Why do people say it went downhill after the Golden Age Arc?

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I know this has probably been answered before but I couldn't find the thread. Can someone explain to me why people say the Golden Age Arc is the pinnacle of Berserk's storyline? I've seen people even go as far as saying it starts to suck after it. I thought the arc was amazing but I actually like the Mozgus arc better. Aside from just jumping on the bandwagon and letting other people's opinions influence their appreciation of the story, do they just not understand the purpose for certain changes in the dynamic of the story? I know a lot of people say it is too lighthearted now that schierke and isidro are on the team, but I think it's pretty inevitable that the story is going to become extremely dark again. Overall, I just don't understand these people's complaints...
 
I don't thinck so at all. Overall Miura improved in many aspects. Wether it being his massive improvement in Art, constructuring the plot or even his story telling. Many people who say that btw have pretty much have an bad understanding of the overall story. Miura always added something interesting to other characters wether it being the Beast of Darkness to Guts Character or the demon Child to Femto's. Besides that, we got an side cast which got well developed and greatly handled in many ways, such as with Farnese or Schierke. The world buildung in volume 24, the great battles and plot, and the way everything was symbolized and written was what made the story just become better.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
fyuturistic said:
Can someone explain to me why people say the Golden Age Arc is the pinnacle of Berserk's storyline? [...] Aside from just jumping on the bandwagon and letting other people's opinions influence their appreciation of the story, do they just not understand the purpose for certain changes in the dynamic of the story?
Typically the kind of people who hold that sort of opinion just don't understand much (if anything at all) about Berserk. That's really all there is to say about it.

fyuturistic said:
I thought the arc was amazing but I actually like the Mozgus arc better.
It's called the Conviction arc.

fyuturistic said:
I know a lot of people say it is too lighthearted now that schierke and isidro are on the team, but I think it's pretty inevitable that the story is going to become extremely dark again.
I think you're conflating two different types of complaints here. I mean, the fact Guts has found new companions has actually brought back a warmth that he hadn't known since the "Golden Age" (and it's not limited to Isidro and especially not Schierke). That aside, I don't believe there's anything "inevitable" about the story "becoming extremely dark again". I don't think it's going to happen, and I don't think the series as a whole was ever as "extremely dark" as some would like to believe (or conversely that it's now all sunshine and rainbows).
 
I can see why some people may consider the Golden Age highly over other arcs, as Mangetsu said it could be for nostalgia reasons from the anime's point of view. Fair enough. Barring that reason, the Golden Age sets the base of the story incredibly well (from a timeline perspective). In my opinion, even in subsequent arcs you witness politics, the danger from the supernatural side of the story, brute reality of the journey certain characters go through (which mind you, gets worse with bigger challenges as the story progresses) and so on. If one fell in love with the dynamics of relationships or friendships shown in the Golden Age, you get to see an interesting dynamic with Guts and his new group of allies and friends. Miura's written the manga masterfully in a way where each arc builds from strength to strength - be it art or depth of the story.

To say it went downhill after the Golden Age arc is absolute rubbish.
 
Aazealh said:
That aside, I don't believe there's anything "inevitable" about the story "becoming extremely dark again". I don't think it's going to happen, and I don't think the series as a whole was ever as "extremely dark" as some would like to believe.
You are right, I guess I was exaggerating a bit when I said it would be inevitable that the story would go back to being "extremely dark" at some point. Overall, the tone of the series has never changed to such a degree that I could make the claim that it would "go back" to a way that it used to be. And when I used the word "extremely" I more so meant relative to most other stories. Berserk is dark but extremely might be a bit of a dramatic thing to say when you are just evaluating the series itself.

Mangetsu said:
Millenium Falcon Arc>>

But to answer your question
Berserk never went downhill after the golden Age, it got even Better
Art Wise, Writing Wise and Plot Wise
Miura improved throughout the Series in many Aspect's, nobody can deny that
The world Builduing was amazing after Guts Flashback ended, and Miura introduced many many new amazing Plot points in to the Series including Religion
We got amazing Scenes like the reincarnation of Griffith, Hill of Swords, the Berserker Armor and the list goes on

Most of the Berserk reader's love the golden age arc so much because most of them got into Berserk, because of the Original Anime
I thinck
Yeah, all of what you said makes sense.
 
