Berserk fans woke up to a nightmare this morning, as they learned that the great Miura Kentaro had passed away earlier this month. Miura created Berserk, an epic dark fantasy that has sold over 50 million copies worldwide. He had started writing Berserk when he was about 22 years old and was still writing and drawing Berserk into his 50’s. I think one of the greatest things about his run with Berserk is the evolution his artwork took. From the Black Swordsman arc to the Fantasia arc, you can clearly see the change in art style. And I know that all manga is drawn in black and white but no manga suited black and white quite like Berserk did. Miura leveraged black and white in his manga to create a feeling of darkness around his story. Because Berserk was a manga and you could see the art, you felt like you were actually transported into another environment while reading. Whatever room I read Berserk in, it didn’t matter because I felt like I was a part of the story. He did all of that with black and white.
And one of the sadder points of Miura’s death is that Guts’ story will never be resolved. Guts is without a doubt one of the saddest characters in fiction. A man who started with nothing, who’s life only got more difficult as he grew up. A man who never had the power to make any decision in his life, until the day he did, which took everything away from him (that or causality took it away) Guts’ story is one of the saddest stories that we will never get resolved. Every fan wanted him to have his happy ending, fearing that it was going to be one of misery – alas we will never get that answer. And in a way, isn’t that just amazing. Miura wrote a story with a character so out of this world and still we loved him. We loved Guts because he was an extension of his creator. A genius creator who did nothing but create one the greatest works of fiction known to mankind and suffered because of it. Just like Guts.
I am grateful to be alive and to read works of fiction like Berserk and to be able to read stories from artists like Miura. When Berserk was on hiatus, I complained, but I understood. I will never have a problem with an artist taking a break from writing, because (and I know this is the extreme case) they could be going through a serious health scare. RIP Miura sensei, you will never be forgotten.