Characters / Berserk: Griffith/Femto

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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 (グリフィス, Gurifisu) / Femto (フェムト, Femuto)

Adult Griffith Voiced by: Toshiyuki Morikawa (Japanese, Berserk (1997) & Berserk: Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Shō), Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc, Berserk (2016), and Berserk and the Band of the Hawk), Kevin T. Collins (English, Adult, Berserk (1997) & Berserk: The Golden Age Arc), Steve Staley (English, Berserk (2016)), Kike Caraballo (Spanish, Berserk (1997)), Ángel de Gracia (Spanish, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc)
Child Griffith Voiced by: Minami Takayama (Japanese, Berserk (1997)), Veronica Taylor (English, Berserk (1997))

Guidebook Stats:note  Height: 178 cm (5 ft, 10 in); Weight: 66 kg (145 lb, 8 oz); Age: 24
"The Black Swordsman, you say? His petty existence is beneath our notice."
Click here  to see him in Seima Senki no Sho
Click here  to see him in Berserk and the Band of the Hawk
Click here  to see him as Femto in Berserk and the Band of the Hawk

"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."

Once the ambitious and talented leader of the Band of the Hawk, and now the fifth Godhand member, 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 beauty 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 selling his body once so he could finance the Hawks—are all considered acceptable, even necessary steps towards his ultimate goal. He earns the trust of the King of Midland through repeated victories on the battlefield, and soon has the king's daughter Princess Charlotte under his spell.

Even as his dream comes into reach, however, he fails to realize that Guts overheard his speech to Princess Charlotte about the importance of one's own dream, making up his mind to leave the Band of the Hawk and pursue a dream that would make him worthy of standing next to Griffith as a true friend and equal. Griffith interprets this as betrayal: when he fails to stop Guts by challenging him to a duel, suffering humiliating defeat and watching Guts walk away without looking back, a devastated Griffith seeks temporary solace by sleeping with the princess and gets imprisoned by the king for treason. Crippled for life after a full year of torture, 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, Griffith becomes Femto, their fifth member, earning Guts's undying hatred both for throwing him and his comrades to the wolves and for raping Casca to insanity right in front of him. Now an instigating force for an apparent Age of Darkness prophesied by his new masters, Griffith is later reincarnated into a human form after the mock Eclipse at the Tower of Conviction, using the body of the Demon Child which was consumed by the Egg of the Perfect World. Having gathered a new Band of the Hawk, one composed of both Apostles and humans, 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 modeled 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's much closer to Faux Affably Evil territory.
  • Agent Peacock: An elegant and androgynous man who is nonetheless 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. According to Guts, he won't stop at a country which is why he opened the astral plane — he will always crave higher goals.
  • Ambiguously Bi: A particularly complex example. He’s voluntarily had sex with both men and women, and there’s more than a little evidence that he might have been in love with Guts (and possibly still is), but he’s so manipulative and so deeply in denial about his own feelings that it’s genuinely unclear if and how his actions match up with his desires. He could be bisexual, gay and deeply closeted, heterosexual but pragmatic, or even wholly asexual.
  • 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 hawk 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 Hawk'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.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Griffith's defining characteristic, in the Golden Age arc. As a human, he would acknowledge life's fleetingness and sought to make a name and a purpose for himself, rather than become a nameless corpse on the battlefield. His drive to obtain a kingdom was such that he could easily disregard the morals of society if doing so would help his goals, and his charisma coupled with his quasi-divine aura easily drew other people to his cause, especially Guts. But in throwing his humanity away to fulfill his destiny and becoming a demonic overlord over causality, Griffith essentially became his own antithesis in pursuit of his goals.
  • 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 Cape: Cuts a dashing figure in battle with his white cape fluttering behind him. As Femto he has bat-like Cape Wings.
  • Badass Normal: Before the Eclipse he's just a mortal human, but so agile and skilled with his sword you'd be forgiven for thinking he was a god of the battlefield.
