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Messages - willowhugger

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Manga Mausoleum / Re: Berserk the Manga Re-read Thread Vol. 3
« on: October 13, 2008, 03:57:45 AM »
Wow, we're having trouble coming up with comments on this one (Or we're all just insanely busy like I've been).

Personally, this finishes off one of my favorite plots in the Manga.  The entirety of the story works from pretty much top to bottom and comes off as utterly perfect.  What really works for me is that Guts doesn't actually win[/i] this battle.  In fact, I pretty much believe it was a stalemate.  Certainly, the Count was pretty much dead but Guts was on his last legs as well. 

Really, by the time he launches himself on the God Hand, he can barely stand and is getting by on sheer hatred alone.  It's nice to see the villains of the piece but I was honestly surprised that we saw them so early when they did show up.  I didn't know what to initially make of Femto and their causal dismissal of Guts threat.

I do confess, humanizing the Count worked very well for me.

I also loved the art in the orgy scene.

Manga Mausoleum / Berserk the Manga Re-read Thread Vol. 3
« on: October 10, 2008, 02:30:50 AM »

Berserk Manga 3

You know the drill guys, share and discuss your thoughts.  Feel free to analyze or talk about specific issues.  Just remember that there's no spoilers allowed beyond the latest Dark Horse books.

Character Cove / Re: What I don't understand about Guts
« on: October 08, 2008, 01:55:43 AM »
1. I don't know about that... If it's still an open wound to him, he doesn't really show it.  When was the last time Guts flipped out over someone touching him?

Berserk Manga Volume 2?

2. No, he doesn't.  The people Guts has killed, by and large, were necessities of his life first as a mercenary, and now on the Interstice.  I think Guts recognizes this.

Yes, which assumes Guts was gleefully enjoying life as a mercenary instead of it being the only thing he knew.

I also think the Demon Child was absorbed into the vessel by chance more than anything.

I think Guts is just being a d*** because of his foul mood.

Especially because the guy is a priest.

Funny you should mention Shounen. Here's an old quote that I found a while back. It was like finding a hidden gem or treasure chest. I absolutely love these little snippets of berserk and I wonder when the next berserk chapter is released if it won't come with a few words of Miura in YA.


That explains that short little snippet comic that was included with (I think) Dark Horse Volume 24.  Basically, it had Puck and a slightly similiar but different guts (this one had an Eyepatch) hunting the followers of a God of Darkness.  It was a lot more fantasy and less edgy than Berserk.

But could very likely have been the PG-13 Berserk.  It was the prototype for the series as I understand it.

To be fair, Vanheat, I think the gayness issue is actually subtext rather than something you're imagining.  Just as easily, you could argue that he's actively repulsed by it though (given his experiences with Gennon). 

But I think Griffith's androgyny is a major character point.  He's meant to be an Angelic Bishounen pretty boy in a land of dirt and ugly.


But is how it pronounced in Japanese relevant, if its a mispronunciation?

Just a question.

It might be what's in Japanese is unrelated to the real life concept, but it's food for thought.

There are different ways to write the word (and maybe to pronounce it as well?), since it's originally Hebrew. Anyway, as far as it goes in Berserk, what I said is correct and what's in "Mage: The Ascension" isn't.

To be exact, she doesn't say they're the result of our dreams, but that they inhabit them. That's not the same thing.

1. Is it?  How exactly do you know?

2. Are you sure?  I'm not sure if that's entirely correct.  Especially since Causality was created by Dreams and that's a major theme of the work.

The Snake Baron, and the count especially, are both also shown at the eclipse along with the woman apostle who kills corcus.

It's thus interesting to speculate how much is this just Guts wandering around and how much of him deliberately seeking revenge on the Hawk's killers.

OTOH, it could just be that ALL Apostles were there and thus ALL Apostles killed the Hawks.

Quote from: Vanheat
Yeah but after he leaves he doesn't even mention Griffith in terms of desiring to be an equal or friend. Guts was already his friend or at least an emotional friend or a slight crutch. Afterwards he does a lot of thinking of what he is doing, why he is living, and what for. He never tries to attain anything other than to consolidate himself. He seems to have already matured to a level that he was living his own life and Griffith was a past friend. A charismatic human being that played a role in Guts development but as Guts said in vol. 7 "maybe I'm just stopping by to warm myself..."

