Author Topic: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion  (Read 8875 times)

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Offline Grail

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FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« on: February 05, 2015, 03:49:16 AM »

Hey everyone! It's been a while, hasn't it? :ganishka: Well, thanks to to all of the great feedback on the first FloraCast, Gummyskull, Lithrael and I got together to record another episode. In addition to our original lineup, we invited on Tumblr-based O-Blessed-King-of-Longing as a special guest, who I really enjoyed having on, and think you will too. Overall, I think I had even more fun recording this episode than the previous one, so I hope you'll enjoy listening as much as we did talking it up. :slan:

Here are the sections we covered this time around:
1. Flora (how appropriate!)
2. Slan
3. The virgin/whore dichotomy and how Miura addresses it
4. The theme of motherhood in Berserk
5. Listener questions (Schierke and Guts, the legacy of the saggy titty thread, and the mystery of men's nipples, among other subjects covered)

As with our last discussion, feedback is always awesome! If you have questions that you'd like to see answered in the next episode, please make sure that you bold them. Enjoy! :griffnotevil:

Offline Gobolatula

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2015, 04:00:12 AM »
I loved this one and it was a pleasure being there to record you guys. There were so many hilarious moments and lots of great discussion! Do more!

Offline Walter

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2015, 11:48:16 AM »
I've got a long flight today so this is perfect timing  :daiba: Glad you guys were able to get together and record again!
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Salem

Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2015, 04:48:43 PM »
Really enjoyed this.  Great job,ladies.


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Offline Delta Phi

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2015, 02:51:08 PM »
Yes! My first podcast shout-out! I made an audible shout of excitement when I saw there was a new FloraCast yesterday. I just finished listening to the 2nd hour, and I really loved this episode, especially concerning Slan! Y'all covered some great topics.

I'm really glad y'all were able to bring in O-Blessed-King-of-Longing. She had some great insights that complemented the regular cast really well. It sounds like everyone was having a lot of fun. It's nice to see a bridge being extended between fan domains.

I have to say, I'm very thankful y'all are around and willing to do these podcasts. There's a lot of really interesting points y'all discuss (outside of my scope) that I would never consider without such a focused lens.

I'm very excited about the prospects of a Schierke-centric episode also!

Good job on another great FloraCast!

(Also, just for the record, I pronounce Phi with an "eye". From what I've been told (take with with a grain of salt) the masculine pronunciation is Ph'eye', and the feminine is Phee, but that comes from social fraternity/sorority culture, which isn't exactly an accurate representation of actual Greek language.)

Offline DraceYun

Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2015, 03:42:55 PM »
I enjoyed the discussion ladies! That was an interesting comparison between Flora and Mozgus.

Hopefully BKOL joins skullknight.net (if she already hasn't) and joins in future chats.

Offline Griffith

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2015, 08:06:58 PM »
Delightful as before, and you really brought the heavy stuff at the end. On that note it made me think about what you said about the story always being served even while certain conventions are arguably being observed, and the distinctive ways female nudity is used. Such as in the case of Slan, where despite her measurements she's by no mean's a sexual object to anyone within the story, and is in fact repulsive and kind of represents the repulsive nature of sex in general (the cannibal orgy scene, her abstract dimension of amorphous T & A).

Come to think of it, has sex ever not been horrible in Berserk? Guts and Casca apparently got a nice one in there, but that was after a traumatic false start involving childhood rape, father issues, and strangulation! Luca and Jerome seem like the most prominent example of characters actually just enjoying casual consensual sex without direct consequences. I think that sort of makes the bath scenes debate more interesting as well because these are scenes of women being naked but also casual, safe, and comfortable that way. If it's also pleasing to the eye, I think there's a legitimate case to be made for that in a story for adults without it being purely exploitative (like the classics, for better and worse). In general, I feel Berserk has matured into what I'd consider a more adult-themed series; it's always had nudity, violence, and at times a shocking mix of the two, but more recently I feel like there's also been more uneventful, casual nudity, such as the above mentioned bath scenes, that aren't leering but also aren't throwing any fig leaves out there. Combined with the maturity of the characters and the exploration of their relationships and family dynamic, like I said, I think it makes for a more adult-oriented series in general. Obviously, the series is also being written by a more mature Miura with evolving interests than when he was a young man, or maybe he's just been watching a lot of HBO. =)

So, are you going to do the Schierke pod next, or what? :schierke: She's always permeating the edges of the show. :guts:

Offline Grail

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2015, 12:21:02 AM »
Thank you everyone for the replies so far. I'm really glad that folks have been enjoying it. :guts: And I forgot to do so in my earlier post, but I would like to take a quick minute to thank Lith, Gummy, and King, who took time out of their Sundays to record and made it an awesome discussion. And of course, thank you to Gobs, who did the actual recording!

