Berserk Vol. #15 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Translated by:Duane Johnson
Adapted by:Duane Johnson
What They Say
From his days as a young mercenary to his time as captain of the Band of the Hawks' Raiders, Guts's life has been defined by his ability to fight and his will to win. Now cursed with the Brand of Sacrifice - a sigil that will forever mark him as prey for the damned - and with his companions dead, his lover's mind destroyed, and his one-time commander and friend reborn as a malevolent demon lord, it seems that more than ever Guts must rely upon his instinct to survive.
But Hell has many faces, and when what appears to be an innocent country village proves to be a den of tragic secrets, the horror of a fairy tale perverted by pain and hate may prove to be more than Guts can handle!
The world of Berserk is one of purest fantasy. Knights, fairies and monsters abound in a setting filled with medieval architecture and designs. At the core is a primitive social structure where class is equivalent to destiny. Years ago Guts decided he was going to make his own destiny, as he was no longer going to be a part of Griffith's plans. However, much like he cannot entirely escape fate, he cannot overcome the rules society has imposed around him. The existing class system pits the nobility against the poor and young, where the numerous weak and powerless are considered expendable commodities for those with means. And it is the power of existing social hierarchy that Guts will come face to face with in volume 15.
Initially believing he was battling history and class, Guts finds himself battling the fears and frustrations of youth. Even in the real world youth can be considered second-class. They do not have the rights that adults do. Generally speaking, they do not have the power or the money either. They are often dependant and without a voice, and as such they are often mistreated by society as a whole. In Berserk, children are abused and ignored. They are often seen as temporary nuisances or commodities to be sold into slavery or prostitution. So many of these youth want to have lives on their own terms.
Sadly, those who escape to live on their own, often do not find their utopia. Instead, they fall into the same traps society set for them. Moreover, without guidance, they move towards destruction, humiliation and even death at a faster pace since they have no sense of responsibility yet.
In this latest volume, Miura tries to work on the world building he is known for. We have seen what this world has done to adults. We know there are monsters out there as well. But to see him take on the youth like this, giving him a good point to bring back Puck and also introduce a handful of youthful (na�ve) new characters shows just how skilled this mangaka is. Details like this, while not entirely relevant to the plot up to this point, allow for new perspectives to arise about themes like the behilit, the godhand, monsters and even Guts. Add some extremely detailed art and Berserk reads more like an epic with every new volume.
Brilliant fantasy story-telling, even when there is down time (can't say that about many series).
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Dark Horse
Orientation: Right to Left