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The comic - Manga

Original title: Beruseruku
Gatsu, Grifis, Caska, Judo, Pipin, Kolcas, Rickertz
Film script: Kentaro Miura
Drawings: Kentaro Miura
Publishers: Hakusensha
Italian publisher: Panini Comics - Planet Manga

Country: Japan
Year: 1989
Gender: Fantasy / Horror Comic
Albi Tankobon: 37
Periodicity: Aperiodic
Recommended age: Teenagers aged 14 to 20

It must be said immediately that Berserk it is absolutely not a comic or a children's cartoon, but definitely for an adult audience ready and mature to face violent and raw scenes, bordering on splatter, this in response to those who think that manga and anime in general are a product exclusively for under 12. The same character principal of Berserk, Gatsu is certainly not a model to be taken as an example, given his behavior at times, rather questionable, cruel, solitary, devoid of feelings, vulgar and ruthless with everyone. Berserk conceived and designed by the brilliant Kentano Miura makes its first appearance on newsstands in August 1996 for the Planet Manga editions. Given the original and counter-current character and the fantasy-horror setting, Berserk becomes in a few years an incredible publishing phenomenon, such as to be considered a "cult" comic of the turn of the century.


Berserk tells the story of Gatsu, a medieval black knight, equipped with a gigantic sword calling the Dragon Slayer, which he holds behind his back, is blind in one eye and is equipped with an artificial metal arm capable of firing arrows and cannon fire. Gatsu wanders thirsty for revenge, looking for a group of five evil beings belonging to the sect of "The Hand of God". The character of Gatsu (Berserk) is tough and ruthless and he shows it since the first episode, when he enters a tavern, he cuts to pieces of brigands who were molesting a girl. The only ironic and funny side of Berserk is represented by Pak, a nice elf who accompanies Gatsu on all his travels and who is useful to him as he has the property of healing wounds, Pak was saved by Gatsu (Berserk) from a theater company. Gatsu's (Berserk) past is revealed bit by bit through his memories ranging from his troubled childhood to joining the Hawk Squad. He is found under the body of his mother, who was hanged, by a group of mercenaries who raise him. His adoptive father, Gambino, teaches him the art of fighting and the sword. During his childhood and following the death of Gambino, Gatsu (Berserk) is forced to suffer various violence that forge his character, transforming him into a hard and ruthless man, until he is enlisted as a mercenary, in the Hawk Squad commanded by the ambitious Grifis, a handsome and charismatic character hungry for power. Gatsu (Berserk) was part of the Hawk Squad for over three years, during which time he became very close friends with Commander Grifis, with whom he won numerous battles.

Gatsu reveals here all his ability and his charisma that leads him to become a point of reference and a friend for all soldiers. In the group there is also a warrior woman named Caska, with whom he falls in love. At this point, the Berserk series goes through key narrative points. Following a humiliation suffered by Gatsu, Grifis becomes more and more violent and evil enough to become an adept of the sect "The hand of God". He leads Gatsu and the Hawks team to hell, as he wants to sacrifice her to the Death Five. A massacre ensues from which only Gatsu and Caska survive, but they are marked for life by this episode. In an attempt to save Caska from the hordes of demons who wanted to rape her to turn her into a being from hell, Gatsu is wounded in the neck and marked by the evil that will haunt him forever. Having escaped the fight, now Gatsu wanders in search of these five beings and above all the secret of Bejelit, an object that would allow him to find them. The wound will bleed every time he faces a demon. It is at this point that the Berserk series reaches its climax and popularity. The plot of Berserk becomes fascinating and complex and several references to the stories and philosophy of Clive Barker appear.

Berserk is also distinguished by some drawings that from the initial slightly naive and "naive" stroke gradually become more and more refined and rich in details. Before making Berserk, the author Kentaro Miura developed his style also thanks to the creation of several short stories scripted by Buranson (the author of Ken the warrior). On Berserk supernatural elements such as infernal demons and monsters of the worst kind play a very important role, which are graphically created in an exemplary way and with an almost maniacal attention to detail. As for the cartoon series of Berserk, it must be specified that here we do not find the complete story of the character (still in evolution), the narrative ends with the extermination of the Hawk Squad. The cartoon Berserk series consists of 25 episodes that are very faithful to the original manga, to the point that the same cartoon drawings have been taken up as key drawings on which the interleaving drawings for the movements were then made and mounted. The only changes concern some scenes of violence and limited and censored sex, which however have not compromised the narrative and qualitative coherence. As for the music, in addition to the excellent opening theme, the musical background contributes well to introducing the fantasy atmosphere. We conclude by saying that the Berserk cartoon is to be considered one of the most beautiful anime produced in the second half of the 90s, like Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop and The skies of Escaflowne.

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Berserk and all names, images and registered trademarks are Copyright Kentaro Miura and are used here for cognitive and informative purposes.

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