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Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 69
« on: November 08, 2015, 02:56:11 AM »

Episode 69: Revelations (Vol 17-1) (58m)

We return to the re-read project with a deep dive into Volume 17, one of our favorites, which gives us a rare glimpse of the state of the world after the Eclipse. This volume also lays down the essentials regarding humans and their perception of the astral world and its inhabitants.

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Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 68
« on: October 26, 2015, 01:35:57 AM »

Episode 68: Soaring Escape (Ep. 341) (1h 22m)

The thrilling conclusion to the recent Falconia section has landed. Hear all about how Rickert became an action hero, Garuda breeding habits, Rakshas' various cutlery, and Griffith gathering cobwebs on the palace patio -- all in the latest episode of the SkullKast. Stay tuned til the end for a brief Star Wars chat.

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Berserk Miscellaneous / 100+ 'Uncollected' Artworks from Miura
« on: October 19, 2015, 04:05:11 PM »
Some fans might not be aware that Berserk hasn't had a full-fledged art book since 1997. That art book, the Berserk Illustrations File, contains high-quality reproductions of volume covers (up to vol 14), unseen paintings, sketches, and an exclusive interview with Kentarou Miura that's about 4,000 words long, recently translated by Puella thanks to our member-supported Patreon.

When I start lamenting the lack of recent Berserk art books, I'm often asked: "How much material is there for another artbook?" Quite a bit, actually!

Since that book was released, there have been 23 new volume covers, 32 volume poster inserts, and an unknown number of other paintings and sketches Miura has released across the past 18 years. These include phone cards, new year's postcards, DVD/BR covers, promotional art, original art for the 2005 trading card game (TCG) and more. Many of these are only seen by hardcore collectors, leaving the rest of us to ogle them through low-resolution photos on Japanese auction sites — and those are only the ones that surface online.

Because of their obscure nature, it's likely there are many more we have never seen, or that Miura has never released. Some of these appear to be assets pulled from Miura's generous stack of unused paintings. Others were clearly created for an exclusive purpose. Some are simple character poses, while others show glimpses of scenarios with characters that we've never seen in the manga before. For fans, they're all pretty incredible and worth checking out.

So I started collecting images of them, even if the quality of the images sucks, to get a better understanding of what the potential for another Berserk artbook is. It is vast. In total, I gathered 118 pieces of art, excluding volume covers (from 15-37), and of course anything I missed. In reality, it's probably closer to 150 pieces. Which is more than enough for 3 art books, based on the size of the Illustrations File. It's not complete, and it's not really meant to be. It's meant to be a taste of what's out there, unbound, uncollected, unseen by the vast majority of fans of Berserk.

These deserve a better place to appreciate them. I can't provide that — only Miura and his publisher can. But until then... here's what I have assembled:

Rare/Uncollected Berserk Artwork:

Miura's original art for Konami's Berserk TCG (2005):

Volume poster inserts:

Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 67
« on: September 27, 2015, 07:17:09 PM »

Episode 67: Combat in the Darkness (Ep. 340) (1h)

We explore Rakshas' new mask, and apostle form, as the Bakiraka manage to turn the tables on the shadowy assassin... for a few moments.

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Speculation Nation / Will We See Skellig in 2015?
« on: September 09, 2015, 02:10:47 PM »
It's been a long time in coming, but Skellig could be right around the corner.

When we last left Guts and co., they were heading toward Skellig (the island where Elfhelm is located), being guided by the merrows. That same episode neatly wrapped up the current character relationships with a hint at things to come.

Since then we've been discovering the inner workings of Griffith's long-promised kingdom and being reintroduced to Rickert. But his side of the story appears to be wrapping up, now that he's made the determination to leave Falconia and live with the Bakiraka. So that leaves just a few more eps with him before we presumably head back to Guts' perspective, and at the current monthly pace...

Do you think it's likely? It'd sure be a great way to end the year!

Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 66
« on: August 31, 2015, 03:33:11 AM »

Episode 66: Capital City Under the Moonlight (Ep. 339) (1h 7m)

Silat, Rakshas and the Tapasa like we've never seen them before. We explore Ep 339 armed with a partial translation from Aazealh and Puella.

What's ahead for Rickert and the Bakiraka? Reeeeeeeeematch

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Character Cove / Ubik and the Garden of Earthly Delights
« on: August 16, 2015, 02:17:32 AM »
What do we know about Ubik?

As one of the five members of the God Hand, he's one of the most important characters in the series, and yet he remains quite a mystery. We even have more grounds to speak about Void and his abilities than Ubik.

If we had to nail him down to a particular characteristic, it would be the delight he exhibits in observing and dissecting human memories. After all, it’s Ubik who opens portals into human minds during ceremonies to show a human's “true self.” In Volume 12, Ubik calls these "windows into the reality within your conscious realm."

Beyond these clues, we haven’t been shown any explicit affinities. He seems to have a fascination with the human mind. I think that's probably his territory, among the God Hand. But I think recently, readers were given what could end up being a rather insightful look into Ubik's nature:

Of course, it's long been known that the enigmatic two-page spread in Episode 306 of Ubik's "arrival" following the birth of Fantasia was a reference to Hieronymus Bosch's surreal painting, "The Garden of Earthly Delights." Miura has professed to being a fan of Bosch's work, so it's no big surprise to see his most famous piece become an homage.

But recently, I began wondering about Miura's intentions with choosing such an striking painting, loaded with various symbology, as the setting for Ubik, a character we know next to nothing about.

So I looked into the painting a bit, and discovered some pretty cool stuff.

Bosch's painting is a triptych — a work of three panels. His intentions with the painting are not known, however as with many of his other works, the religious overtones are apparent. Among the popular interpretations is that it depicts a sequence of consequences of humanity indulging in sin, and the gradual separation of man from God and divinity.

When the panels are closed, there is an additional panel, that depicts what some believe to be the creation of the world (or the flooding of the world). Rather fitting for the timing of this reference by Miura.

When opened, the left panel depicts the Garden of Eden, and the introduction of Adam and Eve by God.

The middle and largest panel is where the painting's name is derived, depicting nude humans frolicking wildly with hybrid beasts and indulging in sensual pleasures.

Finally, the right and final panel depicts a fusion of aspects of hell and earth, repeating motifs from the first panels, but in a twisted setting. Men are being tortured by hybrid beasts, eaten and excreted, prodded driven and speared by musical instruments, having lost the freedom and pleasures of the previous panels. Unlike the other panels, this one is not in sunlight, but in darkness. The religious reading here is that this represents the ultimate consequence of man's transgressions into the sinful pleasures and opulence of the middle panel. That's quite a foreboding notion when you consider what Falconia represents.

But that's all merely the preface, because the portion referenced by Miura is largely the center of this third panel — the man with tree limbs for legs, with his broken eggshell ass housing people sitting at a table.

While Miura borrows the central elements here quite directly (note the figures circling the hat, almost perfectly represented), it's notable that it's not merely a carbon copy of the work, but a kind of animated interpretation of the scene being brought to his world. Contrasting the two, you can see the level of care and creativity he employed in unifying the scattered elements of Bosch's work, for his own purposes.

For example, he moves characters to the foreground that are elsewhere in Bosch's painting (creatures waving flags, blaring on horns and carrying weapons). And instead of the chaotic positioning of figures in the triptych, the creatures all move in unison toward the left, continuing the previous pages' visual narrative of the astral world's inhabitants coming into the physical world. The figures also don't retain the same expressions or articulations.

So in Miura's depiction, it is as if the creatures in Bosch's painting were suddenly brought to life and were urged in a direction.

Can we learn anything about this particular painting, when it comes to Ubik? I think so, because of the precedence established in other, similar scenes with the God Hand members and their surroundings.

