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Berserk, Vol. 1 Paperback – November 4, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This ultraviolent fantasy manga is the first in a series about a cursed lone wanderer with a tragic fate and a cast of bio-horror demons. Deserving its name, Berserk offers a montage of merciless violence and thrilling action sequences in a blend of pure fantasy and graphic horror. Set in a netherworld of a science fiction Dark Age, the story's antihero is the appropriately named Guts (he's shameless, relentless and all strength). Guts is on a quest to avenge a flesh-eating demon ruler and lift his demon curse. Guts carries the sign of the curse on his neckâ€"a mysterious brand that attracts evil demons, spirits and the undead. Armed with a massive sword and metal cannonball-shooting prosthetic arm, he maneuvers through a cast of oddities: a pus and blood fetus monster, a giant cobra and an Aliens-like biomechanical monster. They all plague him in nightmares and waking life. Anyone who interacts with Guts is doomed, too, as either his victim or the incidental sufferer of his demon adversaries, and he winds up leaving a trail of carnage in every direction. Guts's unlikely companion, Puck, is an androgynous, winged elf who possesses magic healing powers, and while Guts scoffs at the sprite, Puck proves to be an invaluable buddy. Published in Japan in 1989, this work has a style characteristic of other 1980s manga, with sparse dialogue, spectacular action sequences and gritty character art. The pencil shading and use of shadows lend an ominous tone, and the frenetic and intense pace make Berserk a strong addition to the fantasy-horror manga genre.
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Product Details

  • Series: Berserk Volume 1 (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Manga; 1st Edition edition (November 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593070209
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593070205
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I remember reading just about every Berserk book that came out in 2000. I was addicted to the series. The deep characters with emotional back stories, the character designs in general, the plot that has no happy ending from what I could see, and the drawing style. But back then, it cost about 3 times as much as this little graphic novel here for just one issue. Luckily, Berserk has been getting popular, and Dark Horse picked it up for US shores. And I'm impressed. This is one of very few Japanese comics that is properly translated. I still have some older Berserk comics from when they were first printed, and the translation is dead-on.

But enough about that, I'm sure you want to know what Berserk's about. It follows the story of Guts (or Gattsu as so many purists insist), wandering the land for revenge. While the full story isn't even close to being revealed in this issue, I insist that you watch the animated series before getting into the books. Where the series is available on just 6 discs, the books are currently up to volume 27. We've got a ways to go. But Guts is a mercenary unlike any other. He doesn't help others, but he isn't quite a bad guy. He's just looking out for himself. And in the world of Berserk, that's probably the smartest thing you can do. There are bandits, demons, zombies, and spirits everywhere just waiting to attack. And to make matters worse, Guts has a brand on his neck that attracts these demons. It causes him pain or bleeds whenever he's about to be attacked. But Guts is a one-man army. In just the first part of this volume, he blows a hole through a monster's head with his hand-cannon, lops people in half with his 7-foot sword: The Dragonslayer, picks off bandits in groups with his automatic crossbow attatchment, and more.
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Format: Paperback
I was first introduced to the Berserk series by way of a videogame for the Sega Dreamcast console entitled "Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage." i had no concept of what it was, all i knew is that it involved a guy with a metal hand with a crossbow and cannon inside, who weilds a sword bigger than he is, while fighting vicious demons 10 times the size of his sword. A couple of years later i stumbled upon a dvd at the local video store which addorned the same great character on its cover. i had to check it out. What i found was the begining of an obsession with the best series ive ever witnessed in any form of media. watching the first episode of this dvd reinstilled all of the emotions i felt when i first played the game. I was in a state of pure awe as i watched Gatsu (Guts, as he's reffered to in America) tear through his enemies in the same quick, brutal and over the top fasion. The first episode was nothing more than a devise to draw you into the intricate story waiting ahead. that one episode let you know that this would be a dark, violent story centering on hordes of demons and their intent of making guts their sacrifice no matter what the cost. i quickly began watching the rest of the series, and came to find that there was far more going on here. Set in the middle ages in the midst of a great war, the Berserk anime quickly shed the dark and hopeless feel of the first episode and videogame. It showed a variety of things i was not expecting. First and foremost, it concentrates on an excellent story of relationships in a world where life is death. the main characters in this story are very well fleshed out, and it allows you to see what they want out of life and how they hope to acheive their goals.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
The detail of the drawings is magnificient. The story is well thought out and fascinating. The characters are complex and thoroughly developed. And, there's true suspense--bad things happen to good people and good things happen too--in this extra dark story you never really know where it's going till after it gets there.
Most mangas I read for 'fun'--the story is predictable & the characters are 2-D but it's cute or pretty, entertainment popcorn if you will. This one, I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the next chapter in the story and I truly care about the characters. In a vast manga collection, this one is a standout.
Berserk isn't for everyone. The violence quotient is off the scale and all of it is depicted in full detail--the squeamish should avoid this title like the plague. It's also not a manga for the impatient. It's nearly three volumes in before the story proper starts to unfold. It is all eventually tied together so that the plot and character decisions make sense--but readers have to spend a good long time wandering about in the dark before that happens.
If you're tired of boyscout heroes and you're always looking for something new and different, Berserk is a must read. Words can not describe the brilliance that is this manga. Best just read it yourself, or watch the anime, which is very similar--it just moves along a lot faster at the expense of some of the details found in the comic.
FYI: Berserk is up to 25 volumes in Japanese and the story is still on going. Many of the major plotlines are still unresolved, so the series could still go off track in the later chapters--but through volume 25 it's very good.
Dark Horse's edition had perfectly decent translations. Not translating the sound effects was a little cheap, but I don't think it made much difference. Most of the sounds you could guess from context anyway.
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