Author Topic: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis  (Read 3423 times)

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Offline Theozilla

Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« on: October 10, 2016, 07:06:19 PM »
So the Berserk Guidebook book came out last month (which I quickly purchased) and it included the apparent ages of many main and supporting characters. Ever since then I’ve been mulling over the purported character ages and while some of them definitely fit and/or are likely accurate, others are also definitely unfitting and/or likely inaccurate. Now I realize that the Guidebook wasn’t necessarily compiled by Kentaro Miura, and could have easily been done by some random Young Animal/Hakusensha staff or intern who just guestimated the stats, but even so I decided to do a full skim/reread of Berserk (relying primarily on my Dark Horse volumes and some skullknight.net translations for further reference) with a focus on noting every single reference to character ages and the passage of time in the series in order to compare and accurately estimate how old the characters are in the most recent Episodes of the manga (i.e. Episode 347) and how much time in general has passed as well. Now to be clear, I am fully aware that these sorts of statistics are generally largely insignificant in regards to how important they are to the narrative and character writing, and even Miura himself likely doesn’t put too much value in pedantically tracking exactly how much time passes in his story (which I found evident in some of the occasional date inconsistencies in my reread of the series). However, I personally find such minute character details and the analysis of said details to be an enjoyable aspect of my engagement with the series. Basically I found over the course of my read through that the best way to keep track of the passage of time and character ages (beyond explicit reference to them) was to analyze them relative to both the depicted seasons (and the moon's lunar phases) and to the two characters whose ages were/are the easiest to directly discern: Guts and surprisingly Princess Charlotte.

Since the entirety of my analysis ended up being extremely long (nearly 22 pages worth of text, double-spaced and 12 pt. font, just to be clear) I am just going to link to it here: http://theozilla.tumblr.com/post/151449237958/berserk-timeline-and-character-age-analysis

And for those who don't want to read the analysis in full, here is a bullet-point summary of my findings, as well as table-calendar graphic visual to go along with it.
  • Half-a-year passed from start of the Band of the Falcon's deployment to take Doldrey (which occurred not long after the Autumn Hunt) to when Guts left the Falcons/Griffith was arrested (meaning it was likely the end of winter/beginning of spring then, during which Princess Charlotte was stated to be 17 years old)
  • Based on the illustrated weather/environment of the Episodes leading up to the Eclipse, I think it is likely that the Eclipse occurred around the end of the spring/beginning of summer. And then after The Eclipse another month or two passed to Guts' departure, so Guts would have nearly been 20 years old (if not already 20) by the very end of the Golden Age Arc.
  • Based on my previous (which much more detailed in the linked post) by the time of the Eclipse, Judeau died when he was about 21¾-23 years old, Pippin when he was about 22¾-25 years old, and Corkus when he was about 23¾-26 years old.
  • The Lost Children and Binding Chain Chapters were explicitly stated to have taken place during autumn.
  • The Birth Ceremony Chapter is implicitly stated to have occurred around the beginning of winter. And explicit statements can allow us to determine/calculate the Kushan Empire's invasion of Midland occurred nearly 1½ months before Guts' departure to the Tower of Conviction.
  • Based on the tracking of the depicted lunar phases, the beginning of Episode 188 took place at least 1 month after the night of the Mock Eclipse.
  • Thanks to two separate lines of dialogue from Mule Wolflame and Sir Owen explicitly stated in Volume 29 and Volume 32 respectively, we can confidently say that the Kushan invasion/occupation of Midland (and later Holy See territories/countries) lasted “years” plural (so based on Miura’s answer to this site in 2009)
  • Because of the above factoid, that means over the course of Volume 23 nearly 2 years of time must have passed, even if it is not explicitly stated (or even Miura not initially having planned/realized for that when writing those Episodes then).
  • The events of Guts and co. in Enoch Village occurred during some time after the start of winter (the winter 2 years after the one depicted in the Birth Ceremony Chapter).
  • Based on the tracking of the depicted lunar phases, at least 1 month passed (but likely no more than 2) from the first encounter with the Moonlight Boy to the night of Guts and co.'s departure from Vritannis.
  • Based on even further tracking of the depicted lunar phases, the night when Guts and co. killed the Sea God, took place either 1 or 2 months after their departure from Vritannis. And depending on whether or not the night that Rickert and co. escaped Falconia is meant to take place on the same night as the death of the Sea God or not, it can be estimated that anywhere from 3-6 months (with 4-5 months being most likely IMO) have passed from Guts and co.'s arrival in Enoch Village to their arrival on Skellig.
  • So based on my analysis (which again the full version is much more detailed and has direct sources/references) and previous calculations the (discernible) ages of the living main characters, as of their most recent appearances in the manga, are:
    Guts: about 24 years & 7-11 months old
    Casca: about 24 years & 7-11 months old
    Griffith: about 26 years & 7-11 months to 27 years & 7-11 months old
    Farnese de Vandimion: about 21 years & 7-9 months old
    Serpico: about 22 years & 7-9 months old
    Rickert: about 19 years & 7-11 months old
    Princess Charlotte: about 23 years & a few months old
    Isidro: about 14 years & a few months old
    Schierke: about 13 years & a few months old
    Sonia: about 15 years & a few months old
    Mule Wolflame: about 17 years & a few months old
    Isma: about 15 years & a few months old
    Erika: about 13 years old
    Roderick and Magnifico’s ages being about 27 and 28 years old respectively I think fits perfectly well since they have been both described has having graduated from college a while ago.
    As for the rest of the ages given in the Berserk Guidebook for the characters Azan, Silat, Godo, Luka, and Mozgus (which are 46, 25, 68, 27, and 42 respectively) I think those are all unobjectionable and fit perfectly well.
So basically, I think the Berserk Guidebook’s data (if we are meant to view the character ages as them being of the most recent Episodes and/or their ages when they died) was largely correct for the majority of the listed characters but underestimated the ages for Griffith, Farnese, Serpico, Princess Charlotte, Erika, Judeau, Pippin, and Corkus.


Offline Aazealh

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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2016, 07:55:26 PM »
Now I realize that the Guidebook wasn’t necessarily compiled by Kentaro Miura, and could have easily been done by some random Young Animal/Hakusensha staff or intern who just guestimated the stats

It's actually pretty unlikely that any of that information was provided by Miura. Guts' height has changed almost every time it's been printed in Young Animal over the years. That doesn't strike me as something Miura would do. Anyway, the fact you decided to launch yourself into a deep analysis based on those numbers, even though you recognize that a good deal of them are anomalous, is puzzling to me.

Now to be clear, I am fully aware that these sorts of statistics are generally largely insignificant in regards to how important they are to the narrative and character writing

I'm not sure what's statistical about this, you're mostly just guessing some characters' ages. Also, lunar phases and background foliage aren't super reliable means of estimating the passage of time. Don't take this badly, I appreciate the effort you went through, but surely you must recognize that yourself.

even Miura himself likely doesn’t put too much value in pedantically tracking exactly how much time passes in his story (which I found evident in some of the occasional date inconsistencies in my reread of the series).

What inconsistencies?

  • Because of the above factoid, that means over the course of Volume 23 nearly 2 years of time must have passed, even if it is not explicitly stated (or even Miura not initially having planned/realized for that when writing those Episodes then).

????
Not sure how you came to that conclusion.

Online Walter

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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2016, 08:12:34 PM »
Some of these things we can reasonably ascertain. Characters whose ages are explicitly stated, namely as you said, Guts and Charlotte. But I think it's a mistake to try to guess at other characters' ages based on these things, and to scrutinize the timeline based on moon phases, or to assign them months. I think once you try to force the available data to that granular a level, you run astray from how things are presented, and may run into some faulty conclusions. The passage of time serves, afterall, a storytelling element for Miura's world, which is presented to us in a format (comics) that doesn't align itself to a clockwork routine, given the nebulous passage of time between not only panels, but also episodes, chapters, arcs, etc.

I unfortunately don't have time for a full review right now, but here are some things that stood out to me:

I think for Year 1 of  your chart, you should include Guts' travels as the Black Swordsman (encountering the God Hand, defeating the female apostle, snake apostle and the Count, etc).

Quote
Miura himself likely doesn’t put too much value in pedantically tracking exactly how much time passes in his story (which I found evident in some of the occasional date inconsistencies in my reread of the series).

While I agree with your assessment in terms of Miura probably not caring that much about keeping a regular calendar of events, I have to say, I've never heard or seen any inconsistencies. What are they...?