I've got a long flight today so this is perfect timing :Daiba: Glad you guys were able to get together and record again!

Nice, I hope that it served as a suitable distraction from your in-flight meal. :carcus:

Yes! My first podcast shout-out! I made an audible shout of excitement when I saw there was a new FloraCast yesterday. I just finished listening to the 2nd hour, and I really loved this episode, especially concerning Slan! Y'all covered some great topics.

Right on! If we were able to get a verbal reaction from you before you even started listening, then I think that the job has already been done. :badbone:

I'm really glad y'all were able to bring in O-Blessed-King-of-Longing. She had some great insights that complemented the regular cast really well. It sounds like everyone was having a lot of fun. It's nice to see a bridge being extended between fan domains.

Yeah, I think that King's fan experience, being a bit newer to the game and spending her time on a different website, gave her a different kind of perspective that I continuously find interesting and thought-provoking. She's also got a cool accent, which is a huge bonus to a silly American like me!

I enjoyed the discussion ladies! That was an interesting comparison between Flora and Mozgus.

Thank you! I think that the Flora/Mozgus comparison might have been one of my favorite parts of this episode.

Hopefully BKOL joins skullknight.net (if she already hasn't) and joins in future chats.
That would be cool, though I think that like many of us, she's very fond of her Berserk-discussion-spot of choice, and it can be hard to break a habit. For instance, I do like to reblog Berserk fanart on Tumblr, but I rarely discuss the series there, where I don't know that many people.

Delightful as before, and you really brought the heavy stuff at the end. On that note it made me think about what you said about the story always being served even while certain conventions are arguably being observed, and the distinctive ways female nudity is used. Such as in the case of Slan, where despite her measurements she's by no mean's a sexual object to anyone within the story, and is in fact repulsive and kind of represents the repulsive nature of sex in general (the cannibal orgy scene, her abstract dimension of amorphous T & A).

Thanks, and yeah, Slan is actually a very funny case. Having her in the series seems to give Miura the chance to really mess with his readers. How do you think she smelled in the Qliphoth, anyway? :ganishka:

Come to think of it, has sex ever not been horrible in Berserk? Guts and Casca apparently got a nice one in there, but that was after a traumatic false start involving childhood rape, father issues, and strangulation! Luca and Jerome seem like the most prominent example of characters actually just enjoying casual consensual sex without direct consequences.

Well, on the bright side, maybe Luca and Jerome will be able to get together again someday... if Jerome ain't dead. :sad:

In general, I feel Berserk has matured into what I'd consider a more adult-themed series; it's always had nudity, violence, and at times a shocking mix of the two, but more recently I feel like there's also been more uneventful, casual nudity, such as the above mentioned bath scenes, that aren't leering but also aren't throwing any fig leaves out there. Combined with the maturity of the characters and the exploration of their relationships and family dynamic, like I said, I think it makes for a more adult-oriented series in general. Obviously, the series is also being written by a more mature Miura with evolving interests than when he was a young man, or maybe he's just been watching a lot of HBO. =)

That's a good point, and over time I think Miura's shift in focus is something I'd like to discuss more. Of course, we haven't seen anybody having sex for a long while, so maybe we'll be able to gauge things better once we hit Elfelm.

So, are you going to do the Schierke pod next, or what? :schierke: She's always permeating the edges of the show. :guts:

I'm very excited about the prospects of a Schierke-centric episode also!

The people have spoken! I think Schierke was more or less a shoo-in* for the next episode, anyway, but thank you for helping to cement the decision.

EDIT: * I had originally written "shoe-in", but Lith has since informed me of the correct spelling. Who knew that it had nothing to do with shoes!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 05:03:14 AM by Grail »

Offline puella

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2015, 06:03:33 PM »
I enjoyed you ladies' talk. And it was nice to hear a new voice (O-blessed-king-of-longing's) too.

I'd like to propose you to focus on the characters' mentality. This is one of women's specialty, isn't it?
I mean pychologically and from a woman's perspective. For example, Casca is considered to be a perfect woman to men. But for women, she might not be as ideal because she's just so devoted. Rather, an independent woman like Luca might be more appreciated. These kinds of things.

