Characters / Berserk Griffith/Femto

This character page is for Griffith a.k.a. Femto, one of the main characters of Berserk.

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BEWARE OF UNMARKED SPOILERS! While we make an effort to cover some of the most important spoilers, we cannot guarantee that every potential spoiler will be hidden, or that those that are will be hidden consistently. Character bios in particular are likely to discuss late events in the manga. Lastly, some tropes are going to be spoilers because of their mere presence. You have been warned!

Griffith/Femto

Voiced by: Toshiyuki Morikawa (Japanese, Adult, 1997-98 TV Anime & Berserk: Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Shō), Minami Takayama (Japanese, Child, 1997-98 TV Anime), Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese, 2012-13 Movie Trilogy & 2016 TV Anime), Kevin T. Collins (English, Adult, 1997-98 TV Anime & 2012-13 Movie Trilogy), Veronica Taylor (English, Child, 1997-98 TV Anime)

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/griffith_wing_250_levels.jpg
"The Black Swordsman, you say? His petty existence is beneath our notice." Femto 

"Guts, come along with me. The Band of the Hawk, all the victories on the battlefield, are just the beginning. I will get my own kingdom. You will fight for my cause, because you belong to me. I will decide the place where you die."

Initially the ambitious and talented leader of the Band of the Hawk, and now the fifth God Hand member known by the name of Femto, Griffith holds a central role in the story as Guts' former best friend turned Arch-Nemesis. The manga begins with an introduction to Femto in volume 3, but the Golden Age Arc that follows is concerned with what Griffith was like before he gave up his humanity. It starts when Griffith recruits Guts into his mercenary band by defeating him in combat, and quickly makes him his right-hand-man in recognition of his prowess. This is a point of resentment for Casca, Griffith's most steadfast lieutenant, who feels that Griffith is making exceptions for Guts that he's never made for anyone else. Indeed, Griffith shows an amount of trust and familiarity with Guts that he never allowed anyone else to have, going so far as to risk his life for him on more than one occasion. Still, the question of whether he sees Guts as a real friend or only a pawn comes up eventually, and it may be that Griffith himself thought it was one when it was in fact the other.

Griffith is driven by his dream of obtaining his own kingdom, and stops at nothing to obtain it. He is in a good position to do so, being a cunning strategist, a Master Swordsman, a charismatic leader, and a shrewd politician. His androgynous and beautiful appearance combined with his persuasiveness and charm allow him to win people over easily. It also helps that he possesses the Crimson Behelit, an Artifact of Doom that protects him from death several times. Griffith lacks any real scruples in his efforts to get what he wants - kidnapping, assassination, and self-abasement, even to the point of prostituting himself once so he could finance the Hawks, are all considered acceptable, even necessary steps towards his ultimate goal.

Upon nearly achieving his dream, however, he falls apart when Guts chooses to leave the Hawks, an action born from Griffith's own philosophies of independence and the tireless pursuit of one's dream. Devastated, he seeks temporary solace by sleeping with Princess Charlotte, an act that sets off the inevitable countdown to the Eclipse. Crippled for life after a full year of torture on the King's orders for having deflowered the Princess, Griffith is later freed by his companions. After overhearing Casca convince Guts to leave again, Griffith crosses the Despair Event Horizon and, without understanding how, uses the Crimson Behelit to summon the Godhand.

As the result of betraying and sacrificing his whole party to the Godhand and the Idea of Evil, Griffith becomes Femto, the fifth member of the Godhand, earning Guts's undying hatred both for throwing him and his comrades to the wolves in order to become a Godhand and for raping Casca to insanity right in front of him in his first act as Femto. Griffith is later reincarnated into a human form after the mock Eclipse at the Tower of Punishment, using the body of his child with Casca. Having gathered a new Band of the Hawk, one primarily composed of Apostles, he sets off to follow his dream once more. Most recently, he is claiming ownership of his freshly conquered kingdom, Falconia, after defeating Ganishka in a massive Final Battle and fusing the physical and astral realms.

As Femto he has the appearance of a dark, massively muscled figure with taloned feet like a hawk, clawed hands, large bat-like Cape Wings, and a hood that is modelled on the hawk-helmet Griffith wore back when he commanded the Band of the Hawk.


