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 dosesn'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 pendant 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 that 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 dosesn't care about them, why would he, 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. Y'all, 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 mantle of leadership. It's also here that they officially become a couple:
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. 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 demons 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 will become. 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 be seen as her character coming full circle. She was saved from being raped by a nobleman by Griffith. Hell, she idolized him, and this is how he repays her loyalty, by ruining her just 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 they didn't need him anymore. And he couldn't stand it. 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 analyzing 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.      



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