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Recap / Death Battle S 02 E 20 Guts Vs Nightmare

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For untold decades, scientists have searched for a legitimate method of measuring a person's level of badass-ness, completely missing the obvious answer: just check out the size of his sword.

Like Guts, the brutal black swordsman from Berserk. And Nightmare, the demonic scourge from Soul Calibur.

The forty-fifth episode bears witness to two indomitable warriors, their power only outmatched by the sizes of the blades they wield. From a sword forged to slay demons against a sword that is a demon to a form that aids and destroys its user against a form that grants its user great strength at greater risk, Wizard and Boomstick will look at the tricks and skills both combatants rely on in battle, because Guts and Nightmare will need every advantage they can get to prove their superiority and claim the right to be the victor of a death battle.


Wizard and Boomstick start the episode off with a look at Guts, born to the region of Midland, a living legend and unforgiving killer, but in order to achieve such a title, Guts has had to first endure a life full of tragedy. The man who would be known as the Black Swordsman began his life being born from his mother's corpse, falling from her lifeless body, hung from a tree. It wouldn't take long for a band of mercenaries led by the man Gambino to find and raise the infant Guts. So sparked a childhood full of hardship, as after his wife Shisu succumbed to a plague, Gambino had trained his adopted son in swordsmanship at the age of six; though he struggled at first, Guts would persevere and earn his status in the mercenary band, until he was forced to kill Gambino and join another mercenary group, the Band of the Hawk. The group and its leader, Griffith, would be the first time in his life Guts would experience true companionship as they won conquest after conquest. Sadly, Guts' joy would not last as Griffith, having been disgraced during their travels across Midland, summoned the God Hand, unleashing countless demons upon the land and laying waste to the band of the hawk before finally marking Guts' soul as his own. As the final act, Griffith, now a member of the God Hand, raped Casca, Guts' love, in front of his former friend, leaving him without an eye and an arm. This act is what spurred Guts to dedicating his life to exacting revenge on Griffith in the goriest, most violent way imaginable.


Guts' journey to slaughter Griffith would be carried on thanks in no small part to his own personal arsenal, the crown jewel of which would be the Dragonslayer. A six-and-a-half-foot long behemoth of a sword, Guts is the ideal wielder of the 400-pound blade, and perhaps the only one capable of wielding it thanks to its immense size. Guts' exploits with the blade don't stop there, either; having drenched it in the blood of countless demons, the Dragonslayer is capable of existing in realms both physical and astral, so it can defeat any supernatural menace. In addition, Guts also carries with him an array of supplementary weapons, such as a mechanical arm that houses a flamethrower, repeating crossbow, and a cannon, an array of throwing knives, and small pointed bombs that stick to their targets. And to cap it all off, Guts is clad in the Berserker armor, which, when triggered, allows Guts to fight as his full potential, as he feels no pain at his body's expense, even as his actions begin to tear his body apart.


Guts is truly a fearsome opponent for any individual, as well he should be. The man has slain over a thousand enemies, survived battle with giants and other fearsome warriors, survived impalement countless times over, and even slew the Sea God after being swallowed whole by it. But the Black Swordsman's life has most decidedly not been perfect, and neither is the man himself. Guts has a reckless approach to fighting, willing to put himself in harm's way if it means gaining an advantage. His berserker armor serves as a double-edged sword as well; though he feels no pain with the armor active, Guts is also unable to tell how much to hold back to preserve his body, and this is before one even starts to consider how the armor may force Guts to succumb to his inner demons. But all that said, Guts is truly one of Midland's strongest, toughest, and most terrifying warriors.

Guts: My sword has gotten very dull. However, it's three times as thick, and does three times the damage of a normal sword. You better pray you die quickly, or this could be painful.

Now with Guts having completed his study, Wizard and Boomstick go on to study his foe, Nightmare, who before he saw life, was first known as Soul Edge, a sword meant to be the greatest weapon in the world. In a saga that transcends history and the world, Soul Edge was a difficult sword to handle, with only a select few who were able to wield it amongst some of the strongest warriors alive. Many centuries would pass, Soul Edge's powers fueled by rage and blood, until it gave birth to a demon within the blade, a fiery monstrosity known as Inferno. From within Soul Edge, Inferno aimed to fill the world with evil and chaos, but needed a mortal form, a warrior, who could possess Soul Edge's full strength. Inferno had first sought out the pirate Cervantes de Leon, but after testing the pirate's potential, Inferno had deemed Cervantes unworthy, and he resumed his quest for a worthy vessel of Soul Edge; that vessel was a knight of the Holy Roman Empire, named Siegfried Schtauffen. Inferno had work to do, devouring the knight's soul and feeding itself off of the young man's fear and anger until he became Nightmare, and beginning a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold.

Now with his vessel, Inferno could begin his conquest upon an unsuspecting world, using the cursed sword to wipe out entire armies and consume their souls. But his journey had only begun. Pieces of Soul Edge had been lost, scattered all across a 16th-century Eurasia, and part of Nightmare's conquest involved scouring the land and finding those missing pieces to restore the demon sword back to its full potential. With each piece recovered, Soul Edge and Nightmare alike grew stronger, able to use a barrage of increasingly powerful attacks, often augmented with fire and lightning, and the power to steal numerous souls in a single fell swoop. Even then, Soul Edge has its own hidden measures. Should the vessel making Nightmare fall, Inferno himself can emerge from the blade to protect it, but even that pales in comparison to its ultimate technique; should all the missing pieces of Soul Edge combine, Nightmare will transcend with the blade to become Night Terror, an abomination that is the true form of Nightmare, Inferno, and Soul Edge fused into one being.

