Guts had a badass eyepatch and acts more like his mercenary self than his Black Swordsman persona, Puck is still Puck..well, kinda girly, but still Puck, Griffith is a young girl (not named Griffith, but they share the same face), and his crossbow is a normal one instead of the repeating crossbow from the main series.
The Godhand, although The Idea of Evil might fit better.
Oddly, more powerful Apostles are exceptions. Zodd is a kickass winged beast with feline and bull features, Grunbeld is a crystalline dragon, and Locus is a metallic centaur lancer. Instead of being disgusting and alien, they look awesome. Scary, but awesome.
Griffith, Zodd, Grunbeld and Locus are the Big Bad and his Co-Dragons. They are meant to be more awesome than scary.
And then there's Shiva, the name given to whatever the hell Ganishka just turned into... He's so gigantic he makes Midland's capital look like a tiny maquette. Then he starts walking...
And for those of you who like aquatic themes, The Sea God. An actual sentient wacky pirate crew (complete with pirate ship) is among its countless tentacled appendages. And that's just what it's like on the outside. It's insides almost qualify as an Eldritch Location with a ton of nasty creatures calling it home. And it only gets worse once you reach its heart.
Eldritch Location: Being a Layered World, the Berserkerverse has no end to the weird ass locations, but weirdest of them all (or out the places already presented to us) is the Vortex, which is where the Godhand and the Idea of Evil hangout. The whole landscape is made up of faces - which are alive. And of course the waterscape is blood.
Emotional Torque: Volume 13. This was THE turning point in the fandom where fans had to make a choice: either drop this series altogether and try their damnedest to forget it, or stick it to the end just to see how Miura was going to resolve all of this. Dare we say that if you didn't feel anything while reading volume 13 (whether you thought it was a necessary evil or if you felt downright disgusted) you probably just didn't get it.
The Empire: The Kushan Empire and the Tudor Empire earlier on.
Empowered Badass Normal: A lot of fans argue that Guts isn't a normal human anymore due to the effects that the Nexus has on him. If this is the case, then congratulations, Guts. You have attained yet another badge of badassery.
Erotic Asphyxiation: Subverted. In the midst of their lovemaking, Guts strangles Casca after suffering from some post dramatic stress after reliving his childhood rape. Guts most likely does this not out of some twisted eroticism that he developed from his abuse, but because he blamed himself for not being able to defend himself from Donovan, and sought to punish his younger self by killing it. And unfortunately Casca was in his former self's place.
However, later on when Guts kidnaps Farnese as a hostage and she gets possessed by an evil spirit, she puts on a rather, um, revealing display in front of Guts and starts strangling him.
Establishing Character Moment: Guts is formally introduced in a tavern in the castle town of Koka - and by "formally", we of course mean that he brutally maims and cleaves a bunch of the Snake Baron's mooks with little to no effort or qualms. This scene not only presents Guts as a total badass, but also as a ruthless man. It only makes the audience question, "why is he like this?"
Et Tu, Brute?: Guts leaving him is what causes Griffith to throw his dreams away.
Not to mention how his backup plan was demolished when he found out that Casca had chosen Guts as her lover.
A peculiar example, but worth a mention: the deformed embryo of Guts and Casca's child is described by the Skull Knight to have become evil due to the infection of Femto's semen. 80% of its appearances however are of it protecting Casca's life.
Everything Trying to Kill You: Ever since getting branded, this has very much been the case for both Guts and Casca. Every night, ghosts and specters attack them, either directly, or by possessing whatever happens to be nearby: people, animals, corpses, mounds of snow, trees...the list is endless.
Spin Attack: Guts does an awesome spin attack to save Casca from the pagans who wanted to rape her. He slaughters all of them in gory maelstrom - but not a single hair is harmed on Casca, who is smack dab in the middle.
Tornado Move: The Kushan sorceror attacks Vritanis during a storm, so waterspouts are already forming naturally. He manipulates one to take the form of a giant watersnake.
Evil Albino: One of Mozgus' torturers is an albino. Notably subverted in that he actually does suffer from the medical complications of albinism rather than simply being white haired, and that those complications actually led to him following Mozgus. Though certainly not a Heroic Albino, he's much more of a Punch Clock Villain than anything else.
Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Guts is fighting a regenerating demon (an offspring of the Count who possesed a knight who swore to kill Guts after he got his ass handed to him) whose wounds heal as fast as they're inflicted. The demon taunts him by saying that it can regenerate endlessly as long as its head is intact. Guts chops the demon's head in half and thanks it for telling him. Then the demon's head try to possess Guts. Who reacts by smashing it into a wall with his BFS.