I don't agree with this statement, but I can maybe think of some reasons for why the story seems to go downhill after the Golden Age. For starters, the Golden Age is about 10 volumes long and the story progresses quickly (you get to see a ton of Guts' life) and so you can see a lot of character development take place. For Casca fans you get to see her in a normal state as opposed to her regressed state. Plus the Golden Age builds up to one of the biggest climaxes in the story (The Eclipse) and so it may be seen as a very well-thought story from start to finish and is full of interesting, exciting, and romantic moments.

On one last note, maybe some see the Golden Age as having less demon fights as a plus to the series. Zodd, Wyald, and the Eclipse are still some of my favorite encounters with apostles when compared to some of the later demon fights and there is a lot more demon-killing later on. Guts having to fight demons all the time may be too exhausting for the reader?
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Vaati said:
For starters, the Golden Age is about 10 volumes long and the story progresses quickly (you get to see a ton of Guts' life) and so you can see a lot of character development take place.
Well it's a flashback, so it's bound to progress relatively quickly. And yet ten volumes isn't all that short. Besides, the Golden Age arc didn't feature more character development than the rest of the story.

Vaati said:
Plus the Golden Age builds up to one of the biggest climaxes in the story (The Eclipse) and so it may be seen as a very well-thought story from start to finish and is full of interesting, exciting, and romantic moments.
As is the rest of the series.

Vaati said:
On one last note, maybe some see the Golden Age as having less demon fights as a plus to the series. Zodd, Wyald, and the Eclipse are still some of my favorite encounters with apostles when compared to some of the later demon fights and there is a lot more demon-killing later on. Guts having to fight demons all the time may be too exhausting for the reader?
See what I said in my previous post about not understanding what Berserk is about. Resenting the presence of supernatural elements in a fantasy series seems quite foolish to me.
 
Aazealh said:
Well it's a flashback, so it's bound to progress relatively quickly. And yet ten volumes isn't all that short. Besides, the Golden Age arc didn't feature more character development than the rest of the story.
Whether it's a flashback or not is irrelevant. The aspect of length is fairly subjective, but in terms of why the Golden Age may be seen as more enjoyable is possibly because of the pacing.

Aazealh said:
As is the rest of the series.
Haha I know, I know.

Aazealh said:
See what I said in my previous post about not understanding what Berserk is about. Resenting the presence of supernatural elements in a fantasy series seems quite foolish to me.
Foolish to you, but not to those who think the Golden Age is the best. From their perspective, they like the Golden Age more just by the fact that Guts wasn't branded till the ending of that arc. By being branded, it demanded for the story to have demons hunt Guts down for sacrifice. They may not understand what Berserk is truly about, but even if they do understand, they can still like one aspect of the story (where Guts is not yet branded) more than another aspect (Guts being branded).
 

Ratty

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
"There's no accounting for taste."

I suspect a lot of people who started on the Golden Age Arc (particularly some of the people who started with the anime, or started the manga or anime after the Golden Age arc flashback had started) felt like the Eclipse was a bait-and-switch. I've heard people who only watched the show say the Eclipse "felt like it came out of nowhere". So "all of a sudden" this cool show about this band of medieval style mercenaries they were digging becomes a supernatural story. And I guess if you were totally unaware of the larger saga watching the anime and coming to the eclipse could have a kind of "Rocks fall, almost everyone dies." shock to it. :ganishka:

One could certainly argue that this is the wrong way to approach Berserk because it's not how the story was intended to flow, we meet Femto before Guts' flashback after all, but again there's no accounting for taste. The mostly mortal military stuff was what attracted some section of people to Berserk. And some people are probably pissed their favorite characters died and were later "replaced" with ones they didn't like so much.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Vaati said:
Whether it's a flashback or not is irrelevant. The aspect of length is fairly subjective, but in terms of why the Golden Age may be seen as more enjoyable is possibly because of the pacing.
It's not irrelevant since it's the reason for the pacing. And no, the "aspect of length" isn't subjective. It's objectively defined in terms of volumes and episodes (i.e. roughly 10 volumes, as you said yourself). The pacing however could be said to be more of a subjective thing, a matter of perception. And indeed, I could make a case that the pacing of the Golden Age arc, aside for the time skips (which are directly related to the fact it's a flashback), isn't too different from that of the rest of the series.

