The Subtlety of a Berserker
Berserk is the epic Seinin manga of Kentaro Miura spanning over 20 years of publication. Famous for its intriguing story and spectacular art, it has garnered many fans who love it so much that they forgive the 3 month wait between chapters. The story revolves around Guts, a lone mercenary who travels the countryside pursued endlessly by demons that only attack him and anyone unlucky enough to be close to him. On first glance, Berserk appears to be a simple, run of the mill Seinin manga of an anti-hero who kills everything that gets in his way with lots of violence and occasional sex with no hidden meaning or message, but looking deeper one sees that Berserk is actually a shockingly deep manga with intriguing messages on masculinity, feminism, and right and wrong. At its core, Berserk is a sexist series that promotes the dark-ages mentality that women are not only weak creatures that need to be saved by men, but they are also inherently stupid and evil by their very nature.
Berserk portrays a very traditional view of masculinity through the portrayal of the main character, Guts. Even his very name is a synonym for courage. To Miura, men should be large and muscular and brutal; they should have no mercy and take no prisoners. Miura’s main character, Guts, the “Black Knight,” is an extremely muscular mercenary who only excels at fighting. Little is given about his personality other than that he is an unstoppable fighter that almost never loses. Guts’ main symbol, his sword, is an incredible piece of phallic imagery itself. Rather than being a normal weapon, it is impossibly large. His sword is a buster sword that is a foot wide and over six feet long. In real life such a sword would be impossible to use by any normal man, and even extraordinarily strong men wouldn’t be able to use it effectively, but Guts uses it with ease and it becomes a major advantage over his opponents who use regular swords. This piece of phallic imagery stays with Guts throughout the entire series, even before his trademark weapon is given an origin. In the “Golden Age” arc when Guts is a child he is given an adult’s sword to learn with because his mercenary band doesn’t have any child sized swords. As Guts gets bigger, so do his swords and he never permanently uses a regular sword. The one time he is given a normal sword it breaks on the first opponent he fights, after which he promptly receives the massive buster that he uses for the remainder of the series and dispatches his enemy with ease. With this Miura pushes the typically male attitude that bigger is better and might makes right, which Guts follows religiously through all of Berserk.
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Every worthwhile character is a man, except for a precious few women who become mainstays, although inexplicably every time a woman gets a central role in the series she always instantly becomes weaker and becomes a spectator or aid during combat. The one strong woman in the entire series, Caska, Guts’ love interest, shows this perfectly. She is the only woman allowed to be strong for the better part of the series, although not very. Although Caska is a woman, she is a very masculine woman. She has short hair and always wears heavy armor. Her femininity is shown as her greatest weakness throughout all of the series. She is constantly being threatened to be raped by the male enemies she encounters, but usually manages to get away or is saved by a male character. The one time she almost gets raped and killed it is because she went into battle on the day of her menstruation and supposedly couldn’t fight up to her full potential. That day Guts grabs her and escapes the enemies that are pursuing them, saving her life. They find refuge in a cave until the next day when the enemies catch up to them Guts stays behind allowing her to escape and slays all 100 of their pursuers single-handedly. The one time Guts fails to save her at the last minute and she actually does get raped, it scars her permanently. She becomes so emotionally damaged that she loses all her intelligence and become like an infant child who needs to be cared for and can’t even speak.
Would it have killed you to use a different word? One that actually means something?
Miura makes it very clear that he sees women as the weaker sex. Women are constantly being demoralized in Berserk. If Kentaro Miura got a nickel for every time a woman was raped in his series, then it would completely explain why he only needs to come out with one chapter every three months. Rape could almost be called a common theme in Berserk. Soldiers are constantly trying to rape captured women, usually succeeding. Caska gets in danger of being raped countless times by dozens of different foes, before one finally succeeds. However, rape is not limited to the men. Guts gets raped by a large black man when he is a child so that his “father” can get some extra money, and Griffith sells himself for the night to a wealthy landowner to acquire more warfunds.
