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Characters / Berserk: Guts

BerserkMain Character Index
Guts | Griffith / Femto | Casca | Guts's Companions | Band of the Hawk | Kingdom of Midland | Antagonists (Godhand and Apostles) | Other Characters | Video Games

BEWARE OF UNMARKED SPOILERS!While we make an effort to cover some of the most important spoilers, we cannot guarantee that every potential spoiler will be hidden, or that those that are will be hidden consistently. Character bios in particular are likely to discuss late events in the manga. Lastly, some tropes are going to be spoilers because of their mere presence. You Have Been Warned!


Adult Guts Voiced by:Nobutoshi Canna (Japanese, Berserk (1997), Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage, and Berserk: Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Shō), Hiroaki Iwanaga (Japanese, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc, Berserk (2016), and Berserk and the Band of the Hawk), Marc Diraison (English, Berserk (1997) & Berserk: The Golden Age Arc), Kaiji Tang (English, Berserk (2016)), Michael Bell (English, Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage), Jordi Pineda (Spanish, Berserk (1997)), Dani Albiac (Spanish, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc)
Child Guts Voiced by: Orine Fukushima (Japanese, Berserk (1997)), Jun Inoue (Japanese, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc), Maria Dente (English, Berserk (1997)), Colin DePaula (English, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc)

Guidebook Stats:note As of Chapter of Elf Island Height: 204 cm (6 ft, 8 in); Weight: 115 kg (253 lb, 8.5 oz); Age: 24

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/guts_343.png

"Your life's on the line either way. The real question's whether you wanna risk it for your comrades or be just another pawn."

Clickhere https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/guts_senki.jpgto see Guts in Seima Senki no Sho

"Beast...? Monster...? Heh! Screw that. I'm...me. There's nothin' else. I am what I am. And I will make my way to him."

The main protagonist of Berserk who carries the names "Hundred Man Slayer" and "The Black Swordsman", Guts is a badass Anti-Hero with a round ton of Dark and Troubled Past. Discovered as a newborn baby beneath the corpse of his hanged mother, he was raised among mercenaries by his abusive foster father Gambino, and was later the victim of rape by one of Gambino's men. Guts is also a survivor of the demonic sabbath known as the Eclipse, during which he lost his right eye and part of his left arm. His injuries are not the only marks he bears from this event; Guts is also marked with the Brand of Sacrifice, a supernatural emblem that draws the attention of demons and the restless dead. Both groups are eager to finish the job left undone when Guts survived the Eclipse.

He is introduced as a wanderer with a grudge, bent on hunting down and slaying the beings known as Apostles with a gigantic sword known as the Dragonslayer. The Apostles are responsible, along with the Godhand, for the trauma he suffered in the Eclipse. Although he claims to be heartless and acts callously towards people who try to befriend him, Guts actually has a Hidden Heart of Gold, and his indifference towards the people around him is mostly an act. He fears that anyone who gets close to him will meet misfortune at the hands of the astral demons summoned by his Brand or the Apostles that he fights, and that letting himself care about other people will make him lose the ruthlessness he needs in order to defeat his enemies. While he has become much more open to people since being joined by a new group of companions, he still tends to be aloof and brooding.

Guts's fate is tied to Griffith, his best-friend-turned-Arch-Enemy, and to Casca, his love interest and fellow bearer of the Brand of Sacrifice who became like a child without speech or memories after the violation she suffered in the Eclipse. Even after consciously deciding to return to Casca's side so that he can find a cure for her condition, Guts struggles with the Enemy Within called the Beast of Darkness that grew out of his hatred for Griffith, which is trying to make him kill Casca and his companions so that he can devote himself to revenge. The stakes have grown even higher since he obtained the Berserker Armor, which allows him to ignore pain and surpass the limits of his power, yet destroys his body and makes him vulnerable to the Beast's corruption. Guts' great external and internal struggles—of fighting monsters and his fate, and of choosing between hunting the man he hates and protecting the woman he loves—are nothing short of heroic.