Vaati said:
Foolish to you, but not to those who think the Golden Age is the best. From their perspective, they like the Golden Age more just by the fact that Guts wasn't branded till the ending of that arc. By being branded, it demanded for the story to have demons hunt Guts down for sacrifice. They may not understand what Berserk is truly about, but even if they do understand, they can still like one aspect of the story (where Guts is not yet branded) more than another aspect (Guts being branded).
It is foolish, period. Berserk is a fantasy story about a man who fights monsters. That is made clear right away, from page one of volume one. To pretend the story went "downhill" after the Golden Age arc because of the reason you invoke (that there are "too many demons") requires one to also pretend that the Black Swordsman arc didn't exist. And generally-speaking, that usually includes omitting some supernatural parts of the Golden Age arc as well (like Wyald's segment). It is an exercise in self-convincing where people try to make Berserk into something it never was, and that certainly is very foolish of them.

Ratty said:
I suspect a lot of people who started on the Golden Age Arc (particularly some of the people who started with the anime, or started the manga or anime after the Golden Age arc flashback had started) felt like the Eclipse was a bait-and-switch. I've heard people who only watched the show say the Eclipse "felt like it came out of nowhere". So "all of a sudden" this cool show about this band of medieval style mercenaries they were digging becomes a supernatural story.
You say particularly the people who were introduced to Berserk with the TV series, but the truth is, it only makes sense for those people. You don't start reading a book series from the middle. That being said, even though the supernatural element was toned down in the TV series, it is still present in it, and that includes the very first episode, which features Guts as the Black Swordsman.

Ratty said:
One could certainly argue that this is the wrong way to approach Berserk because it's not how the story was intended to flow, we meet Femto before Guts' flashback after all, but again there's no accounting for taste. The mostly mortal military stuff was what attracted some section of people to Berserk.
This is more a matter of criticizing how the team in charge of the TV series decided to adapt the manga's story. However, regarding the way the story's meant to flow, I don't see how taste plays any role beyond someone hypothetically liking the TV series but not the manga. The story was created a certain way, and outside of the differences induced by an adaptation that can't be changed.

As a thought experiment, I could see how someone who was introduced to Berserk by the TV series (released back in 1997, 17 years ago) might be disappointed by the fact the manga features more supernatural elements than the animated series. And that's cutting them some slack for forgetting about the first episode, about Zodd, about the beherit... And then disliking the Eclipse. This imaginary person certainly is very picky even at this point, and clearly only partially enjoyed the show. So anyway, maybe that person will then not like the manga, and that's that. They prefer the bastardized animated version. But then if they read the manga, well things are different. Even the Golden Age arc is a different experience, since many elements were omitted from the TV show. And at this point, the reader is expected to have read the Black Swordsman arc and to know what the series is about. Plus they already know what to expect with the Eclipse. Therefore there remains no justification for feeling that "it came out of nowhere".

Ratty said:
And some people are probably pissed their favorite characters died and were later "replaced" with ones they didn't like so much.
That's a pretty stupid way to view things, and in order to even start being able to form that opinion you'd have to stick with the story for over 10 volumes after the Golden Age arc ended. It just doesn't make sense.
 

Kompozinaut

Grail Serpico!
I don't take anyone seriously that views things that way, and as Aaz said, typically those people have only watched the tv series (or the movies) and have somehow selectively forgotten about the Snake Baron and Zodd. Even if you want to say there was a lull between the Golden Age and Millennium Falcon (lol what?), I find it hard to believe any serious fan thinks the end of the Falconia chapter was subpar, or at the very least, less than the sum of the Golden Age. Maybe I'm just putting each latest episode on a
well deserved
pedestal.
 

jackson_hurley

even the horses are cut in half!
I was introduced to the series by the 97 animation and when I learned that it came form a manga I was more then glad to hear that cause I felt there was NOT enough supernatural stuff! I wanted to know more about the black swordsman.
 

jackson_hurley

even the horses are cut in half!
Johnstantine said:
The same people who say there's a dip in quality are probably the same people who despise waiting so long between episodes.
classified with those who think the pace is all wrong because we don't get to read them in a sitting. arg!
 

