Fringe With Benefits: BERSERK Is A Story For Horror Fans
Anime and manga tends to be able to cross boundaries where other animation doesn't. Is this a cultural thing? Maybe. However, as a horror lover I find this satisfying my need to see some of the most detailed messed up stuff possible in animation. Kentaro Miura's 'Berserk' is definitely no different from this. In fact, Berserk is proclaimed as one of the most violent and gory manga/anime's around by genre fans!
Berserk is focused around our antihero 'Guts' otherwise known as the Black Swordsman. He wields a massive sword known as the Dragonslayer and he's the only man able to tactfully manipulate this weapon. The sword is described as " Too big to be called a sword. Massive, thick, heavy, and far too rough. Indeed, it was a heap of raw iron". Gut is essentially a sell sword that travels the countryside finding himself shrouded in war and evil.
Speaking of evil, did I mention that Guts has to fight the dead on a near nightly basis? This is due to the fact that he's been cursed with "The brand of sacrifice" in the form of a scar on his neck. What is this you may ask? Well, the brand "Marks those anointed for the "Invocation of Doom", which is a sacrificial ceremony in which those consecrated by the laws of causality transcend their humanity resulting in the creation of an apostle or "God Hand". Cited per the description on the Berserk Fandom wiki. Sounds nuts right?
Due to the scar on Guts neck he's doomed to frequently fight for his life from corpses that rise from their resting places. Typically rotting bodies or armed skeletons of fallen warriors, he fights them off with the Dragonslayer. In addition to fighting the dead, Guts is often faced with battling apostles which are some of the most nightmarish looking creatures I've ever seen in any manga or Anime.
Berserk is pure nightmare fuel for the general manga reader or "Weeaboo" if you will (haha). However, for a horror fan it's pure blood soaked gold. Fans often declare that the new anime is unwatchable, however, I am able to look passed the animation and see them successfully recreating the manga without changing or cutting out important elements. The original series from 1997 I found to be much more enjoyable, even though they only covered the 'Golden Arc' or 'Golden Age' which has been repeated through the OVA's that were released within the last 10 years. Having highly enjoyed the original series, I was dying to see coverage of something other than the Golden Arc and that's what the new series has delivered.
In the Golden Arc it's more focused on the journey of Griffith, the leader of the Band of the Hawk, and his goal to become a god. Within this Guts also establishes a love interest in Casca, the second in command to Griffith of the Band of the Hawk. This is until Griffith's goal is reached and we see Guts witness something royally fucked up, however, this isn't the worst thing we see in the series, by far.
For me, Berserk is a story that continues to pull on my heart strings with the character development and story line. It also increasingly holds my interest with the high levels of detailed violence and gore that is slathered throughout the episodes and pages of the manga. Berserk is still currently an ongoing manga and assuming the continued success of the Anime series, it will continue on as well.
If you're a fan of manga, anime or just animated brutality I cannot stress enough your need to check out Kentaro Miura's 'Berserk'. You can order the Berserk manga online or pick it up at the manga section of a local bookstore. The anime is available on Crunchyroll and Funimation in both Japanese with English subs or a full on English dubbed version. The Golden Arc OVA's are still currently available for streaming on Netflix. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.