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    Tropes #-D 

  • 24-Hour Armor: Considering that his ass is constantly swarmed with evil spirits attracted to his brand, it's best to be prepared.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Guts, who debuted in 1989, has almost all the characteristics of a nineties anti-hero. He has a gritty but simple name, is missing an arm and an eye, has crazy muscles but relies on his lethal equipment instead of superpowers, wears a black costume with lots of bags and bandoliers, is a badass with a Dark and Troubled Past and sarcasm to boot, and uses a ludicrous BFS as his main weapon. During the early Black Swordsman Arc he tells Puck that he doesn't care about anything except Revenge, considering any bystanders who get caught up in his vengeance as weaklings who didn't deserve to live, and he brutally tortures any villains he defeats. Miura has even said that he based Guts' Implacable Man vibe during the Black Swordsman Arc on 80s Hollywood action movie characters like RoboCop and The Terminator—the same ones who had such an influence on the form the trope would take in The '90s. In spite of all this Guts turns out to be something of an Unbuilt Trope example, or at least a more subtle one, as the state we first see him in is when he's at his very worst and pretending to be a jerk to hide from his pain. He goes through several shades of Anti-Hero through his Character Development, but always has some redeeming qualities such as loyalty to his friends and sympathy for those who have suffered like he has.
  • Achilles' Heel: An emotional one. His childhood rape ordeal has been shown to be the one time that Guts showed a truly emotionally vulnerable side to his personality. Luckily, he had Casca to help heal his mental wounds, and he was genuinely getting better... until this side to his past was cruelly exploited during the Eclipse.
  • Accidental Hero: Guts has been put through the wringer so many times that he mostly expresses apathy towards the suffering of strangers (unless they were nice to him), and as such prioritizes defending only those close to him. This doesn't stop him from actually saving innocent civilians from the brink of death, mind you, as evidenced in The Lost Children arc's conclusion. Yes, he caused the deaths of many children (who were turned into demons) alongside massive property damage, but in the end, not only rescued an entire village from the threat of further harm by the Apostle Rosine and her demonic fairies (not that they were grateful for it), he also unintentionally turned Jill into an Anti-Nihilist by displaying enough redeeming qualities in front of her despite his overall harsh outlook on life.
  • Action Dad: An ultimate badass and father to a weird, supernatural offspring that he refuses to acknowledge as his child.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Multiple, throughout all adaptations of Guts' story. Though, some explanations are more vital to the plot than others.
    • Guts' rape by Donovan doesn't happen at all in the 90's anime series, so while it remains understandable why he still has issues trusting other people (since they retained most of the aspects of his backstory concerning Gambino), it doesn't explain why he still Hates Being Touched by others.
    • In the Golden Age Arc anime, his relationship with the rest of the Band of the Hawk is hollowed out to the point where many of the heartwarming or otherwise brotherly moments Guts shares with them are excised. A particularly egregious instance of this comes in how his introspective chat with Casca, concerning how utterly inspired and amazed he is at the Hawks' determination to lay down their lives for the sake of a dream, is completely gone from the films, so the reasons for his leaving the Band of the Hawk come off as more arbitrary than anything else.
    • In the manga, when Guts walks into the inn where the thugs are throwing knives at Puck, he kills a bunch of them in cold blood and spares the last as a messenger because he's in town to challenge the local Apostle, and wants to provoke him into fighting by attacking his men. In the 2016 anime the thugs have nothing to do with any Apostle, and he picks a fight with them ostensibly just for standing in his way to the bar, and just smacks the hell out of them with his prosthetic cannon arm instead of using his crossbow or his giant sword. In both versions there's an alternate character interpretation that he wanted to make them stop tormenting Puck and Isidro, and was just hiding his altruism behind a selfish excuse, but the 2016 show makes it look like he's either more altruistic than in the manga, or just more pointlessly violent.
    • Continuing the trend of the 2016 show, unlike in the manga, Puck joins Guts only the night before his encounter with the Iron Chain Knights. It's less clear why Puck continues to follow Guts or why Guts tolerates him, since Puck hasn't had time to see past Guts' front, and Guts hasn't had time to warm up to him. It's also puzzling how Guts could have survived so many wounds or kept his sanity for two years without his company, since in the manga Puck's fairy dust saved him from death several times, and he acted as Guts' Morality Chain.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Inverted just a tad in the 90's anime series; Guts' traumatic rape at the hands of Donovan is removed from the show. Thus certain events that were a lot more angst-driven in the original manga play out in a much healthier fashion, especially when Guts and Casca affirm their relationship as lovers. In the original manga, Guts nearly chokes out Casca while flashing back to his rape, but in the show, nothing of the sort happens. Notably, in the Golden Age Arc film series, Guts doesn't experience flashbacks while having sex with Casca either, even though in that series his rape by Donovan did occur.
  • Adaptational Badass: The Golden Age Arc film series elevates Guts' fighting prowess far beyond his depiction in the original manga. Case in point, in the film series he manages to defeat General Boscogne without the need for help from Zodd, and during the Eclipse, manages to break through one of Griffith's Deflector Shields through sheer willpower, much to the surprise of the Godhand. In the original manga, Guts couldn't even reach Griffith before being held down by a ton of Apostles, and in subsequent confrontations, is never even able to remain in close proximity to Griffith before getting stopped in his tracks.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the 2016 anime series, Guts as the Black Swordsman is noticeably less sadistic and amoral than he was in the manga.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the 2016 anime, Guts is caught by the Holy Iron Chain Knights the same way he was in the manga, but the harrowing fight against Rosine in the manga that left him too exhausted and injured to properly swing his sword when he fights the H.I.C.K.s is replaced with a less intense fight against skeletons, a possessed dead girl and a demonic tree. That gives him a shallow sword thrust in the abdomen and a tree root which pierces his side pretty deeply so that it bleeds while he's fighting the H.I.C.K.s, but considering how Made of Iron he's supposed to be, it isn't as convincing as how Rosine repeatedly blew him off his feet, ran him through with her proboscis, and dropped him from hundreds of feet in the air, so that the show makes it look as though a lot less was needed to take him down.
    • Something similar happens in Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, where Rosine is again written out and we're expected to believe a fight with random mooks is enough to exhaust him.
  • Adaptive Armor: The Berserker armor reflects the Enemy Within of its wearer, and when it takes Guts over it manifests a helmet in the shape of the Beast of Darkness's head and covers his arms in armor. Its serrated visor and bevor can open and close to function as a mouth, he can use his prosthetic as a functioning arm, and he can fire his Arm Cannon without needing to pull the trigger cord.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Inverted. Many of the abominations admire or respect him instead. At least two members of the God Hand express some level of admiration for his pure determination and many of the more powerful Apostles wish to fight him simply because they view him as the only opponent worthy of them.
  • Afraid of Needles: Guts is a guy who's Covered with Scars, Made of Iron, and whose ultimate attack is flinging himself into a horde of barbaric and often demonic enemies with his BFS and raw, Unstoppable Rage (and he has this pesky scar that burns whenever a demon approaches him) no matter what they throw at him (be it stingers, arrows, horns, rock-like appendages, fire, lightning, or entire TREES why don't you)... and yet, he hates getting sewn up with needles after the fact. And he'll cry and whine all the way through.
  • All-Encompassing Mantle: Whenever out on the open road, he's often seen draped in his iconic black cape until the next hostile comes along.
  • Allergic to Evil: Guts' accursed brand will bleed or hurt whenever an Apostle is nearby. It only gets worse if a Godhand is near, and may even kill him. Casca shares the same reaction with her own brand.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Notably averted. Out of all the male characters in the series, he is among the very few for whom sex is only a tertiary motivation at best, and he remains staunchly faithful to his Love Interest. He also scolds himself when he briefly thinks about having his way with Casca while she laid unconscious during one of their early missions.
    • It's worth noting that the one time we've seen Guts having any sort of sexual contact with someone besides Casca (or his childhood rapist) is actually with the same Female Apostle that ate Corkus, right before he blows her head off. Considering who it was, it could be that he simply wanted to give her an Ironic Death. And since this did happen at the very beginning of the first chapter, Early Installment Weirdness is another possible explanation. The opening scene also makes a lot more sense if you replace Guts with the Beast of Darkness, as then it becomes completely in character.
  • Always Save the Girl: As always with his sheer Determinator status, Guts will go to any lengths to keep Casca safe, even if it means allowing hundreds of partially-innocent bystanders to die.
  • Amazon Chaser:
    • Guts chose Casca as his lover because she was able to fight on par with him.
    • Exploited later on by the Beast of Darkness during a Dream Sequence. The Beast capitalized on Guts' penchant for Action Girls to contend that, since Casca is now helpless, there's no point in keeping her near. Guts won't be able to love her the way she is now and she can't even love him back. So he'd better get rid of her to focus on getting revenge.
  • Ambiguously Human: By the time of the Millennium Falcon arc, it becomes clear that something has happened to Guts. He displays borderline supernatural resilience to pain and wounds, is far stronger than any mortal should ever be, and effectively exists as a walking anomaly in the Low Fantasy world of Berserk. Exposure to demonic fluids and being Branded may have something to do with it, as Scheirke notes that part of the reason why the Dragonslayer works on spiritual entities like Trolls is that it's essentially covered in the remains of spiritual demonic refuse, so it's possible that it's affecting Guts in the same way. The Skull Knight posits that thanks to Guts managing to survive his fated death in the Eclipse, he's caught in the Interstice between the material plane and the astral plane, essentially granting him the ability to (at least to some degree) disrupt the flow of causality.
  • An Axe to Grind: Defied. When Schierke first distributed all the enchanted paraphernalia to Guts's companions, he declines to take the battle axe she had offered to him, preferring to stick with his trusty giant heap of raw iron.
  • Animal Motifs: Canids. He gets compared to them in several ways at different points in the story:
    • On the night that Gambino tried to kill Guts, he compared him to a puppy that had started following him unbidden, and said that the one who killed Sys couldn't be raised to be loyal like a dog. That same night, Guts was nearly killed by but fought off a pack of wolves, implying some kind of spiritual connection with them (or if you interpret it differently, the fact that he would struggle against the wolf-like or feral side of his personality).
    • As a 15 year old mercenary, just before Griffith took him into the Band of the Hawk, he was like a lone wolf who refused to answer to anybody or let anyone get close to him.
    • A rabid dog, according to Casca, back when they would bicker in their younger years;
    • A Hell Hound, according to the form of his Enemy Within;
    • A wolf for his lupine-ish features, his wolf-like armor and his wolfish personality and attitude, since he relates to his companions quite the same way a wolf leader relates to its pack;
    • A regular guard dog due to his unswerving loyalty and protectiveness towards his lover and the ones he considers a part of his "pack." In episode 348 he appears in Casca's dream as a battered hound missing his right eye and left foreleg, and with the brand of sacrifice on his neck; dragging a coffin by a chain around his neck—and all the while, he is tormented by the monstrous creatures that present in Casca's mental world. When confronted by a giant black hawk embodying Femto, the dog equips the Berserker armor from Farnese's dream.
  • Anime Hair: Averted. Guts has the spikiest hair in the series, but when it gets wet, it noticeably droops down until it's dry again (which doesn't happen in the next panel).
  • Anti-Hero: He'd fall into Nominal Hero, but the inner workings of his morality changes over the course of the story. Before his time with the Hawks, he comes across as an apathetic young sellsword, having long discarded what little idealism he may have had as a child following years of cruel upbringing. Then he loses his bid, becomes a respectable mercenary, and regains some of that idealism back thanks to spending time with good people he learns to value as family. After Griffith's betrayal, he swears undying hatred toward Apostles, giving birth to the vengeance-driven Black Swordsman — and along with it, the corrupting toll inside his mind, almost shattering his entire humanity and reducing him to a Sociopathic Hero. He gets better again after gaining new companions.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Guts is a very cynical man living in a bleak, dark world, but that doesn't mean he's willing to just lay down and surrender himself to its whims. Far from it. He's spent the majority of his existence struggling against the odds, even before he was properly born, and it's this ridiculous willpower along with his extreme battle prowess that drive him to reject his "destined fate" of dying at the hands of demons, instead determined to live and go by his own rules. It should be noted, however, that it took him quite a lot of Character Development to be the kind of Determinator he is now. See Straw Nihilist down below.
  • Appropriated Appellation: He was named Guts because he was found beneath the hanged corpse of his mother when he was an infant. The name was literally given to him as a sick joke, but it turned out to be way more fitting than intended. See Meaningful Name below.
  • Arm Cannon: Manages to be both versions of the trope. His Arm houses a cannon he can use when needed, and he can also mount a crossbow on top of it.
  • Artifact of Doom:
    • He's been carrying around the Count's Behelit ever since Volume 2, and comments made by a horde of ghosts and Slan of the Godhand imply ownership of it has somehow transferred to him and that — if he so chose — he could use it to become an Apostle. However, Guts outright rejects doing so despite Slan attempting to break his will through torture and telling him it would give him the power to strike down Griffith.
    • His sword is also in the process of becoming one due to it constantly being used to kill supernatural beings. It has developed what is described as a thirst for their essence, implying it has actually gained a spirit of its own.
    • His Berserker armor is cursed to slowly kill its wearer the more they use it, driving them insane with bloodlust and pushing them past their physical limits until they bleed dry. It was given to him as a last resort due to the cursed wound Slan left on his soul, but it allows the the Beast of Darkness to take control of him and the armor. Its creator Hanarr tells Guts that owning the armor doesn't mean he’s mastered it, suggesting that it is possible for Guts the rein in the worst effects of the Berserker Armor.
  • Artificial Limbs: After losing his left arm, Guts replaced it with a multi-purpose prosthetic. It has a built-in magnet that allows it to grip a sword, it can be used to mount a repeating crossbow, and it has a miniature cannon built into it. It's also handy for punching people. Hard.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Somewhat. He definitely doesn't ascend to godhood ala Griffith, but surviving past his fated death at the Eclipse put him in the Interstice between the material and astral planes of existence. According to the Skull Knight, this gives him the unique ability to rail against causality itself and fight back against his supposedly "determined" fate. Even then, this isn't foolproof—Guts is described by the Godhand as akin to "a fish that can leap out of the water," indicating that while he may be able to break the rules every now and again, he can't always bank on Screw Destiny to get him out of a scrap. After Griffith crosses over the material and astral planes together, it's implied that all of humanity has now crossed over, and joined Guts as being part of the Interstice.
  • Aside Glance: Guts does a silent one to the audience after killing the succubus in chapter one. It's a final warning before the story truly begins.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: His name is Guts. You simply have to be badass to live up to a name like that.
  • Ax-Crazy: When his inner beast takes over, no-one is safe from his rip and tear of doom. Even before that Guts himself has had issues in controlling his homicidal urges towards others and even starts to take delight in his constant murdering of many dark beings and to an extent some humans as well. This is slowly lampshaped by the Beast of Darkness, who attempts to corrupt Guts' mind and will often try to turn him into a ruthless savage that likes to kill for no real reason other than to satisfy his bloodlust. Now with the Berserker Armor which has Guts fighting to the fullest extent of his strength the armor often neglects all of his restraints especially his mental limiters which can cause him to attack wildly in an animalistic rampage. Luckily Guts has enough control over himself that he is just barley able to maintain his humanity through constantly battling with his inner demons along with many of his new comrades and especially Casca aiding him in order for him to not go down the wrong path.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Guts is a Blood KnightNominal Hero who kills without hesitation, isn't particularly concerned with collateral damage, and often plays up his Jerkass characteristics in front of others. But deep down he's got a Hidden Heart of Gold, and when push comes to shove, he's fully capable of expressing gratitude, compassion, kindness, and nobility. Getting the Berserker armor enables Guts to reach his fullest potential, at risk of turning him into a mindless beast with only bloodshed on the mind. Guts himself is quite afraid of losing his humanity and bringing harm to those close to him because of it.
  • Badass Adorable: Guts was a pretty cute kid when he was a Child Soldier who could hold his own pretty well on the battlefield.
  • Badass Bandolier: So many straps around his chest, iconic of a '90s Anti-Hero.
  • Badass Baritone: Damn, even his voice is badass! And it was shown (or rather, heard) in the anime that Guts went through some major puberty at around age 14 or 15 since he already has a deep voice by then. It just adds to the sexiness.
  • Badass Cape: For all purposes. Dramatic effect, blanket, protecting Casca from the cold, deflecting arrows (yes)...
  • Badass Creed: His sword's description counts, as it's oft-repeated by people who can't believe he can actually USE the damn thing. "A giant hunk of raw iron" indeed...
  • Badass in Distress: Happens surprisingly often over the course of the series. Sometimes even the ultimate badass gets in a position he just can't escape from on his own. It's usually Puck who needs to come to the rescue with his healing dust, even a couple of times before they actually meet.
  • Badass Normal: Up until he was marked with the Brand of Sacrifice, Guts was only human but was capable of cutting through armored soldiers like butter. He pushed himself to the point he could spar with an (albeit reckless) Apostle without any magic.
  • Badass Transplant: Not only does his magnetic arm have a crossbow in it, it can change into an arm cannon!
  • Barbarian Hero: Guts might not be a straight historic example of a barbarian, but he sure fights like one. He has the big, crude sword, muscled, can defeat magical enemies and monsters with zero magic, and is a Lightning Bruiser. Also insinuated by Guts himself that although he is not the most morally upstanding guy, he had more standards than the other mercenary crews that he hung around, making him that white sheep in a bad barbarian band. To end, Word of God said that part of Guts's character was based off of Rutger Hauger's character in the movie Flesh And Blood.
  • Battle Couple: Fought 100 men back to back with Casca, which is when they started to get closer. After the Relationship Upgrade they rescued Griffith while fighting side by side.
  • Because I'm Good at It: Guts reveals to Casca that his inclination to engage in bloody battles stems primarily from his background of being raised on the battlefield, amongst mercenaries and swordsmen. He admits his addiction to fighting isn't so much that he's good at it (even though he is) as it is because the act of fighting for his life is what his whole existence has been founded upon.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: It isn't really as hard as you would imagine to get on his good side. All you have to do is treat him like a normal human being. It doesn't happen very often and it's kind of hard when he's in a bad mood.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The usual dynamics between him and Casca pre-Eclipse.
  • Berserk Button:
    • He Hates Being Touched, as Puck quickly finds out. Only Casca is allowed to do that — see below. As well as many of his friends from the Hawks as well as Griffith before the Eclipse, but reverts back to this soon afterwards. Though after gaining many new allies they become the only people allowed to do so.
    • Never ever mention the Band of the Hawk post-Eclipse especially if you're an Apostle and claiming to be it's newest member. Grundbeld learned that the hard way.
    • The mere sight of post-Eclipse Griffith/Femto will drive him into such a rage to where not even his closest allies can stop him from attacking his former friend. Meeting the other members of the Godhand incurs the same reaction from him.
    • Don't try to hurt Casca in front of him, especially her post-eclipse self before she came back to her senses, unless you wish to die.
  • The Berserker: Guts has mastered the art of harnessing his rage into a focused state of mind during combat, blocking all other thoughts (such as fear) that could jeopardize his effectiveness, which then allows him to become a nigh-unstoppable Juggernaut. This fighting style has served him very well, especially when faced against the ruthless onslaught of an Apostle where even a tiny fraction of conscience/hesitation could spell his own doom and his Berserker Armor enhances this further by facilitating Guts's body to withstand past human limitations by numbing any wounds he would receive to keep fighting at his maximal potential. However it does come as a price (aside from not being aware that lethal wounds might have been received) in that his Beast of Darkness always threatening to take over which would cause him to start attacking everything, friend and foes alike in an berserker rage, until he's either dead or the last one standing on the battlefield. Also deconstructed in that he acknowledges how much his battle-crazed moments possess a danger to innocents and the people close to him, a dilemma he wrestles with every day. He even provides the trope's main page's image, just for proof of all of this, for fuck's sake!
  • Berserker Tears: Twice. Once upon seeing what Griffith has been turned into upon his imprisonment. The other one when being unable to save Casca from her demon rape at Femto's hands.
  • BFS: Guts has always specialized in two-handed swords, but his most iconic example is the Dragonslayer, Guts's primary weapon against the Apostles and the Godhand, which is more of a metal slab than a true sword — and he can swing it like a mere knife.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A remarkable number of times, he has showed up at the last possible minute to dramatically rescue some person or group in distress.
  • The Big Guy: Guts towers over most of the people he fights alongside and most folk he meets. Only Pippin was taller than him back in his younger days... and now, he's actually surpassed the dude! Guts' official guidebook stats currently lists him at 204 cm (6 ft, 8 in), outmatching Pippin's 190 cm (6 ft, 3 in). Aside from wielding a very large weapon, he doesn't depend on his physical strength much (since he's not seen punching boulders in half), instead preferring to use his ridiculous speed and agility to get within attacking distance, while dodging or enduring whatever the giant demons throw at him in the meantime.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Big eyebrows make him look masculine and tough.
  • Black Bug Room: Guts has a space where every single bad emotion and memory is stored in his mind. Puck and Schierke ventured into his inner mind only to be bombarded with horrific images of the Eclipse. After going there, they both understand why Guts is so pissed off. The Beast also hangs out in the same district.
  • Black Knight: Played with. After the Eclipse he becomes the mysterious and feared Black Swordsman, but he's actually The Hero and has a bone to pick with a knight who wears all white, Griffith. Although he would have been properly knighted if he had stayed with the Hawks after the battle of Doldrey, he missed that chance, and when Azan addresses him as a knight Guts claims that he never was one, only a mercenary.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Downplayed. He lost only one of his eyes, but now Guts must face having no right visual field AND the matter of depth perception... But he seems to have taken care of that through hearing. Nice compensation.
  • Blood Knight: Guts has been taught since childhood the ways of the sword, and as such was stuck just going through the motions and living his life as a warrior well into his early adult years. During his time with the Band of the Hawk, great emphasis is brought on how Guts finds himself enjoying the thrill of fighting much more than the mundanity of living because fighting is literally all he knows and that he would once commit his life to battling and to swing his sword around against those who meet him in combat. He takes this to a very disturbing level during his time as the Black Swordsman where he makes use of fighting as a coping mechanism to make up from the death of his comrades as he begins to display a crueler nature and acts very sadistic towards whomever he meets during his revenge spree. However this proves to be one of Guts's main issues as the reveal of the Beast of Darkness becomes prominent within him and attempts to take advantage so his violent tendencies by filling Guts's head with gruesome images in order for him to succumb to the darkness within him.
  • Book Dumb: Needless to say, Guts might not be prim and proper, tends to leap beforehe looks, and may not be as well-learned in the arts and literature as Griffith (given the medieval setting and the fact that he spent his entire life in mercenary companies, it is doubtful he even knows how to read), but the guy is far from dumb, being quite cunning, strategic, quick-witted, and yes, even poetic.
  • Born from a Dead Woman: He was found on the ground below the corpse of his mother after she was hanged. This set the tone for the rest of his life.
  • Born Unlucky: He was born out of the womb of a dead woman, and those around him have considered him cursed ever since. Considering the trajectory of his life, that argument isn't without merit.
  • Break the Badass: Again, something that Guts isn't immune to. Encountering Nosferatu Zodd for the first time left him horrified, and the events of the Eclipse broke him even more.
  • Break the Cutie: His childhood was one big Break the Cutie ordeal for him. By all accounts, he was a fairly nice kid who wanted to please his surrogate father. It did not end well. At all.
  • Bridal Carry: Scoops up a battle-exhausted and initially bashful Casca in his arms after the Battle of Doldrey so that he can carry her to see Griffith. It says much about the romantic significance of this gesture that although he's given piggyback rides to other females who needed carrying, such as Princess Charlotte, Casca is the only one that he ever swept off her feet like this.
  • Broken Ace: He is the best chance humanity has to defend itself from Apostles, whether he knows it or not. But he's gone through some of the worst things any anime protagonist has ever suffered through, and has been molded into a cynical and melancholic warrior driven by his inner turmoil.
  • Broken Bird: Textbook case during the Golden Age Arc — right down to lashing out physically during his breakdown. Fast forward to his Black Swordsman days and he's become a cynical, cold, uncaring revenge-driven monster after the events he witnessed.
  • Broken Pedestal: Guts greatly admired Griffith's drive to become his own self-made man and tried to emulate him in hopes of eventually becoming his equal and, in turn, a true friend. Unfortunately, Griffith's Transhuman Treachery during the Eclipse drove a massive wedge in their relationship and the two are now bitter enemies. Guts later comes to realize that Griffith is the kind of person who will always want more power even after he gets as much as he originally wanted.
  • Brutal Honesty: When he chews people out, he really twists the knife with his words. Unlike Griffith, who uses honeyed words to manipulate others, Guts is more prone to giving bitingly honest and harsh criticisms to people he's none too fond of.
  • Byronic Hero: Morally neutral? Check. Largely concerned with personal interests? Yes, indeed. Disrespect of common authority? Oh, yeah. Defined by conflict, inner and outer? Definitely. Introspective loner? Affirmative. Guilty of horrible crimes? Yyyyep. Intelligent? He may not be educated, but he is NOT stupid. An exile? From more than one place. Cynical and self destructive? Uh-huh. Not such a good idea to hang around him? Oh, boy...
  • The Captain: He was Captain of the Hawks' Raiders. And besides, "Captain Guts" has such a nice ring to it.
  • Can't Catch Up: Despite being an uber-powerhouse the likes of which literally every other human in the story can't compare, when put up against Griffith and the Godhand, Guts barely counts as a legitimate threat.
  • Character Development: A big part of Berserk's draw on readers is how much its protagonist's personality stays in motion and changes over time, not just in a straight path but going through all sorts of ups and downs. He's first shown to be an uber-masculine powerhouse of rampant demon-slaying destruction, a virtual '90s Anti-Hero with little concern for others who get in his way and a vicious determination to slay all monsters in his path. And then he cries. What follows is a lengthy flashback detailing just what made this guy the way he is, seeing him change from a broody loner who cares for nothing but the thrill of battles and money to a reflective dreamer who seeks out what he wants to actually do with his life beyond fighting and killing. And then the Eclipse happens... completing his descent into the Sociopathic Hero from the series' opening chapters. And still he grows, now sacrificing his vengeful intent towards the divine entities that made his life so terrible in the first place, opting to use his life to defend the only person he has ever truly romantically loved. He's an Anti-Hero, a Sociopathic Hero, a Byronic Hero, and a Nominal Hero all in one.
  • Characterization Marches On: Would you believe Guts was even more brutal than he is now back in the earlier chapters of Berserk? He displayed bouts of sadism far and beyond anything we'd see of his present self, and even indulged in bouts of masochism as a way to get himself pumped for a fight. There was also that one instance where he slept with a she-Apostle before blowing her head up despite being characterized as staunchly faithful to Casca, but that's up for debate since his Enemy Withinmight have had something to do with it...
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: More powerful than any human, at least pound-for-pound, Guts seems to have learned it due to his Training from Hell and from his horrific experiences during the Eclipse rather than getting any explicit superpowers, although there’s enough that’s strange about him (from the circumstances of his birth to his peculiar relationship with destiny) to hint at something more.
  • Chick Magnet: While he's initially overshadowed by expert lady killer Griffith during the Golden Age Arc, the series sees him gradually attract a large number of female admirers despite his not even trying to get or wanting the attention. Causes vary from his handsome looks, badassitude, hidden vulnerability, sense of ideals, blunt candor, capacity for rage and violence, capacity for kindness, or some combination of the above. At the ball to celebrate the recapture of Doldrey he gets surrounded by curious noblewomen, and has to suddenly excuse himself to avoid the hassle. At that time he loved Casca and left the Band of the Hawk thinking he didn't have a chance with her, but upon his return she chose him instead of Griffith. The Eclipse ruined what they had, but that was just the beginning of Guts' lady trouble. There has been a substantial number of teenage girls with a Precocious Crush on him, including Colette, a priest's daughter, Jill, an abused village girl, and Schierke, a witch-in-training. Even the villains can't keep their hands off him: Rosine, the fairy-like Apostle who considers Guts to be her rival for Jill's affections, mockingly flirts with him and acknowledges his handsomeness as she prepares to kill him. Slan, the member of the Godhand whose domain is lust, captures and tortures him for her sadomasochistic pleasure. Farnese, a Knight Templar leader of the Holy Iron Chain Knights, started as his enemy but pulled a Heel–Face Turn and became his follower after seeing her faith in the Vatican rendered hollow in the face of his ability to survive in a world of demons. Now she practically worships the ground he walks on, and despite her genuine care for Casca is jealous of Guts' love for her. All of this ignores the attraction that Guts has inspired in men, including his childhood rapist Donovan, and Griffith, whose feelings for Guts might not have been completely platonic.
  • Child Soldier: He was trained as a mercenary since age six.
  • Children Forced to Kill: He fought his first battle at age nine, which is when he made his first kill.
  • Choice of Two Weapons: His big fucking swords, primarily the Dragonslayer and, later, his Arm Cannon/repeating crossbow is added to his arsenal.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Yes, he has all the traits of a modern Anti-Hero, but Character Development has mellowed him into a very melancholic Classical example. During the journey to Elfhelm, he catches himself struggling with some severe self-doubt in terms of if he'll ever be able to cure Casca's insanity (and that's assuming nothing goes wrong with her when she does), if he'll overcome his monstrous Enemy Within, and if he'll ever get his revenge against Griffith.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Due in part to his Single-Target Sexuality, Guts really doesn't care to acknowledge the effects he has on females.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: After being broken and turned into a near-soulless husk of pure rage by the horrible events of the Eclipse, he starts sending the pain right back. Knowing that what would definitely kill normal humans only hurts the Apostles, he pulls absolutely no punches. Particularly, the Baron, whom he riddles with crossbow bolts after rendering him crippled and helpless, and the Count, whom he stabs dozens of times in the face until his knife breaks off.

    Guts: Amazing! No wonder you're higher than us humans — you don't know how to fucking die!