For me, the best woman in Berserk is Schierke. If she were 10 years older, I think she'd be a good alternate choice for Guts. :schierke:

Offline Walter

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2015, 05:40:06 PM »
I still haven't had a chance to listen to the full episode yet, but have enjoyed it so far (about an hour in).

Flora as a relic from the past that gives us insight into worldviews from hundreds of years ago versus the Holy See's worldview -- good point! Though I don't think Mozgus and Flora were meant to be contrasted in that way as individuals, as representatives of their religions, it's solid.

Another thing that's interesting about Flora beyond her obvious wisdom is how she seems to have risen above the cycle of malice that's evident in others who have opposed the God Hand and apostles. She's apparently without trauma, despite her presumably perilous journeys in the past accompanying the Skull Knight. I think this gets taken for granted as a personality trait, but she's pretty special in this regard. Guts, Casca, Vargas, SK and others were traumatized in some way as a result of these encounters. Yet Flora is downright zen-like, expressing no malice toward anything and anyone -- not driven by revenge or violent emotions, she's content to live a solitary existence in her forest. She's quite enigmatic, in that regard.

Also, from a female empowerment perspective, her departure in the form of a wall of flames that stopped Grunbeld's (manly!) transformed body was pretty significant. And to answer a question you guys asked, I don't think we've seen the last of Flora. She may be departed, but more than once it's hinted that she and Schierke will meet again, in some form. After all, there are no hard and fast rules for the other side of the afterlife. So perhaps she could take a form similar to how Obi-Wan appears to Luke after his death.

King of Longing brought some great analysis to the show, and I hope to hear more from her in the future. Amazing that she's only been reading for less than a year... Here's hoping she doesn't lose her interest in Berserk and wander off to another series.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Vixen Comics

Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2015, 05:57:37 PM »
I'd like to propose you to focus on the characters' mentality. This is one of women's specialty, isn't it?
I mean pychologically and from a woman's perspective. For example, Casca is considered to be a perfect woman to men. But for women, she might not be as ideal because she's just so devoted. Rather, an independent woman like Luca might be more appreciated. These kinds of things.

In another thread on the Floracast you said the same thing about Casca:

Quote
Also, as a woman, I've always thought that Casca is not ideal because she's too devoted

Could I ask you to explain what you mean by this? Why is Casca not ideal because she is "too devoted" and why is that a negative trait? I am not saying that being devoted is bad but based on what you have said here you seem to be implying that it is not good. Like it would appeal to men but not women.

Casca seems to get a lot of scrutiny from fans for some how falling short of what "an empowered warrior woman" should be like. I guess some people have an issue that she does not have her own ambitions and has settled to either be Griffith's sword if she cannot be his woman or just be Guts woman. And even though I can see where some people can be turned off by that, particularly female fans, I do not see how Casca's biggest aspiration is to be loved by someone makes her an unappealing character to female fans. Casca is a mixture of fragility and strength, that is what makes her interesting to me. True I would love for her to have aspirations beyond just being someone's woman, but being particularly devoted to either Guts and Griffith does not make her less of a cool female character. This is where I kind of get off the feminist bus, because I notice some fans (and some feminist media analysts) tend to discredit female characters (even if they have independent traits) if they do not aspire to acquire some position of power or materialistic goal, and settle for being in love with someone. I've seem female fans on tumblr write Casca off for this. I am not necessarily saying you are puella (I don't mean to gang up on you  :sad:) but I guess could you explain what you mean?

And sorry for going off topic here.  :farnese:

I think to contribute to this thread I think Miura does a good job at swaying his readers to feel a certain way toward his characters. For example, with the exception of flora, Schierke and Luca, I disliked most of the major female characters in Berserk at first. I disliked Casca for many reasons that I will not into right now but mostly how she acted toward Guts in the beginning, and I thought charlotte was annoying, and Farnese I thought was just a pretentions hateful character. But I have eventually come to really like all of them. Miura does a good job of, even if the characters are not immediately likable (or completely unlikable) he gives them such genuine characteristics and motivations for their actions you can't help but appreciate them for what they are. He does this very well even with his female characters.


/center]

Offline Walter

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2015, 06:24:43 PM »
Why is Casca not ideal because she is "too devoted" and why is that a negative trait? I am not saying that being devoted is bad but based on what you have said here you seem to be implying that it is not good. Like it would appeal to men but not women.

