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Do you believe in MtG? [25 Aug 2009|02:27pm]

Someone by the name of "superboi" over at Evil Genius made these:

Which inspired me to hunt up the program he was using and make a few of my own:

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hey, thought you guys would like this site [09 Jul 2009|05:11pm]

Here is the link to the site Berserk Episodes
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Icon Post [19 Apr 2008|12:30pm]

Berserk x 10
Fullmetal Alchemist x 20
Naruto x 12

Total = 42

(Fake cut to my journal.)
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Adam Smith's Invisible God Hand: Economics, Politics, and Berserk [13 Dec 2007|08:56pm]

Something I wrote, mostly for my own enjoyment, but it might be of some interest to anyone who feels like attempting to scale my wall of text (Warning: Spoilers for anyone who isn't current with the manga, including the Lost Chapter):

At the risk of hyperbole, I believe that Berserk deserves to be counted among the great works of literature. It is at once so broad and sweeping in scope as to make Hamlet look like a mere ghost story and so personal and poignant as to make Homer's epic heroes look as cold and lifeless as the statues that bear their faces.
I say this, not just to gush (although I've certainly been known to do that where Berserk is concerned), but also to make a point, which is that like the other great stories, Berserk is open to interpretation beyond that of the author's explicit intent. To use Hamlet as an example once again, here is a story that has been interpreted variously as a simple tale of revenge, a conflict between a newer Christian ethic and an older pagan one, and an interpretation of the Oedipal complex situated between the classical one and the modern Freudian one. And that's to name just a few ways in which one great story has been interpreted. How much of this did Shakespeare intend? Well, that's debatable, but "some, but not nearly all" seems like a reasonable answer.
Which brings me, in a roundabout way, to my point: what does Berserk have to say about politics? Not much, perhaps, according to the explicit intention of the author. At its heart, Berserk is a very personal story of betrayal and one man's struggle to come to terms with it and with his own place in the universe. In a broader sense, Guts' struggle mirrors our own struggle to find meaning in our existence, and the whole thing is set against a vast backdrop of religion and metaphysics. There is little, explicitly, to tie any of this to politics.
But I'd argue that it's impossible for an author to create such a vast and complex world, populating it with such a diverse cast of characters and assigning some sort of moral value or worth or weight to each, without revealing at least a little of his views about almost any subject you can think of. So I'll beg the reader's indulgence if what follows sometimes seems a little speculative, or as though I'm reading things into the text that aren't really there.

As should be expected given its Western medieval fantasy setting, the monarchy seems to be the dominant form of government in Berserk. The king rules by divine right, and there is a strict and formal social hierarchy reaching all the way from the Pope (to whom the heads of several nations seem to owe at least a token allegiance, although his actual secular political power remains largely an unknown quantity at this point) through the king, nobility, aristocracy, and all the way down to the peasant class.

The first two major villains we meet embody the noble class and make plain the flaws inherent in such a system. The Snake Baron, we learn, is not actually noble by blood, but installed himself in his position through the threat of force. This shows how the system can be cheated and noble rank usurped by someone with enough money or military power. The baron throws this in the face of the "rightful" lord of the fiefdom, taunting him by pretending to forget that he has now been reduced to a low-ranking minister.
Of course, that's not all that's going on here: the baron is actually an Apostle, a powerful and nearly immortal demon which serves as a sort of an exaggerated parody or perversion of nobility. The noble class merely believes they're divinely chosen: the Apostles actually are, and they have the supernatural power to prove it. The Snake Baron goes on a bit about this, the upshot of his monologue being that his kind are destined to rule over humanity by reason of their natural superiority-- superiority for which, we later find, they are selected by fate.

The Slug Count presents much the same story, although we are given a more in-depth look at his character and how he came to occupy such a "lofty" position as an Apostle. Unlike the Snake Baron, he was born into the nobility, and he exemplifies its worst traits. Unpleasantly fat, he embodies the idle ("sluggish"?) aristocracy, living in luxury while his subjects suffer. His personal quirks (in this case, an unhealthy obsession with rooting out heretics) become the people's burden.

