Forging onward and upward with select reviews of manga that I actually have something worthwhile to say about.Miura, Kentaro. Berserk. Vol. 12. Trans. Duane Johnson. Milwaukie: Dark Horse Manga and Digital Manga Publishing, 2006. Summary
: Griffith's permanent, lifelong frailty has been fully revealed to the Band of the Hawk, but even still he cannot rest. In a twist of fate, he is reunited with the Crimson Behelit and opens a gate to another world, dragging Guts, Casca, and the rest of the Hawks into it with him. Once there, Griffith chooses to become a demon king--the fifth member of the Godhand--and the lifeblood of all of his allies will be his baptism... Comments
: Now that the overlong, drawn out, (mostly) filler hackfest involving the demonic ape-like leader of the Black Dog Knights is out of the way, Miura Kentarou is back to developing the overarching PLOT. And what a plot it is--Griffith sacrifices all of his friends to death at the hands of monstrous evil in exchange for power because he realizes that he must if he is to realize his ambitions. Whatta cruel world the author envisions. Naturally, the fangirls get one last throwaway "Guts is my one and only" moment from Griffith as he at last spells out how the friendship the two shared was the only thing that made him forget his ambition. Note how, in most books, the object of this sort of sentiment is usually a woman and NOT a muscle-bound lunkhead. Miura, however, having planned it all ahead knows that Griffith is the primary antagonist to Guts' protagonist and transforms the antagonist's usual desire to be the protagonist himself into desire to HAVE the protagonist for himself. A fascinating variation of the homoerotic tension between the hero and his rival in shounen manga.
This is the first of the Berserk
American editions to feature Dark Horse's new sound-effects translation policy--subtitling in tiny little boxes. I'm not sure I like it, since Miura's amazing artwork speaks best without words OR sound effects. The effect, at least for a work drawn at such a high level, tends to be extremely awkward, and it compounds the persistent adaptation difficulties that the series suffers from. The translation itself is fine, but this is a world inspired by The Lord of the Rings
, D&D RPGs, and their ilk; I dunno exactly how the inhabitants of this cruelly primitive, Europeanized world should talk, but it ain't like that, sorry. (I should note at this point that we also have this same translator sans rewriter to thank--or blame--for a number of DMP's BL novels.)
Anyway, I've never figured out how Dark Horse justifies their high list prices for their flimsy books that sport entire lines of text snipped off at the top. Especially when those books sell quite well for manga. Even so, they have one series that I simply can't live without. (Which one, you ask? This one. Duh.) Oh, never mind...maybe that's how they justify it. Notes
: B6 paperback, 1st American edition, 1st printing; first published in Japan in 1996 Rating
- Brutal and beautiful, the Eclipse story arc is undoubtedly the one that defines Berserk to its fans.