Analysis of Episode 363 [Spoilers]


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Berserk 363 is out and Miura is back with another fairly interesting chapter!

It contained quite a long comedic relief stretch, which I hope will turn out to have a purpose in Isidro’s development as a character. However, it does have a few things to say about the inhabitants of Elfhelm β€” but we’ll get to that later!

The flow of location in this chapter appears to be fragmented. The switches in location seem abrupt and almost illogical, which is fairly unusual, and the pacing appears to be rather fast as well.

Walkthrough

The chapter starts with Guts reaffirming that what we have seen in Episode 362 is in fact another Eclipse. He wonders whether him and Skull Knight are the same.

The scene appears to make a complete skip to a cave below the cherry tree, in which a mausoleum is located. It is revealed as the resting place of Skull Knight’s lover, who is also identified as Priestess of the Cherry Blossoms. We see Skull Knight before a tombstone that is painted with spirals. Dannan shows up and Schierke notes how similar she and the woman in the flashback of Episode 362 look. She even says how the woman is the “spitting image of her”.

What is going on here? What’s up with Dannan and the Priestess…?

The way Dannan approaches him seems borderline romantic to me

The brief interaction Dannan and Skull Knight have seems very sentimental. The way Dannan is approaching Skull Knight seems like Dannan is fond of him (or his former human self), or perhaps that he meant something to her.

Skull Knight appears to turn her down, essentially stating that he is just a shadow of his former self, with only one goal in mind. Why is he showing her these boundaries right when they just met? Why did Skull Knight bother to tell Dannan this, making sure she knows he is not the same as he used to be anymore?

Later, Gedfring reveals to us that Flora was a student of the Priestess of the Cherry Blossoms, and that she was both fond of her Master and King Gaiseric. King Gaiseric/Priestess/Flora likely was a similar interpersonal constellation to Griffith/Guts/Casca during the Golden Age; it also parallels Guts/Casca/Farnese by extension. Flora losing two very important people to her must have driven her to illicit sorcery, leading to the revival of Gaiseric, now known as Skull Knight. Perhaps Flora even had Volvapa help her out, who specializes in the manipulation of departed souls. As consequence, Flora was exiled from Elfhelm, came to Enoch village and after that settled at the Spirit Tree Mansion. Her background also explains why she knew of the Godhand in the first place. But: Why did she only revive Skull Knight and not also the Priestess…?

Now Ivalera joins them, telling Schierke that Isidro is going to destroy the village if he is kept unchecked. A relatively large comedic relief section follows.

I think there is a purpose to it. If we look at some of Isidro’s moves and the chapter name itself, it appears to be a parody of Guts himself: the leaping monkey. The way Isidro jumps over the other mages reminisces of what Guts has been doing during the Eclipse. Some of Isidro’s poses remind me of some shots of Guts inside the Berserker Armor.

Puck’s siblings hopefully will have an actual plot-related purpose to them (I am hoping each member of Guts’ party will get a protective Puck, e.g. Farnese, Serpico and Casca). The villagers seem relatively helpless towards Isidro’s endeavors of complete panty domination. I think this is very telling of how defenseless the inhabitants of Elfhelm really are, even towards a single child like Isidro, and that is quite concerning. Consider Griffith knows the location of Elfhelm now. They have some growing to do and this seemingly needless comedic relief section shows this very well.

Isidro’s panty carnage was only stopped by a Kelpie Isma managed to befriend. Her Kelpie friend might help her survive in the future and it is also another powerful ally for Guts’ party.

I love how this Kelpie looks like a green frog, while the other Kelpie from Enoch village resembled a toad

What’s interesting with the exchange with the young mages that follows? They are upset that Isma appears nude in front of them, but Isma explains that she is naturally nude because she is a sprite and just returned from a swim (implying she shapeshifted doing so) β€” now, the Moonlight Boy is usually nude as well. What does that say about him and his nature…? Does that mean the Moonboy is also a type of sprite?

In the following it has turned night, and we see Guts pondering about the exchange with Gedfring he had earlier. Gedfring asks him about his relationship to Skull Knight. Then he states that Skull Knight does not have the heart of a human because he is not of our world. This seems to be particularly emphasized in this chapter. He shows him the two options Guts has, be consumed by hellfire from within or use it as his living breath. As the scene switches back to him below the moon light, he first takes a look at Farnese and Casca in the distance.

The fact this shows up in this particular context is is fascinating because it appears like Casca would have been his “third option”, that means, a feeble flame (of love?) he described in volume 17: “The campfire of those days still burns in my chest. That’s right. Wasn’t this last feeble flame left to me all that barely kept me from being consumed by the black flame..?!