Femto's design looks like that of Batman, specially when he's "flying".
Extreme Doormat: Farnese and Serpico respectively, though in both cases it's subverted. Serpico was seen being walked over by Farnese when they're first introduced, displaying a goofy face, no combat skills, and being a bit of a clutz - until it was revealed that he was merely a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass with some killer instinct. Farnese appears to become more of a doormat when she leveled up in kindness, allowing her father to talk down on her and almost letting her brother manipulate her into marrying his best friend for his own ploys. However, she does certainly have goals and ambition and she doesn't want to be seen as a burden to the rest of the group. Her mother is actually aware of this and fore warns her brother that she can't be easily manipulated.
Eye Catch: Nothing special. Just a black screen showing the title of the anime - but at opposite corners each time. Oooooohh!
Eye Remember: A zigzagged variant. Guts's last memory in his right eye while it got clawed out were the last moments of Casca's horrific rape. He sometimes recalls what the last sight of his right eye was in order to remind himself exactly why he hates Griffith so much. It's scary when others remind him of his last sight, but when he reminds himself - eep.
Eye Scream: Guts gets his right eye clawed out by a demon during the finale. And worse, his remaining eye is repeatedly threatened in several following arcs.
Not to mention the fact that eyes tend to be targeted with disturbing regularity. Arrows go through skulls taking the eyeball with them, heads are crushed causing the eyes to protrude like a real-life version of those squeeze toys, chakrams cut eyes in half, one of Bishop Mozgus' disciples uses red-hot pliers to pull eyeballs out... You get the idea.
You forgot to mention that during his fight with the albino disciple, not only is his left eye in danger of being poked out, but his right eye gets re-stabbed by one of the disciple's talons. They just won't lay off that eye even AFTER it's gone, won't they!?
It's not terrible in the anime, but in the manga, it happens so ridiculously often that it almost becomes a bit much for some.
Special mention goes to when Ganishka's transformation vaporizes the Kushan animals... Their eyeballs fly away intact as the rest of their bodies disintegrate.
Don't forget about Casca stabbing one of her would-be rapists in the eye with a stick and then the same guy gets his remaining eye gouged by one of Judeau's knives a moment later (only in the anime). Of course, the guy had it coming, but still. * shudder*
Eyes Always Shut: Pippin and Serpico. Not to mention Void, whose eyelids are sewn together.
The few times that Pippin does open his eyes, you know that things just got serious.
Also, Guts partially plays to this trope after losing his right eye.
Eyes Do Not Belong There: A good half of the Eldritch Abominations presented in Berserk have eyeball where they just should not be. Special mention goes to Wyald, who has a three big-ass eyeballs (two on each shoulder and one on his chest), the Sea God, and the Idea of Evil itself.
"Black Swordsman! I beg of you! Hold up this devil's severed head before us, once and for all! Hold it up before us!" Vargas.
"Theresia!" The Count.
"You killed...Sys...." Gambino.
"Get going! You heard me, run! Get out of here while you still can!" Pippin.
"A woman? Here in Hell? Now I know I'm dreaming! Oh, damn it, I'm a sucker for a beautiful woman. Damn it." Corkus. And said woman? A female Apostle that proceeds to transform and eat him alive.
"You cry a lot when you're alone...don't you, Casca?" Judeau, trying and failing to confess his love to her.
"... Don't watch..." Casca's last words as a sane person before she passes out after her rape.
"I'm going home..." Rosine, to Jill just before her final flight.
"I'm hungry... I wonder...what's for supper...?" Rosine, on her final flight. *sniff*
"Maybe so... maybe I wished for you... on the throne... the king on the throne... Griffith..." The King of Midland.
"... But above all I am grateful to you... to have let me meet Lord Mozgus." Mozgus' chief inquisitor.
"And with our last breath of flame... let this fiend be incinerated!" Lord Mozgus
"Ah... the light... is overflowing..." The Behelit Apostle.
"May there be blessings on your new course, my beloved child." Flora.
"The light... envelops me..." Emperor Ganishka.
Fan Disservice: If Volume 13 arouses you, seek psychological help. And that's only the worst example.
Let's not forget the sexual tortures taken straight from the Spanish Inquisition era that were depicted in high detail in...well, most of the Retribution arc.
Slan uses troll intestines to appear before Guts at Qilphoth and torment him.
Fanservice: While the above trope is correct in how much disturbing sex violence there is in the manga, the cultist orgy in volume 18 is almost straight up hentai. And shortly thereafter, a teenage prostitute gets a severe spanking from another prostitute, which would certainly appeal to some.
Volume 9 is pretty notorious for its fanservice as well.
