Berserk / Tropes A to D
aka: Tropes A-D

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    A 
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The sword Godo offers to Guts after the Eclipse, capable of cleanly cutting through the blade of another sword and the tip of an anvil in a single swing. A merely ordinary sized sword of exceptional sharpness doesn't suit Guts' style though. It doesn't last a single fight. Inverted with the BFS Guts chooses to replace it, the Dragonslayer, which is often called out as absurdly dull. It can still cut people in half, but that's because of its sheer mass and Guts able to swing it with great speed and momentum.
  • Abusive Parents: A lot of these show up throughout the series.
    • Gambino started exposing Guts to the dangerous life of a mercenary when he was six years old, sold him to a rapist when he was nine, and even tried to kill him when he was eleven. He blamed and hated Guts for everything bad that happened including the death of Sys, and was never grateful for Guts' love and obedience.
    • Count Julius berates and injures his son Adonis in brutal sword practice, and holds him to an impossibly high standard while never praising him or showing affection even though the boy recently lost his mother. He wants his son to toughen up to prepare him for his responsibilities as a royal, and tragically both father and son die without reconciling.
    • The King of Midland becomes one to his daughter after he starts losing his mind, at one point attempting to rape her.
    • In the "Lost Children" arc, Mr. Zepek is a good-for-nothing alcoholic who beats Jill when he isn't completely neglecting his duties as a parent. Rosine's father also beat her and questioned whether she was his daughter, since she was conceived after her mother was raped.
  • Accidental Murder: Eleven-year-old Guts only took up his sword to defend himself when Gambino tried to kill him, but Gambino ended up impaling his throat on Guts' outstretched blade.
  • Accidental Pervert: Isidro met Schierke. Isidro tripped. Isidro's hands ended somewhere that they shouldn't. Isidro was reverted to monkey state.
  • Accidental Truth: Happens to Isidro (in his debut chapter) as he haphazardly tries to lie his way out of being accosted by a mercenary squad for knocking out four of their comrades earlier. He tries to pin the blame on the Kushans, and when the merc leader questions their whereabouts, points to a random direction and yells "Over there!". No sooner does the merc turn around when a thrown knife gets jabbed into his head... revealing that Kushan forces are indeed there!
  • Achey Scars: Coinciding with Allergic to Evil, the closer Guts and Casca come into proximity with a powerful apostle, the more their brands hurt.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The scene where the Hawks are on the border of Midland after the Griffith rescue operation. It is actually their Darkest Hour moment and the scene is very much dramatic because of this since it's building up to the much more dramatic ending such as when Griffith desperately threw himself upon Casca, and Casca resolving that she couldn't leave with Guts. However, there are still softer moments, such as Guts and Casca reassuring each other that they want to be there for each other as friends and as lovers, when the Raiders tell Guts that they are willing to follow him wherever he goes, and Judeau telling Guts to be with Casca no matter what. These moments reinforce the theme of friendship and the bond that the Hawks have with each other; thus, reassuring that our eyes weren't going to dry anytime soon after watching the final three episodes.
  • Action Girl: Casca shows this in irregular spurts after she's lost her mind. Trying to assault her when she's in reach of a sword turns out poorly for several bandits even while she's incoherent. Before then, she was the only straight example in the series.
  • Action Prologue: Roughly the first three volumes act as this, depicting Guts ruthlessly hunting and killing Apostles. It introduces story concepts such as the Brand and its effects, Apostles, Behelits, the Godhand, and Elves. The next twelve volumes of the manga go through an extended flashback explaining how Guts got involved in all of this.
  • Action Survivor: Anybody who isn't a fully qualified badass but still manages to survive near-cataclysmic events for more than two volumes is basically this. That's good enough in the Berserkerverse.
  • Adaptive Armor: The Berserker armor in many ways amplifies Gut's unique strengths and weaknesses, and certain parts of it change shape in response to battle conditions and his mental state. The helmet—which took on a canine appearance when he first put it on—closes over his face when the Beast of Darkness takes over his mind; if Schierke is there to protect him from the Beast, the lower half of his face emerges and his eyes become visible. As he gets injured, the armor enables him to continue fighting using drastic measures such as piercing his flesh with metal splinters to reinforce broken bones.
  • Adult Fear:
  • Adults Are Useless: A plot necessity in the Lost Children Arc, for obvious reasons... sans Guts, who's only about 20-something himself, the adults present are totally abusive, complete morons, or massive cowards. The kids, whether they're apostles or not, are shown to be more ballsy than the adults around them.
  • Aerith and Bob: The Godhand is made up of the demons Femto, Void, Slan, Ubik... and Conrad.note  It probably doesn't stick out quite so much to Japanese audiences.
  • An Aesop: While Berserk doesn't answer all of the questions it raises about heavy philosophical and ethical issues, it definitely has several lessons to give:
    • There is little besides wishful thinking to suggest that that the universe (or at least the Berserk-verse) is ruled by a just and all-powerful God who rewards good and punishes evil. The world is unjust and unfair, so bad things will always happen to good people for no reason at all. The excised missing chapter goes so far as to indicate that the human condition is that we want reasons for our suffering and create elaborate religious or metaphysical belief systems that get in the way of taking responsibility for our own lives and absolve us of the responsibility of trying to change it. However, there is also a strong Anti-Nihilist message to the story saying that people can make a difference. There were a lot of bad things Guts was unable to prevent, but he has saved people and changed lives because he had the courage to stand up to villains that no one else would oppose. Even Jill who recognizes that she's weak and fragile decides at the end of the Lost Children chapter that by going home and fighting her own small battle she'll be able to change something.
    • One of the Golden Age Arc's main themes is that even the smallest of your actions can have an unpredictable effect on other people, and that progress that you have spent your entire life building can be ruined if you take one reckless action without thinking of the consequences. For example, Griffith never thought that his speech to Princess Charlotte about what a friend is would be overheard by Guts and cause him to quit the band of the Hawk, and Guts wouldn't have expected that his departure would cause Griffith to have a breakdown and throw out all the Hawks' work by sleeping with Charlotte and incurring the King of Midland's wrath. The King at the same time decides to pursue revenge against Griffith at the cost of ruining his own kingdom and wasting the effort of a 100 year war that was supposed to win peace and prosperity for his subjects.
    • No man is an island. Even if you think that relying on others will make you vulnerable, and that you're tough enough to take care of yourself, there will always be challenges that are too much to handle without help. During the Black Swordsman Arc Guts tries to drive away anybody who tries to get close to him because they'll get in his way or get themselves killed, and manages for a while, but after two years of Walking the Earth he is an emotional wreck and only Puck's company saved him from losing both his sanity and his moral compass. Once he decides to stay with Casca he finds himself utterly unprepared to care for and protect another person by himself, and has no choice but to accept the help of the followers who were inspired by his struggle and form a new adventuring party for survival.
    • "Revenge is nothing but the place where men who can't deal with sadness go." Guts learns this from Godo the blacksmith after he goes on a two-year Roaring Rampage of Revenge against all Apostles and the God Hand in retaliation for having everyone he cared about taken from him in the Eclipse, only to come back and find that a mentally-regressed Casca has wandered into danger while he was away. When Guts tells Godo that his companions needed to be avenged, Godo replies he really left on that rampage because he couldn't bear to stay by Casca's side and face the grief of everything he had lost. Instead, he drenched himself in hatred and violence, and while The Power of Hate made him strong for a time, it left him as a wreck of a man and caused the only precious thing he had left to slip through his fingers. Guts redeems himself by rescuing Casca, and afterwards makes a conscious decision to forget about chasing Griffith in order to focus on protecting her.
    • Religious fanaticism cannot save people or defeat evil, and a dogmatic religion will either be used as a cover for corruption or lead to the methods of a Knight Templar. The Conviction Arc features Bishop Mozgus' misguided attempts to purify his flock through inquisition, torture, and execution, which cause hundreds of innocent deaths. Even though he genuinely believes his actions are for the greater good, he is deluded and ultimately leads all his followers to their doom; The only ones who survive the collapse of the tower are those like Guts and Luca who took their fate into their own hands rather than waiting for God to save them. Schierke delivers an Aesop to a priest after fighting the trolls in Enoch village that it's okay to believe in the supernatural, but you have to be open minded about it and see the world beyond ours for what it really is instead of what dogma tells you to see. A small example of this is how Farnese was unable to see Puck when she was serving the Church, but became able to see elves once she started opening her mind.
  • Affably Evil: Griffith, to his army, might seem like the nicest, coolest guy in the world and if you didn't know better he would be... Just that if it weren't for the voice in your head screaming, "Eclipse! Eclipse! Eclipse!" every time he's on the screen to remind you why hes a true Big Bad.
  • After-Action Patch-Up: Casca does this a few times with Guts. These moments allowed the two to develop their relationship more.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The death of Rosine, one of the Apostles. After Guts mortally wounds her, she manages to fly away from him and finally realizes that elves are real indeed but she just isn't one of them. She then feels regret for sacrificing her parents to demons and in her delirious state, tries to return home, but falls to her death.
  • Alien Geometries: Whenever the Godhand make their appearance when it's not in the typical landscape, it's usually in some weirdass Escher drawing scape.
  • Alike and Antithetical Adversaries: Started out as the Heterogeneous Heroes vs. the Homogeneous Villains variety, with the good guys, the original Band of the Hawk, having light-skinned people and dark-skinned people, men and woman, and with older and younger supporters, and the bad guys, the Tudor Empire, being composed of older white men. Later, as more plot schemes and arcs develop and characters undergo more development, it turns into a Heterogeneous Heroes vs. Heterogeneous Villains scenario.
  • Allergic to Evil: The Brand of Sacrifice on Guts and Casca will start bleeding or hurting if demons are near.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Gennon and Donovan, the only two explicitly homosexual characters, are both pedophiles and child rapists.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played straight with Sonia, the Dark Chick in Griffith's new Band of the Hawk. She has a thing for morally dubious guys, be it Griffith or Irvine.
  • All Just a Dream: This is what Corkus convinces himself is going on after his mind snaps during the Eclipse. Unfortunately for him, believing it doesn't make it true.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: A town is being bombarded by trolls that are ransacking their supplies and procreating with their women. They need a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to save them now. But still... What can two faeries, a spineless guy who always has his eyes closed, a big, scary-looking handicapped dude who carries around a torpedo-sized sword, a scrawny but powerful kid witch, The Load, a kid who's not even in the right show, and a mute chick who's oblivious to her own surroundings going to do about it? The town's predicament might be dire, but Guts' True Companions are all just a bunch of outsiders in the end.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Self-explanatory, with the manga's reputation and the number of rapes attempted by numerous male characters (particularly in the background). There are some chaste exceptions to the rule, though, which include Serpico, several members in the Band of the Hawk (original or otherwise), Silat, Azan, The Skull Knight, and several other miscellaneous knights, nobles, antagonists, etc.
  • All Men Are Rapists: Outside of the Band of the Hawk, it feels sometimes like three out of every five guys will try to rape Casca. Male decency is in short supply.
  • All Myths Are True: Thanks in part to an extended and en masse case of clapping your hands to believe. Serpico even remarked in volume 24 that ghosts and monsters were one thing, but witches and trolls were a bit too "fairy tale-ish" to believe. And since the Layered World was merged, they've become a lot more true.
  • All Trolls Are Different: They're vicious little beasts that look like a mix between a bipedal rat and a pig, with a dose of star-nosed mole. See for your self. They also reproduce by raping woman and having their young eat their way out of her womb.
  • Always Save the Girl: Guts pretty much said that so long as he and Casca survive, he doesn't give two shits about anything else. Most exemplified during the Conviction Arc, where Guts would rather an entire hoard of evil spirits infest St. Albion, killing hundreds of refugees in the process, and a whole mock Eclipse go down than let Mozgus and the citizens burn Casca at the stake as a witch.
    • Also worth mentioning that if there is even the slightest chance that Casca's sanity might be restored to her, Guts is willing to take the risk each and every time. Has been exhibited canonically and non-canonically.
  • Amazon Chaser: Pretty much the reason why Guts chose Casca as his lover, instead of a regular noblewoman who can't fight, since he considers her to be more than just a woman.
  • Ambiguously Brown: In the world of Berserk there seems to be two "races" under this category: individuals such as Pippin and Donovan have more African features, while people like Silat and Jarris (Griffith's new chief engineer) have more south Asian features. The former is played straight as they are less prevalent, especially in recent arcs, but the latter group has been subverted as they come from a country that is based off of south Asia called Kushan. Special mention goes to Casca, in which she is implied to be Kushan, but it is never outwardly stated and she has generic phenotypes that could make her belong to either group, leading fans to categorize her in a real world context, ranging from Indian, African, Middle Eastern, mulatto, even Tibetan.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Sonia, who has yet to cross a Moral Event Horizon, despite her rather amoral nature.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Griffith's desire to have his own kingdom led him to measures such as hostage taking and assassination, and eventually he crossed the Moral Event Horizon by sacrificing all his followers because he couldn't give up on his dream.
  • Anachronism Stew: Alongside things that come straight from the imagination of the artist or only exist in the fantasy genre, Berserk includes many types of weaponry, armor, architecture, costumes, ships, etc. that did exist in real life, but in widely separate time periods. That's what gives us things like 14th century helmets, 16th century palaces, 17th century frigates, and 18th century ballgowns all mixed up together. Berserk is a fantasy piece incorporating historical elements rather than a historical piece incorporating fantasy elements, so it's best to just appreciate the level of detail. The author is on record as saying he's perfectly aware that he depicts forms of armor, for example, that weren't all used at the same time, but decided to throw in whatever he thought would be cool instead of limiting himself.
