Author Topic: A fan's opinion of the Universe of Berserk  (Read 1893 times)

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Online Walter

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A fan's opinion of the Universe of Berserk
« on: December 25, 2002, 10:25:31 PM »
As requested by Miura, in the interview on the fourth DVD of Berserk, here's my opinion on the Berserk universe. I encourage all of you to do your own thoughts.

Quote
Actually I kind of have a question. What do Westerners think of thisfantasy world created by an Oriental? Many of us Orientals feel that the fantasy worlds created in Hollywood... or believed in by Westerners are more genuine fantasy worlds. And I think Berserk is strongly influenced by Western culture. I'm trying to create something from what I learned from the West. So I'm curious about what people in the West think of Berserk. That's my question to the fans in the U.S. I hope they like it.

The size and tenaciousness of this community is a testament to the success of Berserk's fantasy world. But then, we do get a few complainers every now and then. These are always common, especially when sudden turns are made in the percieved universe. Most recently, those would be the introduction of the magical equipment such as the fire dagger, wind cape, silver chain mail etc.  

I think most of the negative feedback about these magical elements are from an assumed perspective about what the Berserk universe really is.  Most of us newcomers to the series (those that were introduced to the series through the anime, myself included) weren't there for the original release of volumes 1-3, which introduce Puck, a rather irrefutable magical element in an otherwise low-fantasy setting. By the time we newcomers discovered Puck, we were already too enthralled in the story and universe to refute it as "TOO FANTASY".

But recently, I've considered that perhaps Miura intended Guts' progression into the depths of the astral world and thus, more fantasy elements, as a parallel to the audience's own understanding of Berserk's fantasy universe. Consider how gradually we are fantasy elements. Volumes 1-3 thrust you into a low-fantasy setting, then 4-13 have a few, scattered elements, letting you know its still a low-fantasy/horror setting. Then from 13 on, we are exposed to a myriad of different fantasy elements that all really DO fit into the universe Miura has created.

Despite all of my reasoning, I was only ho-hum about the Berserk universe  until Flora's explanation of the depths of it, and how the Astral planes fit into it all.  Miura has added a whole other third to the universe we already knew about and it doesnt just complement whats already there... its an impressive element by itself.

As for how Miura stands against sci-fi/fantasy giants like Burton and Raimi well . . . I think Miura has gradually built a universe that topples all of their creations in one fell swoop (that is, only one series). Just look at the hundreds of discussions that are possible from the content within Berserk.

Thanks Kentarou Miura, and sorry about the scans.

-Walter
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Majin Tenshi

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Re:A fan's opinion of the Universe of Berserk
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2002, 02:43:10 AM »
I look at Berserk as a world with plenty of supernatural, but humans are forced to rely on material means.  I'm a little uncomfortable with the new magical equiptment and, having not read vol 23/24, don't have much of a grasp on what magic mortal humans can touch.
Ok, so I leave and come back....

Offline krebs4life

Re:A fan's opinion of the Universe of Berserk
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2003, 04:44:22 AM »
so the question is "What do westerners think of the western fantasy world created by an oriental?"

well id have to start with the fact that most of the people ive met in my life and most people that would read something like berserk dont know the difference between an asian fantasy and a western (or more typically a hollywood) fantasy.

getting back to the question
as a westerner who has subjected himself to hollywood's fantasy throughout his entire life i can honestly say that Miura has successfully created a hollywood fantasy, except he did one thing wrong....

....he gave berserk meaning.....
he gave us something to talk about

he added a human feeling so life like that most of us dont see anything like it in real life
he gave a depth to berserk that most cant fathom, and very few appreciate.

the reason we have these forums is because of the fantasy world created by Miura. if the setting wasnt as believeable as it is, if fans didnt get lost in the berserk universe, then we wouldnt even be here discussing this.

as for berserk as a western fantasy.

demons, the style of war, the look of the characters, the kings, the castles, the corruption, the magic, the characters attitudes, the portrayal of religion, all of these are strictly western or heavily western influenced.

is berserk a believeable western fantasy?

HELL YES!!!
and a whole lot more
just cause you're buff, don't play tough, cause i'll reverse the Earth and turn your flesh back to dust.

Offline Mark

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Re:A fan's opinion of the Universe of Berserk
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2003, 09:17:05 PM »
Interesting question.

Let's start of by stating that I'm not a big fan of western fantasy stuff (LotR, Warhammer, Wheel of Time, whatever) but I can like it. In my opinion most of this fantasy stuff goes into creating a Universe too much, with useless details, instead of into the character' and story. But this is just my personal opinion, and the main reason why I prefer Berserk over most (all) Western fantasy.

I mean, what really is the story of LotR? A young hobbit gets a ring, and has to destroy it. Then he get's all kind of things on his paths wich should make things more intresting, but most of the time only slow the (thin) story down. I found LotR very boring as a book, but like the movies, since you had some nice things to look at, instead of just a boring story.

Berserk started of as a really dark fantasy tale, with lots of bad-ass action in it. After that, the Band of the Hawk arc REALLY, and I mean REALLY, made it for me. The character developement is definately the best I've ever witnessed in whatever kind of story.

To me Berserk is just the perfect 'creation', wich has it all. It has a superb story, and awesome characters. Next to that, it probably has the best artwork I've ever seen in any visual story.

