Berserk Deluxe Edition (Vol. 1) by Kentaro Miura

details
Title: Berserk Deluxe Edition.
Volume: 1.
Writer(s): Kentaro Miura.
Illustrator(s): Kentaro Miura.
Translator(s): Jason DeAngelis & Duane Johnson.
Letterer(s) and Retouch: Dan Nakrosis & Studio Cutie.
Publisher: Dark Horse Manga.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
Release Date: February 27th, 2019.
Pages: 696.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy, Horror.
ISBN13: 9781506711980.
My Overall Rating: 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

thoughts

Oh, how it is difficult not to acknowledge the cultural impact of mangaka Kentaro Miura’s Berserk on manga and anime since 1989. With the recent news of the manga being continued by his assistants and childhood friend and manga artist Kouji Mori despite Kentaro Miura’s passing, fans march on with fervour and great anticipation to see the iconic series come to an end. Spawning a beloved anime television series and a movie trilogy, its horror penchant within an adult fantasy universe unlocked a treacherous and unpredictable world filled with hideous and villainous creatures and beings for fans to indulge in. Through its stubborn and homicidal protagonist, mangaka Kentaro Miura explores one man’s indisputable determination within an unjust, immoral, and murderous world.

What is Berserk Deluxe Edition (Vol. 1) about? The story follows Guts, a lone swordsman journeying across lands with his gigantic sword, his repeater crossbow, and his cannon arm, meddling in brutal affairs as he’s continuously put into and looking to be in situations that will allow him to exact revenge or violent justice upon aggressors. Bearing a mysterious symbol branded on his neck, channeling strange powers, he’s often fueled by rage and violence throughout his adventures, collaterally helping people in need as he stomps his way through the world. Accompanied by Puck the naked Elf, who relentlessly tags along despite being continuously shooed away by Guts, the Black Swordsman faces an evil Count with occult powers until he’s given a chance opportunity to meet the five God Hands, demon lords of immeasurable power.

“Only two paths remain open to you. Be reborn again. Living among demons and continuing your existence among demonkind… Or have that existence absorbed by demonkind.”

— Kentaro Miura

This is no odyssey for the faint of hearts. Guts’ character is difficult to sympathize with, embodying raw violence in its most brutal form. However, readers will most likely root for his survival and encourage his anger-fueled and frenzied outbursts of violence, somehow always done against those who are ill-intentioned and unpunished sinners. Mysterious to the core, he is no open book within these first chapters as most of his character development is done through his action, as mangaka Kentaro Miura banks on his character’s tendency to produce gory chaos for readers to try and demystify his hero, strongly believing that action speaks louder than words. While his behaviour often belongs to the realm of an “eye for an eye”, with themes of revenge and betrayal at the heart of this story, his brief words after the fact indicate a far more nihilistic and dichotomic vision of the world: you either kill or get killed. Within the first three volumes collected in this deluxe edition, mangaka Kentaro Miura mostly introduces and establishes his protagonist, his companions, and the devious world in which they evolve. It is only towards the end of this edition that the story finally hints at a larger mythology and a scheme at play that promises a world far more merciless than what has so far been exposed.

The artwork is rough around the edges, however, stylistically engrossing. The few dialogue bubbles allow mangaka Kentaro Miura to fully detail his characters and focus on their demeanor and emotions. Expectedly, action and horror go hand in hand as they compose the majority of this volume and it should come as no surprise that the death count increases exponentially with every flip of a page. The number of bodies that drop, often in pieces, is mesmerizing, and quickly, readers will know that nothing stands in the way of Guts’ giant iron sword, smoothly going through just about anything he swings at, like a knife through butter. With ultraviolence being a signature element of this world, it is often within it that readers will also find temporary refuge and entertainment in Guts’ adventure. However, the larger questions revolving around morality, justice, and destiny are what make Berserk such an epochal manga series, a manga series that I will surely continue on to better grasp its influence on countless other series released today.

