Berserk Vol. #06 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 13.95
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 1-59307-252-X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Berserk Vol. #06

By Eduardo M. Chavez     April 09, 2006
Release Date: January 12, 2005

Berserk Vol.#06
© Dark Horse

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Miura Kentaro
Translated by:Duane Johnson
Adapted by:

What They Say
Back in the day, Guts the Black Swordsman was a top slayer for The Band
of the Hawk, an elite mercenary unit led by Griffith, whose calm
demeanor and callow beauty belied his fighting prowess and steel will. While
in a king's employ, the attraction between the king's daughter and
Griffith and the growing favor of the king towards the Hawk leader raises
the hackles of the king's jealous brother, who plots to have Griffith
summarily assassinated. But if the plot fails, the king's brother will
likely have to deal with Guts and his titanic broadsword, and the results
of such confrontations are rarely pretty... or easy to clean up.

The Review
Presented in a wide B6 Berserk is right to left like the original (the original size is a B6). This time the cover features a close-up profile of Guts in his battle gear. Just his helmet, his shoulder armor and his broadsword on a static white background, creating a simple but very profound image. The opposite 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! - The logo is pretty ugly if you ask me. Big funky letters are shadowed and overdone; a complete contrast to the simple but period-looking font used by Hakusensha. I found this even more frustrating especially when I consider that there are existing English logos out there. In addition, similar to what was done for other Dark Horse manga - Trigun and the Ring - the spine does not have kana/kanji.

Inside the original volume header art and chapter header art is all there with kanji (wow!!). Printing problems are practically gone. This volume really would have been a good indicator with all the line work on a Zodd-like Guts and all the shading. Dark Horse does a solid job with the reproduction finally giving this series the quality print it deserves. And as usual this volume seems to be free of alignment issues rounding off a good presentation.

This volume is rated 18+ and comes shrink-wrapped.

The art to Berserk is pretty rough to start off, but through this volume things start to look a lot sharper and more similar to his current designs. Guts 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. Eyes are a little funky. Take Casca as an example. Her dark eyes often filled with emotion are almost comical (she looks like a bug) but that changes through time as Miura's character designs eventually catches up with his background art.

Backgrounds are outstanding. Miura must of have done some research as he has taken some of the better castle building traits and added it to his fortifications. I love the castle with the active river as a moot. Miura built up a thick tall wall with drawbridge standing on a river bend; cross the river and climb a hill to reach the castle. Looking closer he has built in a few towers, a church and a farm plot to cover many of the basic needs for those residing in the immediate vicinity. Very fancy.

SFX are not translated. GRRRR!! Don't ask me why they don't do this, but it is very frustrating. With all the action in this title readers at least need a glossary. The rest of the translation is very good which is typical Dark Horse. My issues with aside text appear to have been fixed; so, Dark Horse is no longer adding text bubbles to panels for asides.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may
contain spoilers)
Why do you wield your sword, Guts? Is it for the power you feel when swinging that steel? Is it because of your fears? It is to keep others away from you? Do you kill and shed blood for a dream or is there something else you are risking your life for?

Who do you wield your sword for Guts? We know your own protection comes first, but where do your comrades stand? What about Casca? What about Griffith? And what about the King? Where are your allegiances Guts? Will you put it all on the line for anyone else and are they aware of that fact?

Do you know what Griffith lives for Guts? It certainly is not you or Caska or some princess. He lives for a dream. A dream large enough, elaborate enough to engulf thousands of other dreams. One of those is your's Guts. Your life right now is a part of this dream, helping clear a path for his grand dream to come to fruition. Everyone you know Guts is wrapped up in his dream but their roles are not as clear or as important. And yet earnestly he feels he is not dependent on any of the dreams he devours along the way. Griffith cannot be held back by someone who does not strive for their dream. He equally cannot respect someone who does not find the value of their dreams. So do you see yourself on his level Guts? Is Griffith your equal?

Who do you draw your sword for Casca? What has driven you to become a warrior for a man like Griffith? Is this the life you chose and do you intend to be by Griffith's side forever? Do you understand how feels for you? What about the rest of the Hawks? They call you sister, but do you really believe they would not betray you, abuse you if given the chance?

Where do you two see yourselves when this war is over? Will you look for battles to fight? Will you join society? Will you try to join the nobility? What does the future hold for you two? Do you understand you are nothing but tools for someone else's ambitions! Do you see that your future is meaningless unless you accomplish what he wants from you! He will never see you as his equal unless you know what you want and why! So why do you do what you do?

Anyone who has read Berserk knows that the relationship between
Guts and Griffith was literally created by tension. In essence you have two strong men, one with long hair and a small frame and a huge rugged brute consistently fighting with each other but supporting each other when the times are tough. They are an amazing duo; combining power, strength, tactics and
sheer will to overpower their foes while using smaller lesser numbered troops. They work together in a very unorthodox manner; however, they have never together seen defeat.

So while they work together on the field of battle, they are going in
different directions off it. Their views on their roles within society are not eye-to-eye. There is no real conflict now on how they see each other within the castle and before the nobility. Nevertheless, their beliefs and how their dreams coincide with politics have made created a gap between them. This is something that should not be ignored either, for their wills are too strong to let large differences go unsettled.

Miura started this relationship with a swordfight. He informs us that Casca's relationship with Griffith also involved his sword. Yet these two relationships developed in very distinct ways. Each one is just as valid as the other, but the little things right from the start made such significant changes, those differences could not be overcome. One was a fight between men and the other was a fight for survival. There is a
sense of freedom in one and not in the other. Though, in hindsight one could say neither one resulted in true freedom. Casca got a way to live;
Guts has his life chosen for him and now a seed has been planted making him wonder if he has a choice.

That sense of doubt in Guts is going to be a turning point in this story. Now that Griffith's ambitions have been disclosed, Guts' role is evident but is he willing to comply knowing what he is to the Hawk? As this personal dilemma festers within Guts Miura challenges readers by bringing back other moments in Guts' young life. The pain and the confusion might not be as strong now but in Miura's world the significance of
Griffith's words is just as great.

Just goes to show how every detail no matter how small plays a part in Miura's storytelling. Another reason why Berserk is still one of the best stories out there period.


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