore, Long Journeys, Adventure, then READ THIS. READ IT. READ. IT.

9.5/10 story
8/10 art
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
ValorousFish's avatar
Mar 12, 2012

Berserk. My God this manga gets me every time. After having read to the last release, I reminisce the wild ride i've had so far; I remember picking it up and not wanting to stop for a moment because of how engrossing the story of our tortured hero, Guts, is. I was filled with incredulity at most, if not all of the plot twists. As our hero begins his descent into the hell of his past through flashbacks, we relize just how hard of a time this guy has had. I can still feel the sense of dread I got from finishing a chapter, and being filled with horror, but also excitement at what twist was coming up next. The storyline's winding plot is aided by an incredible art style that adds to the depressing, futile atmosphere that I love the most. Seriously! I could practically feel Guts' rage and pain myself with how detailed and dark the artwork looked. It was almost as if i was fully immersed in this strange world. The character development is a tad weak on characters besides Guts, but the detail in Guts' backstory makes up for any missed development. I gave this manga a ten simply because of how well the storyline twists and turns without seeming TOO confusing, yet a slight sense of confusion adds the the deliscious despair that is Berserk. Manga like these are my favorite because even if they show up weak in some areas, the strength of how well the elements work together just blows me away anyway.

An are where Berserk disappoints me however is that at about the halfway mark, things are changed from a desperate struggle for power and a descent into hell to a fun filled adventure. Sure the violent combat is still there. Sure the art is still as great as it was, but when the elf (forgot his name) started to be used for comedic relief rather than another window into Guts' tortured past, it just didnt sit right with me. The addition of a "team" also started to lessen the experience for me. Berserk was its strongest when it depicted a lone warrior and his descent into hell. Surrounded by his impenetrable, hardened walls, nothing could really get to him. I felt like this made Guts' one of the strongest characters in anything I've ever read. Seeing all about what made him the man he is today made me really feel for the guy, and I couldn't believe how much he had been through. However, as those walls were replaced by "comrades" that were used time and time again as elements to lighten the atmosphere, I felt like i had lost a lot of what i loved about Berserk. 

All in all, it's still a good read, and I encourage everyone to pick it up, I just feel a little nostalgic about the horrifying, "what the heck, how could someone do that to their own characters theyve created" Berserk that, although less frequently, still does show its face from time to time. 

9/10 story
10/10 art
9/10 characters
10/10 overall