Quote
Based on even further tracking of the depicted lunar phases, the night when Guts and co. killed the Sea God, took place either 1 or 2 months after their departure from Vritannis. And depending on whether or not the night that Rickert and co. escaped Falconia is meant to take place on the same night as the death of the Sea God or not, it can be estimated that anywhere from 3-6 months (with 4-5 months being most likely IMO) have passed from Guts and co.'s arrival in Enoch Village to their arrival on Skellig.

There's no reason to assume it was the same night. It could be any length of time.

Quote
...over the course of Volume 23 nearly 2 years of time must have passed, even if it is not explicitly stated (or even Miura not initially having planned/realized for that when writing those Episodes then).

Why Volume 23? The Kushan invasion began in Volume 17. Anyway, 1-2 years or so is consistent with Miura's reply to us in 2009, which added 1-2 years on top of the previously stated 2 years since the Eclipse, making Guts 22-23 instead of 21. Anyway, that only brings us to Volume 34 (time of publication of interview). More time could have passed since then.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Theozilla

Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2016, 08:28:10 PM »
It's actually pretty unlikely that any of that information was provided by Miura. Guts' height has changed almost every time it's been printed in Young Animal over the years. That doesn't strike me as something Miura would do. Anyway, the fact you decided to launch yourself into a deep analysis based on those numbers, even though you recognize that a good deal of them are anomalous, is puzzling to me.
I know it is very unlikely any of the information was provided Miura, I mentioned that. However, while the Guidebook numbers may have inspired/motivated me to a deep analysis, the majority of my estimations/calculations are not based on the Guidebook info and were arrived largely based on inference from the manga.

I'm not sure what's statistical about this, you're mostly just guessing some characters' ages. Also, lunar phases and background foliage aren't super reliable means of estimating the passage of time. Don't take this badly, I appreciate the effort you went through, but surely you must recognize that yourself.
I was using the term statistical in the colloquial sense (like "character stats" in D&D). And while I agree that normally that lunar phases and background foliage aren't super reliable means of estimating the passage of time (also my analysis is not entirely based on those two elements), I think there are parts of Berserk, particularly during the latter half of the Millennium Falcon Arc, where the phases of the moon are of particular importance and Miura' depictions of the moon reflect that (e.g. the last page of Episode 235 depict that the night of Princess Charlotte’s rescue was on a night of a nearly full waxing gibbous moon, which occurred right before the Episodes that featured the Moonlight Boy's first appearance)

What inconsistencies?
I don't know if you have read my full analysis post yet, but I explain in detail the times in the manga where occasionally Miura was inconsistent with keeping track of the passage of time. But here's an example of one of them
Quote from: Theozilla
Episode 311 perhaps contains one of Miura’s most blatant and confounding timeline contradictions/inconsistencies, which is where Roderick states that’s their previous encounter with Captain Bonebeard and his pirate crew (before they had been turned into Sea God tentacle-whiskers) occurred “just a few days ago”. This is impossible, regardless of whether Miura meant to meant to draw a waning crescent moon instead of a waxing crescent moon in Episode 290 (which makes the difference between the last encounter having been ⅝ of a month ago or 1⅜ months ago), as the Seahorse’s previous encounter with the pirates had to have occurred before the new moon (i.e. the night before the Blast of the Astral World occurred) which is more than half a month prior either way. So Roderick’s statement just doesn’t add up any way you look at it. So IMO the solution is to either ignore the veracity of the statement, assume Roderick’s usage of the term “just a few days ago” applies to spans of multiple weeks, and/or assume that the Seahorse had some second “off-screen” encounter with the pirates after the Blast of the Astral World.


????
Not sure how you came to that conclusion.
Because it's the only point in the manga where the passage of time is ambiguous enough for it to fit. As the amount of time that has passed since the beginning of Volume 24, based on numerous character statements and keeping track of the lunar phases/cycle, can at most be about several months.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 01:18:04 AM by Theozilla »

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2016, 08:50:45 PM »
Episode 311 perhaps contains one of Miura’s most blatant and confounding timeline contradictions/inconsistencies, which is where Roderick states that’s their previous encounter with Captain Bonebeard and his pirate crew (before they had been turned into Sea God tentacle-whiskers) occurred “just a few days ago”.

That's not what he says (it's "a few days later"), and his name isn't "Bonebeard". You should read proper translations before you go and accuse the author of being inconsistent with your approximate extrapolations of what's what in the series. Also, more generally, maybe don't assume expressions in another language always equate perfectly to something in English.

Because it's the only point in the manga where the passage of time is ambiguous enough for it to fit. As the amount of time that has passed since the beginning of Volume 24, based on numerous character statements and keeping track of the lunar phases/cycle, can at most be about several months.

See Walter's post. When we got Miura's reply to our letter, it was perfectly consistent with what we had estimated until then. For all your analysis, seems you're kinda missing the big picture.

Offline Theozilla

Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2016, 08:58:59 PM »
Some of these things we can reasonably ascertain. Characters whose ages are explicitly stated, namely as you said, Guts and Charlotte. But I think it's a mistake to try to guess at other characters' ages based on these things, and to scrutinize the timeline based on moon phases, or to assign them months. I think once you try to force the available data to that granular a level, you run astray from how things are presented, and may run into some faulty conclusions. The passage of time serves, afterall, a storytelling element for Miura's world, which is presented to us in a format (comics) that doesn't align itself to a clockwork routine, given the nebulous passage of time between not only panels, but also episodes, chapters, arcs, etc.
I agree. Regardless, analyzing the available data to this granular of a level was just simply something I wanted to do in my free time and I was curious to see what results I would get from my endeavor. All things considered, I think I think the estimations I came up with are perfectly reasonable, and fit rather well with what has previously been stated, both in and out of the text.

I think for Year 1 of  your chart, you should include Guts' travels as the Black Swordsman (encountering the God Hand, defeating the female apostle, snake apostle and the Count, etc).
I agree, though since the events of Volumes 1-3 could have occurred anytime during Year 1, I didn't include them (I was largely including events that had explicitly stated and/or inferable specific dates in the chart).

While I agree with your assessment in terms of Miura probably not caring that much about keeping a regular calendar of events, I have to say, I've never heard or seen any inconsistencies. What are they...?
Well I go into them in my full analysis post, but as I stated in my previous reply to Aazealh one of them was this:
Quote from: Theozilla
Episode 311 perhaps contains one of Miura’s most blatant and confounding timeline contradictions/inconsistencies, which is where Roderick states that’s their previous encounter with Captain Bonebeard and his pirate crew (before they had been turned into Sea God tentacle-whiskers) occurred “just a few days ago”. This is impossible, regardless of whether Miura meant to meant to draw a waning crescent moon instead of a waxing crescent moon in Episode 290 (which makes the difference between the last encounter having been ⅝ of a month ago or 1⅜ months ago), as the Seahorse’s previous encounter with the pirates had to have occurred before the new moon (i.e. the night before the Blast of the Astral World occurred) which is more than half a month prior either way. So Roderick’s statement just doesn’t add up any way you look at it. So IMO the solution is to either ignore the veracity of the statement, assume Roderick’s usage of the term “just a few days ago” applies to spans of multiple weeks, and/or assume that the Seahorse had some second “off-screen” encounter with the pirates after the Blast of the Astral World.


There's no reason to assume it was the same night. It could be any length of time.
I agree, that's why I said depending on whether or not it's supposed to be the same night, I also personally don't think it is supposed be either. Though I don't think it could have been any length of time (since if the split narratives are supposed to be congruent with each other prior to Guts and co.'s arrival on Skellig island, I don't think Rickert's escape it could have more than a month or two since the night of the Sea God's death, as Roderick's ship has to be limited in the amount of supplies it had when it left Vritannis (and how much it can restock along the way)).

Why Volume 23? The Kushan invasion began in Volume 17. Anyway, 1-2 years or so is consistent with Miura's reply to us in 2009, which added 1-2 years on top of the previously stated 2 years since the Eclipse, making Guts 22-23 instead of 21. Anyway, that only brings us to Volume 34 (time of publication of interview). More time could have passed since then.
Because (as I again stated in my previous reply to Aazealh) it's the only point in the manga where the passage of time is ambiguous enough for it to fit. As the amount of time that has passed since the beginning of Volume 24, based on numerous character statements and keeping track of the lunar phases/cycle, can at most be about several months. Also, I know this is being pedantic but Miura's reply (http://www.skullknight.net/forum/index.php?topic=9513.msg166308#msg166308) said it was 3-4 years since the end of the Golden Age Arc (not the Eclipse), which occurs at least a month or two after the Eclipse. And as I explained in my analysis, Guts was likely almost, if not already, 20 years old by the end of the Golden Age Arc. And since the Lost Children Chapter was explicitly stated to have taken place during autumn, that would mean Guts was likely at least 22 years old by then. So taking Miura's reply into account, plus the statements from Mule and Owen from Volumes 29 and 32, Guts had to have been already about 24 years (and a few months) old by Volume 34. But I as explained in my analysis only a few additional months could have passed since then (Volume 34), meaning at minimum-to-maximum, Guts would be 24 years and several months old (specifically 7-11 months old).

