Berserk is one of the best Manga series ever. The art, characters, actions, world-building, the story, etc are some of the best you will ever experience. There are five official arcs in the series with all of them top-tier arcs in their own right so it is a daunting task to rank them. The berserk arcs are ranked as follows:
5. Black Swordsman Arc
Chapters: 0A to 0H
Black Swordsman arc is the very first arc of the series. It covers three volumes and actually takes place between the events of the Golden Age arc and the Conviction arc. Guts, known as the Black Swordsman is on the hunt to take down apostles in hope of finding Griffith. Guts took down two apostles Count and the Snake Lord. He also encounters Puck who accompanies him on his journey and also defeats a pseudo apostle Zondark He even meets the Griffth and the other God Hands. Guts tries to attack Griffith but is of no use.
This arc is just an introduction to Guts and his character. Guts is introduced as a strong person who seems unhinged at the horrors of the world and doesn’t seem to be heroic. His goals are just revenge and hatred which means he won’t even save others from their sorrowful fates. He comes off as a jerk as can be seen by the way he treats Vargas. But we also get many subtle hints that the arrogant and selfish traits are just Guts being afraid of his own ineptitude.
Overall, the start sets the tone for the brutal and harsh reality of the world in the series. This is an arc that will be much more understood in retrospect. So the characterization of Guts is just too great in this arc.
Fights were great and the God Hands introduction was surreal and mystical and just makes you hooked to the story. Even though it is ranked last it is by no means a bad arc.
- God Hands Introduction.
- Guts vs Count.
- Guts vs the Snake Lord.
- Guts’ various instances of doubt in himself.
4. Fantasia Arc
Chapters: 308 (ongoing)
Fantasia arc covers the story after the Great Astral Roar. Griffith has established his great empire Falconia while Rickert forms his own group with Bakiraka clan members. Guts and the group sets sail to Elfhem island to restore Casca’s mind. Guts encounter a Ghost Ship initially and then they fight Sea God.
Meanwhile, Ricket meets Griffith and slaps him. Later he joins Silat and Daiba to escape the place for safety.
Guts and the party finally reaches the Elfhelm. Scherike and Farnese share the dream with Casca to restore her mind and after several obstacles, they managed to restore Casca’s sanity. Skull Knight also shows a glimpse of the past Eclipse to Guts, in which Skull Knight was present.
This arc has a calm feel to it and definitely the most positive arc in the series. The stakes were low and the fights were interesting but not top-tier. It was almost a setup arc for the future arcs with more Skull Knight and Moonlight boy involved in the story. But the restoration of Casca’s sanity is one of the most satisfying moments in the series and to see her back to herself after so many years is very memorable.
- Restoration of Casca’s Mind.
- Rickert Slapping Griffith.
- Guts vs Sea God.
3. Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc
Chapters: 177 to 307
The story takes place after the reincarnation of Griffith. This is the longest arc in the series spanning 131 chapters. There are so many sub-arcs within this with separate subplots. Guts continues his journey with Casca to get to Elfhelm while Griffith battles Ganishka to establish his own empire.
During this arc, Guts encounter several obstacles that include Zodd, Slan, Grunbeld, Trolls, Pishacas, Ganishka, etc. He also gets accompanied by Isidro, Farnese, Serpico, and Scheirke. While the conflict between Ganishka and Griffith intensifies and finally ends with the Great Roar of the Astral World. Farnese gets a ship to go to Elfhelm and their journey continues.
This is a tough arc to summarize and analyze with so many subplots. Berserker armor, Mage, Pisacha, Artificial Behelit sword by Skull Knight, Artificial God Hand ceremony by Ganishka, etc just enhances the power system to a greater level.
It is remarkable that a separate story that doesn’t involve the protagonist can be done with such great mastery and not a lot of series can pull off that. Having said that the reason this arc doesn’t give the same level of satisfaction as the Golden age or Conviction is that much of the arc is about Griffith’s rise to the top.
On the writing side, it isn’t really a bad thing seeing Griffith, an antagonist grow and achieve his dream. But as a reader, I am much more satisfied seeing Guts succeed in his obstacles than Griffith. I think this is the most important reason that this arc doesn’t match up to the next two arcs in the list for me personally. Overall, the arc is a very solid arc with so many iconic moments.
- Skull Knight attacks Femto with Behelit sword resulting in attacking Ganishka.
- Guts dons Berserker armor for the first time.
- Guts fight with Grunbeld.
- Ganishka pseudo God Hand form.
- Zodd and Guts fight Ganishka togethor.
2. Conviction Arc
Chapters: 95 to 176
This arc follows the journey of Guts after the events of the eclipse. Initially, he encounters Rosine, an apostle who transforms the children into Elves. Later, he goes on a journey to rescue Casca who is prophecized to be burnt alive by Guts’ demon child. The Holy See acts as the primary antagonist group with Mozgus being the main obstacle to Guts. Parallelly, the Egg of the Perfect World is preparing to get Griffith reincarnated.
Holy See is an extremist religious group that punishes those they consider as heretics. Farnese and Serpico are introduced and track Guts. Later they team up with Guts to defeat Mozgus and his underlings in an extremely tough battle night. After the incarnation ceremony triggered by the Egg of the world’s Behelit, Griffith is incarnated.
This is such an enthralling arc throughout its entirety. The stakes were really high throughout the arc and Guts was put in so many tough battles. All the characters shine including the minor characters like Luca, Jerome, etc. Mozgus is one the most underrated character in the series and is not really appreciated for his portrayal as an antagonist. He genuinely believed his actions were indeed what God wanted and acted as God’s puppet, while Guts literally saw angels and decided to go against them. This provided a great clash of their ideals enhancing their physical battle.
- Guts battle with Rosine.
- Guts reunite with Casca.
- Guts battle with Mozgus.
- Incarnation of Griffith.
- All of Skull Knight’s panels.
1. Golden Age Arc
Chapters: OI to 94
This arc tells the story of Guts from his childhood to the events of the Eclipse. Guts joins Griffith’s Band of the Falcon after Griffith defeats him. Later they grow in fame due to their success. Griffith moves closer to his dream of achieving a kingdom. Guts decide to leave the group seeing Griffith’s ideals and decides to become equal to Griffith.
Guts defeats Griffith and leave the band. Frustrated Griffith has a lapse of judgment and sleeps with Charlotte which resulted in his imprisonment. Guts joined the group again to rescue Griffith but Griffith is now crippled after several physical and mental torture.
Griffith decides to commit suicide but finds his Behelit resulting in the summoning of the God Hands. Griffith accepts their proposal to be a God Hand member at the expense of all other Band members. Only Guts and Casca survives the ordeal with the help of Skull Knight but others suffer a horrific death.
Golden age arc is one of the greatest arcs in manga. The journey of Guts and Griffith is one of the best character writing one will ever experience. All the other arcs are great but none match Golden Age in its storytelling and character writing. There is a reason why Guts and Griffith are considered one of the greatest protagonists and antagonists respectively.
- Griffith’s breakdown and summoning of the God Hands.
- Guts vs 100 fighters.
- Griffth vs Guts both times.
- Guts kills a teen accidentally.
- Skull Knight breaking the eclipse.
- Guts vs Wyald.
- Guts and Griffith vs Zodd.
- One Piece: Kaido’s Backstory and Character Analysis - May 11, 2022
- Chainsaw Man – Top 10 Strongest Characters In The Series - May 8, 2022
- One Piece Anime Vs Manga – Which is the Best Way To Start? - May 6, 2022