I’ve been sitting here starting a blinking cursor for a while now, trying to put words to paper on the passing of Kentaro Miura, the creator of the famed manga Berserk. I don’t think I can put it any better than what I’ve already said in my article “Kentaro Miura & Berserk: Finding Hope in Insurmountable Darkness” for Funimation. But write-ups for other websites come with things like word counts, so here’s a little more on my experience with Berserk and the passing of one of the great creators of our time.
We lose creators too often. It feels like there’s always another face and name of a writer or artist or actor in the news cycle who we’ve recently lost. Each one is a blow. Each one is a tragedy. But some losses are more than that. Sometimes someone has left such an impact on humankind that for a brief moment the entire world ceases to turn.
Kentaro Miura was that sort of person. For days after his passing, the entire world ceased to turn. People all around the globe came together to mourn, often in extremely moving (and extremely spontaneous) ways. Take, for example, Final Fantasy XIV where players donned their Dark Knight armor and lined the streets of in-game cities while bards played the first few bars of “Gut’s Theme”, the theme song of Berserk’s main character from the anime adaptation.
But I want to talk about something other than the displays of mourning that moved many to tears or the state of the ever stressful manga industry and what that means for creators. I want to talk about another aspect I’ve been thinking about since penning my article for Funimation.
As I’ve stated elsewhere, Berserk is dark fantasy. Bad things happen to good people in a dark, monstrous world. But this series is loved not just for its great characters, blood and guts, and dark tale. It’s beloved because Miura has the incredible ability to show hope in even the darkest of places. Guts turns from an antihero to a hero through the course of the series. Even when things are at their bleakest, he pushes forward. Even when things look hopeless, Guts shows us that there’s still goodness in the world and that no matter what others say or how bleak prospects may look, that goodness, that love for one another, is always worth fighting for.
In a world wracked by COVID, climate change, police brutality, the emaciation civil rights, and ghoulish late-stage capitalism (just to name a few), having that guiding light gave hope to people around the world. Guts gave us hope. Miura gave us hope. He showed us a way to keep moving forward even when you felt like stopping, like it wasn’t worth the hassle or that things wouldn’t change no matter your actions. Having the person who showed so many what hope and conviction look like suddenly disappear is devastating.
I’m not quite sure how to end this other than to say that Miura’s influence will live on indefinitely. He singlehandedly changed dark fantasy in manga, comics, video games, and, well, the rest of the entertainment industry. The legacy he left is dark fantasy. All of it. We might be mourning Miura’s passing, but what he’s taught and showed us through his work will always remain with those whose lives he’s touched.