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.