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‘Berserk Deluxe Edition:’ Hardcover Review

I grew up on anime and manga in the ’90s, but this was my first time delving into Berserk, and I’m glad I did. It’s a wild, audacious, ridiculous romp. Much of the manga and anime from that era has a very specific feel to it: The tropes were always being leaned into pretty heavily, with bad guys that you couldn’t kill and instead only got bigger when you defeated them, action scenes that were only just barely discernible, and a kooky sidekick whose style didn’t match anything else.

Berserk first appeared in 1989, and there’s a reason that it has had so much staying power. While those tropes exist in this story (maybe they even helped to solidify some of those tropes), there’s a lot more going on.  It’s all pretty weird, in just the right ways, and all of the weird things end up being completely justified.

Guts is our anti-hero. He carries a sword that’s about two times bigger than he is. Any time he swings it, you can expect someone nearby to get lopped in half. The story centers around Guts seeking revenge on some pretty heavy hitters: basically demons. But, just when you think you’re sure how bad the bad guy is, long sections of backstory unfold to make them far more three-dimensional. This is something I’ve always appreciated about Japanese storytelling, from Metal gear Solid to Battle Angel Alita.

This first Deluxe Edition follows Guts through the first three story arcs in which he “befriends” an elf pixie named Puck. Puck is like the angel on Guts’ shoulder, trying to pull his empathy into play. Guts puts up a pretty good act, not caring. How much of an act it is, I’m not sure, but, man, does he play it until it’s basically too late. The great thing about him is that he’s a beast! No matter how much he gets trampled on, he rises to the occasion; from fighting giant snail demons to god-like beings on another plane of existence (a pretty wicked-cool sequence), Guts drags us along for a beating. What I love about this is that happy endings don’t seem to be Guts’ thing.

Not only that, but the Deluxe Edition looks beautiful. If you’re a fan, it might be worth picking up and cherishing, even at a retail price of almost $50.00.

Creative team: Kentaro Miura (writer, artist), Jason DeAngelis with Duane Johnson (translator), Dan Nakrosis with Studio Cutie (letters), Chris Warner (US editor), Knonner Knudsen (assistant editor)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor



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