Kentaro Miura: Farewell to the Creator of Berserk and One of Fantasy's Greatest Storytellers
This is not what I thought I would be writing today.
Today the news was released that on the 6th May 2021, we lost Kentaro Miura at young age of 54, the creator of the epic long-running series Berserk. A legend in the Manga and fantasy communities, his works have influenced the likes of Dark Souls and fellow mangaka artists everywhere. He influenced me with his compassion and breadth of world-building, his powerful characters and spell-binding tales.
I know I am not alone in finding Berserk to be my gateway into Manga, and remaining my favourite after so many other series. This news has come as a great shock. I am relieved that his family and friends have been allowed to mourn before the news was spread and I am overwhelmed and reassured by so many as heartbroken as myself. A legend in his field, it seemed that he would keep the tale of Guts going until long into the future. Yet here we are.
It is a testament to his characters, to his storytelling, to the skill and power of his beautiful panels, that I feel a loss so deep. That Guts has stolen my heart and become a magnificent part of my own influences as a creator, proves that Miura transcends just the physical talent of producing such beautiful pieces of art in all this work, as meticulous and time-consuming as it was, but that he was an amazing storyteller. Guts was one of many complex characters including Griffith, Casca and The Skull Knight that jumped from the pages of each volume, causing hours and hours of disputes between fans about motivations and purpose of their presence. He'd only just begun to dissect this, to bring these great figures to a conclusion.
We have lost Kentaro Miura. I mourn for myself. And I mourn for his characters that may not see an ending; the characters that have suffered so much and kept fighting, the draw for the series, a story of survival and hope in a dark unforgiving world. I mourn for his work, for his talent and for him as the optimistic figure in the Mangaka world, a reminder of humanity despite his dark and troubling subject matter in Berserk. His messages, laced throughout hopelessness and desolation, his reminder to keep on fighting, are for many the true story behind the long-running series; we must keep fighting on and pave our own paths forward. Just as he did.
I have to brief, because I don’t know what more I can say. It doesn’t do it any justice, this post. The loss is stifling. But Miura’s passing is a reminder of a life spent creating that meant so much to his fans. That he gave so much to his characters and worlds, plucked from the intricacies of a magnificent mind, endlessly creative… did he and his fans ask too much of him? Ultimately, he still kept going. He loved Berserk as much as us. That means enough.
Miura did what he loved. He fought for what he loved. He must have had days like I did, even though he was the creator of one of the most powerful stories put to paper. I hope we can see the intention for his ending of Berserk, how he wanted it to be… I wish we hadn’t lost him so soon. I wish to read more words of wisdom from him, from what he has gained in his own experiences, as he reminds us again and again to step forward, bear each stumble and fall and to stand back up.
I have been absent from this blog. Working on personal projects and, finally, working on an essay related to a wonderful series of films I have recently seen, I did not expect my first post in some time to be with such a heavy heart. The essay can wait. My month has been filled with highs and lows; I won an award for my Short film I completed at the end of my degree, one of which I had lost all faith in despite the hard work put in place by those closest to me. I have experienced intense burst of creativity and numbing pangs of inspiration-less drivel. One day I feel I am wasting time and effort. Others, I feel I am making a meager breakthrough. But I keep working. If any of it will amount to anything, I don’t know. But Miura reminds me that I can keep going, one step at a time. Why not do what you love? I have spent too many years overworking myself, giving too much to jobs I’ve hated, that have exhausted me, leaving me nothing but a whimpering shell.
I don’t even feel like sharing or promoting this post. That I’ve written it here, if anyone ever finds it in the deep recesses of the web, I hope it finds them some comfort. If not, I did this for me.
Rest in Peace.