Berserk / Tropes Q to T
aka: Tropes Q-T

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    Q 
  • The Quest: Guts' overarching objective since the Conviction arc ended is to get to Elfhelm and Find the Cure for Casca's insanity. But first we've got to get to Elfhelm!
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Bakiraka mercenaries employed by the King of Midland and Mozgus' Torturers are both collections of strange individuals of different builds with bizarre weapons and methods of fighting, whom Guts and his allies must defeat using their different skills as a team.
  • Quivering Eyes: In the anime, Griffith gets these whenever he gives someone the Death Glare. Casca gets these whenever she gets emotional. Which is a lot.

    R 
  • R-Rated Opening: The first scene of the manga has Guts banging a female Apostle before blowing its head off with a cannon. This tells anyone who might have opened the book by accident that this is not a work for kids, or for those with delicate sensibilities.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Band of the Hawk more or less. Before being recruited and rehabilitated by Griffith, most of the members were social outcasts and criminals.
  • Rain of Arrows: The Midland army ambushes the Band of the Hawk after Griffith's treason with a volley of crossbow fire that blackens the sky. They manage to get Casca with five arrows... but it isn't enough to stop her.
  • Rape: Oh God, OH GOD with the rape! If there's one thing that Miura has drilled in our head for damn sure, it's that nobody is safe from rape in this series. Even the PROTAGONIST (as a child, but still!). In fact, rape is so prevalent in the series that you can even consider it a theme. Here's how:
    • All Men Are Rapists: Outside of the Hawks, three out of five guys try to rape Casca. Seriously. She's like rape bait.
    • And Now You Must Marry Me: Emperor Ganishka holds Princess Charlotte captive after invading Wyndam, and "tells" her that she must bear his son even though they weren't official married.For the empire, of course.
      • The same also goes to The Great Goat Head who wants to "marry" Casca into the cult after she got captured.
    • Attempted Rape: Casca has to fight off two rape attempts, and Princess Charlotte has to fight off her father at one point).
      • Oh, it's been more than two. Also, almost every female in the series has had a near miss, if they weren't actually raped.
      • And a few males too... including Guts.
      • Luckily (or unlucky for the rapist) Guts is normally there with a sword to... um...dis-arm said rapist.
    • 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.
    • Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: A.VERT.ED. Especially since, Femto is FAR from a benevolent being.
    • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: NOPE. Some fans actually try to use this double standard to discredit Casca's ordeal, saying that she should have "gotten over it," using Guts' rape ordeal at the hands of Donovan as an example, saying that he got over it. Heh heh... er, no. No he didn't. Male-on-male rape is just as impactful as male-on-female rape in Berserk.
    • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: No once more. Females who wish to have their way with hot guys, no matter what they think of it (hello Slan), are presented as being just as disgusting as male rapists.
      • You don't believe Guts is being sexually assaulted? Why, he's only being restrained by demons, having his clothes ripped off, and is being molested and forced to have simulated sex with an archdemon during a demonic hellbat - oh.
    • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: A squicky version as the King of Midland is molesting his own daughter as she sleeps.
    • Gratuitous Rape: Rape happens a lot in this series, to the point that feminists accuse the series of this.
    • I Have You Now, My Pretty: When Femto has Casca in his grasp, Guts can only watch helplessly his beloved getting molested.
      • Was also gender flipped when Slan had Guts in her clutches when she manifested in Qliphoth, in which she clawed off his armor and began to act as if they're having sex.
    • Marital Rape License: Mixed in with Charlotte's And Now You Must Marry Me predicament above.
    • Mind Rape: What Ubik does to Griffith, which results in him carrying out the sacrifices for the Eclipse and turning into the demonic Femto
      • And then, Femto basically mind rapes Guts by physically raping Casca in front of him and barring any efforts of saving her, leaving him utterly helpless. He's virtually raping two people at once. This is driven home in the third movie of the Golden Age Arc movies: all while he is raping Casca, he's staring Guts dead in the eyes.
    • Murderers Are Rapists: The Tudor soldiers who corner off Casca weren't merely going to kill her and be done with it - they were going to rape her first.
    • Near-Rape Experience: Guts almost rapes Casca in the manga after succumbing to The Beast. He comes to his senses just in time to stop. Not that this is the first time.
    • Rape and Revenge: The three main characters have all been sexually abused or assualted at one point in their lives, and they all exacted revenge/justice on their assailant later.
      • Also, Guts' Roaring Rampage of Revenge had undertones of this, since Griffith raping Casca and driving her insane was what drove Guts to revenge the most.
    • Rape as Backstory: As mentioned above and below, all the main characters have some sort of sexual abuse involved in their backstory.
    • Rape as Drama: Multiple occurrences throughout the series including child Guts being raped by a mercenary, scarring him for life, the most heinous example happening to Casca.
    • Rape Discretion Shot: In the anime. We see Femto positioning himself over Casca, but his Cape Wings cover Casca's lower body so we can't actually see the physical rape going on. This is in part with the Lighter and Softer aspect of the anime, since the way that Casca's rape was animated was far more lenient for the viewer than how the manga depicted it.
      • Brutally averted in the third film of the Golden Age Arc series. Nothing is left to the imagination which makes Femto's rape of Casca all the more harrowing.
      • Another subtle version is this scene. Yes, Slan is forcing herself on Guts here, more precisely she's forcing him to give her oral sex.
    • Rape Leads to Insanity: ... Poor, poor Casca...
    • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: This happens a lot in the series. Wyald especially enjoys carrying out this trope, especially especially the raping part.
    • Scarpia Ultimatum: At the Battle of Doldrey, General Adon shoots Casca with a poison dart, which hinders her speed during battle. He literally has Casca up against the wall, but says that he would let her go if she becomes his "captive." Since it was implied that he was bargaining for her life and not the lives of her entire company for sex, it's averted.
    • Sex Slave: What the noble who visited Casca's village really wanted her for. Also, Guts was sold as one for a night.
    • You Would Make A Great Maid Girl: The noble who approached Casca's family gave them the pretense that he wanted her as a servant for his castle. This was not the case at all.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Guts, and how.
  • Rated M for Manly: Especially Guts.
    • The second page of a Berserk comic tends to include the rather hilarious "Strongest Fantasy Comic" or "Toughest Fantasy Comic" subtitles. We are not in disagreement.
    • Even before the series progresses into a one-man war against the entirety of hell, typical combats involve feats like catching a sword in one's teeth. In on notable case, catching a greatsword in one's teeth and then using the moment of surprise to knock the enemy's horse unconscious with a single punch.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer:
    • Discussed in volume 18, when Isidro starts following Guts around in an attempt to become the world's greatest swordsman by stealing his techniques. Guts then asks Isidro if he had ever killed anybody, to which Isidro claims he has. Obviously Guts was trying to dissuade the young man from following him further.
    • Invoked by the Viscount in the Spring Flowers of Distant Days flashback, who wants to initiate his son into manhood by having him kill Guts in a foot combat to the death.
  • Really Dead Montage: Guts sees vivid images and memories of his comrades pass before him during his Freak Out after the eclipse, as if it's fully hitting him that they are all dead and receding away from him forever.
  • Rearing Horse: Griffith has more than once posed on his rearing horse like Napoleon crossing the Alps, striking a dashing and romantic image.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Believe it or not, they exist. Farnese's father, when confronted with a bastard son (namely a young Serpico), rather than having the boy disposed of, calmly explains why he can't legitimize the boy (he has three legitimate male heirs already, a fourth would just make things worse for everyone) and then arranges for the kid to gain a title and position in his household.
  • Rebel Relaxation: Guts and Casca do a lot of the folding their arms and leaning against a wall/pole/tree position. They're not always trying to be rebellious, but trying to retain their cool and collected personas instead.
  • Rebellious Princess: Deconstructed with Farnese, who becomes one because of her parenting (or lack thereof), and this earns her the social isolation it would earn her in real life medieval Europe.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: The Black Dog Knights are made up of the worst murderers, rapists and all around scum that Midland has to offer. They're so bad that their leader is literally a demon who's not even particularly disguised and no one really notices.
  • Red Baron: Any army or warrior in Berserk who's worth their salt gets a badass nickname based on some famous trait or heroic feat of theirs.
    • The Band of the Hawk are known as the "grim reapers of the battlefield" for their devastating power in combat. Badass.
    • Guts gets the moniker "Hundred Man Slayer" as a result of single-handedly killing at least 100 Tudor mercenaries sent against him by Adon Coborlwitz. His destructive Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Apostles after the Eclipse gets him named "the Black Swordsman" and he is recognized by his black clothing, giant sword, and false arm. He is sometimes also called "the Branded Swordsman" for the Brand of Sacrifice on his neck, evidence that he has survived the Eclipse and countless nightly assaults by demons.
