Berserk Chapter BO Review

11 Jan

In the next chapter of Berserk, we arrive away when Guts escapes his battle, but we’re in a middle of a forest, and Guts is accosted by demons. What is worse is that Guts is wounded from the battle in the previous chapter, in his fight, as the dark contrast to Guts skin lets us know the scale in the shading. The shading in the first panel proves that for any novice aritst this would be murder. Somewhere, if I was drawing this, I would not be confident enough to represent a shadow of grey within a darkened forest. The eye, when looking at the panel, is that Miura is aware that we are aware the black demon’s face has veins and represents a smooth contrast, as the worm demon (that’s what we’ll call it) with grooves to represent the weight and of the demon worms skin. The grooves on the demon worms skin are a workout for a novice. If you tried this, no one could compare to the craftsmanship Miura was learning to do.            

With this first panel, it provides all the danger and excitement that any movie would need. Comics are often misinterpreted as basis for movies, but this is not to be confused with story board drawing that is only used for directors vision, and not for manga or comics. Miura seems enthralled with using minimalist close ups to provide tension and horror to a scene. But it is worth noting that while it is artiscially striking, it proves that Miura is not afraid to create confusion so that the reader would see a character, like Guts, breathing so that the reader is enticed and scared at the same time. Almost like a Gustave Dore painting. A painting of Virgil addressing Dante is what we should take a look at the first panel as well.  Both the pictures represent how grey and blacks mix with each other as while the Dore picture gives off a shadow, the two opening panels of berserk represent an ode to Dore. But the only time light is represented is the fire in Dore’s painting while Guts skin is the only time we see light represented in Miura’s touch. This seems to be a calling to Miura, replicates shadows throughout the darker moments.

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

It seems that once an opening scene in the early volumes of Berserk have this flare to entice, but when scaling back, Guts, in his physical form, is more conservative, but also details a hint of his youthfulness, even though he is deeply hesitant to trust Puck. Insulting Puck, rejecting his friendship.

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

Even when a wagon with a priest asks to help take him on his next destination, Guts, as the Black Swordsman, knows that wherever he goes, he can’t have friends, or endanger them. The Black Swordsman, in this moment, is not by Christian terms, “Man of the In-Between” as he should have a duty to serve others and offer his shield to others (The Military Bible, Weber, Stu. p.1101). We are framed with Guts mindset as we are presented with no other, but The Black Swordsman is not obligated to help anyone. The “Man of the In-Between” is not present in The Black Swordsman’s words. 

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

But he doesn’t care, too. As Guts is the main character, we only see it from his perspective, as Miura doesn’t give anyone else so far any narrative detail. It just proves that a dark character still is an interesting path to take when you can shape the narrative in simple narrative arcs. In the wagon, Puck is accompanied with them, and Guts sits, minding his own business. When a conversation about the Black Swordsman’s profession, the priest recalls his son died in battle. But The Black Swordsman has something different to offer, as this is such a defining moment for the reader with the Black Swordsman and his psyche.

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

Only as Guts decide to get some sleep, he falls into a dream, running down a hall, and a weird ectoplasm appears at the end, hovering over him, as his foot is pierced with a pike. In the same moment, we see that his left hand is gone. The audience isn’t privy to the world Guts has known before. A hallway is  supposed to represent a character who has no way of escape as it could be a repetitive moment playing back in the psyche of a character, but in dream logic, Guts is a definitely trapped inside it. There is no way for him to get out. He’s haunted by a voice that says, “You cannot Run!” The words cannot are spelled out so that it retains a horror story quality that Miura knows so well.

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)
Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

This creature, to the reader, is blinded by the hallway, as we see Guts psyche in the hallway, awakens as a creature tries to cover his head, and he stabs it. What we see from the drawing is the curves on the incubus’s forehead presents dimensions and grooves, that we see as the life is drained from the Black Swordsman’s knife. The Incubus feeds off people’s nightmares, not letting him sleep. But as a panel explains the question of what draws the Incubus near. But the brand is finally explained.

