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.