Header image courtesy of myself. Link to full image
There are some interesting observations we can make this episode. First, I want to walk through it page by page and then add my own observations and connections!
The episode starts with Casca laying in bed, enjoying a cup of tea. She brings up the fact she caused another scene, referring to the last time she has screamed on seeing Guts. It seems like she feels guilty for doing it, to which Dannan replies that it’s alright because she just woke up from a very long nightmare. This scene shows that Casca is still the same sweet and humble person we knew from the Golden Age (at least, post-waterfall scene).
But then Casca continues: she mentions a shadow that comes over her when she is being brought to “that place” from “that time”. What place and what time exactly does she mean by that?
“When something reminds me of the old days… it’s like I’m suddenly dragged back to that place… to that time… It’s right in front of my eyes!
His… His face… his voice… I can’t… a dread shadow covers me…”
Does she mean this, perhaps?
We cannot say for sure because we are not being shown what exactly she is referring to. But what we can say for sure that Casca indeed is triggered by Guts’ voice, because Casca does enter a full seizure the moment he opened his mouth in chapter 359.
Another fanslation suggests she is sensing that Guts’ voice and face has become covered up by darkness. It’s that shadow that terrifies her.
“Both his face… and his voice… it’s hopeless… they are obscured by a terrifying shadow…”
This translation indicates that Casca may sense the Beast of Darkness’ or Berserker Armor’s Od that she perceives as shadow instead.
Dannan then sends her back to sleep with a spell, as if one break-down is enough for the time being. The Queen of Elves is persuading Farnese that she has a duty to fulfill and that it would be the best to just let Casca rest in bed, while soothing incense sticks are burning to calm her down. Farnese seems conflicted, only agreeing reluctantly and turns away.
Then we see how Casca is tugging on Farnese’s cloak. This is something Casca has done to Guts back in the Golden Age as a way of showing that she needs him for emotional support. To highlight the importance the gesture, we have Dannan state how much Casca must trust her.
Farnese is still in disbelief: why would anyone even trust her? Her, who is so unimportant and small? She is still struggling with feelings of inferiority — just like Guts once was before leaving the Hawks.
After that, Dannan gives Farnese her old witch attire to attend the gathering with the other mages of the island.
Just like Casca back during the Ball Scene, Farnese is not used to her new attire.
We get to see a display of Farnese’s and Schierke’s current skills. Gedfring urges Farnese to perform the protection spell of the Four Lords.
The other mages are gossiping in the background, mocking Farnese for being an adult, thinking she would cast a small ray of light at most. Remember, only children can learn the ways of magic — supposedly. To their surprise, she actually performed it with ease (and without Schierke standing right next to her like last time on the ship during the Sea God fight).
Farnese learned to cast this protection spell within the 3 months she has been training as a witch, when it was supposed to take her about 1 to 3 years. Farnese’s harsh circumstances shaped her and forced her to learn quickly. She has also proven that it is possible for an adult to become a mage.
Will Casca become a witch…?!
Most intriguing: Serpico is hiding behind a tree watching them and does not like it at all. Is he going to report to his father, like he did during the Conviction Arc (chapter 152)…?
“Lady Farnese… I’m conflicted”
Morda is also watching them from the branches of a tree. I think she looks a little bit envious of what Schierke and Farnese have learned on their journey. They went outside, dove into the big unforgiving world, far away from their familiar home and grew a lot doing so. It really does look like Morda will join them later.
Schierke has become good at detecting spirit forms in her proximity: to show off her abilities, she senses a spirit of darkness in the shade of a tree trunk, one the other mages around her could not perceive. She is luring it out, then it possesses the chubby wizard briefly and eats his apple. She says the spirit is harmless. With envy it has been watching the mages practice and enjoys a game of tag and an apple as offering from time to time. At this point she sounds like a “spirit doctor”, recommending rituals as remedies, like Ginko from Mushishi.
Gedfring is pleased with their performance and offers them to help them out as thanks for the entertainment, but does not know how. Farnese then mentions how she wishes to learn to heal the heart and soul. Dannan promptly appears because it seems to be her expertise, providing her assistance to heal Casca. As for Schierke, Gedfring is offering her to teach her how to contact the daemons — mages and heroes of the afterlife. Probably.
As I have pointed out on social media after episode 359 came out Guts is not leaving — yet. We see him swinging his sword at the edge of a cliff as a way to channel his frustration. He is covered in quite the sweat, so it appears like he has been training for quite some time.
In chapter 006 (Golden Age), he also swings his sword in frustration because of Casca’s harsh criticism after encountering Zodd.
But, while the reason for his frustration is Casca for both then and now, the context here is entirely different. He probably knows she can’t help it, considering how fondly she spoke to him while he was hiding behind the tree in episode 359.
What is he supposed to do now? He cannot see nor talk to her at all. It seems like a mess without a reasonable resolve. Then, Skull Knight appears and will probably offer a solution or two. How very convenient.
What is also noteworthy is the fact that for one, Skull Knight is missing a spike on his armor, which could be an indicator that he has been fighting (that is, if it’s not an editor error: Skull Knight broke his spike off to interrupt Slan from torturing Guts even more in chapter 219, and “regenerated” it in chapter 237).
For once, he is showing himself in bright daylight. I wonder what that means? Perhaps, it is already full moon at the other side of the real world, considering time runs differently in Elfhelm and the Knight usually only appears at in the dark (and possibly during full moon only, too, but I have not analyzed that in detail to say for sure).
This episode cements further that the one Casca wanted to see during the Corridor of Dreams is indeed Guts.
Casca senses a shadow around Guts that makes her terrified of him.
- If we go by the first fanslation, she may be brought back to the Eclipse itself, seeing how Guts mutilates his own arm and eye trying to save her.
- If we go by the second fan translation, she could be sensing the following and interpret is as “shadow” as a result:
- the presence of the Berserker Armor’s Od
- the presence of the Beast of Darkness inside of Guts’ mind
- the fact Guts has gradually started to lose his humanity (deep sea/water creatures symbolism; see below!)
- supressed feelings she has towards him, especially if we consider that Guts has sexually assaulted her during their journey
- Casca is a branded person, so she might be more sensitive to Od than the others, to similar degree like Guts and Schierke
- Casca perhaps will desire to find out why Guts is covered in a shadow and why she is so terrified of him. She will perhaps find out about the existence of the Beast of Darkness and how it has affected him so far, Berserker Armor included. This will eventually will lead back to Guts’ sexual assault of Casca in Volume 23. On Casca’s adventure figuring this out, we as readers will also get to know more about the nature of the Beast and perhaps even the nature of the God Hand and Apostles.
Casca: sensing the Beast
Why Casca can’t see Guts remotely has to do with the fact that Guts has changed and has become a monster, as described in this article: Why did Casca scream at the end of Chapter 355?
The “Wall” (chapter name of episode 359) that currently separates Guts and Casca appears to be the darkness itself. That means: Berserker Armor and/or Beast of Darkness, or perhaps even Casca’s own darkness and pain.
As long as this shadow exists, they won’t be able to interact.
This is something I and a fellow Berserk analyst midnight-in-town have theorized ever since Episode 359 came out, but I have not written about it on this website.
- Casca may notice that Guts has started to lose his humanity (Tumblr post from 26th August 2019)
- Casca may sense the Berserker Armor’s or Beast of Darkness’ Od (Tumblr post from 23th August 2019)
If we look at this page from episode 359, Casca has not actually seen any of the following creatures during the Eclipse.
For comparison, an example of apostles she has seen during the Eclipse:
If we take look at what she is seeing as she is laying in the grass in episode 359, we do not see Eclipse apostles at all. What we instead see are apostles that look like water or deep sea creatures: We see a crab, a lamprey and a hippo for example. I find this kind of depiction very strange but also fascinating, because losing one’s humanity is visually depicted and described by Miura as sinking deeper into water or being below the surface of water.
“Farther from the light. Where…? Where is this? Where’s my body? … I’m sinking… deep”
“It draws me down to the deep sea bed. A booming like a roar.”
Looking at this type of symbolism and just going by episode 359 we have to wonder: Does Casca sense that Guts has become a monster? Probably. At least, episode 360 does not object to this assertion.