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    Tropes A-D 

  • The Ace: In his glory days, it seems there is no skill he hasn't mastered and no goal that he can't accomplish. His enemies hate and envy him, while his followers think he can do no wrong. Then he fails once, and gets broken. Brutally broken. Then he goes all over this trope post-Eclipse.
  • Affably Evil: Pre-Eclipse, there wasn't much he wouldn't stoop to if it would help achieve his goals, but he wouldn't go out of his way to be cruel and had several Pet the Dog moments. Post-Eclipse he may be closer to Faux Affably Evil territory, although this is a point of contention among the fandom.
  • Agent Peacock: A beautiful and effeminate man as well as a cunning tactician and highly skilled swordsman.
  • Almighty Janitor: Subverted. Not only were people surprised at the charisma and military knowledge that Griffith carried, but they were most surprised at the fact that he is not even of noble birth, climbing up in rank in the Midland army from a street kid with a ragtag bunch of misfits to a knight general. The upper class saw this as a threat to their own power.
  • Ambition Is Evil: In pursuit of his dream of obtaining his own kingdom, Griffith has sacrificed the original Band of the Hawk, raped Casca to insanity while making Guts watch, and become a powerful demon, among other things.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Sure, his sleeping with Princess Charlotte becomes a major plot-point, but the sheer amount of Ho Yay he throws in Guts' direction coupled with his reaction once Guts leaves suggests an obsession beyond mere friendship.
  • And I Must Scream: Suffers a purely physical and realistic form of this after being tortured for a year by the Midland King's orders. His body is emaciated almost to the bone, his tongue is cut out and his tendons are removed. He's been reduced to an immobile cripple, and things only get worse from there.
  • Animal Motifs: A white hawk/falconnote , which represents his soaring ambition, ability to rise above his birth through sheer talent, and being a fierce warrior who strikes at his enemies out of the blue like a bird of prey. Guts also likens Griffith to a Hawk flying overhead while everyone else is on the ground as a comment on how he always looks down on other people. After his fortunes turn he is like a falcon that fell to earth, but he revives like a phoenix after seeming to appear to people throughout the land as a falcon of light in a mass dream. The Band of the Falcon's emblem of a sword with wings uses this symbolism, and he wears a helmet resembling the head of a bird of prey. His later armor and sword guard are shaped to simulate wings and feathers. His form of Femto is a dark version of this symbolism, with Cape Wings, talons, and a cowl shaped like his hawk helmet.
  • Artifact of Doom: His Crimson Behelit.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: He became an Eldritch Abomination of evil.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Half of the Hawks joined under Griffith because his mere image put them in a state of awe. The other half joined under Griffith because they saw him a strong leader that they wanted to follow - meaning that most of them got their asses kicked by him when they tried to confront him. Same with the new Band of Hawks, with added prophecy bonus.
  • Attempted Rape: When he sees how close Guts and Casca have become, Griffith tries to rape Casca in a fit of jealousy and despair when she comes to check on his wounds. Being in a crippled state he isn't capable of doing much more than flopping ineffectually on top of her, and rather than being disgusted Casca just feels sorry for him. Doubles as foreshadowing for what happens in the Eclipse.
  • Badass: Just as Badass as Guts in his own way. He fought him and BEAT him easily in their first encounter.
    • Badass Cape: As Femto he has bat-like Cape Wings.
    • Badass Normal: Pre-Eclipse he was an ordinary human, but a highly-skilled swordsman.
    • Four-Star Badass: For as long he was the leader of the Band of Hawkes, he led victory after victory against impossible odds in a literal streak. His most impressive victory is the siege of Doldrey, a castle once under Midland domain of utmost strategic importance and was never recaptured by the Midland army for a whole century that the entire war was fought. With just 5,000 mercenaries, he was able to capture the legendary impregnable fortress against an enemy number of at least 35,000 (with a fraction of the forces containing being the Purple Rhino Knights, one of the BEST military organizations of the Tudors and led by one of the best generals of the nation). With minimal casualties........ His leadership of the Band of the Hawk's played such an immeasurable contribution to Midland's victory in the Hundred Years War that the King had no hesitation in promoting Griffith as a knight as early as possible, even before Doldrey. Upon returning back to the capital, the Hawks were in queue to become White Knights, the most prestigious military honor in the nation, and were treated as war heroes as they entered back into the country. It's telling that after his imprisonment, the Band of Hawks quickly decayed and the only thing preventing its collapse was Casca.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy:
    • Unlike Guts, Griffith's naked scenes have him drawn like a ken doll.
    • Averted during the Eclipse, where his anatomy is shown in more graphic detail as he rapes Casca.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Takes advantage of the fact that people believe this is true in order to win their trust and loyalty.
  • Beauty Is Bad: After his resurrection, he exploits the above belief much further.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Rare Male Example. That is, until he was horribly tortured for a year, to the point that his face was so horrifically scarred that, in this series, the aftereffects to his face are given a Take Our Word for It treatment.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Downplayed. The torture just got the ball rolling; it was the aftereffects that sent him over the edge.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Very courteous and mannerly. But stand in his way and you shall see hell. Now literally as he become a Godhand.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Shares the status of main antagonist with the other four members of The Godhand.
  • Big Good: The original Band of the Hawk saw him as their caring and benevolent leader, which isn't entirely wrong; as while he may have used underhanded methods to advance himself, he also allowed each of his subordinates to attain higher social standing and privilege while also genuinely being a kind and courteous leader. He is still seen as this by Midland. Keyword being SEEN.
  • Bishōnen: Constantly described as beautiful and is drawn with the same facial features as all of the attractive women are.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Had little compunctions about disposing of his companions yet acted like a caring and well-intentioned leader.
  • Bloodbath Villain Origin: Part of his final descent into becoming a God Hand was to sacrifice the entire Band of the Hawk.
  • Break the Haughty: Say you're Griffith. You've worked your way up the social ladder, finally established yourself and your Ragtag Bunch of Misfits as a powerful army capable of defending the land, and successfully manipulated the princess herself into loving you. Nothing could possibly go wrong from here, right? And then your best friend leaves you to pursue his own dreams in a humiliating Curb-Stomp Battle that only manages to last as long as one swing of your sword. Yeah. Pretty good reason for you to Break the Haughty.
  • Broken Ace: Brilliant, charismatic...and completely fucked up.
  • Broken Pedestal: To all the Hawks because of his betrayal, but especially to Guts who considered him his best friend and Casca who was one of his most devoted worshippers.
  • Bungled Suicide: With his dream in tatters and his body mutilated, Griffith tried to end his misery by impaling his throat on a broken branch but lacked the strength to do even that.