That's not what he says (it's "a few days later"), and his name isn't "Bonebeard". You should read proper translations before you go and accuse the author of being inconsistent with your approximate extrapolations of what's what in the series. Also, more generally, maybe don't assume expressions in another language always equate perfectly to something in English.
I was quoting the official Dark Horse translation (which I have bought all 37 volumes of)  for both that line and the name (this site's translation for the pirate boss' "name", "the Bearded Skeleton" isn't that different IMO), and I think it's fair in general to consider the official Dark Horse English volumes a "proper translation". Also in regards to puella's translation of that line, I'm pretty sure it still basically means the same thing as the Dark Horse version:
Roderick: By the way, why were they on a ghost ship? They were real pirates before that.
Roderick: But they caught up with us accompanied with monsters just a few days later
That it was "just a few days later" since their (the Searhorse and crew) previous encounter with the pirates when they were normal. And as I said in my full analysis, one of the ways one could rationalize this dialogue is to not take it too literally and assume that perhaps Roderick's expression can apply to spans of multiple weeks.

See Walter's post. When we got Miura's reply to our letter, it was perfectly consistent with what we had estimated until then. For all your analysis, seems you're kinda missing the big picture.
I'm not discounting Miura's letter, I'm just using it in conjunction with other in-text statements, which state that the Kushans had been occupying Midland for years "plural". But the only part of the manga where the majority of that time can pass is during Volume 23 (and I explain why it can't be applied/fit into Volumes 17-22 and Volumes 24-34 in my full analysis).

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2016, 06:48:15 AM »
I was quoting the official Dark Horse translation (which I have bought all 37 volumes of)  for both that line and the name (this site's translation for the pirate boss' "name", "the Bearded Skeleton" isn't that different IMO), and I think it's fair in general to consider the official Dark Horse English volumes a "proper translation". Also in regards to puella's translation of that line, I'm pretty sure it still basically means the same thing as the Dark Horse version:  That it was "just a few days later" since their (the Searhorse and crew) previous encounter with the pirates when they were normal.

If "Bonebeard" and "Bearded Skeleton" aren't all that different in your opinion, then your opinion is highly questionable. Also, my take on Dark Horse's work is well known, but that's another topic. Anyway, I fail to see how the line implies any inconsistency. Roderick says they encountered the pirates and wrecked their ship (and sunk two of them), but that they'd somehow caught up with them mere days afterwards. This is consistent with what happens in the story. The pirates are defeated in episode 290, and they show up again in episode 308. The events that happen in-between (showing Ganishka's final stand against Griffith) occur over a single day. And it just so happens that we actually see the same moon crescent in episode 290 and 291. Then some time elapses between the moment Roderick and his first mate decide to stop at the Solitary Island and the moment they reach it (within episode 311). They weren't in sight of the island when they fought the pirates a second time, and it's reasonable to assume it took them a couple of weeks of travel to get there. I don't see what the problem is here.

I'm not discounting Miura's letter, I'm just using it in conjunction with other in-text statements, which state that the Kushans had been occupying Midland for years "plural". But the only part of the manga where the majority of that time can pass is during Volume 23 (and I explain why it can't be applied/fit into Volumes 17-22 and Volumes 24-34 in my full analysis).

I'm not going to read your "full analysis", sorry. I don't have the time. But I'm really quite sure you've come to the wrong conclusion if you think two full years mysteriously elapsed during volume 23, without it ever being acknowledged in the story. So far, reading your explanations in this thread, it looks to me like a typical case of someone overthinking minor details and pulling far-fetched calculations while missing obvious clues in the story.

Offline Theozilla

Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2016, 05:29:31 PM »
Anyway, I fail to see how the line implies any inconsistency. Roderick says they encountered the pirates and wrecked their ship (and sunk two of them), but that they'd somehow caught up with them mere days afterwards. This is consistent with what happens in the story. The pirates are defeated in episode 290, and they show up again in episode 308. The events that happen in-between (showing Ganishka's final stand against Griffith) occur over a single day. And it just so happens that we actually see the same moon crescent in episode 290 and 291. Then some time elapses between the moment Roderick and his first mate decide to stop at the Solitary Island and the moment they reach it (within episode 311). They weren't in sight of the island when they fought the pirates a second time, and it's reasonable to assume it took them a couple of weeks of travel to get there. I don't see what the problem is here.
If I understand you correctly, you're saying that the transition panels after Roderick's dialogue with his vice-captain on page 07 of Episode 311:
Page 07

Roderick: Vice-captain, I think there's an island nearby, right?
Vice-captain: Yes, you're right.
Vice-captain: There's a small island with only one desolate harbor.
Roderick: We have no choice but to anchor there to check and repair our ship.
...are meant to imply a travel time of a couple weeks passed from the Seahorse's fight with the newly "tentacle-fied" pirate to their arrival on the island of the Sea God?
Okay then, even if I were to agree that the pre-daybreak battle with the pirates depicted over the course of Episodes 308-311, is meant to occur only a couple days after the Blast of the Astral World, in order for Roderick's line to not be inconsistent that still requires one to then rationalize that the waxing crescent moon Miura drew on the last page of Episode 290 was an accident, and that Miura had actually intended to draw a waning crescent moon (since in the former case ⅞ of a month would have to pass just to get to the new moon that occurred the night before the Blast of the Astral World, while the latter case would still fit with Roderick's statement). That's an example of what I meant that there are occasional inconsistencies (another inconsistency example that's even more evident, is despite both Episode 264 and 261 taking place during the same night, the 15th page of Episode 261 depicts a waxing crescent moon in the night sky, while the 15th page of Episode 264 depicts a full moon).


I'm not going to read your "full analysis", sorry. I don't have the time. But I'm really quite sure you've come to the wrong conclusion if you think two full years mysteriously elapsed during volume 23, without it ever being acknowledged in the story. So far, reading your explanations in this thread, it looks to me like a typical case of someone overthinking minor details and pulling far-fetched calculations while missing obvious clues in the story.
Fine, if you don't have the time to read my full analysis post, then I'll explain in detail here why the approximately two years span of time the Kushans occupied Midland for, only could have passed over the course of Volume 23, using the relevant paragraphs from my full analysis post:
Quote from: Theozilla
The next point in the manga that indicated the passage of time was be the “Winter Journey” Episodes 187 and 188 at the beginning of Volume 23. So based on the names of said Episodes (and depiction of the weather/environment in them) we can assuredly say that this part of the manga took place during the winter (presumably the same winter that the Birth Ceremony Chapter occurred during, as there is no evidence to assume otherwise). Though thanks to the first page of Episode 188, depicting a full moon we do know at least 1 month has to have passed since Griffith’s incarnation (which also occurred during a full moon) at the end of the Conviction Arc, meaning we’re well into at least the middle of winter by said Episode.

Now it’s after Episode 188 when things start to get a little tricky to determine the passage and/or Miura’s timeline inconsistencies start getting noticeable. To explain how much time passes from between the end of Episode 188 to Episode 199 (or perhaps more accurately to the 17th page of Episode 196), I’m going to have to jump around for a bit and reference some Episodes from later Volumes. Remember how earlier ago I said Episode 127 marked an important date/event in the Berserk timeline since it depicted when the Kushan Empire invaded Midland (and we were also able to establish that said event likely took place during the middle-to-end of Autumn)? Well this is where that event gets important in determining the rest of the Berserk timeline and how it’s arranged.

