SkullKast: Episode 101 - Dawn of the Empire

I'm a little ignorant on how this works. I listen to quite a few podcasts -- but I've never yielded them from an RSS feed. I use the app CastBox -- am I able to listen to this podcast on there? I'm eager to download all of the episodes if that is the case.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I'm a little ignorant on how this works. I listen to quite a few podcasts -- but I've never yielded them from an RSS feed. I use the app CastBox -- am I able to listen to this podcast on there? I'm eager to download all of the episodes if that is the case.
Yep. https://www.reddit.com/r/Castbox/comments/9g15y4/how_can_i_subscribe_via_rss_feed/

So just copy and paste the RSS feed link (it's here: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml ) into the search bar on your app, then subscribe. :daiba:
 

Episode 101: Dawn of the Empire (Ep 358)
(1h 54m)
Griffith lays out the foundation for his "second empire," and then vanishes. What happens next could be a m-e-g-a-t-o-n. He sure seems do be doing great things for humanity now that he's obtained his kingdom, so what does that spell for where Miura is taking us, and what does that say for the thesis of Berserk? Also, a short history of how we arrived at the Moonlight Boy = Griffith theory from more than a decade ago.

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Use a podcast app? Try this:

Quick question: where can I get that copy of Berserk for 3 dollars and something?!

I heard on the podcast you went to some site and was able to get it for little or nothing and was curious?
 
:ubik:
Excellent. Thank you very much. Downloading episode one now.
Listened to the first two episodes. This is awesome. Hearing predictions about the movie trilogy was interesting.

@Aazealh -- do you (or have you) read the French localization of Berserk? Do you prefer the French variant over the English one? Obviously the original language is insurmountable, but I'm curious about this in particular.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Oof, that first one in particular is rough to listen to, because of the recording quality and the volume levels. :farnese:
This is like the first thing you say on that podcast!:ganishka:

"Oh the volume levels... Please forgive me for the crudity of this model."

You're too hard on yourself (especially since it's mostly me and Aaz' fault =), but it's because of that dedication the podcast is always listenable to me. I've heard "professional" podcasts, like produced by fucking ESPN/Disney, with phone lines so bad it's literally unlistenable, and you've almost always found a way to make it work, or you're willing to scrap it if it doesn't. No small feat on your part considering, as in the aforementioned major corporate examples, printers and audio recording are the two things that remain incredibly difficult and frustrating to work with seemingly no how much the technology advances (notice how drive-thru sound tech often still sounds like it's from the 70s?). The problems just advance with them and audio recording might be the worst. So kudos to our esteemed one-man podcast host, producer and sound engineer on a fantastic job through over 100 episodes!
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Hearing predictions about the movie trilogy was interesting.
Wait till you hear the reviews.

@Aazealh -- do you (or have you) read the French localization of Berserk? Do you prefer the French variant over the English one? Obviously the original language is insurmountable, but I'm curious about this in particular.
I skimmed through some of them years ago. I remember not being pleased. Not that DH's work is very good either, mind you.
 
Was that Grail that made the analogy between Nazi fascism and Griffith's proposal to fix the problems plaguing Falconia?

It made me wonder if the Kushans would eventually be targeted like the Jews were...
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Was that Grail that made the analogy between Nazi fascism and Griffith's proposal to fix the problems plaguing Falconia?

It made me wonder if the Kushans would eventually be targeted like the Jews were...
If you read episode 358 (I recommend using our translation), you'll find that there isn't going to be a purge, no. And especially not that of the Kushans transplants, who are now well integrated in Falconian society.
 
Fantastic. Thanks, I never noticed it before. I probably read the YA version years ago and never even noticed he had added a page when I bought the graphic novels more recently, let alone spot what he was trying to say.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Do you think you guys will do a podcast episode for Duranki next week? If so, have you ever done podcasts 2 weeks back to back?
I think we did do podcasts every week for a while, in the beginning. However I believe it makes more sense for us to talk about Duranki during this podcast, in a separate segment, rather than to dedicate it a full podcast next week. We still don't know much about it, so there won't be all that much to say. What we might do however is a podcast episode once the first issue of Duranki gets released (which will happen on September 9), but I can't make you any promises yet on whether we'll have time to do it.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
I totally forgot to post the notes I had made for this episode's little recap of the connection between Griffith and the Boy in the Moonlight. So, better late than never, here it is:


Obviously one of the key moments of this episode is seeing Griffith at the window, with the full moon in the background, looking at his hair and thinking to himself before mysteriously disappearing. It’s significant because it further validates a theory I came up with 13 years ago, in 2006, and that has already been pretty much confirmed in the story since.

But I know people outside of skullknight.net’s forums don’t necessarily keep up with our understanding of the series, so I think this is a good occasion to go back a little bit on what we know about the boy and Griffith, and how we learned about it over the years. It all starts during the Incarnation ceremony, at the tower of conviction, when the demon child, exhausted after saving his mother one too many times, lies dying on a pile of rubble. The Beherit Apostle, who’s climbing the tower to witness the end of his little world, feels pity and kinship towards the child and swallows him up so they can die together, thinking that perhaps he can dream of the new world to come inside of him.

Inside that egg, we see the child’s misshapen body as it’s transformed into something else: a new Griffith. That’s what the incarnation is, the fact Femto, who was purely a spirit, acquired a corporeal form, a body of flesh. But he did so at the detriment of child, whose body he merged with. At the time, readers basically thought that was it for the kid.

Something strange happens when this new Griffith emerges from the egg, though. Casca becomes agitated and calls out to him. It’s a subtle scene, because at first it looks like she’s reaching for Guts, but then it shows she’s really looking at Griffith, which is hard to understand.

Shortly afterwards, in volume 22, Griffith appears on the Hill of Swords. Key information is revealed to us there. As he watches Guts & Zodd fight, Griffith feels something towards Guts. Not his own feelings, because his “heart is frozen” as he says, but those of the child. It turns out the boy hasn’t simply been erased after all.

At the same time, Casca feels a familiar twinge in her brand and leaves Godot’s house to head out towards the scene. Things soon come to a head during the fight and Casca is put in danger by falling boulders. Then something incredible happens. Griffith actually moves to protect her. And after he does, she reaches affectionately to him, despite the fact her Brand is causing her incredible pain. Guts watches on without understanding what’s happening. In her state Casca doesn’t recognize anyone, so why act like that with Griffith? Especially considering what he did to her, right?

Of course, it’s because she doesn’t recognize his physical appearance, but instead knows that he is her son through her brand. Like she always did. She could always sense him. Now this answer might seem obvious to our listeners today, but it wasn’t easily understood by people at the time, nor for many years to come.

And as Griffith flies away, we also get one last insight into his mind. He feels a heartbeat, we see a shot of him protecting Casca, we see the demon child, and another heartbeat. It’s a single page, but very powerful. It tells us the boy lives, and not only that, but he will act to protect his mom if needed. That’s a pretty big deal. Big enough that Griffith left the scene because of it. Also worth noting is that this is the last time we see what Griffith think until episode 358. Both times it’s the same topic.

In the beginning of volume 28, as the group is on the beach, about to reach Vritannis, we learn a lot of things. Schierke tells the group about the magical powers of the full moon and of the sea. The Skull Knight reveals to Guts that Elfhelm might not just be a safe haven for Casca, but a place where she can be cured. And they talk, Casca wanders on the beach and meets a young boy. The Boy in the Moonlight, as that episode is titled.

She acts like a mother towards him, and the boy has a keen interest in Guts as well. We even get a shot of the two of them holding him after a little comical moment. Later on, that night, as Guts watches Casca sleep with the kid, he wistfully thinks back to his son and the last time he saw him, inside the Beherit Apostle.

Now it doesn’t take a genius to put 2 and 2 together here. We thought at the time that the boy has got to actually be their son. He even looks like them! The only problem is that their son is inside Griffith’s body now, so it can’t be him. The Brand doesn’t even react to him. Unless maybe Griffith managed to shed him somehow, or cast him away? Those were our thoughts at the time.

