Thank You Miura
To preface; if you haven't read Berserk yet, I deeply implore you do such. It's a story of revenge, destiny, the depths of good and evil, and whether or not mankind can really live if the existence of a transcendental entity governs all our life-paths. There is an immense amount of blood and gore stocked within each page of its grim story, but over the arcs and chapters, the story moves from a hopeless man's battle against an unstoppable fate to a defiant story of human hope and capability in the face of corrupt injustice and cosmic laws.
That being said; this post is unfortunately not describing that transition. To describe Berserk in its eternity is another facet entirely. Unfortunately, its author, the ceaselessly talented Kentaro Miura, has passed from heart complications earlier this month.
Miura's 'Berserk' is a magnum Opus of artistic achievement and painstaking attention to detail. There are images from his manga masterpiece that could be (and have been, countless thousands if not millions of times most likely) made into stylish wallpapers for your computer or IPhone. I am no buff on the specifications of art's finer details, but from my uneducated naked eyes; this is among the most beautiful, mesmerizing, and detailed pages from a comic book, nay, a piece of media, I have ever bore witness towards. The most amazing part? This is among the LESS detailed of Miura's craftsmanship. Indeed, Berserk and Miura's other works have been hailed not just in Japan's anime and manga communities, but across international borders for being constructions of majestical visual storytelling. However, their strength lies not only in the infinite beauty that is poured into each pixel of creation...
But in how they relate to the overarching narrative taking place. Characters are aligned in such positions and play out such movements that it almost seems the manga is tossing dialogue out the window entirely and electing to evoke its story through a silent miasma of finite detail and painstaking construction instead. For example, in the image below are the story's two central characters placed against each other by a weave of fate. On the right is Guts, the main 'protagonist' (though with the masterful characterization of these individuals, it's hard to admit the individual he faces against is genuinely 'evil') stands in opposition with Griffith, the main 'antagonist'. Without spoiling too much by granting you context for this scene, Guts desires to leave Griffith's organization and stake out a life independent from his rule, trying to iron out a destiny for himself in this cruel, harsh world. A beaming sun bleaches this encounter with an entrancing view of two people, one defined by his past and seeking to iron out his future, and one with a clear vision of his future but desiring to keep hold of a man who has defined his present.
In the background lies stretches of forest and mountain, wildlife and walled city, all equally blessed by the sun's unending embrace. Spires and smaller towers and structures are noticeable in the distance. By this point in the story, both these characters have excruciatingly fought tooth and nail from both the poor circumstances of their birth and through physical exertion practically everyday to keep each other alive, the reward being granted power and status in the kingdom depicted in the background. Guts desires to leave the kingdom, whilst Griffith stands in direct opposition, physically refusing to allow his leave.
Every artist who creates a piece of media with a clear, passionate vision and with proper time and effort spent into construction of this said piece will emerge with a glorious creation that should be treasured and respected. But even among this golden class of creator in this world whom truly places their souls and dreams into the fictional worlds and ideations they create, through whatever medium they see fit, Miura stands special. Berserk, besides from being one of my favorite methods of escapism ever, has taught me lessons that I really needed to understand at the time. To not give up on one's ambitions and destiny in spite of what divine providence or any greater power above even humanity edicts, to act in defiant hope of a world that is dark and cold...
To say anymore would be spoiling a tale I truly believe one should experience on their own upon whatever time they deem fit. However, I do warn you, Berserk is rife with plenty of mature scenes depicting the utter worst of humanity. Everything from gore to murder to sexually explicit material. There is nothing this story shies away from in attempting to convey the messages and themes that are laden within the world it presents to us, and these said themes that could be translated into our world. I could make a post for every major theme Berserk tells us (and probably will), but this post is a more simple thank you to a man who changed my life in a monumental, instrumental fashion. Kentaro Miura was a genius craftsman ahead of his time, who arguably sacrificed his life in the process of performing a masterwork that few will ever reach the standard of. Thank you, Miura, and rest well in Heaven with good knowledge that your labor on Earth has been concluded most definitively.