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Cat's Cradle: Love 'Elden Ring?' Read 'Berserk'

Elden Ring has taken the video game community by storm as players spend time exploring the Lands Between in a quest to become Elden Lord. Created by studio FromSoftware and George R. R. Martin, the game marks a new chapter in the legacy of dark-fantasy games known as "soul-likes." Though, the genre doesn't end with Elden Ring.

Berserk follows the lone warrior Guts as he navigates a medieval world seeking revenge. Dark, violent and detailed, the world of Berserk is visually unique, inspiring games like Dark Souls and television like Castlevania. This trend continues with the most recent game, Elden Ring

Author Kentaro Miura's unique fantasy vision has sold 50 million volumes of manga worldwide, leading to a trilogy of films, two anime shows and a pair of games. Berserk (1997) stands out among the adaptations as a true rendition of the chapter the "Golden Age Arc." What elevates the show is its attention to the characters and artwork of the source material.

Berserk is deeply rooted in the Seinen genre of manga, one focused on action and aimed at young men with excessive violence and little character development. Examples include Fist of the North Star, in which the hero is adept, emotionless and capable of killing opponents with a touch. However, Berserk is different

Miura avoids the stoic hero in favor of the flawed. Guts' motives are influenced by his personal history. His character becomes cold and distant as a victim of several violent experiences. Throughout the "Golden Age Arc," Guts heals as a character and begins to show attachment to others. 

Guts' emotions often hide beneath layers of stoicism portrayed through his actions. This is how he protects his friends: offering his services or holding back. For Guts, his emotional language becomes physical and Miura's artwork captures this perfectly. 

The main draw of Miura's comic is the pencil work. Immaculate and detailed, Miura's manga becomes more visually complex with time. Structures, monsters and landscapes are drawn in vivid detail, demanding study like the best works of art. Often a splash page, Miura's memorizing landscapes and images take form in the style of a Bosch painting.  

The covers of collected volumes are their own work of art. Drawing from a pulp art influence, the individual covers resemble romance novels from the period of Edgar Rice Burroughs

These elements have made Berserk one of the longest-running manga in the world. Starting in 1989, the series consistently ran but stopped with the death of Miura in 2021. Though the manga has been collected into 41 volumes, the series wasn't complete. More recently, Kouji Mori, a colleague of Miura, announced he would attempt to finish Berserk

Now is the time to follow the saga from the start, as it continues from its initial inception to new ends. Though it may never meet Miura's highs, it marks a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Berserk that fans old and new can enjoy for years to come. 

Benjamin Ervin is a senior studying English literature and writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Benjamin know by emailing him be425014@ohio.edu.

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