Berserk Deluxe Edition (Vol. 1) is an ultraviolent and ruthless world introducing Guts and his unforgiving form of justice fueled by revenge and anger.


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19 thoughts on “Berserk Deluxe Edition (Vol. 1) by Kentaro Miura

  1. All right, I’m officially jealous you have it!
    Although the first few volumes is more of Miura finding his artistic footing, it’s still impressive. Dark as heck, granted, and very nihilistic, and yet I am hooked 😉

    Like

  2. We have myths and folklores but how strange it is that dark fantasies metaphorically unfolds into the realities of our present dark world. Great review. YIPES!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. After watching the first season of the anime, I wanted nothing more to do with this guy. Much like how I feel about Mark Lawrence and his fans, I find it very disturbing that something like this has such a following.

    I guess my question to you, as someone I know online and not just some random guy, is why do you immerse yourself in material like this? Aren’t you concerned about it affecting you, even if only in jading your feelings?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guessed from the very first scene of this series (massive sex scene with a monster) that this would’ve been banned from your reading list for life hahahah

      Considering my field of study (criminology) and my workplace, it’s almost inevitable for me to continuously learn and look into all forms of violence. I’ve never really steered away from the concept and have always been fascinated by it (the whys and whos). Understanding violence just opens up a whole world of knowledge about a person’s behaviour and thought process. There’s also something disturbing yet captivating in the cathartic nature of violence (as long as I’m not the one promoting or creating it). So yes, I don’t mind its presence in any form of entertainment I indulge in, and I only “enjoy” it when it’s used for a reason (if it’s just stupid violence for shock value, I usually end up getting bored by it).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m aware of Berkerk both as manga and anime but I don’t believe I’m actually familiar with it. I’ve just seen it around. I think I was turned off by what I saw for a couple reasons. I don’t have any problem with violent stories but I don’t often watch the hyperviolent ones. Not sure why, just not often in the mood for those. But the biggest turn off for me is that sword I so often see him carry. For most of my life I’ve been into historical arms and armour and seeing a sword like his that is so ridiculously non-realistic (yeah, I know, this is manga, not non-fiction!)… I just have a very hard time suspending my disbelief long enough to enjoy the story. It does happen from time to time, one of those ridiculous weapons will sneak right under my radar and surprise me, but it hasn’t happend yet with this one. 🙂 Very glad to hear, though, that you enjoyed this story and will continue it. I hope it continues to get better from here. I might have missed it if you mentioned, but is this your first exposure to Berserk? Or have you watched any of the anime?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ultraviolence definitely isn’t something that I can ever really recommend to anyone or everyone. It’s pretty much within the horror genre territory and that is already not something that everyone finds thrilling. I like dipping my toe in it, and sometimes full-on bathe in it, just to discover other forms of story-telling and visual experience. I do understand what you mean about that sword. It’s quite insane what goes on with that sword and what it allows Guts to do. I’m not particularly impressed by it but for the sake of this franchise, I guess it gives Guts something quite distinctive hahaha This is indeed my first time exploring Berserk. Like you, I’ve heard about it but was never intrigued enough by the character growing up. It’s sort of like what He-Man still is for me today (besides knowing what he looks like, I’m not yet tempted to go explore the character). I haven’t watched any anime adaptation for Berserk yet too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My personal opinion, but I doubt you’re really missing all that much not having seen He-Man! 🙂 Granted, I watched and loved the cartoon as a kid, but not so sure I’d be as into it these days. Who knows, though, it might do a great job scratching the nostalgic itch one of these days.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like the elegant look of this special edition cover.
    It was funny to see that your review was probably longer than the text in the entire comics.
    Have you ever thought about explaining your star rating in the post? ex.: I took off 0.5 stars for the sometimes rough art. I find that some people do that in their reviews online.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, same here! Definitely hope to collect all the volumes in this edition, as long as the series is good to me. Hahaha it says a lot about the series if you can say more than it does. Not really, my star rating is mostly an overall impression. I let my words express what I felt about the experience, either leaning towards a good or bad experience.

      Liked by 1 person

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