The sex scene between Griffith and Charlotte is fairly pornographic.
The Kushan Empire resembles real life south Asia, specifically India, with some Middle Eastern thrown into the mix.
Griffith's kingdom of Falconia is looking a lot like Rome here.
There's subtle hints to the real-life counterparts of various countries mentioned by Serpico briefly in one chapter, as well as clothing choices and character names hinting at nationality. Midland has been confirmed to be the Berserk world's version of Denmark by Miura, and Chuder's "Holy Empire" seems to relate to the real German Holy Roman Empire. Farnese and Serpico coming from a fantasy version of Italy (port-based, mercentile, money-lending, seat of the Vatician). Surprisingly, most of the courtly dress rarely worn by by the various protagonists is quite accurate to the vaguely 15th century Europe that Berserk seems to take place in.
There's also all of the traces of Scandinavian/Norse mythology about, which makes sense since Denmark is part of Scandinavia. Of course we're talking about the persistence of the berserker imagery.
Judging by the name of the location and inhabitants (such as Skellig and Puck), and the general mythology around it, Elfhelm sound to be inspired by the British Isles.
Fat and Skinny: The last two members of Rosine's forest guardians while in their human form. In their demonic forms, they become a giant rhinoceros beetle and praying mantis respectively.
Fate Worse than Death: Being branded is the single worst fate anyone can suffer, even in this already 100% hostile universe. Not only does it make you a priority target of every demon and evil spirit in existence, it allso guarantees your ticket to the lowest pits of hell making your living flesh the last line of defense against an ocean of insanity waiting to consume your kicking and screaming soul forever. It doesn't matter how nice you have been in your life, you will end up down there. In fact, being a good person makes you a very likely target for the brand since the one sacrificing you must love you with all his heart.
Fetal Position Rebirth: Happens twice with Griffith once when his body is being reconstructed as Femto, and second when he is being reincarnated into the physical world through the Child's body. Also, Jill is briefly seen in this position when she almost took Rosine's offer.
Fighting for Survival: Unfortunately, not as frequent among the main populace of the Berserk-verse, but there were a few secondary characters who have aided Guts and his friends. Flora was a tortoise, giving Guts and his companions very important information regarding the magical and spiritual side of the world, giving them magical tools and equipment, and toward the end of the arc and her life showed a badass side that was not lost with age. Luca was close to an eagle, guiding Guts throughout the St. Albion area so that he could be reunited with Casca. On an antagonistic side, Zodd acts like a hippo most of the time, sometimes thwarting a bad guy or joining up with Guts, but usually to aid a greater evil.
Find the Cure: Guts's journey to Elfhelm, where Casca's post-eclipse madness may be cured.
Fine, You Can Just Wait Here Alone: Used to a similar effect during the Griffith rescue operation, when Charlotte and her maid tag along to the Tower of Rebirth. Charlotte gets frightened quite easily, to the point where she can't even walk on her own. Begrudgingly, Guts offers to carry the princess on his back and if she didn't like it, she could just wait at the top. She accepts (Casca didn't like it very much, though).
Finishing Move Guts kills almost every Apostle with the same move: blast it with the arm cannon and then while it's reeling from that, cleave it with the Dragon Slayer.
Fire-Forged Friends: Almost all of the friendships in this series are like this. Guts and Casca take the cake. Surviving being literally dragged trough hell together tends to leave a mark.
After the Eclipse Casca doesn't even remember Guts, so this doesn't really apply post-Eclipse.
Five Stages of Grief: Not quite a straight example, but the three main characters all represent some stage in dealing with grief and despair. Guts best represents the anger stage, only feeling better for short bursts when he is in the heat of battle, but it never lasts long. Because of this, he also has traces of the denial and the depression stage when he left Casca. Griffith represents the depression stage, since after his year of torture, he just gave up all hope of attaining his dream. Alas, we find out that Griffith also stands for the bargaining stage, to a veryhorrificdegree. And Casca represents the denial stage, especially so after her traumatic ordeal of the Eclipse, where we have not seen her true self for over two years and it has been suggested by Skull Knight that Casca simply does not want to face the world after her experience. None of them have quite made it to the acceptance stage, though...
Flanderization: During The Black Swordsman Arc Puck was noticeably less silly.
Flashback Echo: Happens a few times to Guts. The first time was during he and Casca's first night together, when he has flashbacks of his childhood rape while he's trying to make love to her (conveniently when he begins having sex with her from behind), and he almost strangles her as a result of the post-traumatic stress. A second time comes during the Conviction Arc, when Farnese is pinned down and is about to get raped by a possessed horse, and the horrifying sight bears an uncanny resemblance to the time when Casca was raped by Femto. This triggers Guts' Berserk Button BIG TIME.
