SkullKast 121: Halloween Spooktacular

Walter

Administrator
Staff member

15 Spookiest Moments in Berserk (1h 5m)

On Halloween's Eve (all hallows eve eve?) we gather around to each share our 5 picks for the spookiest scenes in all of Berserk. So hold your loved ones tight, but keep the beherit in the bedside table.

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Grail

Feel the funk blast
Thanks Walter! This was super fun to record with you guys, as usual. I'm curious to know what folks thought of our picks, and if they have their own favorite spooky moments to share. :guts:
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
I'm curious to know what folks thought of our picks, and if they have their own favorite spooky moments to share. :guts:

Same here! There's a few really great scenes we didn't mention because we had to choose just five. I'd love it if people found them!
 
Thank you for another great episode! This way of looking at Berserk serves to confirm that Miura was brilliant at doing so many things. Whether it's horror, comedy, action or just describing the human condition, he did it all perfectly.

Regarding your picks, I thought you got all the big ones for sure, but I have a couple of smaller moments that I think deserve to be mentioned:

- Pretty much the whole episode called "The Brand". This is the first time the reader, and Puck, are exposed to the horrors that Guts experiences every, single, night and it's just too much. In particular, I found the shot of Collette holding her father's severed head really horrifying. This episode, together with the next one, really showed me a level of horror for which the 97 anime did not prepare me at all.

- I'd say that the introduction of Jill could very well be a scene straight out of a horror movie: it's night, there's a camp fire, there's the story about the haunted tree, the thief threatening to do to Jill what was done to heretics using that tree, the thief getting startled by Puck's bloody needle and lightning and realizing that Guts has been there the whole time. It's a very short scene, but I thought it was really well done.

EDIT: I just remembered something else: @Walter, you said that there aren't any donut holidays. Don't you guys have National Donut Day? Or perhaps it doesn't count?
 
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Great episode. As Walter said, the difference between something being terrifying or spooky is very important, and of course to an extent very subjective. Interesting choices.

Berserk is terrifying as a whole, and Miura was a master when he wanted to depict something spooky, scary and atmospheric, for my taste more effective than most actual horror manga/comics. I chose 4 scenes that came to my mind pretty fast:

-Volume 12. The double page when Griffith was sitting in the lake, while the shadowy figures of apostles are appearing behind him, all under the eclipse, before all hell breaks loose. I got chills while watching the scene in the 1997 anime, I think it was done perfectly, and reading it in the manga after watching the anime had the same effect.

-Volume 18, the page with the human skin hanging in the tree, and the eyes of the beherit apostle observing. Captivating scene, I find the pages and panels that we see his eyes in all these episodes very effective in the "spooky" department.

-Volume 19, the page where Isidro, Luca, Nina and Jerome with a torch in his hand, facing an eldritch horror in that narrow corridor. One of my favorite pages of the manga, it's just a perfect horror scene.

-Volume 35, Roderick heading to the ship, and the double page where he opens the door and he is surrounded by those really weird, eerie shapes and faces. One of my favorite moments from the last five volumes.

I'd say that the more minimal (for Miura standards) scenes and moments evoke horror more easily for my taste, in contrast with the more "busy", detailed ones.
 
I think it would have to be Casca's birth of the demon child, for me there are many emotions there beyond being creeped out but it's the atmosphere leading up to it how Miura depicts it being born and Guts's horrified face and the way it just squirms around in the grass. When you realise it's Guts and Cascas child barely a fetus turnt into this grotesque abomination it pretty horrifying, even that is cursed even their baby. That whole scene were the boy tries to feed on the brand too. But there is a moment when guts snatches the demon child and it looks up at him I also get very emotional too because you can see the emotion in the child's eye he's almost saying "why do you hate me, why do you want to kill me" it's not the child's fault he was born this way it's heartbreaking but also creepy as hell. But hey when are we getting top 5 happy moments?
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
-Volume 35, Roderick heading to the ship, and the double page where he opens the door and he is surrounded by those really weird, eerie shapes and faces. One of my favorite moments from the last five volumes.

This is the one I really wish I could have fit in there! A truly great scene of Lovecraftian horror. I had calculated that Walter or Grail would probably have it on their list... and I was wrong. :schnoz:
 
Yeah, I think that he drew the perfect residents of Innsmouth aesthetically:ganishka:The whole atmosphere in the island and the tavern was great in general.

As a fifth and last scene I'd probably choose the double page from volume 38, where Locus leads Rickert in the Pandaemonium. Such an ominous scene, I think I said out loud "wow" when I was reading. In horror I mostly prefer the vague element of dread and the unknown, and this scene has it all, and it's very impressive and epic too, perfection.
 
Isma's eyes when the Sea God is mentioned for the first time are very spooktacular...
 
