Berserk Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 13.95
  • Pages: 238
  • ISBN: 1-59307-021-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Berserk Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     March 17, 2004
Release Date: January 01, 2004

Berserk Vol.#02
© Dark Horse

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Miura Kentaro
Translated by:Jason DeAngelis
Adapted by:

What They Say
The evil Count uses his dark powers to transform a defeated guard captain into an inhuman horror to combat Guts, the Black Swordsman. Meanwhile, Guts' pint-sized elf sidekick, Puck, is captured and given as a gift to the Count's daughter, a sweet girl in a gilded cage, imprisoned by her father in her own room. Guts, determined to make mincemeat of the Count - and maybe bail out his companion, if he gets around to it -assaults the castle and takes on the nearly indestructible demon/guard in a blood-soaked battle royal! But then, face-to-face with the Black Swordsman at last, the unholy Count reveals his own true form, and even Guts' super-sized sword may not be big enough to contend with this demonic monstrosity!

Created by Kentaro Miura Berserk is meat-grinder manga at its most extreme - gruesome, violent, and darkly funny - and the inspiration for the wildly popular anime series. Look elsewhere if you're craving sweetness, subtlety, and good manners. Berserk is the bull in the graphic-novel china shop - and who wouldn't watch a bull getting medieval on the dishes?

The Review
Hmmm.... It is tough to describe how I feel about this cover. The front cover has the original art but it has been altered a bit. The image has been blown up a bit (and the resolution really shows) and some of the pieces of Guts' prostetic have been moved from their original location. The rest of the cover has a bound hardcover design. They place the original logo here above the huge blurb but they completely leave out the trademark elf that is on the back of every Hakusensha Berserk tankoubon.

Logo Check!! (2003 Megs)... The logo is pretty ugly if you ask me. Unlike what was done for Trigun the spine does not have kana/kanji.

Inside the original volume header art and chapter header art is all there with kanji (wow!!). The printing appears to have gone down a notch but the alignment issues from volume one seem to have been resolved.

The art to beserk is pretty rough to start off. Puck is looking over weight and just comical; Gatts is looking pretty young here even though this is a bit after the events that happened throughout most of the anime. His designs are very rough with his muscle tone looking fit but not exceptional. Designs for the demons are very good, but the printing really hurts the art as a whole.

Presented in a wide B6 Berserk is right to left like the original (the original size is a B6).
SFX are not translated. GRRRR!!

The translation is very good which is typical Dark Horse. They did remove some swearing in few panels but nothing essential to the plot. The only problem I had was with the retouch done on some of the aside text. For some reason most of it was put into tacky looking text bubbles. Come on, your covering up art so you can at least make them look nice.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Continuing the Guardians of Desire arc, Guts and Puck have briefly taken asylum in the hideout of renegade named Vargas.

A short deformed older man, Vargas has been hidden in his lab for seven years waiting for the day he when could get his revenge on the regional Count. Every day of his life reminds him of the torture he went through leaving him disfigured and alone, as his family were experimented on and eventually eaten by the Count. Fate and the appearance of the Black Swordsman have rekindled his determination to bring down the evil dignitary. Now with someone capable of fulfilling his revenge is before him and he cannot let the chance go by.
Guts, on the other hand, does not intend to assist this little man. He has his own demons to conquer and while he may appreciate the help, he feels he has no obligation that ties him to carry out Vargas' wishes. Guts' own strength; his own will and his own plan will take down the count if he so wishes. A preemptive attack may hasten his plans and the death of Vargas may add fuel to the flame but in the end, it will be his own determination that will lead him to the Count.

The fight against the Count will not be easy. As his child knows, the man has changed in recent years. Once an honorable well-respected nobleman is now a horrible monster. He takes pleasure in publicly executing those he considers heathens. He tortures, experiments, and even feeds on those that try to defy his rule. This man is now possessed, mind and body, by a demon and will not fall to the hands of a mortal. We all are aware that Guts does not live the life of a normal mortal. He goes about looking for answers that logic may not be able to answer. He has been branded and has been forced to run or fight against death that hunts him at every moment. Neverless does he possess the strength to kill something that in many ways is dead and in many ways immortal?

Volume two may not set up much in the overall scheme of Berserk, but does introduce a few important pieces to the story as a whole. The introduction of the behelit may seem insignificant but that little egg shaped item will eventually be something that will completely change the world within this title. The other aspect his Guts' humanity. After volume one readers should be aware of his strength but he is still a reserved man driven by anger. Inside, Guts has a lot to live for but he rarely shows it. In this volume he is torn between him fighting for his own beliefs and fighting for others. That can be a hard thing to handle for anyone, but Guts is so alone in his world opening up like this could be his downfall (again).

For those looking for a good fantasy manga full of angst and well rounded characters.... volume two of Berserk might not do that but the series as a whole will. This volume takes a step backwards from the good start in the first volume. With most of the volume featuring Guts fighting or Puck learning about Guts' emotions we really do not get much development in the plot. The character development is progressing, but the series will soon change completely so what we learn here will not come to frutition until much later in the series.

For those looking for a title with less violence and a lot less testosterone pass. Berserk is just what the title describes. While there may be a few dialogue heavy lulls here and there do not expect this story to stray from the darkness. The darkness will always be after those with the brand.

As much as I love my Berserk, I have to say I would not be recommeneding this series based on this volume. Yes there are some vital introductions and some of the character development is solid but one cannot live on Puck sightings and demon slaying alone. I need dialouge, sexual tension and war scenes. (But thats just me ) Fortunately, the wait will not be that long.



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