Basically the Kushan Empire invaded Midland during the same year that Guts was forced to finish his wanderings as the Black Swordsman (which we determined was more accurately 2 years and a few month) and the Conviction Arc events occurred, let’s designate this calendar year “Year 2″, with “Year 0″ referring to the calendar year that The Eclipse and Griffith’s transformation into Femto took place in (which we have previously estimated likely occurred during the late spring-to-early summer). And thanks to two separate explicitly stated lines of dialogues from two separate characters in the manga (specifically from Volume 29 and Volume 32) and Kentaro Miura’s letter to Skullknight.net (that was sent in March of 2009 and answered in April of 2009, the most recent Episode released then would have been Episode 301) we know definitively that the Kushan invasion/occupation of Midland (and later Holy See territories/countries) lasted “years” plural (so based on Miura’s answer let’s say 2 years). The two lines of dialogue in the manga supporting this estimation of time came from the characters: Mule Wolflame, in the Episode “Homing” (originally published in Young Animal as Episode 258, but when collected in Volume 29 was arranged as if it were Episodes 250, again for narrative purposes I assume), where he lectures Sonia to empathize with Princess Charlotte exclaiming, “How tormented must she have been…by loneliness and anxiety, alone for years amongst the enemy?” (and just for thoroughness this site's version of that line translated by Mizar was "For many years she's been all alone surrounded by the enemy, do you know how much she was tormented by feelings of loneliness and anxiety?") and Sir Owen, in Episode 285, where he chastises the other former Midland nobles, “Whatever excuses we may offer…the truth is that we have spent these years away from our own land, hiding ourselves in various countries.”  (and for even more thoroughness this site's version of that line translated by puella was "Even though you made all these excuses...We can’t deny the fact that for the past few years we've disguised ourselves as if we were from another country while leaving our own behind."). Furthermore, since the events of both of those episodes occur within a few-to-several days of each other and likely take place during the very beginning of spring (which I’ll explain later in the analysis), said Episodes also have to take place in “Year 5″ of our calendar, 2 years and 4-5 months after the Kushan invasion of Midland.

So how does this relate back to how much time passes from between the end of Episode 188 to Episode 199 (or perhaps more accurately to the 17th page of Episode 196) and why does it make Kentaro Miura’s depiction of the passage of time seem inconsistent/wonky? Well that’s because those 2+ years of time passage during the Kushan occupation/invasion have to take place over the course of those 8-11 Episodes, a lot of it having to occur “off-screen” and/or literally between the pages of some of the Episodes with very little explicit indication by the narrative. And the reason why said span of Episodes is the only place the 2+ years of Kushan occupation can take place is because the events that take place during Enoch Village (during Volumes 24-27), which are explicitly stated to take place during the winter (meaning the winter of “Years 4-5″ of our calendar), can at most occur 2-3 months before the events of Volumes 29-32.
Addendum: And we can determine the specific dates of when the events of Volumes 24-27 took place since it was stated in Episode 236 that it had been close to a month since the party's escape from Flora's mansion and Guts needed downtime to heal. And then after the fight with the crocodile pishaca, at most 1-2 months could have passed from then to Guts and co.'s departure from Vritannis in Episode 278, based on the fact that Guts was still suffering from his not fully healed wounds (from his various  fights in Volumes 26-28) while in Vritannis and as stated by Serpico in the Episode "Mother", it was still early spring then.
Basically, as I showed visually with my calendar-table in my first post of this thread, as we all agree that the Kushan invaded in Volume 17 (which as stated in the text occurred almost 1½ months before Guts' departure to the Tower of Conviction), and the events of the Brith Ceremony Chapter in Volumes 17-21 take place over the course of about several days. And then the events of Volume 22 (and technically also the first two Episodes of Volume 23) take place during the same winter as the winter of the Brith Ceremony Chapter. So I think that shows how Volumes 17-22 can't depict/contain more than the passage of a few months (at most a month or two less than half-a-year). And I also explained why the events of Volumes 24-27 can at most take place a few months before the departure of Guts' party on the Seahorse in Episode 278 (which we also know based on Mule and Owen's statements had to be "years" plural after the Kushan's invasion of Midland, meaning the winter depicted in Volumes 24-27 can't be the same winter as the one from the Birth Ceremony Chapter). So by process of elimination, that is why I can say Volume 23 is the only part of the manga where the nearly 2 years of Kushan occupation can elapse, and thankfully the passage of time during the Volume 23 Episodes is ambiguous enough to that to fit.

Online Walter

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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2016, 05:39:34 PM »
It's truly a monumental effort you've undertaken -- one I've certainly never done. But I think instead of writing 22 pages (which I just discovered, btw), it may be more helpful for people to understand things if you listed the explicit times that time advanced, and what scene was associated with it as a form of reference (a month since X, says Schierke; a year since X, says narrator). I also don't think there's much value in assigning events to individual months. Laying them out in sequence makes sense, but assigning them arbitrary months makes the data look more complicated and nonauthoritative than it needs to be. But maybe you've already considered that and landed on this format anyway?

Miura probably has the elements of time in his head, how old characters should be, how much time has passed since X, etc., but those things aren’t always going to line up when you start counting leaves and individual moon cycles. Blatant inconsistencies are problematic of course (though even after reading the exchange you had with Aazealh, I still don’t see anything like that), but no serial work should be expected to able to reproduce that level of consistency with time, given how fluid such a concept is in fictional works -- particularly a serial. I'll say it again, the passage of time in fiction is not an atomic clock, and shouldn't be treated as such. It is a fluid buffer for events that allows them to develop before the next event.

When Miura writes that Charlotte is 17, he’s not saying that so people will go back and start counting the times they saw the moon since the last time we heard her age. He says she’s 17 because he wants the character to have aged a distinct duration of time. Keeping track of that information, the part that has been dictated, is the only information of consequence when it comes to these things, and the only information that we can lean on with any sense of authority.

Regarding the Volume 23 thing, I've read your portion for this, and I still don't agree. The passage of time could have been interspersed across a number of periods between Vols 22-23, during which no explicit time duration is given. You could say it's "the same winter" but we don't know. The sum of the following periods could encompass 1 month or 1 year of travels, bringing us back to the same winter, another winter or the following spring:

* Between Guts and Casca traveling from Albion to Godot's place

* Between Griffith departing the Hill of Swords to invading Shet

(It was likely several months, given that Miura was still intent on joining the Dreamcast game's story to Berserk's story, and this is when the game would have occurred, according to a Miura comment in YA.)

* Between Shet and the time we pan back to Guts' storyline, where he's battling possessed snowmen.

* Between 195 and 196, when we pan back from Mule's perspective to Guts and his new party (in reality, this is a leap between Guts' perspective in 191 and his perspective in 196).

And that's just from focusing my attention on that portion of the series. There are probably many more time holes that could account for year(s) passing since the Kushans invaded the continent that all add up to 1+ years.

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“we also know based on Mule and Owen's statements had to be "years" plural after the Kushan's invasion of Midland

I'll have to check the Japanese volumes, and I can't because I'm at work, but in general, you should know that pluralities aren't usually defined in Japanese.

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Now this creates an inconsistency since based on our earlier analysis, at this point in the timeline, Griffith’s arrest (which would have taken place during the end of winter/beginning of spring during “Year -1″ of our calendar), would have taken place about 4 years (if not a few months more if this takes place during autumn) ago not 3. Even if we were to say the events of Episodes 191-195 were still taking place during the middle of winter, it would only take a couple months off (meaning the most recent Griffith’s arrest could have taken place would be 3⅚ years ago, and it’s hard to rationalize why one wouldn’t round up to 4 in that case).

Dude... This is seriously overboard. Mule says 3 years, but you're calling foul because it could have been 3 years and a few months? This is a good example of what Aazealh was saying earlier: You're leaning too heavily on the details and not seeing the full picture Miura is painting. When the number of moons or leaves don't add up to 4 years, and Miura says otherwise, guess which one we're supposed to be paying attention to?

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IMO the best way to rationalize/deal with this inconsistency/contradiction is either assume Miura wasn’t keeping pedantically close track of his manga series chronology

Yeah perhaps it's not necessary to chastise him over that negligible 6 months!  :ganishka:
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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2016, 06:07:44 PM »
If I understand you correctly, you're saying that the transition panels after Roderick's dialogue with his vice-captain on page 07 of Episode 311: ...are meant to imply a travel time of a couple weeks passed from the Seahorse's fight with the newly "tentacle-fied" pirate to their arrival on the island of the Sea God?

It implies time passes. Could be two hours, two weeks, two months, two centuries.

in order for Roderick's line to not be inconsistent that still requires one to then rationalize that the waxing crescent moon Miura drew on the last page of Episode 290 was an accident, and that Miura had actually intended to draw a waning crescent moon (since in the former case ⅞ of a month would have to pass just to get to the new moon that occurred the night before the Blast of the Astral World, while the latter case would still fit with Roderick's statement).

First off, see above. That's how foolish the kind of deducing you're doing is. I said two weeks because you'd said as much, but it could be any length of time. Beyond that, you're pretending you've got a rigorous system in place while you're really just guessing your way through things, and changing what weight you give to what factor arbitrarily. Second, why do you keep talking about a new moon in the night before the Blast of the Astral World? Because Elise says it'll be "a night when the moon can't be seen"? Because... like... what about fucking clouds? You can't be serious. Episode 291 shows a crescent moon, like I've already told you. Do you seriously expect that Miura would miss such a thing? This is an example of misinterpreting a story element to an extent where it completely skews everything else.