  • The Comically Serious: Guts usually remains straight-faced and serious, even while putting up with the humorous antics of his companions.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Guts did this a lot during the Golden Age Arc, especially after meeting Griffith and the Hawks. Once he realized the importance of having a goal of your own to strive for beyond living out your life simply because you were born into it, he became much more introspective and thoughtful of his place in the world. In fact, when they first met, Griffith posited that Guts' unreasonable recklessness in the heat of battle was merely Guts' way of searching for value in his own existence.
  • The Corruptible: Whenever he is under the influence of his Enemy Within, the Beast, his very soul is in grave danger, not just the people around him.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Works himself to the bone to defy being this. As one who carries the Brand of Sacrifice, Apostles and other supernatural creatures are gunning for him every night.
  • Covered with Scars: With the amount of punishment that Guts regularly takes at the hands of his demonic enemies, he's accumulated quite a few scars over his career, including a missing eye and forearm. Upon donning the Berserker armor and defending his allies from Grunbeld, he's covered in minute scars all across his body that sting him, though these eventually heal. Later, the burns he received from Ganishka's lightning are so extensive that when he gets a fever, he is in agony from being unable to sweat out the excess heat.
  • Combat Pragmatist: From setting himself on fire to holding Dragonslayer in place with his teeth and metal arm, Guts will do whatever it takes to win in a fight no matter how underhanded or unconventional it may seem.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Another one of his defining characteristics as the Black Swordsman, particularly when dealing with children. Guts is cynically aware of the fact that "shielded innocence" bears no fruit in the setting, hence why he never sugarcoats any of his words/actions in front of a child, no matter how traumatizing. He also knows all too well that hanging around him for long would inevitably lead only to trouble, so he acts cold and dismissive for the kids' own good. One notable example is from that time he and (then newly-acquainted) Isidro were being chased by a pack of wagon wheel demons. He orders Isidro to get off the road and head towards rocky terrain where the wheels cannot follow, but the stubborn boy refuses. This prompts Guts to take matters into his own hands by tossing Isidro down a steep slope, so that the boy gets bruised and battered from tumbling to the bottom but is at least removed from the pursuing demons' path.
  • Crusading Widower: Guts fits this role since the Hawks were the closest thing to a family he ever had and he and Casca were life partners.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Guts Used to Be a Sweet Kid. After Gambino sold him to child prostitution and Donovan raped him, Guts started to lose his innocence (as if living day to day by killing people wasn't enough of a stressor), this loss of innocence finally solidified when Gambino, having lost his leg in battle and no longer able to fight or lead his men on the battlefield, got massively drunk and attempted to murder him and Guts was forced to kill him out of self-defense.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Such a shitload of this it's no wonder he's so fucked up. For starters, he was born from the corpse of a hanged woman. And that's just the beginning.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Sort of; he is known as "Black Swordsman," is the Anti-Hero, and can't be called purely evil, but his Enemy Within is another story.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Quite understandably, Guts couldn't bear the weight of his agony after the nightmarish events of the Eclipse and was able to vent out his despair the only way a Blood Knight like him could have done—a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Griffith and every Apostle in his path. By doing this, however, he abandoned Casca to wallow in her insanity for two long years when he could've stayed by her side and tended to her condition. Upon realizing this, he made a huge turn-around and dedicated himself to protecting her no matter the cost.
  • Darth Vader Clone: Similar to Griffith, he shares some aspects of the Dark Lord of the Sith which is no surprise since the creator of the manga is a fan of Star Wars. He had an unusual birth, his mother is dead, he was trained as a young child to become a warrior, is a deeply troubled warrior in a Badass Cape wielding a mighty blade who killed his mentor and father figure, almost strangled the woman he loves and the mother of his child/children during a Unstoppable Rage and eventually got encased in scary black armour and Cool Helmet which effects his health and makes him lose his humanity over time and uses a prosthetic arm. Except that while Vader is The Dragon, Guts is The Hero of this story.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's got quite the acid tongue, especially towards people that get on his nerves... of which there are a lot, so expect your regular dosage of verbal beatdowns from ol' Guts along with the physical ones. Take this little gem from chapter 123, where he mocks Farnese's (then) blind religious faith as she cowers in silence at the attacking demons:

    Guts: Why shy away at the good part? If you're so spiritual, you could at least gimme one of those lines. Like, "Dear God!"

  • Death Glare: Most visible expression after his perpetual frown. Still, you'd much rather want to see this than his Slasher Smile.
  • Declaration of Protection: After Guts puts his Roaring Rampage of Revenge on hold, his top priority is to protect Casca above all else.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Guts embodies quite a lot of Shōnen characteristics seen in many well-known characters in manga and anime. But what separates him from those characters is just how thorough an examination the story gives on those traits. His refusal to give up no matter the cost has more or less put his body through so much physical torture that the only thing keeping him from dying is dumb luck or sheer willpower. His extreme devotion to his loved onesseverely outweighs any concern for other people. His love of fighting is takentoitslogicalconclusion. And finally, his Dark and Troubled Past, while having molded him into one of the most proficient warriors in-universe, has granted him WAY more baggage than he can emotionally handle.
  • Default to Good: Remember that when Guts was introduced as a lone teen mercenary, he was hired by the army that was aiming to bring down the fort that the Hawks were defending, and they actually lost because Guts was on the enemy side. Fortunately for Griffith and his gang, Guts was not aligned to either Midland or Tudor and just went where the money was. So when Guts lost his first fight against Griffith, swearing him over to the Hawks and their cause, Midland gained a big advantage, as having Guts fighting with the Big Good turned to tide of the war.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: He and Griffith became friends after Griffith defeated him in battle.
  • Defiled Forever: Guts serves as a Rare Male Example for yet another part of his traumatic and shitty childhood.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Guts is all too willing to put his body through harrowing scenarios if that means he'll get a one-up on the enemy he's currently facing. This is especially seen in his fight with Rosine, where he deliberately sets himself aflame to burn away the Apostles gnawing at his flesh, and when he allows Rosine to impale his arm so he can fire his Arm Cannon at point-blank range against her abdomen.
  • Demon Slaying: As the Black Swordsman, Guts had devoted himself to annihilating the Apostles and Godhand.
  • Dented Iron: While he's practically a One-Man Army, Guts never makes it through a fight unscathed. Over the course of the series, he becomes Covered with Scars, and he's lost his right eye and left hand. Eventually, he's forced to wear the Berserker Armor every day to prevent a mystical wound from killing him, taking it off only to have his day-to-day injuries treated. It's gotten to the point where his scars prevent him from sweating.
  • Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life: When he was a lad, all he cared about was the next fight, disregarding any sense of purpose or concern in anything except his own continued survival. Yet he, on some level, wanted to validate his existence in some fashion, which is why he risked his life in often needlessly reckless ways just to feel alive. Seeing how Griffith and the Band of the Hawk were all connected to each other through their own dreams and aspirations, Guts began to question what he himself wanted to do with his own life, concluding that the only way to find out was to go off on his own and do some soul-searching...which Griffith wasn't happy about. This would haunt Guts for the rest of his life. After things went From Bad to Worse, Guts eventually did find a purpose of his own: the ruination of Griffith, the Godhand, and all Apostles.
  • Destructive Savior: He's an overlap with Walking Disaster Area.
  • Detect Evil: Guts' brand sends him a jolt of pain any time evil spirits are near. This allows him to always know when they try to attack him and has helped him survive wandering around for years thwarting attacks from spirits at night.
  • Determinator: The absolute pinnacle of this trope. If he's not dead, whatever he's fighting is going to be, even if he's only got his teeth left to do the deed.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: His ultimate goal is to kill Griffith. The Apostles and the Godhand as well, by extension. While he's nowhere near as strong as he needs to be to defeat all of them, he has managed to directly harm Slan while in Qliphoth. She reacted rather...orgasmically. Also, he has defeated the Sea God, which is the closest thing to an actual Cthulhu the series has.
  • Disappeared Dad: We know what happened to his birth mother,his adoptive mother, and his adoptive father... so where is Guts's real daddy at??? If we had to guess, probably on the next branch over.
  • Doom Magnet: There's an 8.5 out of 10 chance that any place that Guts steps in will be brought down to rubble and gore. And that's before his brand made him a supernatural's bullseye.
  • Doorstop Baby: A rather dark version of this trope. A newborn Guts was found under the hung corpse of his mother, umbilical cord still attached. For a moment his discoverers (a band of mercenaries) thought he was a stillbirth... until their leader knocked him out of the arms of his girlfriend who went and picked him up, knocking baby Guts into a puddle and making him cry. And it's all downhill from there...
  • The Dreaded: Typical pre-Eclipse reaction: "It's Guts: the Hundred-Man Slayer!Run!!" Typical post-Eclipse reaction: "What? The Black Swordsman is here? Oh god, NO!"
    • Puck and Isidro poked fun at this after part of his hair turned white after he dons the Berserker Armor by calling him the Almost-Black Swordsman and Slightly White Swordman.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: The Berserker armor is incredibly powerful, but since it runs the risk of destroying Guts' sanity as well as a good amount of his other senses, he can't bank on it too often when fights get too tough. Plus, despite its raw power, there's still no chance of Guts ever catching up to Griffith in a fight.
  • Dramatic Irony: Guts wholeheartedly believed Griffith when the latter claimed to Charlotte that none of the Hawks were his equals, but never realized from how much Griffith allowed Guts to see his ugly side and confided in him that Griffith subconsciously prioritized him above even his dream. Guts tragically realizes this too late, right before the Eclipse starts.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Zigzagged since it was more of an internal conflict than an external one, as Guts had made a name for himselfthrough his exploits with the Hawks. The conflict came from the fact that no matter what he did, Guts always felt that he was beneath Griffith, especially after overhearing Griffith's speech about what he deemed as a true friend: someone who goes after their dreams and doesn't blindly follow the dreams of others, someone who is equal to him. What Guts really wanted to gain out of leaving the Hawks was to someday reach a level that was the same as Griffith's so that they could then be true friends. It's really sad when you think about it that way, since none of that came true after he left.

