Author Topic: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?  (Read 5384 times)

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Offline dasfdeas

Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« on: January 14, 2013, 04:37:25 AM »
I know it's usually better to actually do the speculating yourself, but I recently re-read the series because of the slow release schedule, and it made me think about where Miura is headed since we're closer to the end of Berserk than the beginning.  Obviously, the message isn't "Do as you will" or however you translate the apostle's mission statement, but what do you think it is, if there is any at all? I'm not asking about the meaning of dreams, or hope, or anything that has actually been spelled out, but simply whether Miura is trying to make a moral statement about how to live your life or what it means to be human?

Mainly, the reason I've considered this is because of the amount of people Guts has had to kill, because Miura seems to be ambivalent about this.  Guts has a lot of blood on his hands, and I think that's part of what makes Berserk so interesting, it doesn't deal with things in black and white terms.  Also, what is the distinction between killing people, even innocents, for Griffith as opposed to killing apostles and their allies?  Is Guts a better person now than in the Golden Age, or does it matter?  The reason I say this is because most works of fiction beat you over the head with these types of statements, but Miura is far more nuanced.  It's what I love about Berserk, but very frustrating nonetheless.

I'm going to try and write a detailed essay when I've had more time to go over the story arcs again, especially the Golden Age and the new Gambino flashback episodes.  So, has anyone else been thinking about this, and if so do you think there is a clear message that perhaps is part of a rope that is slowly being let out?  Or is there none at all, is Berserk simply the story of a man who must survive at all costs and gain revenge?  

Offline Skeleton

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 05:41:48 AM »
I personally don't think Miura intended for Berserk to have an ultimate moral lesson.  With that said, I personally like the exchange between Luca and Jerome at the end of Volume 21.  (I'm posting the DH translation so if it's inaccurate I apologize.)

Quote from: Dark Horse translation
Jerome: It's ironic.  All those who cling to God, taking refuge in the tower, died when it collapsed under their own weight.  The nonbelievers who didn't rely on God, but instead hightailed it out of the refugee slum, were the ones who survived.  I don't exactly care to pray ever again at this point.

Luca:  That's not it at all.  Trying to go on living is different than trying to escape from fear.  Those who acted in order to live until the end without losing themselves to fear and what was happening around them are the ones who survived properly.  We don't know what "God" is thinking, but both fortune and misfortune are thrust upon people.  Even so, people exist within a domain that is theirs in which to act.

Now obviously they're talking specifically about what took place at the tower.  But I like to think that Luca's observation is applicable to the real world as well.  In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Miura said it was one of the times where he was using to use Berserk as a real world observation.

Again, I don't think Miura intends for Berserk to have a moral message. I do think Miura, consciously or not, touches on real world issues though.  Of course, that could be explained away by the fact that Miura is such an incredible story that the world of Berserk and its characters are so realistic that there only appears to be overlap between Berserk and the real world.

For example, take the Pontiff in episode 301:

Pontiff: ÖBecause humans are afraid of unknown things, they communicate with the same languages.
Pontiff: Because they are afraid of unknown things
Pontiff: They suspect languages they canít understand.

Page 19

Pontiff: Because they are afraid of unknown things
Pontiff: They believe in dogmas

Pontiff: Because they are afraid of unknown things
Pontiff: They ostracize other people's gods

Pontiff: Because itís unknown things that humans rely on
Pontiff: Because humans are afraid of unknown things
Pontiff: They create others
Pontiff: Other religions
Pontiff: Foreign languages
Pontiff: Other nations
Pontiff: All the (social) classes.

Obviously that's a good description for why people act the way they do in Berserk.  That's also a good reason for why people act the way they do in the real world.  So is Miura, through the Pontiff, just making an observation in the Berserk world?  Or is Miura, through the Pontiff, making an observation of the world of Berserk and the real world?  Or does it even matter what the intent is when it comes to interpreting art (Berserk is considered art, right?)?

tl;dr version: Maybe.  :ganishka:

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 12:56:11 PM »
Or is there none at all, is Berserk simply the story of a man who must survive at all costs and gain revenge?

I take exception to what you're saying here. The absence of a specific "moral theme" would not mean that Berserk would "simply" be the story of a man seeking revenge. But like you said, Miura is far too nuanced to resort to the hammering of a simplified moral statement, and so, precisely because of that, I don't believe he's trying to lay down a universal moral truth.

Like Skeleton said though, there are many scenes, sentences, comments and such that can be appreciated for the message they contain beyond the scope of the story. It's up to the reader to do so.

Offline SuperVegetto

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 01:03:02 PM »
I do think Berserk has a philosophy about destiny and free will

Offline Walter

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 01:17:20 PM »
I think there's a lot to be said about how humans respond to suffering and of course the process by which humans become apostles. In trying to escape their pain, they agree to become monstrous beings—making a pact with inhuman overlords as a way to survive and become more than human. Opposing that are a man who rather than being relieved of the pain of his suffering, embraces it, and it begins to tear him apart, and a man who can't even be called a man anymore.

