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Online Walter

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Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« on: June 15, 2014, 12:24:46 AM »

Episode 49 (06/14/2014): Beginning of the Endless Night

The regular crew sans Griffith continues the re-read expedition with an extra-long discussion of Volume 9: Skull Knight's introduction, sweaty seduction, royal rape, torture, sex against trees and more.

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or by plugging this address into your favorite podcast app:
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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2014, 05:27:09 PM »


I've always drawn a parallel to Griffith's and Charlotte scene to statutory rape. Charlotte is not as mentally developed or matured as Griffith and he's taking advantage of that. I don't deny that Charlotte wanted Griffith, but it's probably not the way she wanted it to happen.

Online Walter

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2014, 01:42:57 PM »
I don't deny that Charlotte wanted Griffith, but it's probably not the way she wanted it to happen.
Which is what we say on the show.

There was a small thing I forgot to say during the recording. During Griffith's scene with Charlotte, we mentioned there's a panel where we see Charlotte's face reflected in Griffith's eye. What's notable here is that the art style for her depiction is different from the surrounding panels. It's not hyperstylized or blurred, not wrapped in emotion. It's a cold, distant depiction of her. It's implying character perspective through the change in style. The emotional panels are the sexual experience from Charlotte's perspective, meanwhile Griffith is detached and not involved in the moment at all.

It doesn't give any new meaning to the scene, but what other comic artist thinks of these visual-narrative demonstrations? It's masterful.
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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2014, 07:29:10 PM »
Today's Smash pic of the day features chrakrams for the mii sword character. I thought it was nice coincidence



now I could play with Silat...with a sword :T

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2014, 01:51:50 AM »
This was one packed podcast  :isidro: You guys go into so much detail, its seriously fucking great. A great part of why Berserk is so incredible to me is Miura's attention to details, so talking about these volumes almost page by page brings conversations and ideas to the table that don't necessarily always come out in the forums. This exhaustive approach is definitely the way to go, as far as I'm concerned. Despite Griffith's absence, you guys managed to make things really interesting and entertaining, so good job! Almost 50  :ubik:

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2014, 01:07:46 PM »
A great part of why Berserk is so incredible to me is Miura's attention to details, so talking about these volumes almost page by page brings conversations and ideas to the table that don't necessarily always come out in the forums. This exhaustive approach is definitely the way to go, as far as I'm concerned. Despite Griffith's absence, you guys managed to make things really interesting and entertaining, so good job! Almost 50  :ubik:

Thanks! Yeah, it took some convincing, but I now understand why these re-read podcasts are important. It opens up discussion for things Aaz/Griff and I have never talked about, because we focus on everything on a page. It's also a way to highlight small, subtle things Miura does (or big things) that we often overlook. The other trick is to make it entertaining, which I've honestly focused less on recently. But people seem to enjoy them still, so maybe it's not really a concern.

The only problem is I always think of stuff after we've recorded (see above)... It's nearly impossible to get these recordings perfect. It's a function of the medium. Things will inevitably be left by the wayside.
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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2014, 06:58:07 PM »
The only problem is I always think of stuff after we've recorded (see above)... It's nearly impossible to get these recordings perfect. It's a function of the medium. Things will inevitably be left by the wayside.

Don't be so sure. A few more episodes and I'll have dragged you down with me into a panel by panel analysis routine. :ganishka:

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2014, 09:49:00 PM »
Thank you guys for another very detailed reread. It was a shame that Griff couldn't be here for this one, but then again, maybe it would have broken the 3-hour mark if that had happened. :carcus: Hey, I'm not complaining!