    Tropes E-H 

  • Earn Your Title: He's called the Hundred Man Slayer after fighting alone against a hundred men and winning.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Due to being marked with the Brand of Sacrifice, Guts exists in the Interstice between the world of the living and the Astral Realm, letting him interact and fight with supernatural beings. There's also the matter of his Berserker armor.
  • Empty Shell: Guts at first desperately tries to cope with life after the Eclipse, but despairs once he finally grasps the depth of the damage Griffith had inflicted upon his relationship with Casca. He then becomes so driven by sorrow that he even admits that literally the only thing keeping him from just giving up is his burning hatred. It's only when Guts realizes that pursuing his revenge has led to him abandoning the only person capable of opening his heart to compassion and kindness that he completely turns around, and dedicates himself wholly to protecting Casca.
  • Enemy Within: Guts' intense hatred and bloodlust coalesce in the shape of the Beast, a monstrous dog-like creature with zigzag-shaped eyes and More Teeth than the Osmond Family, which attempt to persuade him to cast aside his newfound happiness and dedicate himself to vengeance.
  • Epic Battle Boredom: Killing fifty mooks was nothing to him - he had to take it up a notch! And we're not necessarily talking about humans here...
  • Establishing Character Moment: Guts gets a different one depending on the adaptation:
    • In the manga, the very first thing he does is have sex with an Apostle disguised as a beautiful woman, and blows her brains out with his Arm Cannon when she tries to eat him. The takeaway is that this guy's a badass who kills monsters, he will do anything for revenge, and you are better off not getting near him.
    • In the anime, and in the manga for those that consider the preceding one to be Early Installment Weirdness or merely the Establishing Series Moment, Guts properly shows what he's about when he walks into a Bad-Guy Bar in volume 1 and slaughters the Baron of Koka Castle's men. He starts by interrupting their tormenting of Puck (Collette and her father in the anime) with a storm of arrows that kills most of them, tortures the survivor before sending him to bring word of his presence, and kills the guy who tries to sneak behind him with a cut of his gigantic Dragonslayer. In other words, he's a '90s Anti-Hero who wants his enemies to suffer, he's out for revenge no matter the collateral damage, and he's a larger-than-life Rated M for Manly badass.
    • In the first Golden Age Arc film which skips both the Black Swordsman prologue and Guts' childhood, his first appearance is when he volunteers to fight the dreaded knight Bazuso during a castle siege and defeats him with a daring and risky move, pocketing the reward but refusing the general's offer of permanent employment in favor of wandering to another battlefield. Besides showing off his incredible speed and strength, this scene establishes that he is a lone wolf mercenary with no friends, zero respect for authority, and no sense of direction or purpose in his life except putting himself In Harm's Way.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Griffith acted a lot like a Yandere towards him in the past.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As violent as Guts may be, he doesn't take any pleasure in killing kids. His accidental murder of Adonis during the Golden Age Arc sends him into a brief Heroic BSoD as does the realization that Rosine's Elf-Followers (whom he'd been slaughtering left and right) were all formerly human children. He even hesitates several times during his battle against Rosine herself, despite the fact that she's an Apostle and a very dangerous, psychotic monster, specifically because of this.
  • Evil Laugh: Back during his Black Swordsman days, Guts was fond of malicious, maniacal laughter, most often directed at his demonic enemies. It can be utterly terrifying.
  • Evil Weapon: The Dragonslayer has become cursed due to repeated exposure to the blood of Apostles, enabling it to cut through normally-intangible entities like ghosts.
  • Experienced Protagonist: The anime and manga begin with the Black Swordsman Arc when Guts is already an expert demon-slayer and one of the greatest master swordsmen in the world. Even in Berserk: The Golden Age Arc which introduces him as a fifteen years old mercenary, he has already been training since age six and fighting since age nine, and has gotten so strong that he is able to defeat a famous and dreaded opponent like Bazuso. In all versions the Training from Hell that he went through as a kid in order to get that way is shown in flashback a good deal after his introduction to the audience as a character.
  • Expressive Mask: The helmet of his Berserker Armor elongates and functions like a mouth when the Beast takes over.
  • Expy:
    • Miura states he partly modeled Guts's appearance on the actor Rutger Hauer; the resemblance to Hauer mainly applies during the Black Swordsman Arc, before the Art Evolution of Guts's face. Indeed, Guts has a lot in common with Hauer's character Etienne of Navarre from Ladyhawke: Navarre used a huge sword and a crossbow; dressed in black with a badass cape; was on a quest for revenge against an evil man who called on demonic powers to curse him and his lover; was aflicted with his curse at night; and had a dangerous canine alter ego. Funnily enough, they've had completely opposite luck with solar eclipses: the eclipse that Guts experienced was the cause of most of his woes, but Navarre's was a miracle which broke the curse on him and Isabeau.
    • His cool Implacable Man vibe was based on '80s action movie characters like RoboCop and the Terminator.
    • Fist of the North Star was another inspiration for Berserk, and Guts has some of Kenshiro in him. In either case you’ve got a powerful fighter with big muscles and dark, spiky hair, whose best friend betrayed him and gave him a distinctive scar; he’s out to save his star-crossed love interest and settle the score, which involves walking the earth and killing bad guys with extremely gory techniques.
    • Guts looks like another Tetsuo Hara character, namely Blue from Cyber Blue; look at the black and white images and tell us he doesn't look like Guts.
    • Elements from Guts's costume appear on the titular protagonist of Miura's 1985 manga Noa, including a Badass Cape and a prosthetic hand that turns into an Arm Cannon. The difference is that Noa's whole body appears to be prosthetic instead of just the arm.
  • Face of a Thug: Guts is actually pretty handsome if you stop to appreciate his face, and he's a lot more gentle with his friends than his demeanor would suggest, but he undoubtedly has an image problem especially after the Eclipse. He's a hulking muscular guy in black clothing and armor with tons of scars, fearsome weaponry, and a face that's usually scowling. Even aside from the fact that he's a Walking Disaster Area who attracts demons to him, occasionally uses civilians as shields, and just plain tends to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, most people take one look at him and think he's some kind of criminal or troublemaker. On the whole it's downplayed because he's definitely not a Nice Guy, but he's still a lot nicer than he looks.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Crosses over with No Social Skills. Guts broke away from the Hawks because he believed they were on a completely different level from him (especially Griffith), in that they all had their own aspirations to fulfill beyond the battlefield, while he simply sought out the next fight, without any real purpose beyond both the thrill of it and the coin to be gained. In defeating Griffith and leaving him catatonic in the snow, he fails to realize that Griffith and the Hawks had always considered him a true friend anyway—and as for Casca, he's unable to tell that she'd begun to develop feelings for him after their interactions on the battlefield.
  • Failure Hero: The tragedy of Guts' story is that for every step he takes forward, he ends up taking multiple steps back—most of the time, it's not even due to any failings of his own, just the universe messing around with him like he's a Cosmic Plaything. He fights in battles in the hopes of earning his adopted dad's respect, only to get sold as a sex slave for a single night and for three silver coins. He finally finds companionship and love in the Band of the Hawk, Griffith, and Casca—only for Griffith to take everything away from him in a single night, with him unable to save virtually anybody from the horrors of the Eclipse. Then, he saves Casca from being burnt at the stake at the Tower of Conviction, only for the stress of having to defend her hit him so hard he ends up nearly raping her when his mental exhaustion allows the Beast to take over him. That being said, he's proven time and again as well that as long as he keeps surviving, there's always hope for the future; see Unluckily Lucky down below.
  • Failure Knight: Guts' loss of both Casca and the Band of the Hawk weighs heavily on his mind even to this very day. Though he's mellowed out considerably thanks to the help of his new companions, he regularly addresses them with a somber sense of formality, even when he begins to truly value their company. This is largely because he still has issues opening up to others thanks to Griffith's betrayal, plus there's the added bonus thatany of them can die at any momentdue to how chaotic Guts' life as a Doom Magnet is. That being said, he is insanely devoted to protecting his new friends with everything he's got, even at the risk of his own body and sanity, solely because he doesn't want to lose anybody else.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Guts' greatest flaw during the Golden Age Arc was underestimating his worth as a person and how much he meant to other people, which led to him taking actions that contributed to the tragic downfall of the Hawks. Because Gambino treated him as worthless no matter how hard he tried, telling him with his last breath that Sys' death was his fault, Guts grew up without knowing what it meant to be loved or appreciated. From 11 to 15 he lived as an Ineffectual Loner, developing great skill in combat and living In Harm's Way because he couldn't find any other meaning in his own life. Griffith gave him something to fight for, and over time Guts opened up to Griffith and his new companions. However, when Guts came back from the fiasco of assassinating Julius and overheard Griffith say that he didn't consider any of his followers to be true friends, he went right back to Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life. He realized he had been fighting for somebody else's dream—letting someone else determine the meaning of his life—and came to the conclusion that compared to other members of the Hawks who each had a dream of their own his fight was meaningless. Furthermore, he was painfully aware of how he knew nothing but how to fight, and felt as if that was the only thing he had to offer anyone. At the same time, he didn't realize that Casca was growing to admire him for his courage, loyalty, introspection, and empathy, or that he was fulfilling the vital role of the only person Griffith could communicate his feelings with. Griffith's actions gave the lie to the idea that Guts wasn't important to him, but Guts made the mistake of taking his words at face value. When he left the Band of the Hawk he dismissed Judeau's suggestion that Casca might return his feelings, and was sure that Griffith would get over him leaving because he assumed that Griffith saw him as just another pebble in the road. The result of this was that Griffith had a Freak Out and did something that led to his imprisonment and to the Hawks being hunted, while Casca had to endure for a year without Guts realizing how much she missed and needed him. Even after his Relationship Upgrade with Casca and being reunited with Griffith, Guts fails to understand just how unstable Griffith is becoming as a result of his mixed-up feelings of love and hatred towards him. He is taken aback by the realization of how much the raiders love him, and how the Band of the Hawk was his home all along. Near the end he also fails to take Judeau's advice to take Casca with him no matter what, and as he chases after Griffith in the wagon he is still struggling to comprehend how his actions could have driven Griffith to such madness.
    • After the Eclipse, it was how he used wrathful and self-destructive revenge as an addictive drug that helped him forget about the pain of losing everyone he cared about. As Godot told him afterwards, he couldn't bear to stay by Casca's side and be reminded of everything he'd lost, so instead he threw himself body and soul into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. He used The Power of Hate to keep pushing himself forward even while his body was getting cut to ribbons, and he made such an effort to be callous and cruel for the sake of his goal that he came dangerously close to crossing the Moral Event Horizon several times. When he finally came to his senses in order to rescue Casca there was a lot of permanent damage that he couldn't undo, and even when he tried to turn his back on the Black Swordsman persona it took on a life of its own in the form of his Enemy Within, the Beast of Darkness. The assault and Near-Rape Experience he committed against Casca under the Beast's influence was a result of his previous reliance on rage and obsession with avenging himself on Griffith. Even though he has changed so much for the better since gaining new companions to help him, his loved ones are always threatened by this side of himself that he has managed to mitigate but can't permanently get rid of.
  • A Father to His Men: Guts' raiders love and celebrate him as their mighty leader. Although Casca once criticizes him for endangering this subordinates, Guts retorts that he's not like he used to be and really cares about his men. This gets shown in the chapter introducing Zodd when he insists on entering the castle alone to find out what's happening to his men, even though Gaston and the others beg him to stay and call for reinforcements.
  • Fight Magnet: Be they monster or mook, things just want to fight with Guts. And they usually lose terribly. It doesn't help that he's got a literal demon magnet on his neck as a result of the Eclipse.
  • Flashback Echo: When Guts sees the Demon Horse about to rape Farnese, this event makes him flashback to his absolute worst moment during the Eclipse (Casca getting raped by Femto), which serves to set him off in a serious way.
    • This also happens during his first time making love to Casca, where he ends up flashing back to what Donovan did to him, nearly resulting in Casca getting strangled to death before he manages to come back to his senses.
  • Foil: Guts and Griffith serve as foils whose character traits contrast with each other. Guts is a loner, suspicious of other people, while Griffith draws other people to himself. Guts has No Social Skills, while Griffith has great charisma and charm. Guts is an uncultured manly man, while Griffith is a sophisticated Bishōnen. Guts lives in the moment, focusing on living another day, while Griffith has a grand dream and always looks toward the future. Guts relies on his strength and toughness to fight, while Griffith prefers speed and finesse. After his reincarnation, Griffith is a Villain with Good Publicity who is universally worshiped by his army and the people and associated with light and the color white, while Guts is a Hero with Bad Publicity associated with darkness and the color black who is feared, hated, and shrouded in mystery.
  • Fool for Love: Not quite a "fool," but everything Guts is doing is for his lady love. That, and he's shown to be quite poetic around Casca.
  • Forced to Watch: Dogpiled by a bunch of Apostles, Guts could only watch Femto molesting and raping Casca to insanity right in front of him, unable to do anything about it, screaming in rage and pain. It was also the last scene his right eye could see before it got clawed out.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: When Guts wakes up after the Eclipse, his body is entirely covered in bandages, but the bandages are implausibly clingy in order to show off his muscular detail.
  • Freak Out: When Guts wakes up after the Eclipse and finally has some time to fully realize the horrible results of the event, he spends a chapter blindly running through the woods in extreme mental agony, having meaningful flashbacks about his fallen friends, and clearly blaming himself for everything that happened. He only cools down when he remembers Griffith was the real cause of the whole nightmare. Guts promptly re-invents himself as the Black Swordsman.
  • Freudian Excuse: Indeed, much of Guts' personality and behavior stems from the very traumatic experiences life has put him through. What separates him from many examples of characters who use the Freudian Excuse as a literal excuse for their actions and deeds is that the story plays out his behavior in a much more subdued and realistic manner.
    • Why does Guts have so much trouble trusting others? In his childhood, he was sold as a Sex Slave for one night to one of his father's own comrades. When Guts discovers that his own adoptive father was the one who sold him (and for three silver coins), is it really any surprise that he becomes utterly cynical and distrusting of others? Worse yet, when he eventually does find it in himself to trust Band of the Hawk, Griffith, and Casca, all of that gets taken away in the horrific bloodbath that is the Eclipse. No wonder he's so screwed up when we first see him as the Black Swordsman. And even when Guts eventually gives up his quest for vengeance in the name of protecting those he loves, his concern for his loved ones massively outweighs his concern for those who are strangers to him.
    • Why is he so ignorant of social norms, and why is he so comfortable when it comes to fighting? Because he was raised primarily by mercenaries who foisted sword training on him before he even reached puberty, and as such Guts has been so entrenched in the art of war and slaughter that he just generally sucks when it comes to dealing with socialization. To the point where he's even Oblivious to Love — when he starts growing feelings for Casca, he initially dismisses them as admiration of Casca's worth as a warrior, and is completely unaware of Casca's own burgeoning feelings for him. In a more tragic light, had he been aware enough to recognize Griffith's own ambiguous feelings towards him, the Eclipse might not have happened.
    • That being said, this is ultimately a Played With example, as there are multiple instances of Guts going beyond his own circumstances in terms of his behavior. He still retains a sense of empathy and compassion, far more so than Griffith (who we can assume grew up in considerably less horrific circumstances), and a lot of his rough-around-the-edges behavior towards people can be attributed to his unwillingness to get them caught in the crossfire of his quest for revenge. Overall, Guts is capable of kindness, but the combined weight of the story's nightmarish setting and his own horrible past have more or less quelled much of his moral decency.
  • Friend to All Children: Zigzagged. Guts is not the softest man to be around, and he has rough methods of dealing with people, including children. Despite everything he dishes out to them, kids genuinely seem to like Guts, and he doesn't really seem that bugged by them being around all of the time, so long as they don't get in the way. Just the fact that most of his True Companions are half his age just brings the point home. Relate to Would Hurt a Child below.
  • Friendship Moment: Now that they made it to Elfheim, he's really grateful to his friends, and thanks every one of them due the fact that they worked so hard together. Nice to see it.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Started off as a random merc whose only defining characteristics were his unreasonably large sword and his extreme tenacity, to a renowned raid captain known for having slain a hundred men in a single night, before ultimately becoming a demon-slaying human armory with over a thousand kills to his name.
  • Full Potential Upgrade: Guts needed the nigh-indestructible Dragonslayer to fight Apostles without breaking his sword (which is only possible because he has the inhuman strength to cut through said enemies in the first place). This gets taken Up to Eleven when he gets ahold of the Berserker Armor, as whenever the armor induces a mindless state of endless rage within him, it removes all bodily inhibitions that could otherwise prevent him from going full-bore with any attack, all the while pinning his bones and muscle back into place whenever they snap off-kilter. The result? He can crack pure corundum, which is third only to diamond and moissanite in terms of hardness.
  • Genius Bruiser: He may not look it but Guts is not in the slightest what you would call dumb muscle. One noticeable example is against Wyald where he put a log in his torso armor and threw it at Wyald and also tied a helmeted corpse against a tree to dupe him out. He's much more of a Combat Pragmatist than The Berserker.
  • Give My Regards in the Next World: Guts' variant:

    "If you see God, you tell him this...LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!"

  • Good Is Not Nice: Embodies this after finding his new Five-Man Band. But he's still a lot nicer than when he was still travelling alone.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: Upon becoming the Black Swordsman, he planned to kill every Apostle and spirit he'd get his hands on, Griffith in particular. But since then, he's had a massive change in priorities and has put his quest for vengeance on hold, deciding to put Casca's safety above all else.
  • The Grunting Orgasm: In the third film, Guts has one of these when he finishes inside of Casca.
  • Guttural Growler: Compared to Marc Diraison and Nobutoshi Canna, both who could really scream and growl when they wanted to but gave Guts more of a tenor baritone voice on the whole, Kaiji Tang and Hiroaki Iwanaga provides a much deeper voice which is fairly smooth during normal speech but becomes gritty and gravelly when he's angry.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: After witnessing the dreadful events of during the Eclipse, Guts has developed a very wrathful personality where he is always in a constant state of anger and any sort of trigger will cause him to get riled up at the slightest provocation. This actually proved to be his main source of power as he uses his rage and hatred that is directed towards Griffith as well as all demonkind for what they took from him. This unfortunately causes him to unintentionally create a dark Shadow Archetype within Guts that represents his inner bloodlust and anger from all his past tragedies which causes him to lose his temper much more easily from when he usually does and is prone to becoming more wrathful.
  • Handicapped Badass: Missing his lower arm and an eye, but goddamn if it has done anything to his badassery. If anything, it's enhanced it.
  • Handwraps of Awesome: Not only do his handwraps give him a better grip on his weapon in normal situations, but he sometimes has to practically mummify his live hand to the hilt of the Dragonslayer when he can't grip it properly because of injury.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Guts has been captured and imprisoned twice, and both times he gets the better of his captors with his words alone.
  • Hates Being Touched: "Don't touch me. Don't ever touch me." There's a very good reason why he is this way: he was raped as a child.
    • If it's Casca who does it, it's okay, as he told her himself.
    • Back in the Golden Age Griffith also had a free pass.
    • He's gotten better after teaming up with Farnese, Serpico, and Schierke.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Casca's unfortunate condition has completely deprived Guts from the affection he wants from her so bad. And ever since the Beast almost got him to rape her, she just no longer wants him which frustrates Guts even more. And it's still a long way to get there apparently now that She's Back because the mere sight of him triggers the traumatic memories of the Eclipse within her.
  • The Heartless: The Beast was born from Guts's negative emotions and his need for revenge for what happened during the Eclipse. This rather disturbingly links him to the Idea of Evil, which was spawned in a similar way by humanity as a whole.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Since he started Walking the Earth as the Black Swordsman he's been treated as a dangerous villain by townspeople and the authorities, when he is actually just a sometimes ruthless Anti-Hero who is assumed to be—and actively pretends to be—worse than he is. In the first place, he's on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the demonic Apostles who killed everyone he cared about, and he claims not to care about collateral damage. He's a Walking Disaster Area because confronting an Apostle on their home turf invariably escalates into an all out war that causes the streets to run with the blood of (more or less) innocent bystanders, and by the end of it everybody who knows the truth of what happened is either dead or on the run, leaving him as the scapegoat. It doesn't help that he looks a lot like a villain because he's dressed all in black, and tries to act like a total bastard toward anyone who starts to get friendly with him in order to drive them away for their own good. There's also the fact that demons and Apostles that he kills turn back to their human form after they're killed, so that if the monsters' original form had been children, he ends up looking like a mass child murderer to anyone who arrives on the scene afterwards. That causes Knight Templar Farnese of the Holy Iron Chain Knights to pursue and arrest him because she's convinced that he's a servant of evil. After all these misunderstandings he's gotten sick of trying to explain himself because everybody always assumes that he's evil anyway, and he figures that at least if he scares them, they might keep the hell out of his way. Fortunately, his reputation has improved somewhat since the Millenium Falcon Arc gave him the chance for some high-profile heroics, and some of his best sidekicks now are former enemies who realized that he was right all along.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: The sword was the first weapon Guts ever learned how to use, and he's been a sword-swinging protagonist ever since. He turned down a magic axe from Flora in favor for his trusty ol' Dragonslayer.
  • Heroic BSoD: He began to slip into this when Adonis died, being reminded of himself as a child, but Guts snaps out of it when the guards come. The blue screen of death was "rebooted" when he fell into the sewers and eventually stumbled back to the tavern where the Hawks were.
  • Heroic Build: The guy is seriously ripped. Even as his incredibly self-destructive lifestyle takes its visible toll on his body, it only seems to add more scars, whilst the muscles themselves remain powerfully intact.
  • Heroic Neutral: This is how Guts currently acts, more or less (and how he wanted to act when he left the Hawks). Doesn't want to be recruited by the dark side; doesn't want to be recruited by the (supposedly) good side. Just wants to get his girl to Elfhelm and take care of his friends. But unfortunately for him, Guts might fall out of this over time due to a case of the Messiah Creep.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: During his Black Swordsman period, Guts found himself faced with creatures that could not be defeated by a mere human and relied on The Power of Hate to make himself stronger while shutting out any compassion that could make him hesitate, stopping only on the very brink of losing his humanity. Doing this for too long created the Beast of Darkness inside of him, which urges him even after he reunites with Casca and forms a new party to kill his loved ones and focus completely on revenge. The Berserker armor that taps the power of the Beast has enabled him to defeat increasingly powerful enemies, but Schierke warns that he will turn into an even bigger monster if he loses himself to its mindless rage.
  • Hidden Depths: Guts is often reduced at first impression to being a psychopathic '90s Anti-Hero with no redeeming features, or an anti-social Blood Knight who knows nothing but swinging his sword. It comes as a surprise to find that not only does he have a Dark and Troubled Past that explains a lot of his issues, but he is surprisingly friendly once you get past his defense mechanisms (pretendning to be a jerk). Certainly violence is a large part of his personality, but he is also a devoted lover, protector of small children, a self-reflective dreamer, and something of a Warrior Poet.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Guts may be a blunt asshole a majority of the time and his goals and priorities come first - which are usually at the expense of others - but then again, one of his "selfish" goals is taking care of Casca, who he'd go through hell and back for. Later on, he also ensures the well-being of his present True Companions.
  • His Story Repeats Itself:
    • After being raped, and killing his adoptive father in self-defense, Guts ends up staring aimlessly at a dark, moonlit sky, completely alone; having lost all sense of trust in anyone, as well as any semblance of purpose in his life. After being Forced to Watch the person who was his best friend rape Casca and sacrifice the Band of the Hawk to demons, Guts ends up again staring aimlessly at a dark, moonlit sky, completely alone and unable to trust anyone—but with renewed purpose.
    • After the Eclipse, Guts went on a two-year-long vendetta against Griffith. But in so doing, he left Casca behind, a decision that would cost him dearly. When Guts learns how he fucked up in leaving her behind, he goes through hell and high water to save her, a situation made even more complicated by an event similar to the Eclipse going down, culminating in Griffith's rebirth into the mortal realm. With his chance for vengeance finally at hand, Guts is only stopped by Casca as he realizes that he has to choose, once again, between his hatred and his love. He chooses his love.
  • Hitman with a Heart: On one hand, Guts has hardly ever felt bad about killing tons of enemies as part of being a mercenary, and doesn't hesitate to accept the more murky assassination missions from Griffith during the Golden Age Arc as long as all of his targets are assholes. That includes killing Count Julius in his home, slaying Griffith's attempted poisoner, and then offing the crooks Griffith hired to kidnap Minister Foss' daughter so that they can't try to blackmail Griffith afterwards. On the other hand, he has no wish to harm innocent bystanders, and still has a soft spot in his heart for kids because of what he went through. Accidentally killing Julius' son Adonis during that first mission causes him to go My God, What Have I Done?—to the extent of holding the boy's hand to comfort him as he dies, and once he's out of danger he experiences a Heroic BSoD.
  • Hope Bringer: Believe it or not — yes, Guts does have this effect on certain people! In spite of his horrid reputation, and for all his flaws, those who actually get to know him or at least discover his nobler qualities are more likely to be enamored of him rather than be appalled.
    • In the wake of Griffith's capture and the Hawks' subsequent fall from grace, Guts' mere presence alone was enough to bolster the remaining troops' morale, something even Casca wasn't quite able to. This goes to show that, even after two years of departure, the trust and admiration he had left upon his soldiers was not to be taken lightly.
    • During their short time together, Jill actually felt safer being around him over the miserable life waiting for her back home, despite the fact that he'd try time and time again to brush her off (for her own good). Unfriendly, gruff, a tad bit morally questionable, and yet somehow managing to be the only grown-up she could look up to and depend on when things really mattered — Guts ended up leaving a powerful impression on this young girl, inspiring her to try and become stronger as a person.
    • The Conviction Arc's final act saw Guts cooperating with a handful of unlikely allies for mutual survival, and in their Darkest Hour, (unintentionally) became their sole pillar of hope — Farnese's especially. Left broken and in the brink of despair after the event's nightmarish revelations, this once proud Knight Templar suddenly found herself without a cause. Touched by Guts' unwavering determination in the face of terrifying odds, she would go on to find new lease on life as his loyal traveling companion, admiring him for who she sees as the one certainty in a world full of doubts and deceit.
  • Hope Is Scary: The Skull Knight tells him that Casca may be cured of her insanity once and for all if he can get her to the land of Elfhelm. Guts is so happy over the possibility that he actually gives a real smile over the revelation. However, Guts is thrown into anxiety once again, not because he is afraid that Casca's condition won't be curable, but because the Skull Knights went on to cryptically tell Guts that being cured might not be what Casca truly wants.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Apostles typically view him as just another mere mortal, so when Guts proves there's nothing mere about him, more often than not they realize just how in over their heads they really are, at a point when it's far too late to turn back.
  • Hot-Blooded: In the midst of a battle Guts has shown a great joy in swinging his sword around and killing enemies as he it expresses one of the only thing that makes him happy which is the love for fighting. This can also exemplify his impulsive behavior as he doesn't like to take orders and will often go on his own accord to express his rebellious nature by not following any sort rules or limitations placed onto him. This also reflects Guts' take on battle as he'll rush into the fight without any regard for his safety and proves how his bull-headed attitude can brand him as a reckless fighter. He's also very hot tempered even when off the battlefield as any sort of negativity or disrespect is directed towards him and his allies, he isn't afraid to bite back against others who are proven to be pompous and arrogant showing how they won't be able to put him down.
  • How to be Badass: Has a garment that billows in the wind frequently? Check. Sweet-ass name? Check. Hardly anything fazes himenough to stop him in his tracks? Nuh uh. Gets set on fire frequently but thinks nothing of it? CHECK. Comes up with dramatic lines at the top of his head in the heat of the moment? Yes, yes. Is angsty, but tends to keep it at a minimum? Yes. Remained relatively normal throughout all of his ordeals? How is that possible?!
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: During his post-Eclipse adventures, he does always seem to have at least one little girl hanging around with him. Not in a weird way, they just seem to like him. He tends to treat them like an Aloof Older Brother, when he's not trying to chase them off pretending to be a jerk (for their own good), but every now and then he can be surprisingly sweet to them.
  • Humans Are Flawed: He himself is a perfect example. Early chapters painted him as a very dark and cynical character who is driven by anger and revenge. However, Character Development has instill in him a strong desire to protect those he cares about, and he's proven time and again that he will never abandon or betray them. Despite everything the guy has gone through, he's still able to find reason to trust those close to him.
  • Humble Hero: While Guts can be quite arrogant, he doesn't really think of himself as better than anyone else and constantly takes part in Self-Deprecation. Whenever his actions directly lead to saving a bunch of innocents, he quickly rebuts them and doesn't really care to take credit for any of the good things he does. In his merc days, he showed a surprising amount of humility, such as shrugging off the Band of the Hawk's praises for his actions for holding the line in their first mission. In fact, it's completely out of Guts' lack of self-awareness of his own usefulness that spurred him into Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life.
  • Hunk: Guts is very handsome and very manly. Sure, he gets overshadowed by world-class Bishōnen Griffith when they're together, but he's a bona fide Chick Magnet on his own merits and even Rosine admitted that he was quite handsome. As for his manliness, he's got a deep voice, strong jaw, heroic musculature, and is daring enough to perform feats like catching blades between his teeth.
  • Hunter of Monsters: At first he just killed things because it was his job. Now he does it because It's Personal.

