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From ANN:

Gats, known as the Black Swordsman, seeks sanctuary from the demonic forces attracted to him and his woman because of a demonic mark on their necks, and also vengeance against the man who branded him as an unholy sacrifice. Aided only by his titanic strength gained from a harsh childhood lived with mercenaries, a gigantic sword, and an iron prosthetic left hand, Gats must struggle against his bleak destiny, all the while fighting with a rage that might strip him of his humanity.

Warning: This manga is for mature audiences only, since it has sexual content and graphic violence (gore, blood, rape, etc). Definitely not for the weak hearted.

Won the Tezuka Osamu Award for Excellence in 2002


Related Series

Associated Names
Berserk Max

Groups Scanlating
Band of The Hawks
Evil Genius

Latest Release(s)
v.38 c.337 by Evil Genius (204d ago)
v.38 c.336 by Evil Genius (255d ago)
v.38 c.335 by Evil Genius (335d ago)
Search for all releases of this series

Status in Country of Origin
37 Volumes (Ongoing)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter
Starts at Vol 1, Chap 1 - Skips to: Vol 3, Chap 09 (1997) / Vol 3, Chap 09 (2012)
Ends at Vol 13, Chap 102 (1997) / Vol 13, Chap 106 (2012)

User Reviews
Berserk by J
Berserk by canucks

47 topics, 598 posts
Click here to view the forum

User Rating
Average: 9 / 10.0 (2311 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.97 / 10.0
 56% (1299 votes)
 22% (519 votes)
 11% (245 votes)
 4% (86 votes)
 1% (31 votes)
 1% (21 votes)
 0% (8 votes)
 0% (9 votes)
 0% (11 votes)
 4% (82 votes)

Last Updated
April 17th 2015, 12:01pm PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)
Animal House (Hakusensha)
Young Animal (Hakusensha)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher
Dark Horse (37 Volumes - Ongoing)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #122 decreased(-1)
Monthly Pos #88 decreased(-1)
3 Month Pos #87 decreased(-7)
6 Month Pos #78 increased(+8)

List Stats
On 7341 reading lists
On 1352 wish lists
On 210 unfinished lists
On 515 custom lists

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Forum Posts
Youve read Berserk...right? 44 days, 12 hours, 20 minutes ago
Berserk AMVs 82 days, 7 hours, 8 minutes ago
What type of end do you wish for at this point? 189 days, 9 hours, 6 minutes ago
When should i start this epic? 197 days, 1 hours, 13 minutes ago
I used to be a slave trader... 257 days, 10 hours, 23 minutes ago

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User Comments [ Order by time added ]

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The Berserk Experience   
Rating: 9.5 / 10.0
by IASeldon
April 8th, 2009, 11:56am
My first experiences with Berserk came not through the manga, nor even from watching the anime: but actually from seeing a preview on the Samurai Deeper Kyo DVDs. One day I was scanning through the previews on the fourth disc and randomly decided to watch the one for Berserk. Let me tell you, I was floored. Not by the art, not by the amazing way it was cut together, but actually by the music they had playing in the background. Seeing that trailer set me on two passions: Berserk and Susumu Hirasawa (if you have not checked out his music, do so. Some of it is hit-or-miss, but there are more than a few golden pieces in his works).

In any event, after seeing the trailer I had to find the anime; at least, that is what my thinking went to immediately. No such luck. Berserk is quite possibly one of the hardest collections of DVDs to find unless you order on-line, which almost seems like cheating. In any event, stymied by the failure, I put it out of my mind for a time and went on with life...until I saw the first fourteen volumes of Berserk one day in Borders.

I will say this - I did not read Berserk in order. I read books 1-2, then went to 4-6, 8-10, then went back to 3 and 7 and on from there. It is a fascinating story, filled with violently beautiful art and distinct, emotionally fractured characters. It is quite possibly the most realistic portrait of medieval times ever shown (and that from a Japanese mangaka!), despite the magic and demons and elves.