  • Bait the Dog: Griffith in the Golden Age Arc comes across as the most cool, likeable, and admirable person you've ever met, especially as seen through the eyes of the protagonist Guts, so that it really hits you for a curveball when you're occasionally reminded how ruthless and scary he can be. He's a brilliant battlefield commander and swordfighter, he makes Guts feel right at home with the Hawks in no time, he risks his life to save Guts twice, all of his followers practically worship him, and he's a hit with the ladies including Princess Charlotte whom he woos in a courtly manner. Then he asks Guts to assassinate Count Julius, the King's brother who had just made a failed attempt on Griffith's life, in which Guts also accidentally kills Julius' young son Adonis. When Griffith hears the news from Charlotte's maid Anna he briefly flashes a wicked grin, indicating that he isn't bothered by a child's innocent blood on his hands, that he assassinated Charlotte's uncle, or the fact that he used Guts for such a dirty mission. The way he deals with the Queen's conspiracy against him is similarly chilling, as he uses Minister Foss' daughter as a hostage to make him betray the conspirators, kills the Queen and her plotters by trapping them in a burning building, and then has Guts kill the men he hired to kidnap Foss' daughter so the evidence won't lead back to him. And that is before the Eclipse goes down.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Unlike Guts, most of Griffith's naked scenes have him drawn like a ken doll; although this does get averted during the Eclipse, where his anatomy is shown in more graphic detail as he rapes Casca. We also see his anatomy when he's being tortured.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Takes advantage of the fact that people believe this is true in order to win their trust and loyalty. 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.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Griffith from before the eclipse and Femto are almost like inverted reflections of each other. Griffith was just a common nobody with no power or resources in the beginning while Femto is a demon god with power over reality, cosmic awareness, and the loyalty of an army of monstrous abominations. Griffith rose up using nothing but his own wit, will, and natural born human talents to bring together his own army, train them, and lead them to victory by being a tactical genius and strategist. Femto already had his army granted to him (with soldiers so powerful no human forces can hope to match them) with each of them already being a skilled warrior in their own right with a psychic girl using telepathy to allow Femto to essentially control the battle with almost no effort. Lastly, Griffith is beholden to no one and holds nothing and to be above him in pursuit of his ambition to clame a kingdom and make his mark in history before his inevitable end while Femto is an Immortal servant of causality and the forces that empower him, sees gaining a kingdom as nothing more than a stepping stone to other things and doesn't seem at all invested in anything he does as though he's merely playing his role. Lastly, Griffith seems to be a representation of human ambition and drive while Femto is a representation of the grand forces that indifferently manipulate humanity as part of a role or duty.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Downplayed. The torture just got the ball rolling; it was the aftereffects that sent him over the edge.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: While Griffith is the primary antagonist of the series, he's not the only one. The others are his cohorts in the Godhand: Void, Slan, Ubik, and Conrad.
  • 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 Godhand 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: Griffith is a brilliant and charismatic leader, capable of getting everyone to focus on those qualities. Despite this, he's dangerously focused on achieving his own grand ambition, to the point where he is willing to stoop to any depths he deems necessary in order to do so—mostly for his own sake, partially for the sake of those who've died in the name of it. If that weren't enough, he's also psychotically obsessive over his favored within his mercenary band, whom he feels he "owns", to the point where he actually believes their fates are his alone to choose. When Guts leaves, the realization that his "infallible hold" over people might not be so infallible after all drives him over the edge, causing him to act irrationally in his "desperate" haste to gather all the adoration about himself that he can.
  • 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 worshipers.
  • Bungled Suicide: After giving into despair following his crippling, Griffith tries to kill himself via Impromptu Tracheotomy on a sharp piece of driftwood. While he can't go through with it, the blood from the cut on his neck touches the Crimson Behelet and triggers the Eclipse.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: His actions during the Eclipse, including sacrificing the entire Band of the Hawk to Apostles and raping Casca to insanity while making Guts watch, set Guts off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for two years, but Griffith, for his part, considers said actions very inconsequential on his end. Upon being reincarnated into the physical world, he goes to the Hill of Swords, a memorial for the fallen Hawks, and arranges another meeting with Guts all to see whether or not anything could "sway his heart." Guts is absolutely furious to discover that after the horrible things he did, Griffith feels nothing and still only cares about achieving his dream no matter what.
