This perhaps seems like a stretch at first. BUT! There is a solid basis for this. You will see it once you carefully look at what is being depicted and in what order the events unfold.
This post complements another article I’ve written here: Demon Infant, Moonlight Boy and Griffith – how do they relate?
But here, I will go into more detail with the relevant chapters, ranging from chapter 165 to 167 and 170 to 174 found in volume 20 and 21. I will also summarize the context and order of events we see unfold. You’re more than welcome to pick up those chapters and read along.
Going Right in
- The Egg Apostle picks up the Demon Infant who was laying dying in the rubble of the semi-collapsed tower. This happens in almost parallel when Guts is getting sidetracked by the fake Godhand members that formed during the festival. He realizes they are not real, refocuses on saving Casca, and cuts through the blobs of evil spirits. Then he surprise-attacks Mozgus from above, thus landing on the walls of Albion where their final fight takes place.
Chapter 166 & 167
- As Guts towers above a defeated angel Mozgus (before he transforms into a feathered stone golem), he turns around, looks above and recalls seeing the Demon Infant resting inside the Egg Apostle, who was climbing up the tower to reach the top. Note how the inside is glowing for some reason.
- As Mozgus was defeated (the fight happens in chapters 168 and 169), the blob of evil spirits started devouring people at the foot of the walls. Soon Guts and his soon to be companions fight off the blob of evil spirits on the walls as well.
- When the Egg Apostle arrives at the top, we see him stand before an “altar” with the five fingers, that resembles the one during the Eclipse. Something inside the Egg Apostle is also still glowing. The glow indicates something is happening to the baby inside. The Egg Apostle actually resembles a womb — eggs are technically exterior wombs as well — and he got a baby inside now, too.
- Then, the Egg Apostle contemplates about how the old world is about the end, and is calling the normal-looking baby here a “misshapen child” and asks him whether he can hear the lullaby of death.
Now why would he call him that? Well, the Egg Apostle calls him that because he swallowed the Demon Infant: he didn’t suddenly disappear, his body wasn’t “teleported” or replaced with something else. The human baby we see there also CANNOT be Griffith’s body because the real body of Griffith was dissolved to become Femto during the Eclipse. Femto as Godhand member also cannot exist in the physical world for long, either. So the baby — that is paradoxically being called “misshapen babe” in this particular page — is the Demon Infant transformed into a human, normal-looking child. This is also exactly why we see this exact child, the Moonlight Boy, appearing during full moon to help Guts and Casca later.
What happened to the Demon Infant’s body likely has resemblance to what happened to the kids inside the cocoons during Lost Children: resting inside the Egg Apostle transformed him, the body remains the same, but was renewed and altered — this is very likely what is indicated by the glow, too. It’s called REBIRTH SCENE for a reason. All the imagery shown here makes me suspect that Femto is merely possessing the human child (aka the Moonlight Boy aka reborn Demon Infant). Thus, Guts and Casca’s child was reborn on physical level. Like last time during the Eclipse, he was altered physically not by his free will.
- As Guts and company continue to fight on the walls, dawn and the end of the festival draws closer. First, people on ground attempt to flee to the tower, but instead get trapped and are eaten alive. At some point the tormented souls are all overflowing and moving towards the top of the tower, demanding for a single savior. This plays into the self-made God aspect that was revealed to us during the Lost Chapter. We also get to see Guts and Casca’s reaction to this (which is important given they are both branded): Casca doesn’t seem to be able to cope and holds her head in terror, while Guts is trying to give her some reassurance by holding her close to him.
- A powerful presence is about to arrive. This arrival was indicated by Guts noticing an extreme sharp pain caused by his brand (the visuals shown are reused when Gut encounters Slan later) and Casca’s brand is also going crazy the same way, incapacitating them both by making them go down on their knees.
Be aware this is something a brand does when a Godhand member is close (see Black Swordsman Arc). Guts even notes this in dialogue: “this intense pain is… God”. Everything points to a Godhand about to arrive. As logical consequence, the human baby that is shown inside the Egg Apostle in chapter 171 CANNOT be Griffith nor Femto, as he hasn’t even arrived at this point in time yet.
- After this we see how a bright sphere approaches the hand-shapen altar where the Demon Infant lays inside the Egg Apostle. Is this the spirit of Femto descending from the “heavens”?
- After this, we see how the human baby inside the Egg Apostle assumes the appearance of Griffith. In conclusion something powerful has possessed the baby’s body after it transformed into human shape — and that powerful something is with almost absolute certainty Femto (which means, his ethereal body or “spirit”). Before the arrival of Femto, whatever was still inside the Egg Apostle was the Demon Infant/Moonlight Boy.