Volume 9 is one of my favorites, so I was really pleased to realize that there were some details that I had been missing before. I think I'd always assumed that Griffith came to Charlotte's room with the intention of seducing her. The thought of it being more of a split-second decision gives the scene a bit more dimension for me. And Walter, you weren't alone in not making the connection at the very end about Guts's childhood memory. This episode's lesson: never underestimate the healing power of whoopie. :slan:

Although, there's one aspect of the podcast that I was unclear about. Walter, you start out by saying that you don't think Charlotte was raped, but I wasn't sure if you stick by this interpretation by the end of that section. It seems like you and Aaz agree that Griffith was going to have sex with her whether she wanted to or not, which I agree with, and I think it makes the nature of the encounter pretty clear. Doesn't Charlotte also say "no" at the beginning? The whole scene is pretty interesting for that reason, especially the fact that Charlotte appears to have glossed over the details of incident in her own mind. It believe that she doesn't believe that she was raped, but I don't know if I want to take her (or her embroidery's) word for it.

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2014, 11:09:39 PM »
The other trick is to make it entertaining, which I've honestly focused less on recently. But people seem to enjoy them still, so maybe it's not really a concern.

I think you don't need to go out of your way to make things more "entertaining". People are here to listen to you guys talk about Berserk and I'm sure that's good enough for most of us. If you were in our shoes, I'm certain you'd really be glad to have people that have such a huge understanding and respect for the series talk about it in depth four hours and hours. I've listened to most of these twice, so I guess its entertaining enough for me anyways  :serpico:

Is there something special planned for the 50th podcast? I could try to make an alternative music theme or something if you want.

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2014, 12:57:26 AM »
Although, there's one aspect of the podcast that I was unclear about. Walter, you start out by saying that you don't think Charlotte was raped, but I wasn't sure if you stick by this interpretation by the end of that section. It seems like you and Aaz agree that Griffith was going to have sex with her whether she wanted to or not, which I agree with, and I think it makes the nature of the encounter pretty clear. Doesn't Charlotte also say "no" at the beginning? The whole scene is pretty interesting for that reason, especially the fact that Charlotte appears to have glossed over the details of incident in her own mind. It believe that she doesn't believe that she was raped, but I don't know if I want to take her (or her embroidery's) word for it.

It's not a pretty scene, no matter how you slice it. But his advances weren't ultimately unwelcome. She was seduced into the act, and doesn't seem to feel guilty about it.

If it were explicit rape, I think Miura would have drawn the scene even more deliberately in that regard. Instead, it starts with Griffith being forceful, and her eventually giving in to the moment, ultimately thinking fondly of it. I think it's a pretty clear cut example of what today would be charged as statutory rape (corruption of a minor, perhaps), since she was legally a minor who was clearly being manipulated, even if she gave consent. She's not old enough to realize how she was manipulated, or objective enough to see that Griffith wasn't into it. And even if she was, perhaps she wouldn't care?

Is there something special planned for the 50th podcast? I could try to make an alternative music theme or something if you want.

I'd like to say so, but ... nope, nothing out of the ordinary planned yet.
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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2014, 02:45:34 AM »
This episode was amazing. I couldn't help but bow my head in regard to Miura's genius as you guys were talking about some of the moments in this volume. Truly, the man was absolutely on top of his game. Incredible. Master storytelling.

I LOVE the idea of that mage-like statue that the maid walks by being something more ...  :void: I would have never picked up on that. A little detail that, knowing Miura, is hard to accept as something entirely random now that I view it that way.

As for the bruise on Girffith's shoulder, I've always wondered about it and I'm kind of surprised that it hasn't been brought up more (by myself included). I've always thought it was something in Griffiths mind. Not really anything Guts could have did to him, but something he views on himself. But now that I look at it, I like Aaz's point that it's just as likely he did it to himself. The way he's running his fingers over it makes it seem that way.

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2014, 03:36:01 PM »
As for the bruise on Girffith's shoulder, I've always wondered about it and I'm kind of surprised that it hasn't been brought up more (by myself included). I've always thought it was something in Griffiths mind. Not really anything Guts could have did to him, but something he views on himself. But now that I look at it, I like Aaz's point that it's just as likely he did it to himself. The way he's running his fingers over it makes it seem that way.

I know it's a bit Shonen-esque, but could it have been the "sword wind" (forgive me; I'm not sure how else to put it) from Guts' strike? I mean, just look at what he did to Silat's urumi.

