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Tear Jerker / Berserk

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    The Black Swordsman Arc 
  • In the chapter "The Brand", Guts decides on a whim to travel in the company of other people, reasoning that it's their loss if they aren't afraid of his curse. Colette's father assures him that they're safe from evil spirits since he's a priest, and Colette gives Guts a wineskin and blanket while exhibiting a cute Precocious Crush on him. Come night, however, Guts is unable to protect them from the demons attracted by the brand. When he sees Colette's possessed corpse holding her father's head, Guts has a Heroic BSoD and doesn't snap out of it until she has already stabbed him in the side, whereupon he cuts her in half and fights off the demons all night long. In the morning Puck tries to tell him that it wasn't his fault that they died, but Guts represses the remorse he actually feels with a laughing fit and a cynical speech about how the weak might as well die. This just goes to show why Guts tries to drive people away from him: this is what happens if he doesn't. What's more, the voices of the demons linger at the break of dawn chanting that every drop of his body belongs to them, and that they will never leave him alone until they have claimed their sacrifice. He is doomed, and completely alone in his suffering.
    Puck: This is the world Guts lives in.
  • The Guardians of Desire story arc begins with a young woman on the executioner's scaffold, accused of heresy. She protests her innocence to the Count and begs for mercy, but he just watches with amusement as the ax beheads her. Guts picks up her severed head to see her facial expression froze with terror. Then a little boy screamed "Sis!" and tries to run to her severed head, only for a guard to hit him and warn he'll have him killed too or thrown into the dungeon. There's an implication that the boy lost his only family.
  • The Count's death itself may not be that sad, depending on whether the reader feels he has redeemed himself somewhat, but Theresia's reaction is heartbreaking, being the final event in a Trauma Conga Line that has managed to be fully completed within a few hours! Just for added tragic irony, don't forget that she told Puck that her father had imprisoned her in her room, supposedly to protect her from the horrors of the world, and that she wanted to leave it. Be Careful What You Wish For hit her really hard, emphasised by her "Just take me back to my room. Just take me back to my room. Just take me back to my room!"
    • Just the thought of what might happen to this girl is heartbreaking enough. Even though her father was a monster (Morality Pet notwithstanding), he was the only person she had in this shitty world, and in reality, was the only one protecting her. It just goes to show that sometimes it takes a monster to protect the ones you love against other monsters.
  • The one that rounds out the "Guardians of Desire" story is when Theresia is screaming I'll Kill You! at Guts, and he wishes her luck with that as he turns away. Puck is about to berate him more for being so heartless towards her, but when he draws close he realizes that Guts is crying and trying to hide it. If you are reading from the start of the manga for the first time, and haven't picked up on the subtle moments up to this point hinting at Guts' Jerkass front, this is full-blown Wham Shot. Everything Puck thought he knew, and everything you thought you knew about Guts, is wrong. All that time, he was being cruel to people like Vargas and Theresia because he saw his own tragic past in them, and didn't want to cause their deaths or let his own soft-heartedness get in the way of his revenge. He probably felt remorse for ruining Theresia's life and might have wished there was something he could do for her, but he felt his only choice was to make her hate him so that she wouldn't kill herself. Once he gets over his shock, Puck's expression turns to pity and he sadly mutters,
    Puck: "Guts..."

    The Golden Age Arc 
  • She's hardly ever talked about, being the Disposable Woman of Berserk, but Sys' brief story is sad with a little bittersweetness added to the mix. A woman who lost her child and almost goes insane with grief is spared that fate by finding baby Guts and raising him as her own child (even going back that far is a little heartbreaking, since Guts started his life as an innocent baby just like everyone else). We don't actually see how Sys raised him during those three years, but during her death scene you can't help but get a feeling of sadness and happiness, since she died holding Guts' hand when he went to her side fearlessly despite that she was dying of the plague. Sys might have died horribly, but she died happily. This moment is where one may realize that even though Guts didn't really talk about Sys, he did love her as mother and he knew that she loved him back, so maybe he didn't feel the need to talk about her for that reason (unlike his relationship with his adoptive father).
  • During the Golden Age arc, Julius, one of Midland's royalty and next in line to the throne, attempts to have Griffith assassinated. In retaliation, Griffith sends Guts to assassinate Julius. After carrying out the deed, Guts finds out that someone has seen Julius's body and goes to silence them, only to find himself stabbing Adonis, Julius's young son. Adonis's last moments are spent crying in pain as Guts looks hurt and confused: he may be a ruthless warrior, but harming a child caused him such distress that, after escaping the castle, he fell into a minor Heroic BSoD...and really, can you blame him? Even worse, Adonis clearly reminded Guts of himself back when he was a kid.