  • Byronic Hero: Fit this archetype pre-Eclipse. Introspective? Yes. Intelligent? Amazingly so. Arrogant? His defining character trait. Extremely passionate about his dreams? His dreams are the only things he's passionate about. Jaded and cynical? Well, he was a Wide-Eyed Idealist, but wasn't afraid to play the game of thrones if he had to. Intensely dedicated to his own philosophy, without any concern for any established standards set by society? Absolutely.
  • Cape Wings: As Femto, he has a pair of dark bat-like wings that fall around him like a cape.
  • The Champion: He was this to Casca for the longest time, since he saved her from a life of sexual slavery and prostitution and gave her a new one, and she was indebted to him to the point that it was practically hero worship. According to Judeau, she took his word as gospel and was prepared to sacrifice her life for his dream.
  • Char Clone: Handsome, has pretty hair, a powerful warrior, possibly abandoned by his parents, treats everyone around him as pawns, and at one point wore a mask.
  • The Chessmaster: Possesses amazing skill at manipulating events using gambits and misdirection. Lord Gennon, Minister Foss, and the Queen all play right into his schemes.
  • The Chosen One: A villainous example. He was chosen by the Crimson Behelit to become the fifth member of the Godhand during the Eclipse. However, he now has the people of Midland and even the Pope convinced that he's the savior who was promised to them.
  • Control Freak: Griffith obviously believes that he can use his comrades whenever and however he feels like. But when Guts and Casca have plans outside of his control? NO - that will NOT be permitted!
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Implied. The details of his back story are a bit blurry, but Griffith's parents are never mentioned and he never talked about up and leaving them like Isidro did his, so we can only assume that he lived with the street children and decided that one day, he was going to become king - and it wasn't like he had parents to stop him.
  • The Corruptible: In his determination to achieve his dream, he easily fell into the Godhand's plans to manipulate him, driving him to madness and forcing him to commit his Moral Event Horizon in the form of the Eclipse.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Shortly after his transformation, The Idea of Evil summons him to its presence just to tell him about how, on top of being the one behind all wickedness on Earth, it took a personal interest in Griffith and orchestrated his rise and fall to mold him into his greatest servant. Though by that point he is beyond being affected by it or caring anymore.
  • Courtly Love: Griffith toyed with this concept concerning his relationship with Princess Charlotte, who was the quickest way to the throne of Midland if he were to succeed in wooing and earning her hand in marriage. The guy was doing a damn good job at it too, until he messed it all up in a moment of despair.
  • Cultured Warrior: Not content to just be a perfect military leader, he holds his martial and cultural pursuits in perfect balance.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: A deliberate example. Griffith is an all-powerful demonic god who can make space and time dance upon his very fingertips...but all he wants to do with it is build a kingdom. He's an Eldritch Abomination capable of anything, but this extreme sense of tunnel vision he has towards his dream numbs him to the thought of doing anything else with his power, painting him in a much more pathetic light.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Becomes insanely jealous towards Guts and Casca when they start to favor each other over him.
  • Dark Is Evil: As Femto he resembles a dark, bat-winged bird of prey, which was the result of crossing the Moral Event Horizon and becoming one of the arch-demons who control reality. His reincarnated Griffith form goes for Light Is Not Good, but—as we see when he appears before Ganishka—his true form is still dark and bat-winged.
  • Dark Messiah: Becomes a nominal Messianic Archetype who has managed to gather basically the entirety of Midland under his banner, establishing himself as both their ruler and their heavenly savior. And all he had to do was make a Deal with the Devil and become a God of Evil to do it. Ultimately, this is a Played With example, as the ultimate agenda of the Godhand involved letting him become a Dark Messiah so that he can fuse the astral and mortal planes together.
  • Deal with the Devil: Like all the other Godhands before him, Griffith met the previous Godhand and Idea of Evil and accepted their offer.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the Rags to Riches hero, the Determinator, and the Knight in Shining Armor. His extreme devotion to fulfilling his dream has resulted in him committing things like kidnapping, assassination, prostitution, manipulation, and a Deal with the Devil. Following your dreams comes at a very real cost, and that cost can involve the lives of others.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: His recruiting M.O. Besides famously winning Guts' allegiance in a duel, it's mentioned in passing that Corkus was the leader of a group of bandits before Griffith defeated him and earned his loyalty. It's never spelled out, but considering that Judeau has a shady past and is known to have run with thieves and bandits, it's likely he was recruited in a similar fashion. Post-Eclipse, this is how Zodd joins the new Band of the Hawk.
  • Deflector Shields: Personal kind. One of powers that Griffith's Godhand form of Femto reveals to have during the movie, in which he puts one up between he and Guts to prevent the latter from stabbing him in order to save Casca from his clutches.
  • Despair Event Horizon: It is Griffith's crossing of this that activates his Crimson Behelit.
    • Probably the visit at Charlotte's bedroom as well. Given, that he'd guessed the king's obsession with his own daughter (and thus could see how it'd probably turn out) and delivering an I Shall Taunt You speech to the man, who was keeping him in his dungeons, we can assume that Griffith gave up on everything... or it would be QUITE a Too Dumb to Live moment for a Magnificent Bastard.
  • Determinator: Deconstructed. No matter how many people have to die and no matter what sacrifices he has to make, he will achieve his dream.
  • Deuteragonist: While one half of the story is Guts' quest for vengeance/to restore Casca's sanity, the other half is Griffith's quest to become the god-king of the lands.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Even at the best of times, Griffith casually uttered lines like " You belong to me. And I will decide when and how you die." The only reason Guts didn't just pack up and leave right there is because he was used to being treated FAR WORSE and Grifith still managed to look idealistic.
    • Also Griffith never said anything about making the world better for the little guy. He was always after power for the sake of power.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: A hallucination immediately before the Eclipse reveals that he was actually in love with Casca, as his vision of an ideal future was of himself as a noble, her as his wife, and a son named after his best friend. Seeing that Casca has hooked up with Guts caused him to break, and it is the reason why he raped her.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Inverted. He is a demonic abomination from beyond the veil of time and space, and any attempts to attack him or even wound him slightly fall short due to his reality-distorting powers. The only exception to this comes, ironically, from Rickert, who lands an AWESOME Armor-Piercing Slap on him for what he did to the Band of the Hawk. But even then, Griffith barely even seemed affected by this gesture, and it's mildly implied that he just allowed Rickert to slap him in order to let him vent.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Casca intends to leave the Band of the Hawk alongside Guts? Griffith tries to rape her, and later does so after becoming Femto.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: His effeminate appearance his caused many men and women to describe him as "beautiful". Women have frequently said that he is more beautiful than themselves, or any woman they have ever seen.

