Question about the impact of the Astral Merge on the God Hand

Atocas

I don't remember the last time I didn't eat Pizza
Alright,
I wasn't sure where to post this considering it's not speculation but just a question to the more well informed on the forum about the way the Astral Merge affected the God Hand, if at all.

I've come across the Berserk Mythbusters podcast episode and some other interesting old threads recently and I have a pretty good idea about how the Astral Merge works. In additon people are usually saying that the God Hand have no way to leave the Astral world, but I'm not sure if they refer to them pre- or post-Merge (if there even is a difference), because it's usually brought up when people talk about the incarnation of Griffith.

However, I feel like there must have been some kind of effect on the God Hand during the Merge that brought them closer to the physical world. Why else would we have gotten those four amazing panels of them during the Merge alongside the ones of fantasy creatures appearing all over the physical world. This confuses me, because I see people say that they are only able to fully manifest in the Astral world. What did the Astral Merge change about that? Are they just chilling somewhere in the physical world and we haven't seen them yet? Does it take more time for them to arrive? (Slan's panel kinda reminds me of a tunnel and Conrad is creating a somewhat temporary form like Intestine-Slan) Or are they still unable to fully enter the physical world?



I'm sorry, if this has been discussed before or if I got something essential wrong, but it's a bit hard to find something substantial with how much the God Hand is talked about on the forum.
 

Walter

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Staff member
It's unknown for now, but the implication with those pages seems to be that the God Hand "rode in" on the blast of the astral world, along with the other creatures, and they can now form corporeal (or maybe quasi-corporeal, like Slan did in Qliphoth) bodies. Why else feature them in those shots, after not showing them for ~20 volumes?
 

Aazealh

Administrator
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What's shown in these shots is each member of the God Hand in their domain, with Void being kept mysterious by just showing a giant brain. I would be less specific than Walter here by saying the implication is that they came into the world, but we don't know in what sense yet. It might mean they are now able to manifest more tangibly in the world than they could before, that's the default assumption. But it could also be that their grasp on the world has been reinforced, that they have more influence over it in ways we have yet to understand.

On a side note, "Astral Merge" isn't how we refer to this event. In the manga it is called the "Blast of the Astral World", as Walter said above.
 

Atocas

I don't remember the last time I didn't eat Pizza
I see, those places being their domains actually makes a lot of sense. That's pretty cool.

Thanks for the clear up. I thought it was just a shorter synonym for the Blast of the Astral World that you could use. I've owned the german translations for the longest time and just recently decided to switch to english, so I've not read the Falcon of the Millennium Empire arc in english yet.
 
My own assumption for now is more along the lines of what Aaz said, the "scope" of what they can see and do being strengthened to some degree. That or just showing them reacting in their own "preferred sephira" as they "feel" the change in the world and their plans coming to fruition. Personally, I just don't see what real point there is to them manifesting in Fantasia, at least not in the same way Griffith has, nor do I think they really care about such things. For me, that is Griffith's role and no one else's. He was the "boots on the ground", so to speak, and now he is meant to be the one creating and ruling their new world directly while they continue to influence things in the background towards whatever end goal they have in mind. It's what makes the Birth Ceremony such a significant event, that one of their number can be incarnated into the Physical World at all despite being such high level astral beings.

Of course, that perspective is colored by the revelations of recent episodes and the fact that we haven't really been given any indication that anything has changed with their situation yet, though I suspect that if there is any it will be revealed fairly soon with the appearance of the Skull Knight. The big question if they can manifest directly in Fantasia is, to what end does that serve their purposes? What roles do they still have to play in the grand plan at work here that requires such a change in their situation? Of course, it's not like we expect them to just sit on their hands for the rest of the series while Griffith does all the work anyway, but if the scope of their influence on the world has increased it surely has some other purpose.
 

Walter

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My own assumption for now is more along the lines of what Aaz said, the "scope" of what they can see and do being strengthened to some degree. That or just showing them reacting in their own "preferred sephira" as they "feel" the change in the world and their plans coming to fruition.

I think their potential to take form is a natural evolution of what we saw at Qliphoth. If it were possible then, it's definitely possible now.

I don't think that idea is too divergent from Aaz's, in that they would be empowered by the Blast. I simply took that "power" to mean they'd have additional agency by way of taking form and not be working exclusively from behind a veil anymore. But I'll happily clarify my point a bit more, since it's a topic that's been in my head for years.

I'll reiterate that Miura showed us the God Hand in vol 34 after keeping them from the pages (Slan excluded) for decades. That felt like a big moment, to me. Bigger than merely "feeling a change." But we aren't meant to know the significance of it yet. And while I understand that it's somewhat uncomfortable to speculate beyond the puzzle pieces Miura has provided us, I don't think we need to know the precise details of the God Hand's next steps to imagine what could have happened to them after the blast. By the accompanying visuals alone, they appear to be migrating into the world, just like all the other creatures in that episode. I think that's a reasonable conclusion.

Personally, I just don't see what real point there is to them manifesting in Fantasia, at least not in the same way Griffith has, nor do I think they really care about such things. For me, that is Griffith's role and no one else's.

I don't think anyone has suggested the other God Hand members would manifest "the same way Griffith has." I certainly don't expect to see Void show up disguised as like a government stooge or something (as much as I'd get a kick out of it). I think Griffith will remain special, because he is Femto squeezed into a corporeal body, created under very special circumstances. That peculiarity could be spun as a great weakness or a great strength compared to the other GH members depending on how things roll forward.