I do think there's a message there, but it's implicit rather than stated. Miura makes it pretty clear which side is favored.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline dasfdeas

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 05:47:57 PM »
Quote
I take exception to what you're saying here. The absence of a specific "moral theme" would not mean that Berserk would "simply" be the story of a man seeking revenge.

I didn't phrase that properly, I don't think "simply" is the word I should have used.  I probably should have explained it as "Do you think the core of Berserk is a man seeking revenge?"  I didn't mean it to be a criticism at all, it's just that one of the things I enjoy so much about Berserk is that Miura isn't spoon feeding us anything.  

Just to add to what I said earlier, the contrast between Golden Age Guts and the Guts who is in recent volumes is really striking.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think Guts would just kill for the sake of making a living anymore.  The qualms Guts had after his partially botched assassination of Julius, that resulted in his taking a completely innocent life, are what got me thinking.  I used to think Guts was just seeking his own dream because of Griffith, but I wonder if Guts wasn't also rejecting the way that he had been living (and the way Griffith was willing to continue to live, since after all he hinted at his future plans for Guts).  That version of Guts fell to the wayside after the Eclipse, and the way he has been portrayed recently really reminds of that mellow, reflective Guts who we only saw briefly before his rage was unleashed.  I just don't know what, if anything, Miura is getting at with the shifts in Guts character.  It's obviously well thought out character development, but is there some greater meaning there?

The other recent development that got me thinking was the flashback episodes with Gambino.  Walter made really good points in his thread, but I just keep wondering if Miura is trying to get at something with the Gambino/Griffith/Guts parallel.  Gambino and Griffith could have kept living, although weak and utterly dependent on others, but chose easier paths out.  Guts is possibly going to find himself in the same position, once Casca has regained her sanity.  He can turn himself over to the Beast and become truly independent in his quest for revenge, or he can continue to rely on others.  It seems like we're close to Miura setting up the final story arc after Skellig, and I just wonder where he's trying to take us, and if there isn't some statement there about our own lives and the way we should live them?
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 05:35:46 AM by TelegramSam »

Offline IronBerserk

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 05:26:33 AM »
Is there a moral theme in Berserk? Not to burst anyone's bubble but...yes of course there is. It's in the title!!! :guts:

Since the very first chapter all the way to the point we are now, Guts has had an uncontrollable rage or berserk within him. This berserk instinct has been growing since the very beginning of the Golden Age Arc. He now wears the Berserker armor which has taken a physical manifestation of that rage. The whole point of the series is Guts trying to get rid of this berserk within him before it consumes him and everyone he loves.

Berserk has many core themes within each of their arcs, but the presence of Guts' berserk is always there. It is the main theme throughout the series that drives the story forwards. But there is more that meets the eye when talking about this berserk theme. Guts is like a mythological hero which are present in the old classics of literature such as Homer's Iliad. Guts is like Achilles in the sense that he needs to defeat his rage before he is able to become a true hero. Achilles in a furious rage kills Hector (because Hector killed Achilles' cousin by accident) and shames him by dragging his body behind a carriage. However, Achilles at the end of Iliad finds peace with himself and respectfully gives back the body of Hector to his father so he could have a proper funeral. There is obviously more to it than that, but that's the basic principle.

Guts has already had some revelations that have pushed him forward to being a hero. The first lesson he learned was at the end of volume 17 when he realized that sharing pain with the people he cares about and trusting those people is something important/crucial. That moment of pondering in the cave is beautiful and is in my opinion the greatest Berserk moment. It was because of that epiphany he was able to become an inspiring figure to everyone around him, a ray of hope, and was also able to make new friends that he could trust with his life. It was that cave moment that made Guts into a better man than Griffith ever was. This new epiphany coupled together with the experience of his bigger than life journey (the good, the bad and the awful) throughout the story is what makes Guts the incredible man he is. Watching Guts' grow as a character is simply poetic.

However, his path at being a true hero is not yet over because the main source of his problem still remains and that is the black dog, the berserk, the rage within him. That is that final milestone he needs to conquer before reaching enlightenment. It is only once Guts is at peace with himself that he will be able to defeat Femto/Griffith and become the hero he was meant to be. I'd be willing to bet almost anything that this is how Miura will end his story. Or at least he will end it around that moment.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2013, 12:11:00 PM »
Is there a moral theme in Berserk? Not to burst anyone's bubble but...yes of course there is. It's in the title!!! :guts:

That isn't a "moral theme"...

Since the very first chapter all the way to the point we are now, Guts has had an uncontrollable rage or berserk within him.

They're called episodes, not chapters. Anyway, I have to disagree with you here. Guts hasn't always exhibited an "uncontrollable rage" in all circumstances, far from it. Two events were determinant in bringing out that side of him: 1) the Occultation ceremony and what happened there, 2) his acquisition of the Berserk's armor, the name of which is particularly appropriate.

He now wears the Berserker armor which has taken a physical manifestation of that rage.