    Tropes E-L 

  • Egopolis: Upon returning to Midland and fusing both the astral and physical planes of existence together, he establishes a kingdom for himself called Falconia, embroidered with a bunch of regal avian imagery and based off both Roman and Greek architecture in design.
  • Emotionless Boy: After his reincarnation. He conveys little to no emotion, and it goes hand in hand with the fact that he has no empathy. Shows signs of it before the Eclipse as well, especially Casca's flashback of him after his "encounter" with Governor Gennon. That calm, compassionate smile starts to look more like a Stepford Smile after you know what it's hiding.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Seeing Guts leaving him and then Casca choosing Guts over him made Griffith feel betrayed, causing him to completely lose it.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Even males in the series tend to find him attractive, or at least handsome.
  • Evil Costume Switch: As Femto, Griffith's outfit appears to be a darker, more sinister (and skin-tight) version of his warrior armor that he wears as Griffith. However, Femto technically wears no costume at all. It's just what he looks like.
  • Evil Former Friend: He and Guts had a bond bordering on brotherhood (or perhaps even more than that), only for him to betray Guts and everyone else he led to horrible deaths during the events of the Eclipse, which would destroy this bond forever and leave Guts with an undying hatred for Griffith.
  • Expy:
    • Similar in many ways to Ryo from Devilman, being the tough protagonist's Bishounen best friend who has strong feelings for him and turns out to be a villain. In an interesting sort of cyclical example, in the spinoff manga AMON, the character mentioned ends up looking and acting a lot like Griffith.
    • Miura loved Rose of Versailles, and seems to have given Griffith some of Oscar's elegance and androgynous appearance, though their actual personalities are pretty different.
  • Face–Heel Turn: He was Guts' closest friend before ambition and jealousy led to him betraying his comrades for power.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: As beautiful as post-Eclipse Griffith is, he is a heartless abomination on the inside.
  • Facial Horror: Implied to have happened to his face after his torture, but we're never allowed to see it. Given how grotesque the series usually is, this stands out a lot.
  • Faking the Dead: Once he learns that the Queen of Midland and her nobles want him dead, Griffith blackmails Foss, the head of the conspiracy, into helping him set up a Batman Gambit that involved faking his own death. It ultimately leads to the Queen and her nobles being locked into a burning castle to die.
  • Fallen Hero: He was the hero of Midland before his pride cost him everything. He's currently regarded as a hero, but the actions that led him to this place are those of a villain.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride is Griffith's major fatal flaw and it's pretty hard to edge around (it's even implied in his namesake). Most of his actions revolve around the fact that he believes that he's destined to become a ruler and that no one can quite reach his standards. Everybody he encounters loves him, and he's fine with that, especially if it gets him closer to his goal. Griffith is a hard worker, but failure isn't an option for him and he rarely does, which sets himself higher on his own pedestal. But when he loses one battle against Guts, just ONE... Everything comes crashing down for him, and he just goes on a downward spiral of self-destruction (you can also interpret his reaction in that Guts was his emotional crutch or that he had feelings for him). Again, we see this from a more sympathetic light, since Griffith genuinely wasn't a bad person to begin with. But again, this all changes when the Eclipse happens. Other flaws that can be associated with Griffith can be his ambition, his selfishness, and quite possibly his hypocrisy.
  • A Father to His Men: Deconstructed in the Golden Age. Yes, he did legitimately care about the people in his army, but in order to cope with the inevitable death that would happen, he had to distance himself emotionally from them to the point where he had to see them more as tools than as people.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Post-resurrection into the physical realm, it's unclear whether he actually cares for the people he's saving or if it's just for PR as he grabs power.
  • Foil: Guts and Griffith serve as foils whose character traits contrast with each other. Guts is a loner, suspicious of other people, while Griffith draws other people to himself. Guts has No Social Skills, while Griffith has great charisma and charm. Guts is an uncultured manly man, while Griffith is a sophisticated Bishōnen. Guts lives in the moment, focusing on living another day, while Griffith has a grand dream and always looks toward the future. Guts relies on his strength and toughness to fight, while Griffith prefers speed and finesse. After his reincarnation, Griffith is a Villain with Good Publicity who is universally worshiped by his army and the people and associated with light and the color white, while Guts is a Hero with Bad Publicity associated with darkness and the color black who is feared, hated, and shrouded in mystery.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He started out as a normal commoner. Over time, he formed a gang of highwaymen, built them up into an army, became a successful general...and after the Eclipse, took his place in the Godhand as one of five demon kings.
  • Goal in Life: Since he was a boy, he has fixated himself on getting a kingdom for himself by his own hands. At any means necessary.
  • A God Am I: Griffith was dying to be worshiped, and got what he wanted by becoming a god for real.
  • Gold Digger: He's only interested in Charlotte because he'll gain a kingdom by marrying her. Technically he craves the power rather than the wealth, but the effect is the same.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: When he returns to Midland after having ascended to godhood, he curries favor with basically everyone by performing miracles such as allowing the souls of the dead to interact with their loved ones and establishing a utopia for all of humanity upon defeating a mad Apostle-king seeking to conquer the world. It's clear, however, that he's only doing any of these things to help fulfill his dream. He really sees everyone as a means to achieve that goal.
  • The Heavy: Griffith is not the only Big Bad in Berserk, but he has the most direct involvement with the plot and is the source for Guts' motivation.
  • Hellish Pupils: Clearly seen having this type of eyes after his reincarnation.
    • Occult Blue Eyes: Certainly crosses into this terrain since he originally had blue eyes.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: In the past, he suffered one upon seeing a young boy in his army die in battle.
    • He suffered another one after being tortured that sent him past the Despair Event Horizon, and was "rebooted" in the most horrific way possible.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Ever since his physical reincarnation Griffith has been operating out in the open, making bold moves such as gathering a demon army and embarking on the reconquest of Midland from the Kushan Empire. He has gone to great lengths to consolidate his power such as getting engaged to Princess Charlotte, establishing a city with a massive population and industrial capacity, merging the physical and astral planes in the process of defeating Ganishka, and ordering a hit on Flora, the last witch who could oppose him. Not even the few people who know that he's a demon can guess exactly what he's up to, and it seems that certain of his minions are determined to prevent such nosy people from finding out, or living to tell the tale if they do.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Since being reincarnated into a corporeal body, Griffith looks mostly human, but he is most assuredly not. Even his beauty is described as inhuman.
