Author Topic: The Theme of Berserk  (Read 6163 times)

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Offline Vodnak

The Theme of Berserk
« on: March 08, 2014, 06:43:22 AM »
First post. Hi everyone.

So, I've pondered this one for quite a while yet I haven't been be able to come up with a good answer for this. What is the theme behind berserk, that drives the story?

I think in order to observe what the true theme/and or moral device behind the story is, you have to first witness the end of it. That's just my opinion. But the story isn't over and I doubt it will be for awhile. So I guess for the time being, what is the current theme we see now in the story? I'm just interested to hear some community feedback on it. I used the search function but I didn't really see any other threads that satisfies what I'm trying to learn here.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2014, 09:39:40 AM »
Hi Vodnak, welcome to the forum.

So, I've pondered this one for quite a while yet I haven't been be able to come up with a good answer for this. What is the theme behind berserk, that drives the story?

I think in order to observe what the true theme/and or moral device behind the story is, you have to first witness the end of it. That's just my opinion. But the story isn't over and I doubt it will be for awhile. So I guess for the time being, what is the current theme we see now in the story? I'm just interested to hear some community feedback on it. I used the search function but I didn't really see any other threads that satisfies what I'm trying to learn here.

What makes you think a story has to have one "true" theme? Or that it must be driven by a simple moral device? Berserk is not a fable. It has many themes, some general (revenge, perseverance, love, friendship, sacrifice, finding one's place in the world, etc.) and some more specific to certain parts of the story (war, religion, poverty, the self against society, etc.). But it can't be summarized just by that. Berserk as a whole is much, much more than just its themes.

So in short, it's not surprising that you couldn't find that one, true, all-encompassing theme for the story: there isn't one. The story is way too rich and nuanced for that to be possible.

Offline Vodnak

Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 10:17:46 AM »
Hi Vodnak, welcome to the forum.

What makes you think a story has to have one "true" theme? Or that it must be driven by a simple moral device? Berserk is not a fable. It has many themes, some general (revenge, perseverance, love, friendship, sacrifice, finding one's place in the world, etc.) and some more specific to certain parts of the story (war, religion, poverty, the self against society, etc.). But it can't be summarized just by that. Berserk as a whole is much, much more than just its themes.

So in short, it's not surprising that you couldn't find that one, true, all-encompassing theme for the story: there isn't one. The story is way too rich and nuanced for that to be possible.
Thanks for the warm welcome, glad to be here. =)

I think you're overreaching when you assume that I think a story has to have one true theme. Perhaps I phrased that incorrectly. Something any literary work has is concepts and themes. Berserk does too, and some themes are minor while others are major. Most literary works contain a theme, or an idea, that is more prominent than the rest presented throughout the story. I posted this topic in speculation nation because I wanted to hear what everyone else thought to be the most important, and prominent theme. It's a simple matter of opinion, not to be scrutinized factually.

...That's all.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014, 10:53:54 AM »
Thanks for the warm welcome, glad to be here. =)

Glad to have you with us. :serpico:

I think you're overreaching when you assume that I think a story has to have one true theme. Perhaps I phrased that incorrectly.

Sorry, that seemed to be what you were saying.

Something any literary work has is concepts and themes. Berserk does too, and some themes are minor while others are major.

Indeed, and I actually gave you some examples in the post above.

Most literary works contain a theme, or an idea, that is more prominent than the rest presented throughout the story.

I'm not sure we can say that "most" works (especially longer or more complex ones) necessarily have one theme that's more prominent than the rest. Either way, I don't think it's the case for Berserk, like I said above. But I don't mean to stop you or others from thinking about it, so by all means, keep at it.

Online Walter

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2014, 01:53:41 PM »
Welcome!  :void:

I think you're overreaching when you assume that I think a story has to have one true theme.
Well, you did title the thread "THE theme of Berserk." It's also what I thought you meant.

Like Aazealh said, there are a variety of recurring themes. And because Berserk is such a huge, complex story, it's difficult to argue objectively that one takes precedent over the others. For instance, one could make the argument that revenge drives the bulk of the story, but it'd be disingenuous to say that it's a theme that encompasses Berserk.

However there are a few that jump out to me personally, because they are consistently reinforced: companionship versus isolation (reiterated most recently with the flashback), and the cost of pursuing a life-enveloping dream. The dream one sticks out because it's addressed head-on visually (Bonfire of Dreams, Volume 7),  at length in dialogue (Precious Thing, Volume 6), and it leads to the central conflict in the story. But I don't think that means it's necessarily the most prominent in the story. It's just one of the most memorable. When's the last time it was touched upon...? Volume 24, obliquely by Morgan and Isidro?

:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Blumenkranz

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2014, 09:06:56 PM »
 To be honest, I've never really thought about it before.

Offline Vodnak

Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2014, 12:01:39 AM »
Yes I saw some of the same things, Walter. I think another important element in Berserk, is the Duality of humans. Some of the characters may seem just and upright, but really have a deep seated evil nature of their own buried within. The King of Midland for example, the seemingly good and righteous king just so happened to have a thing for his young daughter. Or another, perhaps more relevant example... Guts and the Beast of Darkness.

Online Walter

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2014, 12:29:41 AM »
Yes I saw some of the same things, Walter. I think another important element in Berserk, is the Duality of humans. Some of the characters may seem just and upright, but really have a deep seated evil nature of their own buried within. The King of Midland for example, the seemingly good and righteous king just so happened to have a thing for his young daughter. Or another, perhaps more relevant example... Guts and the Beast of Darkness.

That's sort of the base layer of the problem with humanity as portrayed in the series. These two sides are in conflict, and some fight their urges more than others. As Guts might say, apostles are weak humans that couldn't cope with what life had dealt them, and sought refuge in what the God Hand offered. But resilient people can stave off their evil urges.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Antonius Block

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2014, 09:26:09 PM »
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I posted this topic in speculation nation because I wanted to hear what everyone else thought to be the most important, and prominent theme.