That doesn't make much sense. The armor shaped itself into a likeness of Guts' inner demon, and it works in such a way that its wearer truly becomes berserk in the purest sense of the word, but I'm not sure we can speak of a physical manifestation of rage, or at least not more so than when Guts was "just" fighting before.

The whole point of the series is Guts trying to get rid of this berserk within him before it consumes him and everyone he loves.

I can't agree with you here. First off, that's clearly not "the whole point" of the series. Second, Guts isn't trying to get rid of this side of him. It's part of what drives him to fight on until he stands victorious, even against seemingly insurmountable odds. He's rather been trying to rein it in, to keep it under control even while wearing the armor, which is extremely difficult. And again, that's a somewhat recent development, so it'd be very reductive to say it's what the series is all about.

Berserk has many core themes within each of their arcs, but the presence of Guts' berserk is always there. It is the main theme throughout the series that drives the story forwards.

I again have to disagree. Guts' rage isn't what's always driven the story forward. For example, he's not going to Elfhelm because he's berserk. He's going there out of love for Casca. And as said before it's not really a "theme" anyways. I also tend to disagree with the notion that each arc has its own specific "many themes", implying they're encapsulated.

Guts is like a mythological hero which are present in the old classics of literature such as Homer's Iliad.

That would really depend on how you look at it. There are many ways in which he doesn't fit the type.

There is obviously more to it than that, but that's the basic principle.

That's completely unrelated to Guts or Berserk, though.

The first lesson he learned was at the end of volume 17 when he realized that sharing pain with the people he cares about and trusting those people is something important/crucial.

That's hardly the first time he grew from realizing something, as he actually commented himself in that very specific instance. And what you make of this scene is rather dubious when its focus is on him coming to terms with how cowardly and self-centered his behavior towards Casca was, and how from then on he would never abandon her again.

It was because of that epiphany he was able to become an inspiring figure to everyone around him, a ray of hope, and was also able to make new friends that he could trust with his life.

He was an inspiration to people before that (e.g. Jill), and the events to which you're referring occurred later on and I wouldn't just entirely attribute them to his resolution in the cave. The process started before that (prophetic dream and visit from his son), and continued long after.

It was that cave moment that made Guts into a better man than Griffith ever was.

I don't see how you can say that.

However, his path at being a true hero is not yet over because the main source of his problem still remains and that is the black dog, the berserk, the rage within him. That is that final milestone he needs to conquer before reaching enlightenment.

After writing a post that big you could make the effort of at least knowing the proper name of the entity you're referring to, which is the Beast of Darkness. Anyway, I'd say that's hardly his main problem when compared to the Brand, what's happening with the world right now, apostles, the God Hand, and so on. But sure, it is a big problem, and it's been clear that if he wants to keep using the Berserk's armor, he'll have to find a way to master this part of himself. Something that he's been trying to do, as we've seen recently. Also of note is that the Beast of Darkness doesn't just embody the rage within him, it's more complicated than that. There are a lot of different feelings and emotions mingled in there.

Offline Arles

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 12:46:09 PM »
Second, Guts isn't trying to get rid of this side of him. It's part of what drives him to fight on until he stands victorious, even against seemingly insurmountable odds. He's rather been trying to rein it in, to keep it under control even while wearing the armor, which is extremely difficult. And again, that's a somewhat recent development, so it'd be very reductive to say it's what the series is all about.
I agree that he has shown signs of trying "ride the rage" rather than attempting to let go of it and discard it. That said, he has been able to win fights against seemingly insurmountable odds without that berserk fury in his early years, but due to his reckless abandon. Fighting putting his life on the line. That's one of the things that attracted Griffith's attention in the first place. Could he still win in the situation he's in right now without the rage, going back to his previous self? I personally don't think so, but it's a possibility. He has show more than once not too long ago that he can fight pretty damn well while being calm.

Quote
That would really depend on how you look at it. There are many ways in which he doesn't fit the type.
I don't think that's too far fetched. He does fit the type in some other ways.

Quote
I don't see how you can say that.
At that moment, he finally decided to dedicate his life to someone else. In my eyes, that makes him a bigger man that Griffith, who is obsessed by a self centered and egoistical dream.

Quote
But sure, it is a big problem
I think, as far as "themes" go, the Beast of Darkness and Guts' inner conflict is more relevant than other problems the plot may present. In my opinion, his growth as a person and a character will be more affected by his struggle and overcoming of the Beast of Darkness rather than by getting rid of the brand, Fantasia, Apostles, etc.

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Offline Aazealh

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2013, 01:29:58 PM »
I agree that he has shown signs of trying "ride the rage" rather than attempting to let go of it and discard it.

I said "control", specifically. But yeah, same thing.

That said, he has been able to win fights against seemingly insurmountable odds without that berserk fury in his early years, but due to his reckless abandon.

He has often fought with a rather cool-headed approach, carefully planning his moves and even baiting his enemies. Even as the Black Swordsman. I feel like you're misrepresenting the facts here by ignoring the context of the clearly erroneous assertion I was responding to.

Fighting putting his life on the line.

