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Speculation Nation / 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 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:

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.

At this point in the story while Guts' core companions are all aware of Guts' current objective and the basic nature of his and Casca's brands, most of them are still unaware of Guts' (and by extension Casca's) past during the Golden Age arc. IIRC the only member of the current party who could be considered as fully in the know of Guts' past is Puck (who learned about Guts' past with the Band of the Falcon from his couple of visits with Rickert and learned about the specific details of The Eclipse with Rickert when Guts told them off panel during episode 181) and then Schierke seems to have some partial/vague awareness of Guts' past due to her knowledge of Griffith's true nature and Flora informing her that Griffith was one who branded Guts (and Casca) in volume 24 and then later was exposed to fragments of memories of Guts' past with the Band of the Falcon and The Eclipse when she dove into his ego during volume 27. Everyone else I believe is currently basically unaware of Guts' (and Casca's) past.
However, due to narrative convention, it seems probable that Guts current party will eventually become informed of his and Casca's past eventually. However, since Guts still isn't the type to open up about his past (even when his companions were unknowingly discussing his history with the Band of the Falcon during Episode 244) it still seems up in the air exactly when or even who, will end up spilling the beans to the current party about Guts and Casca's past. Will it be when they reach Elfhelm? Before or after when Casca is (presumably) cured? Or even after that? Will Guts not be the one to volunteer the information? Could it be done second-handedly through Puck? Or maybe a cured Casca will be the one to tell their history?
Does anyone else have their own thoughts and/or ideas on this topic?

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