But even the living blade of malevolence and the spirit borne to it have their own flaws. Many swords are incapable of harming Soul Edge, but there exists just one that can: its holy counterpart, Soul Calibur. Siegfried would also constantly defy Nightmare's influence, proving that Soul Edge's control over its vessel is not absolute. But even more problematic than that, Inferno relies heavily on having a vessel to make Nightmare, as Inferno himself puts himself at risk when outside of Soul Edge; his existence and that of Soul Edge are intertwined. But the sword and its spirit have proven itself time and again as being menaces to the world that few could hope to defeat.

Nightmare: (swinging Soul Edge around) Blood, darkness! I shall drown the world in both!

Both sides have been given their due, and all the facts have been checked. It's time for a death battle!

A thicket of trees, in the midst of a foggy night, sets the mood for the battle to come. Nightmare, Soul Edge at the ready, stands surrounded by a plethora of Soul Edge's missing shards. The shards soon fly into the cursed blade, giving it a new form, much to Nightmare's approval. His triumph is short-lived, however, by the falling of one of the many trees that surround him. Guts, having felled the tree, warns Nightmare he stands in the Black Swordsman's path and advises he keep his distance. Nightmare casts his threat aside, ready to consume the man's soul.


Dragonslayer and Soul Edge collide at a moment's notice, but what soon breaks the stalemate is an onslaught of strikes as Guts manages to send Nightmare off-balance. Inferno's vessel is quick to recover, evading a blow that shatters a nearby boulder and returning Guts' barrage with a swift uppercut that sends the Black Swordsman skyward. A massive burst of energy from Soul Edge launches Guts even further, and Nightmare isn't done yet. Lunging towards Guts, the Midgard native avoids a slice that fells a second tree, and as it falls behind our two combatants, the stalemate is broken as Guts delivers a ferocious headbutt to Nightmare's forehead. Nightmare has had enough, and readies a fire-infused strike to Guts to end the match for good. Guts, meanwhile, sees an opportunity for a finishing strike of his own, swinging his mechanical fist towards Nightmare's face. As the demonic sword grazes Guts' cheek, the mechanical arm unveils its cannon, blasting Nightmare dead on. The dust takes a moment to settle, before a pillar of flames engulf Nightmare, who rises into the air and sprouts red, flaming wings. Night Terror has been unleashed.

In its new form, Night Terror easily overpowers Guts, blasting him across countless trees with a single laser. A storm of lasers lets Nightmare's ascended self close the distance and impale Guts upon its blade, blasting him across the battlefield with a burst of flame. To recover, Guts' mechanical arm fires a series of bolts, which are met with a fire wall raised by Soul Edge. But in truth, the bolts are but a distraction; with Night Terror pre-occupied with them, Guts lunges through the fire and hacks off the monster's left arm with a single strike of the Dragonslayer. It only takes a second blow to cleave Night Terror's head clean in half, the monster slumped against the ground. Before Guts can walk away the victor, though, Soul Edge rises into the air, and from the blade comes Inferno. Guts has no choice. He has to end the battle, now.

Inferno sets Guts aflame, but the Berserker armor begins to engulf the mercenary. Guts leaps at Inferno and in a final strike, slashes Soul Edge clean in two. As Inferno bursts into oblivion, the chunks of the demonic sword fall to the ground. Guts lands on the ground, motionless, standing, and the winner of the death battle.


As the armor-clad Guts fires a rather poor hail of arrows at the remnants of the sword, Boomstick cheerily celebrates his triumph and wastes no time in explaining why. It is true that Nightmare possesses more raw strength than Guts, but such a disadvantage is exactly the kind of thing Guts faces and triumphs over every day of his life; in a world overrun with monsters of unrelenting ferocity, Guts is strong enough of a man to take them head-on and win. As for Soul Edge's sole weakness to its holy counterpart, the hosts are quick to point out that this remains true only in the lore of the Soul series. Inferno himself, however, exists on an astral plane, and as the Dragonslayer exists both physically and spiritually, Guts would have no problem defeating the demon with his trademark sword, thus taking Soul Edge down with it. Guts' Berserker armor also played a critical role in the fight, letting him fight past his physical limitations and not stop until either his foe was killed or he was. Lastly, Guts has enough experience with demonic forces to know not to pick up Soul Edge and become its new Nightmare... that, and Guts really loves the Dragonslayer, so he wouldn't give it up for anything. Both swordsmen are of unprecedented strength, but his foe simply had all the right advantages.

Boomstick: Guts was just a whole 'nother caliber.
Wiz: The winner is Guts!

Next time on Death Battle...

Guts vs. Nightmare contains examples of:

  • BFS: The main tying thread between the two fighters.
  • The Cameo: The constellations of Chuck Norris and Segata Sanshiro can be seen for a moment after Nightmare knocks Guts into the air.
  • David vs. Goliath: Boomstick admits that by technicality, Nightmare is stronger than Guts, but Guts has faced demons much stronger than him in a daily basis.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As much of a dick as Boomstick is, even he's willing to spare the audience the details of what Gambino had once done to Guts (sold him as a child prostitute to a known pedophile).
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Boomstick tries to pass off "flyier" as an actual word to describe Night Terror's newfound ability to fly compared to the grounded Nightmare; Wiz isn't having any of it.
  • Shout-Out: Boomstick compares Soul Edge to the One Ring. In the battle itself, this comparison is possibly alluded to in that Guts dispatches Night Terror the same way Sauron was eventually defeated in the backstory: the body part holding his all-powerful artifact was cut off.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Guts headbutts Nightmare as he gloats in his face while they're saber-locked.
  • Sword Fight: Par the course between two BFS-wielders.

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