I'm not so sure about that.  The very fact is that Guts is trying to live for himself, but he's also pretty directionless at this point.  It may be that he's already made the choice to become the Best Swordsmen there is as his "Dream" but otherwise is just doing some thinking about his life.  I don't think that Guts really would have left on his own if not for the conversation with Charlotte and Griffith that he overheard.

Quote from: Vanheat
I would find it more tragic too but agape seems overly strong for Griffith's feelings of Guts. It seems to me that Griffith was spread thin and was relying on Guts in a way he shouldn't of. Guts leaving should not of affected Griffith so much unless Griffith was already at that point as Casca said. Not saying that Guts didn't mean a lot to him but Griffith handled it poorly. From reading the books I never got the sense that their relationship was composed of any agape feelings. (I assume agape as in the religious altruistic love sense, not the mouth agape, surprised sense.) I hope I'm not downplaying their relationship or at least as Griffith saw it.

I think it's important not to turn Griffith into a sociopath before the Eclipse.  The sacrifice wouldn't have worked if he hadn't cared for the Hawks (and particularly Guts/Casca).  Really, I consider those two to be Griffith's only two friends and Guts the only one that Griffith treated as more than a subordinate.

Remember, that Griffith risked his life against Zodd for Guts and that's the most altruistic you can get.  It's only after losing everything, partially because of Guts, that Griffith made his horrific deal and comitted an unimaginable crime.

Hey Deci, WB.

Quote from: Deci
I too think it was a bit off. Actually looking back at volume 1, I'd have to say how he confronts all of these apostles is a bit inconsistent with the later volumes. Guts doesn't like to wait for "the right opportunity" to swing at an apostle, much less watch a poor helpless man die for practically no reason. Though it does serve as a helper to reader, to make you hate the Count that much more. From that perspective, like Guts getting captured to meet Puck, makes perfect sense from a story-telling view.

Actually, I think there's a subtle bit of characterization here.  In this case, I think Guts did want to rescue Vargas but ultimately decided that it was impossible.  That's why he showed up despite his statement to Puck.  I think Guts is trying to keep people at arm's length even here and doesn't want to admit he cares even a little bit.

This is, ultimately, the set up for the creation of his Adventuring Party way way way down the line.

Quote from: Deci
As usual I really enjoyed most of Puck's dialogue this volume. The part where he tells Vargas to live for the future and not for revenge really rings a bell with the story. His confrontation with Guts about being afraid because, like Vargas, he is also fighting a battle he can't win just really struck home for me. Of course, without the information I have from later volumes it probably wouldn't have hit me so strongly.

Yes, it's a set up that we don't see the pay off for until well after the Flash Back arc where Guts decides to return to Casca.

Quote from: Deci
Another intriguing part is where we see Guts look at the demon baby and he sees it's head turn into Vargas'. What that's suppose to mean exactly I'm not sure, but I guess it's to show some sort of guilt that he didn't try to save the poor helpless guy.

Yeah, though in-story, I think it's just a reflection of how deeply messed up the Baby's relationship to Guts is.

Quote from: Deci
The fight with Zondark is probably the funniest thing to happen in this volume. Almost textbook badguy, with getting defeated, then taking in corrupting powers to become stronger, only to tell Guts exactly what to do in order to defeat him. I genuinely laughed when Guts smiled and said, "Thanks for the tip.."  Guts

I think the last time I saw this was the last episode of Angel: The Series.

Quote from: Deci
Though I still probably would've had a hard time becoming a true fan at this early in the series, I like to think these mysteries would've kept me going. Of course looking back on them, these volumes get better and better with each re-read.

True story, I actually didn't see the anime first like most Berserk fans I know.  I picked up the Berserk manga because I was running low on ideas for fantasy gaming and there was a huge collection of manga at my local Borders.  I was totally unspoiled by this point and was hooked by the second manga for simple violence + sex + action.  It wasn't until the third volume that I realized it was actually great storytelling.

Oddly, on my first read, I genuinely bought into Guts being a bad person doing a good job and accepted his comments to Puck at face value.

Well, something like "KLIFOTTE".

In Mage: The Ascension, it was pronounced "Quil-i-poth."  It's a real magical concept.

But yes, Volume 25 was very interesting for me.  I've got to say that I absolutely love the Trolls as disgustingly savage and evil as the Apostles have been known for (I may have to submit the rape scene for the most "Trucked up Moments" thread).  However, I'm not entirely onboard with the Schierke's explanation of the magical underpinnings of the Berserk world.  I personally love the mystery and have her causally talking about how all these creatures are the results of humanity's dreams takes away from the seriously freakish nature of them all.

