What makes Berserk so great?

slayer81

Legendary pimp, slayer of evils
I'm with Skorne on this. I love the storyline in general, the characters are so complex and great. It's truly amazing reading. The fact that, no matter what, Guts is so driven that he has survived odds that would be totally insurmountable to anyone else... all these make for a great great story.
 
I'd find it hard to articulate the vast appeal Berserk holds for me. I was first exposed to it when I was about seventeen or so, and it has so intensely changed the way I view the world and my life since that time. Literally, it's one of the cornerstones in my inner-world. I very consistently refer to it as a source of internal symbols and meanings. I simply cannot think of anything else that has had such an effect on me (other than the electronic music duo autechre, which is an entirely different art form...)

I can analyze aspects of the story for hours and hours, and it doesn't result in a loss of interest, as it has with all my other fandoms/seemingly everything else. It actually increases my interest, cumulatively, and keeps me thinking "Jeez, this Miura dude is a story-telling, character weaving, universe crafting genius!" I can't think of many other things that have had this effect on me. It can be a great work of art, able to stand on it's own merits with awesome execution/artistry/poise... but still, I often find it pales in comparison to the power Berserk has had on me. Berserk is a whole universe in it's own right. And not just in the typical fictional sense. Everything seems to be carefully thought out. And there's a lot of subtlety. I also think a large part of it is Miura's willingness to explore various existential problems such as the meaning of struggle, overwhelming despair, and the darker aspects of humanity.

I am a story writer, myself... not that I've been published, I just really enjoy trying to emulate effective story-telling techniques and I enjoy the whole weaving my own universe and characters and such. Miura appeals to this writer/muse part of me at it's very core. It's offered me so much inspiration and feeling and human-ness. There is this deep sense of truth that resounds throughout the entirety of the story. From incredibly intimate and personal levels (Griffith, Casca, Guts, New Members!), to incredibly vast and metaphysical (yet metaphysical doesn't just mean arbitrary hocus pocus, one can actually extrapolate the metaphysical things for themselves, and have it make so much sense!... It's logical and plausible and appeals to the patterns and such that I see in the world.) It's just so rich, and in many ways it mirrored (and also redefined) the philosophy I've held, about existentialism/suffering, archetypes, the existence of "evil" (The Idea!), etc, and how all of them are wrought from humanity.

It blows my mind when I think this is all the work of one man. It causes me to realize just how very far I still need to go, before I can ever hope to tell a story as good as Miura's. I was never previously that interested in the graphic novel/manga format... Berserk showed to me how masterfully it can be done, and how much can be conveyed just via a few panels. Also, the art! Jesus, the art!

Ahg, this amounted to more of a "Berserk is just an effing masterpiece" than me specifically saying why. If I was a more patient person, I could write paragraphs and paragraphs trying to encapsulate the essence of Berserk's (subjective) awesomeness, from the smallest of minutia, to large/overriding themes or motifs... but I don't think this would be doing anyone any favors, as I have a tendency to be long winded or verbose, and by all means, I feel the work should speak for itself. That's why it is as awesome as it is. I feel like the best compliment I can give Berserk/Miura, is having it inspire the very best story I am capable of coming up with. I'm not out to copy it or anything, but since it has affected me so powerfully, I am almost fanatically-driven to analyze and emulate those elements that give this particular story it's unique power. I think I have tonnes to learn from him. And since I actually enjoy analyzing Berserk to ridiculous lengths, in it's own right... well either way, it's just going to happen. And this is something I am incredibly grateful for. I find it hard to possibly hope to tell a story that could ever be as good as Berserk, but damn it, I am going to try!
 
umop_3pisdn said:
It's logical and plausible and appeals to the patterns and such that I see in the world. It's just so rich, and in many ways it mirrored (and also redefined) the philosophy I've held, about existentialism/suffering, archetypes, the existence of "evil" (The Idea!), etc, and how all of them are wrought from humanity.
I have to agree in ways here. Berserk takes what is generally considered or written as unbelievable in such a way as to MAKE it believable, meaning you have demons and magic and a guy who can physically lift the dragonslayer and survive such onslaught but it all has generally good, reasonable and believable explanations as to how this all comes to be. It's not like suddenly people can fly and get superpowers randomly like some saliormoon-esque transformation or something. I'm sure you get my point.
Each character is still developing and has an interesting story as well which, depending on your audience, appeals to everyone on some level. And you bring up philosophies and "evil" and you have the ability to view a lot of different views of the human perspective. I, being one who really enjoys brutality, struggle the time frame, war and the such am too even more drawn into the story emotionally, needing to know what happens next. You can feel a lot of emotions when you read, you want it as badly as the characters do. Plus its comedic which is needed in a good tale in my opinion -I like it that way, but I also just have a twisted sense of humor.
Also the art is good -it's always easier to read a comic when it is visually pleasing and realistic unlike most manga, perhaps this too is why I love Vagabond as well -no giant eyes or "artsy" watercolor designs like the base of those metal gear comics, for an example. Not that those styles are bad or I dislike them, they can really highlight a comics at times, like in Batman:Secrets for instance, it suited that perfectly, made it even better. I'm just saying it's got a great style particular for it's make.
Berserk is not afraid to address sexuality, religion and other controversial things which I find personally refreshing.
 
If its makes any sense to say, Berserk is a "realistic" series based out of a fantasy realm. It shows the good and bad of humanity in the most extreme ways and does not hold back one bit. I find this style very honest and true to the story and world. The artwork is fantastic, the characters are deep and well thought out and the inner plots, intrigue, moral and social workings inside the Berserk universe are unrivaled by any other series I have read. It is just THAT good. I am a aspiring writer(by no means amazing) and Berserk is the epitome in my opinion of what a great series should be.
 

Dante Greystone

Hail to the King Baby!
What makes it good is that it appeals to our darker side it really gives us that dark and violent stuff we want but the standards of society make us keep inside. I however let that side out and well known. Then again I work as a cashier at Walgreens, aint no way your gonna stay calm doing that. But for me I can relate to Guts what with not really having any dream of your own and trying to find one. But mostly it's the violence.
 
I like Berserk because it's a manga fireball. jk, I love DH old summaries. :troll:

I actually don't like Berserk for the blood, guts, rape, sex, and Farneze's masterbation scene. :isidro:
I accept those aspects of the story but I'll always love Berserk for the epic storyline and the masterfully developed characters.
My favorite stories almost always include plot twists and I'm a sucker for Betrayal/revenge plot lines.
And having a great protagonist who's confident, determined, and very human would easily have been enough to convince me to read Berserk. Having a whole cast of great characters is the ultimate bonus.

I was actually thinking of making a poll, how many people here are into Berserk because of the violence and darker aspects of the series. And how many people are into Berserk because of the great story line and masterfully developed characters?
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Ramen4ever said:
I was actually thinking of making a poll, how many people here are into Berserk because of the violence and darker aspects of the series. And how many people are into Berserk because of the great story line and masterfully developed characters?
The results would probably be depressing.
 
Ramen4ever said:
I like Berserk because it's a manga fireball. jk, I love DH old summaries. :troll:

I actually don't like Berserk for the blood, guts, rape, sex, and Farnese's masterbation scene. :isidro:
I accept those aspects of the story but I'll always love Berserk for the epic storyline and the masterfully developed characters.
My favorite stories almost always include plot twists and I'm a sucker for Betrayal/revenge plot lines.
And having a great protagonist who's confident, determined, and very human would easily have been enough to convince me to read Berserk. Having a whole cast of great characters is the ultimate bonus.

I was actually thinking of making a poll, how many people here are into Berserk because of the violence and darker aspects of the series. And how many people are into Berserk because of the great story line and masterfully developed characters?
well the violence,gore,sex and darker aspects of the series are mainly what drew me to Berserk but I also enjoy the awesome story and character development which are just as important if not more.
 

Kossoff

It's high time Cymbaline.
I would say a main thing that roped me in apart from just the awesome story telling and characters, is how the fight scenes aren't stuffed to hell with dialouge explaining every little reasons someones done a particular move and alot of it just left to the reader to see and figure out.
A prime example of the all talk and no go is Rurouni kenshin, i did quite like it when i was younger but all the yabbering on and on everytime someone moves their hand gets really on my nerves, and since Berserk has none of this annoying yabber you can get alot more involved with whats going on i find.
 
X

Xem

Guest
My main reason is for loving Berserk is how I relate to the characters. I can't tell you how many times I've simply sat down and thought about the ordeals Guts has had to go through and instantly laugh at all of life's problems. He may be a fictional character, but in a lot of ways he's one of the best anti-heroes of our time. His sheer relentlessness is something we can all look up to.

If I ever had kids I think instead of Disney movies and Nickelodeon, it'll be Berserk Bedtime Stories! :SK:
 

Guts intestines

Yer breath is bad... It'll go away with yer head
To me Berserk is everything good with Manga. It combines great characters, who each have an astounding amount of depth with adult subject matter done in a way that's not to be exploitive or pornographic, but rather to highlight man's struggle with demons both inner and on the surface. The world that Kentarou Miura has painted is one filled with evil and strife, that spurs cathartic feelings in its readers. I can't think of a time I ever felt such genuine rage when reading or watching something as I did when watching Casca's rape at the hands of femto, or been able to almost feel the type of passion that I felt while viewing Guts' sheer determination for revenge that seemed to jump right off the pages. Most series would have peaked around the time Berserk reached the eclipse, but Berserk was just getting started. After all these many years (2002 for me, even though I was pretty young) and hopefully many more to come, when it finally ends it'll leave with a piece of me just as the Berserker Armor will no doubt take a piece of Guts' senses when he wears it for the last time. But I like to believe that's a time far off, so far I don't even think Sonia could predict how it'll end.
 

KazigluBey

Misanthrōpos
This isn't a huge reason but after watching some different Anime lately, I can say that I really like how the characters in Berserk don't yell out the names of their attacks. It's pretty cheesy when someone is in the middle of their attack and is saying the name of it out loud. Adon and Isidro do this in a comical fashion so it works in that regard. And of course Adon says it before hand and not in the middle of the attack.

Just one cliche that didn't rear it's ugly face in Berserk. :guts:
 
KazigluBey said:
It's pretty cheesy when someone is in the middle of their attack and is saying the name of it out loud.
Ramen's irrelevant post no Jutsu!!!!!
I choose you!!!

:carcus:
Master instructed me well, my irrelevant post jutsu's are flawless. You had no chance. :puck:

Actually to be on topic, I agree quite a bit. I can't stand it when people talk during a fight explaining their "techniques" Or even worse. Someone has a fight where they struggle against an opponent and in the end they win a hard fought battle. Then in the next fight they say that they weren't using their full power.. right.. So they took a beating just for the sake of it, instead of using their full strength.
 

KazigluBey

Misanthrōpos
Ramen4ever said:
Ramen's irrelevant post no Jutsu!!!!!
I choose you!!!

:carcus:
Master instructed me well, my irrelevant post jutsu's are flawless. You had no chance. :puck:

Actually to be on topic, I agree quite a bit. I can't stand it when people talk during a fight explaining their "techniques" Or even worse. Someone has a fight where they struggle against an opponent and in the end they win a hard fought battle. Then in the next fight they say that they weren't using their full power.. right.. So they took a beating just for the sake of it, instead of using their full strength.
I think the Dragon Ball series set the standard for most of these cliche's. And I agree on the whole "I was only using (x percentage) of my power." And everyone is in total shock, the villain laughs or smirks and then proceeds to throw a beating. There's plenty of variations of the scenario but it all ends up feeling like a narrative/monologue thrown over what is supposed to be an intense action scene. It is usually worse when it is English dubbed.
 