    Tropes I-M 

  • I Am a Monster: When Griffith questions what his murder of the queen, kidnapping of a child and murdering the bandits he employed since they were loose ends says about his character and asks Guts what he thinks of it. Guts laughs it up saying that the man who killed hundreds has no room to talk. His time as a Black Swordsman has him embracing his rage and bloodlust since the branding made him a Doom Magnet anyway so it's better people stay away. He outgrows it as he gains new companions.
  • I Am What I Am: The page quote says it all. Guts isn't a straight-up hero, but he's far from a Villain Protagonist, and his personality goes through so many ups, downs, and shifts in morals and priorities that to codify him into just one single category would be a disservice to his character. Whatever you may think of him, Guts is simply...Guts.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Guts and Griffith started off with a friendship that slowly developed into a brotherhood of sorts, one so intense that many readers noticed a ton of Homoerotic Subtext. Yet Griffith made clear that he'd only consider someone a true friend, if they went after their own dream no matter what, without anyone or anything holding them back, even if Griffith himself was that obstacle. Overhearing this, Guts immediately thought back to his Straw Nihilist tendencies (namely how he had been willing to simply live swinging his sword, and let someone else "have a reason for him" to do so), and realized that the only way Griffith could ever end up considering him a true friend was to search for a dream for himself. Not realizing that Griffith had treasured him regardless...
  • I Have Your Wife: If an Apostle still has someone they love, he does not hold back from using them as a hostage or a decoy. Just ask Theresia and Jill.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Guts desperately wants Casca to love him back once again. The mere possibility of accomplishing this is his main motivation to try to regain her sanity.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: States this to Casca in terms of letting anyone touch him.
  • Ignorant of the Call: When he was a merc, literally everyone knew just how valuable he was to the team. But Guts himself wasn't even aware how much he and his skills were valued. This lack of self-awareness, coupled with his lack of aspirations, caused him to believe that he was different from the rest of the Band, who all had dreams and aspirations beyond just living to fight another day.
  • Immune to Fate: Believed to be this by the Skull Knight. Now that he is stuck in the interstice between the physical and astral planes of the universe, he is able to "break the flow of the river," somewhat, and forge a path for himself that the God Hand itself may not see coming. It should be noted, though, that he cannot keep this up indefinitely. Interesting in that the universe itself is actively trying to defy this, as the Brand of the Sacrifice is trying to "correct the mistake" made during the Eclipse by drawing demons and ghosts to Guts in order to get him killed.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: The man uses a BFS that must weigh at least 300 pounds, and yet is able to swing it so fast that battle-hardened warriors can't follow its path. He can even wield it in one hand! His ability to use a sword whose own smith admitted that it was a useless slab of metal with such ease and dexterity is so absurd that it turns the laws of physics themselves into an absurdity.
    • Justified, given that Guts is in the interstice between the physical and astral planes of existence (and is by implication Immune to Fate). It is entirely possible that he's able to defy the laws of physics, at least to a degree.
  • Improbable Age: Guts is probably the most Egregious example in Berserk — someone attaining rank and competency at such a young age that it buggers the mind. His adoptive father Gambino made him a Child Soldier by forcing him to accompany him into battle as his page and practice fencing with live blades at age six. Guts's first battle as a combatant was at age nine, in which he killed his first man, more by luck than anything else. By age eleven, however, he was a bona fide warrior, even managing to single-handedly kill a noble enemy commander, and since he was driven out of his former mercenary camp this was also the age when he effectively became responsible for himself. At fifteen years old he was showing signs of Charles Atlas Superpower, being far stronger and faster than any grown mercenary and managing to defeat the dreaded knight Bazuso, thereby catching the attention of the equally prodigious young mercenary captain Griffith. At the age of eighteen, just three years after Griffith roped him into the Band of the Hawk, he had attained the rank of Captain of the Hawk's Raiders division, effectively answering only to Griffith and having authority over a couple hundred men. He made his name as a One-Man Army in the Hundred Year War by single-handedly defeating a force of no fewer than one hundred Tudor mercenaries, and became a hero of the war by slaying the undefeated General Boscogn in the Battle of Doldrey. And those are just the things he did before he got branded as a sacrifice, and had to spend practically every minute of his life fighting against hungry spirits and gargantuan monsters. At the start of the Fantasia Arc, by which time he has fought enough battles to last a lifetime, he is still only 24 years oldnote Confirmed by the guide book. Over time this is Deconstructed by the fact that Guts shows serious signs of Dented Iron from having gone through so much physical and mental torture by the start of his twenties, to the point where part of his hair has gone white, his entire body is covered with scars and burns, and his face looks a good ten or twenty years older than he ought to be.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Was this before running into and joining the Band of the Hawk. Because of his past, Guts preferred to move around from battlefield to battlefield, never sticking around to make friends or get connections, since frankly, he didn't want any. Then he earned The Power of Friendship and the Power of Trust as he began to value the importance of teamwork and camaraderie while with the Hawks. And then it happened (you know the drill). And with that, Guts returned to Ineffectual Loner status (in fact, worse), amongotherthings...)
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Inverted, if only barely, as Guts violently opposes the Godhand and during his earlier days as the Black Swordsman was willing to stoop to any depths if it meant getting closer to his revenge. But the Godhand see him as little more than a form of amusement, laughing at his constant attempts to defy the fate they've set for him. And when Griffith returns to the mortal realm, he doesn't even express any ill will against Guts because he knows the guy is on an objectively lower tier of existence... at least for now.
  • In Harm's Way: When they meet for the duel on the hill, Griffith observes that Guts' recklessness on the battlefield is motivated not by having a death wish, but rather by the thrill of fighting for his life. After the Hundred Year War ends and it looks like Midland will be peaceful, Guts decides to leave the Band of the Hawk partly because he wouldn't know what to do with himself in the Hawks' new position of respectability, and because he wants to master the sword by challenging himself with ever tougher fights and adventures until he can become Griffith's equal. After the Eclipse this motivation is replaced by his desire to protect Casca and avenge his fallen comrades.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: He's possessed by an evil spirit at one point and nearlyrapes Casca, but snaps out of it almost immediately. It's when he sees Casca standing nude, lathered in the blood of men who had also attempted to rape her that Guts gives in — but he just barely prevents himself from crossing the line. This scene implies that his life of constant battle has made him desensitised to things that would arouse most people and can now only get turned on by... sicker "displays."
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Age is not a factor when it comes to who Guts bonds with. He gets along well with kids like Rickert, Erika and Schierke, and forms a friendship with Godo, who's old enough to be his father.
  • Invincible Hero: Averted. For being so badass it hurts, Guts still remains a human and there are times when his body is just too worn out to match his will and then he may get captured. Additionally, be it Slan, Grunbeld or Daiba, Miura makes it a point to show that even Guts wouldn't be able to triumph on his own against some opponents who are out of his league.
  • It's All About Me: Played with. When Puck first meets him, Guts professes to only care about taking revenge on Apostles for his own satisfaction, while any innocent bystanders who happen to die are of no concern to him. Later on we learn that Guts is only pretending to be a jerk and tries to look down on the weak as worthless so that he will not become vulnerable himself. Far from being a narcissist, he frequently engages in Heroic Self-Deprecation and turns out to be more capable of compassion than he first lets on. It is true, however, that Guts is a neutral character who values the lives of those he cares about more than people who are strangers to him. He is willing to let as many people die as necessary in order to protect Casca, because she is more important to him than any number of other people.
Sours: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/BerserkGuts

Guts

Unique traits

White patch of hair (from using the Berserker Armor); missing right eye and left forearm

Fighting styles

Swordsmanship

Strengths

  • Peak-human conditioning
    • Superhuman conditioning (Berserker Armor)
  • Indomitable will
  • Half-step over others in causality's current (Brand of Sacrifice)

Occupation

Mercenary (formerly)
Knight (formerly)
Wanderer

Position

  • Captain of the Band of the Falcon's raiders (formerly)
  • White Phoenix Knight (formerly)

Even if you force back what was lost, it still won't be the way it was.
– Guts[8]

Guts, renowned as the "Black Swordsman", is a former mercenary and branded wanderer who travels the world in a constant internal struggle between pursuing his own ends and upholding his attachments to those dear to him.

At one time driven solely by his will to survive, Guts finds purpose in life upon joining the Band of the Falcon, greatly helping in the faction's storied successes during the Hundred-Year War as captain of the band's raiders. He eventually becomes dissatisfied with clinging to Griffith's dream[9] and departs from the band in pursuit of his own.[10] Following the horrors of the Eclipse prompted by Griffith,[11] Guts embarks on a two-year war against the God Hand and apostles, becoming increasingly embittered on his one-track quest for retribution. He in time realizes protecting his regressed lover is more important to him,[12] as well as something he cannot do alone,[13] and thus puts aside his quest for revenge while fostering camaraderie with new companions.

Personality

I'm used to fighting to survive. But what grows worse daily is the pressure not to die. Have I ever before wielded a sword so heavy?
– Guts[14]

Known for his air of austerity, Guts is a gruff, cynical man holding an overall bleak outlook on life. This is a consequence of enduring waves of suffering and numerous betrayals since his youth, as nearly all highlights of his life have, in time, become lows. In spite of his guarded, brooding exterior, he shows a more easygoing, compassionate side around the people he trusts, appearing markedly less unsociable and distant, though still retaining his dry candidness. Even as his inner darkness festers deep within him and its temptation becomes increasingly harder to resist, he retains his empathy and compassion, refusing to discard his humanity.

In his formative years, Guts is devoid of true purpose in life, killing as a child mercenary merely as a means to survive. As a blank slate, he often finds himself seeking validation from those he respects most, content so long as "one person [looks his] way".[9] His precariousness slowly develops into individuality upon meeting Griffith – someone whom he eventually seeks to stand beside as an equal, rather than be looked down on by. The swordsman then embarks on a journey of self-discovery, in which he comes to acknowledge his lifelong bond with and passion for the sword. Upon realizing this, he begins devoting himself to honing his craft and fighting ever stronger adversaries, having a newfound purpose in life through this.[15]

After surviving the Eclipse, Guts grows vindictive, wanting nothing other than to hunt down and slaughter any apostle he encounters, and, more importantly, exact revenge on Griffith and the God Hand. He leaves behind a regressed Casca for two years to embark on his warpath against demonkind. On his two-year hunt, Guts becomes largely self-centered and anti-social, indifferent to the suffering of others and detesting those whom he deems weak.[1] His reclusive nature and hostility toward those attempting to connect with him stem from a fear of creating new emotional attachments; fear of making precious new companions akin to the comrades he lost to the Eclipse.[16] With time, due in large part to the efforts of Puck,[17]

Sours: https://berserk.fandom.com/wiki/Guts
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Do-Gooder

Alias

Occupation

Mercenary (formerly)

Commander
Soldier
Wanderer

Powers/Skills

Hobby

Training

Fighting
Marinating his cannon arm and equipment.
Spending with his party members.

Goals

Have Cascaregain her memory and provide her sanctuary (ongoing).

Earn money and survive.
Hunted down and slaughter the Apostles.
Find the whereabouts of the God Hand(all formerly).
Survive against evil spirits.
Kill Griffith and the God Hand (both ongoing).

Family

Unnamed mother (deceased)

Unnamed father (?)
Gambino (adoptive father, deceased)
Shisu (adoptive mother, deceased)

Type of Hero

Tragic One-Man Army

Ultimate Horror Survivor
Wrathful Determinator

If you're always worried about crushing the ants beneath you... you won't be able to walk.
~ Guts
I'm used to fighting to survive. But what grows worse daily is the pressure not to die. Have I ever before wielded a sword so heavy?
~ Guts
My sword has gotten very dull. However, it's three times as thick and does three times the damage of a normal sword. You better pray you die quickly, or this could be painful.
~ Guts to a group of soldiers.

Guts is the main protagonist of the manga series and anime adaptions, Berserk. In the series, Guts is a former mercenary and branded wanderer that travels the world in a constant internal struggle between pursuing his own ends and protecting those dear to him. At one time driven solely by his will to survive during his days as a mercenary, Guts finds a purpose in life upon joining the Band of the Falcon after being defeated by its leader Griffith, greatly helping in the faction's storied successes during the Hundred-Year War as captain of the band's raiders.

In Japanese, he has been voiced by Nobutoshi Canna and Hiroaki Iwanaga, the latter of which voices him currently. In English, he has been voiced by Marc Diraison in the 1997 anime and the animated movies, Michael Bell in Sword of Berserk, and Kaiji Tang in the 2017 anime.