If true, it also still makes sense if we take a look at what has Guts done to Casca under the influence of the Beast of Darkness or Berserker Armor:
- He has choked her under influence of evil spirits (chapter 190, Fangs of Ego)
- Because the distance between them was unbearable for him after that, he gave in to his darkness and sexually assaulted her (after she assaults him, I have to point out) without the presence of evil spirits (chapter 191, Wilderness Reunion)
- Even as Berserker he has hurt her and Schierke prevented the worst by snapping him out of it (chapter 272, The Coiler)
So Casca still knowing how all of the above instances felt like, but perhaps not yet remembering any of them clearly makes perfect sense to me.
The similarities between the occasion where Casca screamed at Guts during Volume 23 versus Episode 359 are fascinating given all these observations above. So that shadow she senses could indeed be connected Guts’ assault of her.
Farnese: healing herself and others
Farnese is still in the middle of the process of healing and self-exploration. Being the child of busy and wealthy parents, she has experienced child negligence first hand and was left without guidance for her emotional development for a very long time. I think Farnese is slowly starting to realize that she is indeed of importance to others, that she is needed and appreciated. She is still somewhat in disbelief about this, but I can see her forming acceptance for her meaning and contribution to the group.
By her own will to heal Casca, she will find healing from her own wounds as well. There is something very, very beautiful in that.
She may even find a way to heal Gut’s wounds.  She has already started doing that after the Sea God fight, where she aligned her own Od with Guts’ Od to promote healing, to which Guts reacted with praise. The fact she wants to heal others also makes perfect sense in her development as character, too: back in volume 29, her mother said this of Farnese:
It appears to come true 11 volumes and 14 years later.
Schierke: Contacting Heroes of Legend
 When Guts’ party arrived at Elfhelm, Gedfring knew they would come. An old friend of his (Flora) told him in a dream to take care of Schierke when she visits. We can assume that Gedfring so far contacted daemons before. Now, Schierke is granted the same power. She might be able to establish contact with other powerful astral entities, e.g. the Four Lords themselves or other deceased mages and heroes from the past. This could prove to be a valuable power-up for Guts’ party as a whole. Since mages can perform this task, perhaps other characters like Femto or Skull Knight are also able to do that.
But not only that: Remember back in volume 26 chapter 222, after Guts encountered Slan, Schierke mentioned that he has suffered a severe astral wound that leaves him in unbearable pain. She also said that a powerful mage like Flora would be able to heal such a wound. Now, with chapter 360, we learned that…
- Schierke will be able to contact Flora, who still should be able to heal astral wounds, or at least, be able to assist
- Dannan appears to be a mage specializing in healing wounds to the heart and soul
It surely seems like Farnese is taking care of Casca’s healing, while Schierke now has the possibility to heal Guts’ astral wounds.
Apparently this final arc, or at the very least what will follow right after Elfhelm, seems to be focused on healing both Casca and Guts.
That being said, I am still positive that our Guts and Casca will someday get back together romantically. But it looks like it will take them the entire story until the finale. It’s gonna be a bumpy road for the both of them.
Morda: the Attack Witch
While Farnese is busy becoming the shield and healer of the group, Morda will likely join Guts’ party to become the attack witch, the sword to the shield they already have (= Farnese). I can honestly see her and Farnese or Schierke forming a power tag of mages together, like Guts and Pippin did back in the Golden Age.
So what about Guts?
There is one thing that bothers me a little: Schierke, Farnese and the others are so busy with their own affairs that they are forgetting how Guts feels in this entire mess. Especially in regards to Farnese, whose background has many parallels to Guts’ own story, it’s like she is being so focused on one thing (restoring Casca) that she is forgetting the other (Guts).
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
“This might be our final parting. But you haven’t even got time to stop and acknowledge it. Well, it’s a lot better than gettin’ all gloomy. He turns and starts running towards something one way, without noticing some other thing, and nicks himself. It really is beyond our control… Beyound our control. Living and dying.”
Despite of the few green flags in this chapter, we might still be in for another disaster, ladies and gentlemen.