It is also delightfully humorous - something that even the darkest of stories need, if only to relieve the tension - especially for someone who has read a lot of manga and watched a lot of anime. All of the overblown attacks called out by Guts' enemies in the Golden Age, promising utter defeat and devastation - only to have them fail spectacularly - is clearly a thumb to the nose at all of the shounen manga in existence.

Now, there are some complaints that the story in the Millennium Arc is moving away from the dark aspects of the story. Not True! Think back to the Golden Age arc, and how happy and cheerful it seemed then! The story is only becoming happier because of the terrible things yet to come. Nothing makes despair deeper than the fond memories of good times.

For those who have reviewed this story poorly I have only this to say: you did not try. You read the story with skepticism, a critical eye and a sneer upon your lips. You refused to let yourself go and just accept the story for what it is: A Story.

Let all who read Berserk after seeing this review read it with this in mind: Experience it for what it is - the story of Guts - and not for what you believe it should be, or with any comparisons to the manga you have read in the past. Because I can guarantee you one thing - any manga you have read recently came after Berserk.

I would also recommend searching the internet for Susumu Hirasawa's Berserk soundtrack. You can find it if you look hard enough. Reading the manga while listening to the music is a sublime experience.

I will agree with one negative point mentioned in the previous reviews - it could be done faster. Not blindingly fast, like some Shounen Jump teeney-bopper fight manga, but once a month like Gantz would be superb, and would no doubt lead to ecstatic frenzies amongst the Berserk community.
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Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by Lewb
March 7th, 2014, 3:00pm
The best piece of fiction ever conceived by man, in a well crafted world with awesome art and a complete bad-ass main character Gutts, who never has anything easy in his life.

The story is on par with lord of the rings and star wars in epicness but its also filled to the brim with Gore and Nudity so if your easily offended stay away from this perfect manga.
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Brilliant * some spoilers   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by kiron216
January 21st, 2011, 6:47pm
This manga is hands down the best I have ever read with Team Medical Dragon coming in as a close second. It accurately portrays the nature of humans and delves into the political structure of ancient Europe. What really secures the top position for berserk is not just how emotional it is or how detailed the art is. No matter what the author wants to portray in his manga he does it successfully and there is no better example than the nobility of the countries controlled by the Vatican and how the church was used as an instrument to monopolize wealth. The author also shows how the Vandimion family places its members into high positions and funds the Vatican's war through the use of banks and uses the pope as a figurehead to control the people. They are accurately characterized as the power behind the power and because the author includes this level of detail there is no more accurate portrayal of medieval times.

Something else that impresses me is his portrayal of strong emotion or being so obsessed with a person that it continually burns you. This is mentioned in several instances sometimes from the perspective of guts and sometimes from the perspective of griffith. Anyone who has ever cared deeply for someone, known that they are better than you are, and recognized that the see you as a mere annoyance and the level of your love for them is in stark contrast to the lack of emotional significance you hold for them (in my case an ex girlfriend from an Eastern European country who was stronger thanks to her upbringing than I could ever be). Its a very difficult thing to get over and this sort of inspiration can be found in every level of his work from Griffith describing the count as a pebble in his path that he had no affection for to Griffith acknowledging that Guts felt that way when he left the band of the hawks, to Guts thinking that casca is only a sore that griffith left behind and that he wants to take a bite out of the true light that burns him. This can be seen when Guts asks griffith if he thinks nothing of his betrayal and Griffith casually says that he doesn't care.

It also realistically shows the pursuit of griffiths dreams. There is a segment where griffith needs to pile corpses to reach a castle upon a dream and that that is the true nature of his ambition. It reminds me of a quote from Hajime no Ippo where the coach says, "to move higher an shine brighter you must use other mens dreams as stepping stones". Everyone wants success and everyone wants power. Ultimately to become rich in any sense of the word you must be willing to take from someone else. This manga accurately mirrors reality.

