Berserk Vol. #14 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 13.95
  • Pages: 240
  • ISBN: 1-59307-501-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Berserk Vol. #14

By Eduardo M. Chavez     January 31, 2007
Release Date: November 29, 2006

Berserk Vol.#14
© Dark Horse

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

What They Say
The once unbeatable Band of the Hawk is smashed, and their former leader, Griffith, has made an unholy pact with the demon lords of the Godhand, sacrificing his former troops to resurrect his crippled body and ascend to stand in power beside these profane gods. The Invocation of Doom has unleashed a plague of unspeakable horrors upon the earth, and the first battle not only shatters the Hawks, but the hand of their champion, Guts, and the mind of their captain and Guts' lover, Casca. And while time may heal some of Guts' wounds, it will not heal his desire for vengeance. And his discovery of a gigantic, dragon-slaying sword might be just the ticket to deal out some king-sized payback!

Also included in this volume: "Berserk Prototype," the very first Berserk story, created during Kentaro Miura's college days as his audition that sold the series.

The Review
Berserk is one of those titles that I would happily pay $14 for every couple of months. And volume fourteen is a good example of why. After so much build up in the last two volumes, a new arc opens up with new characters and new sources of conflict. There is no let down in a title like this.

Guts is given a little bit of perspective about what actually happened on that dark day not too long ago. He is fed the notion that this was destiny and everything that has happened and will happen is fate. If so did he ever have a choice at all? Was he just a puppet to something even bigger than Griffith?es dreams? Does he have to go continue the fight? Was he going to become the dark knight just as Griffith morphed into a Black Hawk? Why fight then! Why not take on the madness and the darkness! And as readers will see, Guts will turn to the darkness even if it means coming close to losing his mind!

Even with this volume mainly consisting of filler and transition, Miura consistently supplies moments that are vital to the progression of this epic series. Scenes like the one featuring Guts, Casca and the Skeleton Knight opened the doors for so many potential tragedies in the future. And when Miura followed that up with a brief, quiet but emotionally charged final night together shared by Guts and Casca in their underground cave dwelling/cell, I was so moved I immediately understood why a man of Guts' character would continue the fight for everyone he has lost.

This is the difference between a title like Berserk and other series that have been going for as long as this series. Continuity might not be apparent immediately. That might not be appreciated by those wanting instant gratification. However, as was we got to see with the re-introduction of Puck and from what we have seen previously with the behelit and other seemingly random circumstances, nothing happens by chance in Miura's world. To me that brings excitement and hope for future releases. It provides an opportunity for the reader to active in the reading of this series. Putting together the pieces of a huge 30+ volume puzzle that is still in progress. The level of involvement is pretty great when you consider how detailed Miura's art is and how robust the dialogue is for this title.

As an additional treat to the Berserk completists out there, this volume features the original pilot manga for the series. The one chapter manga "treatment" features Guts in the Conviction Arc. I was struck by the amount of humor and bad-ass attitude that Miura was showing off in this short. Almost made me wonder what this series could have been if those themes were around to lighten up this cold cruel title. Good conversation material.


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