For the first two weeks of G4 Rewind: Anime Style, we showed you some great shoujo series, but now it’s time for something a little more manly...
That’s right. It’s Kentaro Miura's Berserk, the manliest manga that ever manned its manliness of manhood.
Berserk is set back in ye olde days of...well...old when men battled in the field with swords instead of on Xbox Live with MA5C Assault Rifles. Our hero Guts is the epitome of a manly man. He wields a giant sword, he’s as strong as an ox, and he’s known as “The Black Swordsman.”
Simply put, he’s a jerk who can kick your butt and he’s not going to apologize for it.
For the first two volumes or so, Guts simply traverses the country as a lone mercenary who likes to kill demons. His reputation precedes him. Not much plot. Just a badass man hunting down a power-hungry, homicidal cleric corrupted by the forces of darkness.
So why in the world would you want to continue reading about the adventures of some jackass and his annoying fairy pal?
Just as things are starting to look hopeless for our hero (and his shot at a good review), we’re whisked back in time for ten plus volumes to see how Guts grew up from a cursed child to the most notorious swordsman in the land. Believe it or not, this man does have friends and even forms a gradual relationship with a woman who is not a dainty princess. This is where the character and plot development really start to blossom, and finally, we start to care about Guts and his comrades.
We even see a softer side of him...aww. Don’t worry, he doesn’t go soft. It’s just a warm fuzzy moment here or there. Berserk definitely grows on you, but it’s a slow process. It might be too slow for some, but that’s because battles and scenes are drawn out. However, this long process is rewarding, and that alone makes it worth reading.
The artwork is solid, if not downright beautiful in its horrific gore; but be warned that this manga is NOT for children. Got that? Berserk puts the graphic in “graphic novel.” There is a lot of nudity, sex, molestation, dismemberment, gore, etc. If you’re not old enough to refrain from giggling when you hear the word “vagina,” then you’re not old enough to read it.
But if you are, it’s safe to say that Berserk is worth the effort and money you’ll put into it. Being literary snobs here, we had doubts that it would be anything more than pure hack-n-slash with obnoxious characters that never grow. Boy, were we wrong! Berserk really does offer something for
everyone people with taste, whether you’re looking for graphic violence, fantastic artwork, or delicate character development.
Ahem...sorry, we mean...”MEEEEEAAAAAT!” And um...”BOOOOOBS!”
-- Courtney “Technically a Girl” Kraft