Two things. I dont think Miura gets anything from US sales but I might be wrong. Also Dark Horse wouldn't make much profit printing them as comic books, they are mostly too short and with gaps of three or more months it wouldn't make much sense.

It depends on the deal.  If there was ever a foreign language release of my books then I would receive the same amount of a percentage from them as I would for the English release of my books, despite them being licensed out.  If Mister Miura is only getting paid for producing Berserk and not getting a percentage of his works, then any licensing money would be paid to the company that paid him.  I think comic books tend to work on the later.

But I have no idea how manga deals work.

Berserk Volume 2 Review by Charles Phipps

   Berserk Volume 2 is last part of the "random adventures" portion of the Berserk series.  The battle against Count Caterpillar will be the last Apostle Hunt we'll see for an extremely long time.  This is actually a very good thing as it prevents the Apostles from being reduced to a bunch of one-shot villains, which is what they seemed to be from the start, that Guts exists to slay along his road to killing Griffith. 

   Too many Shounen manga follow this formula religiously with each new issue introducing some extremely powerful enemy with a gimmick in order for the heroes to slay them.  This isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, the only other manga I buy continuously is Samurai Deeper Kyo, but it limits storytelling potential.

   Honestly, I have the sneaking suspicion that Kentaro Miura "sold" the Berserk series with the first three volumes.  Certainly, the sex and violence is hardcore in Berserk Volume 1 through 3 but 1 and 2 don't take the audiences too far out of their comfort zone.  It's fairly easy to get the premise that Berserk seems to be about.  I.e. that there's this badass Anti-Hero Swordsman who goes around slaying demons with his plucky elf sidekick.   In Volume 2, there's not much "Myth Arc" introduced yet and its easy enough to understand this premise for even causal fans.

   Next volume, of course, we're going to be introduced into the longest flashback in the history of manga as far as I know.  Also, we're going to discover that the Berserk series is well above anything that is normally introduced in manga in terms of storytelling.  At this point, audiences are getting most of the same that they were exposed to in the first volume.  I think this is very good marketing to be honest, even if most of the meaty material is absent.  Nevertheless, the book is still filled with excellent characterization bits scattered throughout the story.

   Guts' personality, here, is still very much about establishing what an utter badass and horrible person that he is.  Like Dirty Harry and a few other notable jerkass heroes, the author is trying to show how different Guts is by his over the top rudeness to those around him.  Puck calls him on his appalling insensitivity to Vargas and his unwillingness to rescue the man. 

   I actually like the fact that Kentaro Miura subverts the usual expectation of a Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves style rescue for Vargas.  Guts knows its a trap to go after Vargas and decides not to do so.  Of course, it's rather undercut by the fact that Guts 'strategy' (if you can call it that) is to head on attack the man's castle afterward.  One really wonders if it would have been that much more difficult.

   Vargas himself is another great 'in your face' character.  It's not enough that Kentaro has the man's wife and child killed by the Count, the author has them eaten and the man horrifically deformed by the result.  Really, Vargas is a character that exists for shock value but as appalling as readers are expected to react;  he's actually one of the nicer characters in the series.  It's a good way to demonstrate that hideous=evil in Berserk nor are the heroes going to be necessarily beautiful.  It seems needlessly cruel that Puck's advice for Vargas to live only leads to him getting captured seconds later but its all about establishing the horrifically cruel mood of the setting.

   The Count also receives some character development here.  The character is not all that different from the Snake Baron in his habits.  He's a slightly higher nobleman and has a religious persecution fetish but otherwise he's a cannibal monster that has animal qualities to him.  Likewise, he seems to commit mayhem for its own sake.  What separates Count Caterpillar from the Snake Baron is that we see the man still maintains some lingering spark of humanity for his daughter.

   Theresa is also established here as basically an innocent that is living in a gilded cage.  One thing that will become a recurring theme is that innocence is genuinely just ignorance in this society.  We're meant to sympathize with Theresa because she's beautiful, sweet, and is kind to Puck but its also clear that her kvetching over her father's deeds is a gross under reaction to his actual depravity.  Still, it's interesting to speculate if she's a Proto-Charlotte like the Snake Baron was a Proto-Count and the Old Priest was based on the traitor Baron (basically an old man who facilitates the noble's depravities).

