If you have been lurking in the anime and manga world for a while, you may have already caught wind of a manga must-read entitled Berserk. Berserk is easily deemed as a classic manga despite the fact that it is still an on-going series until now. For the uninitiated, Berserk was created by Kentaro Miura in 1989. It currently has 39 volumes published in Japan and 38 English volumes published by Dark Horse. In almost 3 decades of Berserk’s existence and 39 volumes released, it would make one wonder, “What makes Berserk a classic?” and “Why should you give it a read?” Well, read on to find out~!
If you would be reading Berserk at about 20 years old or younger, you may find all the carnage and rape too disturbing. However, if you are past your 20’s, Berserk might just interest you for so many good reasons.
In terms of genre and theme, Berserk is classified as a dark fantasy, medieval era, supernatural, seinen manga. It is intended and made for mature readers due to its heavy gore and sexual depictions. If you want to get an idea of what Berserk is all about, just literally look at its title – “Berserk”. The story is full-blown war and punching with no regards to mercy whatsoever. In Berserk, every punch is one that is never held back. The world of Berserk is chiefly ruthless, callous, and brutal. The graphic depiction of dead body trails, torture, murder, and dismemberment is one that cannot be unseen easily. The sexual depictions of rape, incest, nudity, pedophilia, interspecies intercourse, and bestiality were also illustrated in great detail.
But, hang on, all of these violence and sexual overtones are not just here for the sake of attraction or horror. Each piece intricately adds to Berserk’s deep and enthralling story making it look more realistic and immersive. If you have been reading history centered on the medieval times or have watched television series like Game of Thrones and Vikings, you will know that this period is not all perfect and happy. In these TV series, violence can easily boil from a slight mistake, but do not get me wrong, the violence and sexual depictions in these series are easily a walk in the park when compared to the dark violent theme of Berserk, where characters live and fend on their own or die helpless.
2 Berserk can easily trigger your critical thinking skills or initiate a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
Berserk is also one of the classic manga titles that can trigger a different array of emotions. It can also trigger your critical thinking skills. The story of Berserk talks about the different sacrifices that people will undertake just to get to their ambitions. It has heaps of vengeful instances as well as passionate hatred and rage. Aside from all of this, other thoughts and emotions can also come crushing in bringing so much confliction to the reader. You will find yourself asking is this considered wrong or is this still right? You will find yourself weighing what matters most and what is more important should you be living the life in the shoes of the characters? You would even be thinking of how you will react when placed in similar situations. What are you willing to do for you dreams and ambitions? These triggered questions and thoughts can easily bring any reader to care about Berserk’s characters and the lives they live in.
The characters in Berserk are, hands down, well made. The time and effort in building all these characters can be seen on the elaborate development that the creator pushed in the entire story. Each of these characters are made in such a way that the reader will be able to understand and invest emotions in. The main character in Berserk is Guts. He is popularly known as the Branded Swordsman or the Black Swordsman. He is a mercenary who earned a lot of titles and nicknames as the story progresses. If you want to get to know Guts more, all you need to understand is what unadulterated raw rage is. This is the perfect description of Guts. That said, Guts has not all been like this. His character was brought about by an extremely hard-hitting past that he underwent. He is one character in Berserk who is consistently pushed to beyond his humanly limitations, hence all the rage and “badass-ness” in him.
Despite all this “badass-ness” in Guts, he is still one of the very few characters considered humane as he can literally go through any pain and ordeal just to protect whatever he treasures the most. This resolve can easily get to any reader and trigger their sympathy towards Guts. If this complex character building still does not intrigue you, I do not what will. You really have to start reading Berserk to experience this for yourself.
4 Exquisite artwork!
Berserk follows a good story and character development. Moreover, it comes illustrated with exquisite artwork that is highly detailed yet still very easy on the eyes. Reading Berserk and looking at its graphic is in itself a very pleasant experience. The mangaka also saw to it that the panels are balanced in every page. Speaking of panels, there are several panels, which are drawn without words yet speaks to our minds clearly.
Berserk was on hiatus until Dec 22th as per announcement made in June of 2017, but that said, Berserk is still a classic manga must-read and must-add in your manga library. It has a deep story, awesome characters, excellent art, and cool manga spines! Easily a keeper for any manga collector.