Then, because he must have gotten frustrated just thinking about how he can’t reach Casca, he gets his sword, swings it once and sarcastically states that such a choice as described by Gedfring is far beyond him anyways since he is stuck on this lazy island. It seems like Guts is very frustrated and also bored. The fact his patience is being tested like this is also not a good sign.

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What’s next?

  • Many of us have been waiting for the Moonlight Boy to show up in Elfhelm and he finally came. How will Guts interact with his son this time? Will the first few steps of Guts warming up towards him be made?
  • Will we get to see more of Skull Knight and Dannan? What are they going to discuss at the grave?
  • How will Casca react seeing her son? There is a very high chance that Casca is going to get triggered again in the near future.

Consider for a moment that Casca as Elaine has always sensed her boy’s presence and always followed him around. That means she is very likely going to go after her boy the moment she senses him and risks getting close to Guts as well.

The reason for her to get triggered might be seeing Guts again or seeing and remembering her son. Her son may cause memories of his birth to surface, where Guts has attempted to kill him. Casca might be unable to see her son as well for this reason. In either case, she is on the way to remember what Femto did to her.

What is also particularly concerning is the fact we can find some visual and some loose contextual parallels to chapter 70, “Requiem of the Wind”, which is set directly before the Eclipse. Something bad is about to happen really soon.

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Schierke at least knows that she belongs to Guts’ group.
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Skull Knight’s Motivation

Skull Knight’s true motivations are to be questioned after what he said to Dannan and what Gedfring has said about him.

Why is he helping Guts? Is he just trying to pit him against the Godhand? If that is true, then why is he constantly reminding Guts to protect those he loves?

I don’t buy that he is solely driven by rage and a profound grudge as Gedfring says. I want to believe that because Skull Knight is empathetic, he is trying to hep Guts doing those things right he himself did wrong.

This, by the way, is coherent with Flora’s statements of Skull Knight at the Spirit Tree Mansion:

“Old friend, I want to believe the heart of a man still remains within you”

He also enabled Flora to pass at ease, instead of her being killed or devoured by Griffith’s horde of apostles.


At the same time…

  • Skull Knight might be saving people for the sole reason to obtain allies against the Godhand. He is like a fisherman trying get some fish jump out of the river of causality.
  • Flora’s judgement about our ominous skeleton might be off because of her feelings for him.
  • For this reason Skull Knight’s motivations should be still taken with a grain of salt: he might turn against Guts if he sees fit, as I have theorized in this post.

What’s also fascinating is the fact that Flora hoped that somewhere, the heart of man still resides inside of him in chapter 202. She is asking him whether she is just using Guts, helping out a fellow struggler (Gedfring notes the fascination Skully has with Guts!) or doing it for someone else’s sake.

“For someone else’s sake”, eh?

If it was the Priestesses’ will, what are her motivations? What’s her story?

By the way, this notion is something I actually caught back in February 2020 in a tumblr post of mine, implying he might have had a lover that he wished to protect, just like Guts has:

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The identity of the Priestess of the Cherry Blossoms

The fact the Priestess and Dannan look so alike really has me wondering. Even the Priestesses jewelry is just screaming cherry blossoms and elves. So let’s dig into this a bit more. Part of me believes her and Dannan must be the same person, so I’m a little biased!

If Dannan and the Priestess are not the same person, they must have been close, considering she was buried below the Cherry Blossom tree. It’s possible that Dannan decided to continue her legacy, or by being Elfhelm’s ruler to honor her legacy.

They must have been either twins or in some other way blood-related, e.g. sisters or mother and daughter. Essentially that makes the priestess an elf by extension. So how would that fit in the grander scheme of things? Love between human and sprites is not impossible in the Berserkverse: see Isma, whose father was human and mother a mermaid. Hybrid offspring are indeed possible. Both Isma and Dannan also have a human and an elf-form. Perhaps the Priestess is shown as human being in Episode 362 because she was in her human form. Therefore the Priestess being an elf just like Dannan therefore is not that unlikely.

But if that is not unlikely already… what if Dannan and the Priestess were the same person?

