Warning! Minor spoilers for Berserk chapters 365 and 366!
The unexpected chapters that are breathing new life into the world of Berserk capture the tone and breathtaking beauty of Kentaro Miura’s unparalleled craftmanship in ways that no one would have thought possible.
Upon Berserk creator Kentaro Miura’s tragic passing last year, the world mourned not only the loss of one of manga’s most talented artists and storytellers of the modern era, but of a world that permeated such a distinct atmosphere. So even when Berserk publisher Young Animal announced that Miura’s masterpiece would resume with art by Studio Gaga and guidance by Kentaro Miura’s lifelong friend, Kouji Mori, fans rejoiced at the prospect of their favorite characters returning but were still skeptical at how Studio Gaga and Kouji could replicate Miura’s genius.
However, following Miura’s final Berserk chapter, the recent simultaneous release of chapters 365 and 366 should give fans peace of mind that Miura’s masterpiece is in capable hands. Studio Gaga undoubtedly devoted hundreds of hours to ensure that they could capture the essence of Miura’s desire for perfection that kept him from releasing them prematurely. From calming, tranquil moons against unsettling skies to eerie depictions of forlorn-looking trees, readers can tell that the studio’s artists painstakingly emulated the endless days and nights that Miura spent ensuring his backdrops alone captured the right mood of each panel. Even the characters themselves, undoubtedly one of the harder works of art to truly emulate, not only look but evoke the same feelings as their originals did. Yes, there a few subtle details that deviate from what Miura would have drawn, but for the most part, these artists portrayed each character in a manner that truly honors Miura’s skillset and perspective.
Even more importantly, the severe emotions that each character experiences within these two chapters are expertly rendered to almost perfectly emulate how Miura once depicted such crucial moments such as these. When Casca falls into fits of sheer terror, how Gaga Studios illustrates the energy around her terrified figure causes readers to feel the same visceral horror that Miura elicited so long ago during the Eclipse. As for the rage that consumes Guts as he wields his sword throughout both chapters that mark Berserk’s return, the chaos displayed in these dynamic pages transports readers back to Miura’s most violent scenes of graphic imagery. These artists even replicate some of the most iconic images from past arcs where Guts is cloaked in darkness with only one eye visible. And unlike many mangaka who are apparently terrified of not filling each page with an absurd amount of meaningless dialogue, Kouji stays true to Miura who rightfully felt confident enough in his work to let his images speak for themselves, only having characters speak when necessary.
Although there are fans who can’t or will refuse to accept any continuation of Berserk that’s not Kentaro Miura’s original ending, it’s important to understand that while he may no longer be with us physically, his spirit is most assuredly there now by how masterfully and utterly devoted Kouji Mori and Studio Gaga clearly are to ensuring Miura’s essence appears on every page, in every panel and through every brushstroke. This is much better than fans just getting the chance to see their favorite story continue. They have been given the ability to truly experience how Kentaro Miura wanted to impart Berserk to a world that respects and misses him dearly.