  • Byronic Hero: A villainous one. 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.
    • He could also be a deconstruction of one, as he is ultimately genuinely evil and dangerous.
  • The Caligula: As the ruler of Falconia, the Hawk of Light makes for a very dangerous ruler, as his reign is based entirely on a personality cult dedicated to someone who in the past is more than willing 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, and has turned the already harsh world into a Hell on Earth and manipulates people into kowtowing to his will by forcing them to seek refuge inside one of the last remaining "safe" zones — his very own Egopolis—, just to advance his ego. Those who disagree or stand in the way won't live any longer.
  • Cape Wings: As Femto, he has a pair of dark bat-like wings that fall around him like a cape.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Griffith couldn't really let himself get particularly close to anyone in his mercenary band—partly out of his own narcissistic tendencies, but also largely because he had to distance himself from the Hawks in order not to waver in his goals to achieve a kingdom. That, and the fact that a great many have died in the name of his ambition, led Griffith to almost sociopathic levels of disconnect from the rest of society and helped him become a successful manipulator—to make sure that all the sacrifices he'd made wouldn't have been for nothing.
  • 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.
  • Characterization Marches On: Femto, during his very first appearance in volume 3, was remarkably haughty and sneering towards Guts, which contrasts his later appearances as an Emotionless Boy in the form of a reincarnated Griffith.
  • 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, and as the instigator for a prophesied Age of Darkness hellbound for Midland's people. However, he now has the people of Midland and even the Pope convinced that he's the savior who was promised to them.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: What he does to Guts and Casca during the Eclipse. Not only does he rape Casca right in front of the man she loves (which is traumatic enough already), but because she has the Brand of Sacrifice and is as close as anyone can possibly get to a member of the Godhand (which is closer than Guts himself was able to get to him in the Guardians of Desire arc because of the pain his own Brand was causing him), she is in utterly excruciating agony all the while he's doing this to her. And it's made all the worse by the effect of this horrible act on Guts himself, who is pinned down and completely at his mercy, a situation that is all too familiar to his first traumatic experience, which he's only told Casca about — and the possibility that Griffith may have gleaned this from either or both of them with his newfound powers as a Godhand and is deliberately using this to torture them both.
    • That's not even mentioning the sort of things that Griffith is doing to Casca as he is raping her... It can only be described as pure sexual sadism, no more, no less.
  • 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!
    Griffith: You will fight for my cause, because you belong to me. I will decide the place where you die.
  • 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.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Due to his Mood Ring Eyes when plotting peoples' demises.
  • Creepy Monotone: He speaks in this upon his resurrection. His voice almost seems drained of emotion, which goes hand-in-hand with how truly inhuman he really is.
  • 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.
    • Later on, Guts posits that Griffith won't just stop at a kingdom and will always seek more for himself—meaning, in the end, he couldn't care less about whatever results from his actions and only seeks to feed his own unparalleled ego by putting himself on higher and higher pedestals.
    Gedfryn: Does he not spare a thought to what he's doing, the means to his ends?
    Guts: That's not quite right. For him it's the opposite. The means are his ends. Getting his just...another step on the way. He seeks to soar to ever-greater heights. That's the Hawk. That's Griffith.
  • 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 the 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.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: He only cares about acquiring power and achieving his dream of running a kingdom, and he will stop at nothing to achieve it, up to and including cracking open the astral plane and fusing it with the physical world, turning an already Crapsack World into a literal Hell on Earth. Guts even states outright that Griffith won't stop at just a country; he will always want more power.
  • 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 Griffith 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 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.