  • Angels, Devils and Squid: Being a Fantasy Kitchen Sink has allowed all three types of entities to exist in the world of Berserk in some form or another. There is a lot of overlap between them, but the Four Elemental Kings are the closest you can get to straight angels, the Apostles and Godhand are the devils, and the more malevolent spiritual entities (such as, fittingly, the Sea God) are the squid.
    • The Battle for Windham ends up as a somewhat muddled case of this. Griffith, who takes on an angelic appearance, leads his army of humans and Apostles against the now gigantic and nearly mindless Eldritch Abomination that was once Ganishka and his "army" of Cthul Humanoids.
    • An Interesting note is that the God Hand are referred to as Five Angels which makes it the case of God Hand being the Angels, Apostles being the Devils and The Squid can be the spiritual entities as well as Ganishka in the battle of windham.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Both Guts and Casca do this to each other right before their Relationship Upgrade, Guts being more irate and Casca being a lot more tearful. But hey - They Do!
  • Animation Bump: In the film The Egg of the King, the part in which Guts and Griffith dash around either side of Zodd and cut him at the same time is bumped up to a visual "Wow!" moment, with the camera following the characters through a high-speed tracking shot employing extreme foreshortening and impressively fluid animation for the character models.
  • Annoying Arrows: This is a Zig-Zagging Trope. How much of a danger arrows represent to a character depends on whether they're a human or Apostle, how Badass they are, and who's doing the shooting. Because Armor Is Useless in this story for human Mooks and Red Shirts, a volley of arrows from a mass of archers or Guts' repeating crossbow will penetrate their helmets and breastplates, killing them instantly. The Apostle Irvine is probably the deadliest archer in-universe, since he can decapitate multiple human targets with one Multi Shot of his longbow from at least a mile away. For Apostles on the other hand, who are usually enormous monsters and at least far tougher than humans, any amount of arrows from Red Shirt archers is merely The Worf Barrage since such small projectiles cannot hope to reach their internal organs. If it's Guts, on the other hand, he might be able to at least shoot them in the eyes for significant damage. As for how our heroes fare, Guts is usually able to dodge volleys of arrows or use a dead mook as a Bullet Proof Human Shield. In the anime version of the Hundred Man Fight he even deflects some incoming arrows by a mere swish of his cape: "And now, just in case you had any faith left in humanity...know that someone, somewhere, thought that THIS made sense". The Golden Age movies also have some instances of heroes like Casca swatting away arrows with their swords, and in later manga chapters Guts is able to use the incredibly broad flat of his BFS to shield himself. When a main character actually gets hit, the trope will usually apply in a Downplayed form. Guts gets hit in the hand during the Hundred Man Fight, and snaps it in two with the same hand in a show of bravado. That said, it prevents him from using it to grip his sword and he has to one-hand it for the rest of the fight. He is also significantly weakened by previous arrow wounds in his fight with the Holy Iron Chain Knights, contributing to his collapse and capture. Casca, who is not as much of a tank as Guts, gets hit with five crossbow bolts when the Hawks get ambushed by the Midland Army, which is treated as very serious since she was wearing no armor and they hit her mainly in the torso. She spends three days and nights in a comatose state near death, but miraculously she survives and makes a full recovery within a year.
  • The Antichrist: Thanks to the prophecy about the white and black hawks and the fact he wants to kill the person the freakin pope declared as an All-Loving Hero, this is technically Guts. Due to the violence Inherent in the System, this may or may not be a good thing. Or another way to look at it is that Griffith is the anti-christ since, you know, no one is supposed to know that the anti-christ is the anti-christ. Schierke refers to him as the Hawk of Darkness, and she'd know better than most people.
  • Anyone Can Die: And boy howdy, do we mean ANYONE. Men, women, children and babies, horses and other animals, secondary characters - NOBODY is immune to dying a horrible and grisly death in Berserk. While we're at it, we mind as well add that being a main character does not exempt you from any degree of suffering, only getting by with a set of Plot Armor that might as well be made out of glass.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Casca's home village was marauded by soldiers and bandits so often that they made it a routine to just go up into the nearby mountains for refuge and watch the chaos unfold until it was all done for that week. Add the fact that their crops failed 9 out of 10 times and several people died of starvation during the winter, it was no wonder that they eventually came to the conclusion that, "this is the way life is. Oh well."
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: When Guts tells Collette's father in volume 1 that he's being chased by a legion of evil spirits, he laughs and says that Guts is safe with him because he's a priest and has God on his side. The appearance of a frightening incubus that night shocks him and he asks if Guts was being serious before, to which Guts says, "You're sayin' you believe in God, but not in evil spirits?"
  • Arc Villain: Kinda mixed with Berserk's earlier Monster of the Week, format, but it's not confined. The more defined arc villains:
    • The Black Swordsman Arc, Koka Castle: The Snake Baron
    • The Black Swordsman Arc, Guardians of Desire: The Count
    • The Lost Children Arc: Rosine
    • The Retribution Arc: Bishop Mozgus
    • The Sea God Arc: The Sea God
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: In any given country, most of the aristocrats are elitist jerks who repress their subjects and only care about their own power. The worst of them are utterly depraved, such as Lord Gennon, The Baron of Koka Castle, and The Count.
  • Arm Cannon: There's one built into Guts' prosthetic left hand, and he can also rig it with a repeating crossbow. The Apostle Grunbeld also has an arm cannon of sorts in that his is built into his shield and runs parallel to his forearm.
  • Armor Is Useless: Zig-Zagged all over the place. In general, armor is a lot less protective against all weapons than it would be in reality, but it's still better than nothing and can sometimes save the life of the person wearing it, provided that their armor's good enough and they're somehow important to the plot. A plot important character is more likely to have their armor deflect or at least reduce the damage of a blow than any Mook or Red Shirt soldiers, who tend to get shot or stabbed right through their armor even if they're wearing heavy full plate. In those cases projectiles such as arrows, bolts, and thrown weapons often deeply penetrate plate armor and helmets, even if they were fired from a relatively weak weapon or over a long range. On the other hand, characters are often shown making an effort to target the armor's weak points such as the eye slits and armpits. The characters who can reliably defeat armor outright tend to be unusually or superhumanly strong, such as Guts and some of the Giant Mooks he faces. The fact that enemies always gawk at Guts' Dragonslayer and ability to cut fully armored men in half shows that this is rare in-universe and beyond the abilities of most. Chapter 330 shows that without being able to use his full strength or his giant sword, Guts has to use some unorthodox technique to defeat a noble's son wearing top quality full plate armor, as he can't simply crack it open like usual. Apostles and other monsters are exempt from all of these rules, since they tend to be huge or strong enough that their ability to tear armor apart like tissue paper seems Justified.
    • Guts himself acknowledges his need for armor even though he's Made of Iron, crediting Godo's armor with protecting him against the goat-cult leader and remarking while fighting Grunbeld that without armor he doesn't have a chance against such a strong opponent. The Berserker armor that he acquires later not only unleashes his offensive power, but is also tough enough to protect him from the jaws of an Apostle. Perhaps more importantly, it's magical nature is the only thing keeping the wound inflicted on his soul by Slan from killing him.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • When Guts tells Collette's father in volume 1 that he's being chased by a legion of evil spirits, he laughs and says that Guts is safe with him because he's a priest and has God on his side. The appearance of a frightening incubus that night shocks him and he asks if Guts was being serious before, but Guts points out his Arbitrary Skepticism by asking, "You're sayin' you believe in God, but not in evil spirits?"
    • In the Golden Age Arc, when Guts explains his decision to leave the Band of the Hawk so he can find his own dream to Judeau and Corkus, Corkus goes on a rant about how having a dream is nothing but a childish fantasy for people who can't face reality. Guts says, "You don't have something like that?" That renders Corkus speechless for a moment, before he dismiss the whole conversation and storms out angrily.
    • In Lost Children during the pseudo-elf attack on Jill's village, Guts stops them from killing a little boy named Thomas, and then uses the boy as live bait on the end of his sword to lure the elves into a fire trap. Thomas is traumatized, but his life is saved as a result. After the elves are gone the villagers come out of their houses and call Guts despicable for using a child like that, but he throws their hypocrisy in their face by saying, "You people make me laugh. When this kid ran out, did even one of you unlock your door?"
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: The Black Dog Knights are a branch of Midland's military consisting of the kingdom's worst convicted murderers, rapists, and hardened criminals. They Rape, Pillage, and Burn wherever they go, and their leader Wyald is so evil in depraved that even they are terrified of him.
  • Arrow Catch: In volume 22, Silat catches an arrow out of the air before it hits the Kushan commander who was giving him a humiliating lecture. It stops just inches from the guys face.
  • Art Evolution: The artwork in the manga was merely average in the beginning, with some characters looking rather odd, and now arguably has some of the best artwork of any manga. This gives a good example of how the art changes from volume to volume. With regards to Guts, the guy we see the most, he's been getting more square-jawed and square...faced as the series go on. More illustrated references for your convenience.
  • Artifact Domination: The Berserker Armor has the effect of bringing out the wearer's "inner beast" (in the Skull Knight's case, his familiar skull motif, in Guts' case, "The Beast", his Hell Hound evil side), turning him into a raging monster incapable of distinguishing friend from foe.
  • Artifact of Doom: Behelits, egg-like items that are direct conduits to the Godhand and allow their possessors the opportunity to become demons... for a hefty price. Griffith's Crimson Behelit, the 'Egg of the Conqueror', is the worst of all.
    • The Berserker Armor as well.
  • Artificial Limbs: After losing his left arm, Guts replaced it with a multi-purpose prosthetic. It has a built-in magnet that enables the hand to grip a sword, it can be used to mount a repeating crossbow, and it has a miniature gunpowder cannon built into it. It's also handy for punching people. Hard. Unfortunately he can't move the hand or fingers at will because it's not very advanced, but when the Berserker armor activates, he seems to gain more control over it.
    • Vargas in the early volumes has two peg legs to replace the ones the Count amputated. They're very low tech, so he also requires a crutch to walk.
  • Art Shift:
    • Almost all of the significant characters get converted to a silly and cartoony art style during funny moments at one time or another. Puck and Isidro, being frequent comic relief, get art shifted on a regular basis. Also, compare this scene with a typical Berserk scene.
    • Significantly and dramatically used in episode 347 when Schierke and Farnese enter Casca's dream. Everything looks like a child's crayon drawings, representing the surface level of her consciousness where she has regressed to a child-like state as a defense mechanism.
  • Asleep for Days: After being rescued from the Eclipse, Guts and Casca were out of it for at least 3-4 days. After Guts finally wakes up, he awakens into a nightmare.
  • Assassin Outclassin': It's pretty much been proven that attempting to assassinate Griffith will ultimately lead to the conspirator's own assassination.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: When the King of Midland created the Black Dog Knights out of the kingdom's worst convicts, the sadistic Apostle Wyald successfully Invoked the trope by persuading the King to make whoever proved himself the toughest the leader of the others. Wyald gave the only guy big enough to challenge him a Cruel and Unusual Death, cowing the rest and giving the King no doubt about who was fit to lead. Subsequently Deconstructed in that Wyald has no qualification to lead besides being the strongest fighter, causing his men to die using Leeroy Jenkins tactics and by killing anybody who annoys him.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Guts' main combat strategy.
  • Attempted Rape: Many women and a few men experience sexual assault, but either fight off their attacker or get rescued. Casca has to fight off several rape attempts, both with and without Guts' help, and Princess Charlotte has to fight off her father at one point). Guts himself is toyed with by Slan until the Skull Knight comes to help him free himself.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Though they became an Official Couple at the end of volume 9 and the beginning of volume 10, Guts and Casca still had some of those early relationship mishaps, which included Casca showing jealously toward Princess Charlotte and her relationship with Griffith and then Guts getting pissed at Casca when she spilled the beans. They share some tender moments in between, but when they finally rescue Griffith, there are some very awkward glances between everyone. However, in volume 11, the group encounters Wyald and his Black Dog Knights, and Guts is badly injured. Casca immediately rushes to Guts' aid, but is then captured by Wyald and nearly raped. Thankfully, Guts rescues Casca just in the nick of time and the battle ensues... all the while Casca is worried to tears that Guts might be biting off more than he can chew. Guts is victorious, but it looks as if it was too late... until he gives Casca a reassuring thumbs-up. And then, awwwwwwww!
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: At the end of the Millennium Falcon arc, having succeeded in defeating the Kushan forces occupying Midland and fusing the astral and mortal worlds together, Griffith is cheered by the people and is poised to finally claim his own kingdom. Though the actual ceremony hasn't happened yet, the Pope himself fully intends to both conduct Griffith's marriage to princess Charlotte and place the crown on his head.
  • Awkwardly Placed Bathtub: During their stay in Vritannis, Casca is given a bath by Schierke - in the cramped room that they paid for at an inn with Guts and Isidro still present in the room, veiled by only curtain and Schierke's attempt at tying Isidro to a chair so that he won't peek. Much Hilarity Ensues.