If there is a theme that I am focusing on when reading and foreshadowing it is Sacrifice. Mainly I am looking at Guts and Griffith and how they have chosen to sacrifice throughout the story, and I think that it will play an important part in the conclusion.

While this may lack the thought provoking aspects of some themes I believe it to be rather important, as it helps to form the true basis of these individual characters. As complex as certain topics and themes can be, sometimes it is the simplest of things that helps bring the overall message to the fore front.

I think that sacrifice, whether it be at some others expense, or your own is evident all throughout Berserk. I think that how individuals in the story have chosen to sacrifice provides insight into their true character, and their fate...

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"There is power in self-sacrifice"   
I want to confess as best I can, but my heart is void. The void is a mirror. I see my face and feel loathing and horror. My indifference to men has shut me out. I live now in a world of ghosts, a prisoner in my dreams.

Offline Vodnak

Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 03:18:48 AM »
If there is a theme that I am focusing on when reading and foreshadowing it is Sacrifice. Mainly I am looking at Guts and Griffith and how they have chosen to sacrifice throughout the story, and I think that it will play an important part in the conclusion.

While this may lack the thought provoking aspects of some themes I believe it to be rather important, as it helps to form the true basis of these individual characters. As complex as certain topics and themes can be, sometimes it is the simplest of things that helps bring the overall message to the fore front.

I think that sacrifice, whether it be at some others expense, or your own is evident all throughout Berserk. I think that how individuals in the story have chosen to sacrifice provides insight into their true character, and their fate...


Yeah sacrifice is certainly important, the God Hand seem to have a knack for showing up when the individual possessing the Beherit has reached an all time low; I.e. Griffith, after enduring a seemingly endless period of torture and being broken beyond repair, no longer the White Hawk admired by others, was offered one last opportunity to grasp the reigns of power via becoming the God Hand Femto, where his broken human body would no longer burden him, and he would ascend to become something greater.

More on that ^ It seems to me that this decision didn't come at a very great expense for Griffith personally; Let me clarify, getting to that point was very costly for him and those who followed him. But specifically, the decision to pave his way to the castle by using the corpses of the Band of the Hawk as cobblestones, came at seemingly no cost to him at all other than losing his humanity; but, he's an emotionless God Hand now so why would he care? In vol. 3 he said something to Guts along the lines of, he (Guts) is beneath our notice (referring to himself and the rest of the God Hand) so this give me the impression that Femto really doesn't care about Guts these days. From Guts' perspective however, he will ALWAYS be Griffith, the one who betrayed him and the rest of the Band of the Hawk for self preservation, and to realize his dream. Kinda rambled at the end of that, I apologize in advance.

That's sort of the base layer of the problem with humanity as portrayed in the series. These two sides are in conflict, and some fight their urges more than others. As Guts might say, apostles are weak humans that couldn't cope with what life had dealt them, and sought refuge in what the God Hand offered. But resilient people can stave off their evil urges.

That reminds me of when Farnese mentions (at the end of the Tower of Conviction Arc... I think) that there was only one person who stood against the Darkness (Guts) and that she would follow him.

I really am not going anywhere with that, but I'm just more a less giving a nod to that comment you made. Guts seems to have a great influence on people albeit indirectly. To me, that means it's not a hopeless battle our characters are fighting, and seeing how one man can be successful if he fights hard enough and long enough, then so can others. It's kind of similar to Griffith and his Charisma, how others were naturally drawn to him and felt they could be successful in achieving their dreams if they would help Griffith achieve his. Although those who are drawn to Guts may not be for the same reason necessarily. It could just be a matter of surviving against dark forces that seemingly don't have a limit to their power in the world.

Offline Antonius Block

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 08:47:23 PM »
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Yeah sacrifice is certainly important, the God Hand seem to have a knack for showing up when the individual possessing the Beherit has reached an all time low; I.e. Griffith, after enduring a seemingly endless period of torture and being broken beyond repair, no longer the White Hawk admired by others, was offered one last opportunity to grasp the reigns of power via becoming the God Hand Femto, where his broken human body would no longer burden him, and he would ascend to become something greater.

More on that ^ It seems to me that this decision didn't come at a very great expense for Griffith personally; Let me clarify, getting to that point was very costly for him and those who followed him. But specifically, the decision to pave his way to the castle by using the corpses of the Band of the Hawk as cobblestones, came at seemingly no cost to him at all other than losing his humanity; but, he's an emotionless God Hand now so why would he care? In vol. 3 he said something to Guts along the lines of, he (Guts) is beneath our notice (referring to himself and the rest of the God Hand) so this give me the impression that Femto really doesn't care about Guts these days. From Guts' perspective however, he will ALWAYS be Griffith, the one who betrayed him and the rest of the Band of the Hawk for self preservation, and to realize his dream. Kinda rambled at the end of that, I apologize in advance.

I am looking more into the motive behind the sacrifice, and who is actually impacted by it.

With Guts, two important times come to mind when he was essentially sacrificing himself for the sake of another. The first instance I can think of is when he was trying to save Casca from going over the cliff, and the second was when he was to earn the title of 100-Man Slayer. In both instances Guts had nothing to gain, and knew that his life was on the line, and yet he was still essentially sacrificing himself for the sake of Casca.

Griffith on the other hand has only chosen to sacrifice others to achieve his goal. The only instance I can think of where he maybe was willing to put himself in danger for the sake of another, was when Guts was battling Zodd for the first time. His sexual relationship with Gennon may be viewed as him sacrificing himself for The Band of the Hawk, but ultimately I believe that was also for his own gain.