  • Dramatic Irony: His very character thrives on this. Pre-Eclipse, Griffith presented himself as more of a knightly and regal figure than a lowly mercenary—very few knew the true depths of his crude, childish greed and excessive Pride. The Hawks even saw him as a righteous Big Good whose determination to achieve his dreams is something to be inspired by and in awe of—only for this determination to be what eventually drags their souls into Hell. And while he's currently seen throughout Midland as a Messianic Archetype set to bring the world's salvation, every single good thing he's done is simply for the sake of PR and he sees the whole of the world as merely a means to reach greater heights.
  • 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 
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Femto is noticeably more bulky and muscular in the Guardians of Desire chapter than he is during the Fantasia arc, in which Femto is depicted with Griffith's usual lithe, slender body type.
  • 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.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Through his ascention to the Godhand, he transcends his humanity and obtains superpowers such as Flash Step and divine luck which practically means that the laws of the universe won't allow any mortal to harm him. As Femto he also has flight and telekinesis.
  • End of an Age: Griffith's reincarnation into the mortal plane is intended to be the catalyst for the fusion of the astral layers of existence. Sure enough, after defeating Ganishka, Griffith manages to fuse both the astral and physical realms into one, reviving creatures of myth and legend and ultimately making the Berserkerverse so much worse off.
    • This also is essentially what happened to Griffith before, during, and after the Eclipse. After having his dream shredded right before his eyes, Griffith rejects all notions of good in his heart and throws his allies to the Legions of Hell in the pursuit of godhood. Gone is the once-triumphant Big Good of Midland, and in his place is a monstrous Eldritch Abomination ready and willing to manipulate the currents of destiny itself to suit his own ends.
  • 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.
  • Evil Is Petty: Taken to the most depraved extreme when he violently rapes Casca in a pool of the Hawks' blood right in front of Guts purely to spite him for leaving the Band.
  • 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.
    • For those curious enough, the movie art staff drew a picture of Griffith's face post-torture. He had the skin on the upper half of his face and one of his cheeks torn off, showing the muscle underneath it. We told you to take our word for it.
  • 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: It's easy to identify specific aspects of Griffith's flawed personality during the Golden Age Arc such as Pride, ambition, selfishness, and hypocrisy, but there's one tragic flaw that ties them all together: by defining his whole personality and even his self-worth in terms of what he thought he needed to achieve his dream, he couldn't recognize or accept the fact that he needed Guts as much as Guts needed him, or that there was something besides that dream that could make him complete.
    • Griffith's dream began when he was just a poor boy playing in the streets with his friends, looking up at the castle overlooking the town and wishing to go there. As soon as he could do it, he set out on his own and started gathering followers. The way he later described it to Guts, he wanted to find out if he, who came from nothing, could win his own kingdom by sheer talent and force of will. Others followed because they admired the purity of his dream, and hoped to achieve their own smaller dreams by throwing their lot in with Griffith and the Band of the Hawk. Griffith's dream was about his own desire, but at the same time he was not a true sociopath or narcissist; he could understand and value the needs of other people, and he was capable of showing kindness to others without expecting anything in return, such as when he threw twelve-year-old Casca a sword to kill her attempted rapist and comforted her afterwards, telling her that if she wanted to follow him it was her decision. Nevertheless, he realized that he could not stand to sacrifice hundreds of followers if he allowed himself to care about every one, so he made the deliberate choice to distance himself from them and not to feel regret, even as he pushed himself harder than ever to be the perfect leader whom his followers thought him to be. This, he felt, was the only way he could achieve his dream and make the deaths of those followers worthwhile. However, because he told himself that someone who fought for his dream instead of their own could never be his friend, he could never accept comfort or support from another person, forcing him to bear all his burdens alone.