he author of Berserk also appears to harbor a very deep-set Eve complex. The opening of the series shows Guts having sex with what appears to be a beautiful woman, but the very next page she transforms into a medusa-like demon and tries to kill him. He simply laughs and crushes her to death with his bare hands. The central villain of the series is a man named Griffith, but rather than this being a point that detracts from the overall sexism of the series, it adds to it greatly. Griffith is an incredibly feminine looking man. The first time seeing him many readers will think that he is a woman based on his appearance he is so feminine. He has long, platinum hair and a very woman-like face. Often in the series secondary characters will comment that he looks too pretty to be a man. Miura is stating here that women are too weak to be a believable opposition to the masculine lead, but a feminine man can be both strong and show that women in general are evil. This is not the only example in the series. Many of the apostles are women, and the only other adult female character that stays in the series is introduced as a religious fanatic who gets aroused by watching people burn at the stake. The villain of the first arc was originally a good guy until he was driven to evil by his wife. He was the Regent of a kingdom and his main job, assigned to him by the fictitious church in the series, was to exterminate heretics and witches from his country. He comes home one day after raiding a village of heretics and finds his wife in the middle of a pagan orgy with dozens of other people. She herself is completing the ritual by having sex with a giant statue of the heretic god. The sight of this betrayal drives him insane and after murdering everyone in the room he appears before the leaders of the demonic realm and he himself becomes a demon, driven there by his sinful wife.
This symbolism of the evil of women is most likely due to the fact “that descriptions of evil….have been thoroughly suffused with male interests and conditions” (Noddings 1).
What the fuck is this shit.
Despite being very obviously misogynistic Berserk is still one of the best manga series that I have ever read. The story is incredibly engrossing and the art is easily the best I have ever seen in a graphic novel. Even though the messages are very negative the series never stops being enjoyable and I always look forward to the next chapter with great anticipation. The characters continue to be incredibly complex and deep, even after 20 years of seeing them. Ignoring the sexism that series glorifies it also has a great deal of good messages as well. It shows the message that good and evil are not always to easy to spot, and what appears on the surface is not always the truth. Through Guts Miura tells the readers never to give up and to always rise after every fall, showing that there are lots of good things to be gotten with the traditional view of masculinity.
In b4 "ANGRY FEMINISTS".
Sage for lame shit
Miura, Kentaro (wp). Berserk. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books, 1984-2008.
Noddings, Nel. Women and Evil. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1989.
Berserk looked at from a feminist perspective, not my work, taken from Gamefaqs, makes me feel abit of a douche but it made me rage abit and when you subject something to the internet you do so at your peril. Apparently its A worthy
>Even though the messages are very negative
I had to laugh at this one. It's likely it will end up being a circular story. What with guts losing to Griffith and becoming the new Skull Knight.
This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My
writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.
>Berserk portrays a very traditional view of masculinity through the portrayal of the main character, Guts.
what part of BEING RAPED AS A KID BY YOUR FOSTER UNCLE AND NEVER SLEEPING WITH ANYONE EXCEPT CASCA FOR 20 YEARS IS MASCULINE?
Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at
writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.
I like the manga but shit man.. fuck this thread
where's that soldier image saging the town?
and Guts abandons Griffith when he's done fighting.
BUT TRUE men are loyal.
why is the tripfag arguing with himself?
He forgot to drop his tripcode.
I find this picture oddly hilarious.
Farnese will end up as Shriekes teacher, just watch.
Okay, so I just read this all.
You say it's from Gamfaqs - That's disappointing. I wanted to ask what the hell the point of this writup was. All he said was a giant "Yeah, Berserk is pretty sexist. That's the point."
>Berserk appears to be a simple, run of the mill Seinin manga
Are you fucking joking? This is the first page and he's fucking a bitch-monster. This is the greatest manga ever and always has been since page 1.
First chapter didn't he sleep with an aposile[sp] before killing it.
Interesting... But the thing is, I'm a girl, I read Berserk, and I find it better than any sickly sweet high school love story manga. In terms of female empowerment, what about Silke the witch? She saves Guts' ass a good few times, and has enough power to ward off the trolls etc. I do admit that by now, (I'm on chapter 280-something) Casca's incapacity to function properly is REALLY annoying, maybe because I found when she was togeth with Guts to be one of the best and most entertaining parts of the manga, but it could all be resolved soon-ish, you never know.