When looking at the Apostles the only one I can think of whose actions may be considered a selfless sacrifice would be the beherit- apostle, as he gave himself so that a savior could give rise to a new perfect world. All of the other Apostles thus far, that I can remember, have sacrificed something other than themselves to achieve what they desire.

While Guts is not 100% selfless in his actions, he does demonstrate throughout the story that he cares for others, and is willing to put himself in harms way for someone other than himself.

I think it will be interesting to see if Guts is ever given the opportunity to sacrifice someone other than himself to achieve what he desires... Regardless, I think that the fact that Guts is willing to selflessly sacrifice himself will play a role in how events unfold.
I want to confess as best I can, but my heart is void. The void is a mirror. I see my face and feel loathing and horror. My indifference to men has shut me out. I live now in a world of ghosts, a prisoner in my dreams.

Offline Brand of Sacrifice

Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2014, 02:57:08 AM »
I definitely agree that there is no central theme in Berserk, as the story and characters are too complex for that. Its not just a story where you can say at the end to your grandchildren "the moral of the story is so and so" like most stories. There's a lot in Berserk to interpret personally as well, one of many reasons this is my favorite story of all time. Though that's not to say there aren't themes that are set in stone.

With Guts, two important times come to mind when he was essentially sacrificing himself for the sake of another. The first instance I can think of is when he was trying to save Casca from going over the cliff, and the second was when he was to earn the title of 100-Man Slayer. In both instances Guts had nothing to gain, and knew that his life was on the line, and yet he was still essentially sacrificing himself for the sake of Casca.

I think it will be interesting to see if Guts is ever given the opportunity to sacrifice someone other than himself to achieve what he desires... Regardless, I think that the fact that Guts is willing to selflessly sacrifice himself will play a role in how events unfold.

I agree about him trying to save Casca from falling off of the cliff, but saving Casca definitely wasn't his only reason for slaying 100 men. As he said during the bonfire of dreams, "Its not in my nature to retreat from the enemy, I'd rather swing my sword than run away, that's all." Or somewhere along those lines. He also had a grudge to settle against Adon, and the fact that Guts enjoys fighting for his life and likes the challenge. Obviously he doesn't want to die, but that's just how he grew up. So there were multiple reasons why he fought 100 men. It seems that every character's actions have multiple reasons, but lets save that for another discussion. Guts did take a hit for Jill before though. Also, when they were freeing Griffith from prison, Guts charged forward and did all the fighting. I know he had a a lot of steam to blow off, and he's the main character so everyone wants to see him in action, but I believe subconsciously he wanted to protect his comrades. Meh, I don't know, maybe. I think he would also put his life on the line for everyone in his new party. He needs them to help protect Casca, not only from Apostles and spirits, but from himself in the form of the Beast of Darkness. And obviously he doesn't want to lose his friends ever again, nor make the mistake of abandoning what he cannot replace/realizing something when he's already lost it, which is one of many themes in Berserk, and an important one at that.

If you mean sacrificing as in literally using his Beherit, he can't since he is already branded and the God Hand stated that it wasn't his "fate". In other terms, he could give in to the Beast of Darkness whenever he wants, and "sacrifice" his comrades to go after the God Hand, more specifically Griffith.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 02:48:17 AM by Brand of Sacrifice »

Offline Vodnak

Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2014, 07:49:13 AM »
If you mean sacrificing as in literally using his Beherit, he can't since he is already branded and the God Hand stated that it wasn't his "fate". In other terms, he could give in to the Beast of Darkness whenever he wants, and "sacrifice" his comrades to go after the God Hand, more specifically Griffith.

I hear this so much, people theorizing that Guts may use his Beherit to sacrifice something dear to him.

Let's face it though, that will never and can never happen. It's just not possible. First of all, the only reason Guts wanted the Beherit from Vargas in the first place, was so he could use it to summon the God Hand and KILL THEM. He has fought against them and the apostles for... 20 volumes now? And.. for him to use the Beherit in order to sacrifice what is most dear to him, is COMPLETELY out of character for him. It makes everything he's been doing up to this point completely moot and meaningless. So... that can never happen. He is already BRANDED himself... when in the Berserk universe have we seen a Branded individual do such a thing like that? In fact, when have we seen any other Branded human make it as far as Guts and Casca have? Oh yeah, we haven't. The Brand means Guts is a sacrifice, so to assume that he in turn could sacrifice something himself... is kind of preposterous. Every time I hear that theory I go: O_o

And, here is another theme that is extremely important in the Berserk universe that I thought of today: Decisions. Choice. How much does it matter? Causality determines the fate of man in Berserk, supposedly. Or rather, the chain of events that will lead up to it.

Or it determines their destiny, i.e. Griffiths destiny to become the 5th God Hand Femto.

Guts' seems to not be part of this however. He overcomes insurmountable odds to struggle against forces far greater in number and in power. He survives, and does a little bit more than that too.

So it seems Guts may not be bound by the same principles. I wonder what that means in the grand scheme of things?
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 08:02:14 AM by Vodnak »

Offline Antonius Block

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2014, 12:42:58 PM »
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he could give in to the Beast of Darkness whenever he wants, and "sacrifice" his comrades to go after the God Hand, more specifically Griffith

Definitely along the lines of a scenario like this, but sacrifice doesn't always have to mean that someone or something is being offered up like in a ritual sacrifice. To sacrifice could be as simple as going against your own desires for the benefit of someone other than yourself. I suppose though that in order for Guts to sacrifice anything other than himself would be like a ritual sacrifice... To what I have no idea... Anyway, I may be getting caught up in the word play too much, as I am now focusing on what Vodnak mentioned in terms of Choice being an important theme.

