Dark Horse Releases "Deluxe" Berserk Edition

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
My deluxe edition was supposed to arrive today, but UPS apparently required "an adult's signature for it," and I wasn't around. I'm guessing this is because it's EXTREME ADULT CONTENT NO KIDS ALLOWED THIS ISN'T FOR YOUR GRANNY UNLESS YOUR GRANNY RIDES A HARLEY THE SPICE MUST FLOW!!!!!!!!
 
Walter said:
My deluxe edition was supposed to arrive today, but UPS apparently required "an adult's signature for it," and I wasn't around. I'm guessing this is because it's EXTREME ADULT CONTENT NO KIDS ALLOWED THIS ISN'T FOR YOUR GRANNY UNLESS YOUR GRANNY RIDES A HARLEY THE SPICE MUST FLOW!!!!!!!!
Could be worse, right? With all the horror stories I hear of UPS and USPS losing packages and whatnot.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I'm not complaining, I just found it odd that it required a signature. Waiting a day to reread something I've read a dozen times is no biggie.
 
Exactly. Wasn't a jab at you or anything, I know how troublesome UPS and USPS can be. I'm pretty stoked to get mine early April myself. Saw them at Barnes & Noble and didn't realize these things were pretty darn heavy.
 
Received my copy today, volume has solid build quality and a nice weight to it. Pages look crisp but it’s still the same old scans so the issues from the original are still there, for example that one side shot of gambino’s face is still missing fine details that were lost during scanning and correcting. Paper quality and binding are pretty solid, the volume covers in the back have very over saturated colors compared to the Japanese covers. These are just some things you notice right away, some of which was already discussed here earlier.
 

Oburi

All praise Grail
I received mine today. Didn't have to sign for it, it's weird that you have to, Walter. But anyway flipping through it, I'm pretty happy. I'm more happy about the fact that I can lend this out for others to read and it will inevitably be a more enjoyable experience for a new reader. I also took a moment to think about how this is a pretty good break for Berserk here in the states. I remember back in 2006, I was prematurely posting on Dark Horse's message boards already asking them to re-release Berserk in bigger deluxe editions (they probably only had the first 7 or 8 books out by then :badbone:). But it's something I've always wanted, and while not perfect, it's a huge improvement since Dark Horse's editions are the ones I read. Even though I do own all the Japanese volumes, I've never physically seen Berserk's art in anything bigger than the old books, so this is the first time I'm seeing the artwork at this size in my hands. It's really friggin awesome.

Also I can't help but think this will ultimately be good for the Berserk brand over time. I think a lot of people who might have had a passing interest in Berserk, maybe they saw the anime on Netflix or something, would see the 30+ volumes and think it's too daunting to invest in. With these new editions I would bet it pulls in a fair amount of new readers. I know I put off reading Vagabond until those big omnibus editions came out. And I know one person from work who pre-ordered this Berserk Deluxe edition based on the fact that it has some relation to the Dark Souls games (along with my glowing recommendation :serpico:).
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Mine arrived! I will say it's fundamentally cool to have all of Black Swordsman in one mega-sized volume. Your mileage may vary on whether that novelty alone is worth the $30~50 retail price, given the other problems with this edition. Now that I finally have it in my hands, I can give it the book-nerd breakdown I've been waiting to read elsewhere (TELL ME ABOUT THE INKKKKKKK)

PROS:
+Good paper: The paper quality is improved over the standard volumes. It's about on par with what Viz did for Vagabond (and slightly less stiff than the recent Blame! master editions). The paper is thicker, toneless, and it doesn't have that half-step-up-from-newspaper vibe of the volumes. They nailed this.
+Good ink: Possibly as a result of the higher paper quality, the lines appear sharper and less fuzzy than even the Japanese volumes. The finish on the paper is less textured, so the ink doesn't leak through the tiny lines of the paper grain. However, also possibly because of the sheen on the paper, the contrast isn't quite what it should be. This is not evident in pictures or scans, but in practice, there's a slightly reflective quality to the paper that robs it of deeper blacks.
+Big size and solid feel: This is the most significant upgrade of the bunch. The enlargement of the visuals changes the experience of scenes like the unveiling of the Dragon Slayer in the bar, and of course the God Hand reveal. As someone who has repeatedly re-read the series, those scenes feel larger because of the size upgrade. It's also hefty. It feels like a book you'd have to lug around in high school. Wrap this shit in a paper bag. That callback ages me, doesn't it?
+/=It's leather: The leather appears to be of good quality, not just fake shit. I've never personally skinned a cow and hung it out to dry. But as a leather layman, it seems legit. Now, I don't particularly give a shit about leather myself, but sure. Why not? Looks Biblical, and there's something gratifying about that. Also, small note, but because of the size and weight of the leather binding, you can lay it flat and the pages fall flat. That's a big improvement over the originals.
+Looks good on a shelf: The big, bold red-foil lettering, and the minimal arrangement of the spine all get big thumbs ups from me. Just gotta find room for it...