  • Hypocrite: He said that a true friend to him was somebody who went after their own dreams no matter what. And what does he go and do when Guts tries to go after his own dream?
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Griffith isn't completely without a conscience and has done much that he isn't proud of, but he tells himself he has no choice but to be ruthless if he wants to achieve his dream. When Casca asks him why he prostituted himself to Lord Gennon, he explains that it was necessary to speed up his plans and prevent needless casualties in battle. No matter what, he has to keep fighting and sacrificing lives not only because is it for his dream, but because the soldiers he sacrificed up to then would have died for nothing if he stopped now. At the moment of truth during the Eclipse, when the God Hand gives him the choice of whether to rot among the pile of corpses he created or keep piling on more sacrifices to reach his dream, he chooses to cross the Moral Event Horizon without looking back. When he meets Guts again on the hill of swords, he tells Guts that he did what he had to do in order to pursue his kingdom and isn't going to apologize or feel remorse for it, an attitude that Guts finds unforgivable.
  • If I Can't Have You: When Guts tries to leave, Griffith is willing to kill him rather than not have the man wrapped around his finger.
  • Invincible Villain: Since his elevation to the God Hand, Griffith exists on a different plane of existence from humans and cannot be killed in any conventional way. His charisma in reincarnated form is irresistible, and the number of powerful Apostles he has brought to his side makes his position practically unassailable. It's said that opposing him "would be akin to someone in a story challenging the one who wrote it."
  • It's Personal: While Guts will never forgive Griffith for sacrificing the Band of the Hawk, Guts admitted that he was no longer part of the Band of the Hawk at that time, and that it's not really his right to avenge them. Raping Casca, on the other hand, was something Griffith did to the woman he loved, specifically to hurt him. Guts is never going to let that go, not until Griffith is dead by his hand.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Played for Drama when his first act as a villain to show how cruel he's become is to hold Casca at his mercy and then rape her while forcing Guts to watch. This fills Guts with a desperate urgency to put a stop to it before Griffith can do any more harm to Casca, to the point of hacking his own hand off, but it's no use. This is one of the rare instances of this trope where the hero fails to save his damsel/love interest and the villain totally gets away with it.
  • I Have Your Wife: Griffith gets some hired goons to kidnap Minister Foss's daughter in order to get him to thwart the Queen of Midland, who was planning to poison him during a ceremony honoring him and the Hawks.
  • Implied Death Threat: Griffith hands these out just by using his Death Glare. Even cutthroat nobles like Count Julius and Minister Foss are intimidated when he gives them that Kubrick Stare.
  • It's All About Me: Oh, Griffith, you selfish bastard. Although he did seem to care at least a bit about his group of mercenaries, particularly Casca and Guts, achieving his dream is ultimately more important to him.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: His rescue of Princess Charlotte from Ganishka's captivity could just be seen as him returning to a modified Plan A. Become a hero to the country, marry the princess, be king and rule. He's been playing Princess Charlotte's fairytale prince from the begining and it's pretty clear that he was just manipulating her in order to get the crown.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Griffith's goal seemed harmless and noble enough in the beginning, even making other characters look at their own lives in perspective, but most of his choices in order to achieve his goal are clearly in the morally gray territory (plotting assassinations, kidnapping kids, and making his second-to-the-right hand man do most of it so that he wouldn't smear his good image). And then Griffith's very personality begins to unravel like a sweater caught on a nail, just to add. After all of the hideous things that happened to him over the course of the one year time-skip, we still look at him from a sympathetic light, and feel badly for him that he was unable to achieve a dream that seems so simple and pure. Until the Eclipse happened, and then - uh oh.
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes: They vary in look depending on Griffith's temperament and motive:
  • Kick the Dog: This trope isn't enough to explain the magnitude of what Griffith did during the Eclipse, but the absolute lowest moment had to be raping Casca to the point of insanity in front of Guts, forcing him to cut his left arm off in an attempt to save her, and giving him the impression that he could have made a difference before having a demon pin his body down and gouge his right eye out. Unlike the other actions that he carried out as part of the sacrifice, this was done purely out of spite.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Does this to the Midland nobles who cross his path. Although he does it for selfish reasons, he comes off as something of a hero simply because said nobles were... not the nicest people.
  • Knighting: After an important battle in the Golden Age arc, Griffith is knighted by the King of Midland. Shortly after that, his knighthood is stripped from him for deflowering the princess.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Fits this perfectly during the Golden Age arc, making for a nice, juicy Deconstruction.
  • Knight of Cerebus: We knew this bastard was playing for keeps after what he did at the Eclipse.
  • Kubrick Stare: Not only was he brutally raping Casca during the climax of the Eclipse, he was staring directly into Guts' eyes the entire time.
  • Lack of Empathy: Griffith claims that he feels no remorse about having sacrificed his followers, even after going to the hill of swords to see if he would feel anything.
    Griffith: "It appears that I am free."
  • Lady and Knight: He invokes this in his relationship with Charlotte. Charlotte is the bright lady character type and he's the knight who looks bright, but has dark intentions.
  • Light Is Good: Before his Face–Heel Turn he took advantage of people's tendency to believe this.
  • Light Is Not Good: He oozes this after his reincarnation in the mortal world as Griffith again.
  • Like a God to Me: The typical first impression that people get upon seeing Griffith for the first time is that he's like a saint or hero who stepped out of an artwork. Casca in particular says that he became her hero from the moment they first met, and Judeau says that her respect for him is like worship.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: An attractive and androgynous male whose shoulder-length hair is key to his charm. Every time he removes his helmet there's a cascade of wavy white hair that makes any observer catch their breath.
  • Love Makes You Evil: While he was ostensibly sociopathic before, his perceived rejection from Guts started his spiralling descent.
  • Love Hungry: Griffith doesn't so much want to love other people as he wants them to love him unconditionally, regardless of how he treats them.