And, who gives a shit about phallic imagery and physical boundaries when, simply put, it's manga, made up and not strictly limited to all that sensible stuff.
Anyways, moving on.
That page is kinda weird. Looks like he is doing push-ups rather than having sex.
To teach her what?
As for me, I see Serpico and Schierke dying, and Farnese going back to her batshit insane days, this time with fire magic.
>Looks like he is doing push-ups rather than having sex
And that's not how one has sex? I've been lied to!
No one draws great sex on the first attempt
Also Casca will give birth to guts then die in a river and then he gets adopted and everything loops forever.
Bingo. At least this is what I'm predicting.
Berserk has some complex philosophy at its core what with the layers of existence, and it is well written.
Misogyny though...lol. When do feminazis realize all of history has hated womenz
>Farnese going back to her batshit insane days
fuck yes, make it happen
When did /a/ become /u/?
It's set in Medieval times, be happy you had one chick allowed to swing a sword.
Little witch ruins Berserk .... Twice now she pulled a “call some lame spirits to kill loads of demons” shit, what happend to gutz taking army of them alone.
they always show up after guts has emptied his body of blood though.
This isn't a criticism of Berserk; this is a criticism of man.
YEA FUCK MEN AND THEIR SHOVENISTIC DOG WAYS. HOW DARE THEY MAKE SUGGESTED SEXISM IN A COMIC ABOUT A SEXIST AGE.
The only thing that bothers me in Berserk is Silke has green hair. GREEN! Why couldn't it be pink or something
>The only thing that bothers me in Berserk is Silke.
OH GOD ARE WE IN ELFHEIM YET?
I'm gonna be dead before Berserk is done. That's if Miura is still alive.
I'm sure glad no other anime treats women characters in such a way.
I can point out so many points that contradict each other in this essay that it is laughable. This is the a classic example of "Selective Reading" and taking shit out of context to manipulate the final point.
Funfact: one of the strongest characters in the manga is Loli witch. One of the most important generals in griffiths new band of the hawk is the girl who can read the future. Gutts was raped so it isn't only reserved for girls and Griffith throws the whole might is right and my sword is big bullshit out the window. Gutts is actuallythe evil one for trying to kill someone out of pure hate even though tha tperson is saving the country and he's the guy who has the fucking demon in him. Serpico sword is a fucking feather and he doesn't use might and is an expert tactician. Apart from Slaan loli moth and the other nameless chick that was killed in the beginning there hasn't been an evil women most of it has been males. That prostitute was commended by skull knight for being brave and she ricked her life to save the others.
I can go on but Raging feminist is Raging.
Pretty girls get raped in times of war. Deal with it.
Perhaps you meant 'shovelistic'?
Thank you, now I can like Berserk again. OP makes me feel uncomfortable.
YEA I SUCK AT SPELLING WHO GIVES A FUCK. AND FUCK MY BROKEN CAPSLOCK.
thank you for posting this now I have to go rewatch that movie again
God, you're a fucking idiot.
And you're the same person.
There's no need to go on. Glaring contractions like that are proof enough.
Let alone that entire block of text doesn't imply anything at all. It's a pointless writeup that only serves to go "lol berserk is sexist"
Oh, and contradictions don't mean Berserk isn't sexist, because it is. That's history for you. Just that it isn't the point of the entire story. I should have wrote that. Whoops.
Fuck it, I'll just rewrite my posts:
There's no need for you to go on, glaring contradictions like that prove that it isn't the explicit point of the manga to be sexist. That doesn't mean it isn't, though. That's history for you.
Luka was awesome, I wish she'd stayed in Berserk longer
>>Griffith is an incredibly feminine looking man. The first time seeing him many readers will think that he is a woman based on his appearance he is so feminine. He has long, platinum hair and a very woman-like face. Often in the series secondary characters will comment that he looks too pretty to be a man. Miura is stating here that women are too weak to be a believable opposition to the masculine lead, but a feminine man can be both strong and show that women in general are evil.
bitches don't know about my bishies
Really if you were an intelligent reader at all, it would be obvious that the essay was written for college, for an assignment where they had to imitate literary perspectives, its a bloke imitating a feministic point of view, the fact that it isn't done very well suggests that he doesn't believe it himself
>>I can't say shit so I'll just insult to cover up my own stupidity
Selective reading which said guy is using as the basis of his argument is fallacious and bullshit. Look at the manga as a whole and make a solid argument.