I am also thinking that we could be introduced to characters or entities that are even more powerful then what we've seen as the impending final battle is at hand, that may be there to help Guts and his group, but that doesn't mean it's a nice neat package and they march off to Falconia to do battle. What it does may mean is that Guts has to make some choices. More than likely hard choices.

The best way I should have ended the sentence about Guts sacrificing something for what he desires should have been, if he even has a real fix on what this is. For the time being I believe his heart is there for Casca, but who knows what is going to happen in Elfhelm. A lot of heads think that Casca is gonna get cured and brought back to her old self, but it has already been hinted that this may not be the case. So what would Guts do if Casca is never healed, because she has found peace in Elfhelm with her mind the way it is? I don't know, and I don't want to speculate too much, but he is gonna have to make a choice, and either way that choice will mean sacrificing something that he or the beast within desires.

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I hear this so much, people theorizing that Guts may use his Beherit to sacrifice something dear to him. 

Quite honestly I forgot about the beherit he took in the beginning. Do you think that this will ever play a role in the story again? Shouldn't he just give it to Skull Knight...
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 01:12:08 PM by Antonius Block »
I want to confess as best I can, but my heart is void. The void is a mirror. I see my face and feel loathing and horror. My indifference to men has shut me out. I live now in a world of ghosts, a prisoner in my dreams.

Offline Vodnak

Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2014, 01:39:44 PM »
The best way I should have ended the sentence about Guts sacrificing something for what he desires should have been, if he even has a real fix on what this is. For the time being I believe his heart is there for Casca, but who knows what is going to happen in Elfhelm. A lot of heads think that Casca is gonna get cured and brought back to her old self, but it has already been hinted that this may not be the case. So what would Guts do if Casca is never healed, because she has found peace in Elfhelm with her mind the way it is? I don't know, and I don't want to speculate too much, but he is gonna have to make a choice, and either way that choice will mean sacrificing something that he or the beast within desires.

Quite honestly I forgot about the beherit he took in the beginning. Do you think that this will ever play a role in the story again? Shouldn't he just give it to Skull Knight...

That's true. Skull Knight said that what Casca wants, may not be what Guts wants. So I'd say right now it's impossible to make a reasonable estimate as to what will happen to Casca. There is no way of knowing.

But with that being said, Guts has put a considerable amount of effort into safeguarding her, and keeping her close to him. He wants so badly to fully restore her. But, fact of the matter is, that just may not be what ends up happening. Her ordeal in the eclipse spawned in Guts the Beast of Darkness, which has had blistering  and tremendous effects on his psyche. I can only imagine what happened to Casca being that she was raped by a God Hand. It's highly unlikely that they can restore her, there is no reason to believe that she can be healed from the ordeal. None that are convincing enough in my book.

Assuming that she was restored though, then who knows what would happen next? Seeing a normal, and sane Casca again would be cool. But she may not even harbor the same feelings for Guts anymore. Who konws, so many things have happened since that time it's impossible to say at this point in time.

If it turns out that she can't be healed then Guts is sure to carry out the execution order on Femto and the rest of the God Hand. He has made it quite clear that he has deep seated hatred for them, and killing them definitely is on his mind. The Beast of Darkness has been constantly working to overpower him in fact, so that he can be rid of Casca and pursue that path immediately.

And as far as the Beherit is concerned, it sort of has been concealed since it's retrieval in Vol. 3. There just  hasn't been very much mention of it really. I think it will play a part in some way, just due to the sheer fact that every Beherit has some measure of power. But how that will work, who knows.

Offline Antonius Block

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2014, 03:05:34 PM »
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Assuming that she was restored though, then who knows what would happen next? Seeing a normal, and sane Casca again would be cool. But she may not even harbor the same feelings for Guts anymore. Who konws, so many things have happened since that time it's impossible to say at this point in time.

Ever since that moment at the Hill of Swords when Casca encountered the reincarnated Griffith for the first time, I often wondered if a healed Casca would identify this new image of Griffith with her ordeal? If for some reason that was the case and she left Guts for Falconia...  :magni: 

That is a stretch, and I don't wanna go off topic of this subject, so I'll leave it at that. Not too mention I didn't search the forum for a topic that may already discuss something of this nature.

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Guts did take a hit for Jill before though. Also, when they were freeing Griffith from prison, Guts charged forward and did all the fighting. I know he had a a lot of steam to blow off, and he's the main character so everyone wants to see him in action, but I believe subconsciously he wanted to protect his comrades. Meh, I don't know, maybe. I think he would also put his life on the line for everyone in his new party. He needs them to help protect Casca, not only from Apostles and spirits, but from himself in the form of the Beast of Darkness. And obviously he doesn't want to lose his friends ever again, nor make the mistake of abandoning what he cannot replace/realizing something when he's already lost it, which is one of many themes in Berserk, and an important one at that.

To be honest I cannot remember the hit he took for Jill. I knew that there were plenty more examples that could be brought up, but the two that I mentioned were what came to mind at that moment. 99% of the time I am active on this forum whilst at work, so I never really have a good opportunity to go back and look at older episodes to reference. At this very moment I should be typing up employee evaluations, but instead I am immersed in this discussion. Some things do take precedent over others...

Regardless, what you mentioned above is precisely the aspect of Guts' character that intrigues me. I don't know if he is choosing to put his life on the line for these individuals, or if it is an inherent part of his nature? The Duality of Man could be taken to extreme levels when examining Guts, because on one end he is willing to lay his life down for someone other than himself without hesitation, and on the other he can be a destructive force that can and will ravage anything or anyone to an extent that even the Apostles and Godhand have taken note of his exploits. Will these two sides ever balance themselves out, and create an even more powerful force?
I want to confess as best I can, but my heart is void. The void is a mirror. I see my face and feel loathing and horror. My indifference to men has shut me out. I live now in a world of ghosts, a prisoner in my dreams.