  • Guts' breakdown in volume 9, when memories of his tragic childhood reduces him to a babbling and crying wreck for a few pages. And this was before the Eclipse.
    Guts: "Why...? Why'd he sell me out to that pig bastard...?"
    • Fortunately he finds out that even after all this Casca accepts him just as he is, and his life briefly becomes a lot better.
  • When Rickert finds the entire half of the Band of the Hawk that he was with have been devoured by apostles, and is saved by the Skull Knight only at the last minute. He collapses and cries, unable to understand how so many comrades who were full of cheer and eagerly awaiting Griffith's return could be killed so horribly and so suddenly.
  • The King of Midland's relationship with his daughter Charlotte is quite tragic, since she serves as a reminder of her mother. He takes Griffith having sex with Charlotte very personally and when he fails in trying to rape her, she disowns him and he regrets what he did.
  • After rescuing Griffith and leaving Wyndham, the Band of the Hawk is aided by an innocent farm family who see them as heroes. Not too long after the Hawks leave, Wyald and his Black Dog Knights arrive and proceed to rape the women and slaughter the family whole. Later, the Hawks are greeted by the gruesome sight of the family's dismembered remains paraded on stakes by the Black Dog Knights. Casca and Guts realize who the corpses belong to and are especially sickened.
  • Poor Griffith after his year of torture. When Guts finally rescued him and they saw each other for the first time in a year, Griffith raised his hand to Guts' neck. Guts was too stricken with grief to notice that Griffith hated him now, and he just cried over his disfigured body. At this point, stuff like this happened regularly, such as Griffith learning of Guts and Casca's relationship, and his pathetic attempts at suicide. Despite all the stuff he's done after, sometimes one can still feel sympathy for the poor sucker.
    • What Griffith does just after trying to strangle Guts is just as depressing. After seeing Guts crying, his own eyes slowly crease as he lets his hand drop and on rest on Guts'. For one brief second, Griffith was able to put aside his hatred for Guts and share his pain, and only when it was too late.
    • Where does the interpretation that Griffith hated Guts and tried to strangle him here come from? Another more common interpretation is that Griffith greatly missed Guts and couldn't believe that he was seeing him again, thus his gesture to touch Guts to feel if he was really there. His resentment towards Guts is implied to have been truly born when he saw him and Casca being intimate.
    • After what he went through, what he became is completely understandable. Which only makes it EVEN WORSE.
      • The capacity for Griffith to be interpreted as a misunderstood bad boy is a Tear Jerker in itself: whether because you don't want to believe he could really do that, or because you just want it to go back to the way it was, or because knowing what we do now about the Idea of Evil and causality calls his free will and his actions before the Eclipse into question... and it just doesn't matter. What's done is done, unless something happens to make it right again. Is it any wonder that even the readers wish it would just go away?
  • The Eclipse. A rare example that manages to seamlessly weave Tear Jerker with soul-scouring horror.
    • Before the Eclipse:
      • On the plains near the Midland border, Corkus has a pretty heartaching breakdown in front of the Hawks. It's hard to imagine that the resident Smug Snake has this kind of side to him.
      • After a very disturbing occurrence that happened between Casca and Griffith in his wagon, Casca realizes how weak and frail Griffith is and can't bear to leave him like this, thinking that he is her responsibility. A little while later, Guts finds Casca sitting near the wagons. He asks her what's wrong, to which she replies that nothing is wrong, but Guts sees that she is crying and demands to know what's wrong. She yells at him to stop but she ends up breaking down even more and begins crying into his chest as he holds her. Casca then tells Guts that she can't go with him and that she has to stay with Griffith to take care of him. Guts, not wanting to leave Casca, proclaims that if she's staying, that he will stay as well, but Casca begs Guts to leave on his own, telling him that if he was truly Griffith's friend, he would leave to follow his own dream. Unfortunately, Griffith overhears all of this going on from his wagon, and thus begins...
      • ... Griffith's Despair Event Horizon. After hearing Guts and Casca, the two people whom he perhaps held the only amount of affection for, talk about leaving him and pretty much pitying him just sends Griffith over the edge with grief, and he works up the strength to ride the wagon into a shallow lake. There, he tries to commit suicide by impaling himself on a sharp log, but fails. Then, Griffith suddenly has a hallucination of sorts, where he is living a peaceful and simple life with Casca and their child, and Guts is just a memory from their past (save that their child bears his namesake). Perhaps this fantasy shows us that if Griffith were to think of himself as "normal" and on the same level as his comrades, this was all that he wanted out of life, and yet even that's impossible at this point not only because he's horribly mutilated, but also because the only woman whom he could ever possibly grow to love is in love with another man and is only staying with him out of pity. Double the sadness because, for half of the fanbase at least, this is the last time you'll feel truly sorry for this man, because look what's back. Oh jeez, here we go...
