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YMMV: Berserk
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Basically it goes like this on forums.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Luca, despite the horrors she experienced, never loses her upbeat attitude. Her plucky attitude even impresses the Skull Knight.
  • Arc Fatigue: Myth Stall. Even though this is another example of Miura's infamous schedule slippage, it's taking a ridiculous amount of time for Guts and his party to get to Elfhelm.
  • Archive Panic: 37 volumes and no end in sight.
  • Awesome Art: HO. LY. SHIT.
  • Base Breaker: You guessed it: Griffith. On one side, you have the fans that admire him because of all of the outstanding things that he has done over the course of the story. They see him as a three-dimensional and complex character who can't quite be called "evil", making the argument that his Lack of Empathy actually makes him Above Good and Evil (and come on - he's gorgeous looking!). But on the flip side, you have the fans that detest (or at least acknowledge that he's bad news if they still like him) this guy because his actions are ones only the truly evil would commit. That, and they see him as a guy who ruined himself because he had a pissy temper tantrum for losing a battle ONCE. Again, the whole fanbase is split over this.
  • Broken Base: As stated above, everything surrounding Griffith breaks like fine china. Also, there seems to be skirmishes of who's the biggest and most hideously vile villain in this series: Femto or Emperor Ganishka. And there are other debates, like the "does the recent Lighter and Softer shift in the series mean that Berserk is going downhill?" debate.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Crowning Music Of Awesome: The anime, as well as Dreamcast and Playstation 2 videogame adaptations included soundtracks composed by Susumu Hirasawa.
  • Damsel Scrappy: Oh, Charlotte. The post-Eclipse Casca notably avoids this status, due to being a massive Woobie.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The setting is so very crapsack and the Anti-Hero protagonist tending to be both really morally questionable and hopelessly overpowered by the main villains, not to mention the arguably gratuitous rape and violence, means people can simply get bored of the darkness. It does get better later in the manga, though.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Griffith is given this treatment by some Berserk fans. Yes. Yes, that's right. A handful of fans like to disregard that Griffith and Femto are the same person in order to dismiss his Moral Event Horizon during the Eclipse. Some fans go further by claiming that Casca enjoyed being raped by Femto as to discredit Casca's experience as actual rape. Not Cool.
    • Don't you see? He did it all for her own good because it was what she always wanted from him! It was out of love!
  • Dork Age: A lot of fans don't enjoy the first three volumes. Other of us find it refreshing to read something about a protagonist with absolutely no moral compass.
    • Some fans aren't liking the current arc that much either.
      • A number of the most vocal fans consider the story to be only the Golden Agenote  and absolutely nothing else, completely dismissing the entire rest of the story. Please note that at this point the Golden Age now makes up less than a third of the story's total runtime.
  • Ear Worm: The Engrish opening song from the anime, it'll stay in your head for a while, love it or hate it.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • The Skull Knight
    • Luca, the Hooker with a Heart of Gold, who took care of Casca after she was separated from Guts. Despite her limited role, she is still vividly remembered and liked by most fans who often wish she would have joined Guts in his quest.
    • Also Judeau is liked by most fans and fondly remembered despite a small role in the series.
    • Slan is the most popular member of the Godhand due to her large... assets.
    • People still remember Theresia and expect her to make a return, even to this day. She hasn't been seen or even mentioned in over 20 years.
  • Estrogen Brigade: So there is definitely some factor that draws female readers to this ultra-violent Seinen series and it probably has something to do with the two male leads that get naked or shirtless a lot.
    • It could also be that the series has a surprisingly large number of strong and/or interesting female characters, especially after the Golden Age arc ends.
      • Casca may seem nowadays a textbook example of an Affirmative Action Girl, but her realism and complexity was groundbreaking at the time. To this day she has lots of fans, eagerly waiting for her return to badassery.