    B 
  • Babies Ever After: How Griffith envisioned life with Casca if his original plans did not go accordingly right before he activated his crimson behelit via Despair Event Horizon when he saw Casca in love with Guts. Downplayed in that it's heavily implied that the baby in that vision was Guts', not Griffith's.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Double Subverted. Guts and Casca conceive their child around that point in the story where their relationship is taking a happier turn and they're optimistic that the Band of the Hawk will bounce back from its difficulties. Then their hopes are dashed in the Eclipse, and Femto's rape of Casca causes the child to be born misshapen and tainted by evil. To Guts this seems like the last insult after everything he and Casac have been through, and at first he rejects their offspring as a demon. Even the Skull Knight initially says "It would be best to kill it [...] someday it will bring woe upon you both." Yet fate works in mysterious ways indeed: the child ends up becoming more of a miracle for them than they could ever have imagined. First, when Casca strays from the safety of the cave and gives birth to him, his presence prevents the evil spirits from harming her. Then after two years during which Guts has been running away from Casca by Walking the Earth on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, the child gives him a vision of Casca in danger, leading to him getting a What the Hell, Hero? lecture from Godo and remembering his priorities. Meanwhile, the child protects Casca from all sorts of perils using his strange powers until Guts can reach her. Another time, when Schierke can't free Guts' ego while he's swept up in the Berserker Armor's blind rage, the Child reaches through to him by reminding him that he's not just a monster after blood; he's Guts the Black Swordsman who protects Casca, the branded girl. The child is even the one who helps guide a battered Guts to the merrows who pull him from the Sea God's sinking body, thereby rescuing him from drowning. Both physically protecting them and constantly reminding them what they mean to each other, it's safe to say that right now Guts and Casca wouldn't be together or alive without him!
  • Backstory: There's such a long and complex backstory that it takes up twelve volumes of the manga and nearly the whole animated series. The backstory focuses mainly on Guts, but Griffith and Casca have their own pasts and motivations revealed as well. Serpico and Farnese also receive their own backstory episodes in the manga.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Guts and Casca fight back to back while surrounded by Adon's mercenaries during the Hundred Man Fight in the woods. Another time, most of the named Hawks get a collective one while fighting the Bakiraka in the sewers during the Griffith rescue. Those were the good ol' days.
  • Bad Dreams: Guts is tormented by bad dreams related to the events he's suffered, first due to his childhood trauma, and then after the events of the Eclipse. What's worse is when people, specifically Puck and Schierke, go into Guts' inner memories, they are bombarded with horrific images of the Eclipse. Also, in Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage, when Casca briefly regains her sanity, she said that she was having bad dreams.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Man, it's hard enough having to make reference to the Eclipse so often, let alone having to actually admit and say, "Guts lost - really lost." At least, as far as the '97 anime and the movies go, that is.
  • Badass Bandolier: Guts and Judeau have them for their throwing knives (though Judeau had them before Guts started carrying knives). Just in general, there are bags and pouches everywhere in Berserk (we weren't kidding about Miura being ultra detailed with the costumes). They're so prominent that they have become a Memetic Mutation within the fandom.
  • Badass Boast: Guts is surprisingly humble about his status as a One-Man Army most of the time, but during the fight against Adon's hundred mercenaries he indulges in some bragging and intimidation.
    • After killing Adon's giant brother Samson and covering Casca's escape with some serious carnage, he says:
    "My sword's dull. It don't cut too well. Although it's over three times thicker and heavier than a regular one... if one hit don't kill you, you'll wish it had."
    • A little later:
    Adon: Im-Impossible! With one arm...!! He's killed half of a hundred men!! This isn't just a fluke!
    Guts: [Slasher Smile] Whaat? There's still that many left? The sun's gonna come up before I finish splittin' your heads.
  • Badass Cape: Oh yeah, Guts has one all right, huge, sweeping, black, tattered, and always billowing at just the right times for maximum effect.
    • Griffith as well, with a neat, well-kept white cape in contrast.
    • And the Skull Knight's got one too.
    • Casca could count too. In fact, she, Guts, and Griffith are the only members of the Hawks to wear 'em, which certainly signifies their Badass status among the Hawks.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Berserk gets a lot of mileage out of this trope:
    • Guts is a grizzled and stoic badass, who failed to protect someone before and is out for revenge. Jill in the Lost Children Chapter is an early adolescent in constant danger whose parents, while living, cannot or will not protect her. Jill follows him around as he goes to hunt Rosine, her childhood friend-turned-monster. Even though he tries to scare her away for her own safety, she trusts him completely and stubbornly believes in his inner goodness.
    • Since he parted ways with Jill, he had a similar dynamic with Casca, who although not a child had regressed to a childlike state as a result of her trauma. He had to constantly protect her from wandering off, and like Jill she functioned as his Morality Pet before the Beast of Darkness put a rift between them and he was joined by other companions to help him care for her.
    • In the camp of Griffith's new Band of the Hawk, Sonia would like to have this kind of relationship with Griffith, but of late, seems to have developed it with an Apostle named Irvine.
  • Badass Crew: The Band of the Hawk was a mercenary company of unrelated Badass individuals as tightly knit as a family, united by their admiration of their charismatic leader Griffith. Everyone gets their turn to have a moment of awesome, and they are loyal to each other. Eventually, Guts' new party grows to the same level of membership, capability, and closeness, except for a few hangers-on like Magnifico who can't do anything useful.
  • Badass Normal: Guts earned the title...and that goes double when it's done without superpowers.
    • Most of the original Band of Hawk fall under this trope.
    • Serpico counts as this: He can stand toe-to-toe with Guts by using superior tactics, which include fighting him in areas where his bulk and oversized weapon are a disadvantage.
      • To emphasize, Serpico does this same tactic more than once to Guts.
    • Roderick counts as well: he's not much of a swordsman or a demonslayer, but a superior sea captain. Put him in command of his ship, and he racks up the kills on the high seas.
  • Badass Transplant: As though Guts needed to be any more badass.
  • Ballroom Blitz: Happen at Farnese's father's ball when some cute kitties sent by Emperor Ganishka come to the guests.
  • Band of Brothels: Luca and her girls make their living as prostitutes by sticking together, following strict rules for sharing their earnings equally and coming to each other's aid in the most dangerous situations.
  • Bar Brawl: Guts makes his big debut in a Bad-Guy Bar in the castle town of Koka in the first volume/episode by killing everyone one of the Snake Baron's mooks, except for one whom he spared as a messenger.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Zigzagged. Males are drawn without nipples in the manga and 1997 anime, while they do have them in the movies. Miura never draws penises or vaginas in the original manga as explicitly as you would see in uncensored hentai because of Japanese censorship laws, but Barbie Doll Anatomy is only one of multiple techniques he uses. Puck is always naked but has no visible genitals. His female counterpart Ivalera...well, we don't know because she wears a dress. Various male characters including Guts and Griffith are drawn like Ken dolls at times, with shadows covering a noticeable lack of private parts. Women are sometimes drawn like Barbie dolls from a distance, whereas closer up he usually draws them with nipples but avoids detailing the pubic area. On the other hand, sometimes he draws male or female organs in silhouette instead of omitting them altogether, or suggests pubic hair with some subtle texturing. At one point in volume 18 he was even bold enough to draw Joachim explicitly penetrating Nina, albeit with very few lines and no shading. It's not entirely consistent by any means. There are parts featuring characters like Ken dolls next to relatively explicit Male Frontal Nudity in the same panel! The anime and the theatrical cut of the movies generally censor genitals more. The Berserk Abridged series parodies this with Gut's complaints about his lack of genitals in the anime, for which he beats up the character designer.
  • Bathtub Scene: Despite the prevalence of Fan Disservice and general lack of relaxing moments, Miura occasionally depicts attractive ladies bathing themselves in private:
    • Post-Eclipse Casca gets several bathing scenes that often contain Bathtub Bonding and Les Yay with either Farnese or Schierke.
    • Farnese relaxes alone in a luxurious bath when she returns home for a short time.
  • Batman Cold Open: The manga opens up with Guts killing some nameless Apostle (who's later revealed to have killed Corkus) within the first five pages.
  • Batman Gambit: One of Griffith's trademark stratagems both before and after his ascension to the God Hand is to set up a complex plan that anticipates how his opponent is going to react based on his knowledge of their personality:
    • For the battle of Doldrey, Griffith is well aware that Governor Gennon is infatuated with him and will place capturing him alive above all other priorities. Therefore, he divides his army in half and uses one half to attack and then retreat so that the Tudor forces will be tempted to pursue. Even though General Boscone feels in his gut that it might be a trick, his men don't want to be robbed of their glory and Gennon demands that they pursue everything he's got—just as Griffith predicted he would. With the castle left barely defended, Casca and the second force are able to rush in and capture it. Guts' defeat of Boscone—which Griffith was also probably counting on—combined with the loss of the castle, is enough to make Gennon's army rout and give Griffith the victory.
    • Although it is difficult to know for certain what Femto is thinking, his plan appears to have relied on having one of his enemies become so desperate to win that he goes through a radical ritual to turn himself into an embodiment of hell while at the same time predicting that another enemy will execute a trans-dimensional sneak attack on Femto as soon as his guard appears to be down, so that he can re-direct the attack to deal a killing blow to the first enemy, releasing a world-altering energy wave. Justified as he is canonically and literally The Omniscient, or at least very close to it since Slan acknowledged that the God Hand does not know everything.
  • Battle Couple: Guts and Casca become this before the Eclipse.
  • Battle-Halting Duel: This is Heroic Fantasy after all, so when two champions meet on the battlefield there's bound to be some rubber-necking.
    • When 15 years old, Guts takes part in the storming of a castle. Furious fighting occurs in the courtyard after the attackers breach the defenses, when the enemy champion Bazuso appears and kills several hapless soldiers and challenges any foe to face him in single combat. This somehow brings all fighting everywhere to a halt, as the defenders are enjoying the sight of the entire attacking force being so afraid of Bazuso's reputation that not one of them will accept his challenge, no matter what rewards or threats their employer gives to motivate them. Then Guts steps forward and demands ten gold pieces if he kills Bazuso, which the tight-fisted noble haggles down to seven. Everyone thinks he's going to get himself killed, but instead he slays Bazuso in a Curb-Stomp Battle. There's a moment of stunned silence, and then cheers break out among the attackers, who quickly rout the dispirited defenders.
    • During the Battle of Doldrey, Raid Captain Guts and General Boscogn engage in a one-on-one fight to the death, which the horsemen on either side can't help forming a circle around to gawk at. The justification is that both Guts and Boscogn are so strong that no one dares to get too close to their dancing blades, lest he become Half the Man He Used to Be.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: At one point in the Millennium Falcon arc, Schierke has to go inside Guts' mind using Astral Projection to snap him out of the influence of his inner beast the first time he uses the Berserker Armor.
  • Battle Thralls:
    • The Black Dog Knights are the Barbarian Marauder type, being made up of the most wicked and violent convicts in Midland who were pressed into the King's service. They are so morally appalling that the King exiled them to the outskirts of the kingdom. The fact that he unleashes them against the Hawks knowing the damage they will do to his own subjects demonstrates that he's lost his marbles.
    • The Kushan Empire's war slaves fit the Enslaved Grunts type, and are Midland soldiers captured by the Kushans and forced to serve as Cannon Fodder in the front lines against their own people. They wear Kushan mail armor that initially disguises their race, but once the Midland resistance realizes that they're killing their own prisoners of war their morale plummets.
  • Beach Episode: Hey, even Guts and his True Companions need a break at the ocean, what with all of the weird shit they go through day after day. Not to say the beach is any safer for them than anywhere else, at least not when the Kushan are on the move.
  • Beast with a Human Face: Many of the apostles retain their human faces in their more demonic forms. For some though, their human faces are placed on bodies that already have regular animal-like heads and some are even situated in places where human faces shouldn't normally belong on. Two prime examples that best illustrate this would be demon forms of the Baron of Koka Castle and the Count. The Baron looks like a gigantic humanoid snake but he has a human face in his mouth. The Count on the other hand, looks like a gigantic slug but he has a human face situated on the forehead of his slug head.
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: Subverted in Guts' new group with the three ladies (excluding Ivalera). Schierke is The Smart Guy, always formulating the plans but doesn't use physical action. Farnese would be the brawn, though she isn't an experienced fighter, but she's the most willing to put up a fight when necessary. And Casca is the beauty, as she is the most beautiful in the group, can't fight in her current condition, but is the person that everyone in the group wants to protect.
  • Beauty to Beast: Griffith, he got better though... which, considering it came at the cost of his immortal soul and his sacrificing the lives of those loyal to him, it was hardly typical.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason why grumpy ol' exiled Godo adopted little orphaned Erica was that she treated him like a human being instead of some guy who only knew how to work iron. Yay!
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Arguably justified with Griffith, though it's not quite the torture that sends him over the edge, but more the consequences that followed afterwards.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Played with. While those blindly clinging to the church quickly end up intensely dead, Schierke explains that there's nothing wrong with believing in something beyond normal human perception; the problem is assuming that the force you're reaching out to will conform to your expectations. Magic-users believe, all right, but they don't believe dogmatically.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Guts is a cocksure, ultra-macho, Alpha male Jerk with a Heart of Gold who has been Raised by Dudes and who usually hits before speaking. Casca is a fiery, type-A Tsundere, Alpha Action Girl who had to deal with sexual assault early on in her life and isn't exactly the submissive type. He has a thing for her, but is too maladjusted to convey such feelings. She has a thing for him, but also her pride and dutifulness as a commander. They go for the next best thing.