    • A heartbreaking moment is the long and detailed combination of Breaking Speech and "The Reason You Suck" Speech that the Godhand gives to Griffith, essentially revealing to him that, for all his charisma, all his accomplishments, Griffith was never more than a child, stacking the corpses of the ones around him atop one another, trying to reach a distant, unreachable castle. Getting thrown in his face the fact that, for all his manipulations and machinations, were not only for nothing, but in pursuit of a childish dream, is more or less what sends him cartwheeling over the Moral Event Horizon. The kicker? The last thing he says before making his choice? He looks at Guts and says "You are the only man who ever made me forget my dream." Casca and the rest of the Band of the Hawk? They meant nothing to him. But Guts? Griffith genuinely, honestly cared about him.
    • A good one is at the very moment Griffith accepts the sacrifice. And you see Guts desperately trying to free him from the cocoon where he's turning into Femto, crying as he kept saying "I'll free you! I'll free you!" while the rest of the God Hand taunts him about how he had already made his choice. Guts finally gives up, goes mad with rage and then starts going after a group of Apostles that are trying to kill him.
    • Pippin's Heroic Sacrifice, made all the sadder because it only bought Casca a few minutes at most. Even worse, it's also the last time he ever speaks or opens his eyes in the series. Casca can only watch helplessly as Pippin is slowly but surely overwhelmed by Apostles. To add insult to injury, the Count plays with Pippin's hollowed out corpse just to torment Guts. Guts' cruelty towards the Count when they meet again becomes a lot more understandable.
    • The demonic slaughter of his comrades left Corkus so afraid that he becomes struck with detachment as horror after horror arrives with no apparent way out. While savvy enough not to be fooled by an enticing, nude woman suddenly appearing in such a place, he is nonetheless so distraught that he embraces her anyway, looking for any sort of comfort in the terrible dimension. He doesn't even let go when the demon removes its guise.
    • Judeau's death, while declaring his love for Casca.
    • Gaston's death was pretty sad too. He was Guts' second in command and Gaston looked up to Guts, and Guts clearly cared for Gaston as a friend, since he held Gaston as he lay dying. We forget that Gaston was also the last of the Hawks to die - and in such a gruesome way!
    • ... Because at this point, Casca's assault and rape begins. Now it's time for the real waterworks to begin. Get your tissue as well as your palate cleanser or Security Blanket ready.
      • Particularly heartbreaking is Casca's last sane moments, where she's begging Guts not to watch as Femto is raping her. Which Guts can't do because he's being Forced to Watch by the demons that have him pinned down after he chiseled off part of his own left arm in a last effort to save her, and is still trying to get to her. That moment was also the last one of his right eye and he will NEVER forget that moment even if he could.
      • It makes your eyes water even more when you truly start to grasp what Guts is feeling during those horrific moments: Having to watch a woman that he finally gave his heart being horrifically raped by a man that he considered a friend. You can just see it written all over Guts' face as he's crying tears and blood that he's asking Griffith, "why are you doing this? Why?" and all Griffith does is answer with a smug smile while he's very thoroughly enjoying Guts' suffering as he's forcing him to watch as he treats Casca like a toy. Given the circumstances of his first traumatic experience (in essence, being betrayed by a man that he trusted and then being left utterly defenseless because of that betrayal) you could dare to say that it's as if Guts is getting raped for a SECOND TIME, though on a more psychological level.
      • And after Femto is done raping Casca and lets her fall to the ground and Guts passes out after screaming in agony at the last sight of his broken lover you see an aerial of the scene where the two are lying on the ground. They were only feet apart during the whole ordeal another cruel twist that Femto played on Guts, what with him allowing Guts to get just close enough to him and Casca before stopping him right in his tracks, just an arm's reach away and yet, that was when they were split apart.
    • After the Eclipse:
      • Seeing Guts in such emotional despair after feeling the true weight of its aftermath, especially after seeing how broken Casca was and the realization that they could never have the intimate relationship that they had planned on before everything turned to crap. Poor Guts.
      • Also, the events on the hill where Casca miscarries her and Guts' child. Guts at first is not sure if the fetus is just a hellspawn that Femto implanted in Casca when he raped her, but finds out that it was indeed his child that was corrupted by evil. Even though he still detested the child and tried to kill him, Casca, through her madness, still showed that maternal instinct to protect it, and when the Child disappears by the morning light and Casca screams in pain, Guts can't help but to cry as well, mainly due to her pain.