Isn't that always the case, for everyone?

He has show more than once not too long ago that he can fight pretty damn well while being calm.

Indeed, and it's what I was referring to earlier. Saying "his constant berserk rage" has been the central theme of the series is completely wrong. Can we even say that there is a clear central theme at all? I wouldn't say so.

He does fit the type in some other ways.

Well that's not disagreeing with what I say. And I don't think the parts that fit outweigh those that don't.

At that moment, he finally decided to dedicate his life to someone else.

You're exaggerating a bit here, don't you think?

In my eyes, that makes him a bigger man that Griffith, who is obsessed by a self centered and egoistical dream.

A lot of things make him a better man, as far as I'm concerned. Singling out that particular moment feels odd and arbitrary. Besides, the man that was Griffith died a long time ago, and he had unfortunate circumstances, no matter what we say. Now he's Femto and it's just not comparable.

I think, as far as "themes" go, the Beast of Darkness and Guts' inner conflict is more relevant than other problems the plot may present.

More relevant to what? IronBerserk was talking about "the main source of his problem". That's what I was replying to. Guts' inner "conflict" is not the main cause of his problems, it's merely a consequence born of his particularly harsh life.

In my opinion, his growth as a person and a character will be more affected by his struggle and overcoming of the Beast of Darkness rather than by getting rid of the brand, Fantasia, Apostles, etc.

The Beast of Darkness came to be as a result of his encounters with the God Hand, apostles, Brand, etc. And his growth as a person has nothing to do with the discussion I was having with IronBerserk anyway. Don't get everything mixed up.

Offline Arles

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2013, 02:08:04 PM »
He has often fought with a rather cool-headed approach, carefully planning his moves and even baiting his enemies. Even as the Black Swordsman. I feel like you're misrepresenting the facts here by ignoring the context of the clearly erroneous assertion I was responding to.
I agree his rage is not the whole point of the series. And we agree about his ability to have a cool-headed approach. Never argued against that.

Quote
Isn't that always the case, for everyone?
I don't think so. Some people fight with fear or panic when they feel they could seriously die.

Quote
Can we even say that there is a clear central theme at all? I wouldn't say so.
Neither would I. There's a lot of themes and points of view to analyze Berserk. Guts struggle with his rage is just one of many.

Quote
You're exaggerating a bit here, don't you think?
Haha, maybe I'm being too romantic?  :slan:

Quote
And his growth as a person has nothing to do with the discussion I was having with IronBerserk anyway. Don't get everything mixed up.
Well I think it does, in general.
If we are talking in this thread about "moral themes", I think his growth as a person and the Beast of Darkness have something to do with the conversation.
But yeah, the Beast of Darkness is not the source of all Guts' problems.
Not all my replies try to contradict what I'm quoting. I think adding to the conversation can be useful too, and not getting everything mixed up. Sorry if that bothers you.

"I will never forget about you / On this unbearable road I yet stand, alone"

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2013, 02:20:48 PM »
I don't think so. Some people fight with fear or panic when they feel they could seriously die.

I mean to fight putting one's life on the line. That's usually involved in these circumstances...

Well I think it does, in general.
If we are talking in this thread about "moral themes", I think his growth as a person and the Beast of Darkness have something to do with the conversation.
But yeah, the Beast of Darkness is not the source of all Guts' problems.

Well I of course agree that it's pertinent in the general context of the thread, but this was a very specific point. I just think we should be careful not to make amalgams here.

Offline Arles

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2013, 02:22:38 PM »
Well I of course agree that it's pertinent in the general context of the thread, but this was a very specific point. I just think we should be careful not to make amalgams here.
Sure, I'll keep it in mind for the next time.

"I will never forget about you / On this unbearable road I yet stand, alone"

Offline IronBerserk

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2013, 05:04:51 PM »
Glad I sparked a discussion :D

1) You guys arguing whether he has to control or get rid of the rage is pointless. It will amount to the same thing. But yes, control does seem more likely.

2) Him fighting cool headed sometimes has nothing to do with what I said about his berserk instinct and rage. Yes, Guts fights using tactics and plans, but he is always a constant danger to everyone around him. A constant danger to himself. This didn't just happen in the example of him getting the Berserker armor, it has been going on since the beginning! His reckless behavior and abandoning of his friends during the black swordsman arc and part of the conviction arc. You mentioned Jill as a counter argument to him being inspiring to others before the cave scene. Must I remind you that HE ALMOST KILLED HER IN HIS RAGE! If it wasn't for the arrow in the gut he got from Jill's father, who knows what would have happened? It was only after he calmed down that he gave her good advice. He was able to give her good advice because his experiences throughout his life gave him that knowledge.

How about the beginning of the hawk of the millennium empire arc? Did you guys already forget why Casca hates him? It's because he literally tried to rape her! I believe that was the first time we ever saw the manifestation of the beast of darkness (thanks for reminding me of the name) within him and he wasn't even wearing the armor back then. This beast of darkness has always been with him. The only difference this time was that with the appearance of Griffith, the world was starting to change with the merging of the astral and physical worlds.

