Thank you Gita for writing this. I was thinking about making a post about it all morning but just couldn’t think of a decent way of talking about.
Berserk and video games will always be linked for me because I first discovered Berserk through the Dreamcast game, and it was one of the few times where I devoured all the bonus materials to find out more about the characters and the world. I got a copy of the entire Berserk series off of what I can only assume were incredibly bootleg VCDs, not even DVDs at the time and watched them heavily compressed and just devoured it. Once the manga started getting translated and released I started collecting all of them as well, although now as an adult with a son who can read those things stay closed off in storage somewhere for a while. The art style is unbelievable, the scope of the man’s talent and eye for composition are just second to none. Huge, intricate mural splash pages are all over the volumes of the manga, and they are all somehow still perfectly readable and communicate everything openly. I said in the Eva threads that Eva had managed to create certain images that will be burned into my memory forever, but Berserk has it beat tenfold.
After watching and reading Berserk it was like being able to read the Matrix for the lack of a better analogy, suddenly all of these designs and styles coming out of Japan for so long just suddenly clicked into place. So many people and games were so inspired by Miura that it’s impossible not to see his fingerprints everywhere. It felt like the Souls series should have had a special thanks in the credits just to him.
The man died at 54, tragically young, of an acute aortic dissection. I’m not going to pretend to know for sure, but I have heard rumors and whispers for years of the awful working conditions of manga artists, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he simply worked himself to death. He took several long hiatuses over the course of his career, and maybe everything just caught up to him. I don’t want to speculate too much about his death without any other information, but I know we like to talk about labor conditions here and I think that it’s a relevant thing to keep in mind.
Also, on a personal note just in case there are others in the same boat, the last few months have just been a series of kicks in the gut one after another. Between deaths and groups of people dissolving it feels like stalwarts of a certain era of my life are all just leaving at once. I know this is stupidly trivial given the scope of other, actual problems in the world right now, but if you are of a very particular variety of nerd out there, take care of yourself.