I might be stating the obvious, in which case please ignore me, but I believe the implied stigma here is that Casca can be seen as being too dependent on others for her own happiness.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline puella

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2015, 07:23:19 PM »
Could I ask you to explain what you mean by this? Why is Casca not ideal because she is "too devoted" and why is that a negative trait? I am not saying that being devoted is bad but based on what you have said here you seem to be implying that it is not good. Like it would appeal to men but not women.

I think my post is self-explanatory. As a role model for women, or someone the female reader can identify with, she could be seen as lacking independence/ambition for herself.

Offline Vixen Comics

Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2015, 07:36:07 PM »
I might be stating the obvious, in which case please ignore me, but I believe the implied stigma here is that Casca can be seen as being too dependent on others for her own happiness.

I think my post is self-explanatory. As a role model for women, or someone the female reader can identify with, she could be seen as lacking independence/ambition for herself.

fair enough. I just think her personal situation justifies how she is as a person.  Though I do not disagree with you. I want to see Casca have her own growth and revelations as a character separate from Guts. She has a lot of potential for growth and I will be disappointed if I do not see that. that has been my biggest issue with her being insane. At any rate I do not want you to think I was attacking you puella.  :sad:
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Offline Grail

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2015, 07:49:16 AM »
I enjoyed you ladies' talk. And it was nice to hear a new voice (O-blessed-king-of-longing's) too.
Thanks! So glad that you enjoyed it. :guts:

I'd like to propose you to focus on the characters' mentality. This is one of women's specialty, isn't it?
I mean pychologically and from a woman's perspective. For example, Casca is considered to be a perfect woman to men. But for women, she might not be as ideal because she's just so devoted. Rather, an independent woman like Luca might be more appreciated. These kinds of things.
I think that what you're pointing out would make for a great discussion topic on the next podcast! I remember that you brought this up in the first episode's thread as well, so I'm sorry that we didn't have a chance to address it last time.

For me, the best woman in Berserk is Schierke. If she were 10 years older, I think she'd be a good alternate choice for Guts. :schierke:
Aww.  :serpico: But I see what you're saying here, and I think it brings up some interesting questions of what the "best woman" in Berserk could mean to different readers. Is it someone that you aspire to be like, or a character whose weaknesses reflect yours? Like you mentioned, I wonder if that definition would differ depending on the gender of the reader.

Flora as a relic from the past that gives us insight into worldviews from hundreds of years ago versus the Holy See's worldview -- good point! Though I don't think Mozgus and Flora were meant to be contrasted in that way as individuals, as representatives of their religions, it's solid.
Yeah, while I don't think that Miura's intention was necessarily to set the two up as foils to each other, it's still fun to draw the comparison!

And to answer a question you guys asked, I don't think we've seen the last of Flora. She may be departed, but more than once it's hinted that she and Schierke will meet again, in some form. After all, there are no hard and fast rules for the other side of the afterlife. So perhaps she could take a form similar to how Obi-Wan appears to Luke after his death.
I'm definitely down for force-ghost Flora.  :SK:

King of Longing brought some great analysis to the show, and I hope to hear more from her in the future. Amazing that she's only been reading for less than a year... Here's hoping she doesn't lose her interest in Berserk and wander off to another series.
She's pretty active on Tumblr, so I don't picture her moving on any time soon. But I'm certainly hoping to have her on another podcast soon, either way. I'm glad that people are enjoying her contributions to the show as much as I did!

I do not see how Casca's biggest aspiration is to be loved by someone makes her an unappealing character to female fans. Casca is a mixture of fragility and strength, that is what makes her interesting to me. True I would love for her to have aspirations beyond just being someone's woman, but being particularly devoted to either Guts and Griffith does not make her less of a cool female character.
I think that Miura's writing really shines when he has the opportunity to explore weakness. To me, Casca is a pretty unique combination of characteristics. Her mental strength is admirable to me, and like Luca, she's very devoted, but that quality manifests itself in some unhealthy ways throughout the story, which I think is Puella's point. Schierke (to continue Puella's example) has weaknesses and insecurities of her own, but I think Miura takes care to illustrate her independence and self-reliance as well.

