There are been few mangas that are as prolific as Berserk. The dark fantasy tale is not just a masterclass in manga artistry, but storytelling as well. So, when its author suddenly passed away last year, fans went into shock. This epic tale was left unfinished, teetering off of a cliffhanger, both in its plot and its publishing fate.
Sadly, this isn’t uncommon in the manga industry, where a hostile environment breeds unhealthy living standards. Often, proving to be too much pressure for a creator with deadlines that are just impossible to meet without sacrificing something in the middle. It’s especially frightening for mangakas that are just starting in the industry, belonging to small publishing houses that bleed them dry to turn a profit.
Kentaro Miura, the mangaka for Berserk, had always been vocal about the harsh conditions he had to go through to deliver the story to fans. Not that he had to justify it, since Berserk is a masterpiece with the accolades to prove his dedication to the craft. It’s painstakingly beautiful in its detailing, and its story has gone on to influence the fantasy genre for the ages. His notoriety as both an artist and storyteller is unmatched,
Miura-san sadly passed away in May 2021 due to a sudden heart condition, leaving his legacy incomplete at only 48 volumes published since Berserk’s launch in 1989 under Young Animal Publishing. Though a chapter for the current arc was released post-humous in September 2021, the actual fate of Guts on a whole was up in the air. That is, until last night.
Where Berserk Was Left Off
When the Falcon Of Millennium Empire arc ended, we entered the Fantasia arc in 2010. In the aftermath of Griffith triggering the Great Roar Of the Astral World, Guts and his comrades, the Black Swordsman Party, found themselves on the road once again.
They board the ship Seahorse to go to Elfhelm, in a desperate plea to meet with the Elf King. The Elf King is the only one who can restore Casca’s lost sanity. Once the dreamscape breaks and her heart is restored, Casca is awakened. Though she is still terrified by everything that has happened, it’s revealed that despite her catatonic state, she was aware of everything that happened around her. She has not only gained back her memories but also her consciousness.
The crew manages to reach the famed island of Skellig as well, and on the way there, they meet Isma. Isma, who is half-human and half-Merrow, joins the crew after Guts manages to defeat the Sea God that had been causing havoc.
But as much as this arc is filled with old bonds repairing and characters returning, it is also where we see Rickert separate from the party to form his group with Silat and Daiba, heading to Falconia to confront Griffith over the pain he had caused everyone.
But the biggest shock that came, was when we got to see the (supposed) identity of the Moonlight Boy, a mysterious being that has haunted Casca and Guts, in the very last panel of the chapter. Right after he met with the Skull Night, Guts and the rest decided to stay on the island and take their time bonding with the Moonlight Boy.
Then morning comes, and they see that innocent child morph into Griffith, shocking everyone.
The Fate Of Berserk Left In The Wind?
The cliffhanger left at the end of Chapter 308, with Griffith and Guts possibly meeting for the first time face-to-face since the start of the manga, was massive.
It broke fans down, especially when they had to consider that this was the end, with no continuation to explain what the hell happened. After all, with Miura-san gone, who could take up the mantle to complete the story? Who would even do it with sincerity, without letting it become a cash-grab and tarnishing the delicate legacy of something so revered?
Berserk To Continue A Year After Miura’s Death
Miura-san had revealed in past interviews that when the conclusion of the Fantasia arc comes, the story of Berserk would be roughly 60-70% completed. When he passed away, we got a chapter released afterward that he had been working on but that was in.
That is until 7th Jun 2022, when Young Animal’s Twitter announced that the story will continue, by concluding the current arc and starting a final one after. With Miura’s apprentices on hand, they will be assisted and supervised by Kouji Mori, a close friend of Miura and a distinguished mangaka in his own right.
Fans can rest assured that Mori-san was privy to the entire story of Berserk through Miura-san himself. So, it seems like Berserk’s in great hands and we can’t wait to see what emotional heights Gut’s journey takes us to.