  • Seeing Guts as the Black Swordsman at the end of the Golden Age storyline, walking into the darkness alone. Some fans may describe this as a badass moment in Guts' story, which you can rightfully claim too, but this moment is also extremely saddening, especially in the movie interpretation. Why? Because Guts is shown to have such capacity for optimism, hope, and happiness, not to mention that the creative team behind the movie obviously went through the effort to make Guts look very cute and just damn adorable in so many moments (fangirls particularly like how Guts was given "pouty lips"). Mentioning that says a lot about Guts, since you can hardly imagine the guy who was smiling and twirling around in a ballroom was the same guy who gruesomely slaughtered a hundred enemy soldier weeks prior. Seeing Guts warmly smiling at Casca and crippled Griffith in the first half of the movie feels utterly demoralizing once you finally get to watch the Eclipse... and then the very last scene shows Guts as this dark, gloomy, brooding, scary monster of a man who had every fiber of his being destroyed and his heart and soul uninhabitable for happiness. It's heartbreaking to see the final result.
    • Lastly, during Guts' last night in the elf mine with Casca. The two have been physically recovering for weeks, but there has been no psychological change in Casca's behavior, in which she is showing very extreme signs of rape trauma syndrome. While they're eating, Casca spills some hot soup on herself, and Guts tries to get her shift off of her but she struggles. Guts ends up accidentally ripping her shift open, exposing her breasts. In a moment of emotional vulnerability, Guts leans in and tries to kiss Casca and then... However, Casca freaks out, pushing Guts off of her and runs to the mine's gate screaming and crying. Guts is so ashamed at what he has done that he hangs his head in shame, but the saddest part of it all was that it was pretty much a final slap in Guts' face that things between he and Casca would never be the same, not as they were during their first night together or ever.
    • In conclusion, the prelude, climax, and aftermath of the Eclipse are hell to read or watch on every emotional level. Need more tissue?

    The Conviction Arc 
  • The grimly, inevitable death of Rosine in the Chapter of Lost Children is heart-wrenching to look at, even more so once the reader finally gets a complete view of her miserable backstory. Here was an imaginative little girl who ran away from her abusive father, sought out the fairies she'd always dreamed of, eventually sold her soul in a despairing attempt to find happiness... only to meet her end in a bloody, most brutal fashion. What makes it worse is that her killer is none other than Guts himself, who, despite wrestling with his own conscience, ultimately chooses to brush aside whatever level of sympathy he may have had for her in his desire to eradicate all demons and Apostles from existence. And the real kicker? Thinking back to the first few volumes and remembering that selling one's soul to the Godhand is a guaranteed ticket to Hell upon that person's death.
    • The especially heartbreaking part about Rosine's death was her thoughts during her final flight, particularly "I'd better get home quick... My parents... They'll be worried about me..." And then you remember how horrible her home life was before she became an Apostle...
  • Another one from the Chapter of Lost Children. As she's contemplating what to do about being invited to Misty Valley and giving up her normal human life to become a fairy, Jill has a lot of difficulty finding a reason to not throw her humanity away. She eventually confesses to Puck that growing up and having children of her own, knowing the kind of Crapsack World she lives in and her own awful experiences as a kid, would be unbearable because she'd be living in constant fear: what might happen to her children, what sort of monster would she eventually have to marry? These are all very reasonable fears, but the heartbreaking part is when she realizes, that's what life is, for a human girl.
    • It gets more painful for Jill. She witnesses Guts cleave through Rosine (who, we are quick to remind you, is her childhood friend), and yet despite everything she begs Guts to take her with him, away from her village. Why? Because the helplessness and fear she endures every day at home, especially since it's implied she's a victim of Attempted Rape, is far too much for a little girl like her to handle. She's so desperate for freedom from her pain that she's willing to follow the man who's responsible for the death of her childhood friend. And he refuses, in an absolutely heartrending speech cementing his fundamental human decency, in the face of everything he's been through.
    "Look around you carefully. Strain your eyes at the darkness around us... At the darkness around me. You said anywhere but here. This is where, here, at the border. Gathered by the winds. Those who have met their final destiny hanging between jealousy and regret. Those who failed, swept together here. You say it doesn't matter where. If you follow me, this is where you'll go. This is your Paradise. There Paradise for you to run to. If you come with me...the whole a battlefield."
    • Then she begs and weeps for him to come back and take her away, in one last desperate plea, but he continues on through the darkness, telling her that she has her own battlefield to fight. One of the most painful yet beautiful moments in all the manga.