    Tropes M-R 

  • Magnetic Hero: See Defeat Means Friendship above.
  • Makeup Is Evil: He as his Femto persona and Slan are the only God Hand member to wear make-up.
  • Man in the Iron Mask: Late in the Golden Age Arc, the King of Midland imprisons Griffith in a dungeon under torture as punishment for deflowering his daughter, even though the mere fact that Griffith is alive represents a threat of rebellion from the Band of the Hawk. At least the King tries to prevent that from happening by preemptively outlawing Griffith's followers and ordering Midland's army to wipe them out. The king keeps the place of Griffith's imprisonment and the nature of his crime a secret to avoid losing face and to make sure that Griffith doesn't escape, telling the guards he'll kill them and their families if they breathe a word about it. Of course, the Hawks do manage to break Griffith out of prison a year later, and for bonus points they find that his captors had literally put him in a locked iron mask that concealed the horrible things the torturer had done to his face.
  • Man in White: Griffith's often white clothing and brightly polished armor combined with his white hair makes him look both beautiful and unnerving in a way that sets him apart from other people. This impression of something about him being odd or supernatural is especially strong after reincarnating, when he is said to look like an angel descended to earth rather than a human being. It's also an example of how this often indicates hidden wickedness, since he is now an arch-demon in disguise.
  • Manipulative Bastard: A very good example, at least before the Eclipse. Probably even more so afterwards (just look at how he treats Charlotte).
  • Master Swordsman: His fencing technique is so superior that he was able to defeat Guts with one thrust the first time they fought, and utterly dominate him the second time. That was before Guts surpassed him.
  • Meaningful Name: See Animal Motifs.
  • Messianic Archetype: An extremely nominal example. Upon his return to the mortal world, he manages to establish himself a kingdom and gain the love and worship of pretty much everyone in Midland. Even the Pope of the Berserkerverse sees him as a Messiah sent to deliver them from evil and to be the key which holds the world's salvation. However...
    • Satanic Archetype: This is what Griffith really is. Spurred by his own Pride and selfish desires, he sacrifices all notions of goodness in his heart and consigns himself to evil. A Villain with Good Publicity, he is seen as an inhumanly perfect, angelic, and even divine savior of mankind; a light in the dark, dark world Berserk takes place in. This is exactly what Satan is all about in the Bible, specifically in the Book of Revelation: an "angel of light" which the world will worship in sheer awe of.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body:
    • After he was reincarnated into a humanoid body, Griffith arranged for an encounter with Guts just to see if this trope was in effect and if he would feel anything from the meeting. He didn't.
    • Well not entirely; he eventually notices he feels a compulsion of protectiveness towards Casca, attributed to the fact he used the Corrupted Infant's body as his new vessel. He is less than pleased when he figures it out.
  • Mind Rape: Psychic assault scenario. What Ubik does to Griffith, which results in him carrying out the sacrifices for the Eclipse and turning into the demonic Femto.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Much like Guts, he also has a large female fandom, but for completely different reasons.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Griffith is being transformed into Femto, he has a moment of this...only to realize that he can no longer feel remorse. In the anime, his inner voice suddenly becomes colder after the "last tear you ever shed" moment making it sound like Femto is breaking down Griffith. No more going back from there.
  • Naked on Revival: When Griffith is reincarnated into the physical world as an almost-human, he's understandably naked, since he used the body of the Child to do so.
  • Narcissist: Griffith is always all about Griffith, and he sees Guts, Casca, and the rest of the Hawks as little more than extensions of his own will. After the Eclipse, as Femto, he plunges into fullblown sociopathy.
  • Never My Fault: For the entire year he spent being tortured in prison, Griffith never accepted responsibility for doing something as stupid and reckless as seducing the princess. He pinned everything about his downfall on Guts.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: The Noble Male to Guts' Roguish Male.
  • Nominal Hero: In the past he was an amoral and self-interested mercenary, but gained the status of hero by defeating Tudor's armies and saving the good-guy Kingdom of Midland. Now he's a straight up villain.
  • Not Good with Rejection: He is completely unable to deal with Guts leaving him and the discovery of Guts and Casca's relationship.
  • The Omniscient: Widely speculated that as Femto, he found out about Guts' traumatic backstory and used this knowledge to torture him during the Eclipse, and/or that he knew that raping Casca would allow him to one day manifest in the physical realm again.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Related to the above, if he did know, it's the only possible justification for why raping Casca could still be For The Greater Good. Still doesn't explain why he made Guts watch, though. Or why he raped Casca in such a sadistic way that could have possibly killed her.
  • The Paragon: Subverted. He starts out like this, as he gave Casca the sword and the courage to defeat her would-be rapist, he transformed Guts from a wandering brute-for-hire into a soldier who cares about his comrades, and the entire Band of the Hawk is made up of rehabilitated social outcasts. However, Griffith only sees his comrades as a means to an end, and although he does care for them, that was all that was needed in order for them to be made sacrifices.
  • Passive Rescue: How Griffith saved Casca when she was a child, by tossing her a sword and telling her that if she wanted to safeguard her virginity, she had to do it herself. To give Griffith some credit, he did stun the noble who was in the middle of trying to rape her by cutting off his ear.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • His conversation with Casca after prostituting himself for funds, where he talks about how the only thing he can do for those who have died is to make sure their deaths weren't in vain, suggests some level of genuine care for his troops. It has been suggested that his reincarnation as the demonic Femto has actually removed his ability to feel remorse (and maybe some other emotions), and thus regardless of what he may be now, his affection in the past was probably genuine.
    • Saves insane Casca from some falling rocks, though it is debatable on whether or not he truly did this out of remorse for the horrific things he had done to her in the past, or because he was being manipulated by the Child, whose body he used in order to reincarnate himself back into the physical world. Speculations highly suggest that it was more due to the latter reason, so this would be a subversion.
    • There's also the time he hesitates to destroy Guts. Perhaps this was to preserve Casca's unborn child; or was there another motive?
    • He also saved Princess Charlotte from Ganishka's captivity in a very romantic, fairytale-esque way.
    • For such a proud being, he didn't seem to mind Rickert angrily slapping him. However, no one knows if he just kept his calm for purposes of decorum, is shocked for this affront, or genuinely considers him as a friend.
  • Physical God: Following his incarnation into a physical body, Griffith was officially deified by the Pope himself and has established himself in the minds of people as a divine being. It helps that he has the power to back it up.
  • Pitiful Worms: As an immortal demon he looks down on his human and insignificant enemy Guts, dismissively comparing him to a small, lowly creature:
    As Femto: "Still squirming around in your pitiful existence, I see."
  • Power Perversion Potential: Taken to the MOST extreme level of Squick when he's Femto. He garners the extraordinary powers of a demon lord, and is able to bend reality at his very will. The first thing he does is once he gets this power is to use for rape.
  • Prince Charmless: He's a strikingly beautiful man... but is willing to do whatever it takes to attain his goals.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The entire Golden Age arc is an extensive one for him; he went from a Wide-Eyed Idealist to a demon lord all in the name of pursuing his dream.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Before the Eclipse, many characters comment that he has an almost childlike innocence about him (though since he would sometimes display this at inappropriate times certain people would find it creepy rather than endearing). Indeed, one could interpret his dream as a boyish fantasy he never did quite let go. Once he becomes Femto, still tries to pursue this fantasy, but in a much more ruthless and remorseless way
  • Psychotic Smirk: When he hears of Lord Julius' death, he can't help but darkly grin with satisfaction. It's as disturbing as Guts' smile is heartwarming.
  • Rags to Royalty: A Deconstruction, his Social Climber origins show the negative traits such an ambitious and scheming individual would have, and how damningly far one would go to gain such stature once his flaws caused it to slip from him.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The very first thing he does upon becoming Femto is rape a restrained Casca so brutally that the experience (on top of the events leading up to it) drives her completely insane.
  • Reality Warper: As Femto he exercises control over the laws of physics in his own dimension, as seen in volume 3 and during the Eclipse when he effortlessly restrains Guts using telekinesis.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: As Femto he is black with red eyes.
  • Red Baron: Before ascending to demonhood he 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.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Femto in the movie adaptation has threatening red eyes.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Griffith is the calm and calculating Blue Oni to Guts' passionate and headstrong Red Oni. There's even a color theme for their contrasting personalities; Griffith's white horse covering has a blue zigzag on it, and in the movies the inside of his white cape is blue to contrast with Guts' red cape.
  • Red Right Hand: Even though he is the most human-looking of the apostles when in his human form, Griffith still retains the terrifying eyes of his Godhand form. Now it looks as if he's always giving you the Kubrick Stare. *shudder*
  • Renaissance Man: Although introduced as a military genius and master swordsman, he tells Guts one has to be able to do more than fight in order to become great. To that end he's read and mastered the skills contained in books on history, religion, philosophy, chemistry, and tactics, as well as miscellaneous subjects such as cosmetics and cooking. Another skill that serves him well in his ambitions is an extensive knowledge of drugs and poisons derived from plants. To round it off, he's a perfectly cultivated gentleman who blends in just as well on the floor of a ballroom as he does on the battlefield.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Griffith's goal to obtain a kingdom will be built on his blood, sweat, and tears. Along with many, many others'. He eventually does win himself a kingdom through use of his sheer godlike powers, and has established himself as both the king and holy Chosen One of said kingdom.

