Berserk: Tropes U to Z

aka: Tropes U-Z
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  • The Übermensch:
    • Griffith.
    • Guts is one too since he couldn't care less about the laws of mortals and Gods. And he only follows his own rules.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Jill's mom is reasonably attractive for a woman her age, headscarf and all. Jill's dad on the other hand.... His head looks really disproportionate to say the most among other attributes.
  • Unbroken Vigil: Subverted. Guts leaves the insane Casca weeks after the Eclipse to pursue his revenge against Griffith after he saw no psychological change in her. This did not work out for the better, considering that there might have been a chance of Guts getting through to Casca early on in her recovery had he actually stayed to comfort her through the pain that they were both going through.
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked. When he and Guts were up against Rosine's elves for the first time, Puck said that they looked similar to elves such as he, but that there was something "off" about them, and was quite disturbed by their presence. Later revealed that the elves weren't real elves, but rather apostle spawn that were children that Rosine kidnapped.
  • Underestimating Badassery: A fatal mistake that many-a-mook make when confronting Guts, thinking that he's tired or out-numbered. If anything, those conditions just make him kill better.
  • The Underworld: All human characters who perish in the series (Apostles especially) end up being sent to the Abyss, a realm consisting of only nightmarish forms and a swirling ocean of writhing souls known as both Heaven and Hell.
  • Unfamiliar Ceiling: After being rescued by the Skull Knight while still unconscious during the Eclipse Guts wakes up in Godo's elf mine.
  • Unfriendly Fire: After being raped by Donovan, one of Gambino's soldiers, as a kid, Guts murders him during the next battle.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Guts taps into this during emergencies, and the series is named after it.
  • Unwanted Harem: Played for laughs during the Hawks' victory ball, in which Guts and Casca are both seen being marauded by admirers of the opposite sex. They resolve to escape the attention together and flee to the balcony.
  • The Usual Adversaries: The Apostles. It can't just be a straight shot to Elfheim, can it?!

  • Vague Age: The ages of the characters—and especially of the three main ones—is a pestering question among the fandom since the character designs can be deceptive and the sparse information given leaves much to interpretation. Guts' age, at least, can be known at certain points in the story based on the number of years time-skipped since his birth. Unfortunately, although Casca says that she was twelve when Griffith took her in, she does not say how long ago that was and Griffith's exact age is not mentioned at any time. A booklet released together with the first movie states that at the time of their first meeting, Griffith was 18, Casca was 16, and Guts was 15, but only the last is actually corroborated by the manga and Kentaro Miura hasn't indicated whether or not those ages given for Griffith and Casca are canon in the manga. Some fans accept the movie numbers while others reject them, and everyone's guesses vary widely both on specific ages and on seemingly simple questions such as who is older or younger than who.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: in the Golden Age Arc, Nosferatu Zodd and the Skull knight each give ominous prophecies to Guts referencing the disaster that is going to befall the Hawks, but at this point they can't spoil too much for either the characters or the audience so they have to keep their warnings both threatening and vague:
    Skull Knight: "It begins. From this moment until the Eclipse occurs one year from now... you and your friends... right now are walking blindly to your doom!!"
    • ... Thanks for the heads-up.
    • Zodd's warning is slightly more specific: he warns Guts that "if you think [[Griffith]] your friend, know" that when his ambition crumbles, Guts will face "a death you can never escape." At the end of the day it's not much more helpful.
    • A Storm Is Coming: A literal example, as the chapter when the Eclipse begins to take place is called "Storm of Death."
  • The Verse: Even though Berserk is a single epic with not a whole lot of spin-offs, so much goes on in this crapped up universe that it's often referred to as a single body. It's usually called it the Berserk-verse or the Berserkerverse.
  • Vicious Cycle: The Eclipse, which happens once every 216 years and marks the birth of a new God Hand.
    • Another one: People's suffering and need for something to blame for it creates The Idea of Evil -> Idea of Evil creates the Godhand -> Godhand uses Behelits to turn people into demons and new Godhand members -> demons make life even shittier for everyone else -> people's suffering sustains The Idea of Evil...and so on and so forth.
