October has been a pretty big month for me. And to just keep piling on the milestones, here is my very first OWLS Blog Tour post.

I’ve been reading these for a while now on other people’s blogs and they’re always so interesting and unique. I am very grateful I get the chance to try my own hand at one. Just remember folks: This is my first day!

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Keeping up the tradition of creative, inspired and unusual themes, for October the OWLS Team has chosen to explore dreamers:

Due to recent events that happened in September, this month’s OWLS topic will be on “Dreamers.” Every individual has a goal or ambition that they devote their whole life to with passion and courage—whether it’s landing your dream job, traveling, or finding the love of your life. However, there are those who spent their whole life working towards a dream but it was cut short due to an unexpected occurrence. Those people are left only to dream and wonder about the possibility.

This month’s topic will be dedicated to these characters in pop culture entertainment. We are not going to focus on the individuals that achieved their aspirations but instead, we will focus on characters that weren’t able to. We will explore what happens to characters who had their wings forcefully cut off as well as those who gave up before they even started their journey. We will also discuss what it means for “a dream to be deferred.”

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Whenever I hear the term dreamer, especially when mixed with the notion of “ambition”, I immediately see Griffith’s face. There are worse things, Griffith has a rather nice face.

Berserk, the original ‘90s version, was one of the first animes I saw and it left an indelible mark on me. I have not seen the new iteration but I hope it lives up to the first, because it’s a phenomenal series. It’s also very cruel.

For those of you unfamiliar, here is a paraphrasing of MAL’s synopsis:

“Guts, is an impressive fighter who’s know nothing but the mercenary life. After a run-in with the Band of the Hawk, a formidable troop of blades for hire, Guts is recruited by their charismatic leader Griffith, nicknamed the “White Hawk.” As he quickly climbs the ranks in order to become the head of the offensive faction, Guts proves to be a mighty addition to Griffith’s force, taking Midland by storm. However, while the band’s quest for recognition continues, Guts slowly realizes that the world is not as black-and-white as he once assumed.

Set in the medieval era, Kenpuu Denki Berserk is a dark, gritty tale that follows one man’s struggle to find his own path, while supporting another’s lust for power, and the unimaginable tragedy that begins to turn the wheels of fate.”

***I know, I know dark is overused, see the very interesting things Remy has to say on the subject: here, but in this case it really fits.

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I chose one of the happier moments for you guys

Although the tale is told from Guts’ point of vu, it is undeniably Griffith’s story, and Griffith is almost entirely defined by his dream. Griffith’s dream moves all the players on the board, it is the driving force and the ultimate purpose of pretty much every single event that takes place. Griffith’s dream by the way is to be king. Yup, that’s it. But this simple, naive dream that could belong to a toddler, is the singular most powerful thing in the Berserk universe.

Since the narrative is set in a world where most people have little to nothing at all, and survival is an honest struggle, one needs to keep their goals simple if they are to be understood . Besides, the dream itself is irrelevant, the magic is in the art of dreaming. Griffith can inspire those around him not because his goals are noble or altruistic but because he believes in his own dream with complete abandon. His unwavering devotion to his ambition gives his little dream depth, strength, an almost tangible quality. It makes it possible for him to share his dream with other or even impose it on them.

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All dreams start somewhere

Dreaming is in fact a talent. Just like most things in life, pretty much everyone can do it but only an exceptional few can do it expertly. When you happen to be one of the masses who doesn’t have the courage or capacity to truly dream for yourself, a shard of someone else’s dream is impossibly attractive. Irresistible even. What Berserk is whispering, beneath all the blood and gore, is that dreams hold a power like no other. Dreams are what make us human. They are one of the most precious gifts of our miraculous neural net. Dreams are the foundations of all civilizations, they allowed us to fly and even let us walk on the moon. Dreams have made ordinary men into heroes and legends. Dreams have also driven us to try to destroy each other almost non stop. They have turned on those cultures they created and ground them into ruins and memories. Dreams surpass morality and ignore responsibility. They are unshackled by reason. It is a fool who believes themself master of their dreams.

And this particular hubris is what finally brought Griffith down. Griffith thought himself in control of his dreams and blinded by this, he tripped and fell. Because it was such a strong dream, it took a long time for Griffith’s dream to actually die, but when it did, it betrayed its dreamer and took everybody with it. The dream that had elevated and wrapped itself around all those that came into contact with it, was now choking the life out of them. Anything that powerful is always going to be dangerous. Griffith’s dream didn’t just bring him down, it destroyed everything in its path. Fancy notions of loyalty, friendship or honor got completely washed away in the wake of this endless horror.

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This still freaks me out

Dreams can be wonderful things. They can be actual miracles. In this way, talented dreamers become little gods. If we all just agree on a dream, I really believe we can make anything happen. You could say that is one of my dreams. It’s pretty naive and trite, it also forces me to actually figure out what my values and priorities are and who I wish to share them with. It pushes me towards a nebulous goal even when I would rather stay in bed.

Dreams are both all-powerful and incredibly fragile. They need to be nurtured and cared for if we do not want them to shatter. But since dreams are reckless and aimless, it is also up to us to contain them. To shape them into something appropriate, to make sure they don’t get out of hand and to heal them when them get hurt. It’s up to us to make sure our dreams don’t go bad and to help others with theirs.

So if Berserk taught me anything, I think it’s this: this Halloween season, beware of beautiful dreamers for you never know what nightmares they bring.