This story is visually, emotionally, and metaphorically rich. It is realistic and inspired written from the perspective of someone who understands the true nature of reality. Other stories might show human beings as infinitely clever, reasoned, and compassionate but this story shows human society for what it really is which is harsh and unforgiving, and political institutions for what they really are which is organizations that monopolize and redistribute wealth away from the bottom rungs of society and consolidate it amongst the financially elite. Also the protagonist guts has true strength not only because of his fighting ability but because of his ability to persevere in the face of absolute despair. This manga is by far the best I have ever read and not even George R. R. Martins a song of ice and fire is more inspired than this masterpiece. By conjoining artwork and an incredibly detailed plot the author has created a true gem of storytelling.

My brother once described his computer skills to me as a back burner skill that he didn't consider to be his main talent despite the fact that massive corporations would be willing to pay close to 100000 dollars a year for these backburner skills and the fact that he has started a successful business based on them. Everything I have just mentioned whether its the Vandimion family, to the Church, to the relationship between the characters despite being incredibly rich is just an appetizer. The main course is Guts and the challeges he faces and well as the demons he fights. The authors means of increasing the value of Guts to the reader is incredible. First he shows him as unrivaled amongst humans and then he shows Guts facing off against demons with capabilities far beyond a humans. Every fight is set up masterfully and the fights themselves are breathtaking. Berserk is truly a complete package.

... Last updated on January 21st, 2011, 6:53pm
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The genre seems to change   
Rating: N/A
by Mizura
January 2nd, 2014, 1:07am
It's funny how some people mention a "Berserk experience", because my experience of a read-through is that the genre seemed to change completely between major arcs, so they have different strengths and weaknesses. In particular:
  • The first few volumes were pretty much horror/fantasy. The atmosphere is dark and despairing, the villains are pretty much stereotypical evil, and more amusingly, the protagonist himself is pretty much a bastard.
  • We then get a flashback arc which, surprisingly, reads more like a semi-realistic historical series. Though fantasy elements sometimes show up and are otherwise hinted at, the characters themselves are developed mostly as humans facing mostly human challenges. This arc does a huge job of developing Guts as a character, as well as Griffith and Casca (though, I found Casca underwhelming), though the rest of the characters are forgettable, and the villains are stereotypical as always.
  • At the end of the flashback arc, the series suddenly shifts to horror/fantasy again, and follows in that vein for the next few arcs. We see Guts being a bastard again, though now we understand the context of his struggles. The series also starts to develop side characters with more depth, including some pretty messed up ones.
  • And then things suddenly turn to fantasy. As in, not horror/fantasy. Sure, the monsters are still ugly (though many aren't even that ugly anymore), but we essentially have a fantasy party (complete with magician and useless females) destroying the big bad monsters. There is some darkness left, but no more than can be found in most fantasies, and some moments become outright funny. Now, this may sound horribly depressing, but ironically this is the part with the best development for side characters and villains, who are no longer portrayed as one-dimensional, evil cliches whose sole purpose in life is to rape and kill.
  • Lately it's become even More fantasy-ish because of a certain world event. I admit that made me raise an eyebrow. Whereas it was monsterland before, now a big chunk of it became fantasia-land.

The transitions can be pretty abrupt. For me, they ranged from jarring to outright comical. Once the switch is done though, you do get used to the new feel of the series though, until the next one comes along. Were these changes good or bad? I guess it will depend on what people like. There is a certain logic to it, since it parallels Guts' own development as a character somehow, though to some it may feel like they're no longer reading the same series, just the same characters in a different context (and then some, the series conveniently discards how dark some of the characters used to be and all the horrible things they've done. Rather curious).

Funny footnote: all the naked women being raped and killed have great bodies for some reason. I found that pretty funny, considering how ugly male and monster characters are often portrayed. A thing I found less amusing is how the series keeps bringing out "super strong and famous" fighters to serve as fodder villains out of nowhere.

... Last updated on January 2nd, 2014, 1:11am
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Berserk has everything   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by Gamezob
July 14th, 2012, 8:44am
This manga so well rounded:
We're shown struggle, strife
And some awesome fights
Then we see tender love:
Big Damn Kisses and hugs.
There are scenes of blood and gore
Yet still we chant: more,more more
Then glimpses of a young hearts' fight
There and then my soft heart takes flight

See this manga is so awesome it makes me want to write poetry
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There can be only ONE.   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by residentgrigo
September 15th, 2012, 8:25am
This is the best manga of all time and can only be rivaled by the works of William Shakespeare or Dante Alighieri. And i am stone cold serious.
Together with the Grant Morrisons seminal run on Batman, this is the most fun i ever had reading a Comic/Manga/Bande dessinée.

