Final Fantasy XIV Players Pay Tribute to 'Berserk' Manga Artist and Writer

Renowned manga writer and artist Kentaro Miura passed away on May 6 at the age of 54. Final Fantasy XIV players are paying tribute to him, and his influence on the game, by standing vigil.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v7eve4/final-fantasy-xiv-players-pay-tribute-to-berserk-manga-artist-and-writer
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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.

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I don’t have a lot to say that others haven’t already said and better, but Berserk is a really important inspiration and formative work for me. I’m sad about this whole thing. Sad in a way I haven’t felt about the loss of some other artists. There are single panels from Berserk that are higher quality than some paintings I’ve walked by in museums or galleries. It’s absurd. Gonna spend some time just… looking at panels from the manga for a bit I think.

Take care of yourselves, everyone.

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Popular Dark Souls creator / modder Zullie The Witch has also posted a loving tribute to him on his influence on Dark Souls.

The fact that Guts chose Casca and Redemption over Revenge is like … so bittersweet and perfect. Still very sad today.

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I first started reading Berserk in earnest 2019 (I even wrote a a little about it in the year’s comics/manga thread) and I was a bit put off by the first arc. It was intense in a way that I found unsettling and I wasn’t sure if I would resonate with a story built around Guts slicing people and things in half in all of Miura’s gory glory. I stuck with it and it is so strange to me that I have maybe only spent two years with this material because it has been so transformative and moving. I woke up this morning and felt winded when I opened Twitter and saw the news.

As evidenced by the above, I do not think I am a Berserk super fan or a struggler and so many other people have expressed what was important about the work in so many better ways… I am simply beyond grateful to have had it in my life. Thank you Miura.

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I read a bunch of Berserk in 2019 and while my enthusiasm for it slid as I went, I can’t deny what a singular talent Muira is and how sensitive and resonant his treatment of Guts’ character was. There are some panels that are so arresting I’d have to put the book down for a few seconds.

Muira deserved the opportunity to live a happy life beyond and after Berserk. We can’t know if his death was stress and fatigue-related, but given his erratic work schedule it’s not hard to imagine how that level of detailed, fastidious work would impact your health.

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