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Story Of Two Brothers is by far one of the most popular manga that won the 49th Shogakukan Manga Award for the shounen demographic in 2004. With over 64 million copies in print around the world along with having received two very successful anime adaptions, this is a manga series that redefined what a shounen manga series can be.
Fullmetal Alchemist was one of the few manga series of it’s time that focused more on a narrative than being the typical lighthearted action-comedy manga that shounen was known for. There isn’t just one thing that makes it such an incredible read but culmination of amazing storytelling, character development and action with a touch of romance.
A Story That’s Complex & Captivating
Even after all these years finding a manga with a story like Fullmetal Alchemist is just not possible. The story right off the bat starts on a rather grim tone with both the protagonists losing all or parts of their body’s and seamlessly transitions into a more lighthearted tone before going full dark again.
Each chapter you read will keep you on the edge of your seats always anticipating what will come next only to be left speechless of how the plot paces itself. What truly sets the story apart is that even during the darkest moments of the series there’s always a bit of hope to push the protagonist on.
An Amazing Blend of Action, Comedy & Drama
The action scenes in Fullmetal Alchemist might not be the best but they aren’t definitely bad by any account. Considering the manga is only 116 it doesn’t leave a lot of room for extended fight scenes but the ones we do get are choreographed extremely well and the art is top notch as well which just makes it even more enjoyable to read.
When it comes to comedy and drama, the series tends to lean towards the dramatic sides but manages to add in enough moments of over the top comedy to not let the drama go stale without overstaying its turn.
Even though there is a greater focus on the story but this is still an action-packed manga. Unlike most manga where you have to trade character development for more flashy action panels on the page, Fullmetal Alchemist manages to find the perfect balance and manages to flesh out each character to an amazing detail.
Every character in Fullmetal Alchemist is downright amazing. From their designs to their personality and even their backstory, this manga gets each character just right without even trying to justify their actions which makes them feel all the more realistic. The protagonists, Ed and Al, in particular, go through so much growth over the span of 100 chapters that by the end of it you feel that you have an emotional connection with them.
Should You Read It?
Fullmetal Alchemist is by far not a perfect manga and it has its fair share of problems which include the length of the series among many others. But, overall, Fullmetal Alchemist manages to be incredibly entertaining and thought-provoking while staying true to the tradition of Shounen manga. If you’re someone that enjoys a mind-blowing story with equally amazing characters then reading Fullmetal Alchemist is highly recommended.
Death Note, a series that has inspired multiple movies and TV shows, some good but mostly bad. Whether you’re a fan of western comics and TV shows or Japanese manga or anime, chances are you’ve heard of Death Note one or another. Death Note is by far one of the most popular manga series with fans throughout the world. This is one of the few manga series that has been regarded by many as a masterpiece which is rightfully so.
Death Note follows the story of two incredibly smart and cleaver high school boys which does sound like a premise that you’ve heard of before but none have managed to pull it off as well as this series. The story starts when a Shinigami (Death God) named Ryuk drops a Death Note into the human world. The Death Note has the power to kill anyone whose name has been written in it. The Death Note ends up in the hands of High school Student Light Yagami by coincidence which he then checks by writing the name of a local killer he saw from the news to test its powers. After ascertaining that the Death Note does indeed have control over death, Light decides to rid the world of criminal and wrong does to create a world free of crime by killing them.
Naturally, the police quickly catch on and call in the best detective in the world “L”, to find and capture the one responsible for all the deaths. Throughout the mange, more characters are introduced that add more depth to the story. What makes Death Note such a masterpiece is that it’s almost impossible to predict how the next chapter will turn out. Almost every chapter ends on a cliffhanger that neither feels forced or clear-cut to keep readers reading on without even thinking of stopping. The psychological aspect of the series is also a major plus that dives deeper into the motives of the characters as well as being able to address controversial issues without making the reader feel alienated.
With a fantastic cast of characters that will get you emotionally involved and a story that will keep you turning the pages without even thinking of stopping, Death Note is a manga that everyone can and will most definitely enjoy.
This is the first part about Death Note. In upcoming posts, we will reveal some deeper and more controversial issues of this manga.
If you have not read it yet, I recommend that you do it.