    • Before his ascent to demon-hood, Griffith is known as "The White Hawk": His hair and clothing are white, he reaches for his ambition like a bird climbing through the air, and he swoops down on his enemies with his army like a bird of prey. Later he is called "The Hawk of Light" because of his association with the dreams and prophecies of the people of Midland, who view him as their messiah.
    • Zodd is known among mercenaries as "Zodd The Immortal" and "Nosferatu Zodd" for his supernaturally long lifespan and seeming ability to come back every time he was rumored to be dead.
    • Sir Locus is "the Moonlight Knight", a famous jouster and Knight Errant recognized by his moon-shaped crest.
    • Sir Grunbeld is known as the "Great Flame Dragon" for his giant stature, fiery red hair, use of a cannon, and fearsome prowess in battle.
    • Bishop Mozgus of the Holy See Inquisition is known and feared by the people as "Bloody Scripture Mozgus" for his fanatical use of torture and execution to punish heresy. His use of an iron-bound scripture book as a lethal bludgeon makes this fearsome name well deserved.
    • Bazuso was known as the "Grey Knight" for his grey armor, "The Bear Slaughterer" for supposedly killing a bear with his bare hands, and the "Thirty-man Slayer" for slaying thirty men.
    • "Knight of Skeleton" clearly isn't the Skull Knight's real name; he acquired it by wearing that skeletal armor. If he and Gaeseric are the same person, then he was also known in the past as the "Demon King" and "King of Galloping Death" from his reputation as a ruthless conqueror.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Many characters who represent hot and cool personality types are paired together for contrast:
    • Guts is a tall, masculine, heavily muscled, crew-cut, black-haired, brown-eyed giant of a man who's preferred weapon is a BFS, whilst Griffith is a sleek, androgynous, white-heaired, blue-eyed Pretty Boy who uses a saber like a scalpel. In terms of personality, Guts is straightforward, violent, passionate, impulsive, somewhat thick about non-combat matters, and doesn't think too far ahead, while Griffith is mysterious, charismatic, intelligent, well-read, and introspective. Their only truly shared trait is their incredible mental drive to accomplish their goals; even then, Guts really doesn't want to hurt innocent people at the expense of his goals, but Griffith doesn't mind manipulating people in order to accomplish his. The 2012-13 movie trilogy even color-codes them to match their personalities, outfitting Guts with a red cape and Griffith with a white one that's blue on the inside.
    • Schierke and Isidro also have opposed personalities, with Schierke being rational, mature beyond her years, and a little uptight, while Isidro is Hot-Blooded, immature, and rather boorish. Their hair even contrasts!
    • Serpico contrasts with Guts in much the same way that Griffith did, although with some important differences. He says that compared to the cool demeanor that he has always put on as a defense mechanism, being near Guts who confronts his destiny head-on is like being scorched with hellfire.
  • Red Right Hand: Nearly all Apostles have some deformity or obviously nonhuman feature that gives them away when they're in human form, a fact that Guts sometimes exploits. The Baron of Koka Castle and Emperor Ganishka have fangs, the Count is morbidly obese with clammy skin, Wyald has the hair and proportions of an ape, and even those who aren't so obvious such as Locus and Griffith have luminous, semi-vertical pupils in their eyes.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: The sky turns blood red during Griffith's Despair Event Horizon, in which his crimson behelit is activated and the Eclipse occurs. It's a bad omen of the supernatural evil that's about to unfold.
  • Redemption in the Rain: While not redeeming himself per se, Guts has a life-changing epiphany in the rain after the Eclipse, when he gives his famous screw destiny speech and swears to hunt down all of the apostles and kill them.
  • Redshirt Army: The Midland Army pretty much just gets chewed up by the Tudor Empire during the Hundred Year War while the Hawks, being the protagonists, are the ones that have Plot Armor and emerge victorious. The Holy Alliance Army also gets slaughtered by the Kushan en masse before Griffith and the New Band of the Hawk arrive to save the day.
  • Reforged Blade: This trope was used literally but also figuratively in a very clever way. After returning to Godo's cabin only to find Casca gone, Guts confronts Godo, who is dying. He inspects Guts' sword, noting all of the knicks that it has accumulated and tells him that it is in need of repair... but what really needs to be repaired is Guts' heart, which has been knicked, stratched, and broken after years of hiding away from his sadness in hate instead of being with the only person he's loved: he was a sword, but without its sheath. That night, Guts finally realizes his mistakes and vows to never make the same one again. Meanwhile, Godo uses the last of his strength to reforge the Dragonslayer, and in the morning light, Guts is given his reward, both of which are reforged for his mission. Mag-nificent.
  • Repressive but Efficient: Griffith creates a veritable utopia on Earth with Falconia. The amount of bureaucracy necessary to manage a constant influx of refugees is staggering, but it's all managed effortlessly. Everyone has perfect safety, plenty to eat, a roof over their heads, free medical care, and fulfilling work suited to their talents. While most of the inhabitants are in some degree of mourning from losing loved ones in the recent wars, the fact that those loved ones' spirits can give them an in-person goodbye before moving on to the afterlife takes a lot of the edge off. Being a Reality Warper literally empowered by God really helps when running a country. Unfortunately, it's all based around a Cult of Personality dedicated to someone who in the past hasn't hesitated to betray those closest to him and even subject one of his most devoted supporters to a horrifying rape in order to perpetuate his own power. There's also the fact that the city was founded thanks to the efforts of a horde of demons, each of whom perpetrated some horrible betrayal in exchange for power, and whose bloodlust is only barely held in check. It may well be one of the most benevolent dictatorships in the history of fiction, but make no mistake that it is a dictatorship.
  • The Resenter: Two notable cases that also overlap with Green-Eyed Monster.
    • First there's the resentment that Farnese feels toward Casca. Even though Casca's state has made Guts' job difficult (in one chapter, Guts nearly drowns when he saves Casca after she fell overboard trying to get away from him), not a day goes by that Guts doesn't think about Casca and their brief time together years before. Guts is still completely devoted to Casca's cause, and most of his major decisions weigh in the well-being of Casca. In fact, this was a major reason why Guts agreed to go and convince Farnese and Serpico to come back with the group, as Farnese is Casca's caretaker and Casca is only really cooperative with her. However, not only does Farnese harbor feelings for Guts, but she feels like a huge liability to the group and strives to master witchcraft in order to be of more use to Guts and earn more of his merit (and perhaps even his romantic recognition). But beyond being Casca's caretaker, Guts doesn't give too much thought to Farnese (not that he hates having her around). For that, Casca has earned a bit of resentment from Farnese.
    • Then there's the resentment Sonia has toward Princess Charlotte. As we all know, Charlotte is Griffith's Meal Ticket to the throne (yes, even after he became a Nigh Invulnerable God of Evil, but it's for show) and is now her fiance. Aside from her birthright, there is not much use for Charlotte... and little Sonia agrees with this so much that she even made a sonnet of sorts, describing Princess Charlotte as a useless duck and herself as a kite, a bird that is in much better ranks with a hawk (who is Griffith), since Sonia, who has clairvoyance - and is therefore more in-tuned to the supernatural world that Griffith is a part of - feels much more worthy of Griffith than Charlotte ever can.
  • Rescue Arc: The latter half of the Conviction/Retribution arc focuses on Guts's quest to rescue and reunite with Casca after she wanders away from the safety of the cave and is captured first by pagans who wanted to initiated her into their cult and then by Holy Iron Chain Knights who want to burn her at the stake as a witch.
    • Also, the Griffith rescue operation that occurred between volumes 10 and 11.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: The Skull Knight pulled one of these upon saving Guts and Casca from the Godhand's clutches during the Eclipse.
  • Rescue Introduction: A lot of characters met each other for the first time when one rescued the other. In fact, this list could get out of hand pretty quickly:
    • Guts and Puck met in the first chapter when Guts killed the bandits in the tavern that were using Puck as a target. Notably, Guts didn't even intend to save Puck and told him to buzz off, but Puck followed him persistently until Guts accepted him.
    • Griffith first appeared to Casca as her rescuer from Attempted Rape by a nobleman. This made such a strong first impression for her that she immediately wanted to follow him and fight at his side.
    • Similarly to both of the above, Jill first met Guts when he rescued her from a band of kidnappers and the tree that came to life because of the brand. She became so attached to him that despite his Jerkass Façade she refused to stop following him, and tried to stop him from fighting Rosine.
    • Isidro's introduction to both Guts and Schierke was when they saved him from Kushan scouts and trolls, respectively, and he first saw Casca and Nina when he rescued them from the goat cult. Luca and her girls met Guts and co. when they were rescued from the Iron Chain Knights.
