Man, I haven’t written one of these up in a while! I have no explanation for that. I did opt to finish off some of my unfinished 2019 books, but that doesn’t explain why I didn’t pick up another manga volume.
Anyway, I found something called Berserk, and it actually had a parental advisory warning sticker on it, something I didn’t realize until I got it home.So, what was this one all about?
A man named Guts is the Black Swordsman. He’s got a mechanical hand that shoots crossbow bolts and a very large sword that looks like it may be bigger than he is. He seems to wander around what looks like a medieval fantasy realm, killing things. The “things” in question seems to be demons, but he isn’t above slicing through anyone who might block his path. He’s unfriendly, thinks innocent victims that weren’t strong enough to defend themselves deserve to die for the crime of being weak, and the closest he has to a companion is a small, flying elf named Puck whose life was saved by Guts…possibly accidentally.
As it is, this first volume is mostly set-up. There are three stories here. The first introduces Guts and Puck, the second establishes that the brand on Guts’s neck attracts supernatural dangers so it’s best not to spend time with him. And finally, the last one started a longer story where Guts and Puck arrive in a town controled by a demon with a habit of executing people for fun…and apparently to make more demon chow. The bottom line for this book is it doesn’t get much done. There are some action scenes and Puck acting silly (possibly as the audience surrogate), but mostly there’s some mystery here. What happened to Guts? Who branded him? What exactly does it mean?
I’m somewhat curious. Writer/artist Kentaro Miura has some good monster design, and there’s some kind of deeper mythology going here, but he doesn’t get much into it just yet. I may get more later since the monsters were cool and none of the characters seemed to annoy me, but perhaps not just yet. Then again, it may be a while before I get to another manga regardless considering the gap between these reviews.
8 out of 10 eviscerating sword swings.