Hidden Metaphors and Function of the Berserker Armor


If you are still with me after reading this extensive article, I must congratulate you! There is still a summary and conclusion to be shared, so here we go:

Comparing the instances Guts has used the Berserker Armor

Tree Mansion Crocodile Beach Vritannis
How did Guts
enter the armor?
Submitting to the od instantlyUsing it by choiceUsing it by choice
What is the enemy that
made him use the armor?
Grunbeld, ApostlesA single whale familiar5 whale familiars
What situation made
Guts use the armor?
His companions dressed him
getting hit by the whale familiar and realizing he is too weak to fight

Facing an enemy much bigger than him, realizing he is outnumbered
When did he succumb
to the armor’s od fully?

After the first apostle threatening his companions has been slain, listening to the BoD’s calling

After he took down the whale familiar including the surrounding, incapacitated crocs

He appears to have succumbed to the BoD right after calling it
How did Guts return?Schierke bringing him back via ritual (astral world)
Moonlight Boy touches his helmet to stop him from slaying his companions;Then Schierke deals the finishing blow (astral world)

Calling the BoD, Schierke was being sucked into the armor because of physical proximity to Guts. She then decided to get him back later (astral world)
PiratesSea God Final FightPrediction
How did Guts
enter the armor?
Using it by choiceUsing it in a planned manner Using it in a planned manner
What is the enemy that
made him use the armor?
Apostle Pirate Ship, many giant tentacle monsters Sea God
A being more powerful than the Sea God, but weaker than a God Hand member
What situation made
Guts use the armor?
Being outnumbered and outpowered by the pirate ship/tentacle monsters The realization their voyage cannot continue with the Sea God still alive
When did he succumb
to the armor’s od fully?

He did not! The moonlight boy intervened before this could happen.

Shortly after calling the BoD, but only for a few moments
Guts possibly will be able to delay the BoD fully possessing him for long enough, enabling the others to come save him.
How did Guts return?
Moonlight Boy talks to Guts that he should not destroy what is dear to him. As reaction to this, Guts is fighting the BoD by himself, gets as far as to be able to force the helmet back. Schierke later comes into place and PHYSICALLY pulls back the helmet to save Guts.

Calling the BoD, Schierke was being sucked into the armor. She got Guts back right after it was called (astral world)
The Beast of Darkness may have mentioned it will explode in a raging hellfire one day and will be docile for now – but Guts isnt sleeping either! Never underestimate his power of will. It’s to be expected Guts’ contribution go get out of the armor by himself will increase. It will still need outside help to completely defeat it.

Conclusion:

  • Miura has put a lot of thought into the introduction and concept of the Berserker Armor, not only as a plot device and power-up, but also from a psychological point of view.
  • Guts gradually strengthens his consciousness and capacity to think while being in Berserker form. He is actively fighting his blood-thirsty urges magnified by the Berserker Armor, reminding himself how important Casca and his companions are to him. He is trying extremely hard to tell them apart, and making progress doing so – this is such a huge character development for him! This is something that so many thought to be completely impossible. He may be able to tell apart friend from foe already when the time has come the Berserker Armor attempts to take control over Guts and unleash hell in the process.
  • One unknown factor is Flora’s amulet. We have not seen the amulet shielding Guts anymore, except the first instance he has used the armor. Did its effects wear off?
  • We can observe that instances where Guts fully was possessed by the Beast of Darkness for a long time (= a couple of minutes) is limited to the Flora’s Tree Mansion and fighting Daiba at Vritannis. For all other instances he was only possessed for a couple of seconds. What does this mean for his degrading senses? Is this enough for him to continually lose his senses? Or are the loss of taste and sight he experiences just temporary, not permanent, BECAUSE he was only possessed for a very limited amount of time?
  • In the manga, Schierke states that the od of the armor is increasing. Looking at it closely, Guts’ resistance to the armor is visibly increasing as well (he goes from simply keeping his consciousness, to fight back the armor’s negative mantras and being able to snap back the helmet physically).
  • The way Miura shows how Berserker Armor works is eerily familiar how feelings can thwart our own visions of things or people. There is an underlying psychological concepts to this: e.g. when you’re lashing out on someone because you are persuaded people wish you harm, because you are scared of being vulnerable. The cure for an attitude like this is to understand that not everyone wishes harm intentionally and to gain acceptance for vulnerability and weakness; Basically to stop acting like a cornered animal constantly and allow others to get close to you, allowing for true intimacy and friendship. It is interesting to note that this is the exact process Guts (and possibly Miura in real life as well) is going through with the Berserker Armor.

Thank you and congratulations for staying with me this far! I hope you enjoyed this lentghy article. I’ve spent a lot of time compiling this information and hope it gave you a glance of Miura’s brilliant and deep story-telling. More people need to know just what a gem Berserk is.

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