  • Evil Is Cool: Admit it: As much as we utterly hate him, Femto might be the coolest-looking villain in the Berserkerverse.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Slan.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Invoked by a few characters, such as when Guts told a young boy who he saved/used as bait during the Lost Children Arc that revenge felt good and that he should try it sometime, or when Gambino told Guts in the Boyhood Arc that you're safest when you trust your own actions and not others, not even your own parents'.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: IT'S NOT "GATSU/GATTS"! IT'S "GUTS"!
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Sword Art Online. Do NOT bring up the words "The Black Swordsman" if both members of these fandoms are present.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Well, Miura might be taking his time sweet time getting the group to Elfhelm, but some fans have already made it there - and beyond.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Coinciding with the Dork Age example above, a few fans glance over Guts's grand debut on the first page of the story where he is having sex with a she-apostle, saying that it clashed with his later development in the Golden Age arc, particularly Guts's troubled backstory concerning intimacy issues and his fidelity toward Casca. That, and some fans wonder why Guts would even have needed to have sex with the apostle in the first place.
  • Faux Symbolism:
    • Well, it's never been officially conveyed, but you can get a buttload of Judeo-Christian symbolism out of Berserk depending on how you look at it, starting with the part where both Guts and Griffith can be interpreted as messiah-like figures.
    • As mentioned in chapter 287 of the manga, Guts always seems to be saving Casca whenever she is near water. Whether this is suppose to mean something or just a Running Gag has not been explained yet...
  • Freud Was Right: Most apostles and other Eldritch Abomination types look like genitals, fetuses, or woodlice. Guts also holds his ridiculously huge sword at crotch level throughout the series.
    • Rosine's One-Winged Angel form places what remains of her human body inside what looks disturbingly like a vagina.
    • Ever take a look-see at Slan's corset? NSFW. Granted she's a BDSM sex goddess of evil, but you'll never look at her the same again.
  • Genius Bonus: Schierke's Meaningful Name.
  • Growing the Beard: From the very start of the Golden Age arc and onward.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Earlier in the Golden Age Arc, Casca is seen wrapping her shirt sleeve around a wound on Guts' arm. Though this was done purely out of first aid, this can actually be interpreted as a medieval gesture of Courtly Love, when a woman would give a piece of cloth that belonged to her, often a scarf, to a knight of her choosing; she would then bestow a favor upon it that the knight would keep in order to return it to her. While the trope was played straight between Griffith and Princess Charlotte, the audience can take this as Heartwarming In Hindsight between Guts and Casca as it foreshadows their Relationship Upgrade. However, this gesture is particularly painful to glance at after you watch the Eclipse. Why? Because the the arm that Casca wraps is Guts' left arm, the arm that Guts would eventually hack off in his last attempt to save Casca from being raped by Femto, which ultimately failed, meaning that Guts had failed his lady's favor.
    • Casca first met Griffith when he saved her from being raped. Yeah...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The huge, quiet, frontline-fighting, armored and hammer-wielding guy is named Pippin.
  • Ho Yay: It has a whole page to itself here.
    • Les Yay: Disturbingly, between Jill and her childhood friend (and Apostle) Rosine. Jill seems to regard her like an older sister, but Rosine is extremely touchy and flirty (NSFW).
  • Holy Shit Quotient: Every time Guts swings his sword. Every single time.
    • Volume 34 is probably sixty percent double-page spreads depicting events of unbelievable scale and badassery. Two-mile-tall Physical God crushing entire battalions under its foot? Check. The most powerful Apostles in the world ripping through untold thousands of Eldritch Abominations, backed up by virtually every human army in the known world? Check. Griffith surfing Zodd onto the head of the aforementioned god in an attempt to kill it? Check. Add the Skull Knight showing up from nowhere and taking care of the problem (with a stroke meant for Griffith) and a massive magical shockwave that consumes the entire planet and releases mythological creatures all across its surface, and you have a book that might just kill an unprepared reader.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • Come now: do you really want to get into another discussion about Griffith's questionable sexual orientation (up to and including GutsxGriffith pairing)?
      • Griffith's morality tends to incite debates, as well (see Broken Base above.)