CONS:
-Bad initial scan quality remains bad, particularly for what's supposed to be a "DELUXE" edition. This is problematic. Dark Horse admittedly improved their scan quality over time to the point where I genuinely can't think of a visual defect in the later volumes. But this set of volumes from Dark Horse has had problems since their first print, and they've never been resolved. This old example of a washed-out scan that makes fine details simply disappear from the page remains in the deluxe edition. They can and should have done better here. If they're going to upsell fans on a new edition, it warrants a re-scan, particularly given the evident problems. I scanned a new example to demonstrate the moiré pattern issues (Deluxe Edition, Japanese Edition -- note the effect around the crossbow). If the size was the biggest reason to buy it, this is the biggest reason not to bother.
-Ugly low-resolution / low-quality volume covers in the back: I don't know exactly what happened here, but they are blurry and over-saturated compared to the originals. This could be a result of color bleed on the glossy paper they chose. But it seems more likely to me that the sources they used just weren't high resolution, or in some way weren't mastered properly. Anyone who has seen what those covers look like in the Illustration File will immediately recognize the issue.
-Miura's name. If they're going to engrave Miura's name in leather, I'd prefer they actually bother using the correct ō in Kentarō. They got the his name correct in the goddamned Library of Congress entry for this book, but not the cover? Aside from that, the bio in the back also has a number of errors: 1) Futatabi is misspelled as Futanabi. 2) Noa was not a canceled series, but a one-shot. 3) Gigantomachia was published as a volume in 2014 not 2013 (it began serialization in 2013, but that's not what they were referring to). 4) The Dreamcast game came out in 1999 (2000 in US) not 2004. If it were just one or two issues, eh it's understandable. First editions are plagued with these. But add them up, and it comes across as lazy.
-Defects: These are small, but glue from the binding splattered onto the page in two instances of mine, and one corner of the leather cover is undercut, so it overhangs a bit. I don't care too much about these aside from the feeling that I just paid for a premium edition that doesn't have the fit-and-finish I'd expect of a premium edition.

If you've never bought a Dark Horse edition, I say by all means, jump on it. Bigger is better. But if you were holding out for the definitive Berserk reading experience, this isn't quite there yet.
 

nostyleart

Quixotic
Got mine about a week ago, but agree with Walter's analysis, will be giving this to a Berserk-fan friend and stick to the original manga releases.
 
I got mine yesterday. Disappointed about the lack of color pages and bad scans, but I look forward to getting Conviction and Millennium Falcon in the bigger format.
 
+/=It's leather: The leather appears to be of good quality, not just fake shit. I've never personally skinned a cow and hung it out to dry. But as a leather layman, it seems legit. Now, I don't particularly give a shit about leather myself, but sure. Why not? Looks Biblical, and there's something gratifying about that. Also, small note, but because of the size and weight of the leather binding, you can lay it flat and the pages fall flat. That's a big improvement over the originals.
They most likely used bonded leather for these volumes, no way it's higher grade than that at a $49.99 MSRP. Even then, this is still a huge plus in my opinion, a certainly better option than fragile dust jackets, one less thing to worry about while holding/reading/collecting.
 
I am quite happy with mine as well. I wish I had the copy in front of me, but (unfortunately) on some of the pages, the ink was smeared onto the opposite side :judo: It's not a deal-breaker but it is weird to see a big vertical line going through Gut's face on some panels. I also set myself up for this, but I thought the pages would be more akin to Viz's Fullmetal Alchemist hardcovers. Nonetheless, pretty happy with the release overall.
 