The scenery where Conrad and Slan are depicted during this sequence complements their affinities. Slan is surrounded by a conglomeration of lustful bodies, in an almost vaginal cavern. Conrad’s face emerges from a multitude of rats, within which are skeletons, repeating the death and pestilence motif from his appearance in Volume 17. But what was so special about Episode 306 is that prior to then, Ubik had never received this kind of special spotlight in the series before.

While bereft of text, two passages in Volume 26 shed some light on these scenarios, and what we can learn from them.

Schierke: Qliphoth creatures gravitate to similar od

Slan: They're likely floating in their preferred sephira

This explains a bit of the creatures we see gathered in the scene Miura is depicting, and by reflection, a bit about Ubik himself.

Miura's panel shows surreal creatures marching — some solemn, some cheerful — carrying musical instruments, weapons, and tortured humans, which is of course largely the theme of the right panel of the triptych, the counterstroke to the indulgence of the middle panel. These creatures are hybrids of human faces and various animals, and their exaggerated shapes evoke a kind of madness.

So to me, Miura's interpretation of this historic painting serves a number of purposes. It connects Ubik with creatures from the human mind dedicated to torture, and it was a way for Miura to pay homage to Bosch — an artist he clearly respected and likely one of his chief inspirations for the hybrid concepts in Miura's prolific, bizarre, apostle and astral creature designs.

Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 65
« on: July 29, 2015, 02:44:11 AM »

Episode 65: Assassin at Dusk (Ep 338) (1h 14m)

A little late, but no worse for wear, we return to dive straight into the action with 338's arrival on our doorstep.

Rakshas, Tapasa, Rickert's decision, the future of Falconia, Ninja Turtles, Ewoks and Gaiseric?! It's alllllll here, folks!

Credit for the episode's photo belongs to Lithrael!

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or by plugging this address into your favorite podcast app:


Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 64
« on: July 13, 2015, 12:01:53 AM »

Episode 64: The Return of Berserk [News] (47 min)

Berserk is back! And ... monthly? We discuss what this means for the future and how our community reacted to the big news. Stick around until the end where we all try to summarize Berserk in under 1 min (or 7 seconds).

Guest starring: Gobolatula and Grail!

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I recently finished replaying Final Fantasy Tactics on iPhone (a mobile port of the 2007 PSP remake of the 1997 PS1 game). It's one of my favorite games, but I'd forgotten just how much it borrows from Berserk. It's not a big secret or anything. I've seen people comment on the similarities from time to time over the years, but it's something I wanted to document here for those who have never played the game.

Perhaps there are more, but three specific elements of the game bear striking resemblances with elements of Berserk:

  • The Zodiac Stones
  • Ramza and Delita's relationship
  • The reed flute

The Zodiac Stones are quasi-sentient magical stones (ring any bells yet?), each associated with a Zodiac sign, that transform their human bearers into powerful demons. Furthermore, they are activated after resonating with the owner's "ire and despair." There's more going on here than meets the eye, but it's beyond the scope of this post.

Both the stone's function and the demonic form the humans are transformed into is similar to the Beherit and apostles.

The game's fundamental character relationship is between Ramza, a noble of the Beoulve family, and Delita, a commoner taken into that family's keeping. In many ways, they share parallels between Guts and Griffith. For one, the framing of the game's story is set far in the future, and Ramza's role in history has been forgotten, while Delita is known as a legendary ruler. But there is more.

Delita starts as a commoner, but feels powerless in the kingdom where nobility reigns. He desires true power, first in order to protect his sister, but ultimately to control his own destiny. To do this, he schemes, riding along the waves of the times, allying himself behind the scenes with the political and religious powers at the time, using any means necessary to rise in rank.

Running parallel to Delita's ambitious rise to power, Ramza takes the heroic path, saving the kingdom knowing full well that he and his band won't be remembered as heroes, but heretics. Ramza and Delita eventually have a falling out, but while they remain distant allies, Ramza eventually learns how ruthless his old friend has become.

Finally, the most direct, obvious reference is a recurring one. Ramza's father taught his son and Delita how to make music from a reed -- exactly like Griffith's scene with Charlotte in Vol 6 (ep 9 of the anime). I don't really feel a need to elaborate more on this one. Here are two clips to see for yourself:

Notable is that FF: Tactics in Japan came out months before the Berserk anime was released, meaning the development team sourced these similarities from the manga, before Berserk went "mainstream." They must have been some real fans.

Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 63
« on: May 18, 2015, 12:29:31 AM »

Episode 63: Binding Chain I [Vol 16-2] (1 hr 52 min)

We immerse ourselves in the Beast of Darkness' introduction, an enigmatic moment from the Skull Knight, Miura's tackling of formalized religion, and end with a healthy dose of Mad Max.

Forum member Kruge has a guest spot early in the show to discuss his Void Bust/Cosplay.

Don't forget you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes
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Kentarou Miura (Berserk) published the Giganto Maxia mini-series in Hakusensha's Young Animal magazine in 2013-2014. The series is set in a world 100 million years in the future. Dark Horse will release the one-volume series in February 2016.

Is that really how we should be spelling it...?

Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 62
« on: May 03, 2015, 07:36:40 PM »

Episode 62: Lost Children IV [Vol 16-1] (1 hr 42 min)

Joined by our SKnet Patron guest m, we wrap up the Lost Children Chapter in Vol 16 and discover what Guts is capable of when he's at his physical and mental limits. We also dive in to the beginnings of Farnese's character development, and tie a bow on Jill and Rochine's contributions to the series.

Please excuse the radio sound quality! We'll return to normal next time. Promise!

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Anime Asylum / Hirasawa Susumu Interview about His Role in Movies
« on: April 24, 2015, 04:12:44 PM »
When I first came across this interview, I thought I'd read it before, but nope! Some neat stuff to be found about the man's thoughts on Berserk and Miura:

Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 61
« on: April 20, 2015, 02:11:45 AM »

Episode 61: Lost Children III [Vol 15-2] (1 hr 23 min)

Misty Valley, Guts versus insect horde, Rochine's final pitch to Jill, and Puck's best comedic moment?

Also, movie trailer talk at the end: Star Wars, DC Avengers, Terminator: Overkill.

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or by plugging this address into your favorite podcast app:


Berserk Miscellaneous / Berserk Climbing the Charts on Amazon
« on: April 08, 2015, 04:01:39 PM »
As of this post, the Dark Horse edition of Berserk Vol. 1 is in the Top 5 selling manga on Amazon (vols 2-3 are in the top 20), and in the top 5,000 books sold. (found via Reddit)

This surge in popularity could be due to the recent release of the Berserk: Golden Age I movie on Netflix streaming.

Let's start from the top, shall we?


OK, so we're assuming Skull Knight was once Gaiseric, but what REALLY happened to his empire?

Branded, sacrificed, but by whom? There are only 3 theories that go from here, each are respectable, but one, i tend to lean towards more often than not.

1> Gaiseric sacrificed his own empire to become more powerful, perhaps he wasnt satisfied with only half the world. And so from that path, Gaiseric became a god hand, perhaps even the leader. But many years later, perhaps Gaiseric realized that his choice was folly, and disbanded from God Hand...but how does one simply LEAVE a group as god-like as the God Hand? Think of the current issues, with the rebirth of griffith through the eclipse that happens every 1000 years. Perhaps what Griffith/Femto's position is now, is  something not unlike where Gaiseric was, 1000 years ago... And then there is the matter of Void. ah yes, Void, the true X factor in all this. What is it that Void did that made Skull Knight seek such vengeance? Is he only after Void because he is the leader of God Hand, and SK intends to 'nip it in the bud' so to speak? Methinks no, i think its more personal than that.... On to Theory 2

for clarity issues:

normal eclipse (red Beherit)= 216 yrs

"transformation" eclipse   = 1000 yrs

2> The second theory of how Gaiseric became Skull Knight is a bit more simple. This theory relies on the possibility that it was Void who sacrificed the empire. I have heard rumors that Void was once i high magistrate to Gaiseric, or something of an advisor. Such a betrayal would surely spawn such a hatred. If this is the case, then Gaiseric was branded, not unlike Guts. But along what point did he don the armor? Is it merely the armor that seperated Skull Knight from Guts?  I think not, i think that Skull Knight is something else, some other factor that hasnt been played yet.