Also, the only time insane Casca has any recollection of her past life is when she is about to be assaulted... which triggers an onslaught of horrifying images of her assault and rape during the eclipse. The end result has varied, from her remaining virtually defenseless until someone comes and saves her, or when she flies into a hysterical rage and goes Ax-Crazyon her assailants.
Flaying Alive: .... Oh, Griffith.... This was otherwise used in the Retribution Arc with a priest of the Holy See. (Poor Griffith...)
Foil: Guts and Griffith. They even have distinguishing colors, Griffith is the "Hawk of Light" while Guts is the "Black Swordsman."
Forced to Watch: One of the most heinous examples in anime. Guts is forced to watch Casca be brutally raped to the point of insanity by Griffith turned Femto. He tries to reach her by chiseling off his own arm which was trapped in the jaws of a demon only to be dogpiled by more demons and was forced to watch the rape as a demon clawed out his right eye.
Forceful Kiss: One of the supreme examples of Fan Disservice in the series was when Femto kisses Casca right after he got done molesting her and before he began raping her in front of Guts. As a finale to this heinous act, he forcefully tongue kisses her as he explicitly rapes her from behind, making sure Guts sees EVERY DETAIL of what he's been doing to her.
Foreshadowing: A lot of it takes place within Berserk, from Chekhov's Guns to prophetic bombshells. One particularly disturbing piece of foreshadowing is presented in volume two, where Vargas's description of how he was Forced to Watch his family get tortured and eaten by the Count and how he was mutilated in the act alluded to how Guts was forced to watch Casca's rape at Femto's hands and how he mutilated himself while trying to save her.
Shortly before the eclipse there is a scene in wich a crippled and helpless Griffith desparately throws himself at Casca. It upsets her very much and is disturbing by itself, but when he forces himself on her again as Femto...Yeah, creepy...
Currently, a popular theory within the fandom is that Puck's persistent interaction with the Behelit is foreshadowing that he will be the next to activate it.
Another interesting one during one of Guts and Griffith's first encounters. Griffith tells Guts that he "wants him", making Guts ask if he's gay, though Griffith meant as a soldier. Later however it's revealed that Griffith developed some pretty strong feelings for Guts, that may have gone beyond simply friendship.
You can take this in another context of foreshadowing where Griffith tells Guts the usual "You belong to me" lecture after their naked water fight, but then he adds that he would determine the place and time of Guts' death. Hmmmmm...
This troper noticed when rereading some chapters that Guts is in some panels drawn with only one eye for eerie effect, even before he loses his right one during the Eclipse.
Foregone Conclusion: Since so much of the manga is a flashback, you already know that Guts loses an arm and an eye, gets a prosthetic arm and a BFS, gets marked with the symbol of sacrifice, ends up becoming an embittered wanderer who has lost almost everything and, oh yeah, you know that Griffith becomes the Big Bad after sacrificing Guts for power.
Forgotten Fallen Friend: While Casca didn't die and Guts remembers what happened to her very vividly, which drove him to Revenge the most, he forgot about the pain she suffered during the Eclipse and left her for two years to waste away in his own pain and sadness, sometimes forgetting that he wasn't the sole survivor of the Eclipse. This led to his What the Hell, Hero? lecture from Godo and to his My Greatest Failure revelation later.
Franchise Zombie: Possibly even more terrifying than the possibility of Author Existence Failure, there have been recent allegations that Miura has simply lost the drive to continue Berserk and he fears that he might never finish on his own accord.
From Bad to Worse: Has pretty much been the hallmark of the series in general. The Eclipse was only the beginning. For reference, this is a series that started with the main character's adoptive father arranging to have him raped, then trying to murder him, forcing the kid to kill him. And yes, it gets worse from there. The world and the characters get hit with this so much that the series might as well be called "From Bad to Worse: The Series."
Full-Frontal Assault: Casca does this quite often, since she won't let the threat of rape keep her from prevailing over her those who attempt to do so. Sorta mixed with a heroic and a villainous example in the latest scenario in volume 23, where some bandits strip her naked and try to gang rape her, but Casca grabs a sword and kills them all, covering herself in their blood. The display is quite erotic, but the fact that she is genuinely Ax-Crazy at this point due to traumatic flashbacks, adding the part that Guts saw this and became aroused to the point that he almost raped her himself, takes away from that aspect.
In the third movie, Guts assumes such a position against the Skull Knight, since Skull Knight's introduction scene is merged with Guts and Casca's love scene. Of course, this is a heroic variant.
Can't forget ol' Zodd during his introduction. Clearly villainous.