Biography

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Appearance

F*** you. I'm human, the real deal, right down to the bone. Don't mistake me for one of you freaks.
~ Guts to Emperor Ganishka after assuming him to be a apostle.

Depicted as a tall, muscular man, Guts stand at 6'8" (204 cm) with short, spiked, black hair in a crew cut. He is missing his left forearm and right eye due to an encounter with the God Hand and is covered head-to-toe in scars from a lifetime of battles, with the most notable being a lacerated scar on his nose he got from a sparring match with his abusive father Gambino. Also notable is a large, horizontal scar on his chest, which he received during his encounter with Slan of the God Hand in the qliphoth. After receiving the Berserker Armor, Guts receives a small fringe of white on his hair, presumably due to the stress brought on from wielding the armor. Guts' tendency to wear black clothing while hunting the apostles gained him the nickname "The Black Swordsman". Aside of all this, Guts has a brand as a result of the Eclipse on the back right side of his neck. This brand attracts demons and evil spirits to him at night.

Guts' original design, featured in Berserk: The Prototype, had him wearing an eye patch.

Personality

His sense of joy was ground down to nothing by years of bloodshed and tragedy, Guts can only be described as a pessimistic, hardened man who doesn't make friends easily and will kill hundreds and hundreds of foes with little remorse for them. Despite that, Guts still harbors a strong sense of justice and compassion, willing to fight for what's right and scorning Griffith for having betrayed everyone he once loved to become like a god. Although once lacking direction in life, he eventually finds himself understanding his love for combat, also devoting his life to fighting the strong.

Powers and Abilities

Abilities

Because he is just a normal human, the strength to carry, much less to use and wield a sword of such magnitude with finesse and dexterity makes Guts a grandmaster swordsman of no ordinary level and skill, which shows up in every battle or duels that he partakes, especially when he is engaged with demonic beings. He is also skillful at using many bladed weapons, has knowledge on how the mechanism of complicated firearms work and is also an excellent equestrian. Despite his large frame he is very fast, dexterous and agile for a human of his size and stature which can be seen when he is engaged in combat with multiple enemies.

Guts has incredible strength and physical resistance, even though he is a regular man with no powers. Due to his extensive training since a very young age, his strength and endurance could be classified as superhuman. He is able to swing the large Dragonslayer with incredible speed, even with just one hand. He has also survived impacts that would kill a regular man, even with the protection of armor. He also has an incredible resistance to pain as shown when he cuts off his own arm trying to stop Griffith from raping Casca.

Guts is also able to come up with strategies very quickly and thanks to his experience in battle, he can realize very quickly the best way to fight, like when he used a sword with his feet to impale Zodd. Despite all of this, Guts' resistance to damage is not far away from a normal human's. He can be affected and hurt badly with normal weapons.

Guts' ferocity, fury, aggressiveness, and strength do much to conceal the cunning person within him. He is very perceptive, quick witted, clever, and a skilled strategist, all of it goes hand in hand with his strength. These are the major reasons of why he had survived the countless encounters that he so far had faced. A good example of his tactical prowess is his fight with the apostle Rosine.

During the fight Guts was severely outnumbered by Rosine's insect-like elf pseudoapostles but managed to kill them by lighting himself on fire when they got too close, then quickly dousing himself by slicing open the cocoons that were in the process of turning more children into pseudoapostles. Though not much of a talker, Guts are also shown to possess astute logical reasoning which can be seen in some of his conversations within the manga.

Equipment

As a youth, Guts lived in a mercenary camp where he was forced to learn to use full sized weapons. This and his natural physical size and strength enabled him to wield larger weapons than most. Throughout the Golden Age arc, he primarily uses a variety of large swords, along with various other weapons when necessary.

In the (chronologically) later arcs, Guts wields the Dragonslayer, a zweihander or two-handed sword about 7' long and 12" wide at its base. It is more than an inch thick at the middle of the blade, giving it incredible weight and power. Described in the manga as more of a table-sized slab of iron than a blade, the Dragonslayer's massive size makes it the ideal weapon for slaying apostles of the God Hand. After killing many apostles, the sword retains properties of the apostles' blood, making it more effective against them.

In addition to his blade, Guts' left forearm is prosthetic with a magnet to help grip weapons, a replacement for the one he lost when Griffith attempted to sacrifice him; it folds back to expose a hidden cannon within. Guts also carries throwing knives, miniature bombs, a dagger, and even a repeating crossbow that can be mounted onto his prosthetic arm. While not innately magical, Guts' sword, the Dragonslayer, was recently shown to have become a cursed blade after absorbing the evil within so many apostles slain by him; enabling it to kill creatures of a non-corporeal nature and even possibly kill, or at least, seriously injure members of the God Hand.

One of Guts' most powerful assets is the Berserker Armor, an ancient, cursed suit of armor that allows the wearer to overcome his physical and mental limitations in combat but at the cost of damaging his already-weakened body. In Guts' case, the armor of strengthens his mind issues (depicted in Guts' case as a quadruped canine creature), to take over and endanger everyone in the vicinity, friend or foe (hence, berserk). The Armor has deadly effects on its user.

After using the armor once, Guts lost some of his sense of taste, became slightly colorblind, and the stress of using it caused a patch of his hair to turn white, among other things. The armor can pierce his flesh from within to reinforce broken bones, enabling him to continue fighting long after his body to the point it would normally be exhausted.

External Links

Navigation

Sours: https://hero.fandom.com/wiki/Guts_(Berserk)
GUTS (BERSERK) - THE WAY OF THE STOIC

Berserk's Guts Was Finally Moving Past His Hatred of Griffith

Before his passing, Berserk creator Kentaro Miura was hinting that Guts might one day be free of his hatred for Griffith in chapter 345.

Warning: contains spoilers for Berserk Chapter 360

Since the very first issue of Berserk, the late creator and manga legend Kentaro Miura made it abundantly clear that his main character, Guts, would forever be damned by his burning desire to seek revenge against his former friend Griffith. It certainly felt that way for more than 300 chapters, but before his untimely passing, Miura began hinting that Guts could one day be free of his hatred.

The intensity of Guts' vengeance comes from how much he respected and loved Griffith during the Golden Age arc. This intense sense of unfettered loyalty had ironically grown from contempt to begin with. As a lone mercenary, Guts learned to distrust all others and to rely only on his sword. So when a leader of a small troupe of mercenaries named Griffith began speaking to Guts as though they were friends while expressing a desire for Guts to join his Band of the Hawk, Guts became enraged. Despite this though, Guts inevitably fell victim to the same charisma which made Griffith such a powerful leader.

Related: Berserk Creator and Manga Legend Kentaro Miura Passes Away at 54

Like most men, Guts had been awed by Griffith's dream and belief that he would one day have his own kingdom, speaking as though it were his right, even though Griffith wasn't of noble birth. But trouble soon struck when Griffith began to depend too much on Guts while Guts' deep respect for Griffith compelled him to find his own dream or "spark." So when Guts left, Griffith fell into a downward spiral, for the first time risking his dream that had attracted hundreds of men to his side. The only chance Griffith felt he had was to accept an incredible offer from a group of demon sovereigns called the God Hand to sacrifice Guts and everyone in the Band of the Hawk in return for power. The resulting chaos led to most of Guts' friends and colleagues being devoured and the love of his life, Casca, getting brutally assaulted, a horrific fate that left her comatose.

The Band of the Hawk was Guts' first family, and they were all slaughtered by the one man whom he admired most. This left such a mark on Guts that he devoted the rest of his life to seeking vengeance against Griffith. Despite all this buildup though, a recent chapter revealed that Guts thinks he is almost free of his obsession with Griffith, having found greater purpose in protecting his new group of friends and family.

More incredibly, the mysterious yet highly intimidating Skull Knight, a godly being that had been aiding Guts in his ongoing quest at various intervals, tells Guts that he is reaching the end of his journey in chapter 360. This is telling, as Casca had just regained her sanity while Griffith's power and influence had just grown exponentially to such an extent that it is implied that defeating him would take quite some time, meaning Guts could not possibly be close to ending his journey. At least, he couldn't be if his journey is the same as it always has been.

Although Guts admits that he is not totally free of Griffith just yet, the fact that he actually has the capability of hoping or even entertaining the possibility is extraordinary. It just proves that revenge, no matter how fiery can always be extinguished by love. It's a journey, as Skull Knight says, not of bloodshed, but of hope and redemption. Even though Kentaro Miura never had the chance to finish Berserkbefore his untimely passing, at least, he had the chance to begin freeing Guts from the shackles that bore him down, so he could finally find the spark he had been trying to find for all his life.

Next: 5 Anime Heroes Who Could Beat Hulk In A Fight (& 5 Who Couldn't)

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Miles Morales' New Romance Could Never Happen in the MCU

Sours: https://screenrant.com/berserk-guts-griffith-hatred-past-manga/

Guts berserk

Berserk: 10 Of The Worst Things That Happened To Guts

No other anime protagonist has suffered the same or similar fate as Guts from Berserk. If most of them were to undergo the same kind of physical, psychological, and emotional pain, then they wouldn't have lived long to continue their respective anime. For that reason, Guts lives true to his name as the toughest anime hero or antihero ever.

RELATED: Vinland Saga: 5 Ways The Anime Is Better Than Berserk (and 5 Ways Berserk Is Better)

Now, with the latest chapters of Berserk hinting at an endgame, Guts' suffering might finally have an expiration date. That's good news for the fictional character as he's probably held the record of the most tortured anime protagonist since 1989. Just how much has he endured throughout Berserk's manga run? Here are the worst things that ever happened to Guts... 3D anime excluded.

10 BEING AN ORPHAN

From the moment he was born, Guts' life was already pre-determined for agony. His mother was hanged in a tree moments before his birth and he was born in a pile of human guts, marinating there before some soldiers found him crying, hence the name.

So not only did he not meet his mother but she also died before he was born, as crazy as that might sound. One could even say that Guts' upbringing was worse than a regular orphan's because...

9 GETTING ADOPTED BY A MERCENARY

The people who found him were neither samaritans nor well-off, but mercenaries who are pretty much borderline bandits. The leader of the band was Gambino who also took the initiative in adopting Guts to make use of him in the future.

RELATED: 10 Manga To Read If You Liked Berserk

Unfortunately for Guts, Gambino was a cesspool of issues. He was cruel, unsympathetic, and was never a good father figure to the poor boy. Guts ended up having a love-hate relationship since while he was harsh to the boy, he also ended up raising him.

8 DONOVAN

Still, Guts soon became disillusioned by Gambino's apparent care when Gambino sold him like possession to another mercenary named Donovan. It just so happens that this mercenary was a homosexual pedophile.

Hence, Guts was forever psychologically scarred by Donovan and this began as early as his pre-pubescent boyhood days. Guts learned early on how to be vengeful, killing Donovan as revenge and later on, Gambino for selling him out.

7 A LIFE OF WAR

After Guts took had his vengeance against his adoptive father, he became a wandering mercenary. He didn't exactly have a formal education and it was a dark medieval fantasy world so the only thing he could do was what he grew up doing, which is learning to kill people.

RELATED: 10 Anime To Watch If You Liked Berserk

Guts spent his puberty drifting between battlefields, joining as a sword-for-hire-- sometimes even serving as blood sport entertainment for nobles. It did make him independent and strong but it definitely wasn't a good way for a boy to grow up.

6 BETRAYED BY HIS BEST FRIEND

Guts did, later on, find relative sanctuary in the mercenary group Band of the Hawk, led by the seemingly honorable Griffith. Too bad Griffith was never that honorable and put his ambition higher than anything else, including his friends.

Griffith, in order to gain power and become a king, had to sacrifice his whole Band of the Hawk, including his best friend, Guts to the God Hand. The sadder part is that all this took place right after Guts risked his life to save Griffith from a slow certain death.

5 HIS LOVER GETS ABUSED BY SAID BEST FRIEND

Casca, the Band of the Hawk's second-in-command was one of the few people dear to Guts as they had bonded and had a romantic connection. Griffith knew this full well but didn't care and wanted to either assert his dominance on either character or demonstrate a lack of empathy upon transforming into the demon Femto.

RELATED: 5 Ways Berserk Is The Best Manga (& 5 Manga That Are Better)

That best explains why Griffith violated Casca in front of Guts. It was also at that point where Griffith's betrayal became apparent, and Guts' heart was crushed tenfold from having his best friend betray him and his lover getting abused in front of him.

4 RENDERED DISABLED BY DEMONS

During the process of Griffith's sacrifice and display of power after transforming in a God Hand demon, Guts made a Herculean effort to kill Griffith. In doing so, Guts had to break free from the grasp of the demons or apostles holding him down.

This meant that he had to sacrifice one of his arms. That attempt failed tragically and Guts was pinned down again, only the apostles did so more roughly and punctured one of his eyes, rendering him half-blind. This was the worst physical thing that happened to him.

3 LOSES NEARLY EVERYONE DEAR TO HIM

There's no doubt that Guts became attached to the Band of the Hawk especially since they were the closest thing he had to a caring family. Pippin, Corkus, Rickert, Casca-- even Griffith himself, all of them taught Guts to be human somehow.

RELATED: Berserk: 10 Things Fans Never Knew About The Iconic Dark Fantasy Manga & Anime

Sadly, Griffith took all of this away when he became Femto. Nearly every member of the Band of the Hawk was killed as a sacrifice for his transformation. By then, it was understandable how and why Guts became a worse version of himself before he met his new and current gang.

2 GETS CURSED

Since Guts survived the sacrifice for Femto thanks to his old friend, the Skull Knight, he went on to live in the material world as a cursed individual. He still bore the accursed sign the God Hand gave to him to prepare him as a sacrifice.

This curse mark not only bled like a fresh wound frequently but also attracted apostles who see Guts as nothing more than a slab of rib eye. Conversely, the curse mark also only bleeds when the apostles are nearby so at least it somewhat helps. Still, it meant that anyone near Guts is in higher danger of getting killed by demons.

1 SEEING HIS TRAITOROUS BEST FRIEND RISE TO POWER

As an added insult to injury. not only did Griffith took everything away from Guts and also violated what he held dear, but also essentially took over the entire human world. He pretty much became emperor of the false utopia he built.

It pretty much turned the whole world against Guts and he was only left with a handful of allies. This only intensified Guts' motivation for revenge against Griffith and thankfully, that justice is nearly in sight for the Berserk manga.

NEXT: Berserk: 5 Reasons Why The 90s Anime Is The Best Adaptation (& 5 Why The Movies Are Better)

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GUTS (BERSERK) - THE WAY OF THE STOIC

Berserk (manga)

Japanese manga series by Kentaro Miura

Berserk (Japanese: ベルセルク, Hepburn: Beruseruku) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura. Set in a medieval Europe-inspired dark fantasy world, the story centers on the characters of Guts, a lone mercenary, and Griffith, the leader of a mercenary band called the "Band of the Hawk". Miura premiered a prototype of Berserk in 1988. The series began the following year in the Hakusensha's now-defunct magazine Monthly Animal House, which was replaced in 1992 by the semimonthly magazine Young Animal, where Berserk has continued its publication intermittently. Miura died of aortic dissection in May 2021. A posthumous chapter was published in the magazine in September 2021.

Berserk was adapted into a 25-episode animetelevision series by OLM, which covered the Golden Age story arc, and was broadcast from October 1997 to March 1998. The Golden Age arc was also adapted into a trilogy of theatrical anime films; the first two films premiered in 2012 and the third film premiered in 2013. A second 24-episode anime television series adaptation was broadcast for two seasons in 2016 and 2017.

As of May 2021, the Berserk manga had over 50 million copies in circulation, including digital versions, making it one of the best-selling manga series of all time. It received the Award for Excellence at the 6th installment of the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2002. Berserk has been widely acclaimed, particularly for its dark setting, storytelling, characters, and Miura's detailed artwork.

Plot[edit]

See also: List of Berserk characters

Guts is a lone warrior who was born from a hanged corpse and raised as a mercenary by adoptive father Gambino, who he was forced to kill in self defense. Guts's fearsome reputation catches the attention of Griffith, the charismatic leader of a mercenary group known as the Band of the Hawk. Griffith forces Guts to join the group after defeating him in battle, with Guts becoming his best fighter while quickly rising through the band's ranks as they are hired by the Midland Kingdom during its century-long war against the Chuder Empire. Guts would later learn of Griffith's desire to rule a kingdom of his own and his mysterious pendant known as Behelit, which was instrumental when they were spared by Nosferatu Zodd, a monstrous immortal while leaving Guts with a cryptic warning of a painful demise for being Griffith's friend.

As Griffith begins to mingle with Midland nobility and acquaint himself with the king's daughter Charlotte, Guts began developing feelings for his fellow commander Casca, the Hawks' only female member. But when Guts overhears Griffith confessing to Charlotte that he considers someone with their own dream a friend, Guts decides to leave the group once Midland won its war. But Guts's departure causes a devastated Griffith to ruin his fortune by seducing Charlotte, resulting in his arrest and torture while the Hawks are branded criminals by the Midland army. Guts spends the next year training to become a better swordsman, but is warned by a mysterious being he names "the Skull Knight" that his actions have instigated an "Eclipse". Guts learns of the Hawks' predicament and rejoins them to rescue Griffith while consummating his feelings for Casca.