In both cases, the compact between the rulers and the ruled is subverted. In theory, a feudalism is a mutual arrangement: the peasants owe their lords loyalty and the first fruits of their labors, true, but the rulers also owe the people protection and providence. In these two cases, the rulers take and take while giving nothing but fear and misery in return. After we flash back to the Golden Age arc and the focus reverts from the supernatural to the mundane, we see the same thing happen on a more grounded scale: the nobility are almost without exception concerned far more with the perpetuation of their own privileged place in the hierarchy than with the welfare of their subjects.
By the time Griffith stands on a hill and tells Guts of the injustice of political power and material luxury being in the hands of a handful of nobles, we're almost ready to cheer him on. "Yeah!" we think. "HE'LL put those rotten nobles in their place!" We almost believe in him.


But come on. The fact that we know from the first few volumes of the manga (or the first episode of the anime) that Griffith will eventually betray Guts aside, it's pretty obvious there's more going on than this. Monarchy is about the easiest political target in the world, for the simple reason that every modern nation in the world has either formally abandoned it or else reduced the royal family's actual political power to the point where they are figureheads, glorified PR people. Knocking down the straw man that modern monarchy has become is a little too easy, isn't it?
It's true that Berserk doesn't do it in a simplistic way: the king of Midland is a complex and largely sympathetic character (as opposed to the Snake Baron's simple vilification of the ruling class). Trapped in a loveless political marriage, his high station leaves him deprived of the simple human affection that makes life worth living, and his isolation manifests itself as an unhealthy obsession with his own daughter. So Berserk does show that the system is detrimental to the rulers just as it is to the ruled.

Still, a talented and multifaceted writer like Miura must have something more going on politically, and it's not hard to see it if you look. Griffith's solution for the problem
of unjust concentration of power and wealth isn't to redistribute it to the masses: he's no champion of democracy, nor does he pretend to be. Instead, he posits that there must exist a "true elite," destined to rule "regardless of their existing social status." Griffith's quarrel isn't with the system per se, but with the specifics. He believes the monarchy is correct in the broad strokes-- that there exists a small elite who should rule over the rest by divine right-- and is simply mistaken about who specifically that elite is.

The rest of the story-- Griffith's attempted grab for power, his betrayal of his comrades, and his eventual ascension to ruling status-- reads like a story right out of actual world history. In Russia, the czars were ousted only to be replaced by the Stalinists. The French Revolution was arguably worse than the decadent monarchy it replaced, and resulted ultimately in Napoleon's bid for empire. The Romans, with their deep distrust of kings rooted in their oppression by the Etruscans, wound up with a series of progressively more incompetent, corrupt, and insane Emperors.
Viewed in this light, Griffith is Stalin, Napoleon, and Hitler rolled into one, and illustrates not just the dangers of fascism (which, like the dangers of monarchy, should be easy enough to see in their own right) but also the charisma which allows such fascists to gain power in the first place. The fact that there are still so many Berserk fans who refuse to view Griffith as evil is proof enough of how convincing such charisma can be.

Griffith and his idea of a "true ruling elite" also bear a striking resemblance to the Nietzchean superman archetype (or, more specifically, to the corruption of Nietzsche's ideas that provided the justification for Hitler among others). He believes that he is a member of the universe's true elite, and as it turns out, he's right: he has been chosen by fate to wield supernatural powers far beyond the merely human. After assuming his place as Femto, he is better, faster, stronger: to paraphrase Lois Lane, he's Nietzsche's superman ideal wrapped up in a neat little package.
In many versions of the superman theory, the superman is not only inherently superior to mere humanity and therefore destined to rule it, he is also unbound by the sorts of moral strictures that govern others. The rules that are designed to protect lesser men from their own weak character simply don't apply to him. This certainly appears to apply in the world of Berserk: the Idea of Evil (a powerful creature that embodies humanity's collective unconscious) tells Griffith that his very nature is such that any action he chooses to take will ultimately be to humanity's benefit.
Nor is Griffith the only one afforded such freedom from moral obligation: it is stated repeatedly that the only commandment among the Apostles is "Do as thou wilt." The pact between rulers and ruled is completely abandoned, and the Berserk universe' ruling elite, the "supermen," have only one obligation: to their own self-interest.