Functional Magic: Schierke's magic seems to be a cross of Theurgy and Rule Magic, elves and demons have innate talent, and there are magic items like behelits and the cursed armor.
Gecko Ending: We all know how horribly this was averted in the anime...
Genre Deconstruction: Berserk pretty much takes common fantasy and anime tropes, then makes Guts chop them up into little pieces with his BFS. More specifically, Berserk deconstructs the entire Shōnen genre and bits of the High Fantasy genre, since Berserk itself is the directopposite.
Also worth mentioning that Miura first intended that Beserk be done in the Shōnen style of story-telling during his Early-Installment Weirdness with Berserk the Prototype.
Geometric Magic: Schierke casts a lot of her spells by drawing runes and magic circles. The charms that she draws over Guts and Casca's brands to dampen their effect are an example of this.
Giant Mook: Many, starting with Bazuso and getting progressively bigger.
Even before that, during the same time frame but a different arc (the Boyhood Arc), Guts had to fight a "mini" giant mook in the form of a lord's brutish son, whom he intended for Guts to get killed by in order to boost the boy's courage for an impending battle. The odds were not in the son's favor.
Gibberish of Love: It's really the only way to describe Guts' speech pattern toward Casca during the ball.
God and Satan Are Both Jerks: The pagan cults really aren't any better than the Church, since they seem to be worshipping the Godhand by different names, and of course the Godhand is subservient to the Idea of Evil.
Go-Go Enslavement: When Casca and Nina were captured by the pagans, Nina was stripped naked and intended to be used as a sacrifice, while Casca was dressed in a poncho that barely covered her, and was intended to become the Great Goathead's, er, "bride".
Going Commando: In this world, the concept of underwear does not exist, especially for the ladies. The most anybody wears for undergarments are a tunic top and their leggings (and this only seems to apply to warriors). However, this could be some Truth in Television, since, due to the level of modesty in the era, people didn't talk about their underwear in the Middle Ages much, nor could organic clothing last for centuries, so we have very little to base this on and can only speculate what people wore for underwear back then based on pictures.
Then you have the holy iron chain knights who wear fancy armor but are actually a bunch of sheltered rich boys with no fighting skills whatsoever who make other Mooks look competent.
Go Mad from the Isolation: While being imprisoned in a deep, dark dungeon, his sole human contact being with the deformed little man who is responsible for torturing him for a year Griffith wonders if he will go insane - or if he has already gone off the deep end.
Gorn: Kentaro Miura seems to have a penchant for massive head injuries that borders on the erotic...
To say nothing for combining scenes of brutal torture and dismemberment with scenes of brutal rape—two horrible tastes that go even worse together. Sometimes one actually results in the other—and not always in a specific order, either.
The trope also appeared in the second episode when Guts defeated Bazuzo (in the manga, it shows Guts splattering his head in two with his eyeball popping out at a bonus).
Gothic Horror: Berserk certainly had the archetypical atmosphere in the Black Swordsman Arc, the Retribution Arc, and in The Prototype. Traces of the genre are found throughout the series though, since it tends to overlap with Dark Fantasy.
Grand Romantic Gesture: Roderick, upon proposing to Farnese, gave her a balcony full of roses. Oddly enough, he actually didn't like the idea, saying that roses represented petty and snobbish women when he thought Farnese was nothing like that.
Greek Chorus: Sir Owen and Sir Laban fit this role, especially in the Golden Age Arc, always seen together and commenting on Griffith's role in the court, but never actually interacting with the primary characters.
First, and perhaps the biggest example, pre-Eclipse Griffith grows green with envy when he notices that Guts and Casca have become an item, Kubrick Stare and all. It is unclear who he envies more due to his ambiguous sexual orientation. It's possibly both.
Don't forget that even before that, Casca was really jealous of the attention that Guts got from Griffith.
Averted with Judeau. Despite his unrequited crush on Casca, he knows he has no chance whatsoever, noticing the bound she and Guts had formed, even before either of them would realize it. Preferring to lose with honour, he helps a lot in the cementing of Guts and Casca's relationship, even going as far as encouraging Guts to take Casca away with him, by force if necessary.
During the Griffith rescue operation, Casca had the Green-Eyed Monster attitude toward Princess Charlotte for a bit, since she admitted that she was still worshiping Griffith like before, even after she and Guts made love for the first time earlier. She tried reconciling to herself, but ended up saying the wrong thing to Guts about the matter, which succeeded in pissing Guts off even though HE admitted to himself that he couldn't take his mind off Griffith. But don't worry - they made up later.