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2014, 03:59:29 PM »
I know it's a bit Shonen-esque, but could it have been the "sword wind" (forgive me; I'm not sure how else to put it) from Guts' strike? I mean, just look at what he did to Silat's urumi.

He used dust and leaves from the ground to neutralize the Urumi though, not just the air flow produced by his swing. I don't think that could possibly explain the mark on Griffith's shoulder.

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2014, 04:47:18 PM »
As for the bruise on Girffith's shoulder, I've always wondered about it and I'm kind of surprised that it hasn't been brought up more (by myself included). I've always thought it was something in Griffiths mind. Not really anything Guts could have did to him, but something he views on himself. But now that I look at it, I like Aaz's point that it's just as likely he did it to himself. The way he's running his fingers over it makes it seem that way.

Not to mention you can see the scar when he's being whipped by the king and Griffith is no longer focusing on his shoulder. It also doesn't look like a bruise in those panels but much more like a scar.

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2014, 09:33:03 PM »
It's not a pretty scene, no matter how you slice it. But his advances weren't ultimately unwelcome. She was seduced into the act, and doesn't seem to feel guilty about it.
I think that this is where our interpretations differ. To me, Charlotte's ultimate reaction isn't as important as her initial one. Griffith did succeed  in coercing her, but not before forcing himself on her after Charlotte said no. To me, that's a step over "seduction" or "being forceful," because he put Charlotte in a position where refusing him wasn't an option. It isn't necessarily what you call "explicit rape," but how explicit does it need to be?

it starts with Griffith being forceful, and her eventually giving in to the moment, ultimately thinking fondly of it.
I think that says a lot about Charlotte's mindset, actually. From their introduction, Griffith plays into these romantic notions of the chivalrous knight to woo Charlotte, who totally buys into it. That night in her room, Griffith betrays those notions for the first time. Naturally, Miura portrays Charlotte as confused and uncomfortable with the situation. But she relents, possibly because born from that same desire to make Griffith consistent with that knightly representation she's formed in her mind, she needs to be a compliant partner, otherwise it does indeed become an "explicit rape." Considering her emotional state at the time, maybe denial would be preferable to that.

Sorry to get stuck on this point. I actually don't like debating, and I'm not going to pretend to know what Miura's intentions were, but I feel pretty strongly about the language being used here. I also think that this interpretation has implications with Charlotte's other important scenes (the incident with Ganishka for example), and probably what we'll see of her and Griffith's interactions in the future. So, there you go. :guts:

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2014, 01:14:01 AM »
I'm beginning to feel somewhat like a politician in this discussion. "Did he just sanction rape?!""How many binders full of women does this guy have?"

I think that this is where our interpretations differ. To me, Charlotte's ultimate reaction isn't as important as her initial one.

It's the opposite for me, and my reasoning has everything to do with how the scene is portrayed. And I want to be clear here, since I can sort of see where this is going. Griffith's certainly no gentleman in this scene. And her saying no (truly, she starts to say no, and then swoons...) is important, but ultimately Griffith's gamble in not relenting pays off, since she clearly bears him no ill will over this forceful act. If anything, it appears to have made her even more deeply in love with him.

Quote
Griffith did succeed  in coercing her, but not before forcing himself on her after Charlotte said no. To me, that's a step over "seduction" or "being forceful," because he put Charlotte in a position where refusing him wasn't an option.

She refused the King when she scarcely had an option, and Ganishka as well. Obviously those are different circumstances where her refusal was for different reasons, but my point is that she could have fought if she found this truly repulsive or degrading. But apart from the "N-" we get from her, this is consensual sex.

Quote
It isn't necessarily what you call "explicit rape," but how explicit does it need to be?

I used that phrasing because there are examples in the series of it, and in those scenes, there's no room for argument about the intent. The portrayal of the act in those scenes is dramatically different from what we're shown here, even down to the art style. That's the basis for my belief that this is not explicitly a rape scene. This is the seduction of an emotionally vulnerable minor, which admittedly is murky territory, but the mood of the scene after Charlotte's initial protestation, and her attitude about it following it, doesn't match up with what one would expect from a rape.