But here's the thing: in the modern Western world, every man is a superman. Compare the person sitting next to you with any average person in the medieval setting of Berserk. Thanks to modern nutrition and medical science, we're taller, stronger, and healthier than they could ever hope to be. Diseases that are mere annoyances to us are life-threatening afflictions to them. We are never hungry in any serious sense. We live longer. A trip to Wal-Mart (along with, in some places, a short waiting period) can furnish us with devastating weapons that they have no defense against. Most of us own machines that allow us to travel at speeds unthinkable to them. We can communicate with each other instantaneously over long distances. I'm willing to bet that if you wanted to, every person reading this could, in ten or fifteen minutes, obtain for themselves a bucket of ice cream-- a delicacy available only to kings in their time, and we sell it in BUCKETS. We can fucking FLY, for God's sake. In many, many ways, the least of us is more powerful than the greatest of them.

If we extend the commandment of "do as thou wilt" beyond a small ruling elite and apply it to absolutely everyone, it starts to look less like Nietzsche's superman and more like Adam Smith's invisible hand. In formulating his theory of capitalism, Smith posited that if everyone looks first to their own self-interest, their actions will also end up serving the interests of the economy as a whole. It's as if, he said, an invisible hand (or would that be an invisible God Hand?) guides our desires such that we may follow them while still serving the greater good.

Of course, there is never any such thing as complete equality, and even in a world of supermen, some supermen must be more super than others. In both our world and the world of Berserk, the ticket to ever greater power is the same: the willingness to make ever greater moral sacrifices. In Berserk, these sacrifices are literal: in order for a human to become an Apostle, he must sacrifice a loved one to the God Hand. Most of us make small moral sacrifices every day: I decide that the damage I do to the environment with my car is worth it if it means I don't have to get up three hours early and walk to work. By making a certain buying decision, a shopper intrinsically decides that the working conditions in the sweatshop that makes her sneakers are worth it if it lets her save ten bucks. The impact of these individual decisions is small, but cumulatively the effect can be huge.
And, of course, larger sacrifices yield greater power. The CEO who makes the decision to produce and sell hundreds of thousands of inefficient cars or to fail to correct poor working conditions reaps even greater rewards if those decisions help his business succeed. Griffith sacrifices dozens of followers and becomes the leader of the God Hand. There's a saying that there isn't a rich man out there who didn't screw someone over to get that way, and even if that isn't true all the time, I'd venture to say that it holds true more often than not.

And so in both our world and the world of Berserk, we end up with a system in which the most morally corrupt people wield the greatest power. In our world, that power is economic; in Berserk, it's supernatural. It's not that human nature is inherently evil, it's that the system is rigged in favor of the bad guys.
Anyone who wishes can refuse to be part of the system, but the system itself endures. I could decide to give up all my material possessions and lead a monkish existence, but that won't put Ford or Wal-Mart out of business, or make politicians any less beholden to corporate interests. The Slug Count decides not to sacrifice his daughter, and while he is not actively punished for going against the God Hand's wishes, he is simply allowed to die a (more or less) natural death. Meanwhile, the God Hand and their Apostles live on, apparently indefinitely. The fish, as has been said, may leap out of the stream, but it can't alter its course.

So there you have it. At its deepest level, Berserk is not a critique of either monarchy or fascism, although those elements are certainly there. It's a scathing criticism of capitalism gone awry, a self-perpetutating system in which the good are corrupted or made irrelevant and the evil are rewarded materially (or supernaturally) but remain just as miserable and self-loathing as the Slug Count. And how does the story end? Can Guts ultimately bring the God Hand down? Can enough people become fed up enough with the excesses of capitalism to change the system? We'll just have to keep reading and find out.
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Berserk Competence Quiz. [15 Nov 2007|04:27pm]

So a friend of mine just finished the Berserk manga. I was a bit suspicious if he really paid attention since he finished it within a week and a half. So he said, "what are you going to quiz me?"

What a great idea.

So here it is, the unofficial Berserk Competence Quiz. Feel free to take your time and answer in as much detail as you want.

The Berserk Competence Quiz


Gutts is to Femto as Skull Knight is to __________.


Gutts and Caska live in which realm?

  • Interstice
  • Physical
  • Nexus
  • Qliphoth


Elves are from the ____________ world. And can’t be seen by some people because of the teachings of the ___________.


What was Bazuso’s code name?




Which army held the castle of Doldry?

  • White Tigers
  • Purple Rhinos
  • Black Rams
  • Pervert Baron’s private army


Germany is to Midland as Ys is to _____________.