Then, post-Eclipse, there's the unspoken rivalry between Sonia and Charlotte. Charlotte is Griffith's Meal Ticket, but is too smitten and naďve to realize it. Sonia is a faithful servant to Griffith, gifted with clairvoyance, and as such considers herself the only girl worthy of him. Sonia is very jealous of Charlotte but her nascent and reciprocated bond with Irvine might wash it all out.
There's also the jealousy Farnese feels for Casca for being the object of Guts's affection. Farnese is technically betrothed to Roderick, who is himself quite handsome, but she definitely has a crush on Guts who doesn't see her beyond being Casca's caretaker. Farnese even breaks down in front of Casca, telling her that she's really ungrateful to ignore Guts after all he did for her but Casca being insane and retarded, it doesn't do shit, although Casca seems to understand Farnese's distress.
This might actually have played out for the best or, knowing this series, worst concerning Guts's relationship with Casca in her present state, since it would appear that after her scolding from Farnese, Casca has been slowly warming up to Guts again and was in a room with him alone except for Puck and Evarella and seemingly unafraid of his presence. So, nice job fixing it, load girl.
Finally, there's Schierke's Precocious Crush on Guts but, unlike Farnese, Schierke only has shades of this and knows deep down that she's way too young for Guts (he is more than twice her age). Plus, her Puppy Love moments with Isidro also seem to drop some hints about who she may eventually like.
HamToHamCombat: Mozgus (who constantly tells Guts how the lord is swiftly going to smite him) versus Guts (who in turn tells Mozgus to take his religion and shove it where the sun won't shine) is as much about talking smack as it is about actual violence.
Happily Adopted: Guts's early childhood is a rather nasty subversion of this trope.
Godo's young daughter Erica.
Harbinger of Impending Doom: A Hawk soldier who got a third of his body bitten off stumbles out of the castle that Guts's party was raiding and warns them of Nosferatu Zodd.
Guts acts as this in the beginning of the manga toward a priest and his daughter who offer him transport, saying that evil spirits are following him and that it would be unwise to be near him. The priest dismisses it, saying that he has "good spirits" on his side (Puck)... Too bad the priest didn't know that this attitude is Inherent in the System.
Harmful to Minors: Guts has had it rough as a kid. On a related note, he is also this himself due to killing a noble's child who witnessed a murder of his and for just putting various small children in harms way, but hey, so long as they don't die...
Hates Being Touched: Guts, quite vocally at the beginning, as a result of being raped as a child.
This trope is applied to post-Eclipse Casca as well, after she gets raped.
Heartbroken Badass: Guts. Big time. Ever since the Eclipse's aftermath, his one true soulmate Casca, due to her unfortunate condition, just can't reciprocate anything he feels for her. And, to make it worse, the Beast's urgings almost got him to rape her. Consequently, Casca now fears Guts and outright refuses to be around him. (But the quest to Elfhelm might change this...)
Also, the Beast (mentioned below), who doubles as Guts' Enemy Within AND his Super-Powered Evil Side, as it was born out of all of the negative emotions that Guts gained after the Eclipse, and it disturbingly lived in harmony with Guts for two years. But when Guts decided to put hate aside for love, that's when things got nasty.
Hell Hound: The Beast. Easily one of the most vicious and evil entities in the series, and that is saying something. The worst part? It's the Super-Powered Evil Side Guts is trying so hard to suppress and that tries constantly to goad Guts into killing Casca so it could take full control of Guts's mind and turn him into a being of pure hatred.
Hell on Earth: What happens when someone summons the God Hand and the Eclipse.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Several characters wear them, but they always find their way off their heads halfway through battle. And then everyone just stops wearing them.
Here There Were Elves: Puck and Schierke have both mentioned that back in the day, it was very common place for people to seek the aide of witches and wizards, elves were just about everywhere, and the majority of people believed in pagan worship, coming down to the fact that even though the planes weren't merged, the natural world was very much aware of the supernatural world. But with the rise of the Holy See, the old ways have all but been either forgotten or pariahed. But never fear, for Femto's reality warping powers are here! Of course, it might not be the best thing to happen to the world...
The Hero's Journey: Or Berserk: The Epic of Guts. Guts' story seems to be following the basic guidelines of the archetype, starting with:
Unusual Birth: Guts Was born from the corpse of a hanged woman.
The Ordinary World: His early life takes place in a roaming mercenary band in a Crapsack World.
Need for Adventure: When he is cast out from his home band, Guts roams from battlefield to battlefield and works for numerous companies, but doesn't know what he wants for himself.
Call to Adventure: Guts' fight with Bazuzo was witnessed by Griffith and he was later initiated into the Hawks. This serves as Guts' first taste of the strange world, since adjusting to a life with the Hawks was a bit odd for him (a group made up of younger members who had strong bonds with one another, not to mention how they were Weirdness Magnets themselves).