... Last updated on October 11th, 2012, 8:35am
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Going steadily downhill   
Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by lordyupa
October 25th, 2009, 10:20pm
I used to love Berserk more than life itself. The Golden Age story arc remains some of the greatest storytelling in manga history, and many of the subsequent chapters were also excellent. However, I feel like I can no longer recommend Berserk with a clear conscience. In recent years it's been slowly transforming from a gritty low-fantasy book to a generic J-RPG. Guts, the main character and one of the most psychologically complex action heroes I've ever read, has been pretty much replaced by a cast of extremely boring stock characters, including the hot-blooded young kid who wants to be a warrior, the super-cool skilled swordsman who rarely speaks, the kawaii-magic-girl-chan ^_^, and a couple of useless girls who spend their time being victims.

In the beginning, Berserk was about Guts fighting a continually losing battle against fate itself, supported in his hopeless endeavor only by his titanic force of will. Now, it seems that he and his gang spend their time fighting a series of trite "boss battles" straight from Final Fantasy, and nearly every problem is solved by the witch girl busting out some new and unprecedented magic power that resolves it automatically. Frankly, it's sucked for the last 3-4 years.

So should you read it? I want to say yes. Some parts of Berserk are truly perfect, the epitome of the mangaka's craft. Other parts (and sadly these parts indicate the current direction of the story) are more like an insult to the reader.
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The art is the stuff of masters.   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by malk
February 20th, 2010, 9:18am
This was the first manga I ever read. Since then, I have read hundreds of series over the past 2-3 years, and I have never seen better art than that in Berserk. I honestly don't think it exists anymore. The storyline is amazing, the art work is godly, and in all honesty the only things I can truly say bad about it is the same afflictions that any manga gets with time and that is a decrease in the quality of storyline at the later chapters.

The story does seem to drag on toward the end, whether that is because I have to wait sometimes 3 months per chapter or because of an actual quality decrease in storyline, I honestly can't say. The quality of the art is the best, but that comes at the cost of an extremely slow production of new chapters.

That being sad, if I didn't rate this a 10 no manga on this site would be worthy of it. I recommend this manga to anyone who doesn't mind alot of gore, bloodshed, and nudity. I personally find those things to be a plus.

... Last updated on February 20th, 2010, 9:18am
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A MUST read manga   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by Bloodfall
January 9th, 2010, 10:37am
Berserk is a must-read for any manga fan.
In my pov, berserk is like "the godfather" on the manga world.

The best art i've ever seen so far, great plot, great characters....
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More shounen with each chapter   
Rating: 9.3 / 10.0
by juij
February 28th, 2013, 10:25am
The first chapters are one of the darkest things i've ever read, it keeps the adult content and then it goes for a more popular manga as everyone says.

Not everything is bad in that change as i like the comic duo Isidro/Puck. On the other hand there's some shounen content that diminish the quality, like tha "power ranger/batman" armour, totally shounen rubish, Guts goes down from a mad and complex avenger character to a sugarcoated uncle full of love for his little friends.... the apostles getting friendly with the humans, the lack of sex (adult content), and the excess of childish or weak characters (moes everywhere)

Even so this manga it's still one of a kind, the darknes goes down, but the quality keeps pretty much the same as always and sometimes you got your share of gore.

I always like to point out the things i don't like, so with all that said i still think this is one of the best mangas ever published, and i believe a lot of people don't give a chance to Berserk precisely because the first two arcs are unbearable for them, just keep reading because you probably would like more the manga once you get past the first half, it goes from the darkness of the abbysmal nightmares to be one of the finest pieces of fantastic literature out there.

... Last updated on February 28th, 2013, 3:15pm
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