The Priestess being Dannan makes A LOT of sense if we consider the following:

  • it’d explain the extremely strong resemblance the Priestess and Dannan share
  • it’d explain why Dannan was approaching Skull Knight in a rather sentimental way, and why Skull Knight told her he is not the same as he used to be, as if turning her down
  • it’s a perfect motive for Dannan to help out Guts and Casca without reimbursement: Her connection with Gaiseric didn’t go as planned and he’s a walking skeleton now, so why not make the world better place by helping them out a little?
  • it would also explain why Skull Knight could recommend Dannan to Guts in the first place. Remember, Gasieric knew of The Flowerstorm King and her power to be able to heal someone’s mind. He forwarded this information to Guts during chapter 238. Skull Knight must have known that Dannan would help them out because of her power and also her background as Priestess of Cherry Blossom.
  • If the Princess of Cherry Blossom and Dannan are the same person and possess the same power (The Flowerstorm King is said to be extremely powerful) she might have avoided getting sucked into the vortex of souls because of her power, perhaps she was even able to lift the curse of the brand somehow.

Furthermore, why would Flora only revive Gaiseric, but not her other close friend, the Priestess? What if they were actually both revived by Flora somehow, and the Priestess is now known as Dannan…? What if Flora revived them both bearing a wish of theirs in mind, and Skull Knight was granted an armor so he could fight on his revival, while Dannan decided to settle down instead? Perhaps such a wish was even required for their revival ritual.

Perhaps only the Priestess’ former body is buried in the grave, but not her soul? But then, how did she obtain the body she has now? Maybe in a similar fashion as Griffith when he was reborn…?

Age Differences

We can deduct some more information if we take a look at the average age of some Elfhelm inhabitants.

Flora was around 1000 years old and recently died in Volume 24. The Spirit Tree Mansion was build close to a tree that is similar to the big cherry blossom tree in Elfhelm, where picked cherries would almost instantly regenerate, as mentioned in chapter 346. The biggest difference between Elfhelm and the Spirit Tree Mansion is that time does not flow differently in her mansion (remember, Guts and his party stayed for a single day in Volume 24). But despite of all, Flora lived for a very long time. This is likely mostly attributed to the fact the Spirit Trees have regenerative properties and likely slowed down the aging process β€” without the need of a different flow of time like in Elfhelm.

But what about Dannan? It seems like Dannan and Flora were both close acquaintances. If Dannan was also at least 1000 years old, why does she still look so young in comparison to Flora? Is it because time flows differently in Elfhelm? But even so, Gedfring was likely Void’s son and is depicted as an old man, and likely lived most of his life on Elfhelm.

So the reason why Dannan still looks so young being at least 1000 years old must lie in the fact that Dannan is an elf, or perhaps even some kind of lower deity.


Again, this chapter raises more questions than it actually answers. However, I can already tell the depth of the lore Miura is revealing to us in regards to Skull Knight, the Priestess and Flora. Cannot wait for the next chapter!

Thank you for reading. Let me know what you think about this topic in the comments section below!

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8 thoughts on “Analysis of Episode 363 [Spoilers]

  1. Hello, I also notice that SK doesn’t seem what someone may say a man engulf in rage, he instead seems a very reasonable man to me, someone with not a particular goal but just do the right things and help others, that revelation also shocked me.

    You didn’t notice or at least didn’t put in this post the similarity between the PoCB tomb and the tombs guarding the entrance of Elfheim appeared on 342, and it’s similarities with the hill of swords. Also worth to mention Puck also left the island before that tomb shield was made. In a funny/unexpected way, Puck may have a role in the Grand Scheme story.

    If the berserk Universe is an spiral, my most favored parallel is now Void, SK, PoCB / Griffith, Guts, Casca; being Flora most likely Schierke/Farnese. And my bet for Danann is that she is the son of SK/PoCB… and maybe also Void. And, formerly her body was also the recipient of the reincarnated Void but by settling on Elfheim and strengthen her powers she was able to control her body completely and remove all the influences of the God Hand member.

    PS: It’s Danann or Dannan? Have you notice she is the only one that called SK knight instead of majesty/king? That make me wonder if she is instead like Princess Charlotte was, the source of royalty that gives Griffith the tittle of King. If SK was just a knight and he becomes a king thanks to the matrimony with the princess, that princess would still have the right of referring him as a knight.

    Thanks for the post and may the wait for the 364 be short x)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. >Hello, I also notice that SK doesn’t seem what someone may say a man engulf in rage, he instead seems a very reasonable man to me, someone with not a particular goal but just do the right things and help others, that revelation also shocked me.