    Tropes S-Z 

  • Sanity Slippage: From the moment Guts decided to leave the Hawks, Griffith slowly began to lose it, bit by bit, over the course of a year. And he was already a yanderic Broken Ace to begin with.
  • Sex for Solace: When he fails to stop Guts from leaving the Hawks, he sneaks into Charlotte's room and sleeps with her in order to take his mind off Guts and regain some sense of control in his life. It does little to comfort him, however, and he pays dearly for this reckless action.
  • Shameless Fanservice Guy: A contender for most physically attractive man in the world, and has no shame about appearing nude before other people, such as when Guts found him bathing in the castle courtyard the night after his first raid.
  • Shower of Angst: The morning after he sells his body to Gennon, there is a wonderfully disturbing scene of him angsting over his responsibility for the deaths of his followers while clawing at his arms until they bleed.
  • Smug Super: Although we haven't heard Griffith speak as Femto many times, every time he does he is a snide and egotistical prick who loves nothing more than to laugh at the pain that he has caused Guts and how much more powerful he is than Guts or anyone around him. If he weren't already a vile, evil villain, Femto would be straight up in Jerkass Avenue.
  • Social Climber: His goal is to become the king of Midland despite being a commoner. He starts out the leader of a band of mercenaries and rises to fame through military victories. He plans to marry Princess Charlotte to secure the throne. In the end, the fact how close to succeeding Griffith gets only serves to make his fate that much more tragic. Griffith loses all that he has gained and sacrifices his men in a desperate attempt to salvage what has been lost.
  • The Sociopath: Even before the events of the Eclipse, Griffith was a narcissistic bastard, but after it he becomes completely void of empathy, and utterly devoted to dog-kicking.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Despite his selfishness during the Golden Age, he was the closest thing to a Big Good the series had.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": While he is widely known as Femto, it is highly probable that the actual spelling of his name is "Phemt", the technical concept after which he is named.
  • Start of Darkness: Related to Protagonist Journey to Villain, the Golden Age arc, being Guts' back story, serves as this for Griffith.
  • Stepford Smiler: ...Oh no. Not that smile. With the eyes. And the stare. Is there any feeling behind reborn Griffith's smile?
  • The Stoic: Even after becoming the Dark Messiah to the whole world, he emotes rarely, and when he does, his eyes certainly don't.
  • Street Urchin: While having an inner monologue to himself while imprisoned, Griffith mentioned that he spent his early years on the streets with other kids. His parents are still never mentioned.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Even Guts experiences this upon seeing him naked.
  • Take Our Word for It: Whatever happened to his face in his year of horrible torture was so horrific that even in this series, the viewer isn't allowed to see it and Guts is disturbed.
  • This Is Something She's Got to Do Herself: Instead of saving Casca from rape himself, he threw her a weapon and told her to defend herself, then just watched to see what the outcome would be.
  • Threshold Guardian: From the Joseph Campbell perspective. When Guts decided to leave the Hawks at the end of volume 8, Griffith was ultimately the one thing keeping Guts from pursuing his dream, and when Guts decided to go through with his decision - he had to fight for his freedom. Unfortunately, this particular encounter was not as fruitful for the participants as the trope often implies.
  • Tongue Trauma: Not only was Griffith's tongue removed, but that son-of-a-bitch torturer turned it into a necklace. But at least the torturer got what was coming to him.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Upon the Eclipse, the Idea of Evil reveals to Griffith that it is responsible for all the unfortunate events that turned him into a helpless cripple. Instead of being mad at it, Griffith still decides to serve it.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Life was pretty good for Griffith, until Guts decided to leave. Then he goes and sleeps with Princess Charlotte. Then he gets caught by the king and is tortured for over a year, during which time his tongue is cut out of his mouth and the tendons in his hands and feet are cut, rendering him unable to stand or wield a sword. Then he's rescued by Guts, only to realize his dreams are now beyond his grasp. Then to top it all of, he overhears Casca trying to convince Guts to leave again.
  • Übermensch: To Griffith, pursuing one's dream is a moral principle that trumps every other consideration of class, social propriety, or morality as determined by human society. He will do whatever it takes to reach his own, and will acknowledge no moral constraints except those he imposes on himself.
  • The Unfettered: He'll doing anything to achieve his dreams, even sacrificing the lives of his True Companions to demons to do it.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: After everything Guts, Casca and all of his other comrades did to rescue him, he sells them all out in order to become a member of the Godhand. The only survivors are Guts, Casca, and Rickert, who only lived because the Skull Knight rescued them.
  • Villain Protagonist: Specifically within the context of the chapters focusing on his war against the Kushan Empire, Griffith assumes the role of the protagonist with Emperor Ganishka as the antagonist. They're both evil, but Ganishka is so horrible—even compared to him—that we're supposed to be rooting for Griffith.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Upon his reincarnation, Griffith leads a triumphant army liberating the people from foreign enemies and wins the adoration of everyone he saves. They view him as a hero while having no idea that he is actually a demon lord cooperating with the entities who create people-eating Apostles, spread plague and famine, encourage evil cults, stir up monster activity, and are actively plotting the downfall of humankind.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: After his reincarnation into the physical world, Griffith is able to freely change into Femto and back at will.
  • Weapon of Choice: His basket-hilted cavalry saber gives him a combination of elegance, dash, and danger.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Guts was once the only person he could have considered a friend. Both of them shared private thoughts with each other that they wouldn't have told anyone else, and they risked their lives for each other's sakes. Now because of his unforgivable betrayal he is Guts' Arch-Enemy.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: The series' one and only Bishōnen with beautiful white hair, he also happens to currently be the villain. Even back when he was officially a "hero", he was manipulative and out for his own purposes. You could say it gets Exaggerated after his face heel turn, since he is literally a God of Evil but in his human guise his white hair makes him look like an angel.
  • White Magic: After return as the Falcon of Light, he can perform miracles, like summoning the souls of the recently departed to say goodbye to their loved ones. This doesn't make him morally decent in the least...
  • Wicked Cultured: Morally ambiguous before the Eclipse and an outright villain after it, but you can't deny his genius intellect or sophisticated sense of style.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Griffith saw no qualms about raping a pregnant woman, tainting her child in the process, and then using it in order to reincarnate himself in the real world later on. Low. Even worse - that kid was going to be his godson.
  • Yandere: Griffith seems to have some kind of obsession in regards to Guts, judging by how he acts when he tries to leave the Hawks, though whether or not it's romantic in nature depends on your perspective. He also started harboring this toward Casca as well, and the discovery that both of them were in a relationship would cause him to snap, leading to everything going to hell.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/BerserkGriffithFemto