Online Walter

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2014, 04:16:37 PM »
If there is a theme that I am focusing on when reading and foreshadowing it is Sacrifice. Mainly I am looking at Guts and Griffith and how they have chosen to sacrifice throughout the story

Since "sacrifice" is a formalized term in Berserk, it's more of an element of the story than a theme.

the God Hand seem to have a knack for showing up when the individual possessing the Beherit has reached an all time low;

It's not a knack, it's a fundamnetal part of the Berserk universe that's been explained. The Beherit activates in response to "the wailing of one's soul" (Volume 3). It's a preordained circumstance laid out by the Idea of Evil. The Beherit calls the God Hand dimension forth, and the sacrificial ceremony begins.

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^ It seems to me that this decision didn't come at a very great expense for Griffith personally; Let me clarify, getting to that point was very costly for him and those who followed him. But specifically, the decision to pave his way to the castle by using the corpses of the Band of the Hawk as cobblestones, came at seemingly no cost to him at all other than losing his humanity; but, he's an emotionless God Hand now so why would he care?

There's so much wrong here I don't even know where to begin. The toll of those bodies weighed heavily on Griffith, as evidenced in a number of scenes. Particularly, the bath scene with Casca in Volume 7, when he asks Guts if what he does is cruel, and most readily apparent during the sacrificial ceremony in Volume 12. He wears a brave face, but he's clearly troubled by the things he deems necessary for his dream. And your conclusion, that why should he care if he's an emotionless God Hand? He wasn't emotionless _when he made the decision_. So, what's your point exactly..?

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In vol. 3 he said something to Guts along the lines of, he (Guts) is beneath our notice (referring to himself and the rest of the God Hand) so this give me the impression that Femto really doesn't care about Guts these days.

.....

With Guts, two important times come to mind when he was essentially sacrificing himself for the sake of another.

Really...? Only two? You can almost just pick a volume and find Guts taking on troubles for the sake of others. The examples are numerous. A fundamental function of the Berserk Armor is that it pierces Guts, ruining his body so that he can fight to protect his friends. You might want to expand your scope.

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Griffith on the other hand has only chosen to sacrifice others to achieve his goal.

Categorically false, since you followed this sentence up with two perfect examples of him sacrificing himself.

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His sexual relationship with Gennon may be viewed as him sacrificing himself for The Band of the Hawk, but ultimately I believe that was also for his own gain.

Those things are synonymous. The Hawks are there to help him achieve his goal. And the example is far more nuanced than you give it credit for. Griffith rationalizes it that he's doing it for the war chest. But really, he's doing it to spare himself anguish over seeing people die for his cause. His decision to sleep with Gennon followed directly from the discovery of that young boy who died.


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While Guts is not 100% selfless in his actions, he does demonstrate throughout the story that he cares for others, and is willing to put himself in harms way for someone other than himself.

Was this ever in question...?

Actually, I'd like to share one of the themes I personally see and identify with in the story. Referring to Guts: "Doing what you love does not always equal happiness. When you're killing for vengeance, you love killing those who have wronged you. But you are not happy, you are pissed."

That's not a theme. That's a fictional monologue you invented.

Let's face it though, that will never and can never happen. It's just not possible. First of all, the only reason Guts wanted the Beherit from Vargas in the first place, was so he could use it to summon the God Hand and KILL THEM. He has fought against them and the apostles for... 20 volumes now? And.. for him to use the Beherit in order to sacrifice what is most dear to him, is COMPLETELY out of character for him. It makes everything he's been doing up to this point completely moot and meaningless. So... that can never happen. He is already BRANDED himself... when in the Berserk universe have we seen a Branded individual do such a thing like that? In fact, when have we seen any other Branded human make it as far as Guts and Casca have? Oh yeah, we haven't. 

Welcome to the reality of observing casual readers making authoritative statements on Berserk  :carcus:

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And, here is another theme that is extremely important in the Berserk universe that I thought of today: Decisions. Choice. How much does it matter? Causality determines the fate of man in Berserk, supposedly. Or rather, the chain of events that will lead up to it.

Paraphrasing Flora in Volume 26: Humans always have a choice. Events are not destined to play out exactly as they are planned.

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Guts' seems to not be part of this however. He overcomes insurmountable odds to struggle against forces far greater in number and in power. He survives, and does a little bit more than that too. So it seems Guts may not be bound by the same principles. I wonder what that means in the grand scheme of things?

Guts is no exception. He's still a part of things. But being in the interstice allows him to take small steps outside the story, as explained by The Skull Knight. The most recent example how Guts is still integral to the overall plan of causality is how he cleared out Ganishka from Vritannis. Doing so required the Dragon Slayer.

A lot of heads think that Casca is gonna get cured and brought back to her old self, but it has already been hinted that this may not be the case.

The Skull Knight said it would be possible.

Her ordeal in the eclipse spawned in Guts the Beast of Darkness, which has had blistering  and tremendous effects on his psyche.

No, the Beast has always been a part of Guts. It only begins manifesting in Volume 16 after he's taken on greater and greater foes.

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I can only imagine what happened to Casca being that she was raped by a God Hand. It's highly unlikely that they can restore her, there is no reason to believe that she can be healed from the ordeal. None that are convincing enough in my book.

The Skull Knight said it would be possible.

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And as far as the Beherit is concerned, it sort of has been concealed since it's retrieval in Vol. 3. There just  hasn't been very much mention of it really. I think it will play a part in some way, just due to the sheer fact that every Beherit has some measure of power. But how that will work, who knows.
We see it quite often, actually. It rattled and reconfigured its face when Slan manifested in the Qliphoth, and did the same when Ganishka transformed.