  • Villainous Rescue:
    • Zodd does this twice in the manga, first when Guts is about to get his head handed to him by General Boscone by throwing him a sword, and then the second time by stopping Wyald from ripping a crippled Griffith in two. He only does this in order to save the lot for the up and coming Eclipse.
    • Silat ends up rescuing Rickert because he needs an ally that knows Griffith's secrets.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Isidro and Schierke constantly bicker and insult each other, but they grow to care about each other over time.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Frequent in the Lost Children Arc. Comes in the, um, smooth and liquid flavor for the most part (a special blood flavor in the case of Guts). Happens a few times during the Black Swordsman Arc too.

  • Wake-Up Fighting: Happens every so often with Guts, especially when he dozes off right before sunset and a succubus latches onto him (which induce particularly bad nightmares/hallucinations). Casca also has a bout of this when the bounty hunters ambush the Hawks' camp when she passed out due to exhaustion.
  • Walking the Earth: What Guts does until the "Conviction" arc focuses him.
  • Wall Bang Her: 'Cept it was a tree. *ahem!*
  • War Arc: This is the secondary plot line of the Golden Age Arc, with the Band of the Hawk being hired by the King of Midland to fight in the kingdom's ongoing war against the Tudor Empire.
  • War Elephants: The Kushan army loved these guys.
  • Was It All a Lie?: While Corkus was busy asking if the Eclipse was All Just a Dream, Casca's inner monologue asked if everything that the Band of the Hawk went through was all just a grand scheme so that Griffith could throw them into hell for God knows whatever reason.
  • Watching the Sunset: When Guts and his new group reach the ocean outside of Vritinnis, Guts finds a small amount of solace while watching the sunset, which he never really got to enjoy in his life, especially after the Eclipse.
  • Waterfall Shower: Combines this with Shower of Angst with post-Eclipse Casca.
  • Weapon Jr.: Guts still uses a full sized sword as he grows up...but as an adult he also scales up his weapon and uses a BFS.
  • Weapon Across the Shoulder: Guts loves striking this pose with his BF Ss, and it's safe to say that he isn't harmed when doing so, since his swords only really do damage at a high speed. Not the case in the infamous and oh-so-funny English outtakes for the anime, where Guts' voice actor screams bloody murder when he props his sword on his shoulder.
  • Weapon of Choice: Even when offered a magical axe to carry, Guts sticks with the more or less non-magical Dragon Slayer, since it's 'what his hand knows best.' (Schierke quickly realizes it's the best weapon for him anyway.)
  • Weapon Stomp: Guts didn't lose his weapon when he fought Griffith that first time, but Griffith attempted to win the fight by jumping up and balancing on Guts' sword, trapping it against the ground.
  • Weapon Tombstone: The Band of the Hawk are memorialized with a Field of Blades, each one forged by Rickert, the only member of the Hawks who wasn't there when the Eclipse went down.
  • Weird Moon: You might have never noticed it, but Miura is as meticulous with the moon as he is with every other detail in the story, and he has captured all of the moon phases.
  • Weirdness Censor: When concerning the less-antagonizing beings like elves, this was justified through Pucks explanation about exactly why normal people can't see beings like him. He says that even if a person is technically looking at an elf straight in the eye, they only try to remember what they can explain or the better parts of that event. Some experiences are a bit TOO much to handle, and that's when people snap out of it.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Guts and Casca, because of the Brand of Sacrifice
    • The Original Band of Hawks had a tendency to run into the weirdest, strongest, and nastiest monsters, demons, and just plain fucked up people. It happened so often that Corkus lampshaded it here.
    • Griffith's Behelit was the cause. In order to bring him the glory he sought, they needed suitable challenges that bordered on the impossible to achieve the miracles needed to get him to within sight of his dream, so that fate could then crush it utterly to the point he'd give up ANYTHING to reclaim it. (The Idea of Evil tells him straight up that everything that had happened to them up to that point was all part of it's plan to make him the man he had become.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Played with and zigzagged. Guts didn't epically betray the Band of the Hawk: he just sort of wanted to do his own thing with his life that could only have been accomplished with his departure, but some individuals didn't want that, and some very unfortunate events soon followed. After Guts came back, the Hawks are more or less happy that Guts returned - well, except Corkus for obvious reasons. Casca was more pissed that Guts only decided to come back just then when the situation was already shit-tastic and the effect that his departure had on she and Griffith (but she had already had her Love Epiphany, so she didn't stay mad). Rickert, being the crying kid of the Hawks, was more upset that Guts left and broke up their family but he forgives him.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Guts and Griffith. Hooooooooooo boy...