I think to contribute to this thread I think Miura does a good job at swaying his readers to feel a certain way toward his characters. For example, with the exception of flora, Schierke and Luca, I disliked most of the major female characters in Berserk at first. I disliked Casca for many reasons that I will not into right now but mostly how she acted toward Guts in the beginning, and I thought charlotte was annoying, and Farnese I thought was just a pretentions hateful character. But I have eventually come to really like all of them. Miura does a good job of, even if the characters are not immediately likable (or completely unlikable) he gives them such genuine characteristics and motivations for their actions you can't help but appreciate them for what they are. He does this very well even with his female characters.
I think your observations are all in line with what we're talking about on the podcast! Initially, I think Miura likes to play with archetypes and defy expectations when it comes to characters. Though sometimes those expectations can reveal some interesting observations about ourselves. Like, why did you find Charlotte annoying at the start? In a lot of cases in Berserk, these characters are just normal people caught up in extraordinary circumstances, which I think makes them very relatable. :slan:

Offline Walter

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2015, 02:45:57 PM »
There's so much text in this thread it's almost like getting another episode early :ubik:
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline DuskSprite

Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2018, 10:02:23 PM »
I finally got around to listening to these today, and I was so invested in your discussions that I ended up listening to Episode 2 immediately after the first. I can only echo what others have said in that getting a female perspective on Berserk, which often feels like this hyper-masculine fanbase, is such a valuable and refreshing thing to have. And more importantly, giving the female fans a voice in what can be (let's face it) a pretty nasty community to hang out in outside the Falconian walls of SK. I've spent enough time browsing /r/Berserk and various 4chan threads to gather that much... but whatever, there's always going to be the lowest common denominator in any given fanbase. :schierke:

Tumblr's Berserk community is great though, and is probably the place I feel the most comfortable in since it's not quite as intense as SK. Not throwing shade at you guys, it's great that you maintain such a high standard of quality, it's just that I feel less 'out of my league' on Tumblr, haha. I love that I can read this forum and know that 99.99% of what I read is going to either be accurate or valuable information and I hate the idea of defiling that. :magni:

I haven't been posting at SK for very long so I'm not sure what the story is in regards to whether you'll record another one of these, but I sure hope that ends up being the case. I have my own ideas that I'm interested in hearing a female perspective on, which is two things (though they're linked in my mind) and that is... which era of Guts do you find the most appealling? I'm mostly speaking from a visual perspective, but it'd be interesting to hear your take on the various 'stages' of Guts throughout his life.

I often feel somewhat outspoken in that I've always preferred the leaner, younger looking Guts from the Black Swordsman arc to the muscular 'Arnie' Guts from later in the story, though Miura has gone back and forth on the handsome/withered scale.



These are the two most extreme examples I could find without re-reading the entire manga, but I'm sure you already know what I'm talking about. I don't know, I guess my taste in men is somewhat unpopular because I've found myself at odds with other fans (literally had one guy on /r/Berserk say "fuck you" for voicing this opinion) for preferring the more youthful Guts from the earlier chapters... maybe I just have a thing for men in tight leather pants. :farnese:

There's obviously a story reason for Guts' visual development, it makes sense that he would become increasingly withered as he uses the Berserker armor, but I honestly feel like it has just as much to do with Miura developing his style as much as anything else, the Guts we see in Lost Children for example is a lot more muscular than what we saw in Black Swordsman despite taking place in a similar time frame.

That brings me to my second point, which is what some fans have called the increasing 'cuteness' of Berserk's artwork in more recent episodes.



I've already voiced my love for the more light-hearted aspects of Berserk on the forum so it probably isn't surprising that I actually prefer this new style, and wouldn't have any problems with it becoming 'the norm' until Miura decides to change it up again. The most recent episodes proved that Berserk can still be Berserk even in this particular style, but whether or not it's just while we're in Elfhelm, we'll have to wait and see. So yeah, I'd love to hear your impression on Berserk's artwork, how Miura's style has developed over the years and which 'phase' appeals to you personally. I've always thought of women to be more visually in touch with this kind of thing so hopefully this is food for thought. :casca:

Offline adhdlama

Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2018, 07:53:47 PM »
Dusksprite, write your questions in bold! (If I'm getting things right here!)

Personally the most anticipated moment of Berserk since Griffith's rebirth, is how Casca will deal with being raped, and honestly I'm not exactly sure that Miura will do it justice. It's a manga author(!) and it was under such extremely disturbing physical and emotional conditions that it's hard to even begin to imagine what a recovery from that would be like, for a guy, anyway. We might have seen the answer to this before your next podcast, but I wonder what would in your opinion be a legitimate reaction and recovery from something like that.







