🍀🍀 I have recently opened an Etsy shop where you can purchase prints of art I painted! Take a look! 🍀🍀
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 — 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.
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 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.
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) — 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.
📓📓📓 Like this article so far? Get the Book! 📓📓📓
- 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.
📝 Support me & my work 📝
📝 High quality shirts & more 📝
📝 Designs are made by me 📝
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:
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…?
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 — 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!
If you enjoyed this article, consider getting the book for more!