How about the Golden Age Arc? You guys forget that Guts was raped as a child? He never trusted anybody when it came to touching him and he would recklessly put his life in danger simply to make some money, or as Griffith put it "gambling on your own life". It was only when he met the band of the hawk that he started losing little by little that rage within him. Notice how once again I'm referring to the cave scene. Back during the Golden Age Arc, Guts was trying to understand where he fit in and how to find his own dream. It was the cave scene that taught him that dreams can be won and fought with those you love. The band of the hawk and his love for Casca helped him conquer his rage from the rape during the Golden Age Arc and its been slowly helping him conquer it again with these new friends after the traumatic event of the eclipse.

To point out something Aezealh said, "More relevant to what? IronBerserk was talking about "the main source of his problem". That's what I was replying to. Guts' inner "conflict" is not the main cause of his problems, it's merely a consequence born of his particularly harsh life." Yes your right, his inner berserk or conflict as you put it is a consequence of his extremely harsh life. Of course it is. Without the childhood rape or the eclipse, Guts would not have that inner conflict or the beast of darkness within him. The beast of darkness always recalls back those moments in his life that scarred him the most. I mean heck, in chapter 331 Guts was still remembering the moments of the ecplise and guess what was behind him...the beast of darkness of course. The beast of darkness is a manifestation of the berserker rage (inner conflict) within him that was created during those terrible key moments throughout his life. It is relevant to the main protagonist and it is the main source of his problem which was explained throughout the many examples I just gave.

3) Guts became a better man than Griffith at the cave scene because of his realization that friends and family are important. This is something Griffith never learned. It's the stark contrast of what happened at the eclipse. Him saying he will never abandon Casca again, he is also speaking to the many other people he could possibly meet that might become friends. Why do you think he becomes more open about the idea of people following him? It's because of that moment. The scene before the cave sequence, Godo the blacksmith says, "On that day two years ago, in your hopeless suffering, you left the last irreplaceable things you had and went away by yourself". That is the exact lesson Guts learns which is to never abandon those irreplaceable things (things, not thing. plural). That lesson is something that Griffith never had. That is why the cave scene is so monumental.

All these lessons is what teaches Guts on how to tame the berserk within him (beast of darkness, rage, inner conflict). People like Farnese taking care of Casca when he can't, or Schierke pulling him out of the darkness when he is about to be consumed, it is those friends that help him little by little to defeat, conquer, and/or vanquish (however you may want to phrase it) the beast of darkness (the rage, the berserk, etc...) within him. That is the final challenge Guts must accomplish in order to become the true hero he was meant to be.

My god I love Berserk  :guts: LMAO!

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 03:00:43 PM »
1) You guys arguing whether he has to control or get rid of the rage is pointless. It will amount to the same thing. But yes, control does seem more likely.

No it's absolutely not the same thing, and it's not "more likely", it's sure. Guts has already been doing it for a while.

2) Him fighting cool headed sometimes has nothing to do with what I said about his berserk instinct and rage.

How it doesn't? First off, "berserk instinct" doesn't mean anything. Second, being cool-headed is the opposite of being berserk.

Yes, Guts fights using tactics and plans, but he is always a constant danger to everyone around him. A constant danger to himself. This didn't just happen in the example of him getting the Berserker armor, it has been going on since the beginning!

No, this is definitely not true, and I don't know how you could be saying that. Not every fight Guts was a part of has been reckless, and to say that he always was a danger to others (implying his friends/comrades) and/or himself is flat wrong. I don't know how you can say so if you've read the series.

His reckless behavior and abandoning of his friends during the black swordsman arc and part of the conviction arc.

He left Casca in Rickert's care, that's not quite what you make it sound like. And that has nothing to do with the discussion. You're saying he was a constant danger to everybody, which isn't true, and definitely isn't supported by the fact he left Casca with Rickert, Erica and Godot.

You mentioned Jill as a counter argument to him being inspiring to others before the cave scene. Must I remind you that HE ALMOST KILLED HER IN HIS RAGE! If it wasn't for the arrow in the gut he got from Jill's father, who knows what would have happened?

That doesn't change my point. He was an inspiration to her, and so what you said was wrong. Period. And that's one example but there are others. Guts was a leading figure among the Band of the Falcon and was truly respected and admired by his men for example. And beyond that, he hasn't suddenly become an inspiration to everyone after volume 17. There are still people, like Serpico for example, who aren't all over him. I think your problem here is that you just exaggerate everything.

How about the beginning of the hawk of the millennium empire arc? Did you guys already forget why Casca hates him? It's because he literally tried to rape her! I believe that was the first time we ever saw the manifestation of the beast of darkness (thanks for reminding me of the name) within him and he wasn't even wearing the armor back then. This beast of darkness has always been with him. The only difference this time was that with the appearance of Griffith, the world was starting to change with the merging of the astral and physical worlds.