Ever since that moment at the Hill of Swords when Casca encountered the reincarnated Griffith for the first time, I often wondered if a healed Casca would identify this new image of Griffith with her ordeal? If for some reason that was the case and she left Guts for Falconia...  :magni: 

You mean that time she reached out to touch what she sensed was her son, and then had gouts of blood shoot from her chest? I doubt she'll be too eager to embrace Griffith after her restoration...
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Antonius Block

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2014, 04:32:37 PM »
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You mean that time she reached out to touch what she sensed was her son, and then had gouts of blood shoot from her chest?

Once again, I am going off of memory alone, as I did not remember the child being involved in that scene. I always thought that since it had been sometime between her seeing Griffith in all of his glory in a human form that it sparked something within her.

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Really...? Only two? You can almost just pick a volume and find Guts taking on troubles for the sake of others.

It was just what came to mind at the moment I was writing. Please be gentle  :casca:

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Categorically false, since you followed this sentence up with two perfect examples of him sacrificing himself.

Griffith does make sacrifices, but could they ever be considered for the benefit of someone other than himself. That is where I can't think of any direct references other than the first appearance of Zodd.
I want to confess as best I can, but my heart is void. The void is a mirror. I see my face and feel loathing and horror. My indifference to men has shut me out. I live now in a world of ghosts, a prisoner in my dreams.

Offline Deci

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2014, 09:49:34 PM »
One of my favorite themes of Berserk is Guts constant struggle against causality and fate and to fight against insurmountable odds with the will to survive. I find a lot of inspiration out of that.

In some ways it reminds me a little of the myth of Sisyphus, the mortal who was punished by the Gods to be endlessly pushing a rock to the top of a mountain. Being defined by his passion as much as his torture, etc. Big fan of absurdism, though I'm very likely projecting my own interpretation onto certain aspects of Berserk, it may not exactly be anything the author is trying to convey. I tend to do that often.  :farnese:

Offline Vodnak

Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2014, 04:15:00 AM »
It's not a knack, it's a fundamnetal part of the Berserk universe that's been explained. The Beherit activates in response to "the wailing of one's soul" (Volume 3). It's a preordained circumstance laid out by the Idea of Evil. The Beherit calls the God Hand dimension forth, and the sacrificial ceremony begins.

Knack wasn't the right word. But, it's what they do. They are there when the one possessing the Beherit has reached an all time low and moment of personal weakness, to offer their gift, make a case to why they should sacrifice whatever is dear to them... etc. That really doesn't matter though in regard to the rest of my post.

There's so much wrong here I don't even know where to begin. The toll of those bodies weighed heavily on Griffith, as evidenced in a number of scenes. Particularly, the bath scene with Casca in Volume 7, when he asks Guts if what he does is cruel, and most readily apparent during the sacrificial ceremony in Volume 12. He wears a brave face, but he's clearly troubled by the things he deems necessary for his dream. And your conclusion, that why should he care if he's an emotionless God Hand? He wasn't emotionless _when he made the decision_. So, what's your point exactly..?

.....

You completely missed my point. I'm talking about when the decision was made and Griffith was born as the God Hand Femto. There were no consequences of that action for Femto were there? If there were, I guess I missed that.

And even if the decision to sacrifice them weighed heavily on his heart... it must have not been too emotionally disturbing for him? He went ahead and sacrificed them anyways, for self preservation and to continue chasing his dream. Those were lives for him to squander, it was preordained wasn't it? He had the Crimson Beherit, so that was his destiny right? It's okay though, he felt bad about it so, ya know.

This is all subjective anyways. It's thought provoking. Just opinions and ideas which can neither be right or wrong.

.....

Dramatic pause...?

Welcome to the reality of observing casual readers making authoritative statements on Berserk  :carcus:

 So, I'm a casual reader because my interpretation is a little different? Well, alrighty then. Thanks for letting me know.

Paraphrasing Flora in Volume 26: Humans always have a choice. Events are not destined to play out exactly as they are planned.

Ok. Fair enough.


Guts is no exception. He's still a part of things. But being in the interstice allows him to take small steps outside the story, as explained by The Skull Knight. The most recent example how Guts is still integral to the overall plan of causality is how he cleared out Ganishka from Vritannis. Doing so required the Dragon Slayer.

Ok, that makes sense. But I'm not talking specifically about the events happening around him like Ganishka being cleared from Virtannis. I'm referring to Guts as an individual, and how his fate does not seem to be directly tied to causality.

Skull knight said it was possible.

I'm sure Skull Knight has been wrong before. This journey relies solely on hope. Now that the worlds have merged, everything is different anyways. Elfhelm may not be the place of refuge it was thought to be. I hope she is restored, but I don't have much faith in it at this point.

No, the Beast has always been a part of Guts. It only begins manifesting in Volume 16 after he's taken on greater and greater foes.

Oh. For some reason I thought the Beast only became a part of Guts after the Eclipse.


We see it quite often, actually. It rattled and reconfigured its face when Slan manifested in the Qliphoth, and did the same when Ganishka transformed.

Our definitions of often, are not the same.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 10:07:24 AM by Vodnak »

Online Walter

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2014, 01:34:43 PM »
Knack wasn't the right word. But, it's what they do. They are there when the one possessing the Beherit has reached an all time low and moment of personal weakness, to offer their gift, make a case to why they should sacrifice whatever is dear to them... etc. That really doesn't matter though in regard to the rest of my post.

Well, details matter when you're trying to convey information.

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You completely missed my point. I'm talking about when the decision was made and Griffith was born as the God Hand Femto. There were no consequences of that action for Femto were there? If there were, I guess I missed that.

He condemned his earthly existence to become an evil demon. He shed everything that was human. What kind of cost did you have in mind, exactly? A scar or something?

