Fans relitigate ‘Berserk’s’ dark themes

berserk final volume release date
Image via Dark Horse Comics

Berserk, the legendary shonen manga by the late Kentaro Miura that first debuted in 1989, returned briefly to the spotlight today as viral Tweets prompted a conversation about the series’ dark themes.

Fans of the dark fantasy series, which totalled 41 volumes at the time of Miura’s passing, were stirred by what was seen as a disingenuous reading of the series, following a particularly gruesome panel depicting violence against women being shared without proper context.

It began when user @whatinthehell wrote “u gotta be ill to read berserk,” and then shared an image of the panel at the center of the discourse. 

Many familiar with the series pointed out that the panel is not meant to be entertainment, as the characters are antagonists. But it didn’t stop there.

In a since-deleted quote retweet, @Silken_Roses, who appears to have deleted their account following the ensuing discourse, wrote:

“im [sic] not pro-censorship but how is this legal? Especially in a world where male violence against women is still an etremly real problem”

The tweet is still captured in screenshots that have been shared, like in @hulkgamerspamz’s mpw viral Tweet, captioning the screenshot with the curt observation: “Glad Berserk is gatekeeping itself.”

Their tweet seems to have brought a flurry of Tweets about how the series actually grapples with violence. “Making the big tough masculine protagonist an explicit victim of child sexual assault who has trauma from it is one of the boldest and bravest moves Berserk did,” reads one reply, “i can’t imagine thinking it’s bad.”

“You’re not suppose to find this or any of the other dark stuff that happens in berserk entertaining” wrote one fan of the manga. “Tell me you haven’t read berserk without telling me you haven’t read berserk” invited another.

Berserk is published by Dark Horse Comics.