Scorpio

Courtesy of Grail's doodling.
More episodes = more money. Having hidden power or extended monologues takes up precious time so they can carry things over multiple episodes. At the same time it also lets the author weasel out of having to put any effort into his story, since everything is being explained at point blank and there is no reason to convey what is going on through the art, everything is on the table. Its all about money, and sometimes its not even the author's fault. I heard that Toriyama had wanted to end Dragonball Z some way through, but the company pushed him to create more and more, hence the bland "I have more hidden power than you!" carrying on for absurd amounts of time. The original Dragonball was original and interesting from what I have seen/read, it seems like things started going downhill only after he was pushed to make more. (sorry if it turns out I'm wrong about that, I don't have a source.)
 

KazigluBey

Misanthrōpos
Well I'm pretty sure he didn't have anything to do with DBGT other than maybe some consulting and the fact that they use his drawing style. GT was just created to cash in on the name.
 

Guts intestines

Yer breath is bad... It'll go away with yer head
Dragonball Z continuing on wasn't the problem, it was when Toei Animation kept doing Dragonball stuff after Toriyama had stopped, which is what blessed us with the steaming turd that was Dragonball GT, which was never part of Toriyama's vision, though he did provide art for Super Saiyan 4 Goku.
 

Scorpio

Courtesy of Grail's doodling.
I would consider most of Dragon Ball Z to be a "steaming turd" as you put it. I can only watch two people standing around talking about nothing for so long...
 

Guts intestines

Yer breath is bad... It'll go away with yer head
Scorpio said:
I would consider most of Dragon Ball Z to be a "steaming turd" as you put it. I can only watch two people standing around talking about nothing for so long...
Ah, come on everybody loved DBZ back in the good ol days, which was basically up to the Cell saga. I'll agree that afterwards it was complete crap, but as a whole it was a classic that to this day has probably done the most to mainstream anime, so I think it deserves its props.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
KazigluBey said:
I think the Dragon Ball series set the standard for most of these cliche's.
Most of them already existed though, the latter parts of the series only crystallized them into a successful model. I say latter parts because as a matter of fact, the series really only started resembling the more stereotypical shounens of today with the Saiyan arc. It was an attempt to cater to what the user base and the editorial staff of the magazine wanted, as opposed to the lighter, more humorous and fantasy/mythology based earlier parts of the series. That included retcons making characters like Son Gokû or Piccolo into aliens and other such stuff. So in a way, DB was actually transformed to fit the stereotypes people wanted.

And for those of you that have only seen the TV series and haven't read the manga, you should know that the original work has a lot less filler (where typically nothing happens) and is much more palatable even after the series becomes more Sci-Fi oriented.

Scorpio said:
I heard that Toriyama had wanted to end Dragonball Z some way through
This is 10 years old knowledge, but I remember hearing long ago that he intended the series to end with Freezer (and Gokû)'s death on Namek. I think it's plausible, as it didn't seem to leave room for more at the time, and as the series really went downhill after that. Personally I think it should have ended with the Piccolo arc.

Anyway, this is all completely off topic and irrelevant. Please cut it off everyone. There's actually a thread about shounen manga in Shootin' the Breeze if you want to discuss all of this.
 
Lately I've been on my yearly read through of the manga as the mood often comes back when I want to enjoy this story from scratch right up to it's recent volume. And there is so much to really enjoy from this series that has been picked apart an analysed under a microscope in so many YouTube videos and discussion topics, from the monsters to the fights and even how much the mythology and world develops the further the series goes on.

But for me what I think makes Berserk so great, is it's characters. Their motivations, their flaws and what they aspire to be and what they want to achieve but more importantly how they change and how they end up steering the story in a much direction than what it originally set out to be which is why the story of Berserk has me coming back and appreciating it. From humble beginnings, to watching the art change and see the story become richer and change as time goes on.

I think what makes Berserk such a great story underneath all it's monsters, it's fights and nihilistic themes of the universe is the people. The people really are the heart and soul of this changing story, watching them grow and watching their relationships and goals become something bigger and different.
 
Honestly? I love fighting scenes. Very intense, serious with real consequences and not cliche like in some shounen manga. There are so many great aspects of Berserk, from art and atmosphere to story, depth of characters, inspirations from philosophy, literature, other works of culture, but that's all already given with a fact that it's Berserk and everyone knows it's all good. But I'm continuing to read it because of very emotional and specific battle/fight moments.
 
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