  • Beneath the Mask: The Count's wife. On the outside, she appeared to be a sweet, endearing, obedient, and devoted wife and mother (and she might have been in some sense). But behind closed doors - especially when her husband was out of town - she participated in hot, provocative, and scandalous pagan orgies. And even when faced with death by her own husband's sword, she practically told him to give it his best shot. She only lost her nerves of steel when the Apostles came.
  • Berserk Button: Well DUH!! But more seriously, there are two things that cause Guts' instant Unstoppable Rage: a) Meeting a Godhand or post-Eclipse Griffith. Period. b) Anyone trying to hurt Casca only has a few seconds left to live. And these seconds will be filled with pain.
    • Actually anybody who tries to rape a girl in Guts presence tend to be this.He lost his cool and almost beheaded Farnese, while rescuing her from being raped by a possessed horse.
    • It don't stop with daddy. The Child, a being that was originally thought to have no real emotion or thought, was seen with a pretty damn scary Death Glare when some pagan worshipers tried to rape Casca. They paid for it dearly.
  • Berserker Tears: A couple of time Guts has fought in a frenzy of rage with tears running down his face, most of all during the Eclipse when he was powerless to save Casca.
  • BFS: The Dragonslayer; originally done as a gimmick to attract readers, it's actually justified later in the series. The sword doesn't really have much of an edge, and other characters mock it as being "more a slab of iron than a sword," but Guts swings it fast enough to tear people in half with brute force.
    • The ginormous sword comes with an additional advantage: durability. All the swords Guts used in the Golden Age arc broke at some point, usually in the middle of a battle. His last "normal" sword didn't even last thirty seconds because Guts' abused it so badly that it snapped like a twig.
    • Not only is the Dragonslayer ultra durable, but it also double serves as a shield, since the blade is wide enough for Guts to hide his vital spots behind when on the defensive and to also deflect projectiles.
      • To further elaborate, when Guts was about to go Apostle-Hunting for the first time, he used a giant sword much like he used during his mercenary days, only to discover that despite its size, the Apostles were simply so large and tough that the sword generally broke before he could kill them. Discovering the Dragonslayer a second later, he realized it was one of the few weapons capable of killing them, purely because of its incredible mass.
  • Bicep-Polishing Gesture: A good old slap on the bicep to show off strength or confidence is a gesture that gets used a lot:
    • Guts does this right before the Battle of Doldrey to show off how nicely his wounds healed with the help of the elf dust after his defeat of the 100 soldiers.
    • Erica pats herself on the bicep while bragging to Daiba that she's strong because she's a blacksmith's daughter.
    • Isidro combines this with Flipping the Bird as he mocks Captain Bonebeard from the deck of the Seahorse.
  • Big Bad: Void, the leader of The Godhand, may count until its revealed the Void is The Dragon to The Idea of Evil or The Idea of Evil, the deity that created the Godhand, or Griffith who provides the primary motivation for the story.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The entire Godhand as a group may count, being the ringleaders of the majority of Apostles encountered Until it's revealed they are being led by The Idea of Evil
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence:
    • The Battle of Doldrey, featuring a massive cavalry battle, fighting inside the castle, and the duel between Guts and General Boscogn.
    • Griffith's relief of Vritannis, with The Cavalry swooping in to rout Ganishka's huge army of men and war elephants just as the Holy Alliance army is about to be destroyed.
    • The climactic battle of the Millennium Falcon Arc between Griffith and Ganishka's forces is as epic as it gets, with hosts of soldiers and monsters battling for who will control humanity's future.
  • Big Good: Schierke's teacher, Flora. After her death, the Skull Knight, the most powerful opposition to the Godhand, may qualify, although his true motives remain unknown. Potentially also the Four Elemental Kings, if they ever actually show up to do anything.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Skull Knight pulls this perfectly when he breaks into hell, fights past the Godhand, and rescues Guts and Casca from being eaten.
    • In general the Skull Knight has turned this skill into an art, for whenever he appears he only ever does two things: either mutter something mysterious and prophetic and vanish, or to rescue someone with a great deal of flair.
    • Averted twice with Vargas' public execution by the evil Count. Puck tries to talk Guts into doing one of those but he refuses and leaves. Puck then tries to pull it off himself and fails miserably. Justified for Guts who knows well this is clearly a trap meant to pull him into a stupid heroic rescue where he would be overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: What? What the hell do you mean this isn't the epitome of romance in the series? There's gorgeous Scenery Porn and Guts' Badass Cape is blowing in a caressing manner around the two. It's even more glorious in amazing technicolor.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: While by no means universal, there's a lot of guys with big eyebrows signifying various shades of masculinity:
    • You've got your ruggedly handsome Hunk heroes like Guts and Roderick with thick but well-groomed black brows.
    • Your long, often white Cool Old Guy eyebrows, which make the King of Midland look seasoned, Godo look intense, and Martino look
    • You've got unusual or wild eyebrows that make a guy look fierce, like General Boscone's huge eyebrows that resemble batarangs or Grunbeld's red eyebrows that flare like fire.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": When the Hawks get sent to the Vortex and nearly everybody is panicking - especially Corkus - Casca tells everybody to shut up in order to get them back in line. In fact, seeing Casca keeping her cool and trying to boost everyone's moral in such a dire situation was the last positive thing that Guts thought during the Eclipse.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: In their own circle, Pippin is the huge guy, Corkus is the skinny guy, and Judeau/Rickert are the short guys. Guts, Griffith, and Casca have their own dynamic.
  • Bishōnen: Griffith, Rickert, Adonis, Serpico, and Mule are some examples.
  • Black and Grey Morality: In the world of Berserk, most people are either a monster (literally), have been turned into bastards by the horror of their world, or make themselves bastards in order to survive. There are some genuinely nice people around, but you have to look harder for them.
  • Black Comedy: You would think that the atmosphere that Berserk houses would be littered with this, but it's actually averted. Yes, the story does still have its own brand of humor presented throughout, but not the kind that treads into making-fun-of-the-catastrophic-loss-of-life-and-ongoing-suffering-of-people territory. Berserk tends to rely more on deadpan and sarcastic comedy for laughs, with occasional slapstick thrown in.
  • The Blacksmith:
    • Godo is the go-to guy for all of Guts' weapon crafting needs. He's been holding a hammer since before he can walk, and didn't really get to choose whether he liked it or not, but the one thing he loves is seeing the sparks fly up.
    • Rickert as well, after his apprenticeship to Godo. He's the one who assembled Guts' artificial arm/cannon and a lot of other useful items for him.
  • Blade Brake: During the Eclipse, when he gets separated from Griffith and falls from the giant hand made of faces, Guts plunges his dagger into the wall of faces to arrest his fall, and then uses it as a pick to the climb his way back up. The faces are screaming and bleeding while he's doing this, by the way.
  • Blade Run:
    • In Guts and Griffith's duel on the hill to decide whether he will join the Hawks, Guts swings a mighty blow with his BFS only for Griffith to suddenly dodge, and then land with his feet balanced on Guts' blade and his saber pointed at Guts' face. Pointing out that Guts won't be able to lift his sword with the extra weight on it, Griffith invites him to surrender, but Guts responds by biting down on Griffith's sword point and using his sword as a lever to send both of them tumbling down the hill, where they engage in fisticuffs.
    • Much later, Guts uses Azan's spiked staff as a ramp to get past him so that he can bull-rush Farnese.
  • Blank White Eyes: If you see Guts get these, it's time to start running — they generally signify that Guts is beyond pissed and in the full grip of the Berserker Rage.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Band of the Hawk Hawks' scanlation is riddled with errors including not translating characters' names from the katakana (i.e. Roshinu is supposed to be Rosine), leaving whole dialogue boxes blank, mistaking which speech bubble belongs to which character, and sometimes totally misrepresenting what a character was trying to say.
  • Blind Obedience: Most of the band of the Hawk towards Griffith, granted, he'd earned it by being a genius.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Luca is the redhead, Nina is the blonde, and Casca is the brunette during their time together.
  • Body Horror: Surprisingly used sparingly. A notable example is Gaston's death during the Eclipse.
  • Bodyguard Crush:
    • Serpico, for Farnese.
    • Also, every female ever who gets protected by Guts, even if it's just for a little bit. Even if they're, like, eight. Also true for Casca as well, before she went crazy of course. Although its debatable if Casca didn't already have feelings for Guts before he single handedly killed 100 mercenaries to protect her.
  • Boobs of Steel: Though female anatomy is drawn on a plausible level (but it still doesn't protect them from having the most Clothing Damage done to them), Slan presentably has the largest pair of breasts, being the most powerful female character in Berserk. A close second would be Casca, who is the series' only genuine Action Girl.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Ask any Berserk fan about the series' music, they will immediately think of "Forces".
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Guts uses a BFS and crossbow, though he prefers melee and is armoured appropriately.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: Zigzagged during Griffith's gala, in which Casca practically dive bombs an unaware Guts and takes him in her arms, asking him to pretend to be her escort so the other men at the ball wouldn't bother her.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Guts meets Casca. Guts loses Casca during Eclipse and abandons her after. Guts finds Casca again by saving her at the Tower of Conviction. Now, boy just needs to cure girl of her insanity in order to actually "be" with her again.
  • Brain Bleach: Do yourself a favor: get a membership to Costco or some other warehouse club, because you will need to replenish your supply a lot during the course of this series. You'll need over 5 gallons of the stuff just to get through the Golden Age Arc with your sanity slightly intact - AND IT JUST GETS WORSE.
  • Breakable Weapons: This common video game trope is played straight in Berserk. Even though freakishly large, Guts' original BFSs are, in essence, really big broad swords and do have their limit at how much stress they can handle. After fighting a hundred soldier a few nights prior, Guts' sword conveniently breaks at the worst possible time during the Battle of Doldrey. Luckily for him, a mysterious benefactor *coughZoddcough!* donates his freakishly large scimitar in order for Guts to finish the battle. We see a few more of the swords that Godo made for him break under the stress of training, but the audience is given a wake-up call that not just any sword is able fight monsters during the Eclipse when Casca tries to defend herself against the apostles, who end up shattering her sword into a hundred pieces, and when the sword that Guts was using to fight off apostles was of utterly no use when trying to rip through the hide of an apostle that was apprehending him. To fight these fiends, you would need a weapon that is capable of slaying a dragon...
  • Break the Badass: Kind of, but instead of a new villain, villain to be Griffith is the one who breaks Guts... Guts had just come back from an assasination mission that went horribly wrong, and he ended up having to kill a child, and when he needed some serious emotional support, he happened walked in on Griffith and Charlotte talking, where Griffith said that to him, a friend needed to have his own dream, and not someone who simply followed someone else's dream, the revelation that he wasn't Griffiths friend, and the horrible, horrible timing for this, effectively broke Guts, making him leave the Hawks to go in a self discovery journey so he could be someone Griffith would consider as a friend, as we all know, that had horrible results, since Guts defeating him with ease, and leaving him broke Griffith himself, and then it all went to hell soon after
  • Breaking the Fellowship: After Guts leaves the Band of the Hawk, the rest of the Golden Age Arc is spent detailing how the original band is fragmented until the whole band with the exceptions of Guts, Casca, Rickert, and Griffith is obliterated during the Eclipse. It's a bit eerie in that Rickert, through his teary-eyed and child-like idealism, actually lampshaded that something bad would happen if Guts left the Hawks.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Poor Casca.
    • Or for that matter, poor Charlotte. She loses her virginity in a very unromantic way to a man exorcising his (at that point) worst demon, and though she was in love with him, she has to stand and watch when he is arrested and tortured for a full year because of it, pining over him all the while. And then there was that time her own father tried to rape her. She managed to fight him off, but still...
    • Theresia learned the Awful Truth about her mother's death and her father's transformation into an Apostle, almost got killed, lost her dad, and was nearly Driven to Suicide.
  • Breather Episode: Their beach chapter doubles as this as the true companions have a rare chance at self-reflection and sharing their feelings as well as eating delicious and improvised seaside cuisine. This lasts for a good few hours before some more monsters come to attack them!
  • Bridal Carry: Casca gets carried by Guts this way after her fight with Adon. She's the only Berserk female that gets this treatment from him; any other girl has to settle for a piggyback ride.
  • Bright Castle: For Griffith, an ambitious commoner who dreams of winning his own kingdom, a beautiful castle on a hill is the emblem of the great heights he is trying to reach. Compared to other castles shown which are very military in design, the castle Griffith envisions looks more like something out of a fairytale with its vertically-oriented design and picturesque towers. In the Eclipse, the God Hand show him the castle shining in the distance beyond his reach, and call attention to the contrast between the purity of his dream and the mountain of dead bodies he's walked over in order to get closer to his goal.
  • Bring My Brown Pants:
    • Jill understandably pisses herself when she sees a tree turn into a monster and attack.
    • Thomas, the poor little boy that Guts uses as a lure for Rosine's elves on the end of his sword in "Lost Children", wets himself in terror.
    • Nina's entire body goes limp the very second she steps into Bishop Mozgus' torture chamber. Her bladder soon follows.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Casca played the bro when she initially chose Griffith over Guts after saving him from torture. It didn't end well.
  • Broken Tears: Used during the very horrific and very emotional climax of the Eclipse where Griffith is raping Casca as Femto. Guts is crying streams of tears and blood at a man he considered a friend forcing him to watch as he raped the woman that he loved to insanity. Casca, in turn, is crying from being subjected to excruciating pain that the brand is causing her from being in such close contact with a power demon and also because she is being physically, sexually, and emotionally violated by the man that she looked up to in front of the man that she loved.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu:
    • The Skull Knight unintentionally does this to the mountain-sized Eldritch Abomination that was once Ganishka. Ganishka dies, but his death ends up merging all layers of the world at once, flooding the entire planet with astral creatures in minutes!
    • With the help of the merrows, Guts was able to pierce the Sea God's heart and kill it. But being stuck inside the monstrosity with many grievous injuries left him in little position to be able to escape it on his own as it began to "collapse" all around him.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Serpico is Farnese's half-brother. She isn't aware of this, and she developed feelings for him in their teenage years and even made a very emotionally charged advance on him. Serpico being in the know, he resisted.
  • Bug War: Guts' entire battle against Rosine and her minions was basically one of these. Remember that Rosine didn't just transform children into insectoids, but also adults, including a pair who used to be knights.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The Holy Iron Chain Knights try to capture a severely wounded Guts alive. He tries to play nice for a while since he knows his opponents aren't really his enemies. But when they poke him too much... Guts' Tuesday happened.
    • An instance came up during the Golden Age Arc after the Hawks' first encounter with Nosferatu Zodd, where some nobles caught wind of the supposed supernatural account and decided to snark Guts off (who was walking with crutches at the time). Guts promptly smashes one of the noble's feet with the end of his crutch, and he actually had the balls to try and challenge Guts to a duel... a good stern and scary Death Glare set him straight.
  • Burning the Ships: In the Battle of Doldrey, Griffith positions himself and the portion of his army that he expects to face the largest part of the enemy force with their backs to a river and no way to retreat. He does this not only to motivate his own men, but also as part of a Batman Gambit: Cornered and outnumbered, his force presents a tempting target that succeeds in drawing the enemy forces out of their castle, which is promptly captured in a sneak attack by a small flanking force.
  • Burn the Witch!: Casca gets herself into this predicament when she is suspected of having evil supernatural powers thanks to the brand on her breast that attracts evil it was actually the presence of she and Guts' corrupted child that sparked the accusations both among the pagans who wanted to rape her and the Holy Iron Chain Knights who wanted to torture her, since the child summoned the demons in order to protect her in both situations.
  • The Bus Came Back: Rickert and Erika return in chapter 332 of the manga, and eventually Luca and her gang (minus Nina) turn up again as well.
  • But Now I Must Go: And everything goes horribly wrong in T-minus 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Hey! Princess Charlotte! Free tonight?
  • Butt Monkey: The pirates just can't catch a break. Even after they're all transformed into hideous monsters.

    C 
  • CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): It's actually done realistically by Guts on an unconscious Casca. She gurgles up the water and everything.
  • Call Back: There are frequent references to characters and events that happened earlier in the story's timeline, creating a sense of déjà vu.
    • At the end of Guts' fight with Wyald in volume 11, he's slumped against a tree and Casca fears that he's dead. He manages to give her a smile to show her he's still alive, and she bursts into tears of joy. This is almost exactly what happened at the end of the Hundred Man Fight in volume 7. In both cases, this is followed by a scene of Guts complaining about the pain as he's being patched up, while Casca scolds him for being reckless. Then, when Guts is alone with Griffith, he remarks how their brush with Wyald was just like when they fought Zodd; they're both busted up, but they both survived.
    • During the part where Griffith rescues Charlotte from Ganishka, we see Borkoff, the Apostle who took Guts' arm.
    • Guts' fight with the Holy Iron Chain Knights in the woods is like a repeat of the Hundred Man Fight against Adon's mercenaries, with Farnese playing the part of Adon Coborlwitz and Azan playing the part of Samson. The part where Guts dodges several Mooks with spears attacking him is an almost exact reenactment.
    • The Lost Children chapter is focused around Rosine and includes her two insect henchmen, who were earlier introduced when they attacked Rickert's camp with the Count just before the Eclipse. Furthermore, Lost Children broadly follows the pattern of the Guardians of Desire run from volumes 2-3 using different characters in similar roles. Rosine takes the place of the Count and Jill takes the place of Theresia. Just like Guardians of Desire, it closely explores the backstory of one apostle and their Morality Pet as well as Guts' attempts to both pursue Revenge and scare away said Morality Pet with his Jerkass Façade.
    • Guts explicitly compares his confrontation with the reincarnated Griffith on the Hill of Swords to the time when they fought on a snowy hill to decide the issue of him leaving the Hawks. This time, he notes, he was the one who was defeated and deserted rather than the other way around. It also provides Guts with a rematch against Zodd, where he gets to show how much stronger he's become.
    • Guts' fight against Grunbeld slightly later is also much like Guts' first fight with Zodd, where he is facing a demonic Blood Knight who promises to destroy him if he does not put up a good fight. The way that he praises Guts after he succeeds in cutting his shoulder, and then transforms in a cloud of mist, is almost exactly the same.
    • In the Fantasia Arc here's a shot of Guts sitting on the railing of the seahorse and staring out into the distance that's very reminiscent of the pose in which Judeau found him brooding on the battlements on the night of his first raid with the Hawks.
  • Call Forward: Due to Berserk's In Medias Res beginning and frequent use of flashbacks, there are several scenes referencing events that were already shown to the audience but that haven't happened yet chronologically:
    • There's a moment with Guts' fight with Samson during the Hundred Man Fight that plays out a lot like Guts' second fight with Zondark in volume 2. In both instances Guts defends against a wildly swinging Epic Flail with a dizzying series of parries, and counterattacks at exactly the right moment.
    • Shortly before and during the Eclipse, we see three Apostles from the first three volumes of Berserk - the nameless female demon that has sex with Guts (in disguise, of course), the Baron of Koka Castle, and The Count. Guts' fights with these monsters took place after the Golden Age Arc, chronologically, but were among the first shown to the audience.
    • The three-episode story Spring Flowers of Distant Days simultaneously manages to include Call Back and Call Forward. The Viscount's son that Guts is forced to fight is patterned after Bazuso, being a stout warrior in full armor with round eyeholes and a heavy weapon; the audience has already seen Guts' fight with Bazuso, but chronologically it has't happened yet. At the same time, Martino's resemblance to Gambino causes Guts to experience flashbacks to his cruel mentor, who was already portrayed in the early volumes and is dead by that point in the chronology.
  • Camera Abuse: In the Golden Age films, the camera sometimes gets spattered with blood during fight scenes.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Chapter 83, in which Griffith meets The Idea Of Evil, has been removed from all printings by request of the author on the basis that it gave away too much of the plot too soon. In this case, it might be only temporary.
  • Can Not Spit It Out: During the Eclipse Judeau attempts to confess his love for Casca but is only able to say "I'm glad to see you cry," before dying in her arms, lamenting that she never thought of him as more than a valuable ally.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Godhands have one goal in their eternal lives: making humanity as miserable as possible. They take their job VERY seriously and gleefully go to unimaginable extremes to turn the world of Midland into a living hell.
    • Even better, the Idea Of Evil itself presents itself to Griffith with its very name when they meet.
  • The Cavalry: In chapter 330, when Guts is being held by the lord in his castle as a gladiator and is holding the lord's son as a hostage to make his escape, Martino, the old man from earlier, storms in with his comrades before the the lord's soldiers have a chance to shoot him.
  • Cast Of Snow Flakes: Even incidental background characters, human or otherwise, are given unique and distinct appearances.
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Casca caught Guts' heart on his cape during the Griffith rescue operation.
  • Caught in the Rain: The predicament that led to Guts and Casca's second Intimate Healing encounter and an eventual Relationship Upgrade from reluctant comrades to actual friends.
  • Central Theme: Despair and what people are willing to give up up to overcome it.
  • Chain of People: Happened in volume 19 on the Tower of Punishment, when Luca falls off a ledge during Mozgus' attack and Nina, then Jerome, then Isidro grab on hold. She still falls, but the Skull Knight saves her.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Averted — Female warriors in this series wear sensible armor that covers their vulnerable parts, instead of the so-called armor often seen in other fantasy works that shows off as much skin as possible. Slan gets a pass for wearing a corset that leaves her breasts exposed because she is literally a lust deity, and needs no protection because she is immortal anyway.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Subverted with Rosine, who is driven to believe that she is the center of one by parental abuse, then sacrifices her parents to fulfill her dream. By the time Guts fights her, she's been kidnapping children from nearby villages to turn into demonic fairies for a while and is practically insane.
  • Characterization Marches On: Literally the first time we see Guts, he's in the middle of having sex with an apostle before killing her. Later volumes show that Guts has serious hangups about sex, making it a very odd introduction to the character.
  • Character Development: Almost all of the major characters undergo significant development over the arc of their stories, some for worse and some for the better:
    • Farnese goes from being a clearly unbalanced Knight Templar / Stepford Smiler to a quasi Team Mom while learning magic from Schierke.
    • Schierke herself, after a few adventures, starts seeing just why maybe humanity might be worth saving, after all.
    • Guts has changed throughout throughout the story, from the vicious and cruel Blood Knight that we was in the early portions of the manga, to the more calm, composed, and melancholy warrior (with a Super-Powered Evil Side that threatens to surface at times) that he is now.
    • Jill loses her innocence and suffers through tragedy, but decides that she's going to become a Plucky Girl and struggle so that she can change her world for the better.
    • Nina begins her arc being simultaneously dependent on and resentful of Luca, insecure, envious, and unable to cope with her fear. She decides that in order to change, she is going to leave Luca and travel with someone who has the same flaws and insecurities as her, so that they can both become stronger, kinder people.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: Absurd bodycount of the named characters, not even factoring in the genocidal slaughters on the battlefield every few episodes.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Guts is powerful enough to carry the Dragonslayer because he's spent his entire life in battle using swords that were too big for him, and as a result is hellishly strong and able to use a ridiculously huge sword without difficulty.
  • The Chase: The latter half of the Griffith rescue operation has this, with Wyald and his Black Dog Knights pursuing Griffith and the Band of the Hawk. The Hawks try to deflect the Dogs using explosives and rocks slides, but it's still not enough to deter them, so the two groups eventually clash arms.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: A literal one. Toward the end of the Golden Age Arc, while Guts and Casca are (badly) recuperating after the events of the Eclipse, Erica shows Rickert Godo's storage shed, which contains a lot of nifty weaponry and accessories - among them being several prototype prosthetic limbs and the Dragonslayer itself.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Zigzagged with Puck in the manga, who was already introduced in the first arc since the story starts In Medias Res, but he is briefly mentioned in the middle of the Golden Age arc and makes a short cameo during the eclipse chapters.
  • Chest Burster: Nastier monsters such as the trolls of Qliphoth and Ganishka's demonic Daka soldiers reproduce like parasites whose offspring kill the host. The former are conceived through rape of human women, the later by immersing pregnant women in a vessel connected to Hell so that their children are corrupted in the womb. What both have in common is that once developed, they exit the host in the most gory and violent way possible. Young trolls grow quickly in the woman, until they claw and rip their way out of her stomach, then eat her still warm body. Baby Daka burst out of the abdomen, leaving the woman to bleed out, and get collected in cages by attendants.
  • Child Of Rape: Rosine's mother was raped by soldiers when their village was attacked, and her father believed she was not his child. Downplayed with The Child, whose father according to the Skull Knight was [[actually Guts]], but who was Touched by Vorlons due to its mother being raped while pregnant. In addition, many of the monsters throughout the series such as the Dakka and the Trolls reproduce through the rape of human women.
  • Child Soldiers: Guts as a kid was forced by Gambino to repay him for raising him by taking part in battle from the age of nine. In contrast, it's anyone's guess how Rickert ended up fighting in the Hawks since before his thirteenth birthday, but the unusual thing is that he loves the Hawks and apparently wasn't forced into it.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Guts and Casca were both forced to kill somebody in self-defense when they were kids. For Guts it was Gambino when he tried to kill him, and for Casca it was the nobleman who tried to rape her. Guts had already been killing men on the battlefield since he was nine because of Gambino's insistence that Guts should earn his keep by fighting.
  • Circle of Standing Stones: When trolls attack Enoch Village, Schierke summons spirits in order to cast her magic. One of them is a river spirit, who used to have a shrine where now stands a church. When Schierke goes into trance seeking the attention of the spirit, we get to see a glimpse of what the shrine used to look like: a circle of standing stones.
  • Citadel City:
    • Midland's capital city of Windham, a population center and seat of the nobility and monarchy, is surrounded by curtain wall and patrolled by royal troops, which our heroes find out makes it as difficult to escape as it is to get in uninvited. Unfortunately it isn't enough to repel a surprise invasion when the Kushan show up en masse and the kingdom's forces have been dispersed throughout the land because of the king's madness.
    • The port city of Vritannis is a powerful city state that grew wealthy from international banking and trade, so that it becomes the natural staging area for the armies of the Holy Alliance. The Kushan invasion makes its great walls, moat, and adjacency to the sea seem like good investments, although they would have been screwed anyway without the arrival of The Cavalry.
    • As of the end of the Millennium Falcon Arc, Griffith's new capital city of Falconia is a shining metropolis of white stone with soaring, gargantuan walls all around, multiple layers of fortification on the inside including gatehouses and drawbridges, and a kind of acropolis elevated above the rest of the city where the Hawk himself goes to roost.
  • Claimed by the Supernatural: The Band of the Hawk are all marked with the "Mark of Sacrifice" when Griffith's ascension ritual begins. All of them but Guts and Cosca are eaten by demons. The Mark bleeds when demons come near, and it attracts them as well.
  • The Clan: The Bakiraka are a tribe of warriors and assassins who constitute a distinct ethnicity within the Kushan Empire. The loss of their homeland and autonomy as punishment for supporting the deposed former Kushan royal house has led to a diaspora of Kushan working in foreign lands as mercenaries, and Silat's motivation is to restore his clan to its former glory.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The whole reason why The Idea of Evil exists. Also implied in the manga as the reason elves exist, prompting Puck to whip out a banner saying "Cogito Ergo Sum" whenever someone says that they think he's not real.
    • Arguably EVERY SINGLE supernatural thing on the series is more or less the result of this, as Qliphoth is implied to be formed from human nightmares and the demons are all people transformed of God Hand, which in turn come from The Idea Of Evil. This is what makes the monsters so terrifying; no matter how many you kill, there will always be monsters around thanks to mankind.
    • Also discussed in volume 24 during the groups' time at the mansion of the spirit tree, where Isidro suggested that if supernatural entities appeared because people believed in them, then all they'd have to do is stop believing and they wouldn't get hurt! Schierke added that it wasn't that simple.
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: The jerkwad aristocrats who hate Griffith's peasant guts love doing this in their dark, shady headquarters of cunning-ness. Yes, clasping your hands at your eventual downfall always assures your victory.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: A Beherit might get lost or change hands temporarily, but is ultimately fated to find its way into the hands of the person who is destined to use it in their moment of deepest despair. According to Flora, if it is meant for you, then even if you throw it away it will find its way back to you. If it is meant for someone else, then no matter how you cling to it it will somehow escape your grasp. A good example of this is how the jailer accidentally drops Griffith's Behelit down a drain, so that it is seemingly lost forever. However, Zodd assures Griffith that it will come back to him when the time is right, and so it comes to pass: When Griffith ends up crippled and broken in the shallows of the lake, the beherit finishes its trip downstream from the dungeon's drain and appears before Griffith exactly when he needs it.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Casca is frequently the victim of attacks that tear off parts of her clothing and armor, usually the direct result of would-be rapists trying to get her naked. Perhaps the most notable example was when Wyald stripped off her armor and tore her clothing practically to rags. While her body is indeed attractive, the context of sexual assault makes it Fan Disservice and Played for Drama.
    • Guts also suffered from clothing damage while he was killing apostles during the Eclipse (though not to the extent of which Casca suffered) and when his armor got ripped off by Slan when she manifested in Qliphoth.
  • Cock Fight: A strange variation. It happens between Guts and Casca over Griffith in the first part of the manga but the object of the fight turns about in an very dark twist during the Eclipse when Griffith rapes Casca in front of Guts.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: An important message from the King of Midland asking him to kill the shit out of some people ain't going to stop Wyald from banging one of dozens of women in his room.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: This happens a lot. Guts to the Apostles, the Apostles to humans, Mozgus to everyone he encounters (because maybe they might have been having some heretical thoughts at some point in their lives), the King of Midland to Griffith, so on and so forth.
    • The most vile example is what Casca and Guts went through when Griffith horrifically raped Casca during the Eclipse. Not only is she being horribly violated, but the brand on her chest is causing her excruciating pain during every waking moment, since Casca is most likely the closest any human has ever been to a Godhand. This is also a very cruel form of torture for Guts, since he's being Forced to Watch all this happen to the love of his life by his best friend and he can't do a damn thing about it, even after chopping off his arm to try and save her. And it's made even worse since Griffith is smiling at him while he's doing this. It's no wonder that Casca's mind just shattered after the events and Guts virtually hates the entire world now.
  • Colon Cancer: The 2012-13 Golden Age trilogy suffers from a typical case, since it's Berserk followed by The Golden Age Arc #, followed by the subtitle. Viz Media solves it with a combination of colons and hyphens, resulting in examples like Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I - The Egg of the King.
  • Combat Breakdown: Several battles against powerful apostles end with Guts having to resort to outright suicidal strategies because he is too worn down from all the damage he took to even lift his sword. Often he practically crawls away after battle, even tough he won. Without Puck, Guts would be dead. Period.
  • Combat Parkour: Casca centers most of her offensive and defensive maneuvers around flipping about the enemy.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Take a shot every time Guts uses a child as a hostage or for bait. Better yet, don't—it's dangerous.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Slan. As if being impaled by Guts' BFS wasn't suggestive enough, but it gave her an orgasm.
  • Companion Cube: Not only has Guts' swords served as his Security Blanket and extra nocturnal security measures, but the relationship he has had with his weapons was probably the closest thing to friendship before joining the Hawks.
  • Competence Zone: At the end, only an army made up of older teens and early twenty-something year olds were able to win Midland's war. The trend continues with Guts' new group, now with even younger members.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Why Apostles have been demoted to Elite Mooks in recent chapters.
    • Already in effect before. The larger a group of baddies gets, the quicker they go down.
    • Wyald, a lone apostle, slaughters dozens of red shirts and it takes Guts several chapters to bring him down and even then it's only thanks to Zodd coming in to save Griffith that they walked away alive. A few hours later Guts is murdering Apostles left right and centre when the Eclipse goes down.
  • Container Cling: In the Conviction Arc, Guts reaches Bishop Mozgus' torture chamber only to find that everyone who remained inside was reduced to skeletons by the gelatinous monsters that came out of the Iron Maiden. He notices one of the torturers' empty helmets scooting along the floor all by itself, and when he picks it up he finds Puck clinging to the inside where he was hiding.
  • Content Warnings: Pretty regular with Berserk media, since the manga will most likely have shrink wrapping and parental advisory stickers wherever they are sold. Special mention, of course, goes to volume 13 of the manga, which has a very obvious advisory sticker over the depiction of post rape and mutilated Guts and Casca on the cover, and the upcoming movie Descent, which will receive the Japanese equivalent of an NC-17 rating for "strong depictions of sexual activity." In fact, the theatrical release had to be edited down to an R-rating, since the original cut was considered too graphic to release to regular audiences. Alas, rumor has it that even the R-rated version was too much for some viewers to handle.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: How Guts reintroduces himself to the Hawks after the one-year time skip, when he kicks Silat In the Back just as he is about to behead Casca.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: A non-Reset Button variant. Before the Eclipse happened and, stuff happened to her, Casca became pregnant when she and Guts made love, but neither of them were aware of the pregnancy until Casca miscarried their corrupted fetus due to the extreme trauma she sustained from the Eclipse. However, since the fetus was touched by the supernatural world - and accepted a nature of evil in the process - it survived and continues to be presence within the series.
  • Cool Down Hug: Casca dished these out to great effect when she was sane. Guts does this to her upon their reunion in the Retribution arc.
  • Cool Helmet: Okay, so when people actually do bother to wear helmets, they're quite, unique, to say the least. Simply put, no two helmets are exactly the same in Berserk.
    • Guts probably has the neatest ensemble. His first few helmets are similar, reminiscent of Rutger Hauer's character in Lady Hawke. When he gets the berserker armor, it assumes the form of a dog's head, very similar to the Beast (which makes sense, since whenever his helmet looks like this, you're in trouble). But when Guts has control over the berserker armor - hey! He kinda looks like a medieval Batman!
      • Thanks to the Adaptive Armour nature of the armour Guts can use the helmet to bite through his enemies. Both awesome and terrifying
    • Griffith's helmets always take a hawk-like form. They're pretty cool-looking during his glory days as a human... but when he becomes Femto, a demon lord, the image can potentially become Nightmare Fuel. invoked
    • Mooks, mooks, mooks. Their helmets can range anywhere from weird, frog-eyed goggle helmets, to looking like triceratops and sharks.
  • Corpse Land: In episode 2 of the manga, Guts passes through the remains of an old battlefield with a priest and his daughter on pilgrimage, and has to fight demon-possessed skeletons because of the Brand he bears.
  • The Corruptible: First it was Griffith, and the process completed. In fact, we can go on to say that anyone who is destined to become an apostle is this. Now this is Guts, due to The Corrupter mentioned above.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Berserk is a story in which humans are powerless compared to the things that lurk in the darkest parts of the Astral Plane and invade whenever it suits their fancy. The world that humans live in is filled with nigh-unbeatable monsters ranging in appearance from hideous to unspeakable, which consider humans far beneath them and eat people without a second thought. As if that weren't bad enough, the world right down to the fabric of reality seems designed to maximize human suffering. Events are being manipulated by god-like beings who promote evil as an end in and of itself, sending plagues and monsters as if to speed up the Apocalypse. The lost chapter contains the Idea of Evil, a practically omnipotent god created by humanity's collective unconscious to be the source of all suffering. Although these entities were originally born from human beings and human needs, they inhabit a dimension of spacetime so alien to our waking experience and have become so much more powerful than the humanity which gave birth to them, that they might as well be aliens for all intents and purposes. Finally, the work is quite pessimistic about the possibility about the ultimate source of the evil being defeated completely, since it and the God Hand exist completely outside the reach of human agency. Can one man like Guts make a difference? Until the story's finished, no one can say.
  • Cosmic Plaything: *Face Palm*. Okay. Where would you like to start? The part where Guts' life sucked even BEFORE he was born and how he narrowly escapes death every twenty-five minutes or how Casca has an invisible blinking sign that says "Rape me!" to all men in a ten mile radius? Why even bother explaining it here? See below.
  • Costume Porn: Armor, clothing, dresses. If it's worn on the human body, Miura draws it in exquisite detail.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: It's implied that if Guts had chosen to stay with Casca post-Eclipse, he could have helped her through the trauma they had experienced. By choosing to deal with his own pain the same way he had always done (leaving the source of his heart-ache behind and engaging in mass slaughter) he doomed Casca to the near child-like state she is in now.
    • Similarly, the Godhand outright tell Griffith that while he has already doomed most of the Band of The Hawk to be devoured by the Apostles, the fate of Guts and Casca is still his choice to make.
  • Courtly Love: Griffith, of course, toyed with this concept concerning his relationship with Princess Charlotte, who was the quickest way to the throne of Midland if he were to succeed in wooing and earning her hand in marriage. The guy was doing a damn good job at it too, until he messed it all up in a moment of despair.
    • Suggested between Guts and Casca at one point, when she uses a scrap of colorful cloth from her blouse to bind a wound in his arm... exactly where a knight would traditionally display a favor from a noble lady. Ultimately averted when They Do, and neither of them were ever much like a proper knight or lady in any case.
  • Covers Always Lie: Volume seven depicts Guts with a shield. Guts never uses a shield.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: After Guts' departure from the Hawks, Casca is seen holding the remains of Guts' previously broken sword.
  • Cradling Your Kill: After accidentally running through Count Julius' son Adonis with his sword, a horrified Guts holds the dying boy's hand until he stops gasping for breath. That moment changed Guts.
  • Crapsack World: Oh yeah. Some people manage to survive and better themselves, but for most, it's a nightmarish existence topped off by a nightmarish death. To put it simply, life in Midland sucks.
    • If you're a peasant, there is substantial evidence in the manga that your sole purpose is to be cannon fodder for whatever instance of nightmarish horror is currently roaming around. This is discounting the general misery caused by constant wars between neighboring countries, the in-series equivalent of a demonic version of the Crusades and the reconstruction of the entire world based on the vision of a spiteful, backstabbing sociopath.
    • And it's implied that if your nightmarish death is brought about by demons, then you go straight to a great morass of souls surrounding a giant heart. And even if you don't, it's implied everyone goes there when they die, without exception. It isn't really Hell as the Judeo-Christians see it (if it had an analogy, it would be in the Shinto Jigoku, or "land of the dead," which is also a place which everyone goes to when they die), but from what has been shown of it in the manga, it isn't a very pleasant place.
    • Face it: if you started out as a halfway decent person in this world, you probably won't be going out as one (either because you'll be literally chopped in half by some demon or you'll give up your humanity to become one of those who causes the suffering, either metaphorically or via Behelit).
    • That's not even getting into the fact that just about everything and everyone will try to rape you at some point in your life. Yes literally everything and everyone will try to rape you. Debauched nobles and raiding armies are probably the least horrifying things that can get a hold of you in Midland when you compare them to whatever the hell else is out there. Trolls, the Daka, Apostles of all shapes and sizes, demonic gods, even a possessed horse have or have tried to rape someone in the story, sometimes to death or worse.
    • Yet even with all the horrible things going on, the world itself has stunningly beautiful natural landscapes brimming with life. It has the potential to be a really nice place to live if not for humanity who are so good at ruining everything for themselves.
  • Creepy Child: The kid Casca found on the beach and is implied to be the Fetus Terrible mentioned on the other pages.
  • Creepy Crows: Really abundant in the shittier places. The crow and raven motif was used from a more sympathetic viewpoint when some of Mozgus' deformed disciples were feeding a murder.
  • Creepy Souvenir: The torturer in the Tower of Rebirth cut off Griffith's tongue and made it into a necklace. But he got his.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Serpico gives off the aura of being a clumsy and care free lieutenant to an over zealous commander. Until he opens his eyes and becomes a terrifyingly cunning and skilled swordsman
    • Isidoro is a loud mouth idiot most of the time and is notoriously Wrong Genre Savvy but he's killed a fair number of nightmarish creatures on his own
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: When something human dies in this series, it's often in the most excruciating and undignified way possible.
  • Crusading Widower: Guts. Though he didn't marry Caska and he wasn't the dad to the Hawks, but this is essentially what he becomes.
  • Cry into Chest: Casca does this a lot with Guts, both before and after they become a couple, with tears and without. Princess Charlotte does this with Griffith as well.