    • God forbid if you get into the "Casca is a bitchy whore" debate. Depending on what forum you're on, you'll either come across Griffith sympathists and Guts idolizers who slam Casca for basically being a woman (4chan), or you'll go into Casca-worship territory where such sexist behavior is not tolerated (Tumblr).
  • Iron Woobie: Guts. Despite being a Cosmic Plaything, he keeps on moving forward, even though he may sometimes Freak Out.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks: A major criticism of The New Tens film trilogy adaptation is that it adapts the same manga plot arc as The Nineties' television anime series, but in roughly half the running time, meaning that several subplots and minor characters had to be cut or massively condensed. So It's the Same, But Less of It, Now It Sucks, and fans who have been waiting for decades to see post-Eclipse content animated get to keep on waiting. It doesn't help that the animation isn't much better than it was fifteen years ago, just uneven in a different way (with stiff, low-poly CG models replacing copious amounts of still frames).
  • It Was His Sled: Griffith turns evil, everyone dies.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Griffith can be considered one of these while he is being tortured in Midland's dungeons and after the Band of the Hawks rescues him. (Up until the events of the Eclipse, it's hard not to want to hug him and/or punch him in the face. However, he emphatically isn't a woobie afterwards.)
    • Also Guts, given his backstory, it's understandable why he became a revenge-obsessed jerk.
    • Even The Scrappy Nina can technically count as this because her two-faced behavior seems to be driven by fear rather than outright malice. And given the Crapsack World she lives in, she is quite justified in being afraid. Also, she's aware of what a horrible person she is, which is quite sad.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Griffith.
  • Memetic Molester: Rape Horse, the demonically possessed horse that tries to rape Farnesse before Guts kills it, who has become a minor symbol of how excessively dark Berserk is.
  • Memetic Mutation: A good number of the fandom tends to notice how many bags and pouches there are in any given scene or panel of the manga.
  • Moe: Erika (the adopted daughter of Godo) and Charlotte. Also Schierke.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Griffith's Face-Heel Turn during the Eclipse, Mozgus's torture of innocent refugees, Gambino's selling of young Guts to the pedophile Donovan for three silver coins, everything Ganishka does...
    • Everything that each Apostle does.
    • Rosine needs to be mentioned here. Not because she herself is so evil (compared to her peers, she is actually rather nice) but because the Godhand has the nerve to hand out behelits to little girls who cannot possibly be expected to fully comprehend what they are doing.
  • Narm: An Apostle from the Eclipse that killed Judeau has a silly appearance that can not be taken seriously.
    • During the Conviction Arc a horde of zombies attacks Guts. They first call him "jerk".
    • In the second movie; Charlotte's over the top reaction to Griffith merely touching her breast.
  • Narm Charm: The Engrish opening and ending themes for the anime are simultaneously hilarious and awesome.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • Adding all the instances of Gorn, Fan Disservice and Squick, you make the whole series a Nausea Fuel station...
    • Volume 13 deserves specials mention, of course.
    • This probably doesn't cross our minds much, since we're too busy being horrified at what he does, but has anyone ever processed that Femto is so evil that he's literally made of evil? Even his friggin' semen. It not only totally compels a developing zygote to go to the dark side, but it also makes said zygote rapidly develop into a six week old embryo straight into an eighteen week old fetus all in under about four days, adding the fact that the semen is a mutagen. If Femto's semen can do all that, just think of what his spit is capable of doing. It'd probably change the whole coarse of evolution. And that's kinda scary. Not to mention he seems to have an infinite supply of the stuff. There was a sick, almost voyeuristic aspect to Griffith forcing Guts to watch as he raped Casca, as if he wanted Guts to watch him (Griffith) having sex, albeit very violent and vile.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Berserk fans will always remember Guts' confused expression when he saw Casca in a dress.
    • They also remember a time when Kentaro Miura was too obsessed with Idolmaster to write Berserk (Link NSFW).
    • Fans aren't letting go of the fact that Guts ate a whole rat raw during his childhood.
  • Nightmare Fuel: More than you can shake a stick at.
  • No Yay:
    • For as much Ho Yay (male or female) and Foe Yay present in the series, expect there to be just as much No Yay in the same sentiments from many fans. Need a reminder?
