Poll: Do You Expect God-Hand-sized God Hand Flashbacks?

How much content will we get on the God Hand members' origins?

  • A few panels

    Votes: 7 21.2%
  • A few pages

    Votes: 19 57.6%
  • An episode or more

    Votes: 6 18.2%
  • Nothing, they'll remain enigmatic

    Votes: 1 3.0%

  • Total voters
    33

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
The God Hand members circle around the fulcrum of the story of Berserk. While Guts-Casca-Griffith are the emotional core of the series, the God Hand have instigated nearly every element, and bind them together. Despite wielding this great influence, they remain steeped in mystery.

Excluding our peek at them in Volume 34 (11 years ago), and Slan's visit to the Qliphoth in Volume 26 (17 years ago) we've learned little about them since their introduction in Volume 3 (29 years ago). They have been cards held tightly by Miura for decades, always in hand, but never played. Eventually, he'll lay those cards on the table. But how much do we really expect from that big moment, in light of how other origin stories have been treated?

The Count, a minor yet introductory apostle for readers, got a sizable flashback sequence, amounting to a modern-day episode (20 pages).

Rochine, if you limit her origin only to the explicitly shown sequence of her parents' death, it's decently long (8 pages).

Femto, the whole Golden Age is effectively his origin story, along with Guts' and Casca's of course, but it's clearly the exception for obvious reasons (1 arc).

Mozgus is not an apostle, but as a focal point of the Conviction Arc, it was necessary to flesh out his origin, and his followers a bit. (3 pages)

The Beherit-Apostle's origin, if you just focus on the parts related to his life as a human, is about the same length (9 pages).

Ganishka was given a densely packaged life story leading up to his sacrifice, and it's fucking fantastic (9 pages).

I list these out not to establish a pattern or calculation, but to demonstrate the times Miura has employed flashbacks, and how long he spends on the origin of characters in respect to their weight in the story. Looking at these, one might conclude that naturally, the God Hand members are more important than an apostle like Rochine, so they're certainly due more than 8 pages.

But ... are they more important?

The apostles' background stories help humanize them, so readers understand the dire circumstances at the moment of their sacrifice, and to empathize — even just a little — with what brought them to their terrible decisions. Their stories also work because they show a human facet of the characters we've already come to know as monsters by spending time with them for a full chapter or even an arc.

The God Hand are different, though. They aren't victims. At least, not in the same way as apostles. They're the instigators in this web of deceit. And aside from a few personality quirks, they're effectively blank slates. There's not enough material about them that knowing their past would amplify. Not like getting the sense of a complete person like the origin does for Rochine. Learning about her abusive family life was a missing piece for understanding her motivation to seek out the Misty Valley.

So the question becomes, does the story afford the God Hand a similarly empathetic peek at their past? I don't think so. At least, I don't expect to be treated to a sad story about Conrad offering up Tiny Tim to the Vortex, or a doe-eyed Slan taking one final look at her sacrifice before they're consumed. That would feel tonally wrong to me.

I think Miura will give them each a little moment, something within the minimal range of how he's treated others, but unless their origin stories are deeply connected to the telling of the overall Berserk story (:void: :SK: ) then I think it would be inappropriate to give them too much. I think the "life in a sequence" method of Ganishka's origin story would be a nice method to do that, but if it happens to be a few panels, or a page, I'd understand.
 
I'm curious what the in story reason for delivering their stories will be. I'm not able to think of any reasons that they would decide to spill their story to someone else or lament to themselves about it since the part of them that would care to is either gone or muted. We could get a secondhand story. All I really know is that the Ganishka 9 page lifestory was terrific and I'd be fine if that was the norm for each of them sans Void. I need a big ass book about the life and times of Void
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I'm curious what the in story reason for delivering their stories will be. I'm not able to think of any reasons that they would decide to spill their story to someone else or lament to themselves about it
Origin stories don't have to be the characters retelling things themselves, in fact it almost never is. Look at how Ganishka's or Rochine's go. It's their memory as they reflect before dying, basically just for the reader.

since the part of them that would care to is either gone or muted.
Right, their final tear is gone. It's another good reason it'd be strange to ruminate on them in an empathetic way. But there are of course other avenues for flashbacks. Maybe it could show how different they are now versus as a human? Ehh, probably not :slan:

I need a big ass book about the life and times of Void
I think our best bet is through SK's story, particularly if their relationship turns out to be as intertwined as Guts and Griffith's. A great big story on Void alone just ain't gonna happen.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Good question. I think we'll get some information about at least some of them. It's not essential, but I believe Miura will drop us some nuggets eventually, even if simply because it'd be cool.

However I expect a few pages at most, and it might not be a first person account. It could also be something like Danan alluding to a repeated cycle throughout the past thousand years, accompanied by a few panels for each member, showing their rise and fall as humans, then their rebirth. Something for the reader's eyes only. I do think Void is the one with the potential for the biggest backstory, simply because it's shared with Gaiseric and it came at a pivotal point in the history of the world.
 
Origin stories don't have to be the characters retelling things themselves, in fact it almost never is. Look at how Ganishka's or Rochine's go. It's their memory as they reflect before dying.
oops I've dehumanized the members to such an extent i didn't imagine them reflecting in their final moments. Would you have more interest in seeing those pages used to tell the story from childhood to godhand or used to see a real close look on the final days before becoming a member?