You're making a big mess of things. Casca was naturally afraid of him after the Eclipse. Not just him but all men. After he saved her during the Conviction arc, she had come to trust him. Then, one night, he jumped on top of her to prevent her from getting possessed by specters, suffering the possession instead. Under their influence he strangled her before managing to repulse them. That's when she became afraid of him again.

The episode where he succumbed to frustration and tried to force himself on her occurred later on, after she had ran away and had been attacked by bandits (who she'd killed). It's a specific occurrence, unique in the series, that just can't be used to make a generalization about Guts' character and the danger he poses. It is also definitely not the first time we saw the Beast of Darkness. And no, the Beast of Darkness was not always within him. It's a personification of his dark side born from what occurred during the Occultation ceremony and the life he was thrown in after that. It first appeared in volume 16, when specters took on that form to tease Guts.

And no, the Beast of Darkness has nothing to do with the merging of the worlds. It's a psychological construct, a personification of a part of Guts' mind. It's not a magical being or anything of the sort. Please, in the future, try to make sure you know what you're talking about before engaging in lengthy discussions, that'll gain us time.

How about the Golden Age Arc? You guys forget that Guts was raped as a child?

Seems to me that you're the one who's been "forgetting things" so far. So I suggest you maybe change the way in which you address others from now on.

He never trusted anybody when it came to touching him and he would recklessly put his life in danger simply to make some money

To simply make money? You're not portraying his life very truthfully. He was raised as a mercenary from his youngest age; he was forced to fight for money since he was able to walk. So sure, he took risks sometimes, like when he fought BazŻso, but you overuse the word "reckless" here in a context that's hardly appropriate.

It was only when he met the band of the hawk that he started losing little by little that rage within him.

His fighting style did not change at all when he was part of the Band of the Falcon. Which is part of why he and Casca got in so many arguments at the time. Griffith himself commented on how he incorporated his boldness into his own plans.

It was the cave scene that taught him that dreams can be won and fought with those you love.

What are you talking about? Guts does not reflect on his dreams (especially not in Griffith's sense) or anything like that in the cave scene of volume 17. He just realizes that leaving Casca was wrong and resolves to first get her back, and then to never leave her again.

The band of the hawk and his love for Casca helped him conquer his rage from the rape during the Golden Age Arc and its been slowly helping him conquer it again with these new friends after the traumatic event of the eclipse.

Casca herself, alone, helped him get over the rape. And why are you bringing rage into this? It's just not relevant. As for the Eclipse and how his new friends are helping him get over it, it's hardly comparable given that he's still very much traumatized by these events.

Without the childhood rape or the eclipse, Guts would not have that inner conflict or the beast of darkness within him. The beast of darkness always recalls back those moments in his life that scarred him the most.

The Beast of Darkness is tied to the Occultation ceremony, specifically. It's not directly related to his rape at the hands of Donovan.

The beast of darkness is a manifestation of the berserker rage

Actually no, like I already said, it's not just that. It's not just rage, but also fear, hatred, etc. It's all of his darker feelings.

it is the main source of his problem which was explained throughout the many examples I just gave.

No, it definitely isn't, and all of what you just said completely failed to address that point.

Guts became a better man than Griffith at the cave scene because of his realization that friends and family are important.

That's so oversimplified that I'm truly baffled anyone could say that seriously. I'm sorry, but it's kind of ridiculous. Guts didn't "realize that friends and family are important" in that scene in volume 17. That's not what happens. He doesn't go from "man, I'm fine by myself, friends or family members are useless and I don't care about them (note that he doesn't have a family)" to "boy, having friends and a family is the best thing ever!", which is how you're making it out to be. I suggest you go and re-read that scene (and everything else you're talking about) carefully. Oh, and that argument about being "better than Griffith" because he thinks having buddies matters is so puerile I don't even want to get into it. Berserk isn't a children's book where everything is either black or white, you know.

This is something Griffith never learned.

That's simply not true. Griffith actually had a high opinion of what a friend should be, and he cared for his men. What happened during the Eclipse wasn't the result of Griffith not caring about having friends. It's more sublte and complicated than that.

Him saying he will never abandon Casca again, he is also speaking to the many other people he could possibly meet that might become friends.

No, he's talking about the love of his life, not some hypothetical stuff you just made up about making friends. And he's speaking to himself.

Why do you think he becomes more open about the idea of people following him? It's because of that moment.

Hahaha, no. He becomes more open to people following him because of what happens with Casca in volume 23. Because he just can't do it all alone. He does it for her sake, but not because he realized in volume 17 that having friends is important. Really, I feel like I'm explaining the series to you here and it's rather tiring.

The scene before the cave sequence, Godo the blacksmith says, "On that day two years ago, in your hopeless suffering, you left the last irreplaceable things you had and went away by yourself". That is the exact lesson Guts learns which is to never abandon those irreplaceable things (things, not thing. plural).

Godot very obviously refers to Casca in that scene. And I don't see the plural in the Japanese line.

the berserk within him (beast of darkness, rage, inner conflict)

Don't abusively equate words.

defeat, conquer, and/or vanquish (however you may want to phrase it) the beast of darkness (the rage, the berserk, etc...)