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And even if the decision to sacrifice them weighed heavily on his heart... it must have not been too emotionally disturbing for him? He went ahead and sacrificed them anyways, for self preservation and to continue chasing his dream. Those were lives for him to squander, it was preordained wasn't it? He had the Crimson Beherit, so that was his destiny right? It's okay though, he felt bad about it so, ya know.

I don't know how you could read that scene and think that choice was easy for him to make.

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Dramatic pause...?

It was more of a dumbfounded response to you making the striking observation that: "this give me the impression that Femto really doesn't care about Guts these days." When you say things like this, it really makes me question everything else you say.

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So, I'm a casual reader because my interpretation is a little different? Well, alrighty then. Thanks for letting me know.

I was commenting on YOUR reaction to others. You took it personally.

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Ok, that makes sense. But I'm not talking specifically about the events happening around him like Ganishka being cleared from Virtannis. I'm referring to Guts as an individual, and how his fate does not seem to be directly tied to causality.

What gives you that impression? If time and again he plays a role, how is that not tied to causality?

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I'm sure Skull Knight has been wrong before. This journey relies solely on hope. Now that the worlds have merged, everything is different anyways. Elfhelm may not be the place of refuge it was thought to be. I hope she is restored, but I don't have much faith in it at this point.

You said  "there is no reason to believe that she can be healed from the ordeal." I said the Skull Knight said it was possible.


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Our definitions of often, are not the same.

I guess not. I left out a few more scenes, like when that Beherit was at the center of a big talk between Guts and Flora on the nature of the universe, and then Puck comes and takes it away. It hasn't just been "concealed" all this time. While we don't know its explicit purpose in the story yet, Miura clearly has a role for it, and hasn't forgotten about it, because it comes up every now and then.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Vodnak

Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2014, 03:36:33 PM »
He condemned his earthly existence to become an evil demon. He shed everything that was human. What kind of cost did you have in mind, exactly? A scar or something?

Never mind.

I don't know how you could read that scene and think that choice was easy for him to make.

Gee, Idk... because it only took him a few pages to make that choice?? Despite all the nice imagery that was used to make the reader appreciate the gravity of the situation and burden of his decision... the fact of the matter is he still chose to save his dying dream by using the corpses of The Band of the Hawk to do so. Griffith chose self preservation over integrity, I guess I just don't sympathize too much for him. What difference really does it make, if the decision was hard for him to make? It doesn't exonerate him from such actions.
 
It was more of a dumbfounded response to you making the striking observation that: "this give me the impression that Femto really doesn't care about Guts these days." When you say things like this, it really makes me question everything else you say.

Oh. Okay.

I was commenting on YOUR reaction to others. You took it personally.

No I didn't.

What gives you that impression? If time and again he plays a role, how is that not tied to causality?

Because, he continues to defy causality by surviving when he shouldn't. Branded humans aren't supposed to be able to mosey out of eclipse ceremonies. His fate is not directly tied to causality. If it were he would have died with the rest of The Band of the Hawk.

You said  "there is no reason to believe that she can be healed from the ordeal." I said the Skull Knight said it was possible.

I know I said that. To me, that isn't a reason to believe anything. If SK said that hippos fly into space while eating a blueberry muffin and humping a giraffe, would that give me reason to believe such a thing is true? No.

Hah, I probably sound like a pretty big asshole but, I'm just really having general discussion at this point in the thread. I sort of deviated from what I wanted to be just a collection of ideas from different people in the same place; for some reason I find it amusing to hear what everyone elses wild and bizarre theories might be. What they might think Berserk means, and is about. What it means for them. It fascinates me. I guess I am a "casual" reader in the sense that I don't get down to the very fine detail aspects of the story. I.e. I don't care about what color the shirt Griffith was wearing in vol. 8 was. Oh well? I'm just interested to hear what some other people think. That's all.

But you make a lot of good points, I'm not really trying to argue here. I'm just talking. Conversation is the best vehicle of thought, and I'm interested to hear what you have to say, and anyone else too. I don't have a perfect understanding of the story, so, I'm trying to educate myself a little more.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 04:12:53 PM by Vodnak »

Online Walter

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2014, 01:18:59 AM »
I guess I just don't sympathize too much for him. What difference really does it make, if the decision was hard for him to make? It doesn't exonerate him from such actions.

Wow, since when has that been the point of our discussion? You started this by saying that the sacrifice came at no cost to Griffith, "other than his humanity." Which strikes me as a pretty frightening statement. If you hold such little value for humanity, who's the real monster here?  :void:

It's a good time to reiterate that the entire point of a sacrifice to the God Hand is that it's something so dear to you that, "it's like giving up a part of your soul" (Volume 3). And that was said in reference to the Count's sacrifice--a man who retained some of his humanity, and had to have the God Hand come back to finish the job. For Griffith, it was even more. So I really think you're misunderstanding what was given up by him on that day. What did it cost him? Look into the eyes of Griffith the man, and then into the cold eyes of Femto.
 
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No I didn't.

Hate to sound like a fourth-grader, but you clearly misunderstood me, since you acted sarcastically... I was sympathizing with your frustration, having endured many versions of that myself as admin for this site for the past 14 years.

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Because, he continues to defy causality by surviving when he shouldn't.

Who said he was supposed to die? Gambino? Zodd? These guys aren't the arbiters of the mechanisms of the Berserk universe. Guts survived and has contributed to huge, world-changing events that were clearly laid out by Causality. He and Casca's interactions in Albion are another example of this, just to add another to the pile. If you think Guts is out of the picture, then surely you'd also agree that The Skull Knight is out of it too, right? Well, he also played an integral role in how causality's plan unfolded. Who else could have slashed open Ganishka like that and caused the eruption that changed the face of the world? The Beherit Sword's specific function worked perfectly toward that end--almost like a key in a lock.

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Guts has survived and Branded humans aren't supposed to be able to mosey out of eclipse ceremonies.

