Monday, September 14


Good Grief

I've been reading Berserk.

It's definitely one of those can't-look-away things.  After a two-volume flash-forward, we go back to watch our hero, Guts (yes, really) grow up.  From his humble beginnings as a battlefield orphan born during what TVTropes aptly terms the Dung Ages, Guts works his way up to lieutenant of a successful mercenary company before everything goes - quite literally - to hell.

Manga is the perfect medium for this story.  In the hands of any less than the most brilliant of authors, as a purely written work it would lose much of its impact.*  And as live action film or television, it would be unwatchably horrifying.

There's an anime of it, which covers the first part of the flash-forward and then what's known as the Golden Age arc.  This did and didn't make sense to me at first.  On the one hand, the Golden Age arc - the flashback to Guts growing up and the adventures of the aforementioned mercenary company - are certainly the least disturbing part of the story, and the best suited for animation...  Up until the end of the arc, which is possibly the most disturbing part of the story.

So either they left out the real ending of that arc - and there's no other sensible place to end it - or they animated something really horrifying.

Oh, who am I fooling.  This is Japan.  Here are the descriptions of the last three episodes, with spoilers removed: (Warning: Squicky stuff after the jump.)
23. Spoiler is now mute and crippled. Spoiler feels she must take care of him, and tells Spoiler to leave. Spoiler takes a wagon and runs off, finding his spoiler, which creates hell on earth and awakens the Spoiler.

24. The Spoiler are awake, and they inform Spoiler that he is to become one of them. He must sacrifice his friends, for his baptism. Spoiler climbs a mountain of flesh to try and stop Spoiler from becoming a demon.

25. According to Spoiler's will, all the Spoilers—except Spoiler and Spoiler—are sacrificed and devoured by demons. Spoiler then rapes Spoiler as Spoiler cuts off his own arm and has his eye gouged out, in order to stop him. The series then ends, bringing the story up to the first episode, before the flashback.
See what I mean?  Not exactly Miyazaki.

The artwork is interesting, though.  While the first volume is only mediocre, by the middle volumes, while still uneven, at times it's some of the best work I've seen in any manga or comic.  This is a mixed blessing, given some of the subject matter.

* Take the appearance of Void, for example.  If you stop and look at the artwork, you realise the he's got...   Eurrrgh.  And he's drawn that way every single time.  It's not easy to match that in a written work.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:42 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 I followed the TV Tropes link. Darn you! I want my evening back! ;p

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Tuesday, September 15 2009 06:10 PM (vGfoR)

2 Well, the mangaka just announced thru a recent chapter that the anime has been canceled.

I find the series interesting. It has come a long way (passing thru what I think are 3 different drawing styles) since 1989 and the arrange of the plot was very good, I think. You begin low (already a mess, after Griffith-god) then begin hiking slowly (crappy childhood until joining the Hawks) and keep slowly going up (back to messed-up Guts trying to redeem himself). Until now where they threw Griffith into full mode Japanese surrealism (yuck).

Posted by: Jaked at Friday, October 30 2009 08:04 AM (X1Mwy)

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