Author Topic: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body  (Read 3373 times)

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Offline -cause

The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« on: January 24, 2016, 08:39:59 PM »
First off, I think I should make it plainly clear that the location of the brand isn't necessarily significant and there is no reason as to why it should be. We have no evidence that it is and therefore, all of the following is pure speculation...

In Volume 10, Episode 53, we're introduced to Gaiseric by Charlotte during the mission to rescue Griffith. We're also given a hint as to what the time period in which Gaeseric lived was like. Charlotte claims that, "In those days [the] continent saw constant warring between small city-states and many different tribes. Apparently it was an age of rival warlords. Continuous warfare ruined the land, and due to food shortages, plague and the like... it's said that fully a third of the population died."
Judeau adds that, "But God finally decided he couldn't condone the Skull King's deeds and sent five angels. By lightning and great earthquakes, the city was erased from the face of the Earth without a trace in the span of a night."

Five pages later, we see the floor of the Tower of Rebirth which shows the brand of sacrifice embedded into the foreheads of ancient corpses. Now, of course this could have just simply been the most effective way to show that these people had been branded prior to death, yet, while definitely a reasonable explanation for the brand location, I doubt that is the case.

In Volume 12, Episode 78, Griffith willingly sacrifices the Band of the Falcon during the Eclipse Ceremony and, as a result, Void unleashes the brand onto the band members. We're shown nine unknown members become branded and then, we see Casca, Corkus, Pippin, Judeau, and Guts become branded. Each of those five receives the brand on a different part of their body. Casca is branded on the chest, Corkus on the forehead, Pippin on the arm, Judeau on the hand, and Guts on the neck. Strangely enough, it appears as though the nine unknown members all receive the brand on the same part of their bodies; somewhere around the chest.

Obviously it has never been confirmed, however, it seems to me, pretty likely that Miura chose to place the brand on those specific and different parts of the main characters' bodies for a reason. Story-wise, I doubt this different placement was somehow intentionally done by Void or Griffith, so, one might assume that there there is some sort of deeper meaning as to why the brand of sacrifice takes to different parts of the body.

Let's focus on Corkus and the ancient corpses at the bottom of the Tower of Rebirth. Both Corkus and the corpses are branded on the forehead. In fact, from what we can tell, every corpse we can clearly see at the bottom of the tower has been branded on the forehead. Why? If we accept the notion that location of the brand is important, then we can infer that these sacrifices were people who had something fundamental in common. I don't want to assume too much, but, if we want to get a little more speculative, perhaps the brand being only on the foreheads of Corkus and the ancient corpses was due to them sharing some sort of common belief or more likely, because they shared a similar way of thinking.

If this is indeed the case, it makes the events of Gaiseric's time all the more mysterious. Perhaps we'll be given further insight on the brand, the Godhand, and the IoE after the gang arrives in Elfhelm and is introduced to a certain elf king. Of course, all of this is highly speculative. Nevertheless, I'm curious as to what your guys' thoughts are on the matter.

Offline Delta Phi

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Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2016, 10:06:10 PM »
Well, it's purely conjecture, and I don't believe there's anything to support your suggestion. In fact, the uniformity of the bodies at the bottom of the Tower of Rebirth suggests, to me, that they may not have actually been sacrificed in an apostle or occultation ceremony (for one, they weren't consumed, which doesn't necessarily mean anything, but to me it's suspect considering what happened at the Eclipse). One thing I've considered is some kind of mock ceremony performed by some such pagan group who knew about/worshiped the God Hand.

I always imagined the brand flashing down erratically, not too unlike a lightning bolt, to it's sacrifice, happening in an instant, and landing wherever the path of least resistance allowed. Additionally, to me, both Pippin and Judeau appear to be taking a defensive stance, which suggests they were trying to block the impact, not necessarily that the brand was trying to specifically land on their respective forearm and hand.

But from a purely artistic standpoint, I think Miura chose to give special treatment to the main characters of the Band because, well, they're main characters, while the rabble just filled in the background.

Offline Walter

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Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2016, 12:07:22 AM »
I think it's worth discussing , but I'm not in the camp that thinks the brand placement holds any symbolic significance. However, there are a few narrative reasons.

Case in point, Guts and Casca's brand placement was probably given careful consideration. Guts' brand is in a prominent part of his body, easily visible to readers, and doesn't require a special x-ray vision shot to show that it's reacting to something. That's important given how often readers see it bleed. Casca's is a bit different. I think the scene in which the demon child "nurses" on the brand was probably formative in its placement.

I'm with Delta Phi on the other brand placements. They seem incidental.

Offline -cause

Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2016, 11:45:40 PM »
You both make good points and as I said before, there really is no reason as to why it should be significant at all. That being said, if Miura wanted to, I think it would be a pretty excellent opportunity for him to take advantage of how things unfolded in the past and a chance for him to delve into the inner workings of the brand using the location of the brand on the body as an introduction to a deeper explanation of the brand, the Godhand, and the IoE in general.