    • Meeting Guts changed everything. Griffith was fascinated by him, and said something he had never said to another person: "I want you, Guts." Casca felt jealous and and feared for Griffith because she understood in a way that neither of the two men did that Griffith was changing because of Guts. He let Guts have free rein as the Captain of the Raiders, told him his deepest feelings, entrusted him with secret missions where failure wasn't an option, and risked his own life to save Guts several times. It was as though he had found someone who mattered as much to him as his dream. Still, Griffith could never admit to Guts or to himself how much their bond meant to him, because he never realized how much he was changing and tried to rationalize all of his emotionally motivated decisions in terms of self-interested calculations. He never gave Guts a straight answer when he asked why he would risk his life for him, and took him for granted by asking Guts to risk his life to his dirty work, only to tell Princess Charlotte when he thought Guts couldn't hear him that none of his followers was what he considered a true friend. When Guts decided to leave the Band of the Hawk, Griffith was totally unprepared to deal with rejection: instead of swallowing his pride and asking Guts to stay, he claimed Guts as his property and challenged him to a duel, which he ended up losing. Feeling abandoned, and with his ego in tatters, he impulsively seduced Princess Charlotte and brought down the wrath of the King upon himself and his followers. Even in the dungeons of Midland he struggled to understand how Guts could have such a hold on his heart, and blamed everyone but himself as he compared the heights he had alost reached with the depths to which he had fallen. This only continued during his rescue, when he realized that Casca now loved Guts in a way she would never love him again, and that his physical damage was so great that he would never be able to lead the Band of the Hawk again. His bitterness and jealousy toward Guts and Casca, combined with his delirious fixation on clawing back everything he had lost, led him to the moment of despair where he summoned the Godhand. He took one last look at Guts before sacrificing everyone who had believed in him, and the rest is history.
  • 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. Ultimately proven to not be true during the events of the Eclipse as his dreams have been, and always will be more important.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Post-resurrection into the physical realm, it's very much implied that his more righteous deeds (like saving Princess Charlotte, rescuing the whole of Midland from Ganishka's clutches) are just for PR as he grabs power and establishes himself as the Messianic Archetype of the world.
  • Feel No Pain: The King's torturer says he never made a peep during his unimaginably excruciating torture, at least the early parts. While this could be interpreted as Griffith simply having enough self-control to not scream and give him the satisfaction, later after he's so emaciated he's Made of Plasticine, Guts accidentally rips his arm almost clean off, which warrants not even an expression of pain.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Griffith grew enamoured with Guts when he saw his willingness to risk his life in the chaos of battle, interpreting it as him putting himself in danger for the purpose of finding the value to his own existence—a quality he, as a Byronic Hero, couldn't help but be attracted by. Guts saw Griffith as an annoyance at first, but grew to admire his determination to achieve his own self-made sense of worth. Through these things, they gained a mutual respect for each other which escalated into a friendship that could have become even brotherly in nature—had the Eclipse and Griffith's tumbling down the Despair Event Horizon not ruined everything.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Friendless Background: Despite having amassed a large following, Griffith never had any genuine friendships before encountering Guts.
  • 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.
  • Glamour Failure: Upon his resurrection, he's inhumanly beautiful but paying close enough attention shows that he's anything but human, mainly his Hellish Pupils, creepy gaze and eyes that are anything but normal.
  • 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.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: He becomes a hero to all of Midland for putting an end to a hundred-year war, but when Guts leaves him, he's so upset that he screws it all up by deflowering Princess Charlotte, which leads him to be thrown in a dungeon and suffering daily Cold-Blooded Torture for over a year. By the time Guts and the rest of the Hawks finally break him out, Griffith is a crippled, emaciated shell of his former self.
  • 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 Control My Minions Through...: With the original Band of the Hawk, he mainly worked through Respect, with Casca's recruitment being a case of Kindness and Guts' recruitment being a case of Power. Following his reincarnation as Griffith again in the mortal realm after becoming Femto, he gains a new set of demonic minions who follow him because he is the fifth member of the Godhand, making this a combination of Authority and Divine Right. Zodd becomes Griffith's personal Dragon after being defeated by him, making this another case of Power.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: The standard look of his Mood Ring Eyes, representing Griffith's rather fluctuating and cunning personality.
  • 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 it is 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.