Deci

Avatar by supereva01 @ DA
I've never heard anyone say it got worse after the Golden Age, maybe after the Conviction Arc when the trolls showed up, I can even understand that perspective however much I disagree with it. After the Golden Age though? I've always felt like Lost Children Arc was possibly the most loved part of the series. I'd love to talk with someone who thinks it went downhill after the Golden Age because that's a new one to me.
 
fyuturistic said:
I know this has probably been answered before but I couldn't find the thread. Can someone explain to me why people say the Golden Age Arc is the pinnacle of Berserk's storyline? I've seen people even go as far as saying it starts to suck after it. I thought the arc was amazing but I actually like the Mozgus arc better. Aside from just jumping on the bandwagon and letting other people's opinions influence their appreciation of the story, do they just not understand the purpose for certain changes in the dynamic of the story? I know a lot of people say it is too lighthearted now that schierke and isidro are on the team, but I think it's pretty inevitable that the story is going to become extremely dark again. Overall, I just don't understand these people's complaints...
They probably only just saw the anime and never really gave the manga a chance...
 
fyuturistic said:
I know this has probably been answered before but I couldn't find the thread. Can someone explain to me why people say the Golden Age Arc is the pinnacle of Berserk's storyline? I've seen people even go as far as saying it starts to suck after it. I thought the arc was amazing but I actually like the Mozgus arc better. Aside from just jumping on the bandwagon and letting other people's opinions influence their appreciation of the story, do they just not understand the purpose for certain changes in the dynamic of the story? I know a lot of people say it is too lighthearted now that schierke and isidro are on the team, but I think it's pretty inevitable that the story is going to become extremely dark again. Overall, I just don't understand these people's complaints...
They probably miss the characters that died. It's pretty devastating. Some people think that Breaking Bad didn't become good until season 3, and then some also say it wasn't good after season four.

I think that has to do with the epic saga that was contained within that time. When it ended, people didn't see how it could continue.

I've heard some opinions about how the fantastical elements don't fit, that Berserk is based in realism, even though there are fantastical elements throughout this part of the story.
 
Mangetsu said:
I don't thinck so at all. Overall Miura improved in many aspects. Wether it being his massive improvement in Art or plot constructuring and story telling. Many people who say that have an bad Understanding of the overall story. Miura always added something interesting to other characters wether it being the Beast of Darkness to Guts Character or the demon Child to Femto's. Besides that we got an side cast which got well developed and greatly handled in many ways, such as with Farnese or Schierke. The world buildung in volume 24, the great battles and plot, and the way everything was symbolized and written was what made the story just become better.
Amen to that!

The Ruffled Swordsman said:
They probably miss the characters that died. It's pretty devastating. Some people think that Breaking Bad didn't become good until season 3, and then some also say it wasn't good after season four.

I think that has to do with the epic saga that was contained within that time. When it ended, people didn't see how it could continue.

I've heard some opinions about how the fantastical elements don't fit, that Berserk is based in realism, even though there are fantastical elements throughout this part of the story.
Opinions that make no sense considering the Blackswordsman arc, the introduction arc, showed that Berserk was a full on fantasy.
 
IronBerserk said:
Opinions that make no sense considering the Blackswordsman arc, the introduction arc, showed that Berserk was a full on fantasy.
hahaha true. But Berserk was ahead of its time, before there was ever game of thrones or a live action adaptation of tolkien, there was Berserk.

Its fantasy realism makes the reader/viewer susceptible to view it as reality, and the shock of the explosion of fantasy is so powerful i think its confusing to them because its so effective in making you accept the reality of the world being broken in on by the fantasy, the same way the characters do.

Its crazy because they even warn you as you said, in the beginning what has happened. And they even drop Griffith's name in the anime, and he sees Fempto when he's fighting the count.


What's crazy is its good enough to where the reader/viewer can forget, during the golden age arc/anime.

And i think this opinion comes from anime fans mostly, but even in the anime they set that up at the beginning. Somehow you get lost in it, and its still a shock to the system.

My friends who introduced me to Berserk and everybody i know whose seen it, for some reason experience the eclipse and Griffith's turn as the most shocking turn of events, even though its so heavily foreshadowed.
 