The relationship between Flora and the Skull Knight can best be described as

  1. employeer and mercenary
  2. the same relationship as Scherike and Gutts
  3. ex-lovers
  4. mortal enemies


What is Gutt’s initial response to Griffith’s offer to join the Band of the Hawk?

  1. No, I hate guys like you
  2. I make my own path
  3. Are you a homo?
  4. I won’t follow someone weaker than me.


Which apostle does Ricket meet right before the first eclipse?

  1. The Baron
  2. The Whore
  3. The Snake Baron
  4. The Wandering-Demon Child


Who is the only female in Berserk who hasn’t been sexually attacked or raped?





Where did Judeau get his brand symbol?

  • Forehead
  • Hand
  • Forearm
  • Chest


Why is the Dragon Slayer special?

  • Schericke blessed it
  • Godo was actually a wizard
  • Because its been soaked in demon blood for a long time
  • Because everything Gutts touches is amazing


What is Azaz’s code name?




What was Serpico’s rank in the Holy Iron Chain Knights?




Who gave Isidoro his light-weight sword?




Who is the Moonlight Child really?




Why does Silat join the Krushan Emperor?




What was Magnifico’s job before e joined Gutts’s band?




Griffith is a

  1. Hero
  2. Nietzschen Superman
  3. A prophesized savior
  4. A giant destructive force
  5. All the above





The Idea of Evil is

  1. The master of the God Hand
  2. Gutts’s real enemy
  3. A creation of human nature’s desire to explain why bad things happen
  4. Both a and c


Before meeting Gutt’s Puck was _____

  1. an outcast from the elven paradise
  2. an adventurer
  3. a mercenary
  4. a traveling performer


Serpico was born in which city?




Who has raped Caska? Check all that apply:

  • Griffith
  • Gutts
  • Random Mercenaries
  • Wyald
  • Countless apostles at the eclipse
  • Firenze
  • The goat headed pagan god


Zodd thinks of Gutts as

  1. a nuisance
  2. an arch-rival
  3. admirable
  4. a potential threat


Short Essay: What caused Griffith’s down fall? Could it have been avoided? Provide specific examples.

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Name Pronounciation [04 Nov 2007|01:45am]

How do you pronounce Femto?
I watch the anime over and over, that one part were the say his name. But it only once and it, hard to hear how it is said.
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FST [03 Oct 2007|01:53am]

I made an FST for Berserk up to the Eclipse (I'll probably get off my ass and do the rest at some point or another). It's full of metal, angst and Guts/Griffith goodness.

(Totally fake cut)
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Slightly confused... [20 Aug 2007|09:32pm]

Is book 18 basically a recap with some added information?
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Berserk: The Abridged Series [03 Apr 2007|06:49am]

I'm sure most folks here are familiar with the Abridged Series fad on Youtube, begun by LittleKuriboh with Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series (if you're not, start with that one-- it's the first and still the best).

Anyway, in what may well be the dorkiest thing I have ever done (and I include showing up at a comic book convention dressed as Raccoon Mario in that statement), I decided I had to represent Berserk fandom and make a Berserk: The Abridged Series. Of course it can't touch LittleKuriboh's brilliance, but for what it's worth, here's what's up so far:

And the playlist where the latest episode can always be found:

Currently Episode 01 is a finalist in the comedy category of Anizona 2007's AMV contest this weekend. Of course, in hindsight I realize that committing myself to seeing a live audience reaction to what is probably the weakest episode of my little hobby when most of the audience probably doesn't know or care about Berserk anyway was probably profoundly masochistic of me. Oh well, too late now! (-:
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Music video [08 Oct 2006|01:38pm]

Someone posted this on one of the other berserk blogs ... just passing it along :)

Make sure to "right-click and save" and then open it from your desktop or whatever.

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hi [25 Aug 2006|05:03am]

hi guys, new here. berserk is <3! can't wait for ch. 279. sept. 8th ^^
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[12 Aug 2006|09:51am]

Thanks for putting up with all my questions. I know it can get annyoing lol

But I do have one more. Im bad I read ahead I read spoliers and all that stuff but I cant find any info on the neo-hawks
The only thing I found was its run by Griffith and they said Zod was in it but not Guts.
Is the neo hawks run by the reborn griffith, or Femto Griffith?
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