  • 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.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Griffith has put himself on such a high pedestal that he believes no one can truly ever become his friend unless they establish themselves as his equal. When Guts gains the audacity to strike out of the Band and defeat him in a sword fight, Griffith becomes so distraught that he makes one single mistake which topples everything he ever worked for and utterly ruins his chances of obtaining a kingdom.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: His Mood Ring Eyes are like that wants to appear acceptable and trustworthy.
  • 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 All About Me: Where to begin with this guy? 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. How does he achieve said dream? By feeding every single one of his most loyal men to The Legions of Hell. And afterwards? He only ups the ante. Fusing the astral and physical planes, Griffith unleashes all sorts of hellish abominations upon the world, making everyone's lives more miserable than ever before, then basically manipulates people into kowtowing to his will by forcing them to seek refuge inside one of the last remaining "safe" zones — his very own Egopolis. So yeah, thanks a ton, o great and mighty Hawk! You are such a savior...
  • 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've Come Too Far: Reflects on this during the Eclipse. Upon viewing the mound of corpses metaphorically responsible for his rise, he concludes that ceasing the piling of them now would only mean the inane demise of his dream, and thus agrees to become a Godhand.
    Griffith: What good is regretting it now? This is the path I have traveled. To get what I wanted... If I apologize, if I repent...everything will come to an end. I'll never get to reach that place.
  • 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 beginning 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.
  • 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 his very first act as Femto, which was 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.
    • There's also the assassination of Count Julius. While Julius definitely had it coming, the same can't be said of Adonis, who Guts had to kill for being a witness to his father's murder. Said boy was being groomed to marry Princess Charlotte, who Griffith wanted for himself, and Griffith sent Guts after Julius knowing full well that the boy would likely die too, killing two birds with one stone.
  • 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.
  • 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. After reincarnating this becomes his permanent expression.
  • 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. He doesn't, and says it with such a straight and rational face that it's scary. And no, this does not sit well with Guts at all.
    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.
  • Mood Ring Eyes: They vary in look depending on Griffith's temperament and motive:

    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: Before the Eclipse, it was largely thanks to his quick-wittedness and cunning that he was able to achieve victory for Midland in the Hundred Years' War with only his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits at his side. After the Eclipse, however, he uses his newfound demonic powers to his advantage and manages to curry favor with pretty much everyone in the kingdom—eventually branding himself as their Messianic Archetype when in reality his role is to utterly ruin everything.
  • 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...
  • 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. Later on, Griffith invokes this trope upon Guts by violently raping Casca right before his eyes, in a pool of the Hawks' blood. It is unknown at this point whether Griffith knew the large-scale effect this would have on Guts, though it is implied due to his status as a Godhand member that he is to some degree omniscient—and therefore would at least have some idea of how much this would torture Guts.
  • 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.
    • Ignored Epiphany: The result. This came up earlier when, just before he was cocooned, he saw Guts rushing towards him and realized what it was that drove him to be so obsessed with him.
    Griffith: Among thousands of comrades, among ten thousand enemies, only you, only you, only you made me forget my dream.
  • 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.
  • Odd Friendship: Guts and Griffith are practically as different as night and day, yet there was a time when they found common ground with the one thing they did have in common: their mutual need to prove themselves. Through this they formed their strong camaraderie, and became the primary reason why Griffith eventually grew to treasure Guts as much as he did. Yet, while Griffith's need for vindication was (and continues to be) outwardly dependent on others — namely putting himself on as high a pedestal as he can in the eyes of the common rabble — Guts sought nothing more than to prove his own worth as a human being to himself. This major difference is what caused the latter to eventually strike out on his own in pursuit of his own dream, and led to the series taking a massive downward spiral into tragedy and horror.
  • 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.
  • Only Friend: As a human, Griffith had a massive and loyal circle of companions who admired him to the point where they would give up their lives for his cause—but he felt little affection towards them other than gratitude for their willing service to his ambition. This is largely because he had to quell his concern for his troops in order to further his goals without wavering. But then Guts came into the picture, and the two of them forged an Odd Friendship that neither knew would end up changing the face of the world.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Phrase-Catcher: Different people who describe him all tend to say that he's so beautiful they could hardly tell he was a man, or that he looks like a shining hero who stepped out of a fairy tale.