    • Griffith's Yandere thoughts and actions toward Guts.
    • Rosine's relationship with her best friend Jill.
    • The King of Midland's unhealthy relationship with his daughter Princess Charlotte.
  • Only the Author Can Save Them Now: Guts and his party will eventually have to fight Griffith, his army, The Beast, the four god hands, and possibly The Idea of Evil. Miura is going to have to do something to level the playing field. Then again, he might not...
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • Everyone, everything, and every entity is out to get you in this world, so you really can't trust anybody but yourself to be extra safe. And even that's stretching it!
    • One particular horrifying source of paranoia fuel is how some people who have already become apostles, and therefore have already sacrificed at least one person, might be keeping other people around them as "spares"... In the event that they need to renew their life again. What makes this so disturbing from the get go is that those chosen by the behelits don't sacrifice you because they hate you, but because they love and care about you. How screwed up is that?!
  • Periphery Demographic: While statistics aren't clear, Berserk does have a female minority fandom that isn't completely composed of girls who are in it for the guys (to see the flip side, see above). It's probably because Berserk is one of the more "female friendly" Seinen series (considering what you call "friendly" in this world), with the series having a good romantic focus, but also a lot of realistic Character Development, cynical realism, non-flat female characters who aren't there only for Fanservice purposes and an ever evolving story plot that you just can't get from a lot of Shoujo.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Farnese. Her initial appearances see her doing little else besides getting in Guts' way and acting like a hypocrite, and even after she joins Guts, she tends to be The Load. She gradually starts getting better as she has to help protect Caska and gets to know Scheirke better, but she really proves herself to have changed when they reach Vritannis. She essentially allows herself to be married off so that the rest of the group can get a ship, and shortly after she attempts to fend off a demonic tiger with nothing but a silver candelabra, demonstrating clearly that she's finally taking initiative for herself.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Inverted, possibly due to the Schedule Slip and myth stall. Some fans complain that Miura is focusing too much on Guts fighting random enemies and monsters and less on just getting Guts and his team to Elfhelm so that Casca can get cured.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Puck for breaking the fourth wall and generally subverting the Grim Dark tone. Worse than ever now that Guts' band of True Companions has grown large enough that subtler comic relief can be found elsewhere, leaving him with little to do but go chibi and make pop culture references that are lost on a non-Japanese readership.
    • Nina from the Conviction Arc. Being a spineless, indecisive, emotional and painfully weak-willed character who partakes in the worshipping of Slan, many readers hate her even more for making it out of the arc alive.
    • The Pirates have also entered this, mostly for being overused and heavily associated with the current arc.
    • Corkus was one for his jerkassery toward Guts.
    • Overlapping with Base Breaker, lots of fans started to hate Griffith after his Moral Event Horizon.
  • Shipping: Two words: Brace yourselves.
    • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Though they tend to be small and localized, the Berserk fandom nevertheless falls victim to the occasional Shipping War, the biggest armadas being the U.S.S. Gutsca (Guts/Casca) and the H.M.S. G x G (Guts/Griffith). Some skirmishes go as followed:
    • Against Gutsca: "Guts and Casca don't really love each other! They're just compensating for not having Griffith to themselves!"; "Guts only keeps Casca around to remind him of Griffith!" "Casca is only a reward for Guts to satisfy his ego!"
    • Against G x G: "Griffith only saw Guts as a tool!"; "How can you possibly ship them after the Eclipse?!" "Guts isn't gay!!"
    • Cargo Ship: Guts and his sword. At one point, Caska even tells him to "go fuck your sword!"
