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Berserk

Berserk
January 17, 2014, 06:36:38 AM
"Why do most men commit themselves to the affair of bloodshed? Indeed, men may have a barbarous side. However, it is a tool used for both claiming and protecting precious things. It is a double-edged sword. For some men, things such as family and lovers are duly cherished. But there is one other thing more precious to a man beyond all else...something one pursues for one's own sake and not for that of any other. A dream.

Some dream of ruling the world, some of dedicating their entire life to forging the perfect sword. While some can be pursued alone, some are like storms, blowing apart hundreds or thousands of other dreams as they go. A dream can fortify a man's life, or it can bring suffering upon it. A dream can make a man feel alive, or it can kill him instead. Even if a man is abandoned by that dream, part of it will remain smoldering in his heart. Every man has envisioned his life in this way, at least once. A life as a martyr to his dream, his God. To simply exist just because one's been born is the sort of notion that I hate. I can't stand it.

Those whom you call my friends are my able soldiers. They are important comrades who devote themselves to my dream. However, they are not necessarily my friends. In my eyes, a true friend is someone who never clings to another's dream. Someone independent who can find his own reason to live and follow that path without guidance. And if anyone tries to crush his dream, protect it heart and soul. Even if that person happened to be me. For me, a true friend is someone whom I consider my equal." -Griffith, Chapter 28

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A harrowing story set in a medieval fantasy world, Berserk deals heavily with the meaning of life, camaraderie, free will, fate, nihilism and more. It is enthralling, epic, and emotionally potent and it is easily the most beautifully drawn comic that my eyes have witnessed. Whether lingering in pensive wells of thought or writhing up in passionate flames of vigor, it grabs the reader and does not release its grip.

Oh, and it is extremely metal.

WARNING: graphic.

Buy it here or read it here.

Re: Berserk
January 17, 2014, 08:26:38 PM
Brilliant manga, possibly the only remaining saving grace of a medium which has decayed along with the spirit of Japan into limp wristed faggotry. Unfortunately as far as I am aware it is still ongoing and therefore incomplete. I recommend it as well; ignore the stigma attached to anime/manga and take the plunge if you have the time. As mentioned above, it is fucking metal.

There is a relatively short animated series covering the first few bits of the manga as well. It does not compare to the drawn original, but it is faithful to it while being complete in itself. A more recent updated attempt at animation is horrendous and should be avoided.

Re: Berserk
January 17, 2014, 10:39:16 PM
I would recommend staying away from the anime unless you can't stand to hold a book. The animation quality is a great example of why people hate anime gnerally.

The manga series is awesome. It opened my eyes to how intense manga can get. I am still not a fan of manga (and by extension, anime) overall but there are some very metal series out there. Gunbuster (6 episode OVA by Gainax) is another I recommend. The two main characters are girls and there is minimal blood and guts but the testosterone factor is through the roof.

Re: Berserk
January 17, 2014, 11:18:36 PM
I am glad to see other fans around here! I agree with everything that you two said.

Indeed, the series is incomplete and progress has slowed greatly. The last chapter was released about a year ago. However, the author has reemerged from his absence with a new short series. Following its completion, he will resume Berserk.

Concerning the 90s anime adaptation, I think that it is an excellent supplement for people who have already read the manga. Indeed, the production is low-quality and it lacks the depth of the manga, but despite its flaws it is an accurate and invigorating presentation of the Golden Age arc in a new medium. Importantly, it maintains the same mystique that the manga exudes; the story is absolutely enchanting, addicting even. In any case, the manga is superior and should be the first and definitive exposure for anyone new to the series.

I have not seen the newer movies, but I have heard negative feedback about them.

Re: Berserk
January 22, 2014, 05:54:54 AM
All I know of Berzerk is the original anime's soundtrack, which counts as one of the many notches in the belt of Susumu Hirasawa. While he uses standard pop structures in that OST (and for the vast majority of his work), I do think he has more than enough musical knowledge to appeal to this board's synthpop fans.

