Kentaro Miura: An Introduction
Kentaro Miura passed away at the age of 54 caused by acute aortic dissection on May 6th, 2021. For those who don’t know, Miura is famous for having written the disturbingly grotesque dark fantasy manga series Berserk. Debuting in 1989 Berserk follows the trials and tribulations of our main protagonist, Guts in this sometimes Lovecraftian medieval world.The saddest thing about his art is that he never finished the story before his death and on top of that had no children to continue his legacy. While ideas of new artists and writers coming to finish the story he wanted to tell is up in the air I think the legacy of his work still shines even without a proper ending.
Miura: An Important Message
While Berserk might on the surface be about slaying eldritch creatures and the dark demonic lusts for power at the end of the day Berserk is about preservation. A warning before anyone gets into the work of Miura is that it is dark, like really dark. Anything and everything awful and taboo that you can think of happens in this series. That is why it is amazing to see Guts deal with these and come out still fighting.
Do not get this confused with him being impervious to pain and suffering however. He absolutely suffers and changes throughout, his past traumas haunt him everyday. What Miura does here is showing the ability to deal with them and still want to keep fighting. Berserk taught me that while life might get tough giving up won’t make it any easier; you just have to keep pushing through.
Miura: His Influence
Berserk is not just a tale of personal influence however. Miura has gone on to influence beyond his own manga series. Besides countless anime and manga taking his dark fantasy and character elements to heart Berserk has gone on to influence the gaming industry as well. According to Washington Post author Gene Park ““Berserk” arguably started a visual trend that continued in heroes like Cloud Strife of “Final Fantasy VII.”” Not only in the heroes of the story but the monsters too. This is the most noticeable in the famously difficult “Dark Souls” series of games. Look at Nosferatu Zodd (Berserk) and The Taurus Demon (Dark Souls).
Miura: His Influences
A great influencer has a great deal of influences, Miura was most obviously inspired by Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”. With it’s high fantasy elements and long journeys, Berserk had taken a lot from this classic series. Going even further back in time we can find the influences of H.P Lovecraft on Miura’s work.
The ideas of evil, forbidden knowledge and mystical power lie deep within the lore of Berserk. Take the Idea of Evil for example, an eldritch entity that feeds on the desires of mankind. The art of Miura is heavily influenced by the works of 15th Century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. His surreal depictions of hell were a big influence on the scary and surreal nightmare world of Berserk and Miura’s art as a whole.
Miura was a true artist, and from looking at his work most likely a tortured soul. He not only inspired a generation of new artists to take the world of High Fantasy to new domains and realms, he also took older works and gave acknowledgement to them in his work. While he is no longer with us and the end of his story may never be finished, his stories of pain and preservation will never leave our hearts. If we can take anything away from this it’s that we can find happiness as long as we find the strength to go on.