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Shout Out / Berserk

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These are many of the references to other works found in the Reference Overdosed medium that is Berserk. Actually, we would need a whole part just for Puck's meta references to pop culture, many of which are compared in this collage.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • A lot of Berserk comes from the works of Go Nagai, who Miura had declared himself to be a fan of.
    • Just like our series, Devilman entails a duo formed by a ferocious yet somewhat troubled dark-haired fighter and a smart, bishie and white-haired strategist, the latter of which betrays the former at one point and becomes a powerful demon king.
    • Many Apostles are clearly inspired by demons from Devilman. Rosine, for instance, resembles the bird demon Sirene, who is another beautiful female humanoid with wings and antennae sticking out of her head. Her name is almost an anagram of Sirene's.
    • In Volume 14, episode 97 ("Jill"), Puck is complaining about how the villagers are such psychos for wanting to kill a lovable elf, and his angry face looks like Devilman himself.
    • Guts bites the tip of Griffith's sword in their first duel, a stunt already used by Violence Jack's title character. Moreover, Jack does it after losing his right eye and arm, which only increases their similarities aside from both being huge men with dark hair and gigantic blades who wander around butchering evildoers without caring for possible victims.
    • On one occasion, Puck tries to pilot Guts while sitting on top of his head, like Kouji piloting Mazinger Z.
    • In Nagai's Susanoo, the protagonist's lover is raped and Driven to Madness by the experience (and it's revealed that she worked for a white-haired bishonen who tried to recruit the male lead and who ordered the rape when it failed). But the similarities with Berserk don't stop there: in Susanoo, some characters endowed with mental powers enter a mental landscape, where they find a chained, monstruous representation of the male lead that tries to fight off demonic personifications of the rape, and they help it defeat them so the mind's sanity can be rebuild. Sounds familiar?
  • The scene where Guts meets Femto on the top of the steps in the Escheresque realm in the Guardians of Desire arc bears a very strong resemblance to Kenshiro's confrontation with Shin in Fist of the North Star. Complete with his companion wondering what the hell happened between these two.
  • A swordsman wears a helmet copied from Ultraseven.
  • During the voyage on the Seahorse, Magnifico finds Puck inside a barrel of apples doing an impression of Jim Hawkins from Takarajima, a 1978-79 anime adaptation of Treasure Island.
  • While Isidro and Mule are punching each other in the face, Puck turns into Danpei from Tomorrow's Joe.
  • While Schierke is talking about thought transference in Volume 24, Puck has a shield and forehead antenna resembling a Gundam.
  • Miura was a fan of The Rose of Versailles, and its influence can be found in courtly politics, and Casca’s struggle between femininity and masculinity is clearly inspired by Lady Oscar.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • In volume 21, as he charges up to blind Mozgus' Twins with a spark, Puck cries out "Burn, my Cosmo!"
    • In volume 26, when Guts first demonstrates the power of the Berserker Armor, Puck turns into a Saint and asks if the Armor is a Saint Cloth.
  • Puck becomes Doraemon while making a pun about drowning.
  • On one occasion Puck turns into Getter-2 from Getter Robo.
  • Guts in the Berserker Armor resembles Unit 01 from Neon Genesis Evangelion in her berserk mode.

  • The bizarre physics-defying architectural dimension in which Guts encounters the God Hand in volume 3 is based on the works of Dutch artist M.C. Escher, especially his lithograph Relativity and his woodcut Another World.
  • The image of the tree of hanged corpses under which guts was found resembles La Pendaison (The Hanging), the 11th and most famous plate of Les Grandes Misères de la guerre (The Great Miseries of War) by Jacques Callot.
  • In vol 34, we see a surrealistic composition based on the depiction of hell in The Garden of Earthly Delights triptych by Hieronymus Bosch.
  • Puck once turns into a version of The Scream by Edvard Munch.

  • Puck's abacus-wielding accountant impression during the tigers' interruption of the ball in Vritannis may be a reference to the comedian Tony Tani, famous for his big fox-eyed glasses and slicked-back hair.

    Comic Books 
  • The Berserker Armor makes Guts look like Batman when he has control over it.
  • When Griffith becomes Femto, his spread batlike Cape Wings make him look quite a lot like Batman. Griffith's voice actor even makes Batman references during the Femto scenes in the Hilarious Outtakes.