      Yeah, I was talking about this with some friends of mine too. As I mentioned to them, Skull Knight seems honorable and goes out of his way to help the weak, like Rickert during the Eclipse or Luca during the Conviction Arc. That’s a contrast to Black Swordsman Guts, who cared only about revenge and killing apostles even at the cost of innocent lives, but seems more similar to Guts post-Conviction, where he cares for Isidro, Schierke, and the rest of his party, as a result of caring for Casca.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for your comment!

      The fact SK insists of being driven by one goal only is what struck me as strange a well. What is his goal, then? According to Gedfring he is mostly incapable of feelings because his heart is not of this world, and his drive is a fury and a deep grudge, but is that really true?

      It could be a facade SK holds up to keep people away from him (to a degree, BS Guts also did the same to Puck). Us as readers do know that SK’s actions are ambiguous: he is definitely defying the God hand, but he does resorts to saving others if the chance arises, accumulating allies against the Godhand as a result. He is definitely playing a long game and his moves are very calculated. SK isn’t someone who is blindly succumbing to his rage and fury. To me it seems more like he uses them as tool.

      You are correct about that! Dannan refers to him as Knight rather than as Majesty, but the reason for this could also just lay in the fact that Dannan technically is the Flowerstorm Queen, so their ranks are basically the same.

      Like

  2. >So the reason why Dannan still looks so young being at least 1000 years old must lie in the fact that Dannan is an elf, or perhaps even some kind of lower deity.

    The interesting thing to consider is whether this applies to the Cherry Blossom Priestess, particularly in regards to her assumed death during the eclipse and the possibility of her being Danann herself. The Cherry Blossom Priestess was apparently a human girl, or at least looked like it–she didn’t have any antenna like Danann did, and her ears seemed to be human rather than pointed. But Danann took human form too, so maybe she could transform like that and died as she was transformed? But died is another key word–aside from apparently coming back to life, if Danann was the Cherry Blossom Priestess, what of the brand, which was on the girl’s shoulder? Doesn’t that mean one’s soul was given up to the Abyss? If so, how could she have been brought back the way Skully was? Perhaps there’s some way of undoing the Brand…or perhaps Skull Knight himself wasn’t branded but arrived at the Eclipse anyways, which might be how Flora managed to bring him back but not the Cherry Blossom Priestess.

    Like

    1. Thank you for the comment!

      Remember how Flora died? Her astral shape changed and she appeared young. She enabled Guts and the others to escape, even surpassing Grunbeld’s strength controlling the flames burning up the mansion. Supposedly, her spiritual strength was weakened when this happened (she mentions this as the apostles breach the seal). If Flora was this strong, how strong must the Priestess have been, assuming she was at least as powerful as Dannan (and stronger than Flora, who was weakened)? I think there is potential to undo a potential banishment to the Abyss if the ethereal body is strong enough. Perhaps the Priestess was also somehow re-incarnated as a different being (Dannan) as she died, clearing herself of the brand as well? (that begs the question whether the brand is a mark on your ethereal body).
      Instead of actually being buried, her gravestone could have been a symbolical burial. Perhaps her soul is bound to her burial stone or even to the big cherry tree itself, just like Chitch also was a spirit tied to her flower. This could have been done by Flora as well.

      At the same time, the fact that the Priestess was branded and sent to the Abyss, could also be a reason why she could not be revived by Flora.

      It’s really hard to tell the details at this point, but Miura is definitely cooking up something rather interesting.

      Like

      1. Hey, I also come across to remember how Flora’s die. Who lit fire to her Mansion? This may be a silly question and I don’t remember well but could has been she? I mean, when the Apostles were searching her the Mansion was already in flames and when Zodd encountered SK and tells his apostles to go ahead for Flora, SK didn’t seemed worried, like he already knew Flora just needed a bit of time to lit herself in flames and give Schierke the proper instructions to help Guts. I mean, the best way Flora could make Schierke to join Guts is cleaning herself and leaving to Schierke that only option, join Guts.

        Flora, seems to already know about Guts maybe through Puck (?) I have stuck in mind that Flora and Puck may have leave the Elf island at the same time.

        Another remarkable thing of the death of Flora is what she says to Schierke: “you, as a sorceress, should know how SINFUL it is to live beyond the extent of your allowed time.” a hint to what was her Tabu violated? And please, view this video about Flora and the Skull Knight, it has really interesting points: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMZ6hui9HSc&

        Like

  3. Regarding the Kelpies… The first looked like as a toad and toads are usually linked to witchcraft and frogs made me remember the egyptian god Kek. Both creatures are messengers from the underworld, the aquatic abyss.

    BTW, it was the only way to stop a human boy of humilliating the mages. The symbolism is there.

    Like

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