3> The third theory is the most recently discovered one. This one was brought on by a recent converstation with a member of this forum.

-1000 years ago, Gaiseric incarnates himself.( which is assuming that Gaiseric was at one time, a God Hand ) Now that he is of the flesh, he is so powerful that he succeeds in putting all wars to an end and becomes King of a united territory, Midland. He's now known as "Gaiseric the Conqueror".

134 years later,

-866 A Wiseman imprisoned by Gaiseric uses the Crimson Beherit and becomes a God Hand. The four Other God Hands appear and he sacrifices Midland, Gaiseric's town. Gaiseric tries to fight back, and that makes him look like a fifth angel. He kills the God Hands, expect for Void, the new one.


I personally think the mystery of the SK/Void conflict is one of the most intriguing plots of Berserk. I am a total Skull Knight fan. And when the day comes that we finally learn the origins of that thorned rose that enblazons his shield, and we finally learn what happened on that day 1000 years ago, i just might shed a few tears of joy.

Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 60
« on: March 30, 2015, 12:58:13 AM »

Episode 60: Lost Children II [Vol 15-1] (1 hr 32 min)

Our trek into the Misty Valley continues as we learn more about the history of Jill's village, and her childhood friend Rochine. Guts' vomit battle, Rochine's unique design, and a fascinating storytelling technique from Miura highlight this episode.

Stick around 'til the end, when special Patreon guest Maxwell quizzes the admins on the future of Berserk.

Don't forget you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes
or by plugging this address into your favorite podcast app:


Speculation Nation / Flora's Reputation Among Elfhelm Magic Users
« on: March 09, 2015, 03:27:16 PM »
What will others think of Schierke and her mentor when the group arrives in Elfhelm?

We know from one of Puck's comments in Vol 24 that magicians live together with elves in Elfhelm. This line is particularly revealing because just a few volumes prior to that, we never even knew of the existence of magic users.  This establishes Elfhelm as the hub of the magical world. Yet Flora chose to live in isolation on a continent of humans, spending centuries helping them before ultimately retiring in seclusion to her manor.

This curiosity, coupled with the fact that she twice berates herself for extending her life beyond its natural scope, makes me wonder if there was something of a falling out between Flora and magic society in Elfhelm sometime in the past that made her choose to go "off the reservation." Perhaps it was rather that she refused to recede from human society, along with the other magical elements that were pushed to the fringes by the spread of the Holy See's doctrine.

Because of that, I wonder if Flora's name carries a stigma, or at the least is regarded as something of an outcast among magic users in Elfhelm. And if Schierke will be held accountable to some extent. Of course, the tables could just as easily turn and Schierke will be greatly respected as Flora's only successor. But that wouldn't be quite as dramatic  :beast:

Given that Flora and Schierke are our only exposure to magic users, the ones we find at Elfhelm could end up being a much different group. What do you guys expect from them?

Speculation Nation / Willing Pseudo-Apostles in Falconia?
« on: March 03, 2015, 07:32:20 PM »
We've seen a range of pseudo-apostle transformations in the past, from Zondark's almost rape-like endowment of evil by the Count to the Beherit-Apostle's subtle appendage (missed even by some readers!), and perhaps most monstrous of all, Rochine forcing this state upon children. In each case, the individuals are empowered with inhuman strength and abilities, and put under some form of control or authority by the apostle -- the full extent of which has never been explored.