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I have to echo Aazealh in his response to Grail's commentary on the Falcons' encounters with the Bakiraka. I am fucking jealous of her too! I wish to the Four Kings I could have read the manga first and experienced the story exactly as Miura intended it to be experienced. I never thought about it, but the way she put it, that whole chase sequence, where the Falcons are confronted by one new enemy after another, each more dangerous than the last, had to indeed be really intense. Miura just kept on upping the ante, which I imagine had the effect of making first-time readers even more uncomfortable each time the Falcons pulled through. Because if the Midland soldiers, the Bakiraka, or even freaking Wyald weren't what caused everything to come crumbling down, then whatever it was had to be much. much worse. You just don't get that feeling in the 97 anime (and I assume most definitely not in the movie).

Which is why it kills me that so many people insist that the best way to start Berserk is to watch one of the goddamn anime series first. Or to skip the Black Swordsman arc. You have no idea what you are missing, or what you are depriving other people of by doing that. :mozgus:

As for me, my spookiest scene would likely have to be the introduction of the Beast of Darkness. It's nightmarish enough at the start, with spectres showing up to haunt and taunt Guts, as they always do, in a forest of nearly naked trees that are drawn almost entirely in silhouette. However, their taunts are different this time; they don't go into the usual spiel about how everything about him is theirs and so on. Their remarks are far more personal. They speak directly about his sins, specifically his killing of the children in Misty Valley, as if they know him personally and have been watching him for some time. And then they all coalesce into this almost wolven entity. It continues taunting Guts, saying how he will kill endlessly until he too becomes a monster just like the ones he has fought, all the while doing all sorts of unsettling things like devouring other spectres or changing the shape of its face to form a demonic visage of Guts. And even though Guts strikes it down, it leaves what appear to be some parting words, implying it will be making a return. It was becoming clearer in every panel that this thing wasn't a mere spectre, but something else entirely. What, though, I had no freaking idea when I first read it, and that's what made the scene so creepy.
 

guuuuuuuuts

Excited for the next chapter!
I'd actually love a part 2 to this, especially based on submissions from others who have not been re-reading the manga for years.

Listening to this I was also thinking of the introduction of the beast of darkness. Specifically how disturbing Lost Children is as you learn Guts has been killing children en masse. And those villagers are right to both hate and fear him. It feels like he is not really a person anymore, just another monster hiding on the outskirts of town.

I love that spooky panel where his cloak envelopes Jill as he/Miura shows her/us why we would want nothing to do with Guts lost in this evil world. It is the lowest of low moments for Guts.... just heartbreaking and heavy as he fights alone with no comrades beyond those he has left behind. iirc even Puck comments that the only reason he exists is to keep the story from becoming a total bummer. The world itself becomes so de-saturated that the only light we are seeing is from the monsters he kills and the torches of the people hunting him along with their own abused children. It is less a beast of darkness and more a world of darkness. Even for Jill, going home means returning to abuse and neglect. It is very hardcore.

My number 1 would have to be post-eclipse (Volume 14). Multiple panels stand out for me, and I believe they become heavily understated (many of us started the series from the '97 anime's ending) because the reader is so traumatized by the eclipse and wanting to jump ahead and know what happens next.

Guts waking up, then realizing his nightmare was real panel. Everyone is dead and Casca is a shell.... That was insane. Him then literally running away from Caska at full speed, even after having just run towards her to the point of losing his arm/eye. I found this spooky because Guts just never envisioned himself having to care for Casca in this state and all of his previous statements about proving your worth and earning you place fall flat here.

My favorite panel of all is guts lying in the vast, open field. Re-creating the childhood moment with the wolves and the arrow wound after he fell down a hill. That beautiful panel is so lonely and you know that Guts is now permanently trapped in the hell of Volume 13.

Another moment for me is Skullknight's prophecy, "What she desires might not be what you desire" and the look of shock on gut's remaining eye. That definitely haunted me for years and years. Considering the ending, it still does.

One other spooky moment for me is in the last episode when Casca wakes up and you can see the image of the her holding the demon child as a subtle reflection within her pupils upon she opening her eyes. That moment of realizing the moonlight boy was her child was very visually arresting, especially if you really look close and admire all that detail.

Cheers, and Happy Halloween!
 
Its actually tough for me to get scared or unsettled anymore but when the Slug Baron emerges from the darkness in front of Rickert, yeah that's a beautiful spooky moment.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
I'd actually love a part 2 to this, especially based on submissions from others who have not been re-reading the manga for years.

Listening to this I was also thinking of the introduction of the beast of darkness. Specifically how disturbing Lost Children is as you learn Guts has been killing children en masse. And those villagers are right to both hate and fear him. It feels like he is not really a person anymore, just another monster hiding on the outskirts of town.