I believe I tried watching the anime (dubbed) when I was still in high school and discarding it for something unknown to my present self, for reasons that are also unknown.


Re: Berserk
January 23, 2014, 12:41:49 AM
Hate to drift too off-topic, but this is still about anime, so... drift engaged.

Two more anime series with a very "metal" message I recommend are "Getter Robo: Armageddon" and "New Getter Robo". Both series are classic super-robot stories, so if you find that stuff too cheesy, you should stay away. It's not gritty, war-like realism by any means. But it has badass characters (one pilot is so dangerous that they lock him in a padded room when he's not in the cockpit), crazy situations for the characters to fight their way out of, and vicious enemies that die by the scores but continue coming back, more evil than ever. The main thing to take away from these stories is apparent if you treat the stories like legends; the characters portray very romantic virtues that you cannot really find in entertainment anywhere else. They are brash, gutsy, methodical, merciless, and they question their own destinies and reasons for fighting at times, with interesting results. But you won't have to worry about typical anime-style rants on existentialism and finding purpose in one's life. These characters are thrust into live-or-die situations where defeat means the loss of their entire planet, not only their lives.

No romantic sub-plots, either, as far as I remember.

Disclaimer; I am a fan of super-robot shows in general. The classic heroism and focus on the good guys fighting bravely to defend their planet and race against alien forces that intend to destroy the planet and race is a great theme, I think. Makes me feel good to be a human.

Re: Berserk
January 26, 2014, 06:52:22 PM
How dare you drift off topic! :P Perhaps I will change the thread title to include discussion of works in this medium other than Berserk. I am not familiar with Getter Robo, dead last, but your description intrigues me so I will keep it in mind.

A recommendation of my own:

Mushishi - An episodic series that follows the travels of a man who specializes in primordial beings and their interactions with humans. It is incredibly serene and each story provokes thought in the audience through its distinctly human implications of supernatural events. Its content overlaps with some of the ideas that metal espouses, including value as a human fabrication (nihilism), and nature as a reverent and powerful entity superior in will to its fragile and insignificant human inhabitants (dismantlement of anthropocentrism).

Now, for something related to Berserk:

In 1996, Young Animal released Episode 83 of Berserk. It contained the most controversial subject matter in the series, a conversation between Griffith and the god of Berserk, The Idea of Evil. It was removed from the collected manga (1997) by Miura upon his request. The reason he gave for its removal is that it said too much, too early in the series. You can find a text translation of the episode here.

This chapter says a lot about the author's view of humanity and religion. Its presentation as linked above is bone-chilling, especially within the context of its occurrence in the story.

Re: Berserk
January 26, 2014, 07:01:04 PM
All I know of Berzerk is the original anime's soundtrack, which counts as one of the many notches in the belt of Susumu Hirasawa. While he uses standard pop structures in that OST (and for the vast majority of his work), I do think he has more than enough musical knowledge to appeal to this board's synthpop fans.

The Berserk soundtrack is one of the main elements that allowed for the adaptation and preservation of the mood and mystique of the manga, and it positively influenced the anime overall, I think. Those songs carry a strong effect and accentuate the significance of the scenes in which they play.

Re: Berserk
January 26, 2014, 11:31:34 PM
Ah yes, Mushi-shi was one of the best series I've seen in years. I find it difficult to get into (1) digitally illustrated anime, which is mostly everything that's come out since the early '00s and (2) series with stand-alone episodes, since I like to follow a story's continuity through many changes. However, Mushi-shi has a subdued atmosphere, beautiful drawing, great stand-alone stories (the one about the man who chases the rainbow, as well as the "living god" who dies and resurrects every day were especially memorable), and sensible characters. Ginko is a great main character because he is like a guide to the viewer; he doesn't respond in panic or confusion to the weird situations, so you know he's knowledgeable and experienced, but he never jumps so far ahead of the viewer's observations that you get lost trying to follow his investigations. Great show, would recommend especially to those who don't generally like anime.