Berserk, one of the oldest manga series ever created, has spawned many anime and video game adaptations. It is also one of the best-selling manga of all time, with over 50 million copies in circulation, and is widely regarded as an all-time media classic.
Legendary video game creator Hidetaka Miyazaki drew inspiration from several sources when he created his Dark souls games including the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books that he loved as a child. However, he was also heavily inspired by the history, art and vibe of Berserk, which makes it essential for any FromSoftware fan.
A brief history of Berserk
Berserk was conceived, written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura, author of the manga from 1989 until his death in 2021. Its epic tale follows the interwoven story of Guts – a mercenary warrior known as the Black Swordsman – and his elder friend Griffith, the leader of a mercenary unit called “The Band of the Hawk” (a reference to Griffith’s nickname and his avian-style armor). Guts’ companion and former Falcon Gang’s second-in-command, Casca, is also a central figure in the story.
Berserk was first published in 1989 in the Japanese magazine “Monthly Animal House” and has gone on to appear in the reincarnated form of the late publication, “Young Animal”. In addition to astounding popularity and sales, the manga also earned its creator the 6th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Award for Excellence. A final chapter was released posthumously after his passing, which fans believed was a fitting finale for Berserk, even if it was never conceived as such by its creator.
While the long-running series has featured dozens of memorable moments, its most famous is the ‘Golden Age’ story arc, which focuses on the brutal and tragic past that connects its main characters. This origin story has been adapted into 25 episodes Berserk TV series originally aired from 1997 to 1998, as well as a trilogy of theatrical animated films in the early 2010s.
The events of this period are at once disturbing, haunting and heartbreaking, recounting how the taciturn and violent Guts was first persuaded to join the Falcon Gang by his handsome and charismatic leader, Griffith. Casca, Griffith, and Guts worked together to forge a period of success and wealth for the mercenary group. However, fans of the manga knew the trio weren’t meant to stay happy and cohesive, and the TV series and the animated films both did an excellent, heart-wrenching job of portraying Griffith’s heartbreaking downfall.
Unfortunately, a more recent anime adaptation of Berserk was less successful, with fans criticizing its 3D models, animation, and general direction. But with so much to draw from, fans remain optimistic about the future Berserk The anime adaptation may succeed in recapturing the magic of some of the manga’s other memorable story arcs.
How Berserk got inspired by software games
Berserkthe influence of Dark souls, Demon souls, and FromSoftware’s other action-adventure games are indisputable. Miyazaki’s game worlds are steeped in iconic manga references, with a slew of elements, locations, and other details in the titles revealing their director’s love for lyrics.
One area where this inspiration is clearly evident is in the games’ weapon lineup. The Souls games offer players a large arsenal, and many of them are taken directly from the world of Berserk. The Dark souls The series’ huge Greatsword, a favorite with players pursuing strength-building, is clearly inspired by the ridiculously oversized blade wielded by Guts. Sekiro Also borrows from Guts’s weaponry by equipping his one-armed main character with a mechanical prosthetic limb capable of firing explosive projectiles.
Some of the enemy designs in the Souls the series are also taken directly from Berserk. The infamous Wheel Skeletons, also known as âBonewheels,â depict the corpses of the living dead that remain attached to the horrific broken wheels that caused their deaths. In a stroke of dark comedy genius, the creatures use these torture devices with devastating effect, harassing the player with rolling attacks whenever they appear in the game. However, Dark souls did not in fact mark the beginning of these formidable enemies; instead, they were spawned by the twisted mind of Kentaro Miura, appearing as antagonists in Berserk.
Other monster models in the Souls games strongly suggest origins in Miura’s work. Dark souls‘Taurus Demon strongly resembles Berserk the antagonist Nosferatu Zodd, and the game’s snake-man enemies are very similar to the manga’s villainous Snake Lord. Transmitted by blood also gets into the act, with the bestial form of boss Ludwig’s character resembling a monstrous, malformed horse, a design that also appeared as a monster in Berserk.
The games also contain a number of NPCs inspired by the revered manga. Dark soulsThe popular and tragic Siegmeyer of Catarina is known as “the knight of the onion” for the way his armor resembles the vegetable, but his design also strongly resembles that of Berserkthe wicked Bazuso. Even the adorable Dark souls The blacksmith, Andre, is clearly designed to resemble Godot, the man responsible for making Guts’ colossal blade.
Hidetaka Miyazaki’s first Souls title, the recently redone Demon souls, is also littered with references to Miura’s work. NPC Yuria sports a distinctive hat which is first worn by Schierke in Berserk, and the iron maidens and metal cages of Latria are reminiscent of the torture chamber in which Griffith was imprisoned during the tragic climax of the Golden Age arc.
Of course, FromSoftware isn’t the only developer to rely on Berserk, because the long-running series has had a huge influence on several generations of Japanese designers. games like Final Fantasy VII Also carry its features in the form of Cloud’s gigantic Buster Sword, and there are already multiple direct adaptations of Berserk in video game format.
Sadly, Kentaro Miura’s death means that the series is unlikely to continue without its creator at the helm. However, it is certain that BerserkThe legacy of will live on for decades in the form of the many video games that the legendary manga helped inspire.
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