The big question if they can manifest directly in Fantasia is, to what end does that serve their purposes? What roles do they still have to play in the grand plan at work here that requires such a change in their situation? Of course, it's not like we expect them to just sit on their hands for the rest of the series while Griffith does all the work anyway, but if the scope of their influence on the world has increased it surely has some other purpose.

That'll be spelled out in due time. The lack of a ready answer isn't a rational wall to me. It's a variable we can imagine possibilities around. For example: Before, they influenced the world on a macro level from behind the scenes. But while they seemed all-powerful, they had limitations on where and how they could manifest. We saw them work through mediums like rats, or flames, or intestines. After the Blast, those limitations conceivably might not exist. I don't think this changes the role of the God Hand. I think they will remain "puppet-master" figures throughout the series. Their astral handcuffs might have become loosened a bit by the Blast, though.

Furthermore, their shadowy plans up until this point could have been to manufacture this scenario in which they've been granted additional agency in the world, and what's ahead could be a real pivot point for them ("gloves are off!"). We just don't know the next step in their plan in order to frame a convincing answer yet as to why additional agency is necessary for what's ahead, and that's likely by design.

I don't think that Miura is going to relegate them to just "boss bad guys," though. I think he's going to lean in to the spectacle potential for a world like Fantasia. So using those as launching points, maybe the God hand will terraform regions to create their own unique realms suited to them, to use an older example of the possibility space. We've already seen the potential for that with Falconia and the Wingstones. I'd like to see Guts and co travel through spectacular, fantastical places when they come back to the mainland. And if the God Hand happened to cook those up, that could be a convenient convergence for the story.
 
Does anyone think that the Blast of the Astral World is a potential double edge sword for the God Hand? They get the benefits of greater influence in the world, the ability to eradicate astral beings, and have rounded up the remaining humans of the world, but could there be some kind of drawback? Up until now the only time Skull Knight has tried to interfere with the God Hand's plan is during a Temporal Junction point. I wonder if these events could happen more frequently if the God Hand takes a more proactive role in shaping the world post Blast of the Astral world. I imagine that they are still "protected" by Causality, even if they have a greater ability to materialize in normal situations. So it begs the question, after the Blast of the Astral world are Temporal Junction points more likely to occur? The attack on Flora's mansion and potentially other magic users and spirit trees had two purposes: to get rid of magic users who could potentially be very dangerous to apostles and possibly the God Hand, and to strengthen the World Spiral tree. We haven't seen any of the God Hand interact with any traditional magic users (sorry Skully's Beherit sword) up to this point in the story. More likely than not we will see an interaction with the Moonlight Boy in Elfhelm which could lead to a interaction with Femto and perhaps other God Hand members. If one of the God Hand gets hurt during this encounter, could it be considered a Junction of Time? Or does a post-Blast world or the Moonlight Boy have the capability to trigger or circumvent these events? Maybe it was Skull Knight's plan all along to bring the God Hand into the world to harm them instead of just kill Femto at the top of Ganishka...... jk. Whatever it may be I am really excited for the new episode coming out and to see where the other members of the God Hand pop up in the story!
 
Does anyone think that the Blast of the Astral World is a potential double edge sword for the God Hand? They get the benefits of greater influence in the world, the ability to eradicate astral beings, and have rounded up the remaining humans of the world, but could there be some kind of drawback?

It is speculated by some yeah. Mainly by the ones who draw a connection between being in the Astral World, and thus, beyond the "reason" of the Physical World, with the ability to resist or subvert causality more easily. Which comes from Skull Knight first introducing the idea of Guts' Brand placing him a "half-step" beyond the reason of the world when they cross paths on the way to Albion, while applying the context of their interaction being about causality and the inevitability of the Birth Ceremony.

The logic then follows from there that since now everyone has that "half-step" in the Astral World (if that is indeed how the merge works), that everyone should have that ability to go beyond "reason" and subvert causality on their own.

I think it's an interesting idea but also arguable with all we've gotten in the story so far. It would strike me as odd if the biggest move the God Hand have made so far were to diminish their sphere of influence in any capacity rather than the reverse.
 
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Aazealh

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Does anyone think that the Blast of the Astral World is a potential double edge sword for the God Hand? They get the benefits of greater influence in the world, the ability to eradicate astral beings, and have rounded up the remaining humans of the world, but could there be some kind of drawback?

It is in the sense that they might be reached more easily than they could before. Of course, they're still overwhelmingly powerful, so that won't do a lot of good to most people. But maybe for the right people at the right time...

Up until now the only time Skull Knight has tried to interfere with the God Hand's plan is during a Temporal Junction point. I wonder if these events could happen more frequently if the God Hand takes a more proactive role in shaping the world post Blast of the Astral world. I imagine that they are still "protected" by Causality, even if they have a greater ability to materialize in normal situations. So it begs the question, after the Blast of the Astral world are Temporal Junction points more likely to occur?

Things might be different now, actually. Because the worlds have merged, it's possible the Idea of Evil's grasp on causality has been loosened. I mean, after all, Rickert did slap Griffith in the face. That would mean that this period in time is one of unique vulnerability for the God Hand, and it would add a supplementary reason for why they're eager to destroy all astral creatures. Like I've said before, it comes down to Order versus Chaos. Fantasia is a chaotic world, and causality may therefore be looser than before. But it's a necessary step in order to remove non-human beings from the equation of the world, and achieve causal absolutism.

If one of the God Hand gets hurt during this encounter, could it be considered a Junction of Time? Or does a post-Blast world or the Moonlight Boy have the capability to trigger or circumvent these events?

That's not how it works; see what I said above. A "Junction of Times" is a pivotal moment during which many elements that were carefully planned come together to achieve a desired outcome and "change the timeline".
 
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