Kentaro Miura (三浦 建太郎 Miura Kentarō) is a Japanese mangaka born in 1966 in Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture. His parents originally got married while they were students at Musashino Arts School: his father did storyboards for commercials, and his mother taught an art class. He credits the artistic environment he was raised in for inspiring him to draw. His first manga, Miuranger, was created and published for his classmates in a school publication in 1976 when he was 10 years old. His second manga, Ken E No Michi (The Way to the Sword) was the first time that Miura would use India ink, and when he went to middle school, his drawing technique would improve greatly as he started using professional drawing techniques, with a doujin being produced with the help of his friends in 1982. It was in high school that he got serious about becoming a manga artist, and he was close friends with fellow aspiring mangaka Mori Kouji, who would go on to write Holyland and Suicide Island.
In 1985, Miura created and submitted another manga called Futanabi for the entrance exam of an art college at Nihon University, which not only got him his admission into the college, but got him a nomination for Best New Author work in Weekly Shonen Magazine. Miura would publish another manga called Noa for Weekly Shonen Magazine that same year. Due to a disagreement with one of the editors, Noa was stalled and eventually dropped, which marked the point where Miura's career would hit a slump.
In 1988, three years after Noa, Miura created the foundation for what people would know him for in Berserk Prototype, which would win him a prize from the Comi Manga School. The story had Guts, who would soon become the main protagonist of the series, as a less cold character with an eyepatch (which he gives up before the prototype's end) who had elements of a Deadpan Snarker and took up Demon Slaying after his mother was killed by one. The Big Bad was to be a single demon lord by the name of Vana (instead of the five archdemons known as the Godhand that take up the role in the series proper). Lastly, the prototype was intended to be a Shōnen story, but it was changed to its now-familiar Seinen form likely because the story was still too dark.
After receiving his doctorate degree in 1989, he entered into a collaboration with Yoshiyuki Okamura, better known as Buronson, for a manga by the name of Ouro (The King of Wolves), with Buronson providing the script and Miura providing the art. 1990 saw the publication of Ouro Den (Legend of the Wolf King), the sequel to this manga. In 1992, Miura would do one last collaboration with Buronson, creating the manga Japan, again with Miura providing the art to Buronson's story.
The first volume of Berserk was published in 1990, though it met with little success, and the magazine it was serialized in was in the process of going under. The series would not really take off until it was serialized in Young Animal magazine in 1992 with the publication of the Golden Age arc. Miura's epic tale of friendship, romance, betrayal, horror, vengeance, and supreme demon asskicking is still ongoing today, with 39+ volumes and some 40 million copies in circulation. Over time it's been adapted into the anime Berserk (1997), the 1999 Dramcast game Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage), the PS2 game Berserk: Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Shō, the 2012-13 anime film trilogy Berserk: The Golden Age Arc, the sequel anime Berserk (2016), and the 2016 video game Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. In 2002 he received second place in the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize of Excellence for Berserk.
Miura is left-handed, and has done most of his art with traditional techniques such as the g-pen, Maru pen, and brushes. For his color illustrations there was wild speculation about how he did them, but it's since been discovered he uses good old colouring pencils and watercolors. Since, the 90s he has had 3-4 assistants helping him, and his current group called Studio Gaga consists of about four or five assistants; they come and go every couple of years. One of them, Mitsuhisa Kuji, became a mangaka in her own right. Miura keeps vampire hours and puts in 16 hour workdays with no breaks or holidays while he's working on a deadline. Fans speculate about the cause of his increasingly frequent hiatuses, which have made the pace of new releases slow to a crawl, but because he hasn't directly talked about it in interviews the reasons are not entirely clear. One factor seems to be him reaching middle age, which makes it difficult for him to push himself as hard as he used to. In 2016, fans started to speculate about whether Miura had switched to digital painting techniques; his switch to using a tablet and computers for all his art is confirmed in the Berserk Official Guidebook.
Miura's primary influence comes from works in different media, with his primary inspiration being Kaoru Kurimoto's long-running Guin Saga fantasy series, and additional influence being drawn from Go Nagai's two darkest and most violent mangas, Devilman and Violence Jack. Miura's style is at times quite beautiful and emotional, but at other times, he comes up with and draws some truly messed up and frightening shit.
While Berserk has long been his all-consuming project, Miura has also created Kamui Gakupo—a Vocaloid whose design is based on Japanese Visual Kei artist Gackt—and in 2013 he took a break to write his first new manga in 24 years, Gigantomakhia.
Along with his creative work, Miura is also a Judo black belt and former school competitor.