Fine, if you don't have the time to read my full analysis post, then I'll explain in detail here why the approximately two years span of time the Kushans occupied Midland for, only could have passed over the course of Volume 23, using the relevant paragraphs from my full analysis post

See Walter's post. I don't have time to get into the nitty gritty right now, and to no one's surprise I agree with him on this. I'd also like to point out that weather and seasons aren't nearly as clean-cut as you make them out to be, especially for people in different parts of the world. Altitude, among other things, can make a big difference.

Dude... This is seriously overboard. Mule says 3 years, but you're calling foul because it could have been 3 years and a few months? This is a good example of what Aazealh was saying earlier: You're leaning too heavily on the details and not seeing the full picture Miura is painting.

Yep. No one ever says "I'm 25 years and 9 months old". No one says "3 years and 4 months later". Overthinking these things leads nowhere fast.

I think instead of writing 22 pages (which I just discovered, btw), it may be more helpful for people to understand things if you listed the explicit times that time advanced, and what scene was associated with it as a form of reference (a month since X, says Schierke; a year since X, says narrator). I also don't think there's much value in assigning events to individual months. Laying them out in sequence makes sense, but assigning them arbitrary months makes the data look more complicated and nonauthoritative than it needs to be.

100% agreed. That would actually be much more useful and valuable. If you could provide such a listing, Theozilla, it'd be a much better use of your time. And I bet you it'd be used as a reference for years to come.

Offline Theozilla

Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2016, 10:22:01 PM »
It's truly a monumental effort you've undertaken -- one I've certainly never done. But I think instead of writing 22 pages (which I just discovered, btw), it may be more helpful for people to understand things if you listed the explicit times that time advanced, and what scene was associated with it as a form of reference (a month since X, says Schierke; a year since X, says narrator). I also don't think there's much value in assigning events to individual months. Laying them out in sequence makes sense, but assigning them arbitrary months makes the data look more complicated and nonauthoritative than it needs to be. But maybe you've already considered that and landed on this format anyway?
100% agreed. That would actually be much more useful and valuable. If you could provide such a listing, Theozilla, it'd be a much better use of your time. And I bet you it'd be used as a reference for years to come.
Well...what you're describing is kinda what already constituted my original tumblr post in a sense (that I linked to in my first post). I listed and discussed and linked/referenced (which is why I didn't copy-past it in its original format because I know linking to scans is against forum rules) every explicitly stated (as well as stuff I felt was implicitly stated/inferable) passage of time. It just ended up getting really long regardless. And I actually don't assign any specific month to a date in my original post either, I just listed the calendar months in the visual aide calendar-table graphic I created because I was splitting the year up into 12 months and was going with established precedence for calendar formatting (I made the graphic after I had finished writing my original post). The months December, January, and February could easily just have been labelled "Winter Month 1", "Winter Month 2", and "Winter Month 3", and so on with the other months, and it would have served the same purpose I was using them for.

Miura probably has the elements of time in his head, how old characters should be, how much time has passed since X, etc., but those things aren’t always going to line up when you start counting leaves and individual moon cycles. Blatant inconsistencies are problematic of course (though even after reading the exchange you had with Aazealh, I still don’t see anything like that), but no serial work should be expected to able to reproduce that level of consistency with time, given how fluid such a concept is in fictional works -- particularly a serial. I'll say it again, the passage of time in fiction is not an atomic clock, and shouldn't be treated as such. It is a fluid buffer for events that allows them to develop before the next event.

When Miura writes that Charlotte is 17, he’s not saying that so people will go back and start counting the times they saw the moon since the last time we heard her age. He says she’s 17 because he wants the character to have aged a distinct duration of time. Keeping track of that information, the part that has been dictated, is the only information of consequence when it comes to these things, and the only information that we can lean on with any sense of authority.
I completely agree, the passage of time in fiction is certainly not an atomic clock and shouldn't be expected to. And the level of pedantic detail I was utilizing to analyze the passage of time isn't very important (if at all) to appreciating the overall general passage of time and the big picture and appreciation of characters' growth in the narrative. But the very point of my original post wasn't to discuss the big picture ideas of the progression of time in the series, the point was to be as pedantic/detailed oriented as possible to see how precise of a guestimate I could calculate. I was basically trying to do the nerd-level equivalent of someone who wanted to piece together/arrange in a in-universe chronological order all of the various Star Wars Expanded Universe comics that took place between say Episodes IV and V. Any information beyond knowing that Episode V takes place three years after Episode IV isn't very important, but going into this level of unnecessary detail is just some fun fannish activity to do.
(and while not super important to narrative progression, I don't see how the crescent moon/full moon differences that I mentioned with in Episode 264 and 261, which take place on the same night, is not an example of a blatant (albeit relatively unimportant) inconsistency. Which again, is not meant to be taken as a sleight against Miura's storytelling ability).

I'll have to check the Japanese volumes, and I can't because I'm at work, but in general, you should know that pluralities aren't usually defined in Japanese.
Okay, but since both Dark Horse and skullknight.net translated the aforementioned lines with "years", I hope it's understandable why one would assume the plural translation was accurate/significant.

See Walter's post. I don't have time to get into the nitty gritty right now, and to no one's surprise I agree with him on this. I'd also like to point out that weather and seasons aren't nearly as clean-cut as you make them out to be, especially for people in different parts of the world. Altitude, among other things, can make a big difference.
Regarding the Volume 23 thing, I've read your portion for this, and I still don't agree. The passage of time could have been interspersed across a number of periods between Vols 22-23, during which no explicit time duration is given. You could say it's "the same winter" but we don't know. The sum of the following periods could encompass 1 month or 1 year of travels, bringing us back to the same winter, another winter or the following spring:
Well, even if you feel that parts of Volume 22 (I'll explain why I personally don't think Volume 22 fits that well) could be included among the ~1-2 years of time passed between the very start of the Millennium Falcon Arc to the Episodes where Guts and co. first encounter the trolls in the mountains/forests around Enoch Village, it seems we're a least both in agreement that the aforementioned span of Episodes is the main place where the majority of the ~1-2 years passage of time can occur.

* Between Guts and Casca traveling from Albion to Godot's place
But since Rickert stated in Episode 131 that the travel time between Godot's place and Albion was about 3 days, even with Casca's condition slowing Guts down, why should we assume it took more than a few to several days at most to return to Godot's place?
* Between Griffith departing the Hill of Swords to invading Shet

(It was likely several months, given that Miura was still intent on joining the Dreamcast game's story to Berserk's story, and this is when the game would have occurred, according to a Miura comment in YA.)

* Between Shet and the time we pan back to Guts' storyline, where he's battling possessed snowmen.
I suppose it's possible that several months could have passed over the course of the Episodes "Fierce Kushan Attack", "War Cry of the Wind (1)", and "War Cry of the Wind (2)" to the time we pan back to Guts' storyline in Episode 187 (with the snowmen), but wouldn't the fact that Miura chose to rearrange the two "Of Snow and Flames" Episodes (in which Serpico states at the end that it is the third winter (i.e. 3 years) since he and Farnese burned his mother, which matches up with Serpico's similar statements during the Birth Ceremony Chapter, meaning the "Of Snow and Flames" Episodes take place during the same winter Birth Ceremony Chapter occurred in) to be at the end of Volume 22 after the Episodes set in Shet, imply that the Shet Episodes should chronologically take place before the "Of Snow and Flames" Episodes? (which would then mean the latter 5 episodes of Volume 22 all would take place during the same winter that the Birth Ceremony Chapter took place in)
And while yes, the two "Winter Journey" Episodes 187-188, could technically take place during another winter than the one that the Birth Ceremony Chapter took place at the beginning of, I don't really see any compelling reason for why narratively we shouldn't assume that said Episodes depict Guts' first winter travels with Casca (as opposed to the second winter he's traveled with her).

* Between 195 and 196, when we pan back from Mule's perspective to Guts and his new party (in reality, this is a leap between Guts' perspective in 191 and his perspective in 196).

And that's just from focusing my attention on that portion of the series. There are probably many more time holes that could account for year(s) passing since the Kushans invaded the continent that all add up to 1+ years.
And yeah, these Episodes which are collected in Volume 23 are the ones I inferred where the majority of the 1-2 years would have to pass in. And as I already explained, I don't how there are any other holes of time after Volume 24 that could account for year(s) passing since the Kushans invaded the continent.