  • Wham Episode: The end of the Band of the Hawk arc. The viewer knows that something bad is coming, and that it's supernatural in nature, but just how bad it can get still comes as an unpleasant surprise.
    • The new movies start at the point where Guts and the Hawks meet, without a Black Swordsman scene to foreshadow Guts' and Griffith's falling-out and Griffith's rise to power. This will certainly ramp up them wham factor a lot for those who watch them uninitiated.
    • But chapter 307 was a pretty big wham in our face when Femto used the Skull Knight's Sword of Resonance to merge the supernatural world and natural world together, thus changing the world forever.
  • Wham Line:
    Griffith: "Among thousands of comrades and ten thousand enemies, only you...only you...only you made me forget my dream. I sacrifice."
  • What Does He See in Her?: Perhaps due to her lack of understanding of their past and from frustration from her own feelings for him, Farnese doesn't understand why Guts goes out of his way for Casca even when she fears and despises him. However, she dumps this on Casca - who can't really respond since she is mute and insane.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The lack of Skull Knight in the anime means that when Rickert's unit is attacked by the Count and Rosine, the scene just ends with him staring at the Count in horror. Rickert's never seen again, even in the beginning when Guts is shown with all his new gear.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Guts gets called out on his rather assholish behavior post-Eclipse by Godo, which starts him back down the road to how he used to be. Trust us when we say he's done a lot to deserve said calling-out.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Said squarely by Guts in the non-canonical video game Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage, though it still applies to the main storyline: if you're a monster in any way, shape or form, Guts shows no mercy for you. Bummer. To be fair, most non-humans are actively trying to kill him.
  • When She Smiles: Discussed by Guts in his inner monologue and played for drama. After he nearly strangles Casca in a possessed rage in volume 23, she begins to detest Guts, which drives Guts into more despair. He comments on how he only wants to make her smile but can't as she won't even allow him to touch her with tenderness anymore it escalates even further when the beast almost gets Guts to rape her. Seeing a smile on Casca's face is the only thing that makes Guts himself smile, next to hearing about the possibility of her being cured of her insanity for good.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: If you see Guts' eyes look like this, you should run. Fast, far, and never EVER turn your back, because if Griffith isn't in the immediate area, Guts is about to fuck you up if not outright kill you, which is much more likely. If he goes beyond this level and skips straight to Blank White Eyes, you will not survive the hour.
    • Even Puck, Guts's Morality Pet, knows by now not to mess around with this:
    Puck: "Jill, when he looks like that, it's time for us to leave!" Chapter 110
  • Wife Husbandry: Played very disturbingly with the King of Midland's relationship with his daughter, who has the spiting image of her mother, the first queen.
    • Also played with in Casca and Griffith's relationship, seeing that Griffith met and recruited Casca when she was quite young and could not have been unaware of her Precocious Crush on him.
  • Win Your Freedom: Griffith played this very seriously when it came to Guts. Before he was comrade, Guts was considered his "property."
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Griffith
  • Why Can't I Hate You?: Casca has this with Princess Charlotte during her Green-Eyed Monster moment after learning about the truth of what happened between she and Griffith. However, Casca admits to herself that she felt bad for hating on Charlotte since she was so sweet to a woman of her kind. That, and she already had Guts.
  • Why Won't You Die?: In a series where the world is filled with juggernaut monsters and a determinator anti-hero who fights them, you'll get this a lot from either side.
    Guts: "Amazing! No wonder you're higher than us humans — you don't know how to fucking die!"
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: all over the place, as you'd expect given the title of the series (Guts is pretty much the poster child for "Berserker rage"). Zig-zagged with the disciples, some of whom seem corrupted by power and some of whom were already corrupt and just more effective about it after power was applied.
  • Womb Level:
    • While running with Roderick and his crew, Guts ended up doing battle inside a giant sea monster.
