Berserk Is A Special Manga

I finally started reading the Berserk manga by Kentaro Miura (RIP). I’ve been consuming every article or video related to Elden Ring since the game’s release, including all the Berserk references and easter eggs. I knew it was finally time to check out Berserk.

Berserk Black Swordsman & Golden Age Manga Arc Analysis Video From A First Time Reader

This may not seem like a big deal for some, but for me, I’ve never really been a manga fan. I haven’t read any manga since the late 2000s with Bleach and Naruto; I’m a slow reader, so I prefer to watch anime.

Black Swordsman Arc

A new reader’s introduction to Berserk is a lot to take in. Right from the opening panels of Berserk, we see Guts boning a demon (apostle) and being a complete edgelord. Guts is cooler, stronger, and doesn’t give a fuck, and that isn’t a great introduction to a character. I had to force myself to read through Berserk’s first chapters; I could see new readers dropping the manga before it really comes into its own during the Golden Age Arc.

There is a panel practically at the end of the Black Swordsman Arc that informed me that there might be something to Guts and Berserk. Gut’s teary eye.

berserk guts crying sad black swordsman arc manga review analysis reaction
Guts IS human.

There is more to Guts and it is explained in this single panel. I didn’t completely understand what Miura was going for until coming back to the Black Swordsman Arc after reading the Golden Age Arc. While I believe Mirua was still figuring out Guts and what his story would be during the Black Swordsman Arc, you can see hints. I believe Guts is partly putting on a bit of “tough guy” act, granted he’s been through hell and trauma during the Eclipse, but his reaction’s to children (crying, puking) are a hint that he’s not this asshole, edgelord that doesn’t care about anything or anyone.

Guts is fighting demons at all times. The demons of his past and literal demons every single night. He doesn’t want to get close to people because he would only expose them to pain, suffering, and death. Guts chooses to be an asshole, to keep others away and safe. He seems to have a soft spot for children, and that makes sense because Guts had an awful childhood.

Golden Age Arc

The Golden Age Arc is a long flashback, lasting nearly 11 volumes. We are shown Guts’ origins of being a child mercenary through his relationships with Griffith, Casca, and the Band of the Hawk. For many chapters, this plays out as Medieval political drama, with sprinkles of fantasy elements, not unlike the first season of Game of Thrones.

Guts experiences pain, friendship, love, heartbreak, and rage, especially during the events of the Eclipse.

There’s a lot to unpack during the Golden Age Arc: Gambino, Casca, Griffith, etc; I speak to some of it in my Berserk video, but will be revisiting the Golden Age in more depth in the future. For now, I want to emphasize:

Everyone who reads the Berserk manga should re-read the Black Swordsman Arc after the Golden Age Arc.

Reading the Black Swordsman Arc following the Golden Age Arc really explains Guts’ emotions and actions. This is when it truly hit me that Guts is putting facade. Guts has gone through so much hardship, to finally find friends and a purpose, only to have it ripped away during the events of the Eclipse.

I can’t believe I’ve found threads that speak to skipping the Black Swordsman Arc or quitting Berserk after the Golden Age Arc. I have never been more invested in a story and can’t wait to finish the manga. Once I finish reading, I will dive into the anime adaptations. I checked out the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc film trilogy, and while it was mostly fine, I felt it left too much of the manga out. I understand why everyone’s recommendation is:

Just Read The Berserk Manga!

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