  • 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, he 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, as well as the "Hawk of Darkness" who is prophesied to bring forth an age of darkness. In addition, he has a special name among the Godhand as Femto — the "Wings of Darkness."
  • 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.
  • Repressive, but Efficient: He 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, and those who defy Griffith are sentenced to death, as Rickert finds out.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 already a cold-blooded narcissist, though his apparent lack of empathy was something that he forced himself in order to cope with the deaths around him. On one occasion he even asked Guts if he considered him a bad person for commiting such acts without never dirtying his own hands. After the Eclipse, he ticks all of the boxes to a T.
  • 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.
  • Static Character: Played for Drama. Griffith, ever since he was a child, wanted to obtain a kingdom for himself—so in pursuit of this goal, he decided to become a mercenary and work his way up the social ladder until he would reach his goal. At the cost of this, he abstained from any kind of emotional attachment to his troops to prevent himself from wavering. This got to the point where he eventually felt somewhat obligated to achieve his dream—for the sake of those who were willing enough to die for it. So Griffith grew more distant from his comrades and cultivated an extreme sense of tunnel-vision to ensure the Hawks' success—but even this fell apart when he became subconsciously dependent on Guts, whom he saw as a trusted confidant and ally. So when Guts left, Griffith's despair was such that he undid literally everything he had ever fought for in a moment of emotional dissociation. Now, after having thrown away his humanity in favor of his selfish desires, Griffith as Femto pretty much embodies this trope: an Emotionless Boy driven solely by his ambition and feeling literally nothing for those who stand in his way. No humanity or Character Development or emotional attachment to get in the way of his goals now. That is, unless you count the mild protective instinct he has towards Casca due to having used the body of her and Guts' child as his new physical vessel.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • Golden Age Griffith always acts cool and collected, even when his feelings are tormenting him. This was on full display when Casca found him bathing in a river after selling his body to Lord Gennon: for a while he was letting his real feelings through, trembling as he dug his fingernails into his flesh, but as soon as Casca tried to give him a Cooldown Hug he managed to compose himself and pretend that everything was fine. As a result of seeing this rare display of vulnerability, Casca is the only person who really understands what an emotional burden Griffith is carrying.
    • Reborn Griffith reassures people with his serene, welcoming face, but he's lacking something human behind that mask. The more you look the more you notice his Hellish Pupils and creepy gaze.
  • The Stoic: Even after becoming the Dark Messiah to the whole world, he emotes rarely, and when he does, his eyes certainly don't.
  • Straw Nihilist: Initially, he was an Übermensch who was so charismatic and unwavering that he managed to curry others to his side, not because he asked them to join up with him, but because he was just that awe-inspiring. But when the cost of fighting for his dreams became too much to bear and he found himself tumbling down the Despair Event Horizon, he gave himself up to the whims of fate and became an Eldritch Abomination by sacrificing the lives of those same people who had devoted themselves to his dream.
  • 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 Evil: Griffith's actions upon his reincarnation into the mortal plane—fusing the astral and physical layers of existence together—will ultimately bring discord upon the world, as transforming Ganishka into the World Tree and crushing all possible resistance (namely witches and mages) from the land have caused reality to bend in on itself and revive the "chaos of ancient times." But Griffith doesn't care, as long as he still has his kingdom. Or this could be on purpose, considering that Griffith is the Hawk of Darkness.
  • 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.
  • Take Over the World: Only his country of Falconia is free from all the chaos he caused and Guts knows that he won't stop there.
  • 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.
  • Tin Man: In order to ensure that emotional attachment to his troops wouldn't get in the way of obtaining his own kingdom, Griffith decided to repress his own feelings to the point of being rather emotionally-stunted—which was shown in how he would frequently switch back and forth between heartlessly calculating to almost childishly innocent. But in doing this, he found himself gradually and subconsciously depending on Guts—who he saw as a confidant and a friend due to their mutual desire to pursue their own sense of meaning and worth.
