Legendary manga creator Kentaro Miura of the critically acclaimed Berserk series has passed away at the age of 54. He died on May 6 due to acute aortic dissection. Miura is best known for both his stunning artistic prowess and compelling storytelling abilities that he employed in his seminal series Berserk. Since it began in 1989, his masterpiece has spawned a 1997 anime adaption of the manga’s earlier chapters, three movies covering the same events as the original adaptation in 2012-13, and a 2016 series that delved into the manga’s later arcs for two seasons. Miura’s work, which also influenced a proliferation of gaming adaptations, was still ongoing with 40 volumes of 364 chapters and more than 35 million copies sold worldwide.
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Berserk told the story of Guts, a former mercenary who later embraced the ominous identity of the Black Swordsman. For the majority of the series, Guts seeks revenge against his former friend Griffith who sacrificed his companions so he could achieve his dream of building his own kingdom. On his bloody conquest, Guts is plagued by demons, as the world falls into an existential state of chaos as a direct result of Griffith’s selfish actions.
Although a manga artist, Miura pioneered a new artistic style that was unheard of at the time and that, even now, few have attempted or even considered to replicate. This bold step in breaking away from the norm of how characters and settings are drawn in this particular medium allowed Miura to venture into an incredibly dark and intricate world that set it apart from other manga. Regardless of this stark departure, Berserk always felt like a manga, allowing Miura to grasp and fully benefit from all of the best characteristics and qualities that the medium has to offer, without sullying his own artistic genius and direction.
2021年5月20日 株式会社白泉社 ヤングアニマル編集部 pic.twitter.com/vy923fIqiP
— ヤングアニマル公式 (@YoungAnimalHaku) May 20, 2021
[Translation: Report of the death of Professor Kentaro Miura
Dr. Kentaro Miura, the author of “Berserk”, passed away on May 6, 2021 due to acute aortic dissection. We would like to express our utmost respect and gratitude to Dr. Miura’s painting work and pray for his soul.May 20, 2021 Hakusensha Co., Ltd. Young Animal Editorial Department]
It should therefore come as no surprise that Miura began drawing at an early age. When he was 10, he created manga for his friends at school. Eight years later, Miura broke into the professional world when he became an assistant for the creator of the boxing manga Hajime No Ippo, George Morikawa.
When he began Berserk, Miura embraced an extreme form of violence that transcended what existed in manga at the time. It may have been a risky move, but it was a tactic that ended up strengthening his story and deepening his characters in a way that any normal depiction of violence could never achieve. It was clear that Miura understood how much of an impact such unsettling depictions could have on readers.
Yet, despite the existential despair that Kentaro Miura created, humanity still shone through in Berserk, as Guts strove to protect his friends and Casca, the woman he loved, from the interminable wave of nihilistic violence that surrounded them. In fact, near the end of his manga series, Miura began hinting at the seemingly impossible, undermining what drove so many to embrace his work in the first place. Guts, despite being propelled by hate and anger for so long, appeared to have been letting go of his hatred of Griffith. Even in the violent world that he himself created, Miura was willing to break his own rules, all for the sake of love and hope. Kentaro Miura was a visionary. He was a legend. He will be missed. RIP.
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