November 5, 2009
Kentaro Miura – Dark Horse – 2009 – 34+ volumes
I got really pumped while trying to explain Berserk to someone today, so I was glad that the newest volume came in yesterday.
Now, if you had told me that I would be enjoying Berserk for the cuteness factor awhile ago, even two or three volumes ago, I would have thought you were lying. But here I am, with an entire volume of Guts and Schierke forming the world’s most adorable team, and I really can’t get enough. I nearly died when Guts gave her a piggyback ride. I see now why Chica Umino drew an alternate cover to volume 33. It just fits.
Part of me thinks I should be more creeped out, but the key factor is that there is nothing (absolutely nothing) sexual, even implied, in their interactions. For Berserk, this shows an incredible amount of restraint. Schierke has her schoolgirl crush on Guts, but Guts sees her as a valuable ally, and treats her like an equal in the team, which is a wonderful contrast since he’s the gigantic strong guy with a metal arm and huge sword, and she’s just a little girl.
Those two steal the show here, and a big part of the volume was a fight where Schierke… was magically along for the ride in Guts’ mind as he fought in the Berserker armor. With her there, he gets to stay himself while he fights, and she gets to offer adorable encouragement and worry about him getting hurt, with him just glancing up and not saying anything. Nobody worries about Guts like Schierke does, and I think he is taken aback by the pleas to keep well. Aww.
There’s also monsters, which you would expect. The Kushan empire is invading the city, and in addition to an entire gigantic army of… well, monster soldiers that Schierke and Guts dispatch (complete with a scene where Guts runs for cover with Schierke under one arm and Isidro under the other), there is also a Kushan magic user that is able to summon gigantic, powerful familiars. There’s also a kraken the size of the entire harbor thrown in for good measure, and an apostle who’s face just appears in the clouds and doesn’t have a physical body. Guts easily outsmarts his techniques.
There’s also a great “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” scene towards the end. I was delighted by Guts’ response, but honestly, I would have been pleased with either answer under those circumstances.
Mostly this volume was just fights with no exposition, and I still loved every page. That this volume was still so cute even when gigantic monsters were being slaughtered most of the time says quite a bit about this series, I think.
Oh, Berserk. Don’t ever stop being awesome.