Berserk 41 – November Graphic Novel of The Month.

For one last time, the late Kentaro Miura presents the latest volume of his legendary manga series – Berserk. Though Casca has at last been released from the prison of her own mind, she cannot escape the reminders of the terrors she has experienced. And nothing triggers the return of these harrowing memories than Guts the Black Swordsman, who faced those same horrors in his relentless quest to bring Casca to a place where she might be healed. But the reappearance of a strange, mute boy could well be the key to bringing peace to Casca’s troubled soul.

It is impossible to understate the significance of Kentaro Miura’s Berserk. An epic fantasy manga, it grabbed readers not just because of the insanely detailed action-packed art but because of it’s dark and gripping storytelling that never shied away from gore and heavy themes. Guts is the archetypal stoic fantasy hero whose story instantly attracted readers. The series has been a consistent bestseller all over the world and to this day remain Dark Horse’s strongest selling series. It has been adapted into multiple anime productions and a slew of merchandise including figures and video games. It’s right up there with Akira, Ghost in The Shell and Battle Angel Alita when it comes to influential manga.

Sadly, Miura passed away last year due to acute aortic dissection before he could bring his long running series to a close. It has recently been announced that the series would be finished by Miura’s childhood friend and fellow manga artist Kouji Mori along with Miura’s assistants from his studio. But enough chapters had been finished for one final volume by Miura to be released which will give fans a chance to see Miura’s stunning work one last time.

Obviously, this is not where Miura would want to leave his work, but everything that made his work so great is on display here. There is over-the-top action, a stoic hero that is rare in manga today and every page is stunning courtesy of Miura’s intricately crafted artwork. There is also some strong pathos in this volume (which is unintentionally enhanced by Miura’s passing) as Guts continues his mission to mentally heal Casca after the trauma she experienced in previous volumes. He has come a long way since the beginning of the series and his bond with Casca is strong evidence of that.

Berserk Vol. 41 marks the end of an era even with the series continuation. All manga readers owe it to themselves to read Miura’s final offering that puts the exclamation mark on a legendary career.

Berserk 41 is out 17 November from Dark Horse (9781506733777, p/b, £14.99)

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