Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Berserk main characters analysis Part Four: Thoughts on Golden Age Arc.

I know I said last time that I'd give an overview of what came after Griffith's betrayal, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that that might be a bad idea. Like I said before, there's a lot of ground to cover in Berserk, and even trying to summarize it would take me forever. So I decided instead to leave it alone and come back to it another time. And instead, I'm just going to give you my thoughts on the series that I've covered so far.

I should also probably explain the title of this post.You see, as of right now, the Berserk Manga has a total of five story arcs. The Black swordsman arc, The Golden Age arc, The Conviction Arc (i.e. my personal favorite), The Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc, and the most recent (and ongoing) The Fantasia Arc. And although the Black Swordsman arc was the first published, the arc we covered, The Golden Age, is the first arc chronologically. And it's the one that casual fans would be the most familiar with simply because it's been animated twice. Once as a 25 episode TV series in 1997, and, more recently, as a film trilogy.

Literally, we see Guts' birth.
Anyway, here's what I think of the Golden Age arc. It's no secret that I like it, why else would I be writing about it? But honestly, the character development is kinda, 'meh'. Oh it's not bad by any means, Kentarō Miura did a great job in avoiding the stereotypes of his chosen medium. But the only character that he seemed to put any real effort into was Guts. We get to see Guts' from the time he's a new born and all the way to Griffith's betrayal, a time span of several decades. At least we do in the Manga and the TV series. We get to see Casca as a child too, yes, But not to the same degree as we do Guts. The odd man out here is Griffith *stabs him in the face with a very big knife*. While I will still argue that he's a very interesting character, we still don't know much about his past. What about his formative years helped mold him into the ambitious, backstabbing scumbag that he is today? Why does he want to become a king so bad? To my knowledge, the Manga has never really address this, and neither has any of the animes.

Griffith,why can't you just DIE!!!?
Despite that, as I've said, Griffith is still a very interesting character. I mean, yeah, I've wanted him dead, since the moment I laid eyes on him, but that doesn't change the fact. He's the kind of character that you "Love to hate," I think that that's one of the highest compliment you can give a villain character. "I despise you so much, that I love you." I still want him dead, though.  As for the other Hawk members, we don't get to see them as kids either, but we do get a clear enough picture of who they are and how they development as the story progresses...but then again, all but one of them (not counting Casca and Guts for the moment) are dead, so they don't matter.
Schierke...not in the Golden Age.

As for the story, itself, I like it. Its careful to avoid all the supernatural stuff till it's important to the plot, which in the Manga is only three times in the arc we covered (and only twice in the TV show and movies), and that includes Griffith's betrayal. Like Game of Thrones, The Golden Age arc focus a lot of its attention on political intrigue and character development rather than "how cool Guts looks as he slays 1 million demons while his bulging muscles rip out of his shirt." Arcs after the Golden Age retain the same level of politics and character development, but we also get more traditional fantasy elements, like magic, fairies, witches (including my personal favorite character, Schierke), and of course, more demon slaying than I care to get into here. While I don't have a problem with fantasy elements; yeah, it's kinda hard to deny that, when compared to the others, the Golden Age is probably the best written arc of the series. At least so far.

Casca, post-Griffith's betrayal. 
If I had one big complaint about Berserk as a whole, it's the lack of a proper ending. As I said in the first post, The Berserk Manga is, at the time of writing, 37 volumes long and there's still no end in sight. Game of Thrones feels like a paragraph by a first grader when compared to this series sometimes. Part of that, hell most of it, is on Kentarō Miura himself. I'm not gonna claim that he's artificially extending the length of Berserk, as there is no evidence to suggest it. And, as a fantasy writer myself, I can understand and appreciate that telling a big story like this takes time. But there are times when I feel like he deliberately ignores opportunities to get to the ending quicker. For example, much later in the story, Griffith returns to the mortal realm and reforms the Band of the Hawk, but this time with Demons disguised as humans at his beck and call. Being the genius that he is (sarcasm), Griffith visits Guts and tries to get him to join this new army. Guts obviously tells him to eat shit and die, and attacks him. But Guts is repulsed by Griffith's demonic bodyguard and escapes. Rather than do the sensible thing and, ya know, go after him and kill him once and for all, Guts decides to take Casca (who still has the cognitive functions of a child due to the traumatic events of the eclipse) and go on a journey to find a cure for her madness. Sure....why not?