First Supernatural Aid: Nosferatu Zodd gives Guts a chilling prophecy of things to come.
Crossing the First Threshold: Guts leaves the Hawks in order to find meaning to his own dream, and defeating Griffith, who takes the place of the threshold guardian, allows him access to achieving this. Guts receives a second prophetic warning from the Skull Knight which serves as his second supernatural aid in his journey.
The Belly of the Whale: When he returns to the Hawks a year later, the tragic Eclipse happens. His flesh is seared and scattered, and he is "reborn" as a new man with a burning vengeance. He is now fully initiated into the strange world, and is given his final supernatural aids (the Dragonslayer and possibly his cursed brand).
Heroic BSOD: Griffith has one of these after losing ownership of Guts in a duel which ended with his sword getting shattered.
Happened a lot more than that. First instance happened with Guts after he assassinated Duke Julius' son by mistake. During the Eclipse, Guts almost lapses into this as a result of Griffith's betrayal, but snaps out of with rage. The most severe case in the series by far is what happened to Casca, who experienced physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional trauma so horrifying during the Eclipse that she is now mentally gone.
Heroic Resolve: When Guts was surrounded by the apostles who were taunting him with the half-eaten remains of his comrades and friends during the Eclipse, he gave an angry shout that was almost as if in defeat. But when he saw his lover helpless and in danger, he got pissed the fuck off.
Heroic Second Wind: Guts had one of these moments during his battle with Wyald (ironically after he had a Heroic Resolve moment when he saved Casca). After being thrown into a tree and left dangling there within an inch of life, Wyald approaching to finish the job, Guts has a flashback of when he was living with Godo and Erica. Erica questioned Guts about why he would put himself into such brutal situations, even while training, and Guts answered her by saying that he wants to get strong enough to defeat a monster whose strength was beyond any that he could imagine. Erica asked Guts if he would lose, to which he replied that he didn't know; she asked him if he would win, and he gives the same answer; then she asked him what would happen if he loses or wins... and that apparently gave Guts the strength to inflict some damage on Wyald in order to escape, giving Guts ample time to formulate a plan in order to defeat him.
Heroic Willpower: Although its cursed, Guts is able to wear the Berserker Armor to its full potential by "full potential" it still increases his endurance by minimizing the amount of pain he feels without being completely taken over by his Super-Powered Evil Side, with the help Schierke.
He Who Fights Monsters: Guts, obviously, for quite some time. It got to the point that some of the more sympathetic Apostles (ie, Rosine) are outright terrified of him. The Knights of the Holy Iron Chain are wrong in believing that the Black Swordsman is a mass-murdering psychotic, but their reasons for thinking so are entirely justified.
And Emperor Ganishka. He wants to defeat Griffith and his army of Apostles, and in doing so becomes a titanic monstrosity and sacrifices virtually all of his human soldiers. Somewhat subverted in that he was an Apostle before he waged war on Griffith.
The Skull Knight, though we've never been definitively told his backstory. All that's certain is that he sacrificed his humanity to fight against Apostles and the God Hand.
Hidden Depths: Lots of characters, Guts, Casca, Farnse, and even minor character Pippin gets a moment. Probably the biggest would be the manga itself which for the first two volumes seems very much like its just going to be volume after volume of ONLY sex and violence and then...character development, story, questions of morality, and so on enter the picture.
Hidden Elf Village: Elfhelm, the home of the elves, witches, and wizards of the world that is located on the island of Skellig might be a straight example of this, but since we have yet to physically encounter it, Schierke and Flora's home in the spirit tree is the closest thing, as both are on the Interstice, locations that are between the natural and the supernatural worlds that cannot be located by normal humans. Young Schierke displays the typical isolationist tendencies as an inhabitant of such a village.
History Repeats: During the Conviction Arc at the showdown at the Tower of Punishment, Casca is caught by Mozgus and is handed over to the mob to be burned at the stake as a witch. All the while, the sun is getting covered up, the tower is crumbling in an uncanny resemblance of a hand, and Guts is once again struggling and fighting his way through hoards of evil spirits so he can make it to Casca in time to save her. Yep. A mock eclipse is happening, and Guts fears that he won't be able to save Casca again.
Guts: Götz von Berlichingen (1480–1562), a German knight, was the leader of a band of mercenary soldiers and attained the reputation as a Robin Hood figure. In 1504, his right arm was struck by enemy cannon fire and a prosthetic iron arm was developed to replace it. Guts' iron arm, in his original character concept, is very similar to Götz's iron arm kept in the Nüremberg Museum. However, Miura stated in an interview that he created Guts independently and that he did not find out about von Berlichingen until after several volumes of the manga had been published, so this appears coincidental.