(Note: I typed this up in 10 mins., I might have said a few things double :p. Also, I've only read upto Vol. 19 of the manga, so I'm not a 'deep' into the world of Berserk yet, with all the magic/elemental-stuff. Still, I love it.)

Offline Nabeshin

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Re:A fan's opinion of the Universe of Berserk
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2003, 08:56:31 AM »
To put it bluntly, I think Miura's effort to create a coherent fantasy world has been a huge success.  The alternate medieval universe in which the story is set strikes a near-perfect balance between the real and the imagined.  The mainstream society of Midland looks and feels real, from Jill's isolated village to the royal city of Windham, but the faint shadow of the supernatural is everpresent.  In contrast, most of the D&D-style fantasy settings portrayed in the East and West alike are laughablly gaudy.  After seeing the idea executed several hundred times, knights in golden armor with jewel-encrusted swords battling spell-slinging wizards and crafty dragons only make me shake my head in disgust.  In Berserk, you don't just see the sparks of battle and (thankfully very few) magical fireworks; you see the details of the lives led by everyday people, be they nobles or commoners.  
     Nonetheless, Berserk does not try to precisely replicate medieval life; far from it, Miura embellishes and fabricates just as much as necessary to tell a gripping fantasy tale.  Guts' swords and automatic crossbow would be impossible to use in the real world (unless you can bench several tons), and the style of warfare seen in the series is likewise impractial (castles and gunpowder shouldn't be able to coexist).  But these exaggerations add to the spectacular nature of Miura's story rather than detracting from it, since he understands the impact each embellishment has on his story and he knows how to keep his world from spiraling into unbelievability.
     Now, what about Puck and Flora and the other mystical elements in Berserk?  Miura was able to maintain a delicate balance between the real and unreal in the Hawks and Revenge sagas, so it seems likely that he would trip up when trying to draw the reader deeper into the supernatural realm following Griffith's return.  But in my view, he didn't.  The cosmological concepts introduced in the latest volumes of Berserk have meshed perfectly with the philosophical concepts that have been illustrated since the beginning of the series.  The repellent nature of truth is a major theme in Berserk; Guts, Griffith, Rochine, Wild, Serpico, Farnese, the Midland royal family and many others conceal sinister secrets beneath their exterior facades.  Just as the revelation of the King's desire for Charlotte shocked Miura's readers, the rising tide of darkness over Midland sends a message to charcters and fans alike that things are changing in the Berserk universe.  The Hawks saga showed us normal life, or the closest thing to it a man whose every day is a struggle with death can have.  The Revenge saga illustrated the same man's journey to hunt down and destroy the evil lying hidden beneath the surface of the human world, and the Milennium Falcon arc tells the story of a world left in tatters as those fiendish beings emerge from hiding of their own accord.  The comfort of memory, the pain of loss, and the terror of the unknown are felt by all the main characters in Berserk, as is the human will's unpredictable power to survive in the face of such circumstances.  Now Miura is drawing on the powers of the supernatural that have been massing since his story's beginning to lead his readers down the road to the shocking truths lying beneath the exterior of his dark dreamland, and many, as evidenced by their own complaints, aren't enjoying the ride.  Still, one must bear in mind that the terror and the hope manifest in Berserk are all human creations -- the Idea itself is the offspring of man's dark thought, and the God Hands once walked the earth in human form.  At the end of every struggle in Berserk, however, the human will has triumphed in one way or another, and I suspect Miura will end his tale with the revelation of a human power great enough to overcome any lurking horror.
     All in all, Berserk's fantasy world is a highly original creation, rising above the stereotypes of East and West alike.  Miura's setting pulls insistently at the reader, with a level of nuance on par with Tolkien -- and even that author could never decide exactly what he wanted to do with his world.  The greatest fantasies are found in the shadow of reality's overlooked truths, and I would advise anyone who wants to read a true fantastic storyteller to put down Dragon-Callers of Corwyndale and pick up some Berserk.
     Just don't let your parents find Volume 13.
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Offline theblakeman

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Re:A fan's opinion of the Universe of Berserk
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2003, 09:18:30 PM »
TO MIURA:
I find the world of Berserk to be the best Asian written fantasy ever. There is no alienating Japanese culture that creeps in, and it seperates it from other fantasy anime such as Lodoss War. I highly enjoy it, because I believe that it is much more enthralling than an average Dungeons and Dragons inspired fantasy. I enjoy how magic is kept to a minimum as well, and swords have more focus. I enjoy how much detail there is to the world of Berserk, and how much time you put into it. I would enjoy seeing more info on countries such as Chuda and Kushan, because I'd like a clear definition of the world that it takes place in. I think that the fantasy world you've created far surpasses other Japanese fantasies, and even surpasses most Western fantasy as well. You have done a fine job, and I would like to see more of Berserk (like, more video games and anime too). One complaint is the focus on magic in the last few chapters, which kinda makes the world move more into the standard fantasy, but still, it is handled fantastically.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2003, 09:19:25 PM by theblakeman »

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Re:A fan's opinion of the Universe of Berserk
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2003, 02:19:19 PM »
Hi, Miura, I would like to thank you for showing me the path to the Buddha's enlightment. Without Guts existance, I would not have realized my own true existance. Although this may sound quite far-fetched and quite a violent way of finding my enlightment, I must add that the state of nirvana for every individual may be perceived differently, but at the end, its all the same and that I have finally found my peace! Thank you man!!!