I have been talking about Berserk a few times recently so I thought I would showcase some of the art of Berserk from the manga by Kentaro Miura. Berserk is a dark fantasy series that is set in a fairly typical medieval kingdom (albeit with some slightly odd Japanese names), but without giving too much away, things get quite Realm of Chaos-y quite quickly. It started in 1989 and is still going – very slowly – if you got impatient with Game of Thrones it may not be for you!
Berserk also exists as an anime series which is slightly dated but still excellent and probably the best introduction, and a new series of animated films which are also very good although do seem to miss some of the heart of the original series. Both are also worth checking out for the soundtracks by Susumu Hirasawa. The manga features the most incredible artwork and this post has images that do somewhat spoil the slow descent into madness of Berserk, but they don’t give away any plot points. You can click images to embiggen.
Some artwork by Miura includes homages to Escher and Bosch, but perhaps the greatest similarities are with Gustav Dore and Albrecht Durer – two of my favourite artists, which perhaps explains why I love Berserk so much.
These comparison images are taken from this really excellent article about Berserk that I would love to find translated in English because it loses a lot in the Google translation. Berserk has extremely interesting and sophisticated ideas and it’s an great example of a fantasy series that does something different, breaking away from tropes and the over-familiar. As such I think it is good inspiration for Age of Sigmar projects – expect to see this guy soon: