I must admit that this series never ceases to impress me, especially with the quality of the artwork.
As said in the main entry, Berserk
possesses by far the best art of the industry hands down. Miura also pans out his plot by playing with Heroic Fantasy
clichés only for subversion and deconstruction purposes. Guts himself subverts some tropes of the expected heroism of a protagonist. Hence the characterization is almost flawless. This gray morality each and every character display makes them even more realistic and easy to relate to. In fact, I personally don't remember finding a "bad" character, except when said "badness" is done on purpose.
The story line itself hardly ever flounders and "filler" arcs are pretty scarce, which makes the rhythm steady. Plot twists are sufficient to keep us hanging on and the whole story brims with philosophical undertones, yet anvils are never dropped
. The tone of the series is always very dark, almost depressing due to its position on the scale
and a happy ending is anything but certain . Extremely graphic violence, rape, sleazy sex, sadism, graphic torture, betrayal, hurt... All of these negative themes simply highlight the more happy, peaceful moments that are so rare they immediately stand out. The short-lived anime is pretty worthy by itself but doesn't feature some of the goriest moments of the manga for obvious censorship reasons. Hence it stops dead upon the Eclipse but a new anime is on its way as of late 2010.
The only thing that I (and many fans) find pretty annoying about Berserk
is the sloppy release of each issues. But then again, Miura works the old-fashioned way and never uses CG for his drawings so we can't really blame him.
Bottomline, the series flows and goes around naturally, never out of surprising twists, never out of fuel, despite the sometimes awkward first 3 volumes. However, it is not intended for children and even less for Moral Guardians
since the graphic violence and uncensored sex scenes might give their squeamish little hearts a stroke.