 
Dude... This is seriously overboard. Mule says 3 years, but you're calling foul because it could have been 3 years and a few months? This is a good example of what Aazealh was saying earlier: You're leaning too heavily on the details and not seeing the full picture Miura is painting. When the number of moons or leaves don't add up to 4 years, and Miura says otherwise, guess which one we're supposed to be paying attention to?
Yep. No one ever says "I'm 25 years and 9 months old". No one says "3 years and 4 months later". Overthinking these things leads nowhere fast.
Yeah perhaps it's not necessary to chastise him over that negligible 6 months!  :ganishka:
Well as I explained above, going that "overboard" in detail was kinda the point of my original post. And 3⅚ years ago is not exactly 3 years and a few months, it's more like 3 years and several months (like 10-11). Most people I know would round 3⅚ years up to 4 years, not round it down to 3 years ago. That's why I counted it as an "inconsistency" (which I then tried to rationalize it as maybe the dialogue was meant to refer to when Griffith "died"/escaped from Midland and/or should have been 4 years instead of 3). And to reiterate I am not trying to "chastise " Miura for anything, if I haven't made it clear enough with my self-deprecation, I fully aware of how ridiculously detailed-oriented/pedantic my analysis is/was, but seeing how detailed-oriented I could get my analysis down to was part of my original goal.

It implies time passes. Could be two hours, two weeks, two months, two centuries.
Yes, but I think one can reasonably argue some of those passages of time are are more unlikely than others (which is what my analysis was primarily concerned with inferring)

Why do you keep talking about a new moon in the night before the Blast of the Astral World? Because Elise says it'll be "a night when the moon can't be seen"? Because... like... what about fucking clouds? You can't be serious.
Because right after Elise's line, Laban says this:
Raban: If the dream these kids had is one of those oracles, most of the citizens sleeping tonight are having the same one
Raban: Though they can't believe everything, they'll keep it in their mind if something happens during the night with the new moon
That's why I keep on referring to the night before the Blast of the Astral as evidently occurring during the night of a new moon.

Episode 291 shows a crescent moon, like I've already told you. Do you seriously expect that Miura would miss such a thing? This is an example of misinterpreting a story element to an extent where it completely skews everything else.
I know Episodes 290 and 291 show a crescent moon. But what I am trying to make clear is that the type of crescent moon Miura drew in those Episodes (where the "left" side is shadowed) indicate that it is a waxing crescent moon (which would mean ⅞ of a month would have to pass to get to the next new moon) which creates an inconsistency with Roderick's statement in Episode 311. However, if Miura had actually intended for the crescent moon in Episodes 290 and 291 to be a waning one (in which case the "right" side of the moon should be shadowed), which does fit with Roderick's line in Episode 311, we can just chalk it up to a art typo error (which again, I am not trying to "chastise" Miura for).
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 10:55:21 PM by Theozilla »

Online Walter

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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2016, 01:39:49 AM »
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Well...what you're describing is kinda what already constituted my original tumblr post in a sense (that I linked to in my first post). I listed and discussed and linked/referenced ... every explicitly stated (as well as stuff I felt was implicitly stated/inferable) passage of time. It just ended up getting really long regardless.

It's useful information, but it's not presented in an easily digestible fashion, and the chart doesn't list sources, so it requires us to double check every little thing. As it is, I'm probably one of the only people to bother reading  half of that massive report.

I take lots of notes about Berserk, too (you should see my podcast notes over the past four years, they're complete monsters...), but I don't publish them, because who would bother reading them? If you want the information to be useful to people, it should be condensed into something that can be understood at a glance. A list, a flow chart, whatever makes sense for the project. I'd recommend cutting back on the explanation and exposition and just isolate the instances when time passage or dates were explicitly stated in the manga. That would be an incredibly useful chart that could be backed up without all this back and forth.

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I actually don't assign any specific month to a date in my original post either, I just listed the calendar months in the visual aide calendar-table graphic I created because I was splitting the year up into 12 months and was going with established precedence for calendar formatting (I made the graphic after I had finished writing my original post). The months December, January, and February could easily just have been labelled "Winter Month 1", "Winter Month 2", and "Winter Month 3", and so on with the other months, and it would have served the same purpose I was using them for.

That was your intent, but it leaves the impression you are insisting that events happened within an exact time frame (when for the most part, no such time frame exists in the series), requiring  you to make arbitrary decisions about what happened when, which lowers the credibility of the thing. That's why I suggested removing them -- to simplify the data you're presenting, and remove any impression of trying to assign arbitrary time frames to it.

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(and while not super important to narrative progression, I don't see how the crescent moon/full moon differences that I mentioned with in Episode 264 and 261, which take place on the same night, is not an example of a blatant (albeit relatively unimportant) inconsistency. Which again, is not meant to be taken as a sleight against Miura's storytelling ability).

When you said there were inconsistencies within Miura's work, my ears perked up. I was interested. What could it be, what might it imply? But then I examined what you were actually digging your fingers into, and I was completely deflated.

You're referring to the full moon as seen in the not-entirely-sane pontiff's God-Hand-influenced waking dream, right? The one where the feathers fill the room as soon as Mule and Sonia burst into his tent? I think that was a dramatic and dream-like effect (for someone who has just been illuminated by a vision from a higher being). Because what you think of as an errant crescent moon was actually seen twice (once in 257 and once in 261). Between that consistency AND the context for the pontiff seeing the full moon (a dream), I'm inclined to go with the crescent being the real one. But really... what's actually at stake in this argument...?

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Okay, but since both Dark Horse and skullknight.net translated the aforementioned lines with "years", I hope it's understandable why one would assume the plural translation was accurate/significant.

It's totally understandable. But Dark Horse has been known to screw things up from time to time, and translations on SKnet during that period (pre-2006) weren't very reliable either. I was just noting it because so much of your suppositions hinged on those small lines. But as it turns out, they were right -- it's years.  (何年も).

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And to reiterate I am not trying to "chastise " Miura for anything, if I haven't made it clear enough with my self-deprecation, I fully aware of how ridiculously detailed-oriented/pedantic my analysis is/was, but seeing how detailed-oriented I could get my analysis down to was part of my original goal.

And it's our role as the reviewers of your data to say that sometimes you need to step back from your data and examine the bigger picture. When Mule said 3 years, that's what Miura intended. A range of 3~4 years isn't an "inconsistency" when we're dealing with a serialized fiction, as I've said a number of times now. As much as you've undertaken (and it's quite a project!) to accurately weigh the time that has passed, at the end of the day, I think you have to admit that it amounts to fuzzy math, trying to navigate on a cloudy night with no compass. And that's all we can expect when we're in this territory.

:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Theozilla

Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2016, 04:49:31 AM »
It's useful information, but it's not presented in an easily digestible fashion, and the chart doesn't list sources, so it requires us to double check every little thing. As it is, I'm probably one of the only people to bother reading half of that massive report.
Yeah, I can definitely see how it's not an easy undertaking to consume. But I actually really do appreciate that you took the time to read even half of the original post.

I take lots of notes about Berserk, too (you should see my podcast notes over the past four years, they're complete monsters...), but I don't publish them, because who would bother reading them? If you want the information to be useful to people, it should be condensed into something that can be understood at a glance. A list, a flow chart, whatever makes sense for the project. I'd recommend cutting back on the explanation and exposition and just isolate the instances when time passage or dates were explicitly stated in the manga. That would be an incredibly useful chart that could be backed up without all this back and forth.
I think maybe I will take you up on that advice and try to do that sometime in the future (though probably not the immediate future, I just finished one reread/skim through, I need to take a break before doing so again). 

That was your intent, but it leaves the impression you are insisting that events happened within an exact time frame (when for the most part, no such time frame exists in the series), requiring  you to make arbitrary decisions about what happened when, which lowers the credibility of the thing. That's why I suggested removing them -- to simplify the data you're presenting, and remove any impression of trying to assign arbitrary time frames to it.
Hmmm, well I definitely didn't mean for the visual to leave that impression, I mainly created it a visual aide (I originally wrote it out on lined paper) to help me keep my thoughts organized when writing the original post. It wasn't meant to be the main mode of conveying my analysis, it was more supposed to be an added bonus visual that I thought might be helpful for others to keep their thoughts sorted when reading the original (because as you said the original post is not very easily digestible). If I can make the time, I'll try to create a more simplified version of the chart visual.

When you said there were inconsistencies within Miura's work, my ears perked up. I was interested. What could it be, what might it imply? But then I examined what you were actually digging your fingers into, and I was completely deflated.