The boy’s uniqueness is reinforced by the ensuing battle against the Pishachas. He stares down a crocodile and somehow turns him away, but more importantly, when Guts loses his mind to the Berserk’s armor because of the ocean and is about to attack his friends, the boy appears as a spirit of light and breaks through to him, even when Schierke couldn’t.

Following the battle, Casca is looking for the boy, who has gone missing. We see a shot of him ominously looking down on them from atop a high cliff, with the full moon behind him. That episode has an evocative title: superior being.

At that point we were still kinda stuck: the boy must be Guts & Casca’s child, but the child is trapped inside Griffith. The boy’s powers fit that of a high power being, like Griffith… but the brand doesn’t react to him, nor did Schierke recognize him. Griffith could have managed to separate himself from the kid, but how? And why not kill him then? And also, that would negate the fascinating potential of them being merged, which sounds unlikely.

That leaves the possibility of Griffith physically turning into the Boy, with the kid taking full control. It’s technically possible, it fits all the requirements, but… it’s a bit hard to swallow, that’d be a crazy development. So we kinda leave it at that, figuring we’ll wait till it’s clarified at a later point. That was in 2004.

But then, two years later, I’m doing something I don’t do all that often: reading my Berserk volumes. I’m reading through volume 28 and I notice a page I can’t recall in episode 238. So I check Young Animal and actually, wow, that page was added in the volume. Cool little find, it’s not the first time it’s done, but it’s not very common either.

Why was that page added, though? Well, something strikes me about it. The top part adds some dialog about the boy, but the bottom shows Guts noticing something through his Brand. He turns towards the cliff… but then dismisses it. The last shot on that page shows the group from the point of view of someone on the cliff. Was someone there then? What about the next page? Well the top of the next page, one that was already there originally in Young Animal, is just a transition shot from the cliff and sky to the group talking in the cabin. EXCEPT.

There’s a strange shape on that cliff, silhouetted against a cloud in the background. A shape that’s really unmistakable. Zodd’s horn. We also see the tip of his wing, it’s his profile really, as if he was looking down at the group and is turning away. That’s pretty crazy. Why would Zodd be there? And more than that, why would Miura add a page specifically to draw attention to it? For him to be there in his apostle form means that he just flew in, and to not show himself means he didn’t come for personal reasons.

He could have been doing some recon on the Kushans, except at that point they weren’t ready to attack yet. And why would he spy on the group? Well Zodd is basically Griffith’s chauffeur these days, and doubles as his bodyguard. That’s 2 possible reasons for him to be there. We never knew how the Boy got there and how he left, after all. Maybe he rode on Zodd’s back, like always. This was the final push that made it clear the only logical explanation for the Boy and Griffith, that of a transformation, was the correct one. Upon posting about this, we also quickly came to the conclusion that the full moon was the likely trigger, and, well, it’s right there in his name too. So for us, at least for me personally, the matter was settled from that point on, and it would be years until we saw the Boy again.

He reappeared in 2010, in episode 316, titled “full moon”. He shows up in the middle of a battle, Casca rushes to him, and he saves the day by helping Guts see through the armor’s Od once more. That confirmed that the full moon indeed was the trigger for his appearance.

There was a little problem though: it seemed unlikely Zodd could have carried the boy all the way to the solitary island. At the time some naysayers harped on that point to try to cast doubt on the whole theory, but they failed to realize that firstly, Zodd’s appearance on that cliff was not in doubt, given the added page, and secondly that it had merely been the final clue to convince us, the key being the fact Griffith and the Demon Child share a body to begin with.

The final two confirmations came soon after. In episode 327, as Guts is drowning in the Sea God’s blood, the boy appears to him in his astral form and guides him out. As he does, he shows two strands of hair that are only typical of a single character in Berserk: Griffith. Lastly, episode 331, shooting star, shows us the boy standing atop one of the branches of the world spiral tree, then getting inside, and shooting off in the distance. Traveling through the tree 30 episodes before we see Griffith leading his army back to Falconia that way. That explained how the Boy could get to the island.

So there you have it, that’s why the end of episode 358 isn’t surprising, although we still have all the reasons to be super excited about it. And that’s also why we know the moonlight boy will appear in Elfhelm very soon, possibly in the next episode.
 
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