There's also the fact that Miura puts Berserk on hiatus often, and for long stretches of time, particularly these days. And, as a result, the publication of a new Berserk chapter is erratic and not all regular. I've heard that he does this because of  health-related reasons, but I haven't been able to find a reliable, english-language source (I can't read Japanese) that confirms or denies this. So for all I know, he could just be giving himself a break. Which is understandable given that, like many manga creators, he writes and draws all of his graphic novels himself. Writing is hard enough, but drawing it too, well you'd be burned out quicker.

Another thing that bugs me about Berserk as a whole doesn't have anything to do with the work itself, but it's fanboys and fangirls. I've already talked about the myth about Guts' sword, Dragonslayer, being the first oversized sword in manga and anime, we all know that's not true. But there are many other things that have been put forth by fanboys/girls that have become misconceptions about the series. Now, every fandom has its share of cringe worthy fans, but the Berserk fanboys/girls scare me the most because of how many of them choose to paint Griffith, which I'll get to in a second. But for now I wanna address some of the misconceptions:

scece from the Akira Manga.
  • "Guts is the most bad ass and hardcore anime character ever.": This is a matter of opinion, not one of fact. I personally think that Motoko Kusanagi   from the excellent anime/manga series Ghost in The Shell  (seriously, why haven't you all read or seen Ghost in the Shell) is more bad ass than Guts, because she can literally rip both people and giant mechs apart with her bare hands. And besides, when I ask Berserk fanboys/girls to explain what do they mean by "Hardcore." none of them can answer me. 
  • "Berserk is known for its illustrations being far superior than any other manga out there!": ....um.... Have you all never read Akira, Ghost in the Shell, or any other manga whose target audience wasn't kids and teenagers (hell, I'd even argue that kids and teens manga can be just as detailed as Berserk)? When you read Manga that's meant for adults, you're gonna see more detailed drawings as a general rule. It depends on the artist's style and what kind of deadlines their under, but the point is that Berserk isn't unique here. 
  • "Berserk is better written than any manga or western comic book.": Generally said by the fans who don't know a goddamn thing about writing, anime, Manga, or western comic books. Moving on.
  • "Griffith isn't the villain, he's the antagonist/ Griffith did nothing wrong": I mentioned this briefly in the post about Griffith, but this is where the fan misconceptions really start to disturb me. Yes, you CAN make the argument that the antagonist of a story isn't necessarily the villain. Problem is that that argument doesn't hold water when its applied to Griffith. He's manipulative, controlling, sees his friends and comrades as stones that should only exist to pave the way to his dream. And he murders people just to get what he wants, and he murders those who reject him and he ultimately doesn't care. Need I remind you of what he did to the Band of the Hawk after they saved him? Or what he did to Casca? All of which leads to one conclusion, HE'S THE VILLAIN. Who are you KIDDING?! Griffith is evil, he has ALWAYS been evil. Cut, print, end of bloody story. And if your STILL one of those people who think that Griffith did nothing wrong...***ck. right. off. 
I could go on, but I think I made my point.

Anyway, that concludes my analysis on Guts, Casca and Griffith, and my Thoughts on Berserk as a whole I guess. I hope you all found it informative and enjoyed it. Have any of you read Berserk? Do you agree with my analysis? Do you want me to talk about the other Arcs? Let me know down in the comments. 

Oh, and if you are reading this from Goodreads.com or my Amazon authors page (becuase I know that this blog is linked to those sites too). DON'T POST YOUR COMMENTS ON THOSE SITES. I WILL NOT see them if you do. Leave your comments on the proper post here: http://thesummersleeper.blogspot.com/  

And that's all out of me for now dear readers. I'll see you next week.

Oh yeah, yeah, you wanna know why they haven't made an anime out of Berserk's other story arcs, right? Well, I don't know why they didn't with the TV shows or the movies, buttttt......

Hell Yeah. Beyond summer of this year, I don't know when exactly this new series will air. But I do know that it will pick up where the recent film trilogy left off, and eventually cover the Manga storyline in its entirety. And I know that anime streaming website, Crunchyroll, have acquired the rights to stream the series in the west as, it airs on Japanese TV.  I'm not ever sure how that works, but whatever.

If you wanna read the manga for yourself, it has been released in the west by Comic book company Dark Horse Comics, and you can buy the volumes at any book retailer (Amazon is your friend), and it can easily be found online at the time of writing.

And in case you all missed them, here are the links to the other Berserk posts: Part 1: http://thesummersleeper.blogspot.com/2016/04/berserk-main-characters-analysis-part.html

Part 2: http://thesummersleeper.blogspot.com/2016/04/berserk-main-characters-analysis-part_12.html   

And Part 3:http://thesummersleeper.blogspot.com/2016/04/berserk-main-characters-analysis-part_19.html      

Now I'm out for real, later.                                        

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Berserk main characters analysis Part Three: Griffith ( Golden Age Arc) *Spoiler and Mature Content Warning*.

And so we come to the third part of our analysis, this time covering the third link that ties the story of Berserk together. The charismatic, and ambitious Griffith.
*sigh*. I gotta be honest with you guys, I HATE this f***er, I mean honest to god, jump up and down HATE him. Not because he's an uninteresting character, but because he's the kind of person you NEVER want to get involved with. He's a self serving, manipulative, high functioning psychopath who will do anything, ANYthing, to get what he wants. In other words, he's the WORST kind of evil. And yet, for whatever reason, half of the Berserk fanbase just goes ga-ga over this guy. Seriously, there are people who will defend every single one of Griffith's actions, no matter how reprehensible. Hell, some won't even call him the series villain. Here, I will show why they are wrong. Oh and guys, for the sake of time, I am going to skip some of the things that Griffith does. I will, however, say enough to give you a basic idea as to what kind of person he is. and as alway, Spoiler and Mature Content Warning!!!!

Anyway, when we last left Guts, he had just left the Band of the Hawk. I told you that the reason for this was because of Griffith, but not because they had a disagreement or anything like that. No, Guts left because he wanted to become worthy of being Griffith's friend. No really. Rather than explain it, I'm just going to show you the moment Guts discovered what Griffith's definition of a "friend" is. Keep in mind, this scene happens immediately after Guts assassinates the heir of Midland's throne (and said heir's son, though that kinda happened by accident) on Griffith's orders:

This is the face that told me just how evil this bastard is.
....Yeeeah, can you see why I don't like this guy? Guts at that point in the story has devoted his life to helping Griffith achieve his dream, and Griffith has the BALLS to say that he doesn't consider anyone his friend who doesn't have any dreams of his own? Yeah, no. F***ck you, Griffith. Though to be fair, at this point in the story, Guts still has no ambition of his own. He dosen't care about dreams, he's just enjoying killing people and the fact that he now has friends that actually care about him. He's pretty much the definition of what Griffith doesn't consider a friend. But regardless, this is what prompts Guts to eventually leave the Band of the Hawk, to find his own dream. Griffith, however, kinda has a cow about this.

The start of Griffith's dream.
Griffith's Behlit.
But before I get to that, I should probably back up and talk about Griffith himself. Normally this is where I would talk about the character's backstory, but in the case of Griffith, there really isn't that much to go on. Other than he was born a peasant and that he always dreamed of becoming a King, neither the Manga nor the anime has really offered up much on Griffith's past, or what could have made him into the scumbag we see when the story begins. What we do know, however, is that as a child, Griffith was given a strange crimson colored egg shaped pendent called a "Behelit" And that he was told that it would guide him to his destiny. And we know that when he came of age he formed the Band of the Hawk with Casca and some other secondary characters who I don't want to get into. What is important here is the Behlit, Griffith carried it with him as a good luck talisman pretty much all of his life. The importance of the Behlit is best summed up by this bit of foreshadowing:

Anyway, back to the present. Before Guts leaves the Band of the Hawk. Griffith tries to stop him in a scene that also reveals what kind of man he is. Basically, when Guts first joined the Hawks, Griffith said flat out that he was his to control and do with as he wishes. And that only death could free him from that control. Now that Guts wants to leave, well, as I said, Griffith's not happy about it. In fact it pisses him off. So, just like when he was recruited, Griffith challenges Guts to a duel. If Guts wins, he's free to go. This is a very revealing moment to me. Not only is Griffith manipulative, he's also controlling. To him, his comrades aren't people, they're toys. Toys that he controls and he's free to do whatever he wants to. He dosen't care about them. To him, they exist to solely to support him. Guts' may or not be the exception, and I say that because after Guts win the duel, Griffith becomes incredibly depressed. So depressed, that to console himself, or (and I suspect more likely) to reassert his manhood or something, he seduces (and has sex with) his bride to be, Midland's young Princess Charlotte. Some have viewed this scene as Griffith trying to speed up his plans for the throne. I completely disagree. Ya'll, as much as I hate him, Griffith isn't an idiot. He knows that if he's caught with the Princess before they are married, he'll get skinned alive and everything he worked for will be for nothing. No, this is someone who is depressed and trying to drown out his depression. Some have also viewed Griffith's depression and his actions here as him having romantic feelings for Guts. While there are scenes in the story that suggest that Griffith is at least bisexual, I doubt that he had any feelings of the sort for him. In my opinion, Griffith sees Guts' leaving as a betrayal. That despite his words, he did see Guts as a friend of sorts. But him leaving to live his own life and not support him and his dream? Nope, he's turning his back on me. We can't have that.

Anyway, Griffith is caught. And naturally, the King of Midland is very upset by his actions. He throws Griffith into the hands of the castle interrogator and brands the rest of the Band of the Hawk as traitors. Under Casca's leadership, they manage to flee Midland and hide out in the surrounding countryside. A year passes, and Guts eventually hears of Griffiths and the Band of the Hawks fate. And he rejoins them. Casca confronts him, and blames him for what happened to Griffith. But by then, she's tired, burdened by the mantel of leadership. Its also here that they officially become a couple (see video on the right).

Well, to make a long story short, Guts finally realizes, that what he's been seeking his whole life wasn't a dream worthy of Griffith. But a family, a sense of belonging. And that he had had it all this time with the Hawks. They had given him everything he had ever wanted in life. Casca, similarly, has found in Guts the acceptance and love that she would have never gotten from Griffith, and through that she has rediscovered her femininity. Griffith had been the capstone that had held them all together, but now they've outgrown him. They have each other. Problem is that they don't realize the latter, and Guts agrees to help them rescue Griffith. And when they find him....you know what, I'm just gonna show you (sorry for the lack of subtitles guys, but this was the best clip I could find, watch):


Griffith is all kinds of messed up (just to be tasteful). He's not a threat to anyone at this point. He can't even walk and his tounges been cut out. Yet, even after Guts, Casca and the others rescue him, Griffith can't let go of his dream, He can't even accept that Guts and Casca don't need him anymore, and that he's essentially lost his power over them, and the others. Once the other members of the Hawks discover Griffith's condition, they decide to call it a day and pursue other things. Casca, out of a sense of guilt, volunteers to take care of Griffith with Guts. Griffith tries to run away and...and then there's a solar eclipse, the Behlit wakes up, Griffith and the Hawks gut sucked into a hellish, nightmare dimension that is a gathering place for demons and then this happens (female nudity warning):


Griffith makes his choice.
Griffith is reborn as Demon Lord Femto. 
These are the God Hands, God like Demon Lords that explain themselves to be the right hand of the divine, and they have appeared now at Griffith's call, because he's been chosen by fate to join their number. This is where Griffith's betrayal that I mentioned in the first post happens. You see, In order to become a demon, he needs to sacrifice someone close to him, like a family member or friend. Griffith, being the grateful bastard that he is (sarcasm) accepts the God Hand's offer and willingly sacrifices The Band of the Hawk. What happens next is a slaughter fest, demons kill and devour all of Hawks members one by one, save for Casca, Guts and one other character who was absent when these events took place. Griffith is then reborn as the Demon Lord Femto.

Guts survives.
What happens next is so disturbing, I'm not even going to show it. Griffith/Femto then rapes Casca in a pool of their former comrades blood. Yeah, he has Demon's hold her down and everything. And in the Manga, you see it in explicit detail. This was one part of the story I really didn't understand for a while. Why did he do it? My friend who is a Berserk fanboy tried to pass it off as part of the ritual that turned him into a demon, but that's a fat load of BS. Why? Because his transformation was complete when he did it, that's why! And where was Guts while this was going on, you might ask? Well he did try to stop it. Hell, he had to sever his own arm to do so. But he was then pinned down and forced to watch with one of his eyes gouged out. Now, from a narrative standpoint, this whole horrific chapter can be seen as a rebirth of Guts, Casca and Griffith. Well, ok, Griffith's rebirth isn't so much of a rebirth as it is his true self being manifest. He was always this evil, but now that evil has come out, and he is ready to unleash it upon the world. Guts rebirth is more symbolic, he was born amidst blood and death, and him surviving this can be seen as him being born again as an embodiment of rage that he becomes later in the series. It's a rebirth of Casca because, well, after this her mind is destroyed, reduced to the cognitive functions of a child to block out the events. And it can been seen as her character coming full circle. She was saved from being rapped by a nobleman by Griffith. Hell, she was practically raised by him. She idolized him, and this is how he repays her loyalty, by ruining her like that nobleman tried to do all those years ago. There are some fans out there who say that Casca actually LIKED what Griffith does to her. If you're one of those people, get away from my blog, YOU'RE A FUCKING PIG!  

But this brings us back to my original question, Why did Griffith rape her? Well the answer is that he did it out of spite. He saw what Casca and Guts meant to each other, and how he had lost his control over them, and how they didn't need him anymore. And this one act of sexual violence is him reasserting his authority over both of them in the most painful and brutal way possible. Guts and Casca do escape, and shortly thereafter, Guts begins his quest for revenge.

This is as far as I'm going to go when it comes to analysing these characters. Guys, this Manga is 37 volumes long and is as complex as any of Game of Thrones books. If I tried to look at everything, I would be here for the next two or three years. But I will give you a synopsis of what happens after this events, as well as my final thoughts on the series.

Tune in next week for that.

And I'm out. later guys.        



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Berserk main characters analysis Part Two: Casca (Golden Age Arc). *Spoiler and Mature Content Warning*.

Before we get started, I have a bit of an announcement. I have started a Patreon page to help keep both this blog and my YouTube Channel alive. Don't worry, I'm not going to charge anything for anyone to see this blog or my videos, but I need a little help. I'm serious guys, I NEED your help to keep doing this. I don't like asking and I HATE begging for money, but I really have no choice now. I'm flat broke, and I can't find a job outside of this blog and Youtube. There is still my Amazon store if you rather buy something than donate to Patreon, but either way....guys, there's just no way for me to say this with any pride: Please, I know I don't deserve it but, please....HELP ME.

Here are the links to both Patreon and the store I hope you all will consider one or the other:

My Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/WillEnglish?ty=h

My Amazon Store: http://astore.amazon.com/awesostufffor-20 

Casca holding her own against Guts when they first met. 

Now That I've proven that I have no shame. Let's continue on with where we left off last week. And just like last time: SPOILER ALERT!

When we last left Guts, he had just been recruited by Griffith into his company of mercenary, The Band of the Hawk, It's also here that we meet Casca,  the only woman in the company. But unlike Gut's adoptive mother, she's not the camp whore. No, she's second in command, and is as good with a sword as any of the men. Hell, when they first meet, she's able to hold her own against Guts, blow for blow. But anyway, that other thing that characterizes Casca, and this is a very important detail, is her undying loyalty to Griffith.
Why is she so loyal to him? Well to understand that, we need to go to her past.

Casca was born a peasant, and she accep
Griffith gives child Casca a choice.
ted that all of the hardships that peasants had to endure. Midland was (and still was by the time Guts joined the Band of the Hawk) in the middle of a Hundred Year War. And she had lived through crops getting trampled, people getting kidnapped, the pillaging, the slaughter, all of that. She was young and accepted being helpless. Then one day, a local Nobleman came and took her with him, promising her parents a better life for her....but in actuality all he wanted to do was rape her. He would have succeeded too, if Griffith hadn't been passing by and intervened. The strangest part about this whole scene is that he didn't actually save her, not the traditional sense. He threw his sword down and told her to make a choice. To simplify: she could be weak and accept her fate, or she could be strong and fight back.
Casca makes her choice. 

Casca chose the latter. Ever since that day, she has been at his side. Griffith had saved her life, and in return, she gave him everything, effectively throwing away her both her childhood and her femininity completely in exchange for the strength to stand on her own....except that's not what she's doing at all. Sure she becomes strong, but all of that strength she's gained was so that she could be of use to Griffith. She basically worships the man, and wants his attention, his love. Even though she kinda sorta knows that Griffith doesn't see her that way.  Still, she tries to be of use to him....and then Guts enters the picture.

Not to jump ahead, because I wanna talk about this more when we talk about Griffith, but the short of it is: Griffith starts to play favorites and favors Guts over the other members of the Band of the Hawk and Casca dosen't like this one little bit. And starts acting hostile towards him. But as the story progresses, she starts to open up to Guts, and probably for the first time in her life, starts to love someone who isn't Griffith, and in that process, she rediscovers her femininity. There's even this hilarious scene from both the anime and the Manga in where Casca wears a dress and everyone is shocked to see her in it.

Because it's so out of character. But anyway, things seem
to be going good, at this point. Guts and Casca are a couple (unofficially anyway), The Band of the Hawk has single handedly ended Midland's 100 year war and Griffith is set to marry Midland's Princess Charlotte and achieve his ambition of becoming King...and then Guts decides to leave the Band of the Hawk. Why did he do this? Because of Griffith.

Find out how next week, when we are finally gonna talk about him.

And I'm out guys, see you later.        

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Berserk main characters analysis Part One:Introduction and Guts (Golden Age Arc) *Spoiler Warning* .

This is one topic I've wanted to cover ever since I woke this blog back up. Yes, because I'm an anime and manga fan, but more so because of how fascinating Berserk as a series actually is. Even so, I held off on doing it since I know that many who actually read this blog aren't THAT interested in all the nerdy stuff I talk about (or if they are, they don't tell me. Seriously who do I gotta bribe to fill up my comments section? *laughs* kidding), and I wanted to let what I had to say cook in my noggin until it came out as a piping hot thought. Weather that time is now, I don't know. But I'm gonna talk about it anyway. Also guys, I can't analysis any aspect of this series without spoiling it, so if you don't want spoilers, turn away now.  Oh, and some of the pictures I'm using for this are actually pretty violent and disturbing. You've been warned.    

Berserk's first volume cover. featuring Guts.
Anyway, for those who don't know, Berserk  is a Dark Fantasy manga (Japanese Comic Books) series created by artist Kentaro Miura, Set in a familiar medieval Europe inspired Fantasy setting called 'Midland' the plot revolves around a demon slayer named Guts and his quest for revenge against His former Commander/best friend, Griffith, who betrayed and sacrificed his former comrades, The Band of the Hawk, to demons in exchange for power (more on that later). I first heard about it from a friend of mine who fanboyed over this series to the point of obnoxiousness and kinda turned me off it for a while. That is until I spoke some other friends who were more moderate fans, and based on their recommendations, I decided to check out the manga....all 37 volumes of it. Yeah, Berserk began serialization in 1989 and despite its length, there's still no end in sight. But that's neither here nor there.

What is there, however, is a rich, complex, mature Dark Fantasy that I've often compared to The Song of Ice and Fire series (AKA Game of Thrones), at least in terms of scope. And also in terms of its characters. Now, Just like game of thrones, Berserk has a lot of major and minor characters with there own stories. But it's generally agreed that the three characters that drive the story are Guts, his comrade in arms and lover Casca and their former commander Griffith . And its these three characters that we are going to be focusing on. I don't want to go into too much depth, but there is a lot to talk about and with these three characters alone. So for the sake of my own sanity, here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to break this up into multiple parts. Each part will introduce a character, and each part after will expand upon the previous one, and then I'll wrap it up with my own opinion on ach once the other parts are done. Lets start with our star, Guts.