Chapter 174 and onward
- This is when the Egg Apostle finally cracks, Guts is calling out Griffith’s name as the tower collapses completely. Dawn has set in and we get to see the aftermath of the Rebirth Ceremony.
In the next few chapters, we see how Guts and company gets surrounded by Kushan scouts. Then Zodd enters the scene, who walks towards to someone who appears to be Griffith from the outside.
Right After the Ceremony
Note Casca’s reaction on seeing the reborn body. She is reaching out to (what looks like) Griffith. Her calls make Guts stop in his fit of rage. Perhaps it also does because who he is seeing here is not Griffith — but his son.
Casca would continue to reach out to Griffith (= the body of her son) during the Hill Of Swords, too, (chapter 180, volume 22). Later, we will find out that Casca is also drawn to the Moonlight Boy in the same fashion.
Even Potato Casca appears to know Griffith isn’t actually “Griffith”. In fact, she seems to sense Femto’s presence: the “badump” sound effect in this page indicates she is being scared or deeply affected seeing Griffith, presumably because she was raped. After that she reverts back to going after him, very likely because she also senses her son’s presence.
In chapter 178, Guts does state to Rickert that Griffith isn’t the same anymore; so he seems to be aware that he has changed, too, but is still oblivious to the fact that Femto is possessing his son’s body. While Guts tells Rickert that he’s changed, during this sequence it is also established that somehow, Griffith’s (or better: Femto’s) goal for that castle in the sky stayed the same.
So in other words, given the visuals in the Rebirth Ceremony, volumes 21 and 22 ALONE already provide evidence that…
- the Demon Infant was transformed into a human-like baby because he was resting inside the Egg Apostle; that means, his body appears to have renewed itself on physical level.
- the human-like baby we have seen inside of the Egg Apostle’s womb is also the Moonlight Boy.
- Femto’s “spirit” or soul arrives and possesses the human-like baby as the tower of conviction collapsed.
- on the outside, it appears like Casca is running after Griffith, but given the aspects listed above, she appears more to respond to the presence of her son (This still makes sense if you examine what happens beyond volume 22, which leads to my next point…)
Note that I’m completely disregarding…
- Skull Knight’s comments directly after the Eclipse, where he states that even a cursed child yearns for its parents
- the fact the Moonlight Boy has saved Guts from the Berserker Armor in the same fashion as he saved Casca when she went missing to travel to Albion
- the Moonlight Boy has a strong resemblance in appearance to Casca and Guts, which is a strong indicator that he is their son
- what is happening during episode 358
- …and many more smaller clues we can find in support of the Moonlight Boy being Guts and Casca’s son, e.g. Isidro stating Guts, Casca and the Moonlight Boy look like a family after they found him on the beach during volume 28.
Miura already picked up some of the events of the Rebirth Ceremony in Episode 359 and I believe that Guts and Casca figuring out what happened to their son during the Rebirth Ceremony (as explained in this article) is going to be vital, and perhaps even next on the menu.
Some Concluding Thoughts
More useful things can be found out in this regard if we take a closer look how Miura views the subject of reincarnation and concepts of the mind and soul. I have my suspicions, but to explains this sufficiently requires another post.
Either way, given my suspicions, what I think happens during the Rebirth Scene appears like Femto’s rebirth itself (minus the body he possesses, which is originally that of the Demon Infant’s) only happens on astral/ethereal level, rather than Femto being reborn on both physical and ethereal level. At the same time, before Femto descended from the astral plane, the Demon Infant was reborn on a physical level.
There is another aspect that I want to bring up. If Femto is the spirit and the Moonlight Boy the body, and if the Demon Infant was the only one physically reborn during the Rebirth Ceremony — who or what the hell is “Griffith”?
Does Griffith still even exist? I mean obviously, Femto assumed his appearance — but even Guts understood the Griffith they are seeing isn’t the same anymore during the Hill of Swords scene (and Guts is actually very dense with those things).
Which begs multiple questions:
Is Femto trying to establish a facade to fool the people around him by changing the appearance of his body, the Moonlight Boy, to what people know to be Griffith?
What happens if Femto is being killed? What happens if “Griffith” (= the Moonlight Boy’s body) is being killed? We know that Apostles usually revert back to their original bodies when they decease. Will Femto revert to the body of tortured Griffith…?
I hope as the finale draws closer, Miura will give us appropriate answers to these questions.