  • When Guts reaches Godo's cabin, he finds out that Casca has gone missing when she and Erica went out to pluck berries. Immediately, Guts pins the blame on Rickert for not searching for Casca more fervently, but Erica drops a bomb in calling out Guts for leaving Casca to her insanity in the first place. This shakes Guts, of course, but it takes Godo's intervention to finally reach out to the weathered Black Swordsman and tell him that despite his very understandable desire for revenge, he has left the one person he has left to rot away so he can wallow alone in his own hatred. The realization of just how much he took her for granted is enough to bring Guts to his knees, as he shouts, "Again!? I had it in my hands...and without thinking, I lost it!? The thing I cherished most...!?"
    • Guts then makes a declaration to defend Casca from harm and reclaim what he had lost in her before it's too late—and his journey takes him to the Tower of Conviction. Demonic spirits are swarming the place, devouring everything in their path in a vicious mock-Eclipse designed to reincarnate Griffith into the mortal realm. Guts is reminded of his failure to save Casca and his friends from the original Eclipse over and over again, but he's trying his best to fight on and save his lady love. The poor citizens at the foot of the tower fear for their lives, the aforementioned spirits hunting for their flesh, and so they prepare to burn Casca ay the stake under the belief that she's a witch responsible for summoning the spirits to them. Guts, of course, makes every attempt to rescue her—but then he sees a silhouette of Void, from the Godhand, forming from the spirits welling up from behind him. And Guts flips out, brandishing his blade and giving out a massive Slasher Smile, slashing the silhouette with all his might—but of course. Since it's a mock-Eclipse, the silhouettes of the Godhand appearing before him are just that. Silhouettes. And then Guts remembers Casca, remembers that he has to save her, remembers his priorities and it's all hammered home how despite his love and care for Casca, his desire for revenge is still overwhelming enough to make him forget her. You can feel the agony in his voice and how disgusted he is with himself when he shouts a great big "MOOOOVE!" as he cleaves through the spirits swarming him.
  • Griffith has come back. The Incarnation Ceremony has been completed. A new world is dawning. But when Guts sees his old friend, now bitter enemy, he gives a violent roar and charges at him, ready to cleave him in two for all the pain he has wrought. And then he hears Casca mewling out some small noises, and he's brought back to his senses. It is at this point that the conflict of the series has changed. No longer is Guts on some quest of vengeance anymore—now, he's on a quest of protection. And with Casca at his side and Griffith right in front of him, it is at this point he realizes that he has to choose between killing the man he despises or protecting the woman he loves, in a struggle that can only be defined as "heroic." He chooses the latter.

    Millennium Falcon Arc: Chapter of the Holy Demon War 
  • Guts meets Griffith again, and Griffith said that he met Guts to see if he'd feel anything, but realized that nothing would sway his heart, and Guts yells "Nothing?! All that you did?! Everyone you betrayed?! And you don't feel one thing?!" What makes this even worse is the whole scene takes place at the graveyard of the Band of the Hawk, the people that Griffith betrayed and killed.
    • Not to mention poor Rickert would have brought Griffith up there having no clue what he had done and was overjoyed to tears at his return only to have to watch as Guts appears and tries to kill Griffith in confusion and try to stop the fight only to be told of the fate of the Hawks by Guts afterward.
    • Additionally, that's not actually the first time they met after the Eclipse. It's pretty easy to forget, since for just about everyone the story only really starts with the several-volumes-long flashback to Guts' youth, but if you go back to the very beginning of the story, you'll remember that Guts met the entire God Hand again after he nearly killed the Count. It's not as jarring as it could be at first, since at that point you're not entirely aware of who exactly they are and what the relationship between Femto and Guts is, but if you go ahead and re-read the series, seeing the way Femto speaks to and of Guts is quite sad; this is, chronologically speaking, the first time we hear Griffith speaking as Femto; you didn't really need to hear him open his mouth to know he was a monster, since his actions during the Eclipse cement that beyond reasonable doubt; hearing him talk so haughty, arrogant, callous, and dismissively of someone he malignantly betrayed and tortured (partly for his own amusement) is just the nail in the coffin).
  • Farnese's story.
    "We're so warped you and me..."
  • Serpico's backstory, to elaborate he spends his childhood in poverty with a terribly sick mother whose mental health is growing worse. He is repeatedly beaten by the other street urchins. Eventually he is found by Farnese and is taken in as her personal servant, where he is put through all kinds of abuse that terrified her previous servants. Years later his mother's mental health has worsened to the point that she no longer recognizes Serpico as her son, due to her mental state she is accused of being a witch. When Serpico sees his mother on a stake he is noticeably broken, but to prove that he is not a heretic as well Farnese forces him to burn his own mother.