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

 As Guts warns the priest and the girl to stay inside the carriage, the Incubi, is “born out of the mixed blood and sexual fluids of those who died filled with hatred and malice, which means that somewhere around here there must be a corpse of bandits or the like who died violently. Corpses that the demons will possess and use to attack. The instinct Miura creates is allowed and make the world around Berserk credible to the eyes, as Guts acts as a shield now. Only the young girl gets out of the carriage, and it proves disastrous to her, as she is stabbed by a spear. 

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

It’s shocking and the demon corpses present themselves from the mist. As Puck wants to run away, The Black Swordsman remarks that “it’s part of the territory” to be alone on the battlefield. We see that the Black Swordsman doesn’t care if anyone helps him. He’s used to doing things alone. But as he strikes, Miura creates such a beautiful portrait of violence only seen in action movies.

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

In Gut’s face, he’s shadowed out. Much of Guts, in contrast with the real world, is presented without shading, as if he’s better at war than he is with people. The way the sword swings as though he’s cocking a baseball bat and smacking a ball as it’s pitched toward him. There seems to be a lack of technique as the sword he holds is too big for any normal man, as it’s the only way he can swing it. The bones on the skull warrior moves up as it represents the way the eye is focused to see it from the artists perspective, and training the readers eyes to watch it from the swing the Black Swordsman makes. There’s more panels that come after, but the point in the battle pivots when Puck calls his attention away. Perturbed the priests is killed by his own daughter. 

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

The shadows across the eyes presents how Mirua is framing the girl’s mental state, as the reader is yet to know her true illness. Guts is shocked at her state of mind, as he can’t move or do anything, as the young girl, stabs the Black Swordsman.

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

Only as he is wounded, his stamina is decreasing, as he gags on his own blood. Miura presents a strong theme of loneliness and a curse that surrounds Guts. It keeps him from being around anyone who could become an ally. It’s worse as many will see a parallel of the series crop up here. As I will detail in the later chapters.

What is presented next is the moment we see the Black Swordsman, wounded, as he continues his fight, as Puck watches, proving that the Black Swordsman strength is matched by his anger and will to fight even when wounded. For a first time reader, we are in awe and amazement and also shock. Puck represents what we truly think on the inside. But to the veterans, this is only indicative of the story to follow in the first volume. 

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

But as Puck tries to console Guts over losing the priest and the girl, he laughs as the next panel proves his Nihilistic nature is correct, “anyone who gets killed cause they got caught up in someone else’s fight is a small fry. If they can’t live freely they are better off dead.” It presents Guts as he is fully aware of what happened and he doesn’t care. The Black Swordsman knew this would happen and didn’t try to stop them. He doesn’t care about anyone, but it proved that he was not offering there shield in the right way. Notice that whenever a shade of dark presented on the armor as it’s to show the strength of the penmanship where the shadow within the armor doesn’t overshadow the lines of the armor. 

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

But the moment in the chapter comes to a close, as a mysterious voice booms over the forest claims “we are always watching you.”

Berserk v01 (2003) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

The end gives the reader the depth of Miura’s chance to scare us, as learning this, proves that the Black Swordsman is not just an evil figure, but someone tormented, and the world around him is enflamed. “Guts lives in this world.” The end of the chapter proves that with each moment, Guts cannot stay still, and with his departure, we see that this chapter specifically plays more with shadows. The Brand proves Guts strength, but also Miura’s eye and what he wants the people to see. Dore, at the beginning gives that dept of field to shadows to the shapes he presents, and it can be seen clearly in the Brand. Miura achieves the emotional core of the Black Swordsman, and his love for violence. 

Overall review: 5/5

Pros:

-Excellent use of tension and dialogue to convey emotions corresponding to the panels.

-The two panel spread of the Black Swordsman conveys Miura’s experimentation of how to draw an action scene.

Cons:

It’s very rough in terms of character depth and drawing, but Miura, in this chapter is more focused on the set pieces, and so, it’s not entirely a con. It’s just what others see.

Source for Manga:

Louis Bruno is the author of more than 15 books, The Michael Project, Thy Kingdom Come, The Disintegrating Bloodline, Apocalypse Soldier, Hierarchy of Dwindling Sheep. His books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu. He can be found on Gab, https://gab.com/thereallouistbruno, and Minds https://www.minds.com/lbruno8063/. A new novel is coming out soon.

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