December 15, 2012
Kentaro Miura – Dark Horse – 2012 – 36+ volumes
Another year, another volume of Berserk. While I would dearly love for these to come out more frequently, I’m happy enough that Miura hasn’t taken another long hiatus from the series. Looking at the Japanese release schedule, volume 37 still hasn’t come out, and may not appear until the spring. Which may mean more than a year between volumes. Sigh.
The disadvantage to the slow release schedule is that the story moves at a glacial pace. This is probably a necessary evil though, as Miura does indeed draw the hell out of every page. It’s only slightly less magnificent in this volume, as the focus is more on character dialogue and close-ups of fights. But he still includes an awful lot of detail, his designs are amazing (the derelict statues and stuff laying around the island are fantastic), and his fight scenes are still some of the best. The good news is that this volume does very nearly conclude the fight with the Sea God on the island, so next time we might actually move on to Elfhelm. Maybe. Probably they’ll be another stop along the way, or some long tangent about the little kid. But I’ll still love it.
Lots of character stuff this time, as we begin to find out more and more about Isma, Farnese comes into her own as a sorceress, and Schierke gets a better grip on Guts’s berserker armor, so the two of them run off to fight the Sea God. Inside the Sea God. So ridiculous. But again, it’s Berserk, so the whole fight is pretty magnificent.
There’s another sea battle aboard the ship, as the Zombie Pirates take another shot at the crew. They’re still fairly amusing and inept, but very determined this time, and without Guts, this fight takes a couple interesting turns. Most interesting of all, however, is the story dipping its toes back into folklore territory as a legion of creatures show up at the very end of the volume to help bring the Sea God down.
So… these creatures. They’re my favorites, honestly, and I’m both excited and a little frightened to see them in Berserk. I’m half-hoping for them to bring a very violent and bloody fight to the Sea God’s door. Nothing would please me more. But, of course, it’ll be another year before I get to find out how this went. Honestly? It’s probably worth it. Few things are, but Berserk is one of them.