Quote
I think that says a lot about Charlotte's mindset, actually. From their introduction, Griffith plays into these romantic notions of the chivalrous knight to woo Charlotte, who totally buys into it. That night in her room, Griffith betrays those notions for the first time. Naturally, Miura portrays Charlotte as confused and uncomfortable with the situation. But she relents, possibly because born from that same desire to make Griffith consistent with that knightly representation she's formed in her mind, she needs to be a compliant partner, otherwise it does indeed become an "explicit rape." Considering her emotional state at the time, maybe denial would be preferable to that.

It doesn't appear to me that she's doing that many mental gymnastics in the scene. She's responding to him physically after getting over her initial fear of being so forward. Again, if there was some brooding conflict about her feelings as a result of this scene, I would think the reader would be made privy to it. Instead, in the privacy of her bedroom, with no one to put on airs for, she appears to be glowing after Griffith leaves. Of course any opportunity for the expression of anguish is quickly suppressed hours later by a far more damaging act from the king.

Quote
I also think that this interpretation has implications with Charlotte's other important scenes (the incident with Ganishka for example), and probably what we'll see of her and Griffith's interactions in the future. So, there you go. :guts:

Well, I'm curious to hear about that, since I'm not sure I follow you.
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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2014, 05:40:08 AM »
Man oh man. "Let it be stated for the record, I do not believe Walter sanctions rape..." :ganishka: What a terrible way to start a post! I hope you'll forgive me someday for dragging you into this discussion, but I feel like it's an important one to have. I promise I'm going back to drawing silly talking horse comics after this.

The thing is, I think we're mostly in agreement on this encounter. This isn't a love scene - Griffith manipulates a young girl's feelings for him in order to propel his ambition. There it is. But what I'm concerned about is the terminology we're using to describe what happened. At the end of the day, Charlotte says "no," but Griffith keeps going, and it's hard for me to divorce my interpretation from that fact. To be clear, I was never trying to prove that Charlotte didn't ultimately enjoy it or that she felt any guilt. What I'm saying is that her subsequent feelings have little bearing on what I believe is technically an assault. If anything, it makes it seem as if she's very much bought into the whole "knight in shining armor" image of Griffith that had been cultivated in her head by both Griffith and herself. She's looking back on the incident with rose colored classes, if you ask me.

And to clarify on my mention of Ganishka - when the emperor attempts to force himself on her, Charlotte calls out to Griffith (as she does with the King, coincidentally). I think that this, along with her very impressive embroidery pile, reinforces that continued romanticized notion of the Griffith as this superhero protector, even in his seemingly indefinite absence. To me, this indicates a growing separation between Charlotte's perceptions and reality (and in fact, Griffith's actual intentions and personality) that has roots in their encounter in volume 9.

Anyway, that's what I've been trying to say. I feel like I've made my opinion as clear as I can, so feel free to have the last word. I'll happily read your reply from the Creation Station, where I belong! :troll:

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2014, 02:02:44 PM »
Sorry to get stuck on this point. I actually don't like debating, and I'm not going to pretend to know what Miura's intentions were, but I feel pretty strongly about the language being used here. I also think that this interpretation has implications with Charlotte's other important scenes (the incident with Ganishka for example), and probably what we'll see of her and Griffith's interactions in the future.

I think you're overanalyzing the scene, and that by focusing too much on the language and on what constitutes consent or not, you're diluting the point of what matters. No, Charlotte wasn't comfortable with it at first and no, it isn't how she would have done things had she been in total control of everything. However, the takeaway here is that it eventually was not a bad or traumatic experience for her. She kept fond memories of it and didn't have any regrets. Those aren't the symptoms of someone who was raped, and so I don't think it's appropriate to label the encounter as such just by principle. That can be opposed to her father's aggression that actually traumatized her to some extent, as seen in her later scene with Ganishka, during which she called out to... Griffith.