With slan I would want the former but with void if it was going to be the 10 or so pages I would really want to see a nice fleshed out look at the politics and relationships he had towards the turning point of his life
 
If you asked me after my first read-through, I would tell you that each of them needs at least 2 episodes to properly explain their backstory. But after a re-read or two, I realized how Miura perfectly developed Rochine and Ganishka with just a few pages of backstory.
So I personally think that Miura will give Conrad, Ubik and Slan a couple page backstories (like 8-11 pages at most) but for Void he'll give him a bigger one. Not much bigger though, I'd say an episode.
I believe that's going to be the case mostly because (and correct me if I'm wrong) it has been hinted that Skull Knight and Void knew eachother as humans, so his backstory might take a little longer. Although I might be just talking out of my ass right now since I got that they might have a connection just because of their little glance during the eclipse... :farnese:.
But if they don't have any connection, I think Miura will give Void a couple pages like the other members.
 

Oburi

All praise Grail
As cool as it would be to get a decent backstory similar to what Ganishka had, the mystery is also pretty cool and with the series winding down toward a final I wouldn't be heartbroken if that's the case. Since Berserk didn't go the route of focusing on each member getting their comeuppance over time, like say Kill Bill where each target of revenge is it's own chapter moving the narrative, I'm leaning towards a shorter origin type scenario. A few panels, maybe a few pages at most. The only exception is Void because of his history and connection with :SK: . I could be underestimating just how much longer Berserk will continue though ( I hope I'm wrong).
 
I'm not sure... Miura is definitley taking his time and making sure all the big moments and events get time to resonate, like with Casca's return. But like you guys have pointed out on the podcast, there are some major events to come, like SK's origins, the clash with Griffith's lieutenants, like Zodd, Locus, etc. reuniting with Rickert, more stuff with the Moonlight Boy, true resolution between Casca and Guts and many other long anticipated moments. For the sake of economy and keeping things in the present, I could see him keeping their origins cryptic, addressing them briefly and keeping the mystery alive in a sort of Lovecraftian way where you never get your head completely around their origins.

If Berserk were released on a more regular schedule I think he definitely would, but with so many huge moments to come and so much to be dealt with in the present, I can see him keeping things vague just to keep the train running. That being said he has no problem with taking his time, but I can see him lightly touching on their origins and keeping the mystery somewhat perpetual and focusing on the narrative in the present.
 
I feel like, through Griffith and the whole Golden Age arc, we've been given the ultimate example of the kind of tragic and sinister circumstances that lead to the creation of such beings, and after the seed of terror has been planted, the rest is left to unfurl in the reader's mind. The implication of this untold, profound horror associated with each of the God Hand members as a result, plays a big role in what makes them so effectively daunting as villains. The tricky part about revealing their past is how to do it without interfering too much with this effect and the brilliant way in which they've been presented so far. If Miura chooses to give us something more, I'm thinking it will probably be brief and similarly suggestive, rather than a direct flashback or something we've already seen.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
The tricky part about revealing their past is how to do it without interfering too much with this effect and the brilliant way in which they've been presented so far. If Miura chooses to give us something more, I'm thinking it will probably be brief and similarly suggestive, rather than a direct flashback or something we've already seen.
That's exactly right.
 
Not entirely.

I think he wants to keep some things about them enigmatic. Their presence is most important in the present, because, as mentioned, the story focuses on Guts. You aren't ever going to be able to make something divine totally comprehensible. Not even real religions can elucidate everything by their own metrics.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Wow, look at that poll, a dead-even split between the top three answers. Interesting!

Would you have more interest in seeing those pages used to tell the story from childhood to godhand or used to see a real close look on the final days before becoming a member?
For Void specifically, I feel like whatever Miura chooses to show needs to help make the betrayal [supposing there is one] emotional. Something potent enough to spark a 1,000 year grudge. He could use vignettes (like Ganishka's) that show the change in the character over time, leading to a betrayal. Or it could be a simple, straightforward sequence.

There's a scene in Vol 3 when Guts is getting beaten down by Femto. He thinks back to a time with Griffith as a human, reflecting that Griffith was "a beautiful, noble and complete person." It's a kind of mini-flashback for Femto. It shows you his relationship to Guts, and how painful the betrayal must have been, now that readers understand the sacrificial ceremony. So, building on why that scene works so well, the contrast between Griffith and Femto, I think the origin of Void would be most impactful if we got a glimpse of a human Void that was UNlike the Void we know, and not simply the moment of sacrifice.

You aren't ever going to be able to make something divine totally comprehensible. Not even real religions can elucidate everything by their own metrics.
Not sure I understand how that notion is relevant here, because the God Hand aren't "divine," and we know they were once human. That's the part of their origin that would be important in a flashback.

Although I might be just talking out of my ass right now since I got that they might have a connection just because of their little glance during the eclipse... :farnese:.
Well there's that, which isn't nothing. And there's the moment in Vol 13 when SK refers to Void in his talk with Zodd in an off-hand, familiar way. Other than those two things, it's a lot of well-meaning conjecture over the years.
 
Not sure I understand how that notion is relevant here, because the God Hand aren't "divine," and we know they were once human. That's the part of their origin that would be important in a flashback.
That's a fair point. They and Apostles see themselves as divine, which is not the same thing.

Regardless, I agree with the notion of getting maybe a few pages on backstory, though not much else.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
I voted for the conveniently flexible "A few pages" because I doubt we'll be getting multi-episode flashback arcs for each of them, but we'll probably get a couple pages to an episode's worth on a few if not all of them. I'd actually like to get an episode on Conrad simply because his personality doesn't tell a story as much as the others. A man of mystery... and pestilence. :void:
 
Last edited:
Few panels gets my vote. Although, I'm thinking of changing my vote to a few pages mainly because of the art/ size on the page of how each Godhand is drawn which can then amount to pages worth of a rich backstory.
 
Top Bottom