Campfire of Dreams
Guts contemplates the purpose of his life by comparing the dreams of people to a campfire. He tells pieces of his own story like Casca did tell hers when they fell off the cliff. However, unlike Casca and Griffith, he does have no ultimate goal to be with the Hawks. In a melancholic state of mind, he vocalizes towards Casca that unlike many others in the Hawks, he did not bring his own dream or fire to the inferno that is Griffith. The fact he lost hope to gain a spot in Casca’s life, too, plays a role in him leaving the Hawks.
After slaying 100 men, Guts was rushed to the Hawk’s doctor. Guts is making quite a big deal out of it, because just like Casca, he doesn’t like to have people things done for him. He also doesn’t doesn’t want to admit how hurt he is and says they are exaggerating.
In the following panels, it appears like Casca’s holding down onto his wounds so he won’t end up losing more blood:
Guts is getting some stitches from the Doc, who proceeds saying how Guts cannot do any more battles in his condition. Look at Casca’s reaction as he says this. She appears to be shocked…?
Guts of course insists on going, as stubborn as he is.
Again, note Casca’s reaction. She first appeared to be in shock and now she is looking down. Does she feel guilty that Guts would not be able to fight any more battles because of her…?
Judeau notices her looking down and possibly tries to sheer the conversation to Griffith (which would have cheered her up). Sadly, it did not have the desired effect because Griffith was at a meeting with the war council. I like that you see Guts looking at Casca, before the page focus goes back to her – he notices how she is suffering because of her distance to Griffith. And it’s him who knows this feeling very well, if we consider what happened during the Fountain Speech.
So now Guts is incapacitated because of her and Griffith isn’t there either? Aw man.
Judeau asks Casca if she doesn’t need treatment, but because Guts stayed to fight, Casca was completely unharmed.
In the panel above, it appears like schemeing edgelord Judeau finds that interesting and plots something to make her feel better later.
Later on that night, we see Casca at the campfire with the Hawks. Here we see how thoughtful Casca becomes. How can she be with the master of his sword when he’s not even there? It’s pretty cold, as one of the Hawks’ members rightfully points out.
Then our schemeing Judeau comes into play and tells her that Griffith stood up for them when the nobles around him insisted to not look after them:
Not only Judeau got rid of her insecurity regarding Griffith (at least… for the time being), he also made sure Guts would be able to partake in the next battle by giving her the elf dust medicine. This is possibly something Casca would have wanted as well, given her reaction earlier.
So Casca goes looking for Guts, who has excluded himself from any celebration as usual.
He’s resting ontop of the hill, watching the campfires from above.
Casca starts getting out the elf medicine and applies it onto his wounds. Guts, being the observant dummy he is, realizes she is trying to make up for what he has done for her and says she shouldn’t worry.
Guts insists he was not doing it for her. Casca reiterates that, asking whether he really fought 100 men not for her sake.
He first looks at her and agrees.
Just… Why? Why is making that pause by looking at her?
Let’s just say I had people do something like this to me IRL and it always seemed weird to me. If that was really the TRUTH the answer to this would shoot right out of him with confidence. It appears there is some insecurity involved with his answer, which only makes sense, given that 1) he knows how much Casca is devoted to Griffith now and 2) he just now realized he fights for no purpose other than just to survive.
Also what the hell? This dude could have went for Adon right away if he really had to settle a score with him. At this point it seems like Guts is trying to find a lame excuse so as to not make Casca more attached to him.
Here is Guts reiterating what we’ve already established during the cliff incident: Guts doesn’t have a noble goal as Casca and Griffith have. To him, it wouldn’t have mattered if he fought and died when he slayed those men. They would have died because they are weaker than him, nothing more, nothing less.
Casca appears like she notices the sadness and melancholy behind his words:
What he is then doing is to contemplate about the dream and goal Gaston has:
He admires Gaston for having a life outside of the Hawks, with a clothing shop he planned to establish. He also mentions Nichole, who proposed to a woman who rejected him and aims to become a leader to prove a point. Casca first doesn’t know where he’s going with that. At the same time Guts calls it a “lost cause” and notes how each one of these dreams and hopes seem like a fire in the distance.
Casca then proceeds spinning this train of thought further by stating that everyone is bringing in their own little flame to make a bigger one. Then we have Guts stating that it is Griffith who brings them together in a blazing inferno.
And then he says this:
Wait a minute… that almost seems like… What could he – a man who doesn’t have a noble goal like Griffith does – offer to Casca? What campfire, what warmth or hope is he going to give her if he doesn’t even have all of that?
This is utterly saddening. I always had a feeling Casca played some role into Guts leaving the Hawks, but if you try to reconstruct how he thinks and feels here based on what he says and does, I never thought it would go to this extent.
He notes how he only stopped by the Hawks to warm himself up. Then he brings up how he can survive as long as he can hold his sword.
What is most interesting is that he states that he leaves the most essential reason for fighting up to other people.
The fact that Guts helped Schierke defeating the trolls in exchange for an amulett that repels evil spirits during their journey comes to mind.
After Casca has shared her story with Griffith, it’s Guts who has shared pieces of his.
Now that they have shared a piece of themselves with each other, their relationship changes once again and becomes more relaxed.
However, given the thoughts (and feelings) he shared of himself, Casca starts to suspect he plans on leaving the hawks. At this point, he most likely has already decided to leave.
He could not answer Casca’s question about whether he wants to leave the Hawks, because that is when Rickert and Pippin join them to tell tell them Griffith has returned early to see them. Notice how Guts is smiling at her because of the good news, that empathetic little goof: “Hey, isn’t this what you wanted?”
To reinforce the idea Casca felt shame and blame for falling off the cliff, and getting Guts hurt in the process, too, she is actually really submissive towards Griffith.
She is admitting to making a mistake and shoulders all the blame.
Then Guts is slapping her butt here because she is losing focus and losing herself in feelings of self-depreciation, instead of trying to get close to Griffith. He’s making an appropriate face as he does so!
But Griffith just welcomes her and appears happy that she is back unharmed.
Note how as Casca is this close to Griffith (and eventually steps away because she is embarrassed), Guts turns around and continues to have fun with his Raiders.
Is it just me or does he feel like he cannot stand seeing this…? This is actually a lot like a subconscious reaction, when you’re actually struggling with a situation and just look or turn away to distract you with something else.
Now that Guts has finally decided to leave, he suddenly feels like partying, enjoying the few moments he has left with his Raiders. What he is also doing is to give Casca and Griffith time by stepping aside. He has accepted that her heart and conviction belongs to Griffith.
How did Guts and Casca continue from this point on, with all the tension gone? You’ll find out in the second part of this article!