I love that spooky panel where his cloak envelopes Jill as he/Miura shows her/us why we would want nothing to do with Guts lost in this evil world. It is the lowest of low moments for Guts.... just heartbreaking and heavy as he fights alone with no comrades beyond those he has left behind. iirc even Puck comments that the only reason he exists is to keep the story from becoming a total bummer. The world itself becomes so de-saturated that the only light we are seeing is from the monsters he kills and the torches of the people hunting him along with their own abused children. It is less a beast of darkness and more a world of darkness. Even for Jill, going home means returning to abuse and neglect. It is very hardcore.

Hmm, that's a bit of a strange take on the Lost Children chapter. Feels like you may be due for a re-read of it yourself. :slan:

the Slug Baron

You mean the Slug count. :iva: But yeah it's a great scene!
 
Loved the podcast! The scene that I feel is one of the most disturbing is when the Eclipse just begins. The sun goes black, the landscape transforms into faces, an army of untransformed Apostles appears on the hill in front of the Band of the Falcon, and the God Hand appear. Thinking of the pure terror and despair the Band of the Falcon must have been going through makes me shiver.
 
Loved the podcast, especially the conversation surrounding Halloween in France. I went as a dirty priest for Halloween once, with my girlfriend dressed as a devil, but my costume was pretty tame compared to Aazealh's. :ganishka:

My favorite spooky moment in Berserk is when Griffith looks down into the water right before the Eclipse and finds the crimson beherit floating between his fingers. The first time I saw this scene in the anime, a chill ran up my spine and I was covered in goose flesh. Still one of my favorite moments.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Preparing for the next podcast, should be up this time next week.

It just occurred to me that monthly releases might be a long wait for some people. Would anyone prefer shorter episodes released more regularly? Right now our average episodes are around 1h30m. I could split that in half and release ~45m episodes twice monthly (hey, just like YA!). It'd require a bit of planning, but it's definitely doable.
 
Preparing for the next podcast, should be up this time next week.

It just occurred to me that monthly releases might be a long wait for some people. Would anyone prefer shorter episodes released more regularly? Right now our average episodes are around 1h30m. I could split that in half and release ~45m episodes twice monthly (hey, just like YA!). It'd require a bit of planning, but it's definitely doable.
I've been a fan of the podcast for many years and I've always liked the format of about 1hour30 mins. But shorter episodes about a certain topic would be amazing too, I remember the old podcasts you guys did that a few times about topics like Void and Ganishka for about 40 plus minutes but then the bulk of the podcast would be about random stuff like movies and games, personally I really liked those segments about movies and games.
 
Preparing for the next podcast, should be up this time next week.

It just occurred to me that monthly releases might be a long wait for some people. Would anyone prefer shorter episodes released more regularly? Right now our average episodes are around 1h30m. I could split that in half and release ~45m episodes twice monthly (hey, just like YA!). It'd require a bit of planning, but it's definitely doable.
I personally enjoy the long format of the episode because it feels complete, concrete, and I'm all for giving speakers more time to flesh out their thoughts on a topic or episode, with enough time to go back and forth. It's something I appreciated with JRE's podcasts. If there's a shorter format, that would be OK too! Anything that works better for the folks on the podcast because I can understand it takes time, effort and thought invested in the topic in order to record each episode. Every episode is an absolute gem.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
To be clear, the content of the show wouldn't change. I'm just proposing to package the existing show into two releases each month instead of all at once. There'd be one additional intro and ending segment, but that's about it.

I also prefer longer podcasts. Like any deep conversation, the first 20 minutes or so are just a warmup. And splicing this together would technically be more work for me. So if there's no strong opinion either way, then there's no reason to undertake it.
 
To be clear, the content of the show wouldn't change. I'm just proposing to package the existing show into two releases each month instead of all at once. There'd be one additional intro and ending segment, but that's about it.

I also prefer longer podcasts. Like any deep conversation, the first 20 minutes or so are just a warmup. And splicing this together would technically be more work for me. So if there's no strong opinion either way, then there's no reason to undertake it.
I'd personally prefer keeping the current format, as I don't think I'd like an episode split into two (Jötunn, anyone?) I guess there are episodes that would work when split, like the re-read episodes, but I don't think I'd like a deep dive into a topic split into two episodes, just to stick to what could be considered an arbitrary release schedule. I'd rather wait a full month and get the complete discussion than having to wait two weeks for the conclusion. After all, what's a month to Berserk fans? :iva:
 

guuuuuuuuts

Excited for the next chapter!
To me, shorter format could still mean having good discussions... but the desire of us as an audience is we want deep dives into these topics and just really thrive on the nitty gritty. Fwiw, I myself find excitement usually locks in around the last 1/3 of the podcast: Sometimes one of you will be waiting to just drop a knowledge bomb or other profound thought that really stirs things up. I'm thinking of the re-reads, but once one of you gets a connection within that volume / section / panel things can really take off on the podcast. I also think of the episode Remembering Miura, which had so many good moments... but I think that later moment of "Miura was a living god" just opened up discussion from every single one of you in a way that was amazing and worth listening to many more times.

Thanks either way for the great podcast.
 
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