  • Rescue Romance: Casca and Guts started growing closer to each other after he aided her during the Blue Whale Knights battle, until they eventually got together. At the same time it was Deconstructed with Casca's feelings for Griffith, which began after he saved her from a sexual assault, since it was impossible for them to be together because of Griffith's ambitions and he did not return her feelings. Ironically and worst of all, by the time that Griffith finally did start to pay attention to her she no longer felt the same way, and he raped her in the Eclipse out of spite.
  • Rescue Sex: Guts prevents Casca from committing suicide by falling off a cliff. Moments later, love-making ensues.
    • Their moment could also constitute as Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex, since the two had just won a victory over a group of soldiers who tried to thwart the Band of the Hawk (not to mention Casca wasn't thinking of suicide anytime afterward).
  • Revenge: Oh boy...
  • Revenge Before Reason: This was Guts's big mistake when he set off on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge only a few weeks after the Eclipse, leaving a psychologically traumatized Casca behind with Rickert, Erica, and Godo, despite Rickert's protests that it was more important for Guts to be with Casca and not wandering the world fighting monsters.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: After the infamous ending of the anime and the turning point of the manga, less serious elements were introduced, ranging from a parody of Kid Hero and samurai tropes, to mermaids fighting pirates. There are rumors that this was due to Executive Meddling.
  • Riding into the Sunset: How Guts and Casca (and Puck) exit the Retribution arc at the end of volume 21. After the collapse of the Tower of Conviction, they get separated from the surviving party when the Kushan army makes its appearance. The rest of the group believe that they're as good as dead... but then see that Guts managed to mount one of their horses and slaughtered his way through the masses in order to get he and Casca to safety, riding off into the distance after.
  • Right Behind Me: Played for laughs when the pirates encountered their monstrous attackers. Also overlaps with Tempting Fate.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Guts' first phase of his greatest second chance consisted of this when he forfeited his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, with him plowing nonstop from Godo's hut in the snowy mountains to the barren wastelands of St. Albion in order to look for and save a missing Casca. Nothing, not apostles nor the Kushan or the conflict between the Holy See and the Pagans, was going to keep Guts from reaching Casca.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Anyone who says that Guts isn't this personified is either a liar or has never read the series.
    • The Black Dog, the manifestation of Guts' anger and hatred, gets pretty pissed when Guts tries to stop being, well, a Berserker, and tries to tempt him back into this, saying that if Guts were to just rape and kill Casca (and not necessarily in that order) they could go back to brutally murdering every apostle they come across and anyone who tries to stop them.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Schierke, of course.
  • Robbing the Dead: Defied: Guts has just killed a bunch of thieves just paid off by Griffith (so they can't bear witness) and is about to take back the gold when Griffith stops him.
  • Role Reprisal: While the voice cast for the Japanese anime was Darrin'd out, the main cast of the English dub returned. Vocal Evolution ensues as Marc Diraison, Kevin T. Collins, and Carrie Keranen, the respective voice actors of Guts, Griffith, and Casca, have gotten at least a decades worth of additional voice acting experience under their belt.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Arguable. When you really look at it, none of the characters, who all have their share of flaws, start out downright evil, despicable, or messed up. You have kids like Guts and Rosine who were sweet-natured and just turned sour after years of abuse from their parents, girls like Casca who eventually turned apathetic after repeatedly seeing their homes taken advantage of, girls like Farnese who suffered backlash from Parental Neglect, and we only saw hate in Teresia's eyes after she saw all that she knew and loved destroyed. Hell, even Emperor Ganishka had a sappy childhood that set him on his road to totalitarian paranoia! As stated elsewhere, the despair event and moral event horizons are enforced in this universe, since in order to have obtained a behelit in the first place, you had to have been a halfway decent person who had loved ones from the start.
  • Running Gag: Several characters throughout the series have made basically the same comment on how Guts's BFSs, primarily the Dragon Slayer, aren't really swords, but more like big slabs of iron.
    • Casca is repeatedly shown trying to eat Puck's head, which has the shape of a chestnut when he's in his SD form.
    • Any time Evarella starts encouraging Schierke to put moves on Guts Schierke always blushes, stuffs Evarella into her hat and crams in on her head to shut her up.
    • The pirate captain biting his subordinate when things go wrong.

    S 
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: The typical scenario can be explained via this equation: Dedication to area of expertise * Amount of years away from normal social situations + Possible crappy childhood ^ 2 = Crappy social skills and rampant badassery.
  • Safety in Indifference: Discussed when Schierke enters Guts' mind during one of his berserker rampages and gets a glimpse of what he witnessed and endured during the Eclipse. His inner anima (spurred partially from him wearing a set of armor that literally deprives the wearer of caring about the physical pain inflicted on them) tries to convince him that he doesn't feel, and all that he needs to depend on is his seething hatred. Schierke tells him that it was not true, because if Guts never had to capacity to feel love and to care for others, then his heart wouldn't have been broken so.
  • Satanic Archetype: The five members of the Godhand are very much Satanic Archetypes. Not only do they rule over all demonkind, but they also make deals with mortals to become demons themselves by sacrificing those closest to them. Void, the de facto leader of the Godhand who marks people for sacrifice; and Femto, the newest member who has committed some of the nastiest evil acts we've seen out of the five so far and is even blood-red in the first anime, particularly stand out.
  • Save the Princess: While Guts' mission is to Find the Cure for his lover, one of Griffith's missions upon being reincarnated in the physical plane was to save Princess Charlotte from Ganishka.
  • Say My Name: "GRIFFITH!!!"
    • Guts also does this with Casca a lot during the Retribution Arc and henceforth. "CASCA!!!"
    • And Casca did this a fair amount of times for Guts back when she could speak. "GUTS!!!"
  • Scar Survey: Rare gender-flipped example with Guts inspecting Casca's scars when they are about to make love.
  • Scenery Censor: The author doesn't exactly hide things, but sometimes, he likes to play with this.
    • In the edited version of Descent, some ferns are used to obscure Guts' and Casca's nether regions when they prepare to have intercourse. The unedited version doesn't reveal that much more... but it's pretty obvious what Guts is doing with his hand down there.
  • Scenery Gorn: Miura loves to draw frightening places strewn with mangled and decayed corpses and indescribable horrors in intricate detail...
  • Scenery Porn: ...And the same can be said for many pleasant-looking and beautiful locations
  • Schizo Tech: The level of technological sophistication is a bit scattered in the world of Berserk.
    • Tools of warfare from the 15th century like fluted armor, gunpowder and cannons are in use, and shipbuilding has advanced to levels akin to The Golden Age of Piracy. However, no other kinds of guns have been invented yet (barring what Rickert has accomplished below), and people still fight with traditional medieval weapons like swords, bows, spears, crossbows and axes.
    • Fashion follows no specific time frame, as people are shown to wear clothes ranging from the Middle Ages to 18th century Gorgeous Period Dress.
    • The city of Falconia boasts new wonders that are more advanced than anything else in the world and which are implied to have been made 1000 years before the story began, but have since been forgotten. These include things like plumbing, running water, pressurized hoses, and flushable water closets.
    • Due to being a Gadgeteer Genius, Rickert makes things even more schizo. He put together Guts' prosthetic hand, which has articulated fingersnote  a built-in magnet to help him grip a sword, and an Arm Cannon. He's also made a wrist-mounted Automatic Crossbow, miniature bombs, an upscaled version of said crossbow that makes it something of a proto-Gatling Gun, and as of the Fantasia arc, an early rocket launcher.
  • Screw Destiny: "THIS IS MY DECLARATION OF WAR!!!"
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The mercenaries that General Adon hired to track and kill Guts and Casca showed no hesitation to leaving at that very moment instead of throwing their lives away for Adon's petty task - until he offered a huge reward to the one who killed them. It wasn't worth it, especially since Adon was the one who got away.
  • Screw You, Elves!: See Shut Up, Hannibal!.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: The God Hand and their Apostles like to try to invoke Omniscient Morality License to justify their right to commit atrocities or just explain why their victory is inevitable, but Guts doesn't care. He'll tell you exactly where to shove your peculiar extremities. In fact, he'll do it for you.
  • Second-Act Breakup: After the Hawks discover that Griffith will never recover from his torture, Casca sorrowfully tells Guts they have to separate so that she can stay to care for Griffith and so he can go pursue his own dream. However, this break up discussion is put on hold by Griffith's suicide attempt and the Eclipse that cost Casca her sanity. Aftwerards Guts leaves her to hunt Griffith and the God Hand, and in the Dark Horse manga summaries she is referred to as his ex-lover. Since they were reunited in the Conviction Arc her insanity—as well as her distrust of him since the Beast of Darkness possessed him and tried to rape her—has prevented them from reestablishing their relationship, which is why Guts hopes that she can be restored to her old self in Elfhelm.
  • Secret Underground Passage: How the Griffith rescue team infiltrated Wyndam after their exile. They used an old passage way in a graveyard that was once used by the royal family in order to gain passage to a mausoleum inside the city. HUU-ROAR!
