Berserk Vol. #10 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 13.95
  • Pages: 238
  • ISBN: 1-59307-331-3
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Berserk Vol. #10

By Eduardo M. Chavez     March 28, 2006
Release Date: January 25, 2006


Berserk Vol.#10
© Dark Horse


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

What They Say
Warrior supreme Guts has returned, and just in time to save the weakened Band of the Hawk from certain destruction... and to form an intimate bond with the beautiful Hawk captain, Casca. But job one is to find a way to free Griffith, the Hawk's leader from the dank dungeons and round-the-tortures of the Hawks former benefactor, the King of Midland. But while the flayed and starved Griffith may be in isolation, he is not alone. Horrors beyond imagination await Guts and the Hawks in the catacombs, and those who die may just be the lucky ones!

The Review
Packaging:
Presented in a wide B6 Berserk is right to left like the original (the original size is a B6). This time the cover features Guts positioned on a boulder before a character not seen in the anime, Skull Knight. The image has been shrunk down a bit, but it is not reworked like other Berserk covers. 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 shadowed and overdone which 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 Zodd 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.

Artwork:
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, with detailed its muscle tone, makes him look fit but not and larger than any of the other Hawks (outside of Pippin). Miura's eyes have improved dramatically. Casca used to look like a bug, but now her dark eyes are filled with great emotion. All of the designs have changed through the first ten volumes and Miura now seems comfortable with the roles his cast play. Having them mature relatively quickly also helps fix the elfin looks he gave them earlier in the series.

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.

Text/SFX:
SFX are not translated. GRRRR!! Don't ask me why they don't do this, but it is very frustrating.

The rest of the translation is very good which (typical Dark Horse). My issue with aside text appears to have been fixed; so, Dark Horse is no longer adding text bubbles to panels for asides. If there is anything that bugs me, it has to be the names. The spellings have been debated over and over again, but why can't someone just settle on something. Guts and Casca okay, but Rickert? Where did that "r" come from?

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Guts and Griffith, on the surface this looks like an unbelievable combination. Brute strength, fearlessness and unrelenting will power one side with high technique, tactics and equal amounts of will power on the other; together the two could be able to create a revolution on the battlefield. Their strengths and leadership can take on any force with full confidence of their abilities and each other. Yet, their differences might seriously be too much to overcome.

Guts realizes this. He is now on his own because of it. But fate has not only given him independence, it also has given him something else (in the form of someone) he has been missing for a large part of his life - love. The relationship with Guts brought him together with Casca under some extremely intimate terms. Now that meeting has come full circle. As if the two were meant for each other, the two tossed aside years of quarreling to protect each other and be there for each other once again. And that love is not only for Casca, it is for himself. Once a person who seemed constantly lost in the moment, Guts now respects his mortality and his own rights. His bloodlust is gone, but that does not mean he has left the sword behind. He chooses the battles he wants to fight and he will only fight under his own name now.

What about Griffith, though? The Hawk so shrewd, ruthless and ambitious, was there anyone he loved? Was the Hawk who led his band and was almost respected like the light, was he ever independent? His glory came quickly with the addition of one man. His downfall quickly followed that man's departure. He thought he had this man in his hand, so when did the roles change? Now rotting in a dungeon losing his sanity, Guts possibly never had much in life outside of ambition and the walls of his prison have thoroughly prevented him from spreading his wings.

Griffith's future is once again in the hand of Guts. Who would have thought that with this relationship, they would meet again under such circumstances? The reckless warrior saved by a visionary, now rescuing a torn down man that was once poised to reach great heights from the deepest darkest cell in Midland. But now Griffith is fully aware he has lost to Guts.

Comments
Here we go! We are starting to move- No we are rolling now, towards the part where the anime leaves off and the true horrors that stems from the strange relationship between the Hawk and the man whom used to be his Raider.

The Band of the Hawk has already disbanded. They were running from the military after once being its strongest most decorated unit. They lost their leader, their image and their strength. But they did not lose their pride. Miura understood that the Band of the Hawk was unique because for all that Griffith was the Hawk, the pride and ambition of its members was really what carried this group. Together they were a mighty force without comparison in Midland and Miura takes time to once again (for a final time) show why the Hawks were not only feared but respected by all on the battlefield.

Miura also takes some time to show what time has done to his characters. You know that time has really taken its toll on its members. While the warriors continued to fight, they also continued to develop as individuals. Meanwhile, their leader sat alone struggling with his fears. This point was very powerful. It really is a turning point in this manga. Readers should know that Griffith is in trouble, but when you see him in that cell alone with only his thoughts, fears and memories, you can see how far this Hawk has fallen. Once, a very proud almost cocky man was now broken and frail. He no longer was the Hawk we know; even with his tactical mind still active. Conversely, the rise of Guts seemed to reach its pinnacle. Not only had he grown past his childish troubles with Casca and his issues of pride with Griffith, he was finally mature know his role (and stick to it!).

Across the board, even the strongest wills can change and compromise. Some will run away from their fears. Others will decide to create their own freedom. But when there is no place to run, you can only hide within yourself. We see all of that, and we see what power can bring as well as Miura begins to bring this arc to a close through the purging and Skull Knight! Talk about will. That guy's was able to completely change the tone of the manga in an instant.

Miura's ability to transition through his characters is masterful. We see them mature and struggle. We see them plot and scheme against each other. It is really surprising how each of the main characters depends on the other, yet Miura is still able to give them enough freedom to stand out as individuals. This is the making of an epic for each character has meaning to the plot as a whole.

Then there is the scope of this story. It is so broad; it has the ability to be seen from Griffith's mask or from the view from the top of a tall tree. And all along the way, while the perspective might change the detail does not drop off. Besrerk is one of the better series over the last few years for a number of reason, but what we see in this volume really brings it all in perfectly. The drama, the action and the suspense is excellent. There is no way to leave this volume without feeling something larger than life is about to happen. But then again when do you not feel that way with Berserk?!

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