Modern Visual Culture

Recommended Works

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85%Shawn Hirman



Mangaka: Kentaro Miura 三浦 建太郎
Born: 11th of Jul, 1966 Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Original Publisher: Hakusensha
English Language Publisher:
Published: January 1989
Status: Ongoing
Number of Volumes: 37
Serialized: Young Animal ヤングアニマル
Genre: Fantasy, Action
Demographic: seinen

Berserk is a sword-and-sorcery epic set in a blood-soaked medieval European fantasy world. We find Guts, our aptly named protagonist, in media res, as he unleashes violence on demonic creatures with his giant sword and the automatic crossbow that has been grafted onto his prosthetic arm. Having been branded as an unholy sacrifice to the demons, they pursue him wherever he goes, which turns out to be bad luck - for them.

A lengthy flashback from volumes 3 to 14 called the Golden Age arc establishes Guts’ painful backstory: Born from the corpse of a hanged woman, raised by mercenaries, he fought in vast military battles as a child soldier, only to find a short-lived happiness that was stolen by a friend who betrayed him in order to become a demon lord.

Haunted by his past, Guts scours the grim medieval world of Midland hunting the various demonic feudal lords that crawl the land, hoping to pick up the trail of Griffith, the charismatic friend and leader who ultimately betrayed him and everyone he ever cared about. Initially accompanied only by his sidekick Puck, a diminutive winged elf who tries to act as his conscience, Guts is a tragic figure who is only just barely holding onto his humanity; half mad, shunning all human contact, he is consumed only by thoughts of revenge.

The story is brutal almost to a fault - . Berserk’s realistic medieval European world of mud and blood is filled with explicit gore and violence.
Background & Impact
A 25-episode TV anime series directed by Naohito Takahashi was released in 1997. A trio of anine films was also released from 2012-2013.

Two video game adaptations were made, one for the Dreamcast, the other for the Playstation 2.