  • Security Blanket: Ever since Guts was a small child training as a mercenary, he was often seen sleeping with his BFS. He kept on this tradition into his adult years, saying that he gets restless if he sleeps without it.
    • Jill uses Gut's borrowed cape as one to comfort herself after a scary near-miss with her dad's lecherous drinking buddy.
  • Security Cling: Happens twice during the Griffith rescue. First, Casca clings onto Guts' cape when she gets anxious during the operation, and later, Charlotte does this to crippled Griffith when she gets frightened during Guts' Extreme Melee Revenge rampage. This trope is most commonly scene post-Eclipse from Casca, who clings to Farnese whenever she is fearful of something.
  • Self-Destructive Charge: Guts tries this twice with Femto and fails both times as expected.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Despite the heroic efforts of Judeau and Pippin in order to save Casca, it was all horribly deconstructed in the end. We don't think we need to tell you how.
    • Why not go further with adding insult to injury by mentioning how Guts sacrificing his arm to save Casca didn't do shit in the end? Ouch.
    • However, the ArmCannon has been a crucial tool for Guts ever since, so hacking off his arm may have had it's purpose after all even tough it was definitely not what Guts had planned.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: Inquisitor Mozgus' Quirky Miniboss Squad all fight with torture tools, including serrated blades.
  • Sex Equals Love: Can be applied to a minimal degree with Guts and Casca after they are reunited after a year and consummate their relationship no more than 24-hours after Guts' return, thus becoming official. They were falling for each other prior to their separation though, but neither of them acted on it until it was too late. When they do get together, it's very realistic, since they aren't spouting love sonnets to one another, but the love and affection is there.
  • Sex Is Evil: In Berserk having sex can literally give birth to evil, mainly due to demonic entities raping and impregnating human women with their spawn. Heavily related to damn near every rape example in the series, but even when its not rape, sex is used to show how depraved and twisted humans can be and makes us want to barf more than get it on.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Happens in the anime when Guts and Casca make love. They kiss, Casca has an inner monologue about her Love Epiphany, then a white-out showing Casca being lowered to the ground with no visible top on, and then a Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame of Guts and Casca kissing and embracing each other, which was actually taken from a scene in the manga - though a lot more censored. After another white-out, it just shows Guts and Casca the morning after.
  • Shameful Strip: Played for horror during the Eclipse with - you guessed it - Casca. Her humiliation only got worse.
  • Shaming the Mob: Guts gave quite the uncharacteristic one during his Black Swordsman days in the Lost Children Arc, where he chastises the town for abandoning a little boy right after his parents were killed by Rosine's minions. Of course, Guts did use the kid as bait for his own plans... but he also made sure that the kid was okay afterward and gave him his own form of comfort (by basically telling the kid that revenge felt good).
  • Shining City: Falconia.
  • Ship Tease: Normally avoided, as most ships tend to "sail" relatively quickly. There's still been oodles of teasing between Guts and Griffith, though. The relationship between Isidro and Schierke might have elements of Slap-Slap-Kiss Puppy Love, although lately the strongest teasing has been for Isidro and Isma.
  • Shipper on Deck: Evarella for Guts x Schierke. Earlier, Judeau for Guts/Casca...and funnily enough, Guts for Casca/Griffith.
  • Shirtless Captives: Happens to Griffith when he is captured by the Midland army for his tryst with Princess Charlotte. Amped up in the movie where he's not only stripped shirtless, but completely naked with a full frontal view. Happens to Guts on more than one occasion, such as when he was captured and imprisoned in the first episode of the manga, and again by the Holy Iron Chain Knights in Volume 16.
  • Shout-Out: See Berserk.
  • Show, Don't Tell: Miura is extrememly talented when it comes to communicating without text via the subtle expressions of his characters. You could say this series has exellent actors, even tough they are ink on paper...
  • Shower of Angst:
    • Griffith bathing in a river after selling his body to Lord Gennon and telling Casca of the guilt he feels for all the followers he's sacrificed for his dream.
    • After being raped by Griffith, we first see Casca under a waterfall.
  • Shown Their Work: See Berserk.
  • Sick and Wrong: When Guts was fighting the swine apostle, Godo commented that it was sickening to him to think of how many people that monster must have killed.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Silver is effective at both harming and protecting against spiritual entities like trolls. Flora gives Farnese and Casca silver chain shirts for protection, and Farnese gets a silver dagger. At the ball in Vritannis, when her dagger isn't at hand, she uses a silver candelabra to burn a demon tiger.
  • Single-Stroke Battle:
    • When Griffith challenged Guts to duel for the right to leave the Hawks, everyone knew that the outcome was going to be decided by the first move. Griffith reasoned that with snow on the ground restricting his movement, and considering how greatly Guts had improved in three years, his only hope was victory in the first strike. His plan was to bind, disengage, and
    • In volume 17, Zodd and Griffith's spirit lunge at each other and attack, and as the latter sails past him, Zodd realizes that his face is wounded and his horn has been cut off.
    • Guts' first confrontation with Serpico consisted of a single draw and cut from each of them. Serpico made like he was going to leave, then turned and cut at Guts' head while leaping into the air to avoid the Dragon Slayer. Guts ended up with a scratch on the cheek, and Serpico with a cut through his boot that barely missed his toes, so he decided to concede the fight and try again next time.
  • Sinister Scimitar: Since the main characters belong to a society resembling Europe that employs straight, double-edged swords, curved swords often represent threatening foreign cultures such as the Kushan Empire. Nosferatu Zodd uses a giant Kushan horse-chopping sword as one of his favorite weapons, and the Kushan cavalry tend to use the shamshir, kilij, or tulwar.
  • Sirens Are Mermaids: Berserk mermaids, or merrow, use their song as a weapon against evil creatures.
  • Sitting on the Roof: In volume six, after he asked Griffith why he risked his life against Zodd to save him, Guts goes up on a rooftop in Windham and contemplates what Griffith said while staring at the moon and holding the point of his sword in front of it. There, alone with his thoughts, he decides that he'll wield his sword for Griffith's sake.
  • Skyward Scream: *ahem* "GRIFFITH!!!" Yes - two on one page.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Guts and Casca share their own variant when they're acting Like an Old Married Couple during the Griffith rescue operation, mainly on Casca's part.
  • Slasher Smile: The only kind Guts ever seems to have, with few exceptions during the Golden Age Arc.
  • Sleeping Their Way To The Top: Discussed by General Adon during his first encounter with Casca, where he incorrectly assumed that she only became a general in the Band of the Hawk because she slept with Griffith.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: For this, let's focus on the Golden Age Arc, since it's the only arc of the story to receive animated adaptations thus far: the 1997 animated TV series and the 2012-13 movie trilogy. To start, both adaptations can be considered pragmatic, since both aren't 100% accurate to the source material but remain accurate and recognizable enough. The difference lies in how each medium arranges events, themes, and characterization.
    • The TV series focused a lot more on the characterization between the main characters themselves AND between minor characters and was more linearly true to the manga timeline (up to and including the fact that the story starts In Medias Res). The theme of camaraderie is much more pronounced since the TV series spanned 25 episodes, thus giving it much more time to expand on these elements. Though there were a lot more battle sequences in the TV adaptation than there were in the manga, it's still not action dominate as these scenes were used to, again, expand on the theme of friendship and teamwork. The supernatural elements, however, were downplayed, examples being how many supernatural characters were not introduced until the last few episode during the prelude of the Eclipse (many of the apostles) or were not featured at all (Puck, Skull Knight, Wyald). Also, gore and sexual violence was downplayed a substantial degree, possibly since it was aired on TV though female nudity and rape was still present.
    • The movie trilogy is also pragmatic, but acts much like a non-comical abridged version of the source material. Since there are only three movies that are only about an hour or so long (the third film is a bit longer) a lot more had to be cut or re-arranged and characterization is largely limited to that of the three main characters; some newcomers to the series might be unaware of some concepts and themes without being referred to the source material. Though some important scenes were cut or downplayed naked water fight, Griffith's history with Gennon, and the campfire of dreams scene to name a few the creators did add other tidbits Puck and Skull Knight not only made their animated debut finally, but Farnese and Serpico are seen at the ball scene! and made other scenes a lot more emotional having Guts and Casca dance together at the ball; Griffith's sex scene with Charlotte making these changes and additions all over worthwhile. Since these are theatrical releases, gore is played exactly how it was in the original manga (bloody battle sequences are featured primarily because newer animation techniques allowed for more graphic detail), and more disturbingly, sexual violence is played up in the movies. Some fans even go as far as saying that the third movie, which covers the infamous Eclipse event, is actually worse than the manga depiction.