My first encounter with Berserk was through the anime TV series. I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinion and maybe for some, the Golden Age was their favorite. Having now gotten into the manga, though, I can't see how anyone who has read past the Golden Age could say that the story went downhill in any way after that. There have been so many awesome moments and I'm loving the new characters, too. I haven't finished reading through all the volumes, but so far I have thoroughly enjoyed the story post Golden Age. I'm just starting on volume 27, right after Guts first receives the magical armor that Flora gave him. This is great stuff! I have to say that Berserk is my all time favorite manga! :ubik: I would wonder if those who say the story went downhill have actually read past the Golden Age. The Eclipse was quite upsetting, as it was supposed to be, and after seeing it in the anime I will admit that I hesitated to read the manga. I'm so glad I did, though, because I would have missed out big time! The manga does everything better than the anime did and I enjoyed the Golden Age arc that was shown in the anime much more through the manga.
 
I loved everything about the Golden Age Arc. The original hawks, the down to earth atmosphere before the worlds merge...but even I would not say it went down hill. The other arcs in the story are all unique and I love how they build on each other. I am most excited to see more of Falconia, I actually hope we get a couple more episodes of Rickert and the old midland courtiers and what they are doing before we get back to Guts and company.
 
One thing that really annoys me is when people say post-Golden Age arc it meandered a lot with the pseudo-elf apostles, the trolls and the Sea God storyline, because it wasn't relevant to the overarching Guts vs. Griffith thing.

I've noticed a general structure to each post-Golden Age arc in which it always starts off with Guts fighting a monster thats largely isolated from the larger plot of the arc, while setting up several core concepts and character development journeys that become integral to the arcs endgame.

I was fully prepared to hate the boat/Sea God stuff due to fan complaints, but as with the rest of the manga, it's actually really good, and I recognised several of the same structural elements in it that I did in the pseudo-elf and troll chapters in their role as the first chapter of the arc, just that this time I don't yet have the whole arc to see what its setting up.

I think one could only say it meanders and has bad pacing from the myopic perspective of someone reading the series release-to-release without any consideration for how the pacing is going to flow when the arc is finally complete.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Welcome to the forum! Not a bad way to start your membership here :guts:

Gonzo said:
One thing that really annoys me is when people say post-Golden Age arc it meandered a lot with the pseudo-elf apostles, the trolls and the Sea God storyline, because it wasn't relevant to the overarching Guts vs. Griffith thing.
Well, for some readers, it seems that any scene where Guts isn't splitting Griffith's head open is filler. For that kind of sentiment, they aren't actually invested in the series, or care about the characters. They're just looking for an ending.

I've noticed a general structure to each post-Golden Age arc in which it always starts off with Guts fighting a monster thats largely isolated from the larger plot of the arc, while setting up several core concepts and character development journeys that become integral to the arcs endgame.
I'm not sure that's true. Maybe you mean Chapter? Because there are only three arcs after the Golden Age. Conviction starts with Rochine, so that's consistent with your notion; but trolls aren't introduced as enemies until Vol 24, 2 volumes into the Millennium Falcon Arc. Fantasia kicks off effectively where the sea god stuff begins, so that makes some sense, I suppose.

I was fully prepared to hate the boat/Sea God stuff due to fan complaints, but as with the rest of the manga, it's actually really good, and I recognised several of the same structural elements in it that I did in the pseudo-elf and troll chapters in their role as the first chapter of the arc, just that this time I don't yet have the whole arc to see what its setting up.
I think the Boss overstayed his welcome a bit, but all that waiting paid off for me with the sea god.

I think one could only say it meanders and has bad pacing from the myopic perspective of someone reading the series release-to-release without any consideration for how the pacing is going to flow when the arc is finally complete.
Indeed, and that's been a consistent problem among casual readers ever since there's been an online Berserk community. The slower pace of releases merely exacerbates that problem. But brighter days are ahead! :ubik:
 

jackson_hurley

even the horses are cut in half!
Walter said:
Indeed, and that's been a consistent problem among casual readers ever since there's been an online Berserk community. The slower pace of releases merely exacerbates that problem. But brighter days are ahead! :ubik:
Yes Indeed! One more week. I've never understood why some people are nagging about the releases. I mean with every new episode I want to know more. They should be excited about the wait. It makes the new episodes even better. Like (for smokers) waiting to get off a plane to smoke a cigarette. The wait is long but the smoke is good once out. :ganishka:

Anyways, I'm glad that I never considered the series to go downhill after the golden age.
 
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