If by chance he does decide to go this route, the Elf King would be the perfect character to inform us and the gang of such workings, seeing as he is probably one of the very few characters who might know of such things and perhaps, somewhere within this explanation, the Godhand's (and Femto's) weaknesses will be revealed as well.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 07:45:37 PM »
First off, I think I should make it plainly clear that the location of the brand isn't necessarily significant and there is no reason as to why it should be.

I agree and honestly I don't see the need to go beyond that. I don't think there is a deep meaning to where the Brand is situated on characters when it hits, since like you said nothing in the manga seems to favor that hypothesis. Furthermore, we know that the Brand really marks the soul and not simply the corporeal body, so what body part is affected seems even less relevant in that regard.

Offline -cause

Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2016, 08:03:03 AM »
Furthermore, we know that the Brand really marks the soul and not simply the corporeal body, so what body part is affected seems even less relevant in that regard.

That's a very good point. Something that I forgot to take note of. By the way, where exactly in the story is that stated? Is it shortly after the Eclipse with Skull Knight or is it with Flora? I looked but I have a feeling Dark Horse skimped on the translations there.

Offline Walter

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Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2016, 02:07:44 PM »
That's a very good point. Something that I forgot to take note of. By the way, where exactly in the story is that stated? Is it shortly after the Eclipse with Skull Knight or is it with Flora? I looked but I have a feeling Dark Horse skimped on the translations there.

In Volume 3, the God Hand explain what happens after "those caught up with demons" die. Their souls are claimed by the Vortex of Souls.

Offline Crimson

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Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2018, 05:53:36 PM »
I agree and honestly I don't see the need to go beyond that. I don't think there is a deep meaning to where the Brand is situated on characters when it hits, since like you said nothing in the manga seems to favor that hypothesis. Furthermore, we know that the Brand really marks the soul and not simply the corporeal body, so what body part is affected seems even less relevant in that regard.

I know the brand is marked ethereally and not just physically, but I also feel the placement on both Guts and Casca was also important due to the fact they are vital areas that cannot be separated, so the question of "Why can't they just cut them off?" or something could never even be brought up at all.

Like if it was Judeau, Pippin, or Gaston instead as the survivor, I'm sure someone would've asked that.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2018, 06:30:43 PM »
I know the brand is marked ethereally and not just physically, but I also feel the placement on both Guts and Casca was also important due to the fact they are vital areas that cannot be separated, so the question of "Why can't they just cut them off?" or something could never even be brought up at all.

Like if it was Judeau, Pippin, or Gaston instead as the survivor, I'm sure someone would've asked that.

Well I mean it could still be asked, since we know it can happen. But my answer is basically the same. The Brand doesn't mark the corporeal body, it marks the soul. If a branded person cut their arm off, I expect the Brand would reappear elsewhere or continue to affect them anyway.

Offline Crimson

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Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2018, 06:40:15 PM »
Well I mean it could still be asked, since we know it can happen. But my answer is basically the same. The Brand doesn't mark the corporeal body, it marks the soul. If a branded person cut their arm off, I expect the Brand would reappear elsewhere or continue to affect them anyway.

That's an interesting theory, but I'm not too sure on that myself. I don't think a new brand would just appear, so much as just the brand's effect would still be on them, on their "astral limb" or whatever.

But cutting it off wouldn't do them any favors, since then the brand could never be interacted with, and who knows the kind of damage it would do if it would normally hemorrhage blood or something around fierce entities if only astral.

Not to mention it couldn't be tampered with, with seals and magic and the like, like what Guts has been doing lately.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2018, 06:52:41 PM »
That's not a theory, merely a possibility. My point was the Brand's effects wouldn't vanish.

Offline SleepersWake

Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2018, 10:01:49 PM »
Interesting topic! I doubt that there's an in-universe significance to the location. Walter's point about Guts' brand being always visible is also important, but I think there might be slight symbolic significance for Casca, Pippin an Judeau in that the location of their brand sort of represents their role. Pippin was the muscle. His whole deal was being huge and hitting people hard with a mace. If you had to represent that role with a part of the body, I think the arm is a good option. Judeau's thing was his cleverness and dexterity. His role in the Band of the Hawk was characterized by what he did with his hands. Casca is sort of the emotional fulcrum of the story, whose vulnerability has driven the plot pretty much ever since volume 13. With Guts and Griffith being characters who typically have a great deal of difficulty expressing emotion, you might say she was the Band's heart - and she is branded above her left breast, over her heart, emphasizing her vulnerability and femininity.

In the grand scheme of things, it's probably not super important, but I think these are cool details

Offline Bleac

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Re: The Significance of the Brand's Location on the Body
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2018, 01:23:37 AM »
That's a good effort, but ultimately I don't think that much though went into it. For example, Corkus got branded right it the middle of the forehead. What would that suggest, that he was the brain, wisdom or the conscientiousness of the group? He was equally important as a character, so you can't really let him out if you want to associate like you did with the others. I doubt Miura would have cherry picked only some of the main characters, which leads to the conclusion that it's probably not the case. I suspect it's closer to being a matter of visual design. Miura simply chose conspicuous parts of the body and placed the Brand in a visually fitting way, in accordance to each character; so yeah, I believe it's likely that it has to do with visual and artistic design rather than a deeper meaning and symbolism.