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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Berserk Vol. 13 by Miura Kentaro 
23rd-Dec-2006 08:58 pm
Miura, Kentaro. Berserk. Vol. 13. Trans. Duane Johnson. Milwaukie: Dark Horse Manga and Digital Manga Publishing, 2006.
          Summary: One by one, the members of the Band of the Hawk are devoured by demons, and a helpless Guts is forced to watch as a Griffith, now resurrected as the fifth member of the Godhand, rapes Casca. But before the two can be destroyed utterly, the Skull Knight rescues them. Guts awakens to discover that Casca, traumatized, has reverted to an infantile state and that he has been marked for sacrifice.
          Comments: Holy eroguro rape scene!!! Man, they just don't do those like they used to, now do they? (You may think that the ginorme censorship sticker pasted smack on the middle of the cover is just annoying and silly, but let me assure you that, this time, we've got a beautiful example of truth in advertising on our hands here.) And, yes, we've got every standard eromanga angle represented. However, lest you worry yourself that this is merely another case of beautiful woman being exploited by gross beasties for the sole benefit of a vast contingent of oversexed but frustrated misanthropic male readers, I will also assure you that the scene is pivotal plot material AND has tremendous emotional weight. Unlike the works of Maeda Toshio, that often combine eroguro with tasteless levity (as if humor deflects the social trespass of drawing a young girl being raped by a monster), Miura's Berserk boasts a scene that is a RAPE scene first and foremost--Guts literally saws off his own arm trying to save Casca, and the otherwise strong-willed Casca's in a permanent state of nervous breakdown afterwards--and it underlines the magnitude of Griffith's transformation into Evil Incarnate and betrayal of his friends. Should the reader dare get his rocks off, he's confronted with the enormity of the deed depicted two chapters later.
          And, of course, Griffith/Femto stares Guts down the entire time he's doing it. (Cue the sound of yaoi fans drooling.) Talk about hero, villain, and girl caught in the middle! Normally, the hero and the villain fight over the girl, but, in this case, the villain wants the hero for himself (whether sexually or platonically is immaterial--so use your imagination). All throughout the series, the girl worships the villain; he only starts wanting her in return when she takes the hero's primary loyalty/devotion away from him. Rant all you like about stereotypical "homosexual threats," but this sort of plot framework is quite daring and unusual for a seinen manga series.
          Notes: B6 paperback, 1st American edition, 1st printing; first published in Japan in 1997
          Rating: 8.5/10 - The conclusion to the Eclipse story arc. Stunning and simply NOT to be missed.
1st-Jan-2007 06:20 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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