   I do like is that the Count pretty much blows out the idea that Apostles are the only foes Guts will face.  The Alien's style Symbiote that he puts in Zodark is one that allows him to nearly kick Guts ass.  Later, Guts is just causally tossed around by the Count.  The difference in power level between the Count and the Snake Baron is huge.  I don't think we could honestly have continued issue after issue of Guts getting his clock cleaned by Apostles without it becoming ridiculous or the creatures being weakened.  Really, despite how much I enjoy the future Roslin arc, I don't think that you could really top the Count for Apostle hunting.

   One final note; we also get introduced to the Goat Cultists this issue.  However obliquely.  I was genuinely surprised that they would make a return later in the series.

   It's the second week of the manga re-read project and we raised some very interesting points last week with the introduction of the Black Swordsman.  We'll be examining one volume each week until we've covered the whole of the Dark Horse release cycle.  While there's nothing preventing fans from using their Japanese translations or the originals if they speak the language, this is just an issue of courtesy for those who have been only following the release.  Please don't spoil beyond volume 25 in your discussions at this time.

   This week, we'll examine Berserk Manga Vol. 2.  Comments can be related to analyzing elements of the book and how they relate to the Berserk storyline as a whole or simply commenting about what you thought of it.


I always took it that it was explicitly FOR Griffith that Guts decided to leave.  Guts had, by this point, become aware that he wanted to be Griffith's friend and equal rather than just his subordinate.  For this to occur, that meant that he had to go out and make something of himself other than being just Griffith's lackey. 

I suppose your interpretation is equally valid, but I find it more tragic that Griffith utterly missed Guts was leaving him because of his agape for him.

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: What is the pronunciation of "Schierke"?
« on: October 02, 2008, 02:28:57 PM »
Can someone give me a phonetic pronunciation of this town?

Getting off the soul business, really Philosophers and Religious individuals have been debating over it forever and all with different definitions, I think there's fundamentally two different interpretations of Griffith.

1. Griffith The Human:  Griffith the human is my particular take on the matter.  Griffith was born a commoner and a peasant with nothing that really distinguished him from anyone else.  Instead, what made Griffith into the Superman figure that the Hawks viewed him as was nothing more than hard work and an understanding of the value of good publicity.

Griffith did what a lot of real life dictators and world leaders did by establishing a degree of seperation between him and his troops so that he'd be viewed as a super human figure to some degree.  Griffith then managed to train himself in areas of learning (all the books in a functionally illiterate society) while also managing to get himself some sword training and tactics.  Griffith also is willing to violate all of the usual social nicities of the world to get what's done.

He then made it a point to never show any real weakness in front of his troops and tried to establish himself as a larger than life character.  One might argue he specifically recruited Casca because a woman warrior would add to his legend by simple exoticness and he knew he could control her with love.

Griffith the human, eventually, collapses under the weight of his own attempts to be perfect.  Griffith doesn't have any real peers because he has to keep himself tightly controlled so people don't clue into his fundamentally treasonous plans.  Guts and Casca, however, come close enough to be friends that Guts disappearance sends him to make a critical error and ruin his life.

His transformation into an God Hand is really just a coda for a failed ambitious military commander.  A man like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, or Julius Caesar who didn't get as far as he thought he would (but still got extraordinarily far)

2. Griffith the Anti-Christ:  This view establishes that Griffith was always something fundamentally different from regular human beings.  Born from the Idea's manipulation of genetics and human values from the beginning, everything pretty much fell into Griffith's lap from the beginning as part of the road to transforming him into Femto.  It's very similiar to The Omen 2, in which the crux of the movie isn't that Damien Thorne learns he's the Anti-Christ but that he's being educated in all the various things that he'll have to discover in order to properly make a gamble to take over the world.

Now, Griffith isn't the Anti-Christ in any sense that's literal.  The only gods we've seen are the Elementals and the Idea.  It's not Earth and The Holy See is not Christianity.  One should not ascribe the values of one world to another.  However, he's a Dark Messiah figure (see TV tropes) that has been created by the Idea of Evil for a specific purpose.  From this viewpoint, we can view Griffith as fundamentally different from other men.  One might argue that he doesn't think like other people and his seemingly innocent persona has always hid a man whose missing a few screws loose.  That's because he was born to be something other than human.