The group soon end up on a crossroads upon learning Griffith had been reduced to a crippled mute while making for Midland's borders, Griffith regaining his Behelit at his moment of despair over his condition during a solar eclipse. The item transports the Hawks to another dimension where they encounter archdemons collectively known as the "God Hand", have gathered for an event known as the Eclipse where Griffith will sacrifice his comrades and transcend his humanity to join them. Griffith willingly accepts once reminded of the ambitious man has always been, with the Hawks marked and slaughtered by the God Hand's "apostles"—humans like Zodd who sacrificed their loved ones and humanity for power. Only Guts and Casca survive while Griffith is reborn as the God Hand's fifth and final member "Femto", raping Casca while Guts loses his right eye and left forearm in his attempt to save her before they are rescued by the Skull Knight. But the ordeal traumatized Casca enough to regress her mind to a childlike state, Guts learning that their "Brands of Sacrifice" leave them open to be preyed upon nightly by supernatural creatures. Guts leaves Casca in the care of the blacksmith Godo, his adoptive daughter Erica and Rickert, the youngest member of the Band of the Hawk who survived by not being present at the Eclipse. With a new sword named Dragonslayer and a prosthetic left arm with a built-in cannon, Guts begins hunting down apostles in search of revenge on Griffith. During this time, Guts is followed by his unborn child with Casca, deformed into a lingering creature as a result of Femto's rape.

Two years later, Guts is joined by an elf named Puck and a young thief named Isidro while having an encounter with Farnese and Serpico of the Holy See Church's Holy Iron Chain Knights who were sent after him. When Guts learns Casca wandered away from Godo's home with the Infant keeping her safe from harm. Guts's search takes him to St. Albion, learning the God Hand arranged the holy city to be the site for an Incarnation ceremony to give one of their own physical form. Guts saves Casca for the Holy See bishop Mozgus as the city descends into nightmarish chaos from the souls of the dead attacking. Joined by Farnese and Serpico, Guts and his group survive the ordeal as Griffith reconstitutes through a misshapen apostle desiring to "hatch" a new world who ingested the dying Infant prior.

Guts later encounters Griffith and Zodd at Godo's home with his battle with the latter destroying the mine that kept Casca save while Griffith releases some lingering traces of the Infant endured within him. Guts decides to take Casca to Puck's homeland of Elfhelm on the island of Skellig if there is a mean of restoring her mind, allowing Isidro, Farnese and Serpico to follow him as fears losing control of himself to the embodiment of dark impulses. At the same time, Griffith creates a second Band of the Hawk with Zodd and other apostles among its ranks to save Midland from the invading Kushan Empire, led by their rogue apostle emperor, Ganishka.

Guts's group are soon joined by the witch Flora and her apprentice Schierke, who teaches Farnese magic and negates the effects of the brand on Guts and Casca. Prior to her death when members of the New Band of the Hawk destroy the three she made her home it, Flora gives Guts use of a dangerous relic known as the Berserker Armour which increases his physical ability but increases the risk of being consumed by his inner darkness. While Guts and his party secure a ship to reach Elfhelm in, Griffith's war with Ganishka climaxes when the emperor's destruction following his transition into a god-like causes a overlapping of the mortal realm and the supernatural astral realm. Unopposed with Charlotte and the Holy See's blessing, Griffith establishes the city of Falconia to provide refuge for Midlanders and the rest of humanity from the numerous mythical creatures that manifested in the realms' overlapping.

At the same time, following a dramatic battle with a supernatural island-sized monster known as the Sea God and recruiting one of the islanders, a merrow girl called Isma, Guts's party reaches Elfhelm. The elf ruler, Danann, helps Farnese and Schierke travel into Casca's mind and restore her to her former self. But despite her recovery, Casca was still traumatized from her ordeal as she could not stand Guts being in her presence. Farnese and Schierke later begin training with the other apprentice witches and wizards living on Skellig, the former taking an interest in the power to heal human souls to help Casca. At the same time, Guts encounters the Skull Knight once again who tells him that his journey is at an end, guiding him to the creator of the Berserker Armour and teaching Guts about his own past with the God Hand. Meanwhile, after defeating an army of giants, Griffith participates in a council with the other nobles of Falconia before departing that evening for currently unknown reasons.

Production[edit]

While briefly working as an assistant to George Morikawa at 18, Miura had already planned some ideas for Berserk's development, having a dark warrior with a gigantic sword illustrated in his portfolio who would be the first conception of Guts.[5][6] Miura submitted manuscripts to a shōnen manga magazine for about four years before working for Hakusensha. However, he felt that he was not capable enough for it and they were also not interested in publishing science fiction or fantasy works.[7] In 1988, while working with Buronson on a manga titled King of Wolves,[8] Miura published a prototype of Berserk in Hakusensha's Gekkan ComiComi.[9][10] This 48-page prototype placed 2nd at the 7th ComiComi's Manga-School prize.[11] He later submitted his work to a magazine that, at the time, "was on the verge of going under", and he was switched around between several editors before meeting his first editor.[7] The serialization of Berserk began in Hakusensha's Monthly Animal House in 1989.[9][12] Miura commented that he landed the serial as soon as he made his debut, so he never had the opportunity to receive much criticism from editors.[7]

Miura stated that the inspiration for the series' title was diffuse at the time of creation. He did not have information about the berserkers or the Berserker Armor (which first appeared in the 222nd chapter) planned out from the start. He chose the word, telling himself that "its mysterious aspect would stick well". Miura said that the title was connected to Guts’s imagery, influenced by Mad Max's eponymous character, further elaborating: "In short, starting from a world with a dark hero who is burning for revenge, prompts you to imagine a rabid character. When, guided by his anger, he will pour out this rage on overpowered enemies, we must insist on his fanaticism if you want to stay consistent. That’s why I thought "Berserk" would make a perfect title to represent my universe".[13] According to Miura, the series' dark fantasy setting was inspired by the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian and the Elric of Melniboné series.[14][15][16] Miura stated that he did not see dark fantasy as a genre in itself, but rather as an equivalent of general fantasy. He commented that outside of Japan the big works of fantasy, like The Lord of the Rings, contain dark elements, and in Japan, the fantasy genre was popularized by video games like Dragon Quest, which were aimed at children, and therefore, expurgated the dark elements, but since he received the influence from novels before that of those games, Miura "naturally turned to dark fantasy".[15][16]

Miura said that Fist of the North Star, by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara, was the work that had the greatest impact on his own work,[7] helping as well to develop his art style.[17][18] Miura also mentioned animator and manga artist Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and manga artist Fujihiko Hosono as early influences to his art style. Violence Jack by Go Nagai and Guin Saga by Kaoru Kurimoto inspired the series' story and atmosphere. Ranpo [ja] by Masatoshi Uchizaki served him as a reference for his backgrounds.[17][18] Miura said that his favorite manga series was Dororo by Osamu Tezuka, and that he wanted to create a fantasy work that possessed dark, "muddy" and yōkai-like elements.[19] Miura was also influenced by Star Wars,[20][21] adding that he learned the basics of storytelling from George Lucas and called the eponymous 1977 film his favorite work.[22] Miura commented about the influence of shōjo manga on the series, stating that it is about "expressing every feeling powerfully".[17][23] Particularly, he mentioned influence from Yumiko Ōshima,[17][23] and that the anime adaptations of The Rose of Versailles and Aim for the Ace!, both directed by Osamu Dezaki, inspired him to read The Rose of Versailles manga and the work of Keiko Takemiya.[16]

Some aspects of Guts (personality and design) were partially inspired by Miura's highschool friend and later fellow manga artist Kōji Mori [ja], by Mad Max, and by Rutger Hauer's performances in Flesh and Blood, Blade Runner, The Hitcher and The Blood of Heroes.[24][7][14][13] Gut's prosthetic hand was inspired by Dororo's Hyakkimaru and Cobra eponymous protagonist.[25] Kurt, the protagonist of Pygmalio [ja], by Shinji Wada, and an illustration of a giant wielding a sword, featured in The Snow Queen (Guin Sagaspin-off), inspired the size of Guts' sword, the Dragon Slayer, by mixing both characters' swords.[17][18] Miura commented that when drawing the Dragon Slayer, he wanted to emulate the effect of Kenshiro's or Raoh's (Fist of the North Star) fist "flying out from the page", but he felt that Gut's sword did not have the same feeling of weight as a fist. He wanted to convey an “extension of reality” feel to the sword, similar to the depiction of the Fist of the North Star's Hokuto Shinken martial art, and make it believable for the readers.[26] Miura stated that “Black Swordsman” Guts was the first thing he was set on, but he did not have any idea about what his backstory would be. He focused on the character development up until around the third or fourth volume and then he would think about what brought him to revenge.[7]

Berserk is known for its frequent and often extended hiatuses,[27] which date back to late 2006.[28] Following a main storyline chapter released in February 2012, three consecutive chapters about Guts's childhood were published from June to July of the same year.[29][30][31] The main storyline resumed after eight months in October 2012,[32][33] and the series went on hiatus after a chapter published in December of the same year.[34] Miura took a break to work on his 6-chapter mini-series Giganto Maxia,[35] and Berserk was published intermittently from April to September 2014.[36][37][38][39] After a 10-month hiatus, the manga came back in July 2015,[40] and was published monthly until November of the same year,[41] before entering on hiatus.[42] It was published monthly from June to September 2016, before entering another hiatus.[43][44] The manga resumed publication from March to June 2017,[45][46] and was then published on a monthly basis from December 2017 to May 2018.[47][48] Four months after, another chapter was published in August 2018, before entering an 8-month hiatus.[49][50] Two chapters were published in April[51][52] and August 2019.[53][54] Three chapters were published in April,[55] July[56] and October 2020, respectively.[57] A chapter was published in January 2021.[58]

On May 20, 2021, Hakusensha announced that Miura died at 54 due to an acute aortic dissection on May 6, leaving it undecided what would happen to the series.[59][60][61] The posthumous 364th chapter of Berserk was published in Young Animal on September 10 of the same year, which was Miura's last work, and members of Miura's Studio Gaga worked to finish the manuscript of the chapter.[62] The magazine issue was a "memorial" to Miura, featuring a special "Messages to Kentarou Miura" booklet and a poster of "famous scenes" from the manga.[63][64] In the same issue, Hakusensha stated that the future of the series remains uncertain and that the staff's priority will "always be placed on him — what he would think if he were still with us".[65][62]

Themes[edit]

Berserk explores a wide range of themes and topics. Free will, destiny, and causality are discussed within the series.[66][67][68] Human resilience is a recurring theme, with many characters coming from horrible backgrounds, constantly struggling against an unjust world.[68][69] Guts struggles with destiny itself and is constantly resisting the pull of predetermination.[66] Griffith also embodies this idea of resilience, by chasing his dream of ruling his own kingdom, despite his lowborn origins, as well as free will, by his own decision to sacrifice the Band of the Hawk in order to achieve his dream.[68]

The series also explores human nature and morality, as characters struggle between becoming good human beings or falling into madness and evil.[70][69] Guts, at the beginning of the story, is presented as an antihero who does not care about killing and is indifferent to people who aid him. Guts does not act in accordance with definitions of right and wrong, he operates within a gray area, and does not attempt to be heroic or protect the innocent.[71][72] However, as the story progresses, it is shown that he is in fact a person who is deeply conflicted internally.[73][74] His tragic and traumatic past, unfolded in the Golden Age arc, proves that Guts is a much more complex character.[75][71][69] Anne Lauenroth of Anime News Network, wrote that Griffith is "not evil at all", but "arrogant and brutally realistic about human nature". The suppression of his own human nature would initiate his demise as the Hawk and the rise of Femto.[68]

Friendship, comradery and human relations are other explored themes.[66][16] As a child, Guts tried to build some level of friendship with his mercenary group,[76] but due to his traumatic experience with them, he lost trust in people.[77][78][79] However, through the time he was with Griffith and the rest of the Band of the Hawk, Guts formed bonds, friendships, animosities and co-dependencies, maturing as well as individual.[69][68][80][67] Miura stated that he based the Band of the Hawk on his own high school friend relationship experience.[16][81] Specifically, he mentioned that his friendship with later fellow manga artist Kōji Mori partially inspired the Guts and Griffith's relationship.[7] Jacob Chapman of Anime News Network, wrote that through their friendship, Guts' ambitions were elevated and Griffith's were lowered, allowing both of them to consider a new future for the first time, one where they fight side-by-side as equals and die on the battlefield, but they reject this future out of their own personal fears, as Guts did not think he was "good enough" for a happy future and Griffith was terrified of his lofty dream crumbling into something more mundane.[82] Miura also said that the story of fight between Guts and Griffith speaks about their change after having built their personalities.[16]

The Golden Age arc has been compared to a Greek tragedy.[83][84] According to Lauenroth, Griffith's hamartia lies in how he compartmentalizes his feelings of guilt and shame that would get in the way of his dream and how he deals to repress them. His inner dialogue in his second duel with Guts; "If I can't have him, I don't care", marks the Golden Age arc peripeteia.[68] When Guts comes running to rescue him during the Eclipse, Griffith reaches his moment of anagnorisis, with his thought: "You're the only one…who made me forget my dream".[68]

Betrayal and revenge are major themes in the series. Guts suffered his first betrayal when Gambino sold Guts' body to another soldier for a few coins. He would eventually take revenge against the soldier, killing him on the battlefield and he later would kill Gambino as well.[69][77] Guts is in a quest for revenge after his comrades were betrayed by Griffith and sacrificed by the God Hand.[69] This desire for vengeance has been his main reason of survival.[85][72]

Religion has been also touched in the series, mainly through the characters of Mozgus and Farnese. Miura stated that he created Mozgus based on the concept of rigid personality to create a religious fanatic character with no flexibility.[81] Farnese is presented as the figurehead of the Holy Iron Chain Knights, inquisitors tasked with burning heretics and witches at the stake.[86] After her encounter with Guts, she finds it increasingly difficult to resolve her faith with the atrocities she became party to, as Guts, inversely, takes action against something he disagrees with. Guts denounces the very idea of prayer, claiming that the act of clasping hands only prevents people from realizing what they desire through their own means. Farnese eventually begins to reject her faith and the rigidity of her beliefs. After the battle between Guts and Mozgus, Farnese decides to follow Guts, to find a new purpose in her life, away from her social position and the church.[87]

Publication[edit]

See also: List of Berserk chapters

Written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura, Berserk debuted in Hakusensha's Monthly Animal House [ja] in August 1989 (October issue).[88][89] Hakusensha published the first tankōbon volume of Berserk under its Jets Comics imprint on November 26, 1990.[90] In 1992, Monthly Animal House was renamed Young Animal,[89][91] and new chapters are still being irregularly released in the semimonthly magazine. In June 2016, Hakusensha's Jets Comics imprint was rebranded as Young Animal Comics and the first thirty-seven volumes of Berserk were re-published with new cover arts.[92] As of September 28, 2018, forty volumes have been published.[93] The posthumous 41st volume is set to be published on December 24, 2021. The volume will come in both regular and special editions, the latter will include special canvas art drawn by Miura and a drama CD.[94]

In North America, Dark Horse Comics, in conjunction with Digital Manga Publishing, announced the license of the manga in 2003.[95] The first volume was published on October 22, 2003.[96] As of September 25, 2019, the 40 current volumes have been published.[97] In September 2018, Dark Horse Comics announced a deluxe edition of Berserk, featuring hard covers and larger prints, with the 1st volume (collecting original volumes 1–3) released on February 27, 2019.[98][99] The eighth and latest volume (collecting original volumes 22–24) was released on August 25, 2021.[100]

Related media[edit]

Anime[edit]

First series (1997–1998)[edit]

Main article: Berserk (1997 TV series)

Berserk was adapted into a 25-episode anime television series, produced by Nippon Television and VAP, animated by Oriental Light and Magic, and directed by Naohito Takahashi. The series begins with the Black Swordsman arc, continuing through the Golden Age arc.[101] It was broadcast in Japan on Nippon TV from October 8, 1997 to April 1, 1998.[102][a]

Film series (2012–2013)[edit]

Main article: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc

The Berserk's Golden Age arc was adapted into a trilogy of theatrical anime films by Studio 4°C.[104][105][106] The first film, The Egg of the King, premiered in Japan on February 4, 2012.[107] The second film, The Battle for Doldrey, premiered in Japan on June 23, 2012.[108] The third film, The Advent, premiered in Japan on February 1, 2013.[109]

Second series (2016–2017)[edit]

Main article: Berserk (2016 TV series)

A second anime television series adaptation of Berserk was produced by Liden Films and animated by GEMBA and Millepensee.[110] The series' 12-episode first season covered the manga's Conviction arc.[111] It was broadcast on Wowow and MBS's Animeism anime programming block from July 1 to September 16, 2016.[110][112] A 12-episode second season, which covered the manga's Falcon of the Millennium Empire arc,[113] was broadcast from April 7 to June 23, 2017.[114][115]

Video games[edit]

Main articles: Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage, Berserk: Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Shō, and Berserk and the Band of the Hawk

