Hi, I’m Simon and this is my first review about Miura Kentaro’s manga Berserk.
This review will mainly be about the manga, since the plot of the anime will naturally be included in the manga, so storywise, there’s nothing new in the anime if you’ve read the manga.
The manga has 337 chapters as of today, October 15th 2014. It’s written and drawn by Miura Kentaro and published in Young Animal.
PLOT: The story begins with Guts, also called “Black Swordsman” confronting various demon-like creatures called Apostles while wandering around by himself. He wields a sword as large as his own body, has a mechanic arm with integrated cannon and crossbow and has a damaged right eye. Soon after the story begins, the Golden Age Arc begins. It’s basically one really long Flashback that tells of Guts’ life from very early on and his journey with the band of the Hawk. It is also the part of the manga adapted in the Anime and Movies.
The Story of Berserk is, although consisting to a large part of battles, pretty good, especially considering the complex relationships and development of the characters. Since Berserk hasn’t ended yet, and probably won’t for a long time either, you can only speculate on how it will play out. It is somehow told in a very shounen-like way, in that there are many epic battles over many chapters and very little happens in one chapter. However, it is still a very fascinating story set in a vast world that keeps the reader interested throughout every single page and makes one want to read it all in one go. It does very well to introduce and develop all the characters, of which there are many. All in all it keeps you hooked and you are never really able to tell what’s going to happen next.
The Characters are another strong point of this manga.While there are many, you seem to get to know every one of them, while they are introduced, developed and interact with other characters. Here are the main ones briefly summarized:
Guts is the main character of Berserk. He has a very complex personality with his own fears, world views and goals in life.
Griffith is the leader of the band of the hawks and probably the most charismatic character Berserk has to offer. His goal is to take his own country and he knows no bounds in whatever he is required to do. On one page he can look like an innocent child and on the next like a coldblooded killer, and you never really get behind which of those he really is.
Casca is an officer of the band of the Hawk and a strong female warrior. Any more information on her is impossible without getting into spoiler territory.
ART: Berserk looks gorgeous. Simple as that. There is probably no manga that is drawn as detailed and overall well as Berserk. Especially later on when the big fights and action scenes happen, every page looks like a painting, which is also the reason why there’s only about 3-4 new chapters each year.
The ANIME entails the Golden Age Arc, which is basically Guts’ childhood and his time with the band of the hawk. Although it doesn’t look bad since it’s pretty old, it can’t compare with the manga.
My Recommendation: If you like epic action scenes in a fantasy world and/or complex character-relationships, or you just enjoy looking at beautiful artwork then Berserk is definitely for you. But be warned, it contains large amounts of gore.
If you decide you want to watch and read Berserk start with the anime, since it is really enjoyable, but leaves you extremely unsatisfied so you want to read the manga. If you read the manga first, the anime will become boring, since you know how great the original looks and you know the story already.
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Thank you and have a nice day