the five most memorable scenes from Berserk

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The death of Kentaro Miura, announced on Thursday May 20, came as a shock to manga fans. As one of the greatest mangakas of all time, Miura-sama left behind a masterpiece, the manga’s black diamond: Berserker. To pay tribute to him, we wanted to go back to five key scenes from Berserk. Five scenes that, without counting among the most shocking mangas (which of course are not missing), were highlights of our lives as readers and otaku. Five scenes, each in its own way illustrating an aspect of this complex work that deserves rave reviews.

Warning: Since many people are familiar with Berserk’s 1997 anime and the Golden Age Trilogy, and Kentaro Miura’s death will no doubt lead others to read the manga, we have chosen to prioritize scenes from the first thirteen volumes for future readers not to spoil the pleasure of this intense discovery.

1 / The story of Guts

Obviously, Berserk is a hero: Guts. Revealed from the first few pages of Berserk as a combatant and bloodthirsty man, Guts is a character difficult to appreciate in the first few chapters. Motivated only by his anger and vengeance, he lives only to fight, cutting men, horses and pillars in his path. His initially difficult relationship with the Elven Puck makes him a deeply uncomfortable character at first glance. But things will change when, at the end of Volume 3, Kentaro Miura reveals his protagonist’s deeply traumatic past.

Guts was born to a woman and will have particularly difficult experiences in the first few years: his adoptive mother dies of the plague, his adoptive father is violent against him and the wind blows a soldier from his mercenary army who rapes him. An event that leads Guts to commit “parricide” when he sticks his sword in Gambino’s throat. In this scene we wanted to come back because it represents a lot of what berserk is in our eyes. Behind this fascinating story of Dark Fantasy is actually a story of diverse and varied traumas. If it does happen in the manga that the main characters suffer from trauma, this dimension reaches its paroxysmal form in Berserker. Kentaro Miura analyzes the effects of trauma on his characters. And Guts has gone through many trauma: from his particularly gloomy birth to the destruction of the Falcon Troop, Guts is forged by this sadness that turns into anger.

2 / The love scene between Guts and Casca

As everyone knows, Berserk is violent, bloody work with a decidedly grown-up tone. Often compared to Game of Thrones and The Witcher, other great monuments of dark fantasy, the manga has a number of sex scenes. If some of these scenes are rape that traumatized readers (we’ll come back to them later in this article), others are real love scenes. Volume 9 begins with a sex scene between Griffith and Charlotte and ends with another between Guts and Casca. The latter is in itself a real revolution.

First, it’s a real turning point in the relationship between the two characters. Second, because Kentaro Miura is not satisfied with fixing the sexual relationship with just one box like he did before. Like the relationship between Griffith and Charlotte, the relationship spans several pages (two full chapters). However, it can be interesting to compare these two sexual relationships: for those of Griffith and Charlotte, the mangaka prefers close-ups, as if to stipulate that he cannot show everything, as this relationship is forbidden (Griffith will be strictly d ‘elsewhere fined); To show the relationship between Guts and Casca, Kentaro Miura prefers wide-angle shots, which give the mangaka the illusion of more movement and thus more freedom. The comparison between these two sex scenes shows that this thorny question in the manga is handled with a lot of mastery by Kentaro Miura, who did some real compositional work.

3 / The victory of La Troupe du Faucon

The Falcon Troop, revealed in Volume 4 of Berserk, is an important phase in Guts’ psychological construction. While he has been going from battlefield to battlefield until now with no aim other than to kill or be killed, the young man meets a team that will become his first real family for him. Kentaro Miura tells the story of the Falcon Troop in ten volumes and manages to write the most intense and successful review in the history of the manga. Obviously, the Falcon Troop is that mercenary band that was built around the charismatic and ambitious Griffith. As a good strategist, he’s also a formidable fighter who knew how to knock down Guts, who will be his second next to Casca.

We wanted to come back to a specific scene with you: Gut’s first military victory in the Falcon Troop. In just a few pages, Kentaro Miura shows Griffith’s strategic genius and shows the beginnings of the extremely complex relationship Guts will have with the leader of the Falcon Troop. If this scene seems insignificant at first, given the minor importance it has for the sequel, it is still very important as it has inspired many artists, including Hiromu Arakawa in The Heroic Legend of Arsan and Yasuhisa Hara in Kingdom. (Unfortunately we couldn’t find an illustration of this battle. However, to show you the connections between the battles of Berserk and those of Arslan Senki and Kingdom, here is an illustration of another similar scene.)

4 / The destruction of the first Falcon troop

Kentaro Miura’s inspirations are diverse. If many exegeses have spoken of the obvious inspiration of Robert E. Howard and JRR Tolkien, the two popes of the imagination, it seems that Kentaro Miura was also inspired by the great Greek tragedies. And in many ways, Berserk borrows a lot from the tragic genre. And Griffith’s development obviously deserves the great characters of the genre, at least in the first part of the manga.

Griffith is terribly ambitious and sees his hopes for advancement shattered by the punishment resulting from his carnal relationship with Princess Charlotte. Tortured for a year, he is crippled. At that time he sacrificed the first Falcon troop to the hand of God. This sacrifice enables him to become Femto, the ultimate hand of God. So Griffith became Guts’ great enemy. The destruction of the first Falcon Troop is one of the most noticeable pages of the manga, like the following illustration in Volume 12. This illustration shows Kentaro Miura’s entire talent for suggesting gigantism and monstrosity. Berserk is all about size and excess: Guts’ giant sword, Griffith’s ambition, violence. The most despicable characters are often the most gigantic.

5 / The rape of Casca

The world of Berserk is a ruthless world. It is a particularly dark and violent universe in which the strongest destroy the weakest. Kentaro Miura does not shy away from any topic and also deals with religious fanaticism, slavery and sexual violence. We wanted to come back to the rape of Casca by Griffith, which takes place in Volume 13. If the rape of Casca isn’t the manga’s most shocking sex scene (we’re thinking of the scene between Lady Farnese and the horse in particular, fans will understand), it nonetheless remains a key scene of paramount importance.

After Griffith, now Femto, sacrificed the Falcon Troop, he raped Casca. An event made all the more terrible when Casca, once steadfast as Griffith, joined the Falcon Troop after they had saved her from an attempted rape. After this event, Casca will sink into madness with behavior similar to a child. Fortunately, she came back to herself much later.

BONUS – “Death doesn’t mean the end”

We wanted to end this Kentaro Miura tribute article with an excerpt from Berserk’s second animated film. This great excerpt was shared on YouTube by Crunchyroll on the occasion of the mangaka’s death and shows how Berserk knows how to be a poetic and delicate work. These moments of tenderness are like a ray of sunshine that penetrates between the clouds after a storm of violence and despair. Especially this excerpt, in which Guts and young Schierke, devastated by Flora’s death, bring us the consolation we needed.