An interesting note, I've always felt that the most interesting part of Guts decision to leave the Hawks to become Griffith's equal is I'm fairly sure he was wrong to take Grifith's words to Charlotte at face value.

Speculation Nation / Re: What's Griffith's plan?
« on: October 02, 2008, 12:45:26 PM »
Ya Walter, that is what I kinda meant. He is not the one directly causing but he is the purpose and reason behind the suffering and pain. Also another speculation of mine is that he is causing events so humans and other beings have a better understanding of his purpose. Because if you think about it not matter what happens being his will or not, Idea of Evil will still be the indirect reason or the one to take the blame because that is what he has come in existence for but it is much easier to understand his purpose if he is causing the events itself. I'm not sure if I worded this idea properly but in a nutshell my idea is that he is causing events so it is more easily understood of his role and purpose.

It's interesting to speculate when this happened.  Because why he may be the Master of the UniverseTM now, he's also something that existed after Human Suffering came into existence since this gave spawn to him.

Character Cove / Re: Adon
« on: October 02, 2008, 11:27:23 AM »
Thinking about Adon recently, it occurred to me, is he REALLY as incompetent as his reputation indicates?  Oh, there's no doubting that Adon is an incredibly base coward (or craven as George R.R. Martin would call him) and that his commander was right to relieve him but it occurs to me that the other Tudor knights might not necessarily be much better.

Really, Griffith is operating from a different playbook than the rest of the Knightly Orders of the day.  He's a Julius Caesar figure, or at the very least is a Che type in that he's mastered unconventional fighting.  Adon being severely outclassed by him is not really such a damning insult.  There's also the fact that Guts is just short of superhuman in his combat skills, meaning that being unable to defeat him isn't much of an insult either.

I tend to note that Adon seems a hair cleverer than most Tudor knights probably were anyway.  Really, if he'd bothered to stay and fight at any of the battles, then he would have died.  So, refusing to was actually a smart move on his part.

Speculation Nation / Re: What's Griffith's plan?
« on: October 01, 2008, 04:35:57 PM »
Quote from: Walter
Your storm analogy is really overly simplistic for what The Idea is. It's certainly more than a force of nature -- it's a giant beating heart with tubes tied to Hell, manipulating the world behind an astral curtain.

Yet, it's the product of humankind.  Basically, a gigantic reflection of mankind's subconscious desire for a scapegoat. 

Quote from: Walter
"Hate" does not come into play here. All I was saying is The Idea of Evil is the cause of suffering. Though it was created from humanity's negative consciousness, everything evil in the world came from its plans. It empowers Apostles and the God Hand to wreak havoc on humans.

Well, is it the direct cause?  Cause, the human desire for a God/Devil figure is what created Idea.  It's doing what it was programmed to do. 

Quote from: Walter
It's a conscious being that knows what it's doing, not a force of nature like a tornado which can't decide what it does. I can see your argument against something like a tornado or a hurricane, but it's not exactly the same thing.

I don't think the Idea has free will or is alive as we think of it.  It's like an IBM computer.  It's been programmed by humanity's subconscious to be Evil so it is.  It's like blaming Windows for crashing versus the programmers.

Even if the human desire for a monster was unintentional, the fault lies with humans.

Speculation Nation / Re: What's Griffith's plan?
« on: October 01, 2008, 02:10:25 PM »
Why would it be ludicrous to blame a storm for destroying your house? IT destroyed your house. Just because it didn't have a choice coming to be doesn't mean you can't blame it for destroying your house, killing your dog and sleeping with your wife.

I guess it's more useless to blame the idea.  It's a force of nature rather than a person, so being angry at it may be a human thing to do but one should probably hate Griffith but just feel the idea must be opposed. 

My .02.

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: What is the pronunciation of "Schierke"?
« on: October 01, 2008, 01:00:55 PM »

I'd been prounouncing it like a female form of Shrek.

Maybe because of some half remembered Care Bears memories from childhood with a girl name Schreckie.


Speculation Nation / Re: What's Griffith's plan?
« on: October 01, 2008, 12:56:58 PM »
How are these things not connected? Being the reason for pain is the same as causing it. I think you're being a little apologetic for the being who even called itself the ruler of Hell.

Blame Discworld for me.  It's an embodiment of humanity's suffering and madness rather than a creature with "free will."  It's rather ludicrous to blame a storm for destroying a house and the same way for the Idea.

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