  • Sliding Scale of Beauty: Griffith was a World Class Beauty before the eclipse, and definitely becomes Divine Level Beauty after his reincarnation. Oddly enough, the guy is so damn beautiful in his divine form that he even straddles Uncanny Valley. Casca seems to toggle anywhere between Cool/Special Average, Common Beauty, and unfortunately for her, sometimes World Class Beauty.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Definitely horror dominant. Most often, whenever comedy is presented during a suspenseful moment, it does not take away from the mood. Some examples take place immediately after the Eclipse, such as when Rickert, upon receiving the unconscious, mutilated, and violated bodies of Guts and Casca from the Skull Knight, makes a brief SD face at the sight of Nosferatu Zodd, or when Erika trips down the stairs in the elf cave where Guts and Casca are recuperating after the Eclipse, causing quite a moment of Mood Whiplash, but the drama returns moments later when Guts sees Casca's post-Eclipse state and has a Freak Out as a result. It's otherwise interesting to point out that Berserk does not rely on Black Comedy for its humor, rather opting for sarcastic comedy. That said...
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: Since the Berserk-verse is highly dictated by causality, the scale tips between "Because Destiny Says So" and "Fighting Fate Is Hard." Guts, who struggles against causality, is either not able to truly overcome it or just barely gets by, maintaining the struggle indefinitely. The God Hand compare him to a fish which can leap out of the river, but can't change its flow.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Slides between Level 4 (Men Are More Equal) and Level 5 (Almost Perfectly Equal), because overall, the women who are most crucial to the plot or arc either contribute something and/or are competent enough to get out of sticky situations on their own, even if they aren't bona fide action girls. Heck - even Princess Charlotte has her moments! On the other hand, background women are usually complete sluts or are completely useless and are only present to be raped and killed off, which would be at Level 2 (Whores, Whores, Whores...) and 3 (Male Superiority).
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Very cynical, but not so much that absolutely no hope remains at all. Still pretty close though.
    • The manga has become a fair amount lighter than it was in the past. It was oppressively dark back after the Golden Age arc, but more recently it has felt a fair amount lighter. The addition of multiple kids to the gang probably helped...heck, the fact that Guts is no longer travelling alone is enough to make it easier to take. This is not to say the comic is not dark. It still very much is. But not quite as dark as it was.
  • Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: On the gritty end of the spectrum, Berserk takes place in a dark and edgy Crapsack World in the middle of the Dung Ages. On the shiny end, the Berserk-verse is also a land of phenomenal beauty in certain locations, not to mention all of the nobles in Gorgeous Period Dress. Two good examples from each:
    • Gritty: The entire St. Albion area is crawling with pestilence, corruption, and dread and is very dry, dark, and gloomy in composition.
    • Shiny: Guts and Casca's love scene in the wilderness is beautiful and soft on the eyes, with great detail on natural aspects such as flora, waterscapes, and sunlight.
  • Sliding Scale of Unavoidable vs. Unforgivable: This is hotly debated within the Berserk fandom, as most of the fandom is split in half over the idea of Griffith's Face–Heel Turn. Basically, you're probably on one of two sides:
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: The clash between the Holy Iron Chain Knights, consisting of disciplined and elitist aristocrats (snobs), and the pagans, consisting of wild and feral heretic refugees (slobs) in the Conviction arc.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Charlotte and Griffith's affair is not discovered by the king, or any relevant character, just by a nameless, generic castle maid who spies them through the keyhole. Later, the maid starts to spread the word until the king becomes aware of the it, and things start to go to hell. Said maid only appear in a single page and it completely disappears from the plot after. Indirectly, the irrelevant maid became the first Unwitting Instigator of Doom that kickstarted things like the Eclipse!
  • The Smurfette Principle: Interesting case for this series. While there's a healthy cast of female characters, Casca was the only main female characters for the first fifteen or so volumes, and is still considered one of the three main characters of the story. Not only that, but she was the only female member of the original Band of the Hawk, and still remains the series only genuine Action Girl, albeit she's in remission for the time being.
    • While the above is true, there are obvious reasons why women were not so frequent in mercenary camps as fighters, and seeing that main characters tend to be the fighting type, it's mainly justified to have only a few (one) girl.
  • Sneaky Departure: Guts tried to leave the Hawks' lodgings at night without waking anyone up or attracting attention so that he wouldn't have to explain himself or say goodbye to anyone, but it didn't work on account of Casca spotting him.
  • Snow Means Love: Combined twice with Snow Means Death. Once when Casca tries to dissuade Guts from leaving the Hawks, right before the Guts vs Griffith showdown. Also when she screams Guts' name upon watching him walking away after defeating Griffith. The second time when Guts fights off snow demons in order to protect post-eclipse Casca. Even before that, Guts makes his vow that he would never leave Casca like he did two year prior again as they leave Godo's house for the last time as it begins to snow.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: "Waiting So Long", a song that manages to be both endearingly Engrish-y and genuinely haunting.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The power of the apostles varies widely. Ranging from "Man eating predator that loves to bite your head off" via "Giant insect that flies with super sonic speed" to "Towering behemoth that makes Godzilla look puny". How strong an apostle can get seems to be related to the severity of the sacrifice that was made. In true Shonen style, the monsters Guts fights of course happen to get more dangerous with every new encounter.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Well, Guts always had a BFS to begin with, but when he started hunting apostles, he had to get an even bigger BFS in order to actually do some damage to their bodies (bonus points in that the Dragon Slayer is magically upgrading itself as the story progresses). Same can be said for the various armors that he wears, each a bit better than the last set, until Guts finally gained the Berserker armor (unfortunately, it is a case of being a doubled-edged sword).
  • Soul-Cutting Blade: Guts' Dragonslayer. Due to being constantly used against Apostles and other evil spirits, it exists simultaneously in the Astral and physical realms and can damage astral beings.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Having to hear the Solemn Enging Theme "Waiting so Long" right after seeing Guts in utter physical and emotional agony from having to watch Casca get raped to insanity is REALLY unsettling.
  • Spared By Adaptation:
    • Unlike the manga, Collette and her father were not killed off, as they replaced Puck in the tavern scene in the first episode of the anime.
    • Donovan might have been spared by the Egg of the King film. Guts' flashback to childhood includes him, but leaves out the part where Guts killed him in revenge. While that doesn't necessarily mean that Guts didn't kill him off-screen, there is no evidence in the film itself that he died.
    • Since the Queen of Midland's subplot is cut out of the film adaptation, she doesn't try to assassinate Griffith, and get killed by his retaliation.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Oh, lordy. Given how long the series has been going (all the way back into the early 90s), there's been a ton of ways of spelling many of the character names over the years. Gatts vs. Guts vs. Gutsu vs. etc.
    • Other prominent examples: Farnese/Farneze/Parnesse, Isidro/Ishidoro, Casca/Caska/Kaska/Kjaskar, Puck/Pak, Rosine/Roshinu (this one's still very popular). Schierke in particular caused everyone to facepalm when she debuted because nobody was sure what that was supposed to be in English; "Silke" was popular for a while until her name was actually printed later on.
      • In universe, we have Isidro giving his name as Ijidodo when he gets so beat up he gets mush-mouthed, which his opponent takes as his name.
    • Even more common is Sys/Shisu, with no one ever realizing the latter is simply a romanization of the Japanese pronunciation of her name, much like Rosine/Roshinu.
    • Notably, several decades after the manga's debut, there's a lot of suspicion that a once-universally accepted translation was in error; with all the recent talk of "Falconia" and Miura's indication that one arc should be called "Millenium Falcon" (for the obvious reference on several levels), many people suspect the proper name of Griffith's mercenary company should be "Band of the Falcon", not "Band of the Hawk". (This was caused by the word for both birds being the same in Japanese.) Two decades of fandom inertia make it basically impossible to correct in the zeitgeist at this point, however, and Band of the Hawk remains as the official translation.
    • Another famous one is also the Clingy MacGuffin of the story: Behelit/Beherit/Berith. The actual spelling IS Beherit, which is one of the many variants of the pagan idol of Judeo-Christian demonology known as Baal-Berith.
    • Last and not least (at the moment), Femto/Phemt. While the former is widely known as the last Godhand's name, the real spelling is very likely to be PHEMT, the technical concept after which he is named, for strangely symbolic reasons once you understand the meaning of the concept.
  • Spit-Trail Kiss: Mixed with the Forceful Kiss trope on page and played for obvious and major Fan Disservice during the eclipse while Femto is raping Casca.
  • The Squadette: Casca, Farnese, and Sonia are each the only female soldier in their respective military units, which are the Band of the Hawk, the Holy Iron Chain Knights, and the New Band of the Hawk. Oddly enough, while all three wear armor and expose themselves to danger, only Casca is an actual Action Girl. Farnese is a Faux Action Girl figurehead, and Sonia is Mission Control.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Subverted pre-Eclipse, where Guts and Casca get into an argument, escalating when Guts grabs Casca by the arm, stopping her in her tracks, but she eventually snatches her arm away from his grip when Griffith arrives on the scene. Post-Eclipse, this serves as another unfortunate deconstruction of Casca's behavior, since she now doesn't like being touched - especially by men - and is understandably terrified whenever somebody grabs her.