Don't abusively equate words.

That is the final challenge Guts must accomplish in order to become the true hero he was meant to be.

Your use of the words "true hero" is pretty meaningless here.

Offline IronBerserk

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2013, 09:31:35 PM »
I don't think were understanding each other here. What I am trying to bring up is the main moral theme centered around the protagonist Guts and how his character develops throughout the story. It's all very subtle and brilliant. There are some points where you correct me in but yet completely miss what I'm trying to say, like for example:

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You're making a big mess of things. Casca was naturally afraid of him after the Eclipse. Not just him but all men. After he saved her during the Conviction arc, she had come to trust him. Then, one night, he jumped on top of her to prevent her from getting possessed by specters, suffering the possession instead. Under their influence he strangled her before managing to repulse them. That's when she became afraid of him again.

The episode where he succumbed to frustration and tried to force himself on her occurred later on, after she had ran away and had been attacked by bandits (who she'd killed). It's a specific occurrence, unique in the series, that just can't be used to make a generalization about Guts' character and the danger he poses. It is also definitely not the first time we saw the Beast of Darkness. And no, the Beast of Darkness was not always within him. It's a personification of his dark side born from what occurred during the Occultation ceremony and the life he was thrown in after that. It first appeared in volume 16, when specters took on that form to tease Guts.

And no, the Beast of Darkness has nothing to do with the merging of the worlds. It's a psychological construct, a personification of a part of Guts' mind. It's not a magical being or anything of the sort. Please, in the future, try to make sure you know what you're talking about before engaging in lengthy discussions, that'll gain us time.
Yes, thank you for correcting my mistake on when exactly she got scared of him, but my argument still applies just like you pointed out. Guts has had that beast of darkness within him since the eclipse. It's something that manifested within him due to the events of the Golden Age Arc. That is why I believe Miura started his entire series with the Blackswordsman Arc. It's because he wanted to introduce Guts and all that rage he has within him. He started his series with that because it is the main theme. He then went on to show us how he became like this through a flashback. At the point we are now, he is still battling that darkness. The ending of the series I believe will involve Guts defeating this beast of darkness within him. This is why the series is called Berserk.

Berserk definition: 1) Out of control with anger or excitement; wild or frenzied. 2) Operating in a wild or erratic way; out of control.

Remind you of anyone? I do believe Miura named his series after something that matters and I do believe that word as being the main theme. Obviously there are other themes throughout Berserk, that is an undeniable fact. But that was never my argument to begin with.

Offline Walter

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2013, 09:57:13 PM »
Iron, do you know what "moral" means?
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline IronBerserk

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2013, 10:02:16 PM »
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Iron, do you know what "moral" means?
Moral: A lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.

How is Guts learning to control his anger not a moral theme? If the word berserk is the main theme, then controlling that berserk is the moral theme...that's what I've been trying to say the whole time. They work hand in hand.

Offline Walter

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2013, 10:53:18 PM »
Moral: A lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
Sort of... it's a lesson that helps distinguish right and wrong (the word comes from the Greek "mores"), proper behavior in society, or a life lesson. The reason I asked is...

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How is Guts learning to control his anger not a moral theme? If the word berserk is the main theme, then controlling that berserk is the moral theme...
You're stretching the definition. You're eager to define a central theme, but not one that's specifically moral. That is, unless you honestly believe that the central lesson taught by Berserk is: '37+ Volumes on Why You Really Shouldn't Go Crazy and Kill your Friends.'

If that's the moral, it's certainly not very practical.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline IronBerserk

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2013, 12:34:27 AM »
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Sort of... it's a lesson that helps distinguish right and wrong (the word comes from the Greek "mores"), proper behavior in society, or a life lesson. The reason I asked is...
I googled it :P So take it as you will I guess.

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You're stretching the definition. You're eager to define a central theme, but not one that's specifically moral. That is, unless you honestly believe that the central lesson taught by Berserk is: '37+ Volumes on Why You Really Shouldn't Go Crazy and Kill your Friends.'

If that's the moral, it's certainly not very practical.
Well it's obviously not only about that. Berserk is a complex story with many other sub-themes. Themes of rape, family, comrades, etc... All these themes work off of the main theme that is the word berserk. There is evil in all of us, and Guts' evil is especially huge considering all the crap he's been through. People get mad at such small and meaningless things. Guts has been through so much since the beginning of the story. I mean he started out being born from a corpse for crying out loud and then things just got worse. But to see him triumph over the madness is the moral we want to see the most. How will he triumph over the madness or the berserk if you will. If he can do it, then why can't we?

