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Kentaro Miura’s BERSERK carries a legacy of blood, Guts, and great manga

Berserk Vol. 1
Berserk, book 1

The passing of legendary manga writer/artist Kentaro Miura will either get veteran fans of his Berserk series revisiting the dark fantasy world he created for his giant sword-wielding warrior, Guts, or new fans looking to finally take the plunge into the sprawling epic.

Whichever the case, engaging with the first book of the series means experiencing a brutal read with monsters and other creatures that’ll make you readjust your fingers at the edges of the page so as not to touch the horrors Miura committed to it. This is certainly the case with the first pages of Berserk book 1, in which Guts is having sex with a woman that quickly turns into a monstrosity that looks like something straight out of an H.R. Giger nightmare and tries to kill him. It sets the tone for the type of story Berserk while tell.

Berserk follows the now iconic Guts, also known as the Black Swordsman, as he embarks on a journey fueled by revenge. Guts is branded with a symbol that attracts murderous demons towards him, forcing him into a life of isolation. The revenge aspect of the story centers on a character named Griffith that might or might not be responsible for Guts’ supernatural affliction.

Miura presents Guts to readers, in the first book, as the perfect man to deal with the violence and chaos that governs his medieval Europe setting. It’s a dark state of affairs that is overwhelmingly ugly and ever present. Death and gore is the status quo, which explains why Guts carries a giant broadsword that cuts people into pieces after a single swipe. The weapon is a reflection of how bad things are, and in Berserk’s case, things are quite bad.

Berserk
Berserk

We get a taste of this in the events that follow the aforementioned sex scene that opens the story. Almost immediately after the incident, Guts is faced with a group of bandits and soldiers that are throwing knives at a Pisky elf called Puck for their own deranged amusement.

Guts makes a bloody mess of the corrupt men for what seems to be a righteous motive, but it ends up being about sending a message to their leader, a humanoid snake demon that ends up giving Guts a particularly gruesome fight as he reveals his true form.

This is all meant to establish Guts as a kind of antihero character. His mission is purely personal and his commitment to the innocent people he meets along the way initially hinges on personal gain. Guts isn’t a hero here. He’s a hardened, near maniacal force of visceral violence that responds to his cursed reality in kind.

I characterize Guts as maniacal for the bleak outlook he has towards life, its worth, and how individuals who die on his watch are more a reflection of their own flaws rather than his. The Black Swordsman has little tolerance for weakness and takes no responsibility for the deaths of those who fall in combat around him. In some instances, he even laughs while explaining this, showing little regard for the misguided moral expectations others decide to put on him.

What’s impressive about how Miura introduces Guts to readers is that a considerable portion of his character development comes through violence rather than expository text. We get to know this man through the carnage he rains down on his enemies, and it’s not all done for the sake of bloodletting.

Berserk

There’s a kind of sadness to his existence knowing he doesn’t fight for glory or for the safety of others. By fighting for revenge, Guts is put on a road of no return, and he seems to be aware of it. Ruin is sure to follow and we as readers are given the necessary story elements to be able to foresee this and think on the cruelties of fate. It’s just awe-inspiring how Miura manages to achieve this level of storytelling through action rather than dialogue or narration.

Kentaro Miura’s Berserk has one of the best first books of a series in the history of manga and it does an admirable job of setting up a world and a main character that have no choice other than being iconic. Forget about the reasons you need to experience this book, just make sure you do and know that there’s a lot more waiting for those brave enough to stay the path.

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Shang-Chi #1

The weekend is coming up! What geeky things will you all be doing? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

CNN – Kentaro Miura, ‘Berserk’ manga creator, dies aged 54 – Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans.

CBR – David A. Kraft, Iconic Defenders Writer, Comics Journalist, Has Passed Away – Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Grab a taste of BITE SIZED ARCHIE – Free comics!

Reviews

CBR – Shang-Chi #1

Laughing Place – Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #12

Berserk Gets a Deluxe Edition and Light Novel

Kentaro Miura’s Berserk has outraged, horrified, and delighted readers since 1989, and now the champion of adult fantasy manga is presented in a handsome embossed hardcover edition amassing the first three Berserk volumes in Kentaro Miura’s preferred 7” x 10” format, with further volumes to come to present the entire series in deluxe matching bookshelf collections.

One of the most popular and long-running adult manga series ever published, Berserk has inspired hit anime TV series and feature films, video games, a trading card game, and a wide variety of toys and related products, and is the top selling series in Dark Horse history, with nearly two million copies sold and still going strong.

In addition to the Berserk Deluxe Editions, Dark Horse Manga will publish the Berserk Official Guidebook on September 19, 2018 and on April 3, 2019 the first ever Berserk light novel, Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight, which traces the rise of the warrior Grunbeld from humble beginnings to the all-powerful Apostle who will one day face Guts in mortal combat!

Berserk Deluxe Edition Volume 1 HC goes on sale February 27, 2019 and is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local comic shop.

Otakon Adds Nobutoshi Canna as a Guest

Voice actor Nobutoshi Canna will be joining the guest roster for Otakon 2018.