  • Standard Hero Reward: Griffith would have been rewarded for saving Midland with Princess Charlotte's hand in marriage and rule over the kingdom if all had gone according to plan, but he completely blows his chance. Later on, it pretty much happens when Griffith defeats Emperor Ganishka with his Apostle army and founds his city of Falconia, such that he's all set up to marry Princess Charlotte and be crowned by the pope.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Guts and Casca are the love of each other's lives, but cruel circumstances that began with the Eclipse have made it impossible for them to be together no matter how short the physical distance between them. Guts is trying hard to defy this by undertaking the journey to Elfhelm with her in the hope that they may one day be lovers again, but no one knows what the outcome will be.
  • Stepping-Stone Sword: During the Eclipse, Guts claws his way back up the towering hand made of human faces by using his dagger as a climbing tool.
  • Sticks to the Back: Averted by Guts, who wears his sword across his back but has an actual suspension mechanism to hold it there. His early BFS has a flexible leather sheath that only holds the blade at the point, middle, and base, and which flaps behind him like a pointed devil's tail while his sword is drawn. The even larger Dragon Slayer has no scabbard, but instead is held up by a ring on the hilt that engages a hook on his baldric. It is kept from swaying by a leather strap on a chain that wraps around the opposite side. When he draws his sword, all he needs to do is release the security chain and lift the sword clear of the hook.
  • Story Arc: Berserk the manga is divided up into story units of different sizes that follow a very particular nomenclature, the largest of which are Arcs. The smallest individual unit of storytelling is the Episode, which is a release of 20 pages or so published monthly or bimonthly in a magazine. This is what would be called a chapter if you were talking about any other manga. For the first sixteen installments before Berserk was published in Young Animal Magazine, each release was called a "Revenge". The numbering reset when the series moved to Young Animal, and from that point on releases have been called "Episodes". However, when talking about Berserk, a "Chapter" is NOT the same thing as an "Episode", but rather an intermediate storytelling unit that consists of many Episodes but is just a fraction of a larger Arc, which may be divided into two or three Chapters. Each Arc covers a certain period of Guts' life, and a Chapter often encompasses a significant quest that he participates in. Here they are in summary:
    • The Black Swordsman Arc (Revenge 1-8, Volumes 1-3): Set during Guts' two-year hunt for vengeance after the Eclipse, Guts meets Puck the elf, fights Apostles including the Baron of Koka Castle and the Count, and has an encounter with Femto and the God Hand. The first two Revenge episodes are relatively self-contained, but there are six consecutive chapters called The Guardians of Desire focusing on the Count and the idea of sacrifice.
    • The Golden Age Arc (Revenge 9-Episode 94, Volumes 3-14; adapted in the 1997-98 TV anime): An extended backstory of Guts that begins with his birth and childhood, it shows how he met Griffith and became part of the tightly-knit Band of the Hawk during the Midland Hundred Year's War. It focuses on the experiences of friendship, rivalry, love, and conflict that made Guts who he is today, and ends with Griffith's sacrifice of Guts and the Hawks during the Eclipse, which results in Guts swearing revenge and setting off as the Black Swordsman.
    • The Conviction Arc (Episodes 95-176, Volumes 14-21): Guts fights a major Apostle, has a run-in with the law, and puts aside his vengeance for a rescue mission:
      • Chapter of the Lost Children (Episodes 95-117, Volumes 14-16): Focused on Guts' meeting with Jill and his battle with the Apostle Rosine, while the Vatican's Holy Iron Chain Knights pursue the trail of the Black Swordsman.
      • Chapter of the Binding Chain (Episodes 118-125, Volumes 16-17): Focused on Guts' arrest at the hands of Farnese and the Holy Iron Chain Knights.
      • Chapter of the Birth Ceremony (Episodes 126-176, Volumes 17-21): Contains the events at St. Albion and the Tower of Conviction, including the refugee crisis, Bishop Mozgus' inquisition against heresy, Guts' attempt to rescue Casca, and the ceremony resulting in Griffith's resurrection.
    • The Millennium Falcon Arc (Episodes 177-307, Volumes 22-34): Focused on Guts' new quest to take Casca to Elfhelm and accumulation of a new adventuring party, as well as Griffith's return and war to liberate Midland from Emperor Ganishka.
    • The Fantasia Arc (Episode 308-ongoing).
      • Chapter of Elf Island (Episode 308-ongoing)
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: One of the rare cases where the target survives. Casca is raped into insanity, and now has the mental abilities and speech of an infant. She requires constant babysitting, whereas before she was once one of the leaders of the Band of the Hawk. note  As a result of her insanity and depowered status, Guts uses her fate as the greatest justification for his revenge against Griffith and the God Hand and her condition continues to anguish and cause great pain for Guts. The trope was played straight a few weeks after the Eclipse, as Guts was so consumed in his sadness and anger over the event that he actually abandoned Casaca and disregarded the trauma that she herself was going through and left to pursue his revenge for two years. The trope was later discussed when Godo confronted Guts on the matter, which actually resulted in Guts giving up his revenge on Griffith in order to stay near Casca (though the trope is still occasionally discussed by the Beast who torments Guts). The overall use of the trope in the story has drawn some criticism from fans, since Casca's character arc was greatly diminished when she became insane and many events surrounding her status (an example being the demonized child that Casca bore) serve to aid in Guts' and even Griffith's character arcs more than her own.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: The entire reason behind Griffith's dream. So many lives were lost in his pursuit of it, that he feels he cannot abandon it lest he render all of those deaths meaningless. The Godhand use this to their advantage in convincing him to go through with sacrificing his army.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Played tragically straight after the Eclipse concerning Guts and Casca's unborn child being miscarried. However, some fans think that Casca might not have been so oblivious about her pregnancy...
    • Screaming Birth: Played for drama. Since the baby is severely under-developed, Casca is seen having minor bouts of pain and "silently" screams when the fetus is pushed out.
  • Surreal Horror: This is a given since the Berserk-verse is basically Hieronymus-Escher Land. Some things are just so jaw-dropping, batshit weird that it's friggin' scary. Just take the entire landscape of the Eclipse, or some of the apostles themselves. Seriously - what the holy hell is this thing???
  • Swipe Your Blade Off: In The Egg of the King, Guts flicks the blood from his sword with a dramatic cutting motion after slaying Bazuso, emphasizing that the fight is over and he's come out on top.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: Guts and Schierke are a non-Battle Couple example, instead being a Badass and Child Duo example. However, Isidro also has his moments with Schierke and it's implicated that they might become a straight example of this trope in time. Both dynamics are type 1.
  • Sword over Head:
    • Subverted during the final fight scene between Guts and Rosine. After mortally striking Rosine down, Guts closes in to deal the finishing blow - only he is unable too. Not because he stopped himself, but because the Holy Iron Chain Knights intervened, causing Guts to flee the scene to avoid capture.
    • Bazuso isn't so lucky. Guts has him at his mercy after defeating him and raises his sword for the killing blow just long enough for Bazuso to see it coming and beg for mercy. Since Guts is an Anti-Hero, he doesn't hesitate for a second longer and splits his foe's head down the middle.
  • Sword Pointing: Oh, HELL YES. And he (at least Guts) gets special points for doing this with one hand while wielding an enormous weapon.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: The second Band of the Hawk get this when seen from the POV of their Morality Pet, Sonia, and compared to the Emperor Ganishka, who is somehow even worse than they are in his day-to-day life.

    T 
  • Tagline: The 2016 anime installment dealing with the Black Swordsman Arc is advertised with the hook "Sleepless nights shall begin", referring to the fact that with Guts branded he'll be facing nightly assaults by demons.
  • Tap on the Head: In chapter 122, Guts renders Farnese unconscious with a single karate chop to the side of the neck. She wakes up a few minutes later with no ill effects.
  • Take My Hand: Guts catching Casca's hand to keep her from falling is a scene that recurs throughout the manga:
    • Caca collapses during the battle with Adon Coborlwitz and falls off a cliff; Guts dives to catch her but Adon shoots him in the side, causing both of them to fall into the ravine below.
    • Upon Guts' reunion with the outlawed Band of the Hawk, Casca falls off a cliff again, this time because she was ready to give up and die, but Guts catches her and pulls her up. Casca reflects on how even if Guts took everything from her, he's always risking himself for her sake, while Guts complains that this always happens to her if there's water nearby.
