Berserk by Kentaro Miura
Berserk was created by Kentaro Miura and it is his most famed manga, shame though the last new manga he created was "Japan" back in 1992. Berserk was created in 1989 and is still ongoing with over 300 chapters and with no end in sight. Berserk was adapted into a 25 episode long anime series in 1997 and ended in 1998, but since it is not even worth a fraction of the quality compared to the manga, do not watch it period. The genre of Berserk is an action, horror and low fantasy seinen manga. The story centers around the life of Guts, an orphaned mercenary warrior, and Griffith, the leader of a mercenary band called the Band of the Hawk.Warning: Manga contains high levels of violence, there is many rape scenes that are uncensored, and sex scenes as well, also scenes of extreme torture that some readers might find disturbing, readers discretion is advised.
The story starts where Guts was born from a corpse hanging from a tree. He was saved by a group of mercenaries and the leader was named Gambino. Being raised from birth in a group of mercenaries, guts had learned swordsmanship from a very young age. Soon enough as a child he could wield a sword just as good as everybody else. However one of the guys tries to rape guts in his sleep, but fails and gets killed by guts. Guts then tells Gambino his father figure about this, however he is a bit drunk and tries to kill guts. He ends up getting killed by guts aswell, the entire mercanaries group sees this and hunts guts down to kill him. The family that raised guts in one night wanted to kill him, this was guts first taste of betrayal. However after several years Guts meets yet another mercanries group by chance, the Band of the Hawk. He meets Griffith the leader and challenged him to a duel. The match is excellent both inrecible gifted with talent of the sword. Griffith realises guts as his equal and proposes guts to join the Band of the Hawks which he agrees to in the end.
More years pass and Guts becomes a full fledged captain being in charge of a numbers of soilders with the band of the hawk. The band of the Hawks fame grows wide and far, they enter battles and wars and fight for the sides who pay the most. Guts eventually learns the concept of friendship after having been betrayed so many times by his loved ones in the past. The band of the Hawk are now at their prime securing great victories in battles for the war. Eventually they are praised as heroes of the nation and there is peace. However there is a huge disastor when Griffith has been captured slowly the story dives into an abyss of darkeness. It is present day now, and guts is a full grown man with only one eye, one arm the other being a metal prosthetic and a huge lump of iron shaped into a sword. He is known as the "Black Swordsman" his memories of his life back in the Band of the Hawk have been deminished. He walks the earth a man of great pain and sadness however he still helps people in need. Guts is searching for someone to enact revenge upon, his entire life is devoted to acomplishing it. This person is none other then Griffith himself! why is it so? read the manga to find out.
The main protaganist of Berserk and the unofficial most badass swordsman in the history of manga. When you see manga's where little girls or boys wield swords larger themselves easily, its very unrealistic. However guts is a manly man who is very largely built and can wield his dragon slayer, a sword of massive weight to carve enemys in two. He only has one eye and one arm. His metal prosphetic arm can fire arrows like a machine gun and has a single shot cannon. Later in the manga he aquires the "berserker" armour and when he wears the armour fully he gets englufed by his inner demon. When this happens he transforms into "berserker" mode where his strength and speed increases greatly with immense agileness. If his bones are dislocated the armour has a mind of its own and snaps it back into place and applys pressure on bleeding wounds. Guts lives on the border between life and death and every day is a struggle to survive. If any person was better equiped to enter hell then that man would be Guts.Griffith:
One can say the complete opposite of Guts. He is Berserks primary antagonist after you see the flashback arc. Before he became evil he was the leader of the band of hawks a mercanary group. He is incredibly beautifull for a man with flowing white hair and a soft spoken voice. However he commands with authority and is an incredible tactical genius always securing victories in battles. Because of his amazing leadership he inspires courage and strength in all his comrades, he never once hesitates and fully believes in team work. His sword skills are on par with guts aswell, he vields a rapier and attacks with such swiftness he kills enemys with minimal ease. Griffith is a man of great worth earning trust instantly and always carrying out his duties to the fullest, to everybody he is the idol of humananity in the time of war. However when he is captured he suffers pain only comparable to being tortured by satan himself. This pain and anguish warps Griffith's mind and he becomes a shadow of his former self.Casca:
The female protagonist of Berserk. In my honest opinion she is the fan service character if there ever was one. Not only she is the only female member in the band of the hawks, she is practically the only female on a battle field. This means throughout the manga there are many, many attempts by villians to rape her, over and over again. However guts and griffith are always there to protect her. Shes the only character to get a sex scene and all the rape scenes in Berserk. However besides her ability to attract rapists she is very gifted at the sword, but nowhere near as good as Griffith and Guts. After a certain event she loses all memories of her former self and has the mental capacity of a child. She never speaks and is tottally unaware of the world surrounding her. This leaves guts practically in every situation to protect her. However since she has no memories of guts, guts feels very empty inside but protects her from all the demons and potential rapists anyway.
The artstyle is perfect in every sense of the word. Theres not a single berserk fan alive that would not rate the art style as being excellent. The characters and backgrounds are drawn with intense detail, but equally it has amazing shading to make every panel of berserk a piece of art. Most manga's ussually focus on having detail and leaving panel backgrounds and the surroundings white. However Berserk not only has very high levels of detail but shading as well. It is an example of an art style that seperates it self from other manga's. The gore is perfectl depicted, when a person is chopped in half, crushed apart of burned alive you see all the organs, bones and skin seperate. You simply do not see just a shower of blood but he fear in a persons eyes as death embraces them. If you read Berserk then I have no doubt it will have some of the greatest aart you will have ever seen, in some chapters you might think to yourself your reading an art book!.
Now I have to admit Berserk is one of the most shocking manga's I have ever read. Unlike lets say Battle Royale which focused on the gore, I think Berserk focused on shock factors to scare the reader. The best examples of this would be the torture scenes, my god they are enough to make my stomach churn. Everybody knows of medevil torture the countless number of torture devices created in that time. Berserk actually shows many of them of how they would be used on humans, not one, many of them. So many people die in Berserk in the most shocking way possible it is amazing, when you think the author cannot think of a more shocking way to kill a person, he always deliver! If you are going to read Berserk you will be have to be prepared of many shock scenes, when turning the page you might be faced with many gory deaths or many rape scenes. Berserk is just not the manga to read in a childrens park or public libary, though I was reading it in class so I am quite naughty for that. Just make sure nobody sees what your reading or they will question your levels of sadism or melachonanism.
What can I say? Berserk easily has to be one of the greatest manga's to ever be writted. There are several ways to achieve a perfect manga, and that is always through how the plot line is written and developed. The plotline could be a masterpiece in the making such examples is "Monster" or "20th Century Boys". However you could pick a simply plotline like revenge, now with the plot line you drown it into a pit of abyss. Make the them of the plot really dark and horrifying, try and visualise the horror to the reader of the pain and emotions the characters are suffering! If you attempt to create a manga driven by darkness and despair, the readers will praise you for it. When your not a genius at creating plot, create a manga of intense horror and you will get your views across to the readers alot easier. Berserk is a great example of a dark themed manga and it takes you on an incredible experience of life and death! Only after you read it will you accept it is one of the most badass manga's ever written.
Journal CSS by !JurgenDoe