But he didn't "mosey out." He was unconscious, and The Skull Knight intervened. Which directly facilitated the birth of the being that would become Griffith's vessel. See how all these things connect?

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His fate is not directly tied to causality.

More hogwash based on absolutely nothing.

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To me, that isn't a reason to believe anything. If SK said that hippos fly into space while eating a blueberry muffin and humping a giraffe, would that give me reason to believe such a thing is true? No.

Has SK ever been portrayed as being in the business of lying out of his ass about interplanetary hippo copulation? Your skepticism for even admitting that it's at least _a reason to believe_ in the possibility strikes me as ignorant. But going further than SKs own word, do you really think it makes sense narratively to have Casca survive the Eclipse, but be mentally handicapped, then to separate Guts and Casca, then reunite them with Guts recommitted to her, then to introduce the possibility of her restoration, only to have the rug pulled from beneath their (and readers') feet for it to not happen, and for no progress to be made? If you're up for more, the Elf King is renowned for having legendary healing powers, and Casca's mind was temporarily restored through the power of the mandragora (in the Dreamcast game), so it's not a large leap to assume the legendary King's power may exceed that of a plant's.

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Hah, I probably sound like a pretty big asshole

Not really an asshole, just clearly a newer reader fastened to your initial concepts.

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I guess I am a "casual" reader in the sense that I don't get down to the very fine detail aspects of the story. I.e. I don't care about what color the shirt Griffith was wearing in vol. 8 was. Oh well?

SKnet: The Premiere Destination for Berserk Character Clothing Choices. I think you're being disingenuous, too. If you didn't care about the fine aspects of the story, you wouldn't be posting on a forum dedicated to Berserk.

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I don't have a perfect understanding of the story, so, I'm trying to educate myself a little more.

Well, you're in the right place. Try to be a little more receptive in the future. We take Berserk very seriously here, and attention to details is important if you want to communicate anything of worth.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Vodnak

Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2014, 02:01:19 AM »
Hate to sound like a fourth-grader, but you clearly misunderstood me, since you acted sarcastically... I was sympathizing with your frustration, having endured many versions of that myself as admin for this site for the past 14 years.

Oh ok. I guess I didn't get that clearly myself, I apologize in advance then for having misunderstood you.

Who said he was supposed to die? Gambino? Zodd? These guys aren't the arbiters of the mechanisms of the Berserk universe. Guts survived and has contributed to huge, world-changing events that were clearly laid out by Causality. He and Casca's interactions in Albion are another example of this, just to add another to the pile. If you think Guts is out of the picture, then surely you'd also agree that The Skull Knight is out of it too, right? Well, he also played an integral role in how causality's plan unfolded. Who else could have slashed open Ganishka like that and caused the eruption that changed the face of the world? The Beherit Sword's specific function worked perfectly toward that end--almost like a key in a lock.

But he didn't "mosey out." He was unconscious, and The Skull Knight intervened. Which directly facilitated the birth of the being that would become Griffith's vessel. See how all these things connect?

That makes sense.. I don't know why I didn't see it that way before? I always thought Causality was just the tendency for certain events to unfold. I didn't realize it was that important in the Berserk universe.

Has SK ever been portrayed as being in the business of lying out of his ass about interplanetary hippo copulation? Your skepticism for even admitting that it's at least _a reason to believe_ in the possibility strikes me as ignorant. But going further than SKs own word, do you really think it makes sense narratively to have Casca survive the Eclipse, but be mentally handicapped, then to separate Guts and Casca, then reunite them with Guts recommitted to her, then to introduce the possibility of her restoration, only to have the rug pulled from beneath their (and readers') feet for it to not happen, and for no progress to be made? If you're up for more, the Elf King is renowned for having legendary healing powers, and Casca's mind was temporarily restored through the power of the mandragora (in the Dreamcast game), so it's not a large leap to assume the legendary King's power may exceed that of a plant's.

Fair enough, its just been a long time now since the eclipse, I feel like healing Casca has become almost secondary in the story up until recently when Guts fully focused his attention on her. Like I said... I hope she gets restored. Maybe there is more reason to believe she will than I had previously thought. All good points, sir.

Not really an asshole, just clearly a newer reader fastened to your initial concepts.

Well thanks for granting me a little bit of license there.  :serpico:


SKnet: The Premiere Destination for Berserk Character Clothing Choices. I think you're being disingenuous, too. If you didn't care about the fine aspects of the story, you wouldn't be posting on a forum dedicated to Berserk.

Touché....


Well, you're in the right place. Try to be a little more receptive in the future. We take Berserk very seriously here, and attention to details is important if you want to communicate anything of worth.

I will keep that in mind for the future. This all makes me want to start rereading from Vol. 1 all over again. I feel as if though I've missed some very important details of the story. Hopefully my reread will fill in some of the gaps for me. In any case I appreciate the patience with me. I don't mean to be frustrating for anyone, I'm just a noobie. You'll have to forgive me, haha.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 05:43:28 AM by Vodnak »

Offline Aazealh

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Re: The Theme of Berserk
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2014, 07:41:17 AM »
That makes sense.. I don't know why I didn't see it that way before? I always thought Causality was just the tendency for certain events to unfold. I didn't realize it was that important in the Berserk universe.

Causality is a principle. The relation between causes and effects. It matters because it's the medium the Idea of Evil uses to manipulate the world in order to achieve its plans.

Fair enough, its just been a long time now since the eclipse, I feel like healing Casca has become almost secondary in the story up until recently when Guts fully focused his attention on her.

Guts decided to travel to Elfhelm to find a safe haven for Casca in volume 22. And he first went to look for her in volume 17. Given that we're now in volume 38 that means Guts has arguably been focusing his attention on her for over half the series.