    • Die for Our Ship: And then there is the minority ship that ships Griffith and Casca together, though it's really weird and kind of twisted depending on how you look at it. Before that, Casca as a character often gets a lot of flack from a minority of fans (possibly from the same fans mentioned above); reasons vary from the fact that she's with Guts - which means that she isn't being a dutiful action girl anymore - or that she's with Guts - and not with Griffith - or that Guts is with her - and not with Griffith. That's where you get a lot of bashing, ranging from downright mean to illogical, like the "Casca only had sex with Guts to cope with not being with Griffith" argument or the "Casca had sex with Griffith in the wagon (despite his severe, physically crippling injuries)" scenario or the " Casca enjoyed being raped by Griffith" claim... After all of that, sentiments range from fans wanting Casca to return to Griffith after she is cured to Casca dying after she is cured if she can't quite fit in the paradigm. And of course, if you were never in the Griffith x Casca ship and were shipping for G x G to begin with, Casca's existence is but an anomally in the story and is brushed off altogether.
    • Fan-Preferred Couple: Despite being little Ship Tease between Serpico and Farnese and the fact that they're half-siblings, Serpico/Farnese is still a popular pairing within the Berserk fandom. Even though she's arranged to marry Roderick, there's not much approval for that pairing in the Berserk fandom.
    • Toy Ship: Schierke, the Child Mage, is sometimes shipped with Isidro, the child swordsman of Guts' True Companions.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Despite its length in time, Berserk seldom drops any Anvil. However, when it does, it's rather upfront and direct about it. Aesops that the story conveys include:
    • There's a huge difference between what God is and what people want or believe Him to be.
    • Everything you do has an effect on you or your surroundings. Everything.
    • Fighting destiny is all well and good, but even a Determinator isn't assured to win in the end. It can go either way. Fate isn't always victorious but neither is willpower, no matter how strong.
    • There is no external reward for good actions. The only reason to do the right thing is because you choose to. Do not expect the universe to give you a pat on the head, or even refrain from kicking your ass. Likewise, there is no external punishment for wrong actions. The only reason not to screw your neighbor in the most horrific way possible is because you choose not to. (Interestingly, The Bible expressed much the same sentiment in Matthew, often quoted as "the sun shines on the righteous and unrighteous alike.")
    • Humanity is responsible for its own suffering.
  • Squick:
    • Void, one of the Godhand, has a grotesque face. It's a skull with a brain protruding out of it.
    • The Baron of Koka Castle's One Winged Angel form. His mouth looks like a vagina.
    • Also Wyald's Gag Penis.
    • The King of Midland's obsession with his daughter Charlotte.
    • How Slan manifests herself in the real world.
    • Rosine's Apostle-spawn elf-children sodomize one another to death with hornet stingers while crying, "Adult attack!"
  • That One Boss: From the 2000 Dreamcast game, the fight with Zodd. His attacks are really fast and hard to see coming, unblockable and do large amounts of damage and he can soak up a huge amount of attacks himself. Appropriate really, since he's easily the most powerful enemy to actually appear in the game, even if it is only as a cameo half-way through the game rather than the end boss.
    • That One Level: From the same game, the sequence where you have to run down a corridor ahead of the mandragora tentacles smashing through it behind you. Depending on the difficulty level you're allowed either at most 3, 1, or NO slip-ups before being instantly killed and the part where you have to run TOWARDS the camera is particularly annoying. It's quite plausible to beat the preceding boss without losing a single life, only to lose ALL your lives at once on this one sequence.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Some fans view Casca's status in the story as such, seeing her as an interesting and complex character in her own right that had a lot of potential for character growth plot wise, but that was suddenly brought to a halt when she was driven insane by the Eclipse; some fans take it a bit further by saying how it was unfair for Casca to be fridged for the sake of Guts' character arc. Fans eagerly await for the day that Casca will be cured so that maybe she'll get some more development in.
  • Ugly Cute: The Child in his demon form. Yes, he's squeamish, malformed, and was created under the most horrible circumstances, but you gotta remember that he is still a baby. So you notice that he still retains the infant-like chubbyness, puckered lips, and he even crawls like a five month old (in one panel, he crawls up to Casca's chest and laps up the blood from her brand as a twisted parallel to breastfeeding)! Call him a "freak" if you must, but he is an adorable one! ... Or maybe I'm the freak for actually noticing this.