  • According to Miura, the first Mad Max film inspired him for the story of a rabid badass roaming a Crapsack World.
  • Rutger Hauer also inspired him for Guts's physique, and his films did the same for a lot of the art and action of the Golden Age arc. The main ones were Flesh+Blood (1985), Ladyhawke, The Hitcher, Blade Runner and The Blood of Heroes.
    • In "The Guardians of Desire (2)" Guts tells the ghosts that tried to possess him, "This is my fight! Mine, a person of flesh and blood!" (emphasis added)
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) was among Miura's favorite films, and it can be noted not only in Berserk's initial premise (a huge sword-wielding guy roaming a fantasy world populated by monsters and dark perils), but also in a number of scenes and references.
    • The opening scene of the manga, which features Guts having sex with the unnamed female Apostle before she takes her One-Winged Angel form mid-act, is similar to the scene in the film in which Conan has sex with the woman in the shack before she turns into a monster.
    • One of the pit gladiators at the start of the Conan film wears the same upper arm armor worn by Guts.
    • Guts's first major enemy, the Snake Baron, turns into a snake, just like Thulsa Doom does in the movie. Unlike Thulsa though, the Baron actually fights him in this form, and despite knocking him around a bit, he loses the fight.
    • Any scene of disembodied spirits attacking Guts, especially the one in the plains after the Eclipse, is a clear homage to the scene in which Conan is being seized by the spirits summoned by the Wizard to heal him.
    • The Skull Knight can be noted as a reference to the tomb where Conan takes his sword from the animated skeleton of an ancient king.
  • The Godhand seem very much like his take on the Cenobites from Hellraiser. Not only due to their role (extradimensional godlike beings summoned by an Artifact of Doom who turn people into monsters), but also their individual designs; it's hard not to look at Ubik and see a little of the Butterball Cenobite, while Void is very much like Pinhead in personality and Chatterer in looks.
  • The possessed tree that attacks Guts reminds of Evil Dead, which also lends the premise of a Badass Normal chopping away demons that possess people and beings.
    • In a twist, while Miura was familiar with the first film of the franchise, he actually came up with Guts's Arm Cannon just before watching Evil Dead 2, which led him to worry about getting sued for plagiarism.
      • Later, much like Ash in said film, a portion of Guts' hair turns white after facing an extremely powerful demon.
    • The English translators inserted a reference to Army of Darkness in volume 14 by having Guts call his arm cannon "groovy".
  • The author is on record saying that A New Hope is his favorite movie, and it shows.
    • The Band of the Falcon and the Millennium Falcon Arc are both named after Han Solo's spaceship, the Millennium Falcon. The reference was kind of lost when the English localization translated the word "Taka" (鷹), which can mean either "Falcon" or "Hawk" in Japanese, as "Hawk". It's clearer with "Falconia", which is spelled out in katakana. Not to mention that both Guts and Griffith/Femto wear black armor similar to Darth Vader.
    • Puck turns into Yoda every time he tries to adopt a mentor-like role.
  • The Snake Baron is a clone of the Snakeman monster from the film Dreamscape.
  • Griffith's helmet resembles Winslow Leach's mask from Phantom of the Paradise, with his appearance as Femto being even more similar to that of the "Phantom".
  • Nosferatu Zodd.
  • The Sea God's smallest sets of tentacles are nigh-identical to the giant tentacle-monsters from The Mist.

  • The Godhand's names are all references to classic science-fiction books. These books are Destination: Void by Frank Herbert, Slan by A.E. van Vogt, And Call Me Conrad by Roger Zelazny, and Ubik by Philip K. Dick. Femto, on the other hand, is used in mathematics to refer to the measure of one quadrillionth of something (such as a femtosecond being one quadrillionth of a second).
  • In volume 25, episode 209, Isidro refers to Trolls as "rotten Moomin freaks."
  • In volume 26, Flora paraphrases Friedrich Nietzsche when telling Schierke, "When you gaze into the darkness, the darkness gazes back into you."
  • It's noted that Guts shares many similarities to the Eternal Champions of Michael Moorcock's work, being a protagonist who is fated to struggle against eldritch gods in a Dark Fantasy setting weilding a cursed weapon. Guts even shares similarities to one specific Eternal Champion, Corum, who lost his eye and arm to the followers of the Chaos Gods and has to rely on prosthetics to continue fighting.
    • The shout-out even goes to the level of Homage when you notice the enormous amount of similarities with The Elric Saga. Guts and his sword are Elric and Stormbringer, Casca plays a similar role to Cymoril, the numerous companions of Guts play the same role as Elric's companions such as Moonglum... Both works also include a worldbuilding involving several planes and dimensions inter-crossing with each other, and two different pantheons of powerful forces ruling over the world (the Chaos Gods/Godhand on one side, the Elementals/Four Kings of the World on another...). And of course both series deal with the End of an Age, Magic Goes Away and the fall of cruel and decadent empires.
  • Casca's name is a reference to the titular character of Casca: The Eternal Mercenary.

    Live-Action TV 

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The names and concepts used by Daiba and the Kushan belong to Hinduism. Kundalini is a kind of serpentine feminine energy all humans have located at the base of the spine, daka is the male form of a kind of ferocious spirits, pishacha are ravenous demons or vampires with shapeshifting powers, and makara is a legendary sea creature that serves as the vehicle of the water god Varuna.
  • The incantation Schierke uses to summon the Four Kings comes from the Kabbalistic Cross, the first part of the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram. It is commonly spelled as "Ateh Malkuth Ve-Geburah, Ve-Gedulah, Le-olam" ("For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever"). The third part of the ritual deals with invoking the four elements and the presence of the archangels Raphael, Gabriel, Michael and Uriel, each guarding a cardinal point.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The first time they fight, Griffith submits Guts with a waki-gatame, a seldom used Judo move popularized by professional wrestler Yoshiaki Fujiwara. Miura was a judo black belt himself, meaning he knew well how to portray it.
  • Both Isidro and Puck use pro wrestling moves, especially dropkicks and chops.
  • In the victory parade after Doldrey, Corkus strikes a pose imitating Hulk Hogan.

    Real Life 
  • Given Miura's love for medieval and early modern warfare, Farnese's name is likely a reference to Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, considered the greatest field commander of the 16th century. It's also not difficult to think that Farnese's status as an Officer and a Gentleman might have influenced the portrayal of Griffith and other knights of the series.
  • One historical German knight lost a hand and had an articulated replacement made of iron. His name? Gottfried "Gotz" von Berlichingen. However, it might be shocking to know this is a subversion: Miura apparently didn't know Gotz at all and was shocked to find about it when they later asked him whether he inspired Guts.
  • The Kushan Empire is a reference to the real life Indo-Bactrian empire of the same name, down to having an emperor named Kanishka.

  • When Daiba uses thought transference to speak to Guts's party during the Kundalini fight, so that they understand him despite the language barrier, Puck turns into Nova Usagi. Nova Usagi is the animated pink bunny mascot of Nova, a chain of private English learning schools in Japan.