Offline Walter

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2013, 12:44:16 AM »
I googled it :P So take it as you will I guess.
Well it's obviously not only about that. Berserk is a complex story with many other sub-themes. Themes of rape, family, comrades, etc... All these themes work off of the main theme that is the word berserk. There is evil in all of us, and Guts' evil is especially huge considering all the crap he's been through. People get mad at such small and meaningless things. Guts has been through so much since the beginning of the story. I mean he started out being born from a corpse for crying out loud and then things just got worse. But to see him triumph over the madness is the moral we want to see the most. How will he triumph over the madness or the berserk if you will. If he can do it, then why can't we?
Uh, what's the central theme of your post?
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline IronBerserk

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2013, 02:35:24 AM »
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Uh, what's the central theme of your post?
The central theme of Berserk is...well berserk, rage, inner conflict. Whichever word you wish to use. I use the word berserk because that's the title of the series.

The central moral theme is conquering that berserk. Miura is writing a story about a man who needs to win over his rage which has been shaped by years of unimaginable torment.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2013, 05:30:50 PM »
I don't think were understanding each other here.

What I think is that you didn't understand the topic of this thread and have badly derailed it.

What I am trying to bring up is the main moral theme centered around the protagonist Guts and how his character develops throughout the story.

But that's not a "moral theme". That's just what the story is about... Yeah, it's centered around Guts, who's the protagonist. Who would have thought, right? But it's not what a moral theme is.

There are some points where you correct me in but yet completely miss what I'm trying to say

I corrected practically everything you mentioned about the series, and I didn't miss what you were trying to say: I've been telling you it's not relevant here.

Guts has had that beast of darkness within him since the eclipse.

No, I just told you it first appeared in volume 16. It was the result of what happened then and the life Guts was thrown in afterwards, but it didn't just show up right away.

That is why I believe Miura started his entire series with the Blackswordsman Arc. It's because he wanted to introduce Guts and all that rage he has within him. He started his series with that because it is the main theme.

Why is it you can't understand that simply because "Berserk" is the title of the work it doesn't mean that's what it revolves around? When Guts is introduced in the Black Swordsman arc (Black & Swordsman are two separate words, for info), "rage" is hardly the central theme of the story. What you say here, and what you have been saying, is just factually wrong and anyone who's read the story will know as such at first glance.

The ending of the series I believe will involve Guts defeating this beast of darkness within him. This is why the series is called Berserk.

No, this conjecture on your part is pretty obviously not why the series is called Berserk. The series was named long before that entity was conceived.

I do believe Miura named his series after something that matters and I do believe that word as being the main theme.

You're confusing "title" and "main theme". And for someone who talks about subtlety and complexity so much you sure aren't showing a lot of either of them here.

There is evil in all of us, and Guts' evil is especially huge considering all the crap he's been through.

So deep. The evil in him is especially huge!

But to see him triumph over the madness is the moral we want to see the most. How will he triumph over the madness or the berserk if you will. If he can do it, then why can't we?

I'm literally shaking my head here.

The central theme of Berserk is...well berserk, rage, inner conflict. Whichever word you wish to use.

You're aware that, as I pointed out to you before, those words are not synonyms and can't just be switched like that?

I use the word berserk because that's the title of the series.

Brilliant reasoning.

The central moral theme is conquering that berserk. Miura is writing a story about a man who needs to win over his rage which has been shaped by years of unimaginable torment.

What's sad is that Guts' struggle to subdue the Beast of Darkness is indeed an important part of the story, especially since he acquired the Berserk's armor. But by blowing its place in the series out of proportion like that you're doing it a disservice more than anything.

Offline IronBerserk

Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2013, 06:21:45 PM »
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You're aware that, as I pointed out to you before, those words are not synonyms and can't just be switched like that?
Jesus, I didn't think it was that much of a big deal. I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about? I could use synonyms if you want. Crazy, demented, insane, mad, etc... Is that ok now?

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Brilliant reasoning.
Thanks  :guts: LOL

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What's sad is that Guts' struggle to subdue the Beast of Darkness is indeed an important part of the story, especially since he acquired the Berserk's armor. But by blowing its place in the series out of proportion like that you're doing it a disservice more than anything.
I think this is where we disagree with each other. In short my reasoning for thinking that it is the central theme and central moral theme is because Guts is the protagonist. He takes center stage thus his problems are what drive most of the story. That is how you usually build a story. When a story has no protagonist then things could get messy, and if the protagonist has no problems then things get boring. That's really all I was trying to say.

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The central theme of Berserk is...well berserk, insanity, etc... Whichever word you wish to use.

The central moral theme is conquering that berserk. Miura is writing a story about a man who needs to win over his insanity which has been shaped by years of unimaginable torment.
There you go, I fixed my own quote just for you :D And like I stated before, there are many other themes in Berserk but this is the one I believe takes center stage within the story. Agree or disagree, your choice.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Is there a moral theme in Berserk?
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2013, 06:35:39 PM »
Jesus, I didn't think it was that much of a big deal. I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about? I could use synonyms if you want. Crazy, demented, insane, mad, etc... Is that ok now?

Actually it's not and I'm not sure you understand what I'm saying. Words have meaning. You can't just interchange them, especially not in the context of this discussion. I mean below you're still equating "berserk" to "insanity" and saying Guts is insane. That's blatantly wrong.

In short my reasoning for thinking that it is the central theme and central moral theme is because Guts is the protagonist.

...