Wait what? Why are you arguing with me, I just confirmed that you were right.
Also, this entire writeup isn't serious. It's a perspective piece. Of course there are going to be inconsistencies.
/r/ link to original source.
It's for college thats why it's a fucking eyesore. It's ehtos fails to establish credibility because he himself doesn't believe the shit he's righting why should I? Fails as an argumentative essay.
I Just agreed with you.
Then why am I confused? I have lost my ability to read.
I can write an essay about Gurren-Lagann being a phylosofical statement about religious faith, if you want.
I have had enough of your essays for a lifetime. No thank you.
He believes that Griffith is a hero. He is an idiot.
But I've never posted an essay on /a/.
lol, go check out the recently archived Pokemon analysis. It's more believable than this crap.
someone finally successfully trolled... Berserk?
hold me /a/, I'm scared
Did that, Anti-spirals: Oppressive stagnant institution that believes it's doing the right thing to the world.
Spirals: Anyone who can't link that to DNA and the belief that man won't lead it's self to it's own destruction is stupid. Gainax's past works deep with religious signs, Character bios, plot description, etc. Work cited and you have a good 6 pages.
But I was going to talk about Kamina and Nia being Jesus. ;_;
So gutts is more of a hero with the eating of babies and being drenched in their blood?
Only "successful" if you've never read the damn manga. Otherwise, massive fail.
This kind of shit would drive me mad, because I would be forced to absolutely rip it apart.
A good thing to remember about literary analysis is that it's worthless unless it's relevant. As stated here: >>10088242. Both the Pokemon analysis and this have one gigantic thing in common. They both use evidence that can't be disproved (Berserk in the sense that it's just describing story events, and Pokemon in the sense that anything that happens in the dreamworld can be construed as "Magic") to prove their point. The thing with these deconstructions is that they both hold no relevance to the story. What implications arise from Berserk being a sexist work? None. It doesn't have any bearing on the narrative. What implications arise from Pokemon being the result of a dream? Nothing. The story is still happening as usual, just on a different plane of reality.
Substance is key. You can't fake substance.
Griffith IS a hero.
Motherfucker was the main cause that saved Midland from all the invading shit. Seriously, more people would have been raped/killed if not for him
Sure, he sacrificed all his loyal and loving comarades but to him (and me) it was justified. They were going to die fighting for him and his dream anyway, he just sped up the process when he did the Godhand deal.
tl;dr Griffith is a hero but he used power overwhelming hax
Moth Loli ;_;
This pretty much screams "Bad person"
The reason Midland is being invaded is because of the agent which Griffith works for. How are you a hero if you're saving someone who wouldn't be in danger in the first place if it wasn't for you?
putting aside all the cosmic deity shit, maybe Midland wouldn't have been so lolfail militarily speaking if Griffith hadn't pissed the king off, driven him insane, wasted the kingdom's resources, and turned what was probably the most effective military unit in the continent into a bunch of outlaws?
But the King was pretty fucking batshit to begin with
Even if he wasn't a God, Mid land would still be raped by the Idea of evil at least he's stopping it.
and Griffith had just been betrayed by his rock, are people not allowed moments of weakness?
You really read Berserk just as a story about a hero saving a kingdom?
Whatever floats your boat, I guess, but that seems like a pretty flat interpretation considering the thematic complexity of the manga.
Is Griffith’s goal truly to save/help people, or is his objective more to manipulate people as tools for the sake of fulfilling his immense greed for power? If the latter, does that make him a hero?
not if it fucks a bunch of other people over, no
/a/ IS NOT YOUR FUCKING BLOG.
Indeed. Griffith's motives are far from altruistic or heroic. He wants power over others, and he just feels that the best way to achieve that is to make them love him rather than make them fear him.
Nobody who responds to being beaten in combat by sacrificing all their old friends to gain godlike power and then raping the dude's girlfriend in front of him just to get even deserves to be called a hero.