You're referring to the full moon as seen in the not-entirely-sane pontiff's God-Hand-influenced waking dream, right? The one where the feathers fill the room as soon as Mule and Sonia burst into his tent? I think that was a dramatic and dream-like effect (for someone who has just been illuminated by a vision from a higher being). Because what you think of as an errant crescent moon was actually seen twice (once in 257 and once in 261). Between that consistency AND the context for the pontiff seeing the full moon (a dream), I'm inclined to go with the crescent being the real one. But really... what's actually at stake in this argument...?
Huh, wow I did not realize that factoid (that the waxing crescent moon had also appeared in Episode 257 as well). I definitely agree then with you that the waxing crescent moon was likely the real one (I'll be sure make an addendum in my original tumblr post noting that change). As for what's "at stake"? nothing really, it's just an interesting detail/factoid that I think could be useful in enhancing one's understanding of the series timeline (in the small-detailed oriented sense).

It's totally understandable. But Dark Horse has been known to screw things up from time to time, and translations on SKnet during that period (pre-2006) weren't very reliable either. I was just noting it because so much of your suppositions hinged on those small lines. But as it turns out, they were right -- it's years.  (何年も).
Good know that both the Dark Horse and older SKnet translations were accurate in that regard.

And it's our role as the reviewers of your data to say that sometimes you need to step back from your data and examine the bigger picture. When Mule said 3 years, that's what Miura intended. A range of 3~4 years isn't an "inconsistency" when we're dealing with a serialized fiction, as I've said a number of times now. As much as you've undertaken (and it's quite a project!) to accurately weigh the time that has passed, at the end of the day, I think you have to admit that it amounts to fuzzy math, trying to navigate on a cloudy night with no compass. And that's all we can expect when we're in this territory.
Sure, I wouldn't disagree that it amounts to not much more than fuzzy math, but I think overall it can still produce some interesting insights. And the "fuzzy math" element was basically kinda part of the fun of doing the endeavor in a fannish sense.

Online Walter

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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2016, 02:17:19 PM »
I think maybe I will take you up on that advice and try to do that sometime in the future (though probably not the immediate future, I just finished one reread/skim through, I need to take a break before doing so again). 

It took me an hour, using your notes as a guide, to find the right episodes. I took screengrabs of each instance for validation, but because they are scans, I won't be sharing them online.

Every confirmed instance of time passing in Berserk:

Golden Age 1(a): Narrator: 3 years pass (Guts age: 3)
Golden Age 1(b): Narrator: 3 years pass (Guts assists in battle; age: 6)
Golden Age 1(c): Narrator: 3 years pass (Guts' first sortie; age: 9)
Golden Age 2: Narrator: 2 years pass (Guts age: 11)
Golden Age 3: Narrator: 4 years pass (Guts: 15)
Episode 1: Falcon member mentions: 3 years have passed (Guts: 18)
Episode 33: Narrator: 1 month passes between the Queen of Midland’s funeral and Guts leaving the Falcons.
Episode 37: Charlotte: 6 months pass since the Falcons deployed in campaign that ended with the capture of Doldrey
Episode 41: Tournament master: 1 year passed since Falcons became outlaws (Guts: 19+)
Episode 42: [Redundant] Casca: Griffith has been tortured for 1 year
Episode 49: Narrator: 3 days pass as Falcons travel to Wyndham
Episode 67: Casca: 1 day passes between Wyald's death and Falcons reaching Midland's border.
Episode 89: Rickert: Guts recuperated for 4 days in Godot's cave
Episode 93: Guts: 1+ month passes with he and Casca in the cave (Guts: 19~20)
Episode 95: Narrator: 2 years pass (Guts: 21~22)

[Unknown amount of time passes between Binding Chain and Birth Ceremony] ¹

Episode 131(a): Rickert: Albion is 3 days travel away from Godot's home
Episode 131(b): [Occurs 1 month prior] Azan: Kushans invaded Midland several days ago (the baseline for Mule's men's comment in 191; Owen's comment in 258)

[Unknown amount of time passes between Femto's incarnation, his arrival in Shet, and assembling an army]²

Episode 188: Guts fights through the winter. Between 1-3 months (or 1+ year) since Femto's incarnation (first full moon we've seen since last full moon, and it's still winter)
Episode 191: Mule's men: 3 years have passed since Griffith was imprisoned (seems like a lowball estimate, given that it was 3 years ago at the start of Conviction, but that's indeed what he says)

[Unknown amount of time passes between Farnese+Serpico+Isidro joining Guts and their encountering of Trolls]³

Episode 203: Serpico: Comments on it being winter then [See Ep 253 for significance].
Episode 236: Guts: ~1 month since battle at Flora's mansion
Episode 238: Boy appears during full moon
Episode 253: Serpico: It is already spring in Vritannis.
Episode 257: Waxing crescent moon (~3 weeks since they were at the beach)
Episode 285: Owen: Years have passed since the Kushans invaded, adding 2+ years to previous estimation (Guts: 23~24) Note: where did this time occur?⁴
Episode 295: New Moon (>4 weeks since full moon)
Episode 316: Next sighting of a full moon, meaning ~2 months have passed since they departed Vritannis
Episode 333: Rickert: “it's early spring” upon arriving in Falconia.

[Unknown amount of time passes on final leg of voyage]

Conclusion
There are several missing time blocks, requiring some serious "fuzzy math" to make any solid conclusion here about the character ages. The largest time gap occurs sometime between Volume 22-24 (I've enumerated where these could be). What I can't get over is the time distance between Femto's incarnation and, say, when he meets with Mule in Episode 195. Could be 3-6 months, or it could be more than a year. The most recent solid relative time distance that's established is by Mule's men in Episode 191 (3 years since Griffith was imprisoned), which isn't different from what we had already thought and is established  by the Narrator at the start of the Conviction Arc. But there many are other gaps after that, namely between that point and Vritannis (Owen establishes "years" since the Kushans invaded. I do expect Miura to eventually weigh in with something like: It's been 1 year since we left the continent, but it's as if 7 years have passed!

Notes on Time Unaccounted for:
¹: (3-5 months) Guts wanders for an indistinct amount of time after leaving Farnese at the end of Binding Chain, before he heads for Godot's place and subsequently sets off for Albion. Puck comments on the gloomy villages they've visited, establishing that some time is passing. We see Midland being invaded. Farnese has time to return to the Holy See Capital for debriefing and be sent out on a mission.

²: (~Months) Griffith's arrival on the Hill of Swords isn't long after his incarnation. A few days at most, given Rickert's previous estimate. But afterward, we see Griffith in Shet with a small apostle army, and after that, with a large regular army. How much time passed? This time is also occupied by Guts and his travels alone with Casca and Puck. This is also the time that the Dreamcast game takes place in, if you want to consider it.

³: (~Months) It can't be very long since Farnese and the others join Guts, because the group dynamics haven't evolved very much. Not long after this, they encounter trolls, which begins the series of events that lands them at Vritannis beach.

⁴: Owen's comment of "years" means that it's been at least 2 years since the Kushans invaded Midland in Volume 17. Add up all the previous "unknown amount of time passes" and apparently you get 2 years.

⁵: We last see the group in the ocean being led by the merrows, at that time it had been ~2 months since they left Vritannis. But the time distance between that and their arrival on Skellig cannot known.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2016, 06:51:42 PM »
Well...what you're describing is kinda what already constituted my original tumblr post in a sense (that I linked to in my first post). I listed and discussed and linked/referenced (which is why I didn't copy-past it in its original format because I know linking to scans is against forum rules) every explicitly stated (as well as stuff I felt was implicitly stated/inferable) passage of time.

Just to be clear, it's not like linking to a page that links to scans is allowed. You can't just game the system like that.
Also, the point is to get the references without the commentary and with minimal guessing, like what Walter has just done.
The least subjective it is, the better. That's not a knock against you personally, it's just that the more one overthinks it, the less useful and pertinent it becomes.
Which is in part because, as it's been said, trivial details aren't meant to be used as consistent indications of the passage of time.

Yes, but I think one can reasonably argue some of those passages of time are are more unlikely than others (which is what my analysis was primarily concerned with inferring)

You can argue that it's not been two millennia, sure. But taken just by itself, there's nothing making 3 days more likely than 3 weeks. All we know is that some time has passed. And that's also the case for many other occurrences. Telling you this is the only reason I posted in the thread to begin with. Between two full moons shown on the page, there could have been 0 days, 29 days, or any amount of time afterwards. The indications that govern all the others are what's written on the page.

Because right after Elise's line, Laban says this: That's why I keep on referring to the night before the Blast of the Astral as evidently occurring during the night of a new moon.

Right, my bad. See, that's why I didn't want to comment on this in detail: I don't even have the time to check it properly.