  • Chapter 204, "Enoch Village", shows that even disposable bystanders' deaths can be horribly tragic. Hannah and Ted were married just four days before the trolls attacked the village. There was also Hannah's brother Horace; all three of them grew up together as childhood friends. Ted gets mauled and eaten alive, and Hannah tries to save him only to wind up raped. Horace tries to save his sister but gets gruesomely beaten to death, and the trolls carry Hannah off to their lair. It gets even worse in Chapter 216, "Taint", when we see how the trolls rape captured women, causing them to die from giving birth to troll spawn that claw their way out of the unfortunate mothers' bodies. Farnese runs into Hannah just in time to witness her pitifully beg for help before dying horribly. It's hard to read about innocent, happy lives getting destroyed in such a loathsome and evil way—you just feel like crying and vomiting at the same time.
    • There's a subtle one when Guts and Schierke prepare themselves for the upcoming troll invasion. After being picked on by a bunch of rowdy kids in the village for her witch attire, Schierke muses to Guts how she would never have even helped the village in their plight normally—that the only reason she's even aiding them against the threat of trolls is because Flora had asked her to. Guts handily shuts her down by bluntly saying if that's the case, she should just leave; if she truly doesn't want to help out and is doing this simply under orders, she's just doing errands. When you recall how Guts from the Golden Age Arc used to be all about just following orders and living for the next fight without any personal investment (before he met the Hawks), you realize just how much Griffith had influenced the guy and how, even to this day, Guts still holds at least a modicum of the values that Griffith had once held in terms of fighting for your passions and dreams.
  • Then there's the Neo Band of the Hawk's surprise attack on the mansion, culminating in Flora's Heroic Sacrifice, whose last words to Schierke are to remind her that death is nothing to fear for witches like them. The young witch's tearful reply of "But...I'll be...lonely" comes off as one of the most honest reactions to the death of a loved one to occur within this series. And Schierke being such a Moe Shrinking Violet with No Social Skills at the best of times only makes it worse, as she's just lost the only person she was ever truly comfortable with, and (at the time) sees little hope of having that sort of companionship ever again.
    • Not to mention the fact that her next thoughts are of how the beautiful, tranquil house in the woods where she spent so many happy days has burnt up.
  • Guts: "When was the last time she smiled?"
    • As if the Lost Love Montages that Guts had before he set out to rescue Casca were heartbreaking enough, the ones that come after the crappy events in volume 23 just twists a rusty knife into your heart. In fact, the entire love between Guts and Casca is one big Tear Jerker. The two of them finally found love with each, healing emotional wounds that the both of them had, only for them to be cruelly torn apart from one another mere days after admitting their feelings. Though he failed Casca once and she can't love him back now, Guts tries to make the most of their situation, but it seems that he can't even do the simple task of making her smile anymore, a small thing that would do so much for Guts' current emotional state. And now, all Guts has to keep his grip on things are the few memories of the happier times that he and Casca spent together. Oh, Guts!
      • Made all the worse by the fact that Guts' desperation to protect Casca, combined with his own frustrations and inner conflicts means that his Black Dog will keep trying to kill Casca because she is literally the only thing that is stopping Guts from becoming a monster. If Guts abandons her, the Beast wins; if he stays with her he puts her (and anyone in a ten mile radius) in danger from himself and the huge number of ghosts that are attracted to two branded people... Guts situation isn't just depressingly bleak, it's heartbreakingly hopeless.

    Fantasia Arc: Chapter of Elf Island 
  • In the boat on the way to Elfheim, Casca accidentally falls into the water, only with Guts trying to catch her...with his prostethic left hand. Of course he fails to avoid her falling into the water, and though no one is seriously hurt, Guts realizes that even though he wants to protect her and hopes for their relationship to heal if she gets her sanity back, neither is guaranteed to happen. His doubts and resentment at Casca's state are still present.
    "Even if we painstakingly piece together something lost, I guess it doesn't mean it will be back to normal."
  • The end of chapter 330 of the manga. Chitch, the little elf that Guts encountered in prison as a boy before meeting the Band of the Hawk, used up all of her power to selflessly help him. Healing his wounds, giving him water, and providing warmth caused her flower to wilt and die. And after all that, the flower provides a distraction that manages to save Guts from getting shot with a crossbow. Guts, who offered to plant her in a meadow where he saw other flowers like her, can only hold a little funeral of sorts for her there afterward. His face alone speaks volumes.
    • This scene is even more tragic because of the contrast with one of the earliest scenes in the manga; the bit where Puck rescues Guts from a prison cell. Just look at how gentle and kind the younger Guts was when he met an elf that was even more of a Motor Mouth Sidekick Creature Nuisance than Puck, and compare that with the way Guts treats Puck at the start. It also provides a possible reason for Guts being so cold towards Puck, if he didn't want a repeat of what happened to Chitch.