    • On the Seahorse, Guts tries to catch Casca's hand as she falls over the side, but his metal hand has no grip and she slips through his fingers. After they're safe, Guts reflects on how his hand is good for beating up monsters, but still can't replace the one he lost.
  • Take Our Word for It: We've seen mountains of eye scream, graphic rape and sexual assaults, horrific torture, gorn, and a buttload of ass-ugly monsters (and mooks).... but we're never allowed to see Griffith's post-tortured face. We're assuming that it's worse than his torturer's face (and take our word for it: he's no spring chicken).
    • Unless you count concept art for the 2010s anime movie series.
  • Take-That Kiss: Once again, this was mixed with the Forceful Kiss trope on page 2 and the Spit-Trail Kiss stated earlier during the eclipse, as Griffith/Femto kisses Casca twice in front of Guts while raping her just to spite and hurt Guts.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Usually played straight but once amusingly subverted by Guts when fighting a group of Apostles.
    Apostle (just before Guts cuts him apart): No.. no fair! Attacking while we're transforming!
  • A Taste of the Lash: Used for reasons other than just general punishment... just ask Farnese.
  • Tasty Gold: Guts bites one of the seven gold coins he receives for killing Bazuso to make sure it's the real thing.
  • Team Killer: Both Guts and Griffith are guilty of this. Guts' case was more sympathetic, in that he first killed the man who raped him the previous night, and then later on, he accidentally killed his adoptive father out of self defense. Griffith, on the other hand, sold out all of his comrades during the Eclipse in order to gain nigh invulnerability.
    • Guts also offed at least two members of the Hawks (ya know -Dante and Errol), but that was technically before he became part of the group.
  • Tears of Blood: The most notable being the activation of a Behelit. Its scrambled facial features rearrange into a normal face, its eyes open and blood streams out.
    • Guts during the rape of Casca, where his undamaged eye cries normal tears and his ruined eye cries tears of blood (although this isn't tears so much as the punctured eyeball pouring out blood). The same during his recovery as he recalls all of the friends he has lost (actual blood tears this time).
    • And also Griffith, during his Despair Event Horizon into the start of the Eclipse.
  • Tear Off Your Face: Another yummy way of dying a gruesome and painful death in the Berserk-verse. Especially seen with the cultists during the Conviction Arc, who rip off the faces of several of the Holy Iron Chain Knights when they got possessed by demons. You have to ask though: would being possessed by demons really stop these people from doing something like this?
  • Teeth-Clenched Comrades: Guts and Casca were notorious in the Hawks for always fighting and arguing, though they would truce it out when it was really important. The duo was put to the ultimate test when they were faced with Adon's hundred-man army and were able to work as a pretty sweet ass team for the most part. As a reward for their teamwork and camaraderie, they were upgraded to Fire-Forged Friends.
  • Tempting Fate: In world that is dictated by causality, characters, good or bad, major or minor, just love to make the Godhand's job easier and more enjoyable by setting themselves up for failure.
    • A comedic example with the pirates.
      Pirate Captain: Ghosts?! Monsters?! Superstitions, mates. Superstitions! Listen up, ye scallywags! Yer all outrageous! Look at me, livin the pirate life for all these 25 years! Lively as can be right before ye all! If all that garbage be true at all, I'd be the first one ter be haunted, wouldn't you say?! *ghosts come up right behind him*
  • Tender Tears: Subverted in a particularly twisted way. Slan tears up upon witnessing the brutal rape and torture of Casca at Femto's hands while Guts is watching helplessly, held down by three demons right after hacking off his own arm and righ before getting his eye clawed off in the process. She found the scene to be an epiphany of beauty...
  • Tentacle Rope: Casca is restrained by an Apostle's tentacles wrapping around her arms and legs during the Eclipse.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: Guts immediately rejects the deformed fetus as his own (at first thinking that Casca was impregnated by a demon hellspawn when Femto raped her) even after he found out that it is his and Casca's child. Although, to be a bit more sympathetic on Guts' part, it could be that he doesn't hate the child in itself, but rather what the child represents: the byproduct of a horrible event that he failed to prevent from happening to Casca, an event that pretty much quashed any chances that Guts and Casca could have had of actually having a real family (since it was implied from their interaction with the mysterious child on the beach that the two would not have made bad parents, and Guts is later seen having a somber look on his face when remembering he and Casca's child though it has been suggested that the fetus and the boy on the beach are the same).
    • Also related to the Child Of Rape trope is the treatment that Rosine received from her father, since it was strongly implied that she was conceived through her mother's rape.
  • Their First Time: Accentuated a lot more in the third film between Guts and Casca. No speaking involved in this adaptation, but their body language during the scene make the pair look very much like awkward sixteen year olds.
  • There Is No Kill Like Over Kill: Justified when fighting an Apostle. You literally have to give all that you can in order to kill one of these fuckers, and a simple sword wound won't cut it. Use fire, a cannonball, water, bows and arrows, Aim for the Eye, use your teeth, use their own horn to kill them, kick 'em while they're down, use dead mooks as a decoy, or use their loved ones as a shield. Just so long as you make them giblets fly in the end!
    • In situations where there are no Apostles involved, but normal people want to harm (or have harmed) the ones that Guts cares about - you're in for it. Especially if you're Made of Plasticine.
  • They Do: Guts and Casca but not for long.
  • Third-Act Misunderstanding: Subverted. Crap began to build up in volume 8 when Guts hinted to Casca that he was planning on leaving the Hawks and a good month goes by without anybody saying anything to anyone else on the matter. When the time comes, Guts tries to leave the Hawks without telling anyone, Casca finds out and blabs to Griffith, and Griffith - man, he didn't take it too well. Perhaps if the three had actually talked to each other about practically everything that went on in their lives (from Guts telling Griffith that he wanted to be his equal so he could be a true friend to Guts and Casca telling each other that they had feelings for one another), then this whole conflict could have been avoided... or maybe not because it's what the Idea of Evil had planned for Griffith anyway, regardless what any of the three had to say about it. Given the strength of Griffith's reaction to Guts' leaving, it's doubtful that any amount of explanation could have convinced him to let him go peacefully, and for Guts' part, he lampshades the inevitability of the falling-out when he asks Casca, "What should I have done differently?"
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Guts a couple times. Casca at least once. Casca's "recruitment" in flashback might count as a nasty version. Griffith was never that nice a guy.
    • But then again, this actually proved to be beneficial in Casca's case, as she was an apathetic citizen like the rest of her village, and before Griffith showed up, she was just going to allow this guy to rape her. Defending herself against a man who wanted to violate her was Casca's first step in badass.
  • This Is Unforgivable!:
    • Villain example: Rosine, the Big Bad of Berserk's Lost Children arc, uses this line on Guts after he destroys the tree that she has been using to make her creepy little pseudo-elves out of the children she's kidnapped, which has the effect of supremely pissing Rosine off — badly enough in fact, that she decides to transform into her true Apostle form, a really creepy insect-like monster.
    • Another villain example from Berserk: when Nosferatu Zodd's duel with Guts is interrupted, he roars this at the interlopers. This guy takes the Worthy Opponent Blood Knight dynamic really seriously.
    • An actual (anti) heroic example comes from Guts in volume 17, where he says something to the same effect. After getting a What the Hell, Hero? lecture handed to him, Guts rethinks how he dealt with avenging the Hawks, and that since he technically played a role in the group's downfall, he didn't have a right to avenge them... however, for what Griffith did to Casca during the Eclipse, Guts said that he would never forgive Griffith.
  • This Was His True Form: Apostles and everything that was once human are all into this. Since Apostle-dom is acquired in moments of extreme despair, it is not rare that their original forms are highly weakened/disfigured (e.g. Wyald, Griffith). The trope causes problems for Guts sometimes.
    • Notably, when Guts was being chased by the Holy Iron Chain Knights, the trail of human bodies and destruction led them to believe he was a rampaging, psychotic mass murderer. He was, but he only really killed monsters by this point. The monsters turned back after he got done with them.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Though they don't exactly hang out together, Isidro is the hunter, Guts is the lord, and the Skull Knight is the prophet. If you want to add Serpico to the mix, he's kinda in between the hunter and the lord.
  • Throw the Book at Them: Mozgus does this once. Being Berserk, this is a large, metal-bound book that crushes the skull of the victim. HERETIC!
    • He got off easy, considering how Mozgus had the rest of the men executed.
  • Thrown Down a Well: Although the facility is never named, the Black Dogs Knights, for their atrocious war crimes, were banished and imprisoned to the outskirts of the kingdom. At least until the ruler decides that an amoral bunch of raping, slaughtering, homicidal lunatics is exactly what he needs...
  • Thwarted Coup de Grâce: Femto tries to do the Coup de Grâce to the unconscious Guts and Casca, but Skull Knight swoops in to save the day.
  • Time Skip: Lots in the Band of the Hawk arc. Since it covers Guts life up to the Eclipse, it comes with the territory.
    • For instance, three years between episode 4 and 5.
  • Title Drop: At the end of the first episode, Puck (who senses the emotions of whoever is nearby) looks at the carnage left behind by Guts's battle with the Snake Baron and whispers in shock, "...berserk..."
    • After acquiring the Berserker armor (plus the armor itself), Schierke has referred to Guts losing himself to the Beast as "going berserk".
  • Token Religious Teammate: Schierke more or less, since she's the only hardcore spiritual member of the team. Farnese subverts this, since she pretty much quit the Holy See upon joining Guts and took up practicing witchcraft to prove her self worth rather than for the spiritual aspect.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Guts takes nothing but levels in badass all his life: as a child, he trains with a sword nearly twice his size that he takes into combat. After Griffith's Face–Heel Turn, he is marked as a target for demons and ends up just taking more levels into the epic class of badass by getting a sword the size of his body that is a slab of iron with sharp edges and a mechanical arm that doubles as a cannon. After he gets his True Companions, he receives the Berserker Armor, which was once worn by the Skull Knight, which increases his physical abilities by making him immune to pain and reinforcing his body when it's wounded. It also makes him attack everything around him, friend or foe.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: The only thing Guts succeeds in doing when he impales and blows off half of Slan's torso is giving her an orgasm.
  • Torture Technician: In this setting, torture is so common that any noble worth his salt has a torture professional on his staff. They include:
    • The husky guy who tortured Guts while he was imprisoned by the mayor of the castle town in Episode 1;
    • The deformed dwarf employed by the King of Midland, who is particularly fond of To the Pain;
    • Mozgus's retinue, including the disfigured torturers and also a large number of attendants wearing hoods and mask visors.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: The entire finale of the anime and one of the most climactic moments of the manga uses this.
  • Tragedy: The Golden Age Arc is arguably the story of how Griffith, a great man, loses everything and falls to villainy because of his Fatal Flaw. Looking at it more broadly, all of the main three including Guts and Casca have aspects of the tragic hero.
  • Tragic Bromance: Guts and Griffith to a T, much in the same vain as Obi-Wan and Anakin or Professor X and Magneto.
  • Tragic Mistake: The irreversible choice that leads to Griffith's downfall and brings all of the Hawks down with him is his tryst with Princess Charlotte immediately after Guts leaves the Band of the Hawk. From this follows his arrest and torture, the near annihilation and outlawing of the Band of the Hawk, and the whole chain of events leading up to the Eclipse—by which time Griffith has hit the Despair Event Horizon and is persuaded to sacrifice the lives of all of his followers in order to ascend to demonhood. The cause of this mistake was that Griffith couldn't reconcile his ambition with his human emotions—he grew to care about Guts as more than a pawn, but couldn't admit his feeling to Guts or himself, nor abide not being able to control Gut's destiny. That created a void that he impulsively tried to fill with sexual conquest and control over someone else. This is just the biggest mistake in the Golden Age Arc, since Guts and Casca might be said to have made crucial mistakes of their own which contributed to that ending:
    • Guts himself knows all too well that leaving the Band of the Hawk was the biggest mistake he ever made, since the place where he belonged was right there and he just didn't realize it. This was the catalyst that led to Griffith making the tragic mistake above, and stemmed from Guts' misjudgment of both Griffith and himself. Guts took Griffith's speech to Charlotte about what a friend is at face value, and always saw Griffith as a perfect figure looking down on everybody else. Even though Casca told him when they were hiding in a ravine that he was special to Griffith, and that Griffith was not a god but a vulnerable human like everybody else, Guts still couldn't see past his admiration for Griffith or realize that he wasn't inferior to Griffith. He thought that Griffith didn't need him, and that the only way to prove that he was Griffith's equal was to go out and find his own dream. A year after that Casca tells him how wrong he was, saying that Griffith fell apart because he left.
    • Casca's great mistake just before the Eclipse was telling Guts to leave her and Griffith behind and follow his own dream. Griffith happened to overhear the entire conversation, and that's what drove him off the deep end, causing him to abscond with the wagon, crash in the shallows, and become reunited with the behelit at the moment when he was most emotionally vulnerable to temptation. Casca's Fatal Flaw was the combination of her loyalty toward Griffith, her dutiful and self-sacrificing nature, and the conflict that those first two created with the fact that her true romantic feelings were towards Guts. Even though she was forced to realize how physically disabled Griffith was by his torture, and knew how much Guts' departure had devastated him, she either ignored or failed to see the warning signs of how Griffith's feelings of despair, jealousy, and spite were metastasizing into something dangerous. Griffith had always been the savior from her childhood, and even though she later learned of his human weakness she never could have imagined him turning on her and Guts. When Griffith made an unwanted advance on her while she was changing his bandages—essentially Attempted Rape if not for his physical disability—she was devastated but couldn't admit to herself or to Guts that that's what had just happened. Instead of reacting with anger, she gave Griffith what he wanted least: pity. Casca decided to stay with Griffith, but Griffith would always know that she dd it out of pity and would never love him the way that she loved Guts. Worse, she told Guts to leave when she knew that he was the person that Griffith most cared about, because she didn't want Guts to give up his dream for the sake of her and Griffith, and felt intense guilt for not staying at Guts' side like they'd promised as lovers. In order not to have made that mistake, she would have had to not be Casca anymore, since her tragic mistake was something she did out of her noble but flawed sense of self-sacrifice and obligation.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Dear lord. Sometimes you have to ask yourself: does Miura just hate seeing Guts, Griffith, and Casca happy for more than five minutes? Good grief. Each have varying results to their trauma:
    • Griffith's trauma line resulted in Type B, giving up and becoming a villain.
    • Casca's trauma line resulted in Type C, regressing into a child-like state.
    • And Guts' trauma line, which is pretty much still on-going, is a mesh of Type A, D, and E, blazing onward through thick and thin and going on bloody rampages of revenge and destruction, but not quite stooping so low as to give up all hope.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Thanks to Griffith and what he has done to her Casca was so traumatized by the events that her mind has regressed to the mind of a child, but shows no clear memory of the events that transpired beforehand. The only time that she is shown to remember anything at all is when she is on the verge of being raped, as she has visions of what had happened to her during the dreadful Eclipse. Fortunately, this also brings back memories of her fighting skills, at least temporarily.
    • There's also a moment when she falls down a cliff, and displays her former considerable acrobatic talents in landing unharmed.
  • Tranquil Fury: Very unusual and thus rare coming from the poster child of batshit insane rage-o-hol, but there have come times in Guts's career that he was so pissed off at something that he just had the calmest expression. Be warned: Guts's tranquil fury facade is quite possibly more frightful than his usual Uh-Oh Eyes, and should be taken with the utmost seriousness if you want to live.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: Animals possessed by spirits in Berserk get deformed human-like faces
  • Tree Cover: When Guts and Griffith talk "privately" for the first time, Casca is hiding behind a tree listening to their conversation.
  • Trigger: Given their experiences with sexual violence and abuse, both Guts and Casca have shown signs of this throughout the series. In general, both have had a strong aversion to being touched (definitely Casca when she's touched by members of the opposite sex). Guts in particular was triggered by memories of his anal rape as a child when he tried to make love to Casca from behind and promptly almost choked Casca in a post-traumatic fit of fear. Later, the memories of having to watch Casca be raped to insanity doubles as Guts' Berserk Button, so whenever he sees a young woman in danger of being raped, he promptly becomes The Berserker that he is and kills nearly everything in sight. Casca's trigger moments are much more conflicting and appalling, since after her horrific ordeal, Casca is totally amnesiac and can't remember her former life, but it's only when she's being assaulted that she is shown to have any memories - and they're of the worst moments of her life.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: In the beginning stages of her insanity, Casca was very paranoid of her surroundings - being especially distrustful of men - and would often huddle into corners or against women for protection. After the time skip, Casca seems to have entered into a more aloof stage of her insanity, not really aware of the dangers that surrounded her.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Guts all the way, since he was not only forced to kill people since the age of five or six, but every event that happened in his childhood just hardened him even more. Now in his adult years, killing people is as natural as breathing to this guy.
    • Farnese also counts during her childhood. Any servant working in the Vandimion mansion at the time who had any shred of sanity would have left after the first minor incident - which could have very well have been being set on fire!
  • True Companions: Guts has had two groups: the original Band of the Hawk and his current traveling companions.
  • Try Not to Die: First said by Casca to Guts when he makes a path for her to escape from the Tudor ambush army. Later said by Isidro to Guts multiple times.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Guts, Griffith, Casca. The sole purpose of these three's relationship is to get more complex as the story goes on...

Alternative Title(s): Tropes Q-T

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Berserk/TropesQToT?from=Berserk.TropesQ-T