    • Invoked when Guts and the Skull Knight battle Slan in the Qliphoth. She calls the place the "Womb of Darkness" and summons a seemingly endless number of ogres to keep the Skull Knight at bay while she keeps on torturing and dominating a heavily wounded Guts.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Guts. Heavy emphasis on the "destroyer" part. He just wants to destroy every demon and his former friend Griffith after years of suffering at their hands.
    • Rosine. She snaps and becomes evil after years of abuse by her father.
  • World-Wrecking Wave
  • Worf Had the Flu: Casca became so disoriented when her time o' month came along in the midst of battling General Adon, and was fatigued for nearly two days because of it; she practically had to be saved and cared for by Guts who she had a rocky relationship with at the time and nearly got raped. But after her cycles passed, Casca wiped the floor with Adon so hard that he was more dumbfounded than usual to finding out that her poor performance from their previous battle was only due to her being on her period. This led to hilarity when he announced it right in the middle of their fight, gaining the notice of every single soldier around them.
  • World of Badass: In this world, it's absolutely essential for four out of five people to have some amount of Badass in them in order to survive. There is badass littered EVERYWHERE in the world of Berserk. Even small, mysterious, silent children have badass in them especially if their implied parents are badasses themselves.!
  • World of Snark: The predominate source of humor among the characters and seems to be the only thing that keeps spirits afloat in this world.
  • World Tree: The concept seems to have been introduced in chapter 333 with the Helix Tree that is nearby Falconia. All of the plants and crops in its vicinity are flourishing... this has potential for catastrophe since the tree seems to be a remnant of Emperor Ganishka.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Apostles consider human as food or toys, or a combination of both. Children? No special treatment. If they are edible, they will be tortured, abused and then eaten.
    • Guts himself isn't above doing this. Although the first instance of this was rather an accident, he showed no qualms about brutally slaughtering Rosine's demon-elves, even knowing that they were all kids. Rosine herself who, for being an Apostle, is still a little girl.
    • In the "garden" of the Nameless Apostle, we clearly see the cadavers of young children among that of adults, meaning that Mozgus himself wasn't above killing and torturing children. But to some fans, he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist...Sure!
    • Good 'ol Griffith. Not only rapes his former commander, but taints her baby and then uses said baby to reincarnate himself into the real world to further his own desires. Yeah. "Jesus loves the little children" my butt.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Justified. Guts has no compunction fighting aggressively with female enemies. To be fair, refusing to fight full force against females like Rosine and Slan would only guarantee him a very painful death. To throw the guy a bone, Guts really isn't the type to backhand women and girls as he pleases - and sticks up for them on occasion - but he has no reserves at sticking a knife to their throat (or in their mouth in Farnese's case) to get the upper hand in certain situations. However, there is an exception to the rule where...
    • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: ... Casca is involved. Earlier in the series, Casca attacks Guts after he saves her, and he yells that if she wasn't a woman, he'd slug her. Considering that he was already developing feelings for her, it's just as likely he just said that because he was frustrated and angry with her violent reaction to his (well-meant) Intimate Healing, and to him, insults are the only acceptable way to express hurt feelings. Again, Guts really isn't the type to go around slugging women here and there.
    • Wile fighting Rosine, Guts is hindered a lot by this sentiment. After all: he is essentially trying to butcher a cute teenage girl...that has the combat abilities of a fighter jet, but still isn't entirely evil. He ends up holding back every time he can land the killing blow, taking in insane ammount of punishment himself. This makes Guts completely give in to his bitter hatred, officially giving birth to the beast of darkness. It never leaves afterwards. Counts as a total deconstruction.
      • And then there was another time that this happened during Guts' Black Swordsman days, when he hesitated to kill the resurrected corpse of the daughter of the priest that he was traveling with. He took a hit because of it before chopping off her head. He vomits afterward.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Once branded with the mark of the sacrifice, you're branded for life. That, and it bleeds, so it's never completely closed up. Worse the brand acts as a beacon to ghosts and apostles so it's rare for someone branded to last more than a few days if they somehow survive being branded
  • Wrecked Weapon: As if being beaten by Guts was bad enough for Griffith, but his sword was cut clean in half as well. Damn.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Isidro thinks he's in a Shōnen manga of which he's the main character. To be fair, he's been getting more and more useful as the series goes on.