  • Chapter 347 mostly has a bit of light heartedness to it and even a good spark of hope when it's revealed that yes Danann can heal Casca of her broken mind. Just a simple romp through dream land right? Except that they need to be the unaltered memories. From before her current state.... which means THE ECLIPSE. Poor Casca has to relive that horrifying moment once more.
    • What's sad in and of itself is the fact that stomping through Casca's dreamland, they are going through unaltered memories. Farnese and Schierke, both of whom share feelings for Guts, aren't going to see him as the brooding Black Swordsman they've come to know and love. They are going to see Guts laughing and smiling alongside Corkus, Judeau, Pippin and Rickert. They are going to see him lovingly hold Casca and experience something along the lines of joy in his life. Then when they see the Eclipse, which is bound to happen, it's only going to hammer home how torn apart and broken Guts came to be before meeting them.
  • Chapter 348 shows Casca's dream: Guts is a wounded dog carrying her coffin, suffering as he attempts to protect her from harm. The coffin itself holds a broken doll of what used to be Casca with a tiny version of her present, insane self spinning around. She doesn't have a great opinion of herself.
  • Chapter 350 takes a look back at some of the happier memories Casca had with her friends and comrades. Seeing the woman she used to be is a tearful reminder of just how cruel the "hands of fate" can be in the Berserk-verse, and the terrible ordeals they bring down upon good people.
    • In the same chapter, there's subtle yet profound sadness in the way Farnese reacts after seeing the full context of Guts' and Casca's relationship. Faced with the realization that the man she secretly yearns for has long been truly taken, Farnese proclaims out loud that the overflowing emotions she's experiencing at the moment are mere "projections" of Casca's own within the dreamworld, but Schierke (who is also coping with her unrequited crush on Guts) senses otherwise. Although she doesn't say anything, the downtrodden look on Schierke's face suggests that she knows Farnese is only lying to herself to try and maintain composure, all the while hurting deep inside. What truly makes this scene heartbreaking is how it visually reminds readers that, for all their loyalty and devotion to Guts, Farnese and Schierke are left with no other choice but to accept that their feelings for him may never be reciprocated.
  • After years and years of Casca being in her mind-broken state, she's finally brought to Elf Island, where she's "repaired"... and it works. Casca is mostly back to normal again, speaking and talking to Farnese and Schierke, and has been healed from the events of the Eclipse. Seeing one of the most important characters of the manga back to her old self is nothing short of a miracle... Which makes the fact that her reaction to Guts, her One True Love, is absolute terror because of what his appearance as the Black Swordsman represents from her perspective is tragic, and undeniably one of the worst Gut Punches in Manga history. Not only that, but those big two-page spreads of Guts with the Eclipse behind him and Griffith's tortured state pre-Eclipse pretty much spell out that she is going to remember everything that happened to her during the Eclipse.
  • Chapter 359 expands a bit more on what is mentioned above. Casca seems to be doing just fine after her recovery. She’s changed her appearance, is getting along with the party, and she can still use a sword. But despite all of that — she still can’t get too close to Guts without her memories of the Eclipse flooding back. Even though Casca wants to communicate with him, Guts won’t even face her. And then there's Casca’s breakdown when she remembers Judeau.
  • Casca is recovering after seeing Guts, but even the slightest idea of what she had suffered through is enough to send her back into a panic episode. This means that despite everything Guts went through and all the sacrifices he had to endure to finally cure Casca... he's still not allowed to be with her.
  • Guts is out on the cliff side after all has been settled, wondering what the hell he is supposed to do now. Skull Knight tells him, "You bear witness to the end of your journey. It is not always a happy thing."
    • Casca gives us a bit more insight to her situation. She knows perfectly well what happened during the Eclipse, and anything that reminds her of the 'old days' inevitably brings a reminder of a "dread shadow". The one bright side is that she's finally in a place where she can peacefully talk with others and deal with the trauma, but this scene seems to be quite rooted in similar scenarios...