  • Uncanny Valley: Aside from the invoked example in Rosine's elf minions, there is Griffith in his reincarnated form. The guy is so amazingly beautiful that you know something is wrong with him. Maybe it's in his eyes, which still retain his eerie slitted pupils that his Godhand form, Femto, has and thus he always seems to be giving you the Kubrick Stare constantly; or maybe it's just the way that he carries himself now, nearly completely devoid of emotion and, at worst, empathy, making any smile that he gives really unsettling. Either way, Griffith is on a divine level, and if Judeo-Christian mythos rings true, we are not suppose to be seeing him like this. Unfortunately, whenever this trope is invoked by the characters, they see him in the direct opposite light.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Mozgus says that all what he does is just God's will, and he did give some freaks a second chance, but he still believes that starving refugees and torturing them for the sake of it is perfectly justified.
    • It might give one a really weird, even disturbing, feeling when reading volume 9 where Guts described how Gambino sold him out to Donovan as a child prostitute or just how he was treated like shit by this complete asshole his entire childhood... and Guts doesn't say one bad thing about Gambino, a guy who downright said that the kid disgusted him and that he should have died instead of Sys (who was one of the few people who truly loved Guts in his whole life, along with Casca and a few of the Hawks Raiders and Guts' new True Companions in a hero-worship-y kinda way), just leaving little Guts utterly heartbroken to tears. Just looking at how a guy who runs on rage when fighting monsters, seethes with hatred toward the man who betrayed him in the same fashion, and is brutal toward anyone who gets in his way (for better goals or for not so good goals) and how he doesn't show any animosity toward the man who orchestrated such an horrific, traumatizing evil kinda says that if there is one magical entity that needs to manifest itself, now that the magic has come back to the world, it's counselors.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Griffith. Dear, dear, Griffith. If you absolutely had to go throw away all of your hard-earned work by sleeping with the princess you should have at least taken Lupin's advice and take an alternative route.
    • Also, when the King stormed into Charlotte's bedroom the next morning and uncovered some blood stains in her bed from her hymen being broken, she could have saved herself some trouble by saying that her period just started. It might have only had a 50-50 chance of convincing the King with all of the other evidence present, but some guys just stop with no questions asked when a girl starts talking about her time of the month.
    • Griffith left a ton of evidence behind that Charlotte couldn't have possibly explained to her father, besides getting caught while trespassing. With the maid's testimony, the water tracked on the floor from Griffith coming in through the bedroom window, and the love bites on Charlotte's body, the King knew exactly what those stained sheets meant. Quite simply, Griffith's magnificent bastard skills deserted him that night.
  • The Woobie:
    • Both Guts and Casca qualify, especially post-Eclipse. As mentioned before, they just can't catch a break at all.
    • Jill. Let's see she has abusive parents, has to deal with her father's drunken friends, her best friend wants to turn her into an elf whether she likes it or not, and she lives in the Berserk Universe.
    • Pre-Eclipse Griffith, after sleeping with Charlotte. Yes, he wasn't innocent and had serious Yandere overtones, but still. He got tortured for years, horrifically, just merely because he beat the king in deflowering her, then he became a powerless cripple in And I Must Scream situation. Then the Eclipse happened, he saw his former friend happen there (and yet knew exactly what was going to happen but was powerless to stop him) and he was Mind Raped into betraying his former friend. Femto/Griffith, however...
    • Theresia. Her mother was murdered. Her father become an evil demon and locked her in a room for most of her life. When she finally escaped her prison, it got even worse.
    • The Egg of the Perfect World. He was a deformed outcast who abused by the residents of St. Albion and forced to live in a hole full of dead bodies to protect himself. After he obtained his Behelit and become an Apostle, he wanted to create the perfect world. To do so, he sacrifices his life to give birth to Griffith.
    • The Baby. It's one thing to be born into the Berserkerverse, it's a more horrifying thing to be born into it under the worst circumstances imaginable. If none of this had happened, he would have been a normal little kid growing up with his parents - and they probably would not have made bad parents either. This whole family is just one. Big. Woobie.
    • Shit, every ordinary person in the Berserk universe probably qualifies.

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