Canna has voiced some popular anime characters, including Basara Nekki from Macross 7,
Chulainn/Lancer in the Fate series, Guts in Berserk, Kabuto in Naruto, as well as Gengar and Knuckles.

Otakorp would like to thank Aoni Production Co. for helping to bring Canna to this year’s convention.

Otakon 2018 will be held August 10-12, 2018 at the Walter Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Dark Horse is Releasing the Ultimate Guide to Berserk

No Guts, no glory! Dark Horse Manga has announced the indispensable owner’s manual for Berserk readers with the Berserk Official Guidebook! Still going strong after over twenty-five years in Japan, Berserk is one of the most popular and longest-running seinen series ever published in North America. Dark Horse Manga has sold over 1.5 million translated print editions of creator Kentaro Miura’s Berserk since 2003. The Berserk Official Guidebook will serve as the ultimate authority for the New York Times bestselling series.

Created by Kentaro Miura, Berserk has conquered the worlds of manga and anime, and now this essential roadmap to the sprawling Berserk universe explores the characters, creatures, settings, and stories of Berserk’s first 38 volumes. Profusely illustrated and including never-before-seen art (including an eight-page color section) and author notes, the Berserk Official Guidebook is a comprehensive tour through the epic adventure, shocking horror, and graveyard humor that can be only Berserk!

The Berserk Official Guidebook goes on sale March 14, 2018, is 200 pages paperback, and priced at $14.99.

Dark Horse Acquires the Digital Rights to the Manga Berserk

Celebrating the release of Berserk Volume 38, Dark Horse has announced the acquisition of digital rights to for the full Berserk manga library (Volumes 1–38).

Still going strong after over twenty-five years in Japan, Berserk is one of the most popular and longest-running seinen series ever published in North America, and with over 1.2 million copies sold, Berserk has recently smashed onto the New York Times best-selling manga list. Dark Horse Manga has published print editions of creator Kentaro Miura’s Berserk since 2003.

Berserk Volume 38 brings Guts and company to the isle of Skellig in hopes that elven magic can cure the afflicted Casca, but the cure could come at a deadly cost. Meanwhile, Guts’ Band of the Hawk comrade Rickert journeys to the city of Falconia, the seat of power for Griffith, the resurrected former Hawks commander. But the glittering towers of Falconia cast the darkest of shadows, and a legion of demonic monstrosities dwell in the darkness!

Digitial editions of Berserk Volumes 1–38 are now available to purchase on Digital.Darkhorse.com, Apple’s iBookstore, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Barnes & Noble’s NOOK, Comixology, and Google Play.

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The weekend is almost here and we’ll be at Salt City Comic Con with two panels! Come see some of team GP if you’re in the Syracuse area. For everyeone else, what geeky things will you be doing? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the work day to end, here’s some fun news and reviews from around the web.

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Kotaku – Berserk Manga Is Taking A Break. Again. – Didn’t this just come back?

Kotaku – Spider-Man Cosplayers Fill Airplane – A perfect opportunity for Norman Osbron to strike!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Mighty Thor #20

Comic Attack – Serenity Rose: 10 Awkward Years

CBR – Shirtless Beat Fighter #1

Dark Horse Announces Over 1.2 Million Copies of “Berserk” Manga Sold!

He is Guts, the Black Swordsman, a feared warrior, spoken of in whispers. The bearer of a gigantic sword and an iron hand, he wears the scars of countless battles and tortures. After over three years of anticipation, creator Kentaro Miura has completed the latest volume of the ongoing Berserk saga. Manga mayhem to the extreme is back with a vengeance!

Still going strong after over twenty-five years in Japan and first published in 2003 by Dark Horse Manga, Berserk is one of the most popular and longest-running seinen series ever published in North America, and with over 1.2 million copies sold, Berserk has recently smashed onto the New York Times best-selling manga list.

On July 5, 2017, Berserk Volume 38 brings Guts and company to the isle of Skellig in hopes that elven magic can cure the afflicted Casca, but the cure could come at a deadly cost. Meanwhile, Guts’s Band of the Hawk comrade Rickert journeys to the city of Falconia, the seat of power for Griffith, the resurrected former Hawks commander. But the glittering towers of Falconia cast the darkest of shadows, and a legion of demonic monstrosities dwell in the darkness!

Berserk is Back!

berserk-vol-38After over three years of anticipation by fans, from creator Kentaro Miura comes Berserk Volume 38, a sprawling adult fantasy epic of fierce imagination!

On July 5, Guts the Black Swordsman and company will reach the isle of Skellig in hopes that elven magic can cure the afflicted Casca, but the cure could come at a deadly cost. Meanwhile, Guts’s Band of the Hawk comrade Rickert journeys to the city of Falconia, the seat of power for Griffith, the resurrected former Hawks commander. But the glittering towers of Falconia cast the darkest of shadows, and a legion of demonic monstrosities dwell in the darkness!

This is one of the most popular and longest-running seinen manga series ever published in North America, with over a million copies sold. Berserk has also recently reemerged on the New York Times best-selling manga list!

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