  • 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.
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: A male example, especially after his resurrection. He's ungodly beautiful and immaculate-looking but at the same time, said beauty screams that there's just something completely wrong about him. Whenever he smiles, instead of being reassuring it comes across as being disturbing. The closer you look at him the more you actually see his true colors. His Hellish Pupils still reflects that his true form is still Femto.
  • 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.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Griffith creates the World Tree from Ganishka's body in a huge Final Battle which ends up crossing the astral and physical layers of reality together—Gedfryn, one of the mages inhabiting Elfhelm, states that this will ultimately yield horrifying results for the world at large, as Griffith's actions have more or less caused reality to bend in on itself and as such will eventually plunge it into chaos. It's unknown if Griffith really knows or even cares about the ramifications of his actions, as his ultimate goal is to establish a kingdom for himself—and it's kind of hard to do that if the world ends up in chaos. Subverted as Guts explains that all the chaos are just another goal for Griffith, as only those who are safe from the chaos are in his kingdom and it's just one more step in his quest for power. He didn't instigated doom because he didn't care about it he did it because he wants to dominate this doom.
  • 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 openly 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 Hawk 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:
    • Upon hearing that Adonis had been killed together with his father Julius, Griffith breaks into a devilish grin. He may not have specifically instructed Guts to do that, nor particularly counted on it, but he seems to have viewed it as a bonus for his plans to remove competition for the throne rather than as a regrettable mistake.
    • In response to the Queen's conspiracy he pays some kidnappers to take Minister Foss' young daughter Elise hostage. While he instructs them not to harm a hair on her head without his orders, he gave Foss no reason to doubt he would harm her if he refused to play along.
    • As Femto he rapes a pregnant woman, tainting her child in the process, and later using it in order to reincarnate himself in the real world. On the other hand, it's unclear whether his new powers enabled him to know that she was pregnant when he did so.
    • When the God Hand mentions that the Slug Count has to sacrifice the person he loves the most, Femto immediatly points at the Count's young daughter Theresia.
  • 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.
  • You Are What You Hate: After his imprisonment, Griffith was tormented knowing he had become exactly what he told Charlotte he couldn't tolerate: a person who depends on the charity of others because he can't do anything for himself, and who lives from day to day with no reason except to stay alive. His inability to accept this prevents him from letting go of his dream even after he no longer has the means to achieve it, and he ultimately sacrifices everyone who believed in him so that he can escape this helpless state and take his destiny back into his own hands.
    • More subtley, as Femto he is this in regards to his past-self's viewpoint. Femto has been given power and influence by throwing away his men casually as though they were disposable while becoming a slave to forces beyond himself which affect all of humanity. The Griffith that existed before the eclipse would loath Femto for being a slave to fate, being the (demonic) equivalent of a noble with everything handed to him, having an army of supernatural beings that make victory a forgone conclusion with no real effort put in at all, and just throwing people away without any thought or care. The past Griffith believed in making your own destiny, that one should be free from constraint, that anything of value must be fought for (he mocks the nobles for believing that their positions make them untouchable), and to only make sacrifices when necessary while never forgetting that the sacrifices of others allowed you to get where you are.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Once he ascended to the ranks of the Godhand, he adopted their fatalistic views on causality to the point where he would mock Guts for his own refusal to fight back against his own destiny. This is rather ironic, considering that Griffith used to be all about grabbing your destiny by the horns and shaping it for yourself, regardless of what anyone may say.
  • You Got Spunk: As strange as it may seem, this is pretty much the reason why Griffith became so enamoured with Guts. Because of Guts' skill in battle and his willingness to put his own life at risk for the thrill of the fight, Griffith saw in Guts a freeness in spirit he hadn't seen out of the rest of the Band of the Hawk. Furthermore, Guts' violent display of reluctance to the offer of joining the Hawks was something Griffith (who usually got new members rather easily because of his charisma) did not see coming, and thus sought to conscript the man even more than he already did.