  • Crying After Sex: Gut cries the first time he has sex with Casca because doing so triggers the memories of his childhood abuse.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Holy See in Berserk is an apparently monotheistic fantasy religion with most of the trappings of the real life Catholic Church such as priests and bishops, a pope, inquisitions against heretics, fancy vestments and rituals, and vast independent wealth and political power. It does not feature Jesus or the Trinity, however, and the symbol of the "Hawk of Light" serves instead of the Christian cross as the emblem of their faith. Chapter 83, the so-called "Lost Chapter" that was never reprinted at the author's request because it supposedly gave too much of the story away too quickly, shows that their symbol is actually a stylized representation of the Idea of Evil, also known as the God of the Abyss and the "Ungodly God born from man", a powerful creation of mankind's collective unconscious whose sole purpose is to cause pain and suffering so that humanity has someone else to blame for their problems.
  • Cue the Sun: Normally represents how Guts (and companions) has survived another harrowing night of fighting ghosts and hellspawn.
  • Curse: Though they survived the Eclipse, by bearing the Brand of the Sacrifice Guts and Casca are doomed to be followed by evil spirits and demons until their dying breath, where they will then have to serve an eternity in hell.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After the hundred man slaying incident groups of human enemies ,no matter how well trained or numerous, just stopped being a problem for Guts (as long as he is in sufficient fighting shape of course). An especially awesome example comes when a group of Kushan assassins try to kill Guts...who just had his sword upgraded and was eager to give it a try... After seing the resulting pile of gore, Silat wisely decided not to waste his best mooks on an unwinnable battle.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Guts is granted the Berserker Armor, which gives him incredible strength and speed, but it deadens the nerves so that the one who wore the armor would just fight and not feel anything. Guts has to wear this, or else he'll die due to the injuries he sustained in a fight with Slan.
    • Blessed with Suck: However, there seems to be a lot more disadvantages to the Berserker armor than advantages in the long run, such as gradual loss of color vision, sense of taste, sanity, and the fact that the armor literally causes the wearer to go berserk, meaning that they won't be able to distinguish who is a friend and who is foe. Not only that, but the armor "repairs" the wearer's injuries by driving splinters into the body much like an Iron Maiden, so there is a chance that the wearer will die of blood loss along the way. Also, since using the armor puts a lot more stress on Guts' body, his recuperation period is much longer now.
  • Cute Mute: Poor Casca acts like an innocent mute child after the Eclipse makes her lose her speech and personality. In this state she is highly curious and totally clueless, which leads to her doing all kinds of silly and potentially dangerous things.
  • Cute Witch: Schierke is an extremely powerful yet adorable good witch, complete with a Robe and Wizard Hat and a Fairy Companion.
  • Cutlass Between the Teeth: Guts uses his teeth in order to use other weapons when he's incapable of using his own two hands, such as when he used his teeth to pull the trigger to his cannon arm when he was incapacitated by the Snake Baron. On some occasions such as the fight with the Count, he can even swing the frickin Dragonslayer with his teeth when he has no other way to do it and a demon absolutely, positively needs to be cut in half. Ok, that is just flat out impossible, but lets not think about it too much. It's Guts and he gets away with it. But you most definitely WILL NOT.

    D 
  • Dances and Balls: Lots of dancing balls are hosted by aristocrats. Somehow most of them end in incredibly violent ways, such as a bunch of people being assassinated or eaten by tigers.
  • Dark Fantasy: Part The Epic, part Tragedy, part Survival Horror, Berserk is the Darker and Edgier side of fantasy, with most of the genre's aspects such as politics, religion, magic, and the protagonist getting a cynical treatment. A Knight in Sour Armor Anti-Hero searches for revenge and/or redemption in a Crapsack World and fights sickeningly frightening demons along the way. Constant instances of human cruelty lend to the tone of the work. Humans Are Bastards, All Men Are Rapists, and Aristocrats Are Evil are in full effect. The church is either a Corrupt Church or Path of Inspiration (details of its founding are unclear) but regardless, watch out for the Knight Templar Inquisition. The Magic Comes Back is portrayed as almost certainly a bad thing, as the only deity shown to be active in the world is a God of Evil. (More benevolent godlike beings are mentioned, but haven't shown up to help out.) The Messianic Archetype is a mass murderer and a rapist. And so on. The kicker? According to a now partially decanonized chapter that was removed for spoiling too much, said God of Evil and its demons are merely the answer to humanity's desire for something to be responsible for their suffering (as opposed to it being random and meaningless). The Idea of Evil only exists because, in a truly warped way, people need it to exist.
  • Dark Is Evil: Just about all Apostles are evil by nature, and obviously so...
    • Dark Is Not Evil: ...But it's not always the case. Some spiritual beings look creepy but are otherwise fairly benign, the aptly named Skull Knight largely devotes his time to fighting the forces of evil, and the Black Swordsman himself, Superpowered Evil Side aside, is the hero of the story.
  • Dark Messiah: Griffith after he uses the Crimson Behelit to become the fifth member of the Godhand. However to the people of Midland it is Guts. This is not going to end well.
  • The Dark Side: The meta-example would be a bit too difficult - if not controversial - to debate within the lore of the story, but a good micro example would be the Beast that dwells within Guts, who represents everything dark and bad within his heart and is constantly trying to corrupt his soul with darkness with promises of power and vengeance against the one who wronged him.
  • Darkest Hour: Once the Hawks make it to the border of Midland, they must come to terms with their predicament: they've been outcasted from the kingdom and Griffith is mutilated beyond repair. The dream is over.
  • A Day in the Limelight: When Guts and the gang arrive in Vritannis, Isidro and Schierke get a side story in this fashion that is primarily used to develop their relationship rather than add to the main story arc. That, and it served to introduce our next batch of Clingy Comedy Villains.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone seems to have their moments in this doom and gloom world, but Serpico takes the cake.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Behelits are a means to summon the Godhand, four evil demonic gods who offer their bearers the chance to become demonic Apostles (or in the case of those bearing a Crimson Behelit such as Griffith, a new member of the Godhand) in exchange for the sacrifice of those closest to them, who are transported to hell along with the one presented with the deal and marked with the Godhand's Brand of Sacrifice if the bearer should accept, at which point the monsters come out of the woodwork to eat them alive. They're particularly insidious because they are activated by their bearer hitting the Despair Event Horizon, making the bearer particularly receptive to the Godhand's offer.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Guts acquires the Berserker Armour, which draws out the full physical strength of the wearer. However, the armour also draws out the Superpowered Evil Side of whoever wears it, and while the wearer can ignore pain, this is a double-edged sword, since the strength of whoever wears the armour will badly damage their body. Also, the armour mends broken bones by piercing through flesh with spikes. This led to the previous owner dying of blood loss after every single bone in his body was broken.
  • Death by Childbirth: Berserk loves to play this trope for the squick. The most "normal" case happened to Guts, whose mother bore him either post-mortem or while she was being hanged. Other cases include women whose children were demonized (or were impregnated by demons) being gruesomely killed when the demonic spawn claw out of their mothers' wombs.
  • Death by Origin Story: Everybody who died in the Golden Age arc, which is basically Guts' back story.
  • Death World: The world of Berserk has never been a pleasant place, but ever since the magic came back, it's gotten even worse! Various spiritual creatures, including dragons, hydras, trolls, and sea monsters have appeared worldwide and have since been wreaking havoc on the unprepared populace. Griffith's kingdom of Falconia is pretty much the only safe place for humans left, and while it's happy and prosperous, it's Griffith.
  • Declaration of Protection: Half of Guts' motivation is to kill the Godhand; the other half revolves around protecting Casca. Guts protects Casca when she was a capable Action Girl and after he failed to protect her during the Eclipse and vows to do so from now on,especially after he rescues her from Mozgus). As noted above, you hurt Casca, you die. Simple as that.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The series primarily deconstructs traditional Shōnen tropes, but also delves into deconstructions of religion, fate, destiny, camaraderie, and revenge.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Subverted when Guts demands a rematch from Griffith, and then Double Subverted when he's beaten anyway, and is enlisted into the Band Of The Hawk.
    • And then subverted a THIRD TIME later when Guts faces Griffith again in order to win his freedom from the Hawks. Guts is doing it because he feels he's dishonoring Griffith as friend by simply following him without a dream of his own, not because he's unhappy there. Griffith, already semi-consumed by his ambitions sees this as a betrayal. Their fight ultimately ends with Guts' victory. It doesn't end well...
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Guts pulls this quite a lot against apostles, most notably against the Snake Baron in the first volume and against Rosine in the Lost Children Arc.
  • Deliberately Painful Clothing: Guts wears the Berserker armor, which snaps his bones and tears his flesh in order to keep him fighting through otherwise crippling injuries even as it slowly eats away at his soul. This has nothing to do with penance as such, since he needs it to defeat powerful demons, but it is the price of using such a dangerous artifact to enhance his power.
  • Dem Bones: In episode 2 of the Black Swordsman Arc, "The Brand", the evil spirits attracted to Guts' Brand Of Sacrifice possess the skeletal corpses of warriors who died at an old battlefield and use them to attack. The Skull Knight also appears to be an armor-wearing undead skeleton, although since he is the most powerful known being opposing the Godhand, he is actually the closest thing the series has to a Big Good.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The Godhand are godlike supreme demons who rule over the Legions of Hell which include Apostles and evil spirits. However, it is implied and confirmed in the missing chapter that they serve an even higher power, and their own knowledge and power is not necessarily absolute.
  • Demon of Human Origin: An artifact called a Behelit can, given the right circumstances (typically a Despair Event Horizon on the part of its owner, which always seems to happen sooner or later Because Destiny Says So), open a temporary portal or convergence between our layer of reality and what is basically Hell. There, the owner of the Behelit is offered a Deal with the Devil by a quadrumvirate (later a quintumvirate) of Demon Lords and Archdevils called the God Hand. In exchange for a significant sacrifice (usually the life of a loved one), the bearer of the Behelit will be transformed into a powerful (and horrific) demon called an Apostle. Considering that the bearer is nearly always on the brink of death (or in too much spiritual pain for more life as a human to be very appealing), they nearly always take the offer. The Crimson Behelit can be used every 216 years to create a new member of the God Hand for an even larger sacrifice, making them examples as well. In Berserk, humans literally are the real monsters, or perhaps more accurately, any given monster you come across Was Once a Man.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Griffith.
    • If he does qualify for this trope, then it would be the milder variety where he uses sex as a means to manipulate others, be they young princesses or ugly, depraved old men—who happen to be very rich.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Crossing this is pretty much required to activate a Behelit, which invariably leads to crossing moral lines. The fact that there exist such a large number of Apostles, people who at one point lost all hope and resorted to the power of the Behelit, just goes to show how shitty the world of Berserk can be.
  • Determinator: Guts is essentially the poster boy for the trope. Beat him, burn him, even impale him, he will not let go of that sword. And let's not forget Griffith, who's willing to achieve his childhood dream even if it means everyone close to him being eaten by demons... and becoming one himself.
  • Deus Angst Machina: After losing all his friends and 15% of his body in the Eclipse and having to watch helplessly while Femto raped Casca to the point of madness Guts understandably loses it. Ok, that was pretty bad. This must be the bottomline! Of course the Skull Knight promptly arrives to inform Guts about the more unpleasant properties of his brand that will keep him from ever sleeping again and finally it is revealed that Casca was pregnant of Guts child and the embryo was corrupted by Femto into a ghastly demon. And that's just the beginning...
  • Deus ex Machina: The Skull Knight sometimes comes off as this. However, there is a catch: Even the Skull Knight is revealed to be an Unwitting Pawn who just plays out his predestined role. So there is no such thing as coincidence in this universe.
    • The crimson behelit invokes this. Griffith suffers irreversible physical damage after a year of torture and it seems to be end game for Griffith's dream... until the behelit reappears and more or less allows him be reborn bigger and better than before (albeit at a very great cost).
  • Diagonal Cut: Serpico's wind sword cuts a candle so perfectly that, at first, it looks as if it didn't work. Then Puck takes the two halves apart, revealing it to be perfectly bisected. It has the same effect on large monsters.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: In chapter 290, after a battle with the pirates, Farnese and Roderick have a heart-to-heart talk about how each person on board has a special role, and Roderick let it slip that she's taking care of Casca, the most important person in Guts' life. He then thinks to himself that that was probably not the best thing to say to her...
    • Casca also does this in volume 10 during the Griffith rescue operation. She wound up telling Guts that she was more or less jealous of Princess Charlotte and her affection toward Griffith... even though she and Guts had just shared an entire love scene together a few nights previous. You can guess that Guts wasn't too happy at hearing this tidbit and Casca immediately regrets saying it and tries to apologize, but the damage has already been done.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: After initiating the Griffith rescue operation, Judeau eyes Guts and Casca together and notices how happy they are (especially Casca, since she has not been herself since the downfall of the Band of the Hawk a year prior). Guts and Casca indeed became "official'' the previous night. Bonus points in that the night before, Judeau was more or less hinting at Guts to "cheer Casca up."
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Well what did you expect from a guy whose mission is to take out God himself? Guts puts himself up against unimaginable adversaries and usually comes out victorious one way or another. That being said - and living in this kind of world - Guts doesn't come out of fights without some damage being done.
  • Diner Brawl: Guts and his gang get into a beat down with some drunkard slobs who were harassing the girls while at an inn in Vritannis.