Offline number18

Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2018, 09:34:51 PM »
Greetings all.

Please pardon any perceived necroposting, but I just listened to FloraCast #2 today and wanted to drop a line and say thanks for the enjoyable discussion.

I haven't been active on SK.net for perhaps over a decade. I recently caught up on the past hundred chapters lol, and so many things discussed in the FloraCast are fresh on my mind, in particular the female nudity. Catching up on all the recent chapters, I kept remarking to myself what great symmetrical breasts all the tortured maidens of Midland had. And of course, the nude scenes of children (Schierke's accentuated butt) had me feeling really wtf. I'm a survivor of sexual violence, raised Catholic, trans nonbinary, and mixed race and blah. So while there's a number of things regarding sexual violence that I find make it hard to casually recommend Berserk to my fellow survivor friends anymore, I really appreciate certain aspects about it all in Miura's ongoing narrative. I question why I feel that way. I think what I appreciate is his depictions of the depravity of the Holy See and nation-state power itself, because that is very real in our world!! I wonder what his research processes have been like.

Something else that occurred to me while catching up on the recent chapters is Miura depicts with regularity that the powerful will subject young boys to prostitution & sexual violence in their courts of power, buuuut...there's no openly gay characters? And I don't mean evil powerful dudes who display sexual proclivities towards twinky boys, but honest to goodness regular degular gays. Has anyone else ever wondered about that? I'm not really expecting there to be any of that since this is a manga serialized in a young straight man's magazine. But it doesn't hurt to put the question out there.

As for Casca dealing with such a traumatic event as the Eclipse & her rape (as the above poster brings up), well I can tell you from experience that it is a lifelong alteration of your entire conception of personhood. If I imagine surviving something like that, where my rapist was not only someone I knew and loved and fought alongside and believed in, but ALLLSO literally violated all of those bonds and my body to become a supernatural-level psychopathic god-demon who can bend spacetime, I would at the very least probably be terrified to like, exist. This Femto flesh-avatar can just show up whenever wherever to do whatever, and he's now a savior figure of this altered landscape that once was the waking human world? Yeah. =( When we entered into Casca's dreamscape and saw she was a broken doll being dragged around in a coffin by Guts-hound, I was so thrown and began to wonder if Casca will eventually decide to leave Guts and everything behind to find any sense of self again. But geez, the whole world is under the influence of "Griffith" now, so where could she even go?

Ok, thanks for reading. I look forward to any future FloraCasts!


"you have to forge yourself into a weapon"

Offline SleepersWake

Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2018, 05:46:26 AM »
Greetings all.

[truncated for ease of reading]

Ok, thanks for reading. I look forward to any future FloraCasts!

Thanks for stopping by to discuss - it may be a bit of a necro, but this is the kind of mature discussion that signed up for on these forums. Before I go on, I want to thank you for talking about where you're coming from. For one thing, I appreciate your candor, and I hope you get all the good hugs love and support you deserve these days. For another though, your perspective on these issues is really valuable and fascinating to me. As a cis straight man myself, I've often wondered how comfortable I should be with the types of sexuality displayed in Berserk, but my own life experience on its own isn't enough to really give enough context to grapple with this stuff. So, here are some of my thoughts, as prompted by your perspective.

Re: the idealized drawing of the "tortured maidens of Midland". To me, the contrast between the idealized female forms (which, frankly, in any other contexts, I might well get off to) with the perverse torture and horrific rape (possibly a tautology) they endure serves to make me even more uncomfortable. It's a horrible juxtaposition appealing on one hand to my primal, lizard brain and on the other hand revolting to my sense of empathy. It's kind of like being motionsick: one stimulus says one thing, another says the opposite, and my body and brain collectively decide their best recourse is to feel fucking sick to the stomach. You're right, though, that the depictions of Schierke are questionable. What's the payoff for Schierke's butt? Is it just so that we can laugh at Isidro being pervy, in a stock-gag kind of way? I don't know that that's worth it - and certainly a portion of the audience has embraced it in a disturbing way *cough*r/berserklejerkisliterallyhell*cough*

