Review of the ‘Berserk’ manga: “Golden Age Arc”

By: Jalalaisa Geleto

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‘Berserk’ is one of the greatest things I have ever read. I’m only halfway through the entire story, but I finished the most iconic and famous ‘Berserk’ arc, the “Golden Age Arc,” last week.

The “Golden Age” is the arc that is most adapted to  other media forms although the story arcs that happen after are much better. This arc is the first real arc in the manga, and it sets you on a reading binge.

I’ll divide my review into three parts: art, story, and characters.

The art in ‘Berserk’ is out of this world. Each manga panel would take me a day to complete, but the author, Miura, made thousands of these. The art in the series has the scale and detail of a renaissance painting but it doesn’t break the flow of the story necessarily. The way he draws things makes you marvel at them but It won’t make you stop for a couple of minutes and stop the flow of reading. His art is completely done with pen and pencil, you can see every mark he makes and it makes his drawings even prettier.

In the great battle scenes of ‘Berserk’ you can feel the speed, intensity, and ferocity of the battles. The line art really does convey the power behind many blows the characters give or take in the manga. The sheer ferocity of some of the character design is quite impressive.

Another thing about the art in this manga is the facial expressions of the characters. Although they can be insane and greatly exaggerated, the expressions are great and sometimes really funny.

The story of the “Golden Age” arc is great overall but it does start relatively slow. “Golden Age” is essentially a backstory for the main character and the main antagonist. Many criticized ‘Berserk’ because the prelude arc (which is two chapters long) spoils the fact that Griffith (Guts, the main character’s best friend) becomes the main villain. Miura does this though, to peak our interest and makes us want to find out more about our mysterious protagonist and antagonist.

The spoiling of it takes out the impact of what happens at the end of the “Golden Age” arc. The arc itself is extremely dark as is everything after it. I wouldn’t recommend ‘Berserk’ to anyone who has a low tolerance for, blood & gore, cursing, horror, and sexual violence.

The ‘Berserk’ story is quite straightforward during the “Golden Age” arc, and nothing of brilliance really happens until the end of the arc. The arc’s purpose is to build you up for the main story of ‘Berserk.’ It’s an arc that familiarizes you with the world. It makes you care for the characters then it finally shatters everything and puts you on an adventure with Guts.

The characters of the “Golden Age” arc is what makes it, not the plot. The plot doesn’t become the greatest of factors till the end of the arc. The characters are really likable and you enjoy all their screen times. Characters get the right amount of time in the story. You get to know and like the side characters without them bogging down the story and becoming annoying.

The main three characters – Guts, Casaka, and Griffith, are all well fleshed out and their actions reflect their character and personality. There aren’t any out of character moments with them; everything makes sense and there’s a reason for it.

Griffith, while a well fleshed out character, is still mysterious. We understand Griffith but we really don’t know much about him. I found this interesting and honestly, I don’t really need to know much of his past; it’s better off a mystery.

Overall, the “Golden Age” arc is a great beginning to an epic story. It has one of the greatest build ups and plot twists of all time. I believe it deserves to be called one of the greatest, if not the greatest, manga ever written. I’ll give the “Golden Age” arc an 8 out of 10.

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