I don't believe it's sensible to label all sexual assaults as "rape" regardless of their level, because it diminishes the gravity of the more ignominious ones. Simply said, either we classify them by induced trauma (which is subjective in nature but representative of the victim's grief), in which case this can't really be called rape as she was rapidly happy with what happened, or we classify them through an assessment of their perceived criminality. And if so, well I don't think one can seriously compare this particular encounter, to say, Casca's rape by Femto. Lastly, the fact Griffith wasn't honest about his feelings to Charlotte can't be used to argue that it constituted rape in my opinion, in fact I would say that it's another issue entirely.

At the end of the day, Charlotte says "no," but Griffith keeps going, and it's hard for me to divorce my interpretation from that fact. To be clear, I was never trying to prove that Charlotte didn't ultimately enjoy it or that she felt any guilt. What I'm saying is that her subsequent feelings have little bearing on what I believe is technically an assault.

The thing is, like you say, it's a technicality. One that I think obscures the bigger picture if we focus on it too much in this particular case, as I said above. Furthermore, I believe there is an argument to be made here for not disregarding the character's feelings as merely being a result of mental inadequacy, which I think would be presumptuous if not contemptuous. Was she misled and taken advantage of? Definitely. Was she sexually abused? I would say no, even though Griffith's behavior in that specific moment was improper.

More one thing: consent can change during a sexual encounter. Someone can be Ok with it and then change their mind and not want it anymore. Here the opposite happens: Charlotte is originally reticent, partly or totally because she's scared, but then Griffith talks her into it and after that she seems fine with it. Something to think about.

when the emperor attempts to force himself on her, Charlotte calls out to Griffith [...] To me, this indicates a growing separation between Charlotte's perceptions and reality

Well Griffith does save her from Ganishka soon afterwards, so I'm not sure her perception of him as a savior is all that erroneous (or at least not more so than anyone else's). You seem to be forgetting about the effect Griffith had on everyone at this point through the Falcon of Light dreams. However, to address the actual point directly, Charlotte has been (and is still being) deceived when it comes to Griffith having romantic feelings towards her. But, while that makes him a cold-hearted bastard, as far as I know, that's not a crime.

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2014, 11:02:58 PM »
Thanks for another great podcast! I've been looking forward to this re-read and I wasn't disappointed. So much happens in this volume and neither of you spared any detail.

I really appreciate the explanation of the last page. I had always wondered what Miura was trying to say and I knew it had a deeper meaning yet I just could not put it together.
The connection between Guts putting ointment on his scar to him being emotionally healed by Casca's love is such an important detail. Both events seem unrelated but are woven together so naturally by Miura. He really is skilled at creating a narrative where almost everything has a purpose.

Besides Guts healing after the Eclipse in volume 13, and after meeting Griffith in 4, is this one of the only instances we see Guts sleeping without his sword? I thought it was interesting that twice Casca has taken the place of it.

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2014, 01:07:58 AM »
Besides Guts healing after the Eclipse in volume 13, and after meeting Griffith in 4, is this one of the only instances we see Guts sleeping without his sword? I thought it was interesting that twice Casca has taken the place of it.

There are probably a few others, like in the cave in volume 17, but you noted the significant ones--with Casca.
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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2014, 08:44:53 PM »
Finally got to sit down with the podcast today, and man, was it good! The detail y'all went into with this volume was great. It's a big one, that's for sure, but I was impressed with the neat smaller details y'all put forward. Aaz's interpretation of the last page is fantastic and I hadn't ever considered that implication before. It really adds to the importance of Guts and Casca's relationship. Awesome podcast fellas!

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2014, 08:22:05 PM »
He used dust and leaves from the ground to neutralize the Urumi though, not just the air flow produced by his swing. I don't think that could possibly explain the mark on Griffith's shoulder.

Ah, true. I do like the idea that the mark is from Griffith obsessively picking at his shoulder.

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2014, 01:36:33 AM »
Couldn't record a podcast today, but we'll be back next weekend with 336 discussion. Stay tuned!
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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2014, 04:16:50 AM »
Couldn't record a podcast today, but we'll be back next weekend with 336 discussion. Stay tuned!

Can't wait!  :ubik:

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Re: Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 49
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2014, 03:18:59 PM »
 :ubik: Looking forward to it!