Gut's birth.
From left to right: Casca, Guts and Griffith. 
Gut's past is darker than any you might find in a George R. R. Martin story. His village was massacred and he was born from the corpse of his mother...who was hang from a tree. No really. Somehow not dying from hitting the ground or the elements, Guts was discovered by a band of roaming mercenaries and adopted by the camp whore...who then died of disease some short years later. having nowhere else to turn, Guts was taken under the wing of the mercenary leader Gambino. Who taught him how use a sword from the age of 6, and abused Guts in ways that I don't wanna talk about. Anyway, to skip ahead a bit, After Guts killed a crazed Gambino in self-defense, he became a lone mercenary. Until he was discovered by Griffith and recruited into The Band of the Hawk. I don't want this analysis to sound like a Wiki page, but this information is important to understanding Guts as a character. When he is recruited by Griffith, Guts is the very definition of a lone wolf, All he does is go around from battle to battle, fighting and killing as much as he wants. He has no ambition, no direction, and he doesn't seem to want any. His best friend is his sword and he doesn't want any others...until he meets Casca, Griffith and the rest of the Band of the Hawk. They would be his first taste of camaraderie and friendship, and even love. This leads us nicely into part two, where we will talk about Casca and her relationship with Guts and how it changes the both of them....next week.

Before we go, I want to quickly bust a myth that has built up around Guts over the years. It's something that my Berserk fanboy friend told me and, I've heard it from other fans around the internet as well. First take a look at this:


Could this be the sword that birthed Dragonslayer?   
That, dear reader, is Gut's iconic sword, Dragonslayer. A massive 400 pound slab of iron and steel that Guts wields after Griffith's betrayal. Since their debut, Guts and Dragonslayer have influenced countless other characters with similar weapons, most famously Cloud Strife and his Buster Sword from the game Final Fantasy VII. The fans and several reputable sources say that Guts was the first anime and/or manga (some would even argue the first in the whole of fiction) character to use such a ridiculously oversized weapons. Well, I am here to tell you that that is completely wrong. While it's impossible to pinpoint exactly when or what series first used giant swords, Kentaro Miura himself has often cited a manga series from 1978 called Pygmalion as having an oversized sword. Could this series be where he got the idea? I don't know, but considering that the 1970's are often remembered as the "Golden Age of Manga," it's not outside the realm of possibility. And of course there are historical two handed swords, like the Scottish Claymore, and the possibility of an oversized weapon in other fantasy literature, but I don't want to get into that. The point is, Berserk wasn't the first manga to have oversized weapons. It merely popularized them.

That's all from me for now, see you in part 2.     


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Furthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle): First impressions.

click this picture to buy the book
for yourself.
I have very conflicting opinions when it comes to giving first impressions on things. On the one hand I like doing it because I can still give my opinions on something as I'm experiencing them. On the other hand, the opinion I give might turn out to be an incompletely thought and is much harder to pin down objectively. In the case of  The Furthest Shore, I've yet to read the entire book, and so I have to urge you to take what I say about it with A LOT of salt and consider it as an incomplete thought.
Anyway, The Furthest Shore is the third book in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series. And thankfully, unlike The Tomb of Atuan  Ged is once again a central character...but he's still not the main character. No, this time the main character is a Prince named Arren from the kingdom of  Enland. Who has come to visit Ged, now Archmage of Roke's magic university, to discuss with him a very dire matter. Magic seems to be dying from the world and nobody knows why. Ged takes it upon himself to go forth with Arren and solve the mystery. I'm not real sure what to make of Arren, personally. He's basically a male version of Tenar from the last book, at least in the sense that he's almost completely ignorant of the world outside of his homeland. but the other side of this, and his entire reason for staying in the story so far, is that he's irrationally smitten with Ged and wants to learn from him. Granted, that's what I would want to do, but still. Hell, he begs early on to stay at Roke and become his page/servent. Now, I know that that's a common theme in this series, they're all coming of age stories. But it feels like Le Guin is
Ged AKA Sparrowhawk.
repeating herself just a bit. at least so far. I will have to get back to you on how Arren develops; but for now let's take a quick look at Ged. He hasn't changed all that much from the second book, save that he's physically older now, and has become Archmage of Roke's school of magic. That's where he was always going to end up. There was no question about that. But the question I have is...where can his development as a character go from here? Realistically, there's really no more reason for him to be in the story at this point. He's fulfilled his dream, he's the Archmage, a leader that's looked up too and respected around the world. And so far, there's no all powerful Dark Lord Sauron-type character for him to defeat. and he's already overcame his greatest character flaw, his arrogance, in the first book. So where exactly can he go from here, besides just being a mentor? I dunno, I honestly couldn't tell you at this point. And that's one reason I want to keep going. To see where he's gonna end up...at least until I can get my hands on The Other Wind.

Anyway, Overall, I am enjoying this story. I can't wait to see what happens next. And when I do, then I'll give my complete thoughts on the series as a whole.
And I'm out. Later.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The People VS Digital Homicide

I know that a lot of people who actually follow this blog aren't gamers and probably don't know who the hell Digital Homicide (also sometimes known as Imminent Uprising) is. Well, the short answer is that; Digital Homicide LLC is an Arizona based independent video game studio best known for making terrible games on the PC, and for being in a, quite frankly, embarrassing dick measuring blood feud with professional Video Game Journalist and Youtube personality, Jim Sterling. Why are they in said feud, you ask? Well, and you won't even believe me when I say this, It's because Jim didn't like their games....no really, that's the actual reason. But rather than show some semblance of professionalism and, ya know, learn from it and move on, Digital Homicide decided to have one of the most idiotic (and stupendous) public fits ever undertaken by 30-something year old men and go on the attack.

I don't have time to go into an extensive history of their break down, As that would take all day, and Jim Sterling himself has already excellently documented this on his own (see videos on the right and above). However, it is worth noting that, as part of this little tantrum, Digital Homicide has tried censor Jim's criticism via a false copyright claim, slandered him (to his face I might add), and leveled false allegations at him. Class act. "Ok," some of you are thinking, "This company is pretty immature. But why tell us about what amounts to a private dispute?"

Well dear reader, on March 16th of this year, Digital Homicide decided to up the stupid scale. And by that I mean, that Digital Homicide finally snapped, and formally filed a lawsuit against Jim Sterling. Yes, these cry babies are actually going to sue a critic because he didn't like their products. I can't make this up. And not just sue him, oh no. They want $10 million dollars from him. What case could they possibly have? Well, according to an article on Kotaku,  Homicide is accusing Jim of  "assault", "libel", and "slander." Insisting that his continued negative coverage of their games has damaged their company's reputation. When asked by Kotaku about the suit, Digital Homicide's co-founder, Robert Romine, said that Jim had crossed a line with (and I quote) "continued coverage and harassment of every single title we have ever posted." the article goes on to say that "Romine also said he recently received a package full of feces in the mail, despite “multiple requests private and public to the individual [Sterling] to inform his subscriber base to stop harassing me.”

....Ok, Robert, let me explain some things to you. Number 1) Jim, did NOT send people to harass you. Jim has NO CONTROL over what his fans do. Hell, if I recall correctly, in his video covering your game, Temper Tantrum 2,  he publicly stated that he doesn't support harassment and that they shouldn't do that shit. Number 2). Jim didn't destroy your reputation, you did that yourself with your own self-destructive, petulant behavior, all because some critic did their job and gave his opinion on your work. If you react this horribly to criticism, then you SHOULD NOT BE IN THIS BUSINESS.

But more disturbing, Dear Readers, is what this lawsuit could mean. Ya'll, try to picture it for a second, what kind of precedent would this lawsuit set if Digital Homicide won (however unlikely that would be). It could establish a way for other malicious creators and, more disturbingly, big corporations, to legally censor criticisms. "Oh, I don't like what this person said about my work, I'm going to sue them. Hell, Digital Homicide successfully sued Jim Sterling." And it won't stop at Youtube or video game critics, either. No, it will spread to Books, movies, any and everything. News outlets, and other reviewers would be too afraid to publish bad reviews because they don't want to be sued. All because one studio got butthurt that no one liked their game. That's the kind of precedent you're trying to set, Digital Homicide. Whether you intended it or not, if your case gets to a Court Room and you win, You will be instrumental in bringing about Big Brother. I don't want that to happen, Nobody wants that to happen. But if my guess about you is right, then you'll plow ahead anyway, blinded by the sheer idiot righteousness of your cause.

I will be including a link to Jim Sterling's Patreon page at the end of this post if anyone wants to donate and help him fight these scum bags.

We're on your side, Jim. Give them hell.


That's all for me, Thank you for reading. Later.    


Tuesday, March 15, 2016