Today is an incredibly sad day, not just for Berserk fans, but for many artists in multiple industries. Kentaro Miura, created an incredibly influential series that has inspired so many artists in different mediums across multiple industries all across the world. Berserk was not just a series, it was something much more than that, just like the now late legendary Author Kentaro Miura, who has left this world far too soon.
I want to write this today as respect to the man, I do not really have the writing skills or to do him the justice he deserves, and I will not attempt to do so, that will be for others. However I would like to say my gratitude, describe some of his influence and potentially inform people who may be asking what Berserk is. Chances are they’ve watched or played something inspired by it.
Berserk started serialization in 1989 in Hakusensha’s Monthly Animal House, it has been a lifelong work for Kentaro that he poured his love and soul into, based on a rumour its future is still uncertain, what is not however, is the impact it had from year 1 and will continue to have. Berserk was known for many things, one of them was Kentaro’s Art, his penmanship was unrivalled and is in my humble opinion the greatest artwork to ever be drawn in a Manga and stands up their individually as Art on it’s on with the best.
Kentaro was already loved and making an impact on people at the age of 18, as can be seen here in a translation of an incredibly heartfelt message left by the Hajime no Ippo author about his experience with Kentaro. It is truly touching https://twitter.com/KertysL/status/1395263461400080385 . Berserk was well known for extended hiatuses, that even became quite a meme. However, no matter how many times it went away often for up to 10 months, fans were always clamouring for its return, they wanted to come back. The reason for that is the story of Berserk and the powerful art that accompanied it, you want more of it and you would wait as long as necessary to continue your journey into this amazing world.
On the surface people may see it as a grotesque dark and vile series depending how they are introduced for it; berserk was incredibly dark and was never scared of taking on any topic. There were multiple deaths, rapes, obscene murders and much more. That is the thing about berserk, you would not be wrong to say it was overly vile and dark, but the way the story was told the passion Kentaro put into it was seductive. You would turn the page and be absolutely shocked at what you saw, maybe even wanting to throw up, it was incredibly messed up but there was beauty and method to its madness. Behind everyone of these dark scenes is an incredibly professionally written story of betrayal, love, pain, fear and so much more.
On the surface it looks horrific but anyone that gave it a chance became to understand it and Kentaro Miura. I do not want to go into potential spoiler territory for anyone who may now read berserk after Kentaro Miura’s untimely death. Anyone who is familiar with the tale of Berserk knows the beauty in Gut’s story, here is a man who has experienced truly horrific events beyond anything we will ever experience that would have easily driven anyone to suicide. Guts however, much like Kentaro through his illness, (which I have a feeling heavily inspired Gut’s story and might even be how the mark came into existence), kept on getting back up. Something that resonates with me personally, although my illnesses are nowhere on the same level, I can relate to what he was going through and his desire to keep on going no matter how hopeless things seem, to keep climbing and achieving until to very end. Guts is relentless and endearing, despite experiencing a betrayal beyond anything any of us will ever experience, he learned not just to get back up but to smile, to love, to trust again. I think Gut’s is the personification of Kentaro Miura’s soul, an unrestrainable forever burning soul, that no matter the darkness that consumed will keep on going until the very end.
Berserk inspired much more than I will mention here but to name some of its biggest influencers, the soulsborne series games are one, perhaps biggest of them all. Fromsoft has mentioned multiple times how Berserk was its biggest inspiration. Its influence is clear through its, weight, art style and enemy and weapon designs to say a few. Almost everything you love about souls would not exist without berserk, it is that simple. The multi million selling franchise that many have come to love over the years is all thanks to this wonder franchise and wonderful man. To understand the influence of Berserk on the franchise look no further https://www.knowll.com/e/121/complete-list-of-berserk-influences-on-souls-games .
Even titles like Final Fantasy 7, dragon’s dogma, The legend of Zelda and many more, including obscure titles such as drakengard. It gave birth to the the whole absurdly giant sword for MC craze seen in many games, FF7 being the most obvious one.
However as mentioned previously, it was not just Games and Manga that were inspired by berserk, its influence has stretched to many mediums. To cite something very recent (and quite good in my opinion), Adam Deats the Assistant director of the Netflix Castlevania series stated today that berserk was a huge influence, with a quarter of the team drawing from it for inspiration https://twitter.com/AdamDeats/status/1395221491634016258 . A scene in berserk known as the eclipse was also inspiration for scenes witnessed in American Gods and Avengers Infinity War. You will even see independent artist doing drawings that will mention how berserk served as a big inspiration for them. A lot of western media would not be the same without it.
It is no lie that berserk also spawned many spin offs, movies, and animations, all of them troubled in some way, never matching the quality of the manga, and some being damn right awful. Which I believe is a testament to how Kentaro was Berserk, without his passion, without his soul it just was never the same. No matter how good the animations recreated a scene, nothing was a match for the Manga. Among them have been some genuinely great moments though. Susumu Hirasawa wrote an especially ethereal piece of music for on of the many Berserk games “A sister’s story” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZU3ULZdYaY They left a very touching not on working with Kentaro today to pay respects, expressed how they enjoyed working with him and how the music would not have been the same without him https://susumuhirasawa.com/information/archives/1431.
The director of Metal Gear Rising mentioned his interest today in making a Berserk game as a way of paying respect https://twitter.com/PG_saito/status/1395230207045369857, I personally would like to see this, and a Fromsoft game giving the series a send of only fromsoft can do. The many messages today go to show that Kentaro Miura is immortal, the inspiration from berserk will only grow from here and we all should be eternally grateful.
I could write paragraphs upon paragraphs of praise and inspiration thanks to berserk, but all I really want to say is give Berserk a chance if you have not yet. I am eternally grateful to Kentaro Miura and everything he has done and will continue to do for many mediums. The story of berserk is something that will never leave me and millions of artists and fans, it is a tale of constantly fighting against never ending despair despite the mental struggles you may have, despite how many people try to knock you down, the never-ending evil you will come across. It tells this story far better than anything else ever has, especially new titles in gaming and shows that have become popular recently. Frankly everyone should aim to be like Kentaro and Guts as much as they possible can.
What I am trying to say is this. Thank you Kentaro Miura, giving us some of the finest art Manga has ever seen, for wonderful characters, a wonderful world, wonderful music that would never exist without you. But most importantly of all teaching us to never give up no matter what is thrown at us, no matter how endless our despair may feel through Guts your never-ending passion for Berserk and everything you did. Thank you Kentaro Miura you have touched millions sir and will continue to do so eternally.
Please give Berserk a chance if you have not yet.
Credits to A Dreamer from youtube for the following quote.
“Never forget what Miura did. He made a series about a man suffering one of the most notoriously shitty lives any human being could endure, and let it unfold into that same man learning to heal. To trust in others and learn to love again in a broken cruel world. Never forget Kentaro Miura”