Re: the exclusively negative depiction of male homosexuality in the story. It's tempting to brush that off as part of the medieval setting, forcing everyone to be in the closet - but it's a fantasy, and if they can have a woman of colour in the Band of the Hawk, then why not a gay man? On the other hand, not every story *has* to represent everyone, and we don't know that, say, Pippin isn't gay - it's just not depicted. It's fair to say, in fact, that there are very few depictions of sexuality that are positive *at all* - pretty much just the one. That's just the story being told - People Mostly Being Awful To Each Other. (I think the Floracast talk about this but it's been a few months since I heard it. I definitely need to relisten!). Nevertheless, it would have been so refreshing to see just one passing thing, like, I dunno, Gaston kissing some dude at the ball in the background. Just as a nod to the audience to say "I know every other depiction of male homosexuality in this story is predators and pedophiles, but the world this story takes place in has good gay dudes in it - that just isn't important to this story." I dunno. Maybe that would have made his publishers mad or something. (side note, I have the actual magazine for Ch 355 sitting on my shelf, and I dread that someone will find it and judge me for having a magazine full of Japanese underwear models)

Re: Casca's recovery - the theme of people abusing power to get away with rape has always been relevant, and is arguably more so now than ever, but it hadn't occurred to me how terrifying it will be for Casca when she learns what Griffith has become, and how thoroughly immune to consequences he now is. What it must be like to see a man with so much power, and so beloved, let alone semi-divinity, and to secretly know that man as a rapist - it's pretty much beyond my imagining.

Anyway. Just some thoughts. Thanks for provoking them! And on that cheerful note - I want to finally concur that I hope to hear more from the Floracast some day. I'd particularly love to hear y'all's perspective on Casca's recovery sub-arc (or super-arc, if you take the long view).

Offline Lithrael

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Re: FloraCast Episode 2: Women's Berserk discussion
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2018, 02:36:01 PM »
Great posts guys. 

Uniformly Beautiful Lady Captives!  Yes, it's a very old tradition mega-popularized with slasher films in the 80s, the dissonant juxtaposition of intensely horrific things happening to very attractive people.  It's certainly intentional, a shorthanded way to maximize discomfort, though culturally the effect has become pretty diluted in 40+ years of presence in popular media.  You're titillated!  You're horrified!  You're sickened!  But you saw this happen before in ten movies, eight comics and a TV show.  But of course, other people using up a good trope doesn't mean any particular author shouldn't get the chance to do it themselves, and it certainly fits with Berserk's themes and tones.  But why are there no frumpy girls in there with 'em?  Not even one just for variety?  Are we supposed to believe they've only got pretty ones?  Nobody who fought back and got a black eye or a cracked lip?  No, I think it's just tonal streamlining. 

I think that it's an artifact of the culture Berserk is being drawn in.  I've heard it put this way - if you filled up a city street with women who were all seven-out-of-ten attractive or more, the average person would look at that and see nothing unusual at first, and only notice they're *all* attractive if they think about it for a minute.  But if you filled up a city street with seven-out-of-ten men, the average person would look at that and immediately notice it's not an average group of men; that they're all fit and attractive.  I think that's exactly what we see in Berserk.  The baseline normal for men is actual normal; the baseline normal for women is seven out of ten.  Miura could make an effort to make the average woman more average but he does not.  Berserk is not interested in challenging these baselines because they work fine for the kind of story this is: fantasy, dragons, all the young women look good, all the organs are still recognizable when they're flying through the air.  Meticulously location-scouted architecture and culturally inspired monsters add to the fantastic scale of the story in a way that carefully rendered tummy rolls simply don't.  People expect to see ugly male mugs like Zepec's pop up in fantasy comics; it takes no unusual thought to include them or to read them. 

I don't think readers would be thrown by it if Berserk tried to average-up the women more but who would appreciate it?  People who would like to see it but who are only slightly chafed by its absence?  I don't like to see the bodies of women streamlined for the sake of a story's tone, but, eh.  I'm used to it.  As for fanservice, I don't know, I just can't get riled up by it.  Schierke's butt!  So embarrassed!  Ha ha!  It's stupid.  Oh well. 

The relationships and sex in Berserk are similar sacrifices to tone, really.  Nobody gets to be healthy.  All explored hetero relationships are completely fucked up.  (The healthiest one is a soldier and a refugee camp prostitute!)  All visible homosexual relationships are completely coercive.  It would be nice to see at least one visible homosexual relationship or character that was only fucked up and not coercive.  A background smooch, as you say.  A cute punk on a sailing ship.  Anything. 

As for Casca, I think you guys are spot on.  Can't think of anything to add at the moment.