Duranki - New series for the studio of Kentarō Miura

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Well I guess that's the thing: it apparently couldn't continue without Miura. While he generously had chosen to present it as merely "produced" by him and drawn by his assistants, his share of the work was too important for it to go on without him. We'd speculated about this in the past so it's not new (especially given the long delay since Duranki's last prepublication), but it is indeed still disappointing.
As for Studio Gaga, it was founded, headed and financed by Kentarou Miura. I've always suspected it to be a pun on the Queen song, but beyond that "我画" literally means "my drawing". It was his studio. So I really don't see how it could go on without him, unless he had planned some provision where part of his royalties would go to fund the studio after his death (not likely). And even then, who would manage it? Was it even actually a company, instead of an informal name?

Yeah, it's probably as simple as the studio existed to serve his work, and there's no reason for it to exist, if it even could, without him. I just wish something positive could come out of all this.

In any case, they need a project to exist, and unless they can rise to the challenge and produce something on their own, they're out of luck. It's certainly a very difficult time for them, and I've had them in my thoughts over the past few months. I wish them the best in their future endeavors, whatever they end up being.

Well, don't worry about that, elsewhere this news is being taken as more confirmation a sequel series is coming soon! Like you guys have been saying, facts can't stop hope. Of course, it's still morbid like only the internet can be as these guys continually misinterpret the response to a shocking death and people losing their jobs as the sign posts to their petty wish fulfillment. It would be gross even of it wasn't also totally deluded.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
On Twitter just a few minutes ago, Yoshihiro Kurosaki (chief assistant in Studio Gaga) posted a message about Duranki ending.

Puella's translation of the key part said:
As announced in the magazine, this marks the end of “Duranki”. The timing was unexpected so it made the readers wait for a new episode (in vain) since the last one… but it was all we could do. I’m very sorry. Please understand (us). Thank you for your support so far.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Figuratively flipping through the digital edition of Dur-An-Ki, the cover is from Miura himself, while the two posters inside (already published in Young Animal Zero) are from the studio, but produced by him. The volume has all six completed episodes and a lengthy portion at the end (over 80 pages long) showing the "prototype scenario" for the series, called "Amazones". It details various ideas and developments for a story about a modern day "war nerd" who goes back in time and has to survive using his knowledge of modern technology and battle tactics (he's managed to create a rifle among other things). An added twist is that he's a bishōnen type and has to pretend to be a girl because he's fallen in with the Amazons and if they learn that he's male, their law dictates that he'll get decapitated. [Edit: I've corrected this part after checking more in detail]

It includes Miura's sketches of the Amazons (Antiope, Hippolyte, Melanippe...) as well as mythological heroes like Achilles, Odysseus, Herakles and Perseus, but also creatures like a Gorgon and a Harpy (who looks nothing like those from Berserk). And then there's also the full pantheon of Greek gods and more, like Hector and Paris (from the Trojan War). Plus a lot of text detailing potential developments for the story. Miura's vision for it was clearly very ambitious.

Definitely a must buy for fans of Miura's work, and it makes me feel really sad that we didn't get to see more of Dur-An-Ki. :sad:
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Ever since Duranki was announced, it was somewhat of an oddity in the eyes of Berserk fans. Miura's primary series had been struggling for years with maintaining a consistent release schedule. Eventually it became clear to long-time fans that we'd simply have to appreciate Berserk when we got it, and not harbor expectations of consistency. And then along comes a new series that would be produced by Studio Gaga in tandem with Berserk.

So, like a new child arriving home in the presence of a jealous older sibling, Duranki was received by many with "curiosity at arm's length" when its first issue landed in September 2019. For some reason, the atmosphere wasn't the same as when Gigantomakhia came out under similar circumstances. I remember wondering at the time why that was. Certainly one factor was that Gigantomakhia was always going to be a limited series (until Miura later expressed a desire to return to it one day), and Duranki, though never explicitly stated, was clearly laying down long-term roots (a hunch that proved true!). The defensiveness around its release probably may have also been a consequence of the hero being explicitly designed as androgynous, and not overly manly like Miura's previous heroes. It was a bold decision for a seinen mangaka.

In any case, the subtext of the arm's length reception seemed to be: Where are you going with this, Miura? And is this coming at the expense of Berserk?

I bought all the issues of Young Animal Zero that had Duranki, and I bought them relatively close to their release. But I wasn't panting between each issue. I was giving Duranki time to germinate, and I withheld judgment until around the fourth issue. While I always maintained hope that it would blossom, I do think it was struggling with an identity crisis by placing itself so squarely between myth and history. What was missing was a crucible for the story that set the boundaries for Miura's particular take on mythic storytelling.

It's entirely likely that the stage for that revelation had already been set in the story. In fact, I was expecting it any issue now. Usumgallu had inserted her god-given abilities to aid a group of humans struggling to survive in a chaotic world. The result of that conflict—of Usum's desire for friends coming into conflict with humanity's desire to exploit their surroundings to thrive—was what I was waiting for. The way I saw things going was that despite her fervent wish for companionship, she was about to be betrayed by the very humans she trusted, because that was their nature. And that betrayal would have helped formulate her character as she grew into an adult and the future conflicts she would face as humanity continued to prosper.

I knew that Miura hadn't arbitrarily chosen this time and place for the setting of a new story. And at the heart of my faith in the series was a desire to learn what those reasons were. I wasn't overeager though. It would eventually become clear, and Duranki would become easier to recommend, gathering a more regular following.

Unfortunately, that never happened. And it fucking hurts today. A lot. I shed all of my fancy phrasings to convey that part, because I want it to be plainly felt. Duranki never even got to reach the starting line. Its future was taken from it a full year before Miura tragically passed away unexpectedly when the serialization simply halted in May 2020, in what was in my opinion a promising issue that energized my interest in it. The next we would hear of Duranki was its official cancelation in September 2021, a few short months after Miura's passing.

Today brings the release of Duranki as a collected volume. And although it is an incomplete experience, it comes with more than 80 pages of sketches and notes for where Miura and Studio Gaga would have taken the series, if it had continued. We don't know if these notes were part of the initial pitch that Miura made to justify starting a new series, or plans he had kept to himself. But what's clear is that he had ambitious plans for Duranki. Because it was on a course for the introduction of the pantheon of Greek Gods and the Trojan War—a natural and seminal intersection for mythical and historical storytelling. We were just a few years away from what looks like greatness, to me. The images filled me with a feeling of simultaneous longing and regret. Spoilers for key moments in a series that never had a chance at developing.

Seeing the grand ambition and scope of the series hurts more to me than for Berserk, because that's something I can and have accepted as wholly Miura's own creation. Miura's death is the death of Berserk. That's it, and I've had months to think on that one. But Duranki was killed in the womb. From its inception, it was a project of Studio Gaga with Miura listed as "producer." A title that, given Duranki's cancelation after his untimely death, appears to have been superficial. Anyone who has read a single interview with Miura knows that he was a kind, humble person. The "producer" title stuck out to Aazealh and me as being overly generous to the contributions of Studio Gaga for Duranki. Miura was doing the panels, the sketches, and the story. But it clearly couldn't survive without Miura, even though he had provided sketches for the future and the existing framework of the Trojan War. Which means that Studio Gaga simply couldn't exist without Miura at the core.

I don't know the story of Studio Gaga in those weeks and months following Miura's death. But I like to think that they fought for Duranki in a way that I know they couldn't possibly have fought for Berserk. Because Miura was Berserk. His creative instincts for those characters and that world can't be replaced or emulated. With Duranki though, I have always, and until today, maintained hope that it could continue the momentum Miura had started. It was the next obvious shot for a spiritual successor to his legacy, because he had coded its DNA. It was a nascent title with a future that was unwritten and could still be invigorated by fresh blood. But seeing those sketches this afternoon was like seeing the outline of Miura's final stroke of the pen. It's both thrilling and damning to see it all laid out. I'm so grateful to see that he had big plans that would have been exciting to see develop. But it also hurts so much more than I expected it to. That's all I can say.
 

RaffoBaffo

Ex-Newser of the late Berserk Chronicles
I love Greek Mythology, so this was an absolute must buy.
Bought the Digital Edition, gonna wait the Italian Volume for the fisical one.
 
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