    Berserk (1997) 
  • Even after all these years, the original anime version of the Eclipse preserves its power. For example, the scene where Femto rapes Casca while forcing Guts to watch. It's very minimalist compared to the original manga, as well as the 2013 film Advent: Casca's body and the act itself are largely obscured by Femto's wings, and there's very little actual movement going on in each frame. Part of this is because Limited Animation is par for the course in old-school low-budget productions, and because they have to censor it a lot for television, but these constraints actually result in a very powerful use of limited animation and cutting between still images to show the characters' emotions, while emphasizing how everything is about eyes and vision. We don't see what Femto is doing to Casca, but we see her upper body and her face as she suffers her violation. We see Guts with his body covered in wounds, pinned down by the claws of a dozen Apostles with his eyes filled with tears of grief and rage. We see Femto almost unmoving as he rapes Casca, giving Guts an emotionless Kubrick Stare. We see the faces of Ubik and Slan, as Slan says how beautiful it is to her. And lastly, we see from the perspective of Guts' right eye as the Apostle's claw pierces it, engraving the image into his mind forever.
  • Guts's theme has recently been the subject of Memetic Mutation, but it's maybe one of the best seinen hero themes ever composed. Rather than being pounding, Hot-Blooded badassitude, like you would expect of a character like Guts, it's actually a sombre, slow piece that reflects how utterly tired Guts is of fighting, and how he wants nothing more than to give up all this killing and just rest.

    Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage 
  • Nico's story. A boy who was misunderstood by everybody and died out in the snow, with only his faithful dog to mourn him.
  • Balzac's speech about why he turned out the way he did is intensely eloquent and tragic. He talks about the pain of having to take care of someone you love knowing that they cannot even recognize you, seeking in vain for something that could change them back to how they used to be. Even if he's beyond saving, it's hard not to pity him. It makes you think that maybe he's not so different from Guts, and that maybe he's an example of what he could have and might still become.
  • Toward the end, after a major Boss fight, we get a major tearjerker between Guts and Casca: After Guts defeats a huge mandragora monster that was possessing her, she regains her memory for a brief moment, since the mandragora makes sane people insane and vice versa in Casca's state. The two can only share a fragment of a moment with each other before the possession wears off and Casca reverts back to her insane state, leaving Guts in utter despair once again.
  • This game is notable for expanding what was only touched upon briefly in the manga: Guts' fledgling bond with the mentally-regressed Casca before his inner beast shattered it. See how she feels perfectly safe being wrapped in his arms, trusting him like an innocent child would trust her parent. It only makes the end of the game feel all the more bittersweet.... knowing that their beautiful, fragile relationship would soon come to an end, never to be repaired for the rest of Casca's time as a handicap.

    Berserk Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Sho 
  • Guts' fight in Qliphoth against the ghosts of the Band of the Hawk summoned by Charles, including Casca as she was before she went insane. As each of them is defeated, they fade away while making their own emotional parting words. Casca's scene is especially poignant as she is disappearing in Guts' arms. She tenderly strokes Guts' cheek while saying "After all, you were fighting your own battle," and then she vanishes.
  • Charles' death makes you go Alas, Poor Villain, since he was a young child corrupted by the power offered by the God Hand, and he was devastated by the fact that he had sacrificed his beloved sister. It's even sadder that he died while trying to convince himself that Marien was still alive.
  • Schierke's grief at losing Flora and the peaceful forest home she loved is depicted in a very emotional and poignant way.

    Berserk: The Golden Age Arc 
  • The final few minutes of the movie are one big tear jerker. As far as sad moments go, it was exceptionally well done: the look on Guts' face when he sees Casca's condition, the mournful music playing in the background as he runs through the field, the images of everyone he's grown close to flashing before his good eye, and last but not least that scream. It all adds up to show the pain of a man who has lost everything he loved.
  • Seeing Guts as the Black Swordsman at the end of the Golden Age storyline, walking into the darkness alone. Some fans may describe this as a badass moment in Guts' story, which you can rightfully claim too as this is where he starts taking the fight to the demons in earnest, but this moment can make you extremely sad, especially in the movie interpretation. Why? Because Guts is shown to have such capacity for optimism, hope, and happiness, not to mention that the creative team behind the movie obviously went through the effort to make Guts look very cute and just damn adorable in so many moments (fangirls particularly like how Guts was given "pouty lips"). Mentioning that says a lot about Guts, since you can hardly imagine the guy who was smiling and twirling around in a ballroom was the same guy who gruesomely slaughtered a hundred enemy soldiers singlehandedly weeks prior. And seeing Guts warmly smiling at Casca and crippled Griffith in the first half of the movie is so heartbreaking when you finally watch the Eclipse... and then the final scene of the movie shows Guts as this dark, gloomy, brooding, scary, monster of a man who has had every fiber of his being destroyed and his heart and soul uninhabitable for happiness. When the credits roll, one can see all too clearly that the man who the viewer has grown to know and love is effectively dead, and in his place has emerged a much darker person.

Alternative Title(s): Berserk 1997, Berserk The Golden Age Arc, Berserk 2016, Berserk Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki No Sho, Berserk And The Band Of The Hawk


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