Two video games based on Berserk have been developed by Yuke's. The first game, Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage (ベルセルク 千年帝国の鷹篇 喪失花の章, Beruseruku Sennen Teikoku No Taka Hen Wasurebana no Shō, "Berserk – Millennium Falcon Arc: Chapter of the Lost Flowers"), was released for the Dreamcast in Japan by ASCII Corporation in late 1999.[116] It was localized in western regions early the following year by Eidos Interactive.[117]

The second game, Berserk: Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Shō (ベルセルク 千年帝国の鷹篇 聖魔戦記の章, Beruseruku Sennen Teikoku No Taka Hen Seima Senki no Shō, Berserk Millennium Falcon Arc: Chapter of the Record of the Holy Demon War), was published by Sammy Corporation exclusively in Japan on the PlayStation 2 in 2004.[118]

A Berserk-themed spin-off of Omega Force's Dynasty Warriors series, titled Berserk and the Band of the Hawk (ベルセルク無双, Berserk Musou) was released on October 27, 2016 in Japan,[119] and later in the U.S. on February 21, 2017 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and PC via Steam.[120]

Dragon's Dogma featured armor sets from the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc films[121] and Shin Megami Tensei: Liberation Dx2 made characters as they appeared in the 2016 TV series adaptation of Berserk playable.[122][123][124]

Novel[edit]

A spin-off novel, titled Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight (ベルセルク 炎竜の騎士, Beruseruku Honō Ryū no Kishi), written by Makoto Fukami with illustrations by Kentaro Miura, was released on June 23, 2017.[125] It is focused on the new Band of the Hawk's apostle Grunbeld.[126][127] In North America, the novel was published in English by Dark Horse on April 17, 2019.[128]

Other media[edit]

Four Berserkart books have been released by Hakusensha: Berserk: Illustrations File, also known as Kentaro Miura - Berserk Illustration Book (三浦建太郎画集 ベルセルク, Miura Kentarō Gashū Beruseruku), released on February 26, 1997;[129]Berserk: Kenpū Denki – Kanzen Kaiseki-sho (ベルセルク 剣風伝奇完全解析書, Beruseruku Kenpū Denki Kanzen Kaiseki-sho, "Berserk: Sword-Wind Chronicle – Complete Analysis Report"), an art book about the 1997, released on December 9, 1998.[130]Berserk: War Cry – Postcard Collection (ベルセルク ポストカードブック WAR CRY (雄叫び), Beruseruku Posutokādo Bukku Uō Kurai (Otakebi)), released on August 20, 1998;[131] and Berserk: Visual & Story File (ベルセルク ビジュアル&ストーリーFILE, Beruseruku Bijuaru ando Sutōrī Fairu), art book about the video game Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage, released on December 22, 1999.[132]Berserk Official Guidebook (ベルセルク オフィシャルガイドブック, Beruseruku Ofisharu Gaidobukku), was released by Hakusensha on September 23, 2016.[133] It was published in North America by Dark Horse on September 19, 2018.[134]

In addition to video games and art books, Berserk has spurred on a range of different merchandise. Statues and action figures are produced by Art of War, Prime 1 Studio and First 4 Figures.[135][136][137] A Berserk trading card game was released by Konami in Japan.[138][139] Various figma figures by Max Factory based on the characters have been released, including Guts (Black Swordsman version,[140] Band of the Hawk version[141] and Berserker Armor version),[142] Griffith[143] and Femto,[144] Casca[145] and the Godhand.[146]Berserk inspired two pachinko machines that feature original CG animation.[147][148]

With the publication of the forty volume of the manga on September 18, 2018, a promotional video, featuring actor Shigeru Matsuzaki portraying Guts, was streamed.[149][150]

"Large Berserk Exhibition" (大ベルセルク展, Dai Beruseruku-ten), a special event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Berserk, was announced in October 2020. It was originally scheduled to be held at IkebukuroSunshine City's Exhibition Hall A in Tokyo from January 30 to February 15, 2021.[151][152] However, due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns, the event was postponed.[153] The event was rebranded as "Large Berserk Exhibition: Kentaro Miura's 32 Years of Artistry" (大ベルセルク展~三浦建太郎 画業32年の軌跡~, Dai Beruseruku-ten ~ Miura Kentarō Gagyō 32-nen no Kiseki ~), and it was held at the same location from September 10–23, 2021.[154][155][156]

A drama CD, featuring the return of the 2016 anime's cast, portraying the "Awakening" chapter of the manga, will be published with the special edition of the forty-one volume of the manga on December 24, 2021.[157][94]

Reception[edit]

The 1988 prototype chapter of Berserk placed 2nd at the 7th ComiComi's Manga-School prize.[158][11] The manga was a finalist for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th installments of the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 1998,[159] 1999,[160] 2000,[161] and 2001,[162] respectively. In 2002, Berserk earned Miura the Award for Excellence at the 6th installment of the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, being awarded along with Takehiko Inoue, who won the Grand Prize for Vagabond.[163][11][19]Berserk was one of the Manga Division's Jury Recommended Works at the 5th and 6th installments of the Japan Media Arts Festival Awards in 2001 and 2002, respectively.[164][165]Berserk: Birth of the Black Swordsman, a 15-second video commercial for the 2016 anime television series adaptation, was one of the Entertainment Division's Jury Recommended Works at the 20th installment of the Japan Media Arts Festival Awards in 2017.[166][167]

In 2016, Berserk ranked 38th on the 17th "Book of the Year" list by Da Vinci magazine.[168] On TV Asahi's Manga Sōsenkyo 2021 poll, in which 150,000 people voted for their top 100 manga series, Berserk ranked 91st.[169][170]

Berserk won the French AnimeLand's Anime & Manga Grand Prix for Best Classic Seinen in 2008, 2009 and 2013.[171][172][173]

Sales[edit]

Berserk volumes 33–40 debuted in the top five on Oricon weekly manga chart from 2008 to 2018.[174][175][176][177][178][179][180][181] Volumes 34 and 40 debuted #1 in 2009 and 2018, respectively.[175][181] As of July 2015, the manga had over 27 million copies in print in Japan and 8 million overseas.[182] As of January 2016, the manga had over 40 million copies in circulation.[183] As of May 2021, the manga had over 50 million copies in circulation, including digital versions.[184]Berserk received an Excellence Award of Hakusensha's Denshi Shoseki Taishō (E-Book Award) in 2015, which went to the publisher's best-selling digital manga from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.[185]

In March 2017, Michael Gombos, Dark Horse Comics' director of international publishing and licensing, reported that Berserk was their best-selling product of all time (not just among manga), dethroning Lone Wolf and Cub,[186] and it had over 2 million copies sold in North America as of September 2018.[98] Following Miura's death announcement in May 2021, it was reported that the first eight volumes of Dark Horse's deluxe edition of Berserk ranked on Amazon's top 100 overall best-selling books list.[187]

Critical reception[edit]

Berserk has been widely acclaimed by critics. Reviewing the first volume, Michael Aronson of Manga Life described Berserk as "a curious mix of medieval barbarism, sorcery and futurist technology, combining ghouls, guns and gore. The result is beautifully rendered badass action with enough bloody violence to keep fans of the genre happy".[188]Publishers Weekly wrote: "Berserk offers a montage of merciless violence and thrilling action sequences in a blend of pure fantasy and graphic horror".[189] Grant Goodman of Pop Culture Shock wrote: "Berserk redefines what is considered a well-written fantasy manga. There are few manga that come anywhere close to creating a complex tale that includes medieval warfare, magic, and horror".[72] Reviewing the first two volumes, Greg McElhatton of Read About Comics wrote: "it's still hard to identify what about Berserk brings across such a fascination. Is it the characters? The visual look of the monsters? The little hints of a troubled past, like Guts's tattoo that oozes blood? All of the above? I'm not sure, but I do know that I'm hooked".[190] In his review of the third volume, Daniel Briscoe of The Fandom Post called the series "a tragic story of hatred, violence, and innocence lost", adding that Miura "manages to pack so much emotion, both good and bad, next to so much violence and gore I believe is a testament to his writing and his artwork".[76] In his review of the first six volumes, Satyajit Chetri of Rolling Stone wrote: "By the end of the fifth volume, Berserk has morphed into a touching tale of humanity, friendship and ambition. It is less about the blood spilt and more about the choices made by the characters, the small twists that will ultimately turn friends into nemeses".[191] Reviewing the twelfth volume, Eduardo M. Chavez writing for AnimeOnDVD, commented that despite its long-running publication, "Berserk is as shocking and unique as ever this far into the series. There are few titles out there that can sustain the level of intensity and relevance as this".[84] In his review of the twenty-first volume, Scott Cambpell of Active Anime wrote: "The deep, dark places that this manga travels to both in story and in artistic expression can be as interesting and captivating as they are horrifying", adding that the are not many other stories or manga quite like Berserk.[192]

Writing for SciFi.com, Zac Bertschy said: "Kentaro Miura has managed to create a story that's not only darkly disturbing, but also absorbing and affecting on a deeper level than most manga titles can achieve". Bertschy praised the story and character development, concluding: "Not for the faint of heart, Berserk is perfect for mature manga fans who like a little blood with their drama".[193] In Manga: The Complete Guide, author Jason Thompson gave Berserk 4 out of four stars. He called it "A blood-soaked sword-and-sorcery epic with elements of Clive Barker's Hellraiser", and wrote: "Berserk's medieval European world of mud and blood is so realistic—and drawn in such realistic detail—that when dark fantasy elements begin to intrude upon it, they do so with a slow, dawning horror".[4] Thompson, in a review for j-pop.com, also wrote: "Despite the slaughter, Berserk doesn't feel as amoral as it could be; our hero is a killer, but given his well-developed back story, his occasional tears of remorse seem more genuine than, say, Crying Freeman's".[194] In another article, writing for Anime News Network (ANN), Thompson said that Berserk started as "the story of a lone swordsman traveling the world fighting demons with blood and sweat", and it was later turned into a "fantasy RPG party of heroes with a magic-user, a thief, a fighter, some elves, etc.", commenting that Miura apparently was "aiming the series at a younger age group". Despite this, Thompson stated: "I'm still impressed by Miura's great art and his ability to create such a long storyline with so much scope and (relative to other manga, at least) so little filler. No other seinen fantasy manga has such well-developed characters with such deep backstories, even for the minor characters".[69] Matt Fagaly, writing for Crunchyroll, analyzed Berserk's use of shōnen and shōjo manga tropes in the Lost Children arc (volumes 14–16), which resulted in an "entirely original and moving narrative". Fagaly commented about the arc protagonist, Jill, and her hopeful words at the end of that story, further adding: "I have never seen another Shonen or Shojo express this notion with the same audacity, depth, and idiosyncrasy as Berserk".[195] Carl Kimlinger, writing for ANN, in his review of the thirty-fifth volume, compared Guts' "monster-plagued" trip to Elfhelm to the fantasy tales of Robert E. Howard and, in comparing the volume to the previous ones, he wrote that series dropped down a notch, although he stated that it was not a "disastrous drop", but "just the series falling back into a comfortable, classical adventure mode".[196] Brittany Vincent of Otaku USA said: "Berserk is undoubtedly one of the most unique and engaging Western-style fantasies of all time".[79] Writing for Syfy Wire, Eric Frederiksen said: "Berserk is one of the longest-running manga, and consistently one of the darkest out there, but also one of the most emotionally powerful and rewarding".[66] Writing for Crunchyroll, Peter Fobian expressed: "Berserk is one of the most deeply personal works I’ve ever read, both for myself and in my perception of Miura's works. The series' transformation in the past 30 years artistically and thematically is so singular it's difficult to find another work that comes close".[197]

Miura's artwork has been particularly praised by critics. Bertschy said that the artwork is where Berserk "really shines", adding: "The cross-hatching work, the level of detail, it's all stunning. Every page is a work of art, each scene drawn with the utmost attention to detail and atmosphere". He compared the art to the 1950s horror comics from EC Comics and found it fitting to the series' "gruesome nature". Bertschy concluded: "Miura is a fabulously talented artist and author, and future manga series by him will be met with great anticipation".[193] Thompson said: "Miura's art is one of the real attractions. The people may occasionally look funky, but castles, knights, horses, and Baroque and Romanesque trappings are drawn with detail and accuracy".[194] McElhatton wrote that he was "pretty unimpressed" with Miura's art at first, but he changed his mind after the demons appeared, stating: "Miura draws demons in such a wrong and disturbing manner that it's unsettling. That's how demons should look, of course".[190]Publishers Weekly wrote: "this work has a style characteristic of other 1980s manga, with sparse dialogue, spectacular action sequences and gritty character art. The pencil shading and use of shadows lend an ominous tone".[189] Campbell wrote: "You just can't know what 'attention to detail' means until you read Berserk – it's rare when it comes to what it has to offer to all the readers out there, so really it's no wonder that it stands out as much as it does".[198] Campbell also commented: "The closest thing visually that Berserk could be compared to might be Claymore, another very good manga – but really Berserk is on a plain of its own".[192] Writing for Advanced Media Network, Serdar Yegulalp said that the artwork of the first volumes are "a little rougher and less polished than the later ones", but that after the eighth volume "there is scarcely a page that doesn't look spectacular", adding that "Miura's loving attention to detail on most any page or panel is stupefying".[199] Writing for ANN, Casey Brienza wrote: "Miura's artwork is exquisite and, remarkably, drawn without the help of an army of assistants. And while he has been great right from the first page of volume one, he has improved over the many years of working on Berserk".[200] In another review for Graphic Novel Reporter, Brieza wrote: "Unlike virtually all other commercially successful manga artists, Miura produces his artwork without assistants,[b] and the exquisite detail of this erotic-grotesque, Dungeons & Dragons-esque high fantasy issues from his hand and his hand alone", adding that it is "one that appeals to men and women alike".[203] Carlo Santos, reviewer from ANN, wrote: "Miura's complete command of light and shadow gives every moment an otherworldly quality—this is one of the few series that can honestly claim to transport its readers to another time and place—and the attention to backgrounds is a welcome sight when so many other artists are too lazy to be bothered".[204] Kimlinger wrote that Miura's art "is among the most intricate, evocative and plain beautiful art ever to be put to page and arranged cinematically. He draws wonderfully expressive faces, awe-inspiring monsters, gorgeous armor and some of the finest gore to be found just about anywhere".[205] Chetri described Miura's otherworld featured in the first arc as "something a drug-addled MC Escher would have painted", also noting homages to Hellraiser and H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, and called Miura a "splendid storyteller whose artwork is stark and bold enough to bring the world of Guts to life magnificently".[191] Writing for IGN, Bruna Penilhas commented that Miura's level of detail in his illustrations is "impressive from start to finish", praising the design and features of his characters, adding that he was able to "perfectly illustrate characteristics and feelings such as pain, anger and sadness".[206] Alex Traub from The New York Times commented about the comparison of Miura's drawings to Hieronymus Bosch's paintings, particularly for Miura's images of "little human figures occupying sweeping fantastical landscapes", adding: "Mr. Miura was known for his spectacular, apocalyptic style; specific images — a humongous sword, a monster cloaked in shadow — are immediately recognizable to his fans".[207]

Legacy[edit]

Berserk is regarded as one of the most influential dark fantasy works.[208][209][210][211] Peter Fobian, in an essay of the legacy and impact of Berserk, called it a "monolith not only for anime and manga, but also fantasy literature, video games, you name it", comparing its level of influence to Blade Runner, further adding: "it’s difficult to imagine what the world might look like without it, and the generations of creators the series inspired".[197]

According to writer and editor Kazushi Shimada, series like Fullmetal Alchemist, Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba or Jujutsu Kaisen would not have existed if not for Berserk.[212] Some dark fantasy manga authors who have declared influence from Berserk include Hajime Isayama (Attack on Titan),[213]Kazue Kato (Blue Exorcist)[214] and Yana Toboso (Black Butler).[215] Other authors influenced by Berserk include Makoto Yukimura (Vinland Saga),[216]Yūki Tabata (Black Clover)[217] and Ryōgo Narita (Baccano! and Durarara!!).[218]Adi Shankar, the 2017 Castlevania showrunner, said in an interview that he would like to adapt Berserk, calling the "hyper-detailed beauty" of Miura’s artwork a "true masterpiece",[219] while Adam Deats, Castlevania assistant director, stated that the show was inspired by Berserk.[207]

Ramsey Isler of IGN stated that Guts "served as a template for many heroes that came after him", adding that the "ridiculously big sword he wields" started a trend, spread to characters like Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII and Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach.[220]

Berserk has also inspired a number of video games, including the Dynasty Warriors series,[221][222] the Final Fantasy series (considerably Final Fantasy VII and XIV),[221][223] the Souls series,[222]Bloodborne,[210] and Capcom's Devil May Cry and Dragon's Dogma series.[224][121][225]

Finnish heavy metal music band Battle Beast have written songs about Berserk, including several on their 2013 self-titled album.[226][227] When guitarist Anton Kabanen left Battle Beast in 2015, he formed Beast in Black and continues to write songs about the series.[228] The deathcore band Brand of Sacrifice released the album God Hand in 2019. Both the band and album are hugely inspired by Berserk.[229] In 2021, deathcore band Slaughter to Prevail released a music video for their song "Zavali Ebalo", which featured scenes from the Berserk 1997 anime series.[230]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserk_(manga)

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