I am quite happy with mine as well. I wish I had the copy in front of me, but (unfortunately) on some of the pages, the ink was smeared onto the opposite side :judo: It's not a deal-breaker but it is weird to see a big vertical line going through Gut's face on some panels. I also set myself up for this, but I thought the pages would be more akin to Viz's Fullmetal Alchemist hardcovers. Nonetheless, pretty happy with the release overall.
Sorry to hear that man :(
Remember, you can always return it and tell them it was a defective unit and get a replacement. Printer defects happen often and most vendors have no issue replacing books.
 
Thanks for the extensive breakdown Walter, Theozilla and everyone else who contributed to this thread. I've decided to hold off owning this format for now. Between the Japanese volumes, DH volumes and YA issues, I've run into a problem for space, for if I commit to buy the first Deluxe release, I would want to get a complete set.
 
Have they made any estimates about when will the final hardcover be released? I would love to buy these, but I´m not certain they will release all the story arcs in this format. I mean, they are taking so long to release each volume, and if the first ones don´t sell well...:sad:
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Have they made any estimates about when will the final hardcover be released? I would love to buy these, but I´m not certain they will release all the story arcs in this format.
Yes, they've said before on Twitter (maybe it was FB) that they plan to do the whole series like this, and that they'll be released at a consistent pace. I don't know that they've released dates or anything though. One volume every 3-4 months seems to be the pace though.
 
Thanks for the info, Walter. I´m guessing each volume will comprise 3 regular volumes, which means around 42 months of waiting to have all the chapters up to now in this format. :shrug:Oh well, I guess it´ll be worth it.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the info, Walter. I´m guessing each volume will comprise 3 regular volumes, which means around 42 months of waiting to have all the chapters up to now in this format. :shrug:Oh well, I guess it´ll be worth it.
It amounts to about 3 years to catch up to Vol 40.
 
It amounts to about 3 years to catch up to Vol 40.
39 current English volumes / 3 volumes per book = 13 deluxe volumes / 3 books a year = 4 years 4 months assuming they keep the releases to every four months. Of course by then we should have enough volumes for a deluxe volume 14.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
39 current English volumes / 3 volumes per book = 13 deluxe volumes / 3 books a year = 4 years 4 months assuming they keep the releases to every four months. Of course by then we should have enough volumes for a deluxe volume 14.
Oh, it's really 4 months between the releases? The Amazon delay threw me off. I got mine in March, and the next is due in June. But the actual release was Feb 27 (then June 26 and Nov 5).

Of course by then we should have enough volumes for a deluxe volume 14.
Hopefully :griffnotevil: In all honesty, not sure I'll be getting the full set. I already own the series in triplicate.
 
In all honesty, not sure I'll be getting the full set. I already own the series in triplicate.
I sold my volumes last week so I’ll be replacing them with the deluxe books. The rest of my little manga collection are large (mostly hardcover) editions so it will look more consistent on my shelf, at least.
 
For me, they´re must-buys, if they actually release them all. I find the design for the cover particularly appealing; not a drawing of giant monsters or even of Guts yelling at the sky, but just a demonic symbol, all in red and black. Not only do I find these kind of evocative designs much more suitable for Berserk (and I tend to enjoy them more than the typical manga covers´ designs, they leave it open to the imagination instead of showing you stuff upfront), but the hardcovers actually look like demonology books, like the kind of occult grimoires that you would expect a sinister, immortal, robe-wearing cultist to use in a blasphemous summoning ritual. :zodd:

I would give the designs a 10/10.
 
I finally received mine. I pre-ordered it as soon as the chance to was available way, way back and I was quite happy to pay only $40 Canadian for it. Which is like $6 or $7 American roughly.

Despite seeing a ton of pictures of it, I had no idea how big it actually was until I held it. I've been waiting half my damn life to have something like this so I'm extremely pleased with it. I can't wait for the rest and I look forward to delving into it when I do my reread probably around when vol 40 is released.
 
I know Miura was on record saying he preferred the size and format, but did anyone else think these were just TOO big? Having the releases the size of Viz's Fullmetal Alchemist hardcovers would have been spot on in my opinion; a happy medium between page/panel size and compactness.
 
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