Offline Theozilla

Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2016, 10:52:15 PM »
Just to be clear, it's not like linking to a page that links to scans is allowed. You can't just game the system like that.
Oh sorry about that. So just to be clear, should I edit out the link to my original tumblr post from my first post in this thread then?
 
Also, the point is to get the references without the commentary and with minimal guessing, like what Walter has just done.
The least subjective it is, the better. That's not a knock against you personally, it's just that the more one overthinks it, the less useful and pertinent it becomes.
Which is in part because, as it's been said, trivial details aren't meant to be used as consistent indications of the passage of time.
Okay, I’ll try to keep that in mind for any future suggestions/comments made that I think might be informative.

You can argue that it's not been two millennia, sure. But taken just by itself, there's nothing making 3 days more likely than 3 weeks. All we know is that some time has passed. And that's also the case for many other occurrences. Telling you this is the only reason I posted in the thread to begin with. Between two full moons shown on the page, there could have been 0 days, 29 days, or any amount of time afterwards. The indications that govern all the others are what's written on the page.
Yeah, taken just by itself it would be hard to determine whether 3 days is more likely than 3 weeks, but part of the challenge or “fun” IMO of trying to analyze the passage of time is to take such transitions into account with other statements/clues in the narrative to try to come up with reasonable guestimates (even if one ends up having more than one).

It took me an hour, using your notes as a guide, to find the right episodes. I took screengrabs of each instance for validation, but because they are scans, I won't be sharing them online.
Wow! That was a really awesome thing for you to do. And it’s very helpful in establishing a model for how to format the references in way that’s easy to read and useful.

I hope you don’t mind but I also have some additional suggestions of explicitly stated references to time passing and/or character ages, that I think could be useful to add to the reference list (as well as a couple of questions/comments of clarification for a few entries).

So the additional entries I think could also be useful would be:

Episode 8: Autumn Hunt occurs, safe to say it was currently autumn during this episode.
Episode 13: Queen of Midland: Charlotte is stated to be 16./The Falcons are deployed campaign that will end with the capture of Doldrey.
Episode 16: Casca: Casca met Griffith and joined the Falcons when she was 12.
Episode 33: Narrator: 1 month passes between the Queen of Midland’s funeral and Guts leaving the Falcons.
Episode 39: The King of Midland & Griffith: Charlotte is stated to be 17.
Episode 108: Puck: Lost Children Chapter takes place during autumn.
Episode 126: Laban: Over seven tenths of the Midland military have spent 2 years searching for Griffith.
Episode 127: Wyndham Citizens: It has been a few years since the Queen's assassination and Charlotte has not been outside the palace in the past 2 years.
Episode 129: Rickert & Erika: Haven’t had any word from Guts in 2 years/Puck: dialogue states that it is winter.
Episode 143: Holy Iron Chain Knight & Serpico: 3 years have passed since Farnese captured and burned the group of “heretics” in the holy city of the Holy See, which included Serpico’s mother.
Episode 152: [Redundant] Mozgus: Farnese’s “achievements” occurred 3 years ago.
Episode 177: Serpico: Is stated to be older than Farnese.
Episode 178: Serpico & Federico de Vandimion III: Farnese was 16 before she was sent to the monastery (and was soon assigned to lead the Holy Iron Chain Knights) and [Redundant] it’s the third winter since Serpico’s mother was burned. (therefore Farnese: 19+)
Episode 199: Morgan: Trolls first appeared and attacked Enoch Village on the first night of winter.
Episode 203: Serpico: Comments on it being winter then.
Episode 253: Serpico: It is already spring in Vritannis.
Episode 258: [Redundant] Mule: Charlotte was held amongst the enemy for “Years”. (therefore Charlotte: 22~23 and Farnese: 21+)

Episode 257: Waxing crescent moon (2 weeks since they were at the beach)
Episode 261: [Redundant] Waxing crescent moon (and just to clarify, it would be closer to almost 3 weeks (i.e. ⅝ of a month) since the beach battle with the crocodile pishaca and the single makara).

Episode 290-291: Waxing crescent moon (1 month since they departed Vritannis, or if Miura meant for it to be a waning crescent moon it would be ¾ of a month since they departed Vritannis)

Episodes 292-295: New Moon (actually just to clarify, either at least 1½ months or 2½ would have passed since the full moon of episodes 236-243, depending on the episodes 290-291 waxing/waning crescent moon interpretation)
Episode 295: New Moon (>4 weeks since full moon)

Episode 311: Roderick: The Seahorse’s previous encounter with the pirates is stated to have been “just a few days ago”/“just a few days later” (likely a couple of days since the new moon of episodes 292-295)

Episode 316: Next sighting of a full moon, meaning >1.5 months have passed since they departed Vritannis
⁵: We last see the group in the ocean being led by the merrows, at that time it had been ~2 months since they left Vritannis. But the time distance between that and their arrival on Skellig cannot known.
Actually at the time of the Seahorse’s departure from the Solitary Island (or what remained of it in episode 331) I think either 1⅜ months or 2⅜ months would have passed since it left Vritannis, and at least 2 or 3 months since the full moon of episodes 236-243 (depending on the episodes 290-291 waxing/waning crescent moon interpretation).

Episode 333: Rickert: States “it's early spring right now” when he arrives at Falconia.
Episode 341: Full moon the night of when Rickert and co. escape from Falconia
Episode 343: Guts: States “We're not even near the time of the harvest festival.”

Also for anyone curious, this is the image I use to calculate the lunar phase/month fractions
« Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 11:58:25 PM by Theozilla »

Online Walter

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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2016, 01:10:47 AM »
I hope you don’t mind but I also have some additional suggestions of explicitly stated references to time passing and/or character ages, that I think could be useful to add to the reference list (as well as a couple of questions/comments of clarification for a few entries).

I appreciate that, but I'm trying to keep this as digestible and concise as I can. And honestly, I don't think other characters' ages are particularly useful in determining the timeline of the series, which is what I was mostly focused on here, and why I skipped most of the ones you listed. I also tried to skip references that were redundant, only including them when they confirmed an otherwise offhand reference to time passage. And in general, I don't think the declaration of seasons is particularly informative for when things happen, except in the instances where we have no other bearing to rely on. Usually we get more descriptive time passage text that will trump the less relative ones. So I'll add the ones below in the main entry, except for:

Quote
Episode 129: Rickert & Erika: Haven’t had any word from Guts in 2 years/Puck: dialogue states that it is winter.

Hmm, do you mean the little song that Puck sings? I don't know if I'd count that one as definitive. I think he's just singing that because it's snowing, and given that Godot's place is on a mountain, I don't feel so confident about including it.

Quote
Episode 33: Narrator: 1 month passes between the Queen of Midland’s funeral and Guts leaving the Falcons.
Episode 203: Serpico: Comments on it being winter then.
Episode 253: Serpico: It is already spring in Vritannis.
Episode 333: Rickert: States “it's early spring right now” when he arrives at Falconia.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Theozilla

Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2016, 01:48:12 AM »
I appreciate that, but I'm trying to keep this as digestible and concise as I can. And honestly, I don't think other characters' ages are particularly useful in determining the timeline of the series, which is what I was mostly focused on here, and why I skipped most of the ones you listed. I also tried to skip references that were redundant, only including them when they confirmed an otherwise offhand reference to time passage. And in general, I don't think the declaration of seasons is particularly informative for when things happen, except in the instances where we have no other bearing to rely on. Usually we get more descriptive time passage text that will trump the less relative ones.
Okay then, I guess I didn't consider the importance of conciseness as much you did (since I thought it would be important to note redundancies and all declarations of seasons). And the reason why I also included references to character ages was because that was originally half of my initial goal when I was first writing my initial tumblr post.

So like out of curiosity, would you at least agree that of the most recent Episodes, Guts, Charlotte, and Farnese are about 24+, 22~23, and 21+ years respectively?

Hmm, do you mean the little song that Puck sings? I don't know if I'd count that one as definitive. I think he's just singing that because it's snowing, and given that Godot's place is on a mountain, I don't feel so confident about including it.
That's fair, I suppose.

Online Walter

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Re: Berserk Timeline and Character Age Analysis
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2016, 02:09:17 AM »
And the reason why I also included references to character ages was because that was originally half of my initial goal when I was first writing my initial tumblr post.

Then consider mine the diet version  :badbone:

Quote
So like out of curiosity, would you at least agree that of the most recent Episodes, Guts, Charlotte, and Farnese are about 24+, 22~23, and 21+ years respectively?
That's fair, I suppose.

I think Guts is about 24, but I honestly didn't focus on the other character ages.
:femto: :slan: :ubik: