Guts Unleashed: A Deep Dive into the Black Swordsman Arc in Berserk

I’ve been having a long love affair with Berserk, which started so long ago that I don’t even remember how many years have passed since I watched the 1997 anime for the first time. I mean, I’m pretty sure that dinosaurs were still around at that time, and I’m not talking about the ones from Jurassic Park.

Anyway, Berserk was my first exposure to this kind of dark fantasy story intended for an adult audience, at least in anime form. Even though the animation was outdated, it didn’t prevent me from having a good impression of it. But let’s face it, everything looks better when you’re wearing rose-colored glasses, right?

Without giving away spoilers, let’s just say that the ending wasn’t satisfying at all. I waited for years for another anime adaptation to come out, but all I got was a disappointment. It was like waiting for a train that never comes, or worse, waiting for a pizza delivery that’s already cold by the time it arrives.

So, I turned to the manga, which was the original version and had all the good stuff that was missing from the anime. The artwork was simply wonderful, but there was one problem: it wasn’t finished yet, and there were long breaks between chapters. It was like waiting for your favorite TV show to come back from hiatus, but it never did.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, the creator of the manga, Kentaro Miura, passed away at the age of 54. But even in death, Miura’s work continues to influence the entertainment industry. His masterpiece has inspired other manga works and even video games.

But the burning question remains: why hasn’t Berserk received a full and proper anime adaptation? Some fans claim that it can’t be adapted, but that sounds like a bit of an exaggeration to me.

In any case, I’m not waiting anymore. I’ve decided to read the manga now, even if it never ends.

Guts and Puck: The Unlikely Duo in the “Black Swordsman” Arc

Black Swordsman Arc Manga review

Let’s delve into the world of Berserk, shall we? As with any epic tale, the manga is divided into different arcs, each with its own unique story to tell. The first arc, known as the “Black Swordsman” arc, spans eight chapters, each of which is packed with 50 to 100 pages of content. While the anime adaptation only covered a single event from this arc, the manga presents us with a whole new world that’s both fascinating and complex.

Set in a feudal society, the story takes us on a journey alongside a mercenary named Guts, who dons a black cloak that conceals his prosthetic hand filled with lethal devices, along with his trusty weapon – a sword that can take down even the largest of beasts with ease. Along the way, he rescues a flying dwarf named Puck, who joins him on his quest.

As the story unfolds, we see that Guts is not a man to be trifled with. He has a scar on his neck that attracts demons and monsters, making him a prime target for their attacks. Despite his rough exterior, it becomes apparent that he has a soft spot for Puck, even though he tries to push him away due to his disdain for weakness.

Overall, the “Black Swordsman” arc is an excellent introduction to the world of Berserk. It’s a fascinating blend of medieval history and fantasy, with intriguing characters and a complex plot that draws you in from the very beginning.

See also: The Ultimate Berserk Guide: Watch, Read, Or Both?

Blood, Gore, and Survival: The Harsh World of Berserk’s ‘Black Swordsman’ Arc

Guts, the mercenary protagonist of the “Black Swordsman” arc in the “Berserk” manga, is a survivor in a brutal world that combines medieval and fantasy elements. His physical abilities and battle skills are not the only factors that allow him to endure the harsh conditions. He has a compelling goal that he cannot afford to die before accomplishing – finding and defeating the five demons that form the Hand of God gang and have scarred him. However, every lead he pursues results in destruction and killing, leaving a trail of devastation in his wake.

This arc serves as an effective exposition to the story, providing insight into Guts and his environment and preparing readers for what is to come in the sequel. While the anime adaptation omitted this arc, it is crucial to understanding the world of “Berserk” and the character of Guts. The manga establishes the brutality of the world and the unforgiving nature of its inhabitants through graphic violence, gore, and sexual content. It is not for the faint of heart.

In such a harsh world, Guts cannot afford to show any kindness to his enemies, and he acts without mercy. He openly expresses his disdain for weak people, not out of malice, but because it is a necessity for his survival. If he shows any compassion for those he encounters, he risks compromising his ability to protect himself. His environment is one of destruction and violence, and he must act accordingly to continue living.