  • Dirty Business: Guts left the Band of the Hawk partly because he was uncomfortable with being Griffith's personal assassin and having accidentally killed a child in the process. Griffith himself regretted asking Guts to do his dirty work while keeping his own hands clean, but said that he didn't want the other Hawks to know about that side of him, and just wanted them to feel like they were rising up together.
  • Disappears into Light: This is what happens to Ganishka at the end of the Millennium Falcon Arc.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: See World-Wrecking Wave.
  • Disturbed Doves: A flock of white birds takes to the air when Griffith appears after being reincarnated in human form on Earth.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Daiba and most members of the Bakiraka clan seem to prefer going barefoot, the former because he's a yogi and the later because they're martial artists and assassins.
  • Dog Pile of Doom: What tragically thwarted Guts from saving Casca during the Eclipse. Damn it all.
  • Domestic Abuse: Just like Child Abuse, abuse of spouses or romantic partners is depressingly common in Berserk. Jill's father, for example, slaps his wife around so that she's always afraid of him.
  • Don't Look at Me!: These are pretty much Casca's last words as a sane person while she is being horrifically raped in front of Guts who is being forced to watch anyway. After that, she's a mute.
  • Double Meaning Title: The Conviction Arc (断罪篇 or Danzai hen) is a Story Arc named after the Tower of Conviction in St. Albion, which is a place where sinners are punished. Throughout this Arc, Guts comes into conflict with Knight Templar antagonists including the Holy Iron Chain Knights and Bishop Mozgus who are on a crusade to stamp out witchcraft and heresy, so that the title refers to how they "convict" and punish anyone who disagrees with their religion. Translating danzai as "conviction" gives it a second meaning in English, since a "conviction" is also a strongly held belief such as one's religion or being sure that one's cause is just, which is a major theme of the arc for Guts as well as his antagonists, and especially for Farnese.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Well not so much rape as unwanted sexual contact. When Guts first encounters the Red Tailed Hawks and loses to Griffith, he apparently loses enough blood that he starts shivering and going into shock, resulting in Griffith telling Casca to lie with him to share body heat. Casca was apparently extremely uncomfortable about doing this and upon Guts waking up, punches him in the face. Three years later, Guts finds himself forced to do the same thing to save her, only willing to do it because she did it for him before. When she wakes up later and learns what he did, she proceeds to punch him in the face, throw all of her armor at him, and try to kill him with a knife that barely missed his forehead. The implication seems to be that only a woman has any reason or right to be uncomfortable with this sort of situation. Played with, however, in that, at least in the latter incident's case, the audience is clearly expected to sympathize with Guts and see Casca's actions as extremely unreasonable.
  • Downer Beginning: The manga starts off at the point in his life where Guts is at his most hopeless, ruthless and on the verge of turning evil. Rickert later points out that if Puck hadn't teamed up with Guts at that time, he porbably would have lost his humanity completely.
  • Downer Ending: The Golden Age Arc in the manga, and by extension the anime and movie trilogy which adapt it, come to a totally depressing ending. Griffith, who is completely broken from a year of being put to the torture and who has pretty much lost everything worth living for, uses his Crimson Behelit to call forth the Godhand on the day of the Eclipse, resulting in Guts and all of his friends being transported to Hell. There, the Godhand, the Big Bads of the setting, reveal the true nature of demons and persuade Griffith to sacrifice the Hawks in exchange for becoming their fifth member. Griffith accepts their Deal with the Devil, everyone gets marked with the Brand of Sacrifice, and carnage ensues as everyone is picked off one by one by a whole mess of things out of pure nightmare until only Guts and Casca are left. Then Guts' left arm gets caught in a demon's jaws as he tries to save Casca from the demons, and as he tries to free himself, Griffith is reborn as a demonic god known as Femto, who begins to rape Casca in front of Guts. Guts is forced to chisel off his arm with what's left of his sword in order to save her, only to be trapped again by more monsters and is forced to watch as Femto rapes Casca right in front of him as his right eye is clawed out. The only reason either of them survive is that the Skull Knight swoops in to save them and Zodd decides to throw them a bone, but when Guts wakes up he finds that Casca was driven to insanity and all of his precious comrades are dead. On top of that, Casca gives birth to their son, tainted by Femto's seed, and both of them are branded as sacrifices so that they will never be safe again. While the manga and to some extent the movies leave some hope for the future as the story will continue, the way the anime leaves off is particularly stark.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: Played straight in the case of Grunbeld, who's an Apostle who takes on the form of a large crystalline dragon.
  • Dramatis Personae: Since the Fantasia Arc each volume has included an introduction to the major characters with portraits and short descrptions for each.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Laban is able to save an entire castle full of prisoners by dressing them up in Kushan armor and getting them through the checkpoint.
  • Driven to Suicide:
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The ruler of Elfhelm is called "Hanafubuku Ou", which roughly means "ruler of the flower storm". Not only did the Dark Horse Comics translator for the English manga volumes leave "Hanafubuku" as untranslated Gratuitous Japanese, but they translated the gender-neutral title "ou" as "king", an assumption that turned out to be incorrect when episode 346 not only revealed that the ruler in question was female, but it wasn't even a plot twist: she was supposed to be female from the beginning. How they're going to explain this in light of their previous error is anyone's guess.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: In volume 9 the King of Midland molests his own daughter as she sleeps, causing her to wake up and start resisting.
  • Due to the Dead: The basic assumption is that the dead deserve respect. Good people commemorate the dead and properly dispose of their bodies, while those who desecrate corpses are villains, or at least anti-heroes.
    • People such as Rickert and Wyald play this straight. Rickert, being the good character, pays his respects to the fallen Hawks by making a commemorative graveyard for them made up of swords. Wyald, the despicably evil character, maims and desecrates the bodies of the people whom he previously raped and tortured and set their dismembered corpses on pikes as they ride into battle.
    • Guts, being an Anti-Hero, falls in-between. In the recent Boyhood arc, Guts pays his final respects to the child elf who sacrificed herself in order to heal him by spreading the remaining petals of her host flower in the field of the same flowers. At this time, Guts is still the anti-social and arrogant teenager that we were introduced to at the beginning of the Golden Age arc, but the gesture reveals that, throughout the crap he had to put up with in his childhood, Guts still has a softer, emotional side to him that he's willing to show to people who treat him with genuine kindness. However, throughout his Black Swordsman days, Guts is repeatedly shown desecrating the deceased, unanimated or not. This isn't on the same level as Wyald, since Guts isn't evil, but it does show that Guts is rather ruthless and that he is in a dark, dark place at this time.
    • Griffith, the ambiguously evil character, plays it straight once when he is paying his respects to the un-named boy who died in his company, and he genuinely felt sad over his death to the point where it was half of the motivation for him whoring himself out to General Genon. He later subverts this trope, starting with the fact that he attended the funeral of the Queen of Midland when he was the one who orchestrated her death. The example the cut the deepest was upon his reincarnation into the real world, where he visited the hill of swords for the fallen Band of the Hawk. However, he visited not so he could pay any respects or admit any regret for being the cause of their deaths, but to validate that he had no regrets for his actions during the Eclipse. Big OUCH.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: All three main characters get these. A lot. They're an unhappy bunch, so you can't really blame them.
    • Guts gets them when he goes through his Heroic B.S.O.D. after assassinating Count Julius and, by accident, his young son. Also, the eye-shine never quite comes back to Guts' eyes after the Eclipse, save for one moment when the Skull Knight tells him of the possibility of Casca being cured at Elfheim.
    • Casca has these during her time as leader of the Hawks, prominently when she is about to attempt suicide.
    • And Griffith - poor post-torture/pre-Eclipse Griffith.
  • The Dung Ages: While you get occasional pockets of Ye Goode Olde Days in the land, and the nobility and royalty live in shiny splendor, many peasants and poor people suffer from famine, dress in rags, and live in filthy hovels. It gets especially bad during the plague and invasion that create a refugee crisis in Midland, leading to thousands huddling in a tent city beneath the tower of Conviction mired in filth, starvation, and ignorance. In sharp contrast, the magically created city of Falconia is considered a fantastic marvel because unlike everywhere else it has running water, a modern sewer system, public baths, and flushing toilets!
  • Dwindling Party: After Guts' departure and Griffith's arrest, the Band of the Hawk began to dwindle little by little, some of them being killed in ambushes, others simply abandoning the band. Luckily, Casca took over and held the Hawks together as best as she could. The real kicker came when Griffith, having made his Face–Heel Turn, threw the Hawks to the dogs and allowed them to be eaten by voracious Apostles, '''one by one'''.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Often it seems like everybody in the Crapsack World of Berserk has a tragic backstory, painful family history, and/or severe mental health issues. Special mention goes to Guts and Casca since the universe seems to have had it in for them and it really messed them up bad. Here are their problems:
    • Guts was born from the womb of a hanged woman and adopted by the lover of the mercenary Gambino. When she died Gambino raised him as a Child Soldier from the age of six, sold him to a rapist for three silver coins when he was nine, and two years after that tried to kill Guts in a drunken rage because he blamed Guts for her death. Guts killed Gambino in self-defense and ran away, living as a lone mercenary and not allowing anyone to get close to him until Griffith persuaded him to join the Band of the Hawk. In the course of events he grows to trust and admire Griffith, finds love with Casca, and manages to put some of his childhood trauma to rest, but then Griffith betrays them all by sacrificing them to horrible deaths in the Eclipse so that he can ascend to Godhood. The memory of having his eye gouged out while being Forced to Watch as Casca was assaulted and driven insane by the man he once called a friend torments him without end. Unable to face Casca and his own sadness, he goes on a two year Roaring Rampage of Revenge in which he almost loses his humanity before stopping and returning to protect Casca. Even after getting his priorities straight he has to deal with the Enemy Within that possesses him to attack her, and he is only now keeping a lid on his inner demon with the help of Schierke.
    • Casca grew up in a family of oppressed peasants, and her parents sold her as a girl to a noble who attempted to rape her, only to be stopped by Griffith who gave her the sword to kill her attacker. For years she fought and earned the respect of her men in a profession where women were told to Stay in the Kitchen, and tried to faithfully serve the man she idolized. Meeting Guts made her jealous and resentful at first, and while she began to transfer her affections to him the downfall of Griffith while Guts left the Band of the Hawk required her to deal with the entire mess by herself, suffering major Heroic Fatigue and Dude, Where's My Respect?. Just before it all went to hell she had a total breakdown over Griffith's condition, and would have broken up with Guts if matters had not gone From Bad to Worse. During the Eclipse she made a valiant last stand, but the loss of all her soldiers and friends and suffering the ultimate violation and torture at Griffith's own hands caused her mind to regress to a childlike state. After a few close calls with Guts' evil side, she is also afraid of him too. Guts' current quest is to get her to Elfhelm where Elf King Hanafubuku might be able to restore her sanity, but the Skull Knight warns Guts that when the time comes she might not WANT to come back from her madness.
    • Griffith despite his ruthless nature has a great amount of guilt over the dead bodies he has climbed over to get so close to his dream. After seeing a ten year old boy from the Hawks dead on the battlefield, he sold his own body to Lord Gennon for a night in exchange for funds to support the growing Band. When Casca found him bathing afterwards and asked why he did it, he said that although he does not feel responsible for those who died under his command, the least he can do for them is to win no matter what and take the dirt and suffering upon himself as well. This, while trembling and digging his fingernails so deeply into his arm that he drew blood. Griffith becomes very attached to Guts, and has a complete mental breakdown when Guts rejects and leaves him. He immediately sleeps with Princess Charlotte for solace despite the repercussions, and afterwards he sits in a Troubled Fetal Position unable to get the image of Guts' turned back out of his head. As punishment, the King of Midland has him tortured for a year until he is unable to move his body or speak. After being rescued, he hits his Despair Event Horizon when he realizes that his most valued and loyal soldiers are only remaining by his side not out of admiration and respect, but simply pity. Including Guts, who he blamed entirely for his decrepit state.
    • Farnese and Serpico are compared to two misshapen saplings that grew intertwined with each other as a metaphor for their damaged childhoods. Farnese is the daughter of a noble banking family and was completely neglected by her preoccupied parents, who showered her with toys and material things to show their love. In order to deal with her fears and loneliness she developed a fascination with nature's destructive forces such as storms and fire, and since she was a young girl she would light the bonfires under heretics in the city square. She was a Chronic Pet Killer and a cruel tyrant towards the servants, who called her the Vandimion's "Devil Child". Into this picture came Serpico, the bastard son of a nobleman who took care of his invalid and insane mother all by himself and was rescued from dying in the street by Farnese, who demanded that he serve her in return. Serpico put up with her unreasonable demands, content to escape from his mother's controlling ways and feeling responsible for protecting Farnese once he learned he was her half-brother. Eventually she made an unrequited advance on him and burned down the mansion in order to escape from an Arranged Marriage, and Serpico followed her as she became a Knight Templar burning heretics for the Holy See. During one witch burning, he recognized his mother tied to a stake, and Farnese made him throw the torch with her to prove his loyalty. Serpico admits that all his life he has practiced Obfuscating Stupidity and stoicism to deal with these events, but that really he was just numbing himself. Years later, after an initially antagonistic relationship with the Black Swordsman, Farnese decides to atone for her crimes by following Guts. She and Serpico are changing, but their pasts aren't done with them yet.

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Alternative Title(s): Tropes A-D

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Berserk/TropesAToD?from=Berserk.TropesA-D