Emperor Gaiseric: The Emperor Gaiseric alluded to in volume 10 was based on the actual King Genseric who ruled the Vandals' kingdom in Europe in the 5th century. He was famed as a brilliant general who was seen as a threat even to the Roman Empire. In the manga, Gaiseric is said to have created a vast empire, similar to the Romans, that was destroyed by God's wrath. He banded together his small tribe and brought them great fame as a kingdom that exercised its authority in the Mediterranean region.
It is hinted that Emperor Gaiseric survived his fallen empire in the form of the Skull Knight, a recurring character who aids Guts and stands in opposition to the God Hand.
Emperor Ganishka: The Emperor Ganishka, working as Griffith's enemy in Berserk, was based on King Kanishka, who ruled over the actual Kushan Empire, a vast empire in India and Central Asia during the 2nd century. He was also a profound Buddhist and adorned his empire with its respective figures and promoted it vigorously. Like his real-life counterpart, Ganishka also decorates his palace with famous Buddhist and Hindu figures, but has demonized them to suit his nature.
Mozgus appears to be based on Ivan the Terrible, due to his daily routine of slamming his face into the ground during prayer and his biblical methods of execution.
Holding Hands: Daaaah! They're so cute together, Guts and Casca! ... Too bad!
Emperor Ganishka might have started out having paranoid personality disorder ever since his mother tried to poison him, but it quickly became antisocial personality disorder when he became an apostle, since according to him, everyone is out to get him.
Apostles such as the Snake Baron, Wyald, and the Count show signs of sadistic personality disorder.
Farnese's earlier behavior is a candidate for borderline personality disorder as she was seen being sympathetic and professional one moment and then totally out of line and hysterical the next.
Nina has shades of dependent personality disorder. She is seen being very dependent on Luca and can't seem to function properly without her guidance to an extreme.
Miura also makes many visual homages to various paintings, including the works of M.C. Escher and Hieronymus Bosch.
Hope Spot: People think that Mozgus is an angel sent from God. They can only watch him fight Guts who they perceive as evil during a sacrifice and are absolutely convinced that Mozgus will deliver them from evil. Guts then brutally kills him and they all have a few moments of absolute horror before the demons consume them (except a scant few who manage to cluster around his corpse, which protects them).
And ironically, as monstrous as he might have been, Mozgus was doing a decent job of that. He and his disciples were fighting off the demons pretty well, and even after his death, Mozgus' body is consumed in the flames he was able to breathe, and those keep back the demons from killing the few people who huddle around his body thinking him a fallen angel/saint.
This is amped up in the third movie, with Guts being thwarted not twice, but thrice. Once Guts was done, in this version, ripping the rest of his arm off, Guts charged toward Femto and Casca with the broken sword and actually DID get within striking range to end Femto. However, Guts could never land a blow because Femto used his reality warping power to put up a force field between he and Guts, and despite all of his willpower (in which Guts managed to edge a bit closer to Femto), it's not enough and Guts is sent flying several meters back away from Femto and Casca. After that, Guts tries again, but then the infamous Dog Pile of Doom happens.
In addition, Casca briefly regains her sanity at the end of the non-canon Dreamcast game before she reverts to her child-like state.
Hotter and Sexier: Again, given that Berserk is being presented in a whole new medium with brand new special effects, a lot more elements can be exaggerated, such as sex scenes. Unfortunately, since the movies also played up violence, and most sex scenes in Berserk are rape or near rape, most of these scenes aren't very delightful to watch.
How Dare You Die on Me!: When she thinks Guts got pummeled to death by the Apostle Wyald, Casca goes into a tearful rage and starts slapping the shit out of Guts's face.
Gambino mutters something like this about Sys in his delirium after his leg got blown off. Implied that he tried to get back to her time as she lay dying, but he was too late. Possibly the ONLY time one can possibly shed a tear for this man.
Humans Are Flawed: The the source of all problems everywhere in this story is human weakness, not inherent evil. One must keep in mind that a rotten person who would love to have some demonic powers to be a more effective asshole would be unable to use a behelith because he doesn't care about anything but himself.
Human Pincushion: During her Crowning Moment of Awesome, Casca gets shot at with five arrows when the Midland army ambushed the Hawks shortly after Griffith was arrested for high treason. And yet, Casca continued to fight her way through the barrier and led the Hawks to safety.
Played painfully straight during the beginning of Griffith's torture, where the torturer sticks several large metal needles into Griffith's flesh.