Guts and Puck: A Dynamic Duo in the Brutal World of Berserk

Black Swordsman Arc Manga review

Despite his ruthless nature, Guts is a compelling protagonist with whom readers can empathize. His past traumas and physical pain haunt him, but he cannot afford to show weakness. Miura, the creator of “Berserk,” has crafted a fascinating character in Guts – a cool, badass warrior, but also a man with a complex heart and a tragic backstory. As the arc progresses, readers see how his past experiences have shaped him into the character he is today and how he grapples with his impossible situation.

Guts need someone who balances him out, and that’s Puck. Puck brings a ray of light to the dark world and helps us understand Guts’ situation as observers. As a lighthearted character with a sense of humor and unrestrained speech, Puck fulfills his purpose excellently. He also has the ability to feel the emotional state of the people around him, which allows us to understand Guts’ true feelings even when he tries to hide them.

The contrast between the two characters is reflected in their actions and their approach to life in general. Guts are strong, quiet, and hides his feelings, while Puck is weak and loud, and expresses his emotions at every opportunity. The spectacular and uncompromising art perfectly presents this contrast through the use of light and shadow, silhouettes, and attention to detail. While some panels may not be to everyone’s liking, the investment put into each and every page cannot be disputed.

One area for improvement is the backgrounds, which feel generic and do not reflect a specific location. While this is a nitpick and does not affect the plot, it could be a touch that could be added later for larger-scale adventures.

Although the eight-episode arc has simple villains, it serves as a successful prologue to wet the foundations for the rest of the story. While this arc alone may not receive a high score, it is unfair to judge Berserk solely based on it. The opening paragraphs of the post marked the manga as one of the outstanding works of the medium, and this short arc still provides plenty to write about.

The Encounter We’ve Been Waiting For: Guts’ Confrontation with Griffith and the Power of the “Hand of God” Demons

In the episodes at hand, I was particularly struck by Kentaro Miura’s ability to convey Guts’ character through the secondary characters around him. Puck serves as the conduit for this, but not only by directly sharing Guts’ feelings. In the manga’s third chapter, we meet a man who seeks revenge against the Count, whose demonic minions ate his family and body parts. Although Guts takes on this task for his own reasons, what caught my attention was Puck’s advice to the man before parting ways. Puck tells him not to spend his life seeking revenge and instead to focus on his future. This message also applies to Guts, who dedicates his life to hunting demons and searching for the “Hand of God” due to his past. But this path may not lead him to a good place.

Another powerful example comes later in the story when Guts saves the life of Tarsia, a woman locked in her room for years. After he reveals the truth about her father, she only wishes for his death. The harsh reality of the outside world, which Guts bring with him, is too much for her. This encounter is a reminder to Guts that no matter what he does or who he saves, he only brings grief to those around him. It is heartbreaking to see him finally express his true feelings despite his attempts to deny that he cares.

In terms of Guts’ encounter with the “Hand of God” demons, the most interesting one was with Griffith, whom Guts holds a special grudge against. Knowing their shared history, I was not surprised by the situation. However, I would have preferred if this had been my first exposure to the demons, their summoning mechanism, and their terrifying power. Regardless, the meeting was exciting for me, and it came much sooner than I expected. Unfortunately, Guts was left powerless against Griffith, and his quest for revenge did not progress. After all this time, it is hard to imagine how Guts could bridge the gap between them. It seems that an even bigger sword is not an option.

Black Swordsman Arc Verdict:


• The exposition of the cruel world of “Berserk” and the challenges faced by Guts was excellent.

• The action was gripping and engaging from the beginning.

• The use of secondary characters was masterful in both balancing Guts and hinting at his future.

• The detailed drawings effectively conveyed the dark atmosphere of the story.


• As of yet, nothing significant has happened to strongly impact readers emotionally.

• The inclusion of more detailed backgrounds could have further solidified the feeling of a fully-realized world.

Pop-culture obsessive girl. She worked professionally in the entertainment and media industry in Los Angeles. Edited many prime-time TV shows and award-winning documentaries. Worked for companies such as HBO, CBS, NBC, FOX, RESHET.