  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Guts of all people has expressed this trope for any comrade of his that's feeling especially under pressure, including Casca, Isidro, Farnese, and Schierke.
  • You Are Not Alone: During the mock Eclipse, the Egg of the Perfect world spots the Child on a ledge, alone and depleted of strength from protecting his mother. Knowing how it was like to be alone and unloved, the Egg takes the child into him so that he could feel one moment of tenderness before dying. Total heartwarming Tear Jerker.
    • Though it is heavily implied that by doing so the child was reformed into the powerful mute child that appears to help Guts whenever the full moon is out. Maybe. Probably. It's mysterious.
  • You Are Too Late: Doubly subverted toward the end of the eclipse. The Skull Knight did in fact save Guts and Casca from certain death... however, by the time he got there, the worst damage had already been done on the two (and the God Hand officially announced their reign of darkness after Skull Knight left).
  • You Can't Fight Fate: A universe governed by causality constantly tries to pound this into Guts' head, ever since Nosferatu Zodd's chilling prophecy. But he ain't giving in that easily.
    • The Skull Knight says that he and Guts seem to be outside the realm of fate (though after accidentally merging the layers of reality for Femto/Griffith it's unclear with this is true) and that because Guts was born from a hanged womans womb and bears the mark of Sacrifice it's easier for his will to effect reality
    • The God Hand, meanwhile, compare them to a fish in a stream. The fish can leap out of the stream and into the air, but it can't change the stream's course. So as far as they're concerned, they may have some small ability to affect their own lives, but not enough to seriously affect the God Hand's plans. Only time and Miura will tell who's right....
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Guts couldn't return to his original mercenary band after he killed Gambino, Casca couldn't return to her village after she killed the nobleman who tried to rape her, and the whole Band of the Hawk got exiled from the Kingdom of Midland after Griffith got arrested. Guts and Casca have to find another safe place to live after Godo's elf mine got destroyed, Schierke's home went up in a blaze after Griffith sent his Apostles to kill Flora and there's a close bet that after that Kushan invasion, Farnese is out of a home too (but she only dropped by anyway).
  • You Monster!: Another one of those phrases that gets thrown around a lot between Guts and apostles. It's not just from the former either. Guts is Bad Ass enough and ruthless enough in his apostle-killing methods to even have the monsters or a witness saying this to him.
  • You Must Be Cold: Guts does this often with Casca, usually because she is lacking clothes at the time so he either give her his shirt or cape to cover herself. Deconstructed in volume 23, where Guts had a slight moment of being Distracted by the Sexy when he sees Casca's breasts peak from under his cape. Casca being an Innocent Fanservice Girl and Guts still yearning for Casca's intimacy, the Beast begins to tempt Guts from this point on.
  • You Shall Not Pass: A few times. Guts and Pippin singlehandedly facing down the Black Dog Knights to buy the rest of the Griffith rescue squad time to escape, until the bridge blows. Captain Azan of the Holy Iron Chain Knights, in his youth, holding a troup of knights at bay until a wounded old man can cross the bridge. And for a villain example, one could say that the first encounter with Nosferatu Zodd invokes this trope, as he massacred at least fifty members of the Raiders in a long hallway while fighting on the side of Chuder, delaying what would have been an easy victory for the Band of the Hawk. More famously Guts buying Casca time to flee in which he earns the nickname a hundred man slayer which inuniverse makes Guts as the Raid Leader of the Hawks a legendary figure
  • Your Head A Splode: Gaston's eventual demise.

  • Zany Scheme: Magnifico wants capture the elves on Elfheim and sell them as pets to rich aristocrats on the mainland, and tries to persuade Roderick and Puck into helping him by promising Puck the position of King of the Elves. Not so sure if Puck takes him seriously, though.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: In the Black Swordsman arc, after Guts defeated the Count, he tells his young daughter Theresia that she mind as well commit suicide since she has nothing to live for now and he even throws her a knife. Instead, she gives him a nasty Death Glare and vows that someday she would kill him. With her vow of vengeance, Guts knew that the girl wasn't planning on dying anytime soon, so he knew that his plan for saving her had worked. His face afterwards makes it clear just how much he hates having to do this but that it is the only way he knows to save her.

Alternative Title(s):

Tropes U-Z