Hidden Metaphors and Function of the Berserker Armor


2) Crocodile Beach

The second time Guts gives in to the armor is when facing the whale familiars.

Guts was extremely exhausted and ill due to the first time he’s used the armor, he is still weakened, barely being able to swing his sword, as noted by Puck and Ivalera prior this.

Later on that night him and his companions are attacked by crocodile familiars.

The crocodiles themselves are a gear up compared to the trolls. They still weren’t a match to Guts, but it appears that he was not only fighting the crocs, but also himself. Regardless, he still managed to keep his composure.

Note Guts’ facial expression: His facial expression shows he is experiencing not only rage, but also extreme strain – strain not to let the Beast of Darkness take over!

“I feel it… It’s sniffing the smell of blood. It’s aiming for a chance to be released. Dont yield your mind to it. Keep your head cool. Draw out the minimum power of the armor. Only control the pain enough to move freely. The one holding the reins… is me.”

The situation however made a turn-around the moment the whale familiar came into the scene. He was now facing a new enemy much bigger than himself and at this point he didn’t know their weaknesses yet either.

Guts is charging at the monster while his companions are paralyzed by fear. I can totally imagine that Guts must be shitting his pants there, but he is overcoming his fear to fight it. Notice how the Beast of Darkness smells his fear and is getting ready to strike!

What happens now is that Guts is fighting this giant monster all by himself and as he was distracted for a second by the Beast of Darkness trying to take over him – he was thrown onto a rock with one swing by the whale.

The Beast of Darkness is tasting the blood…
…and the surge of od Guts is experiencing causes him to stagger and hesitate as an attempt to keep control. Enough time for the whale familiar to engage a devastating attack!

Not only he was hit by the familiar but also by the realization that he cannot defend himself or his companions anymore due to his weakened state.

The moment the whale familiar turns to his companions.

Guts then decides to enter the Berserker Armor by his own will. During this battle, we see already established patterns too.

As he chops off the whale’s trunk, his astral wound on his chest flares up.

Again, his astral wound opened up, with blood gushing from his chest. The beast demands a blood sacrifice! Schierke also notes after the battle that his wounds need to be tend to.

After this, you see something very very interesting. We get a glimpse of what happens inside of Guts’ mind as he uses the armor.

What is this? See that pupil? He still appears to be to his senses. Earlier we established that these visible pupils indicate that Guts’ consciousness is still reachable. He also remembers how he slew the whale familiar – which will help him taking down eight more of them later in Vritannis.

He is contemplating how the roar of the sea is comparable to the roar inside of the armor. Fully conscious, he notes how he is being sucked into the booming roar of the armor’s od.

And this here is the beginning of the end. Guts has started to gradually lose himself here.

The whale familiar has been slain. But Guts continues the slaughter..

Even the harmless, incapacitated crocodiles seem like enemies to Berserker Guts.

Remember that Serpico has incapacitated those crocodiles earlier. They pose no threat to them anymore. Still, Guts perceives them as enemies, feels surrounded by them and is thus exposed to great fear. He is fully conscious as this is happening. The reality the armor is presenting to him is thwarting his judgement. Schierke explicitly mentions this later in Vritannis too. I love how stuff like this is delivered both in visuals and later on dialog (to make it super obvious).

This page right here is when he loses himself completely:

You see how his pupils slowly fade away, as he gives in to the fear and rage dwelling inside of him, brought to the surface by the armor’s od. He is telling the beast to stay away again and again… his own words literally lose their strength and size, the more your eyes move to the left to read. Eventually, the voice of the armor drowns out his own voice and the beast swallowed him completely, as symbolized by his conscious eye vanishing.

Now we know that Guts has succumbed to the armor. In that exact moment, you see him walking towards his own companions. He will actively fight against this ALL BY HIMSELF later on during the Sea God Pirates fight!

Guts walking towards his companions to kill them. He lunges towards them… but then…

…the moonlight boy intervened and stopped him. That was a damn close call!

The boy tells Guts not to be afraid. To me it seems like the boy knew what to say, as if he was about to calm him down. That means the boy can sense Guts’ mental state. He knows what the armor does to him – namely inducing fear and rage as we established earlier. But words alone probably wouldn’t have sufficed to get him back!

So the boy is touching the Berserker armor’s snout and white branches of energy spread around the helmet. You see how Guts regains his consciousness, as symbolized by his eye that you see again through the armor’s z-shaped eyeslots. The energy released as the boy does this is so strong that Guts is being catapulted back, away from his companions.

Guts regaining part of his consciousness. From his side, he only saw a light that stopped him, as he contemplates about it later.
The energy the moonlight boy has transmitted to him is pushing Guts back.
With Guts’ consciousness partially back from the armor’s influence, Guts is more receptive to Schierke’s astral projection. I wonder if Schierke would have been able to call him back without the Moonlight Boy? I have my doubts. You will see why once I covered the Sea God arc occasions.

This is when Schierke reached out to Guts to finally draw him out.

Conclusion:

Guts is using the armor by his own will and because of this, he kept some of his consciousness inside the armor. In the middle of the fight he started losing himself because the armor presented to him a reality that thrives on fear. When he finally lost himself, he was about to go after his companions but the moonlight boy interfered and brought back his (sub-?) consciousness. This allowed Schierke to finally pull him back to his human self.

Guts realizing he would have almost killed his companions and shivering at the thought. This is also not the only time he is shocked at his own sinisterness (see when he sexually assaulted Casca)

Next, see what happens at Vritannis!


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