This was the first post I ever wrote for OWLS. For those of you not familiar, that was a blogger group I was a part of. In any case, I have always really liked this post but not many people got a chance to see it. In light of the tragic death of Kentaro Miura I decided to bring it out again.
Breserk is a work that influenced me a lot and to this day is very dear to my heart. Burried under all the demons and dark magic of this fantasy epic is a deep humanity that shines in all it’s imprefection and vulnerability. It made me feel like Mr. Miura is a sensitive and gentle soul and his passing is a loss to us all. Not gonna lie, I’ve been pretty sad about it. And that’s ok, sadness is important and precious in its way. Berserk taught me that as well.
I originally wrote this post back in 2017, for the topic of “DREAMERS” I hope some of you enjoy it.
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!
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.”
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.
Although the tale is told from Guts’ point of view, 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 others or even impose it on them.
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.
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 they 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!
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