Reading Level: Adult
Length: 224 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
Release Date: November 4, 2003
Stand Alone or Series: 1st volume in the Beserk series
Rating: 5/5 stars
“His name is Guts, the Black Swordsman, a feared warrior spoken of only in whispers. Bearer of a gigantic sword, an iron hand, and the scars of countless battles and tortures, his flesh is also indelibly marked with The Brand, an unholy symbol that draws the forces of darkness to him and dooms him as their sacrifice. But Guts won’t take his fate lying down; he’ll cut a crimson swath of carnage through the ranks of the damned – and anyone else foolish enough to oppose him! Accompanied by Puck the Elf, more an annoyance than a companion, Guts relentlessly follows a dark, bloodstained path that leads only to death…or vengeance.”
I have watched all the Berserk anime up to this point (including the Golden Age arc) and wanted to read the manga. My husband started reading the manga many years ago and I am not sure what took me so long to pick them up. This is a very violent almost horror-like fantasy manga series and is not for the faint of heart.
In this first book we meet Guts (the Black Swordsman) and Puck. Guts has been branded and labeled a sacrifice and attracts all sorts of demons to him, which he brutally slays. Guts is one of those characters that take a licking and keeps on ticking. He is brutally tortured a number of times in the book, yet manages to decimate his foes with his incredibly enormous sword.
In this book we are also introduced to the Apostles; fiends of god-like power who are after anyone with the brand. These Apostles seem to thrive off of human misery and Guts has made it his mission to take them down.
The illustration is really well done and easy to follow. There is a lot of action in this book but also solid world-building and interesting characters. The story is very graphic and violent, so just be aware of that. If you find violence, torture, and gore extremely abhorrent this isn’t the manga series for you.
Overall this was an amazing start to this manga series. Unlike other manga series this one sucks you right in and builds a great story right from the first volume. I really am enjoying it and would recommend to mature manga readers who enjoy action fantasy manga.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– Mount TBR Reading Challenge
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge
– Graphic Novel Reading Challenge
– Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge