It’s my 21st birthday today.
That was the reason why I didn’t want to properly start posting from the first day of November. Heheh. Was originally planning to start this blog project as a present to myself this year, so with this, participating in NaBloPoMo all works out XD And here I get to start with what is and will probably always be my favourite manga of all time: Berserk 「ベルセルク」
Berserk is a dark fantasy, action, seinen series written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura. As you can see from the art style from the first volume, its a pretty old series… Older than I am, HAHA. It was published almost exactly 24 years ago in Nov 1990 and is still ongoing with over 330 chapters. There’s also a 25-episode anime adaptation that aired from 1997-1998 and a 3-part anime movie adaption in Feb and June 2012 and Feb 2013. I’ll just be talking about the manga for this post.
The story is set in a Medieval-Europe-Fantasy inspired world and follows the life of an orphaned mercenary by the name of Guts and how his world is affected when he meets Griffith, the leader of a mercernery band called the Band of the Hawk. Guts has a VERY unfortunate life. That… doesn’t explain very much, but it’s pretty difficult to describe the story in any more words than that. And you can google the synopsis yourself if you’d like.
WARNING: Okay, there are A LOT of stuff to take note of for this one, where do I even start… Well… Extremely mature for one. Nudity, sex, rape, underaged perversion, masturbation, prostitution, etc. a whole lot of NSFW shit right there. Gory and grotesque. Very violent. Frequent usage of profanity and slurs. Blasphemy… There’s more I could go on, but basically there’s a whole load of shit and you should be prepared and hopefully not turned off by all this.
I don’t know, maybe you’re wondering why anyone’d read something like this huh. HAHA, THAT’S UNDERSTANDABLE. If you’re uncomfortable with any of the above warnings, I’d advise you not to read this series. Although, if you’d like to continue reading this post, maybe you’ll understand just a little bit on how important Berserk is to me.
I have to mention, 2/3 of the friends who recommended it to me were not of an ‘appropriate’ age to read it. I turned 18 that year SO I’M STILL AN UPSTANDING CITIZEN OF SOCIETY okay.
yeah right. The story was so developed, I had no frigging clue what the heck it was about even when they started discussing it in front of me until someone turned and said “You need to read it.” I ALSO HAVE TO CONFESS… the exact way they got me to read it was by describing the first 4 pages of Chapter 1.
Kind of remember it went something like,
“The guy is having sex with a girl but then the girl turns into a demon, so then the guy uses the canon on his arm to blow her head off.”
“No! Really! That’s how it starts!”
Was trying so hard not to lose my shit laughing in the middle of the train (It’s called the MRT in S’pore).
As amusing as that might sound, the story of Berserk is anything but. There’re heavy themes like humanity, the definition of good vs evil, isolation, revenge, friendship and camaraderie … it’s… really bleak. And immensely depressing.
There’s just so much to experience and think about. The first time was the best. I laughed out loud at the interactions, face-palmed in exasperation, teared up at the warmth, smiled at the sweetness, felt my heart-clench at the love, got digusted by the depravity and monsters, pumped-up at the action, depressed over the deaths, and pondered over the irony and morality issues. I also lost track over the number of times I went “OH NO. NO. NO. No. Nonononono.”
The art style is gritty, relatively realistic and can’t considered pretty at all, but don’t let the first parts fool you. As the series goes on, everything gets so detailed and the art gets so amazing and beautiful. The character designs are really interesting too. Berserk has a number of tropes, one of which is how many ‘evil’ characters are depicted as ugly or grotesque. But then there’re those characters which are supposed to be considered ‘evil’ looking beautiful. It’s pretty hard to explain without giving anything away, but there’re all these subtle little things that when considered, shed new insight on the manga as a whole.
If you’re looking for pretty boys, uh, I guess Griffith is the one to look out for. I have mixed feelings about him, though. I’m all for Guts because ‘Everyone loves Guts’ (I’m not even kidding) and he’s definitely more my type. Of course there’re so many more characters I could mention, whether girl, guy, human, demon, or something in between, but that’s just throwing out spoilers. Definitely don’t wanna do that.
I WANTED TO POST ANOTHER IMAGE BUT I COULDNT DECIDE ON WHAT IMAGE WITHOUT GIVING AWAY TOO MUCH.
As you can see from the ramblings above, I can’t emphasize enough how much I love Berserk (IF YOU CAN’T ALREADY TELL. Uh.) I think maybe I’ve re-read it all 330+ chapters over 3 times now HAHA OTL
If there ever was a turning point
(not including my descent into yaoi hell) in my life reading manga, I guess reading this would be it.