The Berserk Anime Is Still The Greatest Story Arc Ever Told

By Nina Phillips | Published

Berserk is a manga series written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura. The story follows two characters, Guts and Griffith, and is set in a fantasy world inspired by Europe. Though the entire series is good and has heavily influenced the manga and anime industry, one arc, in particular, is considered one of the best stories ever told.

The Golden Age

The Golden Age Arc is Berserk’s second story arc and is often considered one of the best, and most prominent arcs, across the entire medium. It’s popular enough that it’s been adapted into an anime series and a film trilogy.

This arc is not only a fantastic exploration of character motivation, but it’s also a key part of the whole series. The Golden Age Arc bridges the gap between the past and present, explains the motivation behind Guts’ behavior, and shows how Guts and Griffith met, as well as Casca’s involvement.

Twisted Coming Of Age Story

More importantly, it sets the stage for the rest of Berserk. Fans have the chance to see a rather innocent and friendly Guts who had comrades he cared about and trusted, only to see why that trust was ripped away and how Guts became the person he is throughout the rest of the show.

In short, Berserk’s Golden Age Arc is a coming-of-age story with betrayal and amazing character growth. The story itself is rather simple but done to perfection, with a lot of focus on the characters and their behaviors.

Griffith And The Band Of The Hawk

One of the reasons the Golden Age Arc of Berserk is so good is because of the character development of Guts, Griffith, and Casca.

Initially, Griffith was a man who was confident in his abilities and his position. However, in the end, Griffith becomes fairly insane and obsessed with Guts after he decides to leave. Where the others have grown and learned to become their own people, Griffith couldn’t cope with Casca and Guts finding happiness outside of him.

The Tragedy Of Casca

Throughout the beginning of Berserk, Casca is mindless and childlike. This arc explains how she wasn’t always that way. Once, she idolized Griffith for saving her. But then, when she met Guts, she started to grow independent and turned her attention to him instead.

It was only after Griffith’s horrid actions that Casca turned into the childlike person she was at the beginning and throughout the rest of the series.

Guts The Black Swordsman

Guts, meanwhile, undergoes a dramatic change. When he first meets Griffith and the soldiers, he’s nothing but a lost boy who enjoys killing. Over time, he learns to find his own happiness through his found family. After Griffith’s betrayal, he is fueled by rage for a while before turning cold and hardening his heart against people.

Berserk’s Massive Influence

Berserk, especially the Golden Age Arc, was incredibly influential to the fantasy anime industry. Just like you can find nods to Akira in many modern animes, the same can be said for Berserk.

The most obvious influence is in the main characters. It’s easy enough to say that any character with spiky hair and a big sword is a nod to Guts, like Black Clover. While there’s no definitive proof that a certain ex-SOLDIER with a massive sword was influenced by Berserk, Yoko Taro, creator of Neir, has cited the manga and anime as an influence on his games.

Beyond The World Of Anime

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Additionally, many manga artists have been influenced by Berserk. Kazue Kato, author of Blue Exorcist, is one example. He’s mentioned several times how the manga molded him into a manga artist and helped him become successful. Other animes and manga that have obvious nods to Berserk are Fullmetal Alchemist, Re: Zero, Claymore, Gungrave, and Attack on Titan.

Several games have also mentioned Berserk as a main source of inspiration, including The Witcher, Dark Souls, Castlevania, Dragons Dogma, and DOOM.

Many Ways To Watch

If you want to check out the arc for yourself, Berserk (1997) is back in production on Blu-Ray as of March 26 of this year. This 1997 series features 25 episodes and is one of the best adaptations of Berserk to date.

Otherwise, you can stream the Berserk (2016) series on Crunchyroll, or even Berserk: The Golden Age Arc, which collects the three movies released in 2012 and 2013.