I've been hearing about Berserk more or less since I really got into manga, but it was only recently that I truly decided to look into it. I had heard that it was violent and bloody, but I never thought much of it, believing it would be something along the lines of Rurouni Kenshin or You You Hakusho. I could not have been farther from the truth. And I could not be happier about it. Berserk is truly the single most violent and gory manga I have ever come across, but the story is intriguing enough to keep me engaged.
The story itself follows a man named Guts. Yes, Guts, like intestines. It's actually quite fitting considering how many times *SPOILER* he slices someone in half. Guts is a main character I feel we don't see enough of in manga: an antihero. He's not the virtuous knight in shining armor. He's rude, he's crude, he's violent, and more often than not he comes off as a psychopathic jerk. But for some reason, I still enjoy his character. Most of the time it seems he's fueled solely by anger and revenge, but that's what makes the few short moments when he seems to truly care all the more special. We don't see any of Guts past explained in this volume, but we get hints that he's been through something horrible. It's enough to keep you coming back for more.
Now as for the artwork, I must admit I was a bit taken aback for a moment. Most of my life, I've dealt with much lighter artwork and stories. However, within a few pages, I began to fall in love with the artwork of Berserk. The shading is very heavy on most pages, something that usually doesn't go over so well in manga. Heavy shading can quickly make things blur together and disappear so that you have no idea what's going on the page, but not in this case. Kentaro Miura somehow manages to heavily shade nearly every panel and somehow build in incredible amount of depth with his images, and without making the panels look too busy.
Now I'm going to talk about the one thing that seems to turn most people away from Berserk (besides the gore). The pricetag. Many of the volumes went out ofnprint in the last couple of years, and scalpers are ready to take advantage of the hardcore fans. Check the prices of certain volumes, and you're looking at a price of $50-$2000. Yes, you readnthat right. I've seen a copy of an out of print volume listed in "fair to poor condition" for $2000. Do NOT pay over $20 for these books. Dark Horse, the English publisher of Berserk, is aware of the scarcity and the pricejacking. They are currently reprinting the series in order of scarcity. I myself am an impatient little narwhal, but I'm also a frugal one. I overpaid for two of the volumes before doing any major research to see if there would be a reprinting. I don't plan to make that mistake again. My lessons to you today, my darlings, is to just be patient. Dark Horse is working toward fixing the scarcity issues. Only buy the volumes when the price is right.
Now, my word of warning to all of you who are new to this series: Nothing can really prepare you for this series. It's violent, and bloody, it's downright disgusting at times. There is sex, and nudity, and even rape. There are demons and monsters so horribly ugly that you've never seen the like, even in your worst nightmares. I've read manga like Attack on Titan. It pales in comparison, in my humble opinion. This series is hellish in all the right ways, and it's got this gal hooked. I love everything about it so far, and I plan to stay with it for the long haul.
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: DARK HORSE BOOKS; 1st Edition edition (19 February 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1593070209
- ISBN-13: 978-1593070205
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.7 x 18.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 204 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)