Berserk is truly a masterpiece in the world of manga. It reached over 40 volumes, and its run brought us many great characters, storylines, and the world that fascinates us even today. The passing of Kentarō Miura in 2021 stopped the progress of the series. Still, the author’s friend and colleague Kouji Mori confirmed that he is the only one who knows the ending of the series and will ensure it includes everything Miura wanted. Even with stalling of the series, fans have a lot of material to read or watch about Berserk.
The notable series follows the story of Guts and Griffith, a lone swordsman and a leader of the mercenary group Band of Falcon. Their story is filled with tragedy and violence as they try to find their place in the world that never truly wanted them. In this article, we will present our guide to Berserk arcs, including anime and manga. If you are interested, stay with us until the end of the article.
Berserk arcs at glance (manga & anime)
Manga series has much more content than anime and has five big story arcs released over the last thirty years. The forty-one volumes are part of the five big arcs, and in the table below, we will provide you with the Berserk reading order:
- Black Swordsman Arc (1990-1991)
- Golden Age Arc (1991-1997)
- Conviction Arc (1997-2001)
- Millenium Falcon Arc (2001-2010)
- Fantasia Arc (2010-)
Animated features of Berserk adapted much less from the notable manga series, mainly focusing on the biggest story arc of the series, Golden Age. In the next list below, we will provide you with anime series in order:
- Berserk (1997)
- Berserk (2016)
- Berserk: The Golden Age Arc – Memorial Edition (2022)
This article will include and explain all five arcs released today and set the timeline and happenings in the series. Don’t worry; we will avoid spoilers as much as possible and only present you with a synopsis of each story arc.
This article will include and explain all five arcs released today and set the timeline and happenings in the series. Don’t worry; we will avoid spoilers as much as possible and only present you with a synopsis of each story arc. Of course, there are Berserk movies as well, but those strongly correlate with manga series, so we will just explain what we know of each story arc.
Berserk arcs in chronological order
1. Black Swordsman Arc
Black Swordsman Arc is the first ever published story of the Berserk series and is set in the middle of Guts’ journey. The in-medias res technique of storytelling and narration comes in full force here because we see Guts in the aftermath of Eclipse, and his “revenge” tour, where he is trying to find Femto, the member of God Hand.
In this arc, Guts arrives in the town called Koka, where he slaughters everyone in sight, which the Snake Lord, the notorious ruler of the town, notices. Of course, the esteemed Snake Lord reveals himself as an apostle, a creature of demonkind that serves members of God Hand.
The fight with the apostle alerts a demon Femto, and the duo has an encounter, but not before Guts kills another apostle called The Count. Femto and Guts’ fight is one-sided, and Femto easily defeats the lone swordsman, who is fuming. After everything he has done to save Count’s daughter and trying to make everything right, Guts feels empty and upset.
2. Golden Age Arc
The story arc that made the Berserk series one of the best stories of all time, the Golden Age arc, is truly extraordinary. Miura showcased the tragedy of Guts in so many ways that even the most crying-resistant people cannot feel bad for the swordsman. The arc presents us with the tragic childhood of Guts, full of violence, rejection, and grief, which made him detached and jaded on his journey.
While Guts struggled with his own problems, Griffith was another forgotten child from poverty that dreamed about ruling the world. However, the innocent dreams became a nightmare when Griffith started selling his body to old men in high positions, which eventually brought him to become a leader of the Band of Falcons.
Young, innocent Griffith became a cunning and manipulative individual who won over people with his charm and dreams – receiving Crimson Beherit from a mysterious woman also helped. Griffith sold his dream to people in similar positions, who started following him, hoping to make their lives more bearable.
Lost children of Midland were charmed by this angelic-looking young man whose ambition has overridden everything they knew in their life. Of course, Griffith and Guts will eventually meet during combat, and despite the reluctance, the young swordsman joins the Band of Falcons and follows Griffith as his leader.
Over the years, Band of Falcons became one of Midlands’s most notable mercenary groups, but Guts feels empty, despite finding his newfound family in the Band. After hearing Griffith’s passionate monologue about having dreams, fighting for them, and making it your life’s mission to achieve them, Guts decides to leave but returns when he hears his friend Griffith has been tortured and is on the verge of death. The Band of Falcons is reunited but dreams of one man change the course of their story forever – Eclipse.
This arc is one of the more notable parts of the series and has more adaptations to other fictional media than others. How couldn’t it be, when the Golden Age arc is one of the most shocking, but beautiful storylines we saw in the anime and manga world ever?
3. Conviction Arc
The Conviction arc is next, and it’s not less intense than the other ones. Guts continue to build a reputation as a Black Swordsman by killing demons and apostles inhabiting the Midlands. However, Guts gets captured by the Holy Iron Chain Knights but flees the premises with the help of Puck.
Guts witnesses something that triggers his memory of Eclipse and almost goes ballistic – it doesn’t help that Guts is fighting demons every night, preventing him from sleeping.
Tortured and tired, Guts encounters another important person from his past and tries to bring them back. However, reuniting with the people of his past is not done yet, and one person makes an epic comeback to make Guts even more miserable.
4. Millennium Falcon Arc
This next arc is the longest story arc of Berserk, and it features now reincarnated Griffith, who continues his dream of ruling everything and everyone.
In the meantime, Guts is trying to make new allies in the fight against his former friend. Furthermore, Guts finds a tool to help him fight against the apostles and God Hand, but it brings so much baggage that even Guts wouldn’t handle. Berserker Armor finally makes an appearance in the series, and Guts becomes truly powerful with the risk of truly losing everything and himself.
5. Fantasia Arc
The Fantasia arc is still an ongoing arc that directly follows the previous storyline. It features Guts and his group in the aftermath of the Great Roar of Astral World that Griffith kickstarted.
The crew continues their journey to Elfhelm, trying to restore Casca’s sanity, while Griffith still tries to make everyone miserable. Guts struggles with wearing the Berserk Armor that provokes the darkness inside him – the darkness comes out on the surface, and his friends and allies don’t know how to handle it.
While Guts fight himself and everything around him, Griffith continues making more plans to take over more territories which he will rule with an “iron hand,” or, in his case, the hand that will smash everything in its way. This is where the Berserk series temporarily stopped because of the passing of notable Kentarō Miura; however, there is more to Berserk, so we will patiently wait and see how Guts’ and Griffith’s story ends.