I hope you all enjoyed this first attempt of mine. If you missed it (shame on you!), please  go read Stephanie’s, from Anime Girls NYC, intriguing take on the theme while looking at Durarara and  Zoe’s  wonderful post on Noragami over at Let’s Talk Anime.These happen to be two of my very favorite shows from recent years and I really can’t get enough on either!

On Monday Moonid will be up at bat while exploring  love and athletics in Suzuka at Random Garage. (I’m assuming, I haven’t gotten a sneak peak at the post but I can’t wait!)

Finally, don’t forget to keep up with the tour on the following dates:

25: Scott (Mechanical Anime Reviews)

27: LynLyn (Just Something About LynLyn)

28: Rai (Rai’s Anime Blog)

30: Hazelyn (Archi-Anime)

If someone drunk texts you appreciate it, they are thinking of you when they can barely think at all

Suggested drink: Eggnog (I’ve never actually had this but considering the recipe, you would probably get a heart attack before getting drunk)

  • Every time we see the Egg of Kings – take a small sip
  • Every time Guts draws his ridiculous sword – take a sip of water
  • Every time Casca scowls – take a sip
  • Every time we see Griffith in full armor – take a sip
  • Every time there is a dog motif – take a sip
  • Every time there is a hawk motif – take a breath
  • Every time we see Judeau – raise your glass (he’s my favorite)
  • Every time we see Guts’ scar – take a sip
  • Every time Griffith talks of his dream – take a sip
  • Every time Rickert is being adorable – take a sip
  • Every time Pippin and Rickert are hanging out – take a sip


35 thoughts

  1. “But since dreams are reckless and aimless, it is also up to us to contain them” – well put. I guess the scary thing is, there are people like Griffith out there still willing to do anything for the sake of their dream. He is a bit like a Shonen protagonist turned to the dark side 😀

    1. oh yeah – in many ways he shows what happens when we take all these traditionally heroic traits to their end point

      1. Gungrave is fairly similar in terms of story structure, character dynamics & thematic through-lines, but has a few distinct differences.

        For instance, it doesn’t quite display the sheer horror Berserk sinks into as Griffith’s shattered dreams give way to despair & destruction.

        However, Gungrave treats us to a moving coda that Berserk never had the time, or perhaps the heart for – to the delight of my mushy self.

        I hope I haven’t said too much already, so I’ll just add that I’m glad I didn’t drop it after failing to engage with the first episode, also in media res.

  2. Well said. While the supernatural pervades the world of Berserk, the true magic is in the otherworldly presence and strength of Griffith. I think one of my favorite scenes from the series was when Guts overheard Griffith talking to someone else about his dreams, and how Griffith could only call someone friend who had their own dream, and who would defend it, even from Griffith. That gently said but none the less harsh distinction, between those who follow in his wake and those who stand beside him, was such a poignant component of the overall narrative, and a harsh contrast between Griffith and Guts, made all the more so by what each of them had just done.

  3. Excellent OWLS tour post, especially since it’s your first time. Wow. This is probably my favourite of the tour posts so far that I’ve read…(looks around and whispers) Don’t tell Taku. Sssh! I have not watched Berserk but I have heard about it. Your post makes me want to try it. What I like about your post is your point that to dream is to be human. Dreams are what caused our civilizations to flourish, and just like what you said, to be created in the first place. Many of the scientific and technological advances that we’re enjoying right now are because someone dreamed of them and made them into reality. But this is the flowers and rainbows of dreams come true. For people who become so obsessed in dreams that they just go out of control…well, that’s just tragic. Great post. Keep it up, Irina. Looking forward to your next one. Cheers!

    1. Well I’m blushing. It’s not deserved – I’ve read the psts on the tour so far and they are quite fantastic, yours included.

      And thank you so much for making my comment section now just as interesting (if not a bit more) than the post itself!

  4. I’m usually too much of a chicken to check out such gruesome stories, but I’m glad I got into Berserk.

    Griffith’s inability to let go of his dream caused his downfall and ruined everyone’s lives, too. It’s mostly due to his own fault, I’d say. He had a selfish dream where he envisioned Casca and Guts playing key parts in making it come true, but he simply couldn’t handle them doing their own thing. The irony is that Guts (and Casca) were pushed to chase after their own dreams after Griffith offhandedly mentioned that people should chase after their own dreams. Ah, well. Dreams are important, but are they worth losing everything?

    A bit of a ramble, sorry. Griffith totally fits this theme and I’m happy you wrote about him! What a wonderful post~

        1. Also thanks for linking my post again. Sorry for making you go out of your way to talk about what it means for a series to be dark again. The term does fit Berserk to a T, though.

  5. As soon as I saw the topic of this post, I was immediately glad you chose Griffith. He really is one of the most interesting and dynamic characters in anime/manga, so it is cool to see him getting some love. Great post!

  6. Damn you really blow it out of the park on your first day.
    I’ve always considerd Griffith to be someone in my dream whenever I dive into the story of Berserk. He is no ordinary man; he’s untouchable–just like my dreams.

    1. Thank you! That’s actually a great way to define Griffith, at one point he becomes indistinguishable from the dream itself! Wish I had thought of that

  7. Well for a first day on the job: you can rest easy😀 This was a great post. Well written. Have never seen Berserk (I know shame on me) but posts like these certainly makes me want to watch it. So all I can say: job well done 😉

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