A few days just after Kentaro Miura’s passing was announced, I’ve also lost Ricky, my beloved hamster, to old age. Emotionally, it hasn’t been an easy month for me for this reason, but I am managing. I hope you people out there are doing alright, too.
Life is a fragile thing that we often take for granted. The only thing we can do about is to enjoy and appreciate the time we have for as long as precious people, pets or things are in our lives.
I do believe that is what I did, mostly. Before Miura’s death, I’ve send him a fanletter, tell him a few things that I wanted him to know, and he even reacted to it by sending me a thank you card back, just around two months before his passing. For that I am more than happy and grateful.
For some reason, I had a hunch I wouldn’t have much time left to do this. Perhaps, many fans seemed to have “known” on a subconscious level that time was running out slowly for Master Miura, since some fans were actually joking about him never finishing his own series. Isn’t it funny and also tragic how so many didn’t seem to take this intuitive hunch they had seriously? Was it enough of a hunch to make people act and send their own fanletters? It does make you wonder. I’m under the impression many fans have regrets.
In retrospect, it feels like it was important that I listened to and acted on my intuition. I feel like I contributed to someone’s “soul purpose”. It feels like there is a bigger meaning in this simple action of sharing my thoughts with my favorite author, that I am not able to comprehend yet, and might never be able to fully comprehend. It’s hard to explain and perhaps even harder to relate to for you as a reader because of how subjective, exclusively intuitive this feeling is. Or perhaps it’s just as Skull Knight or Void would say: it all lies within the currents of causality.
For my beloved hamster, it was mostly the same: I had fun together with her as long as I could. Many photos and videos were taken, so that her memory could live on vividly once she would leave the face of this earth. I have lots of funny hamster tales to tell, of her getting into the funniest places or falling down on soft litter with big pouches and a boing. To me, she was more like an actual friend than a pet.
Funnily enough, Master Miura was also more than a “distant mangaka” to many of us, since he spoke to us on emotional level through his work. It also seemed like losing a friend and father-figure.
I knew hamster don’t have a very long life from the start (1-2 years). Eventually, human life is also fragile and finite. Perhaps, this increased awareness of death also motivated me to write my fanletter to Miura.
Happy birthday, Senpai
Anyways, I am rambling a bit. The reason I write this post is Kentaro Miura’s birthday, which was yesterday, on the 11th July. He would have turned 55 years old.
Of those who passed away from us, I want to to celebrate their lives, achievements, stories they had to tell. I also believe that death is not the end, but a new beginning that appears like an end from a human, an earthly perspective.
Thank you, Kentaro Miura. I am grateful that I could experience such a superb fictional work that you’ve delivered to us all with your hard work and passion for drawing. The amazing character development, the themes of fate, causality and the unconscious mind, the breathtaking visuals are still there, immortalized into paper. All of this did not suddenly go away. Berserk is still a masterpiece despite of its unfinished state. I aslo want to thank Master Miura’s assistants for helping him create this manga, and will be supportive of them whatever they choose to do with the series.
Carry on the Torch
The older you get, the more people die. That also applies to your idols that you knew from your childhood. Singers, actors, writers, illustrators, comic artists, mangakas… Who fills their place once they are gone?
Realize this person could be you.
Even if Berserk ends now, there is plenty of other series or mediums in our culture you can use to fill these holes; and if you’re daring, you could even take the place of a (potentially legendary) creator for the future generation instead. One must carry on the torch given to us by the previous generations; and ideally, make everything better doing so as well.
At least, this is the solace I take from this entire situation.
The Memory lives on
Both Kentaro Miura through his work, Berserk, and my lovely hamster taught me different things; but they are the same in that both gave me solace. Through Master Miura’s writing, I experienced nurturing relationships, something that I really needed when I first read it. Guts’ journey, endurance and preservation reminded me that I have those traits too, as evident of my past. Because I experienced this inspirational piece of fiction during a difficult time, it gave me strength to get me back on my feet. Berserk, despite of being as dark as it is, is a story about self-empowerment and also happens to empower and inspire its readers.
And Ricky? Taking care of Ricky taught me various things, e.g. how to be very gentle and patient, earn the trust of an animal (and also human because I believe it works similarly). She was also a great source of serotonin and entertainment for me and for many others who follow me on social media. It wasn’t one-sided though, because I spoiled her plenty, too.
Eventually, Miura contributed greatly to my personal healing story. The experiences I could make with Ricky were great additions to this and proved to be a valuable complement. Sometimes, I am indeed sad their eras came to an end, but eventually, their lives and the memories we could make with them should be celebrated, as with the life of anyone that matters to us.
I want to take this inspirational power and create something on my own.
What will happen to this blog?
The future of Berserk is uncertain with its author now residing inside the astral realm. This website will stay in this particular domain, but it might change its appearance.
As of now, I have distanced myself a bit from Berserk and started to work on my own fantasy comic, Risen From Darkness, and also launched a hamster site, Hamsterology, to document all these sweet little rodents I’m going to keep. I think this is a healthy and also necessary distance.
I still have a berserk book to finish off; I might actually do it to honor Kentaro Miura’s legacy. I believe I am still processing his passing: but I also know that once I’ve processed this, I will be able to find strength to pursue this goal, and also start blogging about Berserk more regularly. There are a few Berserk-related topics that have been in my mind as of late, but it is mostly meta material.
I think we all still need time to heal from this. Stay strong, my strugglers.
Thank you, Kentaro Miura for your hard work and your inspirational story.
Thank you, Ricky, for being a cute, clumsy little baby.
Just a few ending words to clarify: In no way I am comparing the impact of a person with a pet here; they are mentioned in parallel only because their passing was chronologically close, and I wish to share my thoughts and personal experience.