Dare I say the Game of Thrones of Anime. Why? I can hear you say. Well, it is gritty, it is dark fantasy, sure there is so much action and bodies dissected but the dialog is deep. It has a medieval setting in a land call midland much like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. If that does not speak fantasy then I don’t know what does.
Berserk is created by Kentaro Miura. It was first published on 1989. Ever since its debut it has been the most jaw dropping manga of its genre. The blood, the gore, the tone of the story and the world in which it takes place. It is a dark story with adult content such as sex, violence and for SAW fans out there, torture.
If you are reading this post I am going to assume that you already know much about this manga but what we are going to talk about in this article is, Guts, the savage warrior or should I say, the black swordsman.
Berserk is not another anime about some loner who wields a giant sword that magically sticks to his back (Do I hear Final Fantasy 7). Is not another story about revenge although that is what the character is ultimately trying to accomplish. Berserk is about betrayal and trauma. It is about the bird and worm (I will get to that in just a moment). There is also a lot of ying yang symbolism in berserk and if you watched the anime or read the manga then you know what I am talking about. Finally, Berserk is a about the philosophy of destiny.
The Bird and the Worm.
What do I mean when I say “the bird and worm.” To put it easy, the white hawk and…the street rat (sorry Aladdin).
Guts was always a mercenary since the beginning of the story. He fought for money and lived as a drifter. His whole life changed when Griffith came into his life. After Griffith saw how guts took down a powerful opponent with one swing of his giant sword Griffith immediately wanted Guts for his band of mercenaries.
Griffith and Guts dueled and surprisingly Guts lost and was forced to join the band of the hawk. Griffith had a purpose and Guts fought because he liked it, for the money and because swing his sword and taking life was all he knew. Why did this happen? Here is a psychological and anthropological answer.
Those who know how work for those who know “why.” In other words, those without a purpose work for those know who their purpose.
If you watched the anime, in the very beginning you see a demon hand holding a behelit and says
“in this world, is the destiny of men controlled by some transcendental entity or law. Is it like the hand of god hovering above. At least it is true, that men have no control, even over his own will.”
Guts destiny was then controlled by Griffith and the white himself said that, “you are here to help me fulfill my dreams and die for me.” Guts agreed or shall I say, had no other choice and yet he and Griffith became good friends in the end. Fighting for Griffith Guts found some meaning to life than just spilling blood.
In the Berserk manga the prophecy said
“When the Sun has died five times, a red lake will appear at the West of the city with a name both new and ancient, and it will be the sign that the fifth angel, the Falcon of Darkness, is born. The Angel shall be both master of the sinful black sheep and king of the blind white ones. He is the one who shall bring an age of darkness upon the world.“
Griffith was using his band of mercenaries to fulfill his dreams but in the end he ended up sacrificing his mercenaries so that he can become the fifth apostle and king of darkness. After raping Gut’s girlfriend all hope seemed lost with an army of fiends at Griffiths command. The skull knight saved Guts and his girlfriend Casca but this was not luck but rather fate.
Guts is the Berserker and also the black hawk who will take down the white hawk. The white hawk will seemed like he will bring light to the world however, I believe that Guts will be the true bringer of light. This is what I mean by the ying yang symbolism in the Berserk story. The anti hero really is the hero and the white falcon that radiates light and stands so godly will actually be the world’s end.
Guts has been also labeled as “the one who defeats fate.”There has been many times when guts should have died or was near death yet he came out alive. He is such an important character that he somehow manages to live. The Skull Knight called Guts “the Struggles.” The Skull knight must know something about Guts that no one else does, after all he also has used the behelit to become a demon. The Skull Knight has also assisted Guts many times and I believe that this is for a reason. Guts defeats fate, when everything seems lost and all hope gone he still turns things around. Lets not forget, he escape the sacrifice ceremony and Griffith is not complete until he sacrifices Guts and Casca. I am not sure if that is necessary at this point or if Griffith even considered it. One thing is for sure, Guts and Griffith must fight much like Naruto and Sasuke were meant to fight.
Griffith betrayed his men and he will now betray the world. He will bring the demon world to the human world for sure this time.
The reason why Guts will succeed is because he has been fighting darkness within and without. Remember the beast of darkness within Guts, it was a manifestation of his hatred towards Griffith after the events of the Eclipse. Sure Guts has lost control of the beast within him but he has learned to control it (somewhat). Also realize that his hair is turning white and in Japanese culture hair color is very important. It is something common in anime. The hair colors of characters are chosen according to their rivalry. Like in Final Fantasy 7, Clouds Striffe’s hair is blonde compare to Sephiroth which is white. It was set up that way to oppose each other.
At first it seemed that Guts had no part of the story and that it was all about Griffith but it was Griffith betrayal that triggered Guts uprising.
Thanks for reading dudes.