1) Flora’s Tree Mansion
The first time Guts has used the armor he almost immediately gave into the od without resisting it. The astral wound on his chest transforms into the eye of the Beast of Darkness. Again, note how his pupil is also fading away!
When Schierke performed the ritual to get him back, you see her inside of Guts’ consciousness.
At the root of it all, there is Guts’ agony, mostly caused by the events of the eclipse – agony that is driving the armor as well.
The above page depicts what I believe hurt Guts the most during the eclipse. Prominent is the imagery of Casca being violated by someone he considered a friend and the feel of betrayal is also there with the bit showing Femto in front of the God Hand.
Little side note: It’s likely that Casca’s version as revealed in the passage of dreams is also depicting what hurt her the most, which shows Pippin and Judeau dying, and Guts losing his eye and arm.
Anyway! Schierke is being sucked into this tornado of memories and at the core of it all, she meets Flora’s amulet.
Shielded by the amulet, we see Guts’ consciousness – warped, covered in flames but still reachable. Schierke then attempts to talk Guts back to his senses.
After this, you see them conversing. Guts is engulfed in flames, caged in violent emotions as Schierke reminds him of who he is, what his values are and the reason why he was traveling – to get someone safe who is very very dear to him.
Notice how Guts’ right eye is in the typical Beast of Darkness shape, a white, bland and lifeless eye full of rage – I guess it’s not far-fetched to think he has become the beast himself. (Fun fact: the white rage eye appears first during the Eclipse, and was very prominent during the Lost Children Arc. Even back then, the symbolism of the fading pupil indicates savagery or losing control)
But notice what happens as Schierke is mentioning Casca to Guts?! On seeing her, he says: “Who… is that…? I know her…” As the apostle approaches Farnese and Casca, he gets protective: “Stop… Leave… her alone…”
Then Schierke tells him her name. Note how Guts’ pupil fades back in again as he muttered “Cas…ca”.
As Schierke keeps on talking, slowly but steady, you can see his pupil returning to normal as he awakens. (Remember how it was fading away when he lost himself in the armor!?)
This means that Guts is capable of detecting Casca in his Berserker Form – a form where he is supposed to be unable to tell friend from foe! The best part: Berserker Guts will recognize her later in the Sea God arc, too and actually saves her as a response! More of this later.
After this, we can see Guts rush to save Farnese and Casca, who were threatened and almost killed by apostles. And then there is this legendary panel of him with a very faint smile and possibly also a tear in his eye, looking at the woman that is most dear to him.
Guts has succumbed to the armor completely without resistance and at a great cost, but Schierke managed to get him back to his senses via the astral realm.
We can establish that the presence of his pupil in his astral depictions is a visual cue that Guts is still in possession of his consciousness. When his pupil is white, it means he has succumbed to his inner beast. This also applies to other instances pre-Berserker Armor.
We also see that Guts is capable of recognizing Casca as his consciousness is being held captive by the Berserker Armor.
See the next page for the croc-attack on the beach!