Works by Kentaro Miura:
- Ken E No Michi (The Way to the Sword)
- Futanabi: In a post-apocalyptic underground city consisting of men who have never seen or heard of a woman before, a mechanic's apprentice named Rick ends up helping a girl named Venus who came illegally from a corresponding female-only city and who is being chased by the police.
- Noa: Fifteen days after a nuclear war, a soldier named Noah tries to protect a refugee named Angel in a world where people are willing to commit any desperate act in order to survive.
- Berserk Prototype: A wandering swordsman named Guts happens to save a girl named Fricka from bandits, and fights the monstrous nobleman Vlad Tepes. The beginning of what would later become Berserk.
- Ouro (King of Wolves): A historical scholar goes missing while on an expedition to investigate the Silk Road, and when his girlfriend goes after him, she is sucked into 13th century Mongolia, where she finds him alive and a warrior-slave for Genghis Khan.
- Ouro Den (Legend of the Wolf King): Sequel to Ouro
- Berserk: Miura's Magnum Opus, which needs no introduction.
- Japan: A TV reporter, a Yakuza, his brother, and four high school students are sent into a future of desolation and death after insulting an old woman who warns them that Japan will meet the same fate as the once-prosperous nation of Carthage.
- Kamui Gakupo
- Duranki: Miura's newest manga, a mythology-inspired story about a child by the name of Usumgallu with the ability to "think up unknown things" who is neither a god nor human, and is neither male nor female.
Media that Miura credits as inspiration:
- Conan the Barbarian
- Fist of the North Star
- The Brothers Grimm
- Guin Saga
- Gustave Doré
- Hieronymus Bosch
- Kaze to Ki no Uta
- M. C. Escher
- The Name of the Rose
- RoboCop (1987)
- The Rose of Versailles
- Space Adventure Cobra
- Susumu Hirasawa
- Star Wars
- The Terminator
- Violence Jack
- Warhammer 40,000
Tropes Associated with Kentaro Miura:
- Actually, That's My Assistant: A gag from when Nico Nicholson's 2010 comic short based on interviewing him has her mistake Miura for one of his assistants. Since she was Expecting Someone Taller, she feels shocked that such a mellow-looking guy could draw those epic battle scenes.
- Author Avatar: If the name is of any indication, the lead character of Miuranger was Miura's own Escapist Character.
- Guts himself is said to be loosely based on Miura as a college student, with other members of the Band of the Hawk inspired by friends of his. Probably why Guts looks Asian despite living in a Medieval European Fantasy setting.
- Art Evolution: If you look at where he started and where he ended up, it's like a world of difference.
- Darker and Edgier: His stories tend to contain themes of tragedy and horror, and Berserk is pretty much a Trope Codifier for Dark Fantasy manga.
- Humble Hero: "I dont consider myself a special person doing something that only I can do, though. I think of myself more as pretty much just an ordinary person. Its not like Im looking at all kinds of stuff, either Id say I take in about as much as the average person. I suppose I do make more use of what I look at, though. I can look at things that most people would get nothing out of some weird movie or something and take something away from it, so long as theres some sort of human drama in there."
- Ill Boy: It's been rumored that the stress he gets from writing and drawing for Berserk can take such a toll on his health that he would have to take hospital breaks in order to recover. This, however, is unsubstantiated.
- Workaholic: Contrary to memes that claim he wastes his time playing The iDOLM@STER, Miura spends almost all of his time on Berserk. In 2009 he told the members of Skullknight.net, "I start working at 2:00 PM and I finish at 7:00 AM. Of course, the time I spend eating is included. I work 15-16 hours everyday, without holidays."
- Real Men Wear Pink: While he is (in)famous for some rather dark work (and in hilarious contrast to a...rather vocal section of the fandom) he is an open fanboy of The iDOLM@STER.
- Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Berserk was Miura's first big serial story, and he started out with the concept for Guts as the Black Swordsman before he had come up with a backstory explaining why he was out for revenge. The idea for the Golden Age Arc came to him after he was already pretty far into the Black Swordsman Arc, and it ended up being quite a bit longer than he originally intended. "Lately," says Miura, "Ive come to trust in my own carelessness. In my experience things often pop nicely into place even without having been planned ahead much. I do think it probably wouldnt go very smoothly if I were to work with stuff that isnt me, stuff that Ive borrowed from elsewhere and simply stuck in, but theres hardly any of that. Even when I do bring in something from elsewhere, I run it through myself and quality test it before using it."
- Write Who You Know: Has a tendency to base characters on people he knows.