With the exception of Mozgus, these endowments have been portrayed as unwilling attacks by apostles. But after apostles "unleashed their evil" on the front lines outside Wyndham, and humans came to accept these monsters as comrades, I think Miura created an opening for a shift in the nature of this exchange of power.

We know that both humans and apostles are engaged in keeping the magical creatures outside Falconia's walls in check. So, I can envision a scenario where apostles offer humans the chance to become "empowered" in an effort to create more effective enforcers for patrol. Given the current state of apostle-human relations, this seems to me to be plausible to me. It could even become an institutionalized effort within the city. Falconia needs YOU! Swallow this appendage TODAY!

Furthermore, I keep wondering if Miura will take the apostle-human relations bit to its natural next evolution... apostle-human love  :daiba:

Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 59
« on: March 02, 2015, 01:44:43 AM »

Episode 59: Lost Children [Vol. 14-2] (1hr 57 min)

Swoon as Guts reprises his role as the Black Swordsman in one of Berserk fans' favorite sections of the series. We're of course kicking off the Conviction Arc and Lost Children Chapter by reviewing what makes this section special, both for the series and for fans. Guest starring forum member and SKnet Patreon donor IncantatioN. Join us for outtakes where IncantatioN quizzes us on the volume, and we talk about what we've been playing lately.

Love the show? Want to help make SKnet even better? Consider chipping in a few bucks per month to our Patreon donation page, which we're using to fund new translations for the series. Check out all the information in our official thread.

 Don't forget you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or by pasting this address into your favorite podcast app:

Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 58
« on: February 08, 2015, 03:41:05 AM »

Episode 58: Post-Eclipse [Vol. 14-1] (1hr 47 min)

We wrap up the Golden Age by diving in to the aftermath of the Eclipse, as Guts reels from the changes to his world. Topics include: Casca's condition, the Interstice, the nature of spectres (ghouls!), the demon child, the Dragon Slayer and the Black Swordsman's gear. Guest starring forum member Rupert Sinclair!

PS: Pardon the audio hiccups in the first minute of the show. Rupert's track returns to normal very shortly after we begin.

Don't forget you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or by pasting this address into your favorite podcast app:

Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 57
« on: January 19, 2015, 03:29:19 AM »

Episode 57: Eclipse III [Vol. 13] (2hr 30 min)

By the end of this episode, the dreaded Eclipse is behind us. In a lot of ways, this was our biggest challenge. Researching and then partaking in a close reading of such a grueling event did a number on me. As always, there's a lot to cover. SK and Zodd's relationship; the final moments of Judo, Carcus, Pippin and Gaston; the Idea of Evil and the creation of Beherits; the limits of Guts' abilities; Casca's rape; Femto; SK's escape... and the rest we'll leave on the table for our next session.

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Creation Station / Calling 3D Modelers + 3D Printers (Berserk Ornament)
« on: December 22, 2014, 05:06:49 PM »
Earlier this month, my wife asked if I had any Berserk-themed ornaments for our tree. I answered no, because all I could think of is a Beherit, and mine has long since been lost (moved on to someone more worthy, obviously). But then I got to thinking... What else would be possible?

I came up with an idea. And while it's way too late to accomplish for THIS year's holiday, for NEXT year, I'd like to commission a 3D modeler to create a Schnoz w/ Santa Hat model to be printed with a 3D printer.

Are there any 3D modelers and/or 3D printer owners out there who would like to contribute to this idea? If there's enough interest in such a thing in our community, I think a commission for the time and labor would be totally possible.


Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 56
« on: December 15, 2014, 03:54:56 AM »

Episode 56: Eclipse II [Vol. 12] (1hr 37 min)

We continue our exploration of the Eclipse, and conclude Volume 12's re-read. In this episode: apostle designs, the nature of the God Hand's power, Griffith's conversion -- it's the biggest moment in the series yet, and possibly our finest hour in the entire re-read project.

 :void: :ubik: :slan: :femto:
Don't forget you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or by pasting this address into your favorite podcast app:

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