Knowing nothing but death and battle since the day he was born, Gutts wanders from battlefield to battlefield as a solitary mercenary. Caring for nothing and no one, his only goal is to become stronger. However, after a fateful encounter with Griffith and his Band of the Hawk mercenary group, Gutts finds himself rising through the ranks of their prestigious organization and learns to care for his fellows.
However, as the reputation of the Band of the Hawk grows, so, too, does Griffith’s ambition. Soon the world for Gutts transforms into one that is more than just black-and-white, becoming something dark and twisted by one man’s quest for power.
Still waiting for Berserk to stop remaking the Golden Age Arc over and over again? Try these anime recommendations, they work for all arcs of the Berserk series.
For Fans of Dark and Brutal
At the beginning of the Edo Period, Tokugawa Tadanaga has decided to hold a tournament to find Japan’s greatest swordsmen. In the past, this tournament was held with wooden weapons, but this time live steel will be used. One-armed Fujiki Gennosuke and blind Irako Seigen are both students of the same master, and ready to see just who is the best. Like Berserk, Shigurui is not only just a taste of the original source material in animated form, but it isn’t afraid to show you the gruesome stuff. Remember how raped you felt at the end of the Berserk 1997 anime? You feel a bit like that throughout Shigurui.
In terms of story, setting, and even likeable main characters, Berserk and Gantz could not be more different. Yet, there are a few things things that so often lump them together – blood, guts, and gore. Love Berserk’s brutal and often unfair battles? Then you will love watching characters get brutalized while fighting aliens in Gantz. Unfortunately, one of the features that Gantz also shares with Berserk is that it only covers a small fraction of the utterly brutal source material.
Attack on Titan
Bleak and realistic? Vaguely medieval fantasy in setting? Shocking deaths? Constantly struggling main characters? That fits both Attack on Titan and Berserk to a T. In Attack on Titan, we follow Eren Yaeger who battles monstrous, massive, human-like creatures that threaten to devour humanity, going so far as to push them behind huge defensive walls after the rest of the world was overrun. Like in Berserk, the Eren is always against unbalanced odds and each death in Attack on Titan feels as sudden and shocking as death often is.
For Fans of Betrayal and Revenge
In years past, Brandon Heat rose through the ranks of a criminal organization besides his best friend Harry. That is, until the day that Harry took over leadership and killed him. Far into the future, Brandon has been brought back to life to reap vengeance on the people who killed him and the gang-now-corporation that terrorizes his city. Berserk and Gungrave share similarities at its core. Both feature two men that were once friends, but are set on revenge quests after a sudden betrayal as well as worlds that go to shit.
Fist of the North Star
After being betrayed and left for dead, martial arts master Kenshiro now wanders the post-apocalyptic world looking for his rival Shin, the man that kidnapped his fiance. While Fist of the North Star is definitely showing its age, it was the Berserk before Berserk. The seemingly immortal hero fights against impossible odds to take vengeance on a man that seemingly rules the wastelands. Settle in and get ready to watch a lot of heads explode.
Blade of the Immortal
Cursed with immortality and tired of killing being his only use, swordsman Manji makes a pact with a witch that states if he kills an evil man for every good one he killed, he can finally die. And so his journey begins. The tale of betrayal and revenge is not actually Manji’s, but rather his traveling companion Rin, a women who has sworn vengeance on the men that killed her family.
For Fans of Medieval Settings
Claymore is basically Berserk after that feel-good Golden Age Arc. The story follows the exploits of Claire, a half-demon, demon-slaying woman called a Claymore after the sword she carries, and Raki, a boy whose family was killed by demons, as they travel the land fighting off evil. Depressing and violent, Claymore has been the go-to hack and slasher for Berserk fans for some time.
Based on a light novel, Guin Saga was actually the inspiration for Berserk’s mangaka Kentaro Muira. As such, those who watch the anime will note more than a few things about Guin Saga that are similar to Berserk. Not just the medieval world that features two countries at war, but particularly the main character Guin, who is just a Gutts with a leopard head. The only real different between Guin Saga and Berserk is that Guin has amnesia and is escorting royalty as opposed to just being a mercenary.
Unlike Berserk’s fantasy medieval Europe setting, Kingdom is set is China’s Warring States period. It follows the story of orphan and slave Xin and his friends who share dreams of becoming great generals someday. Violent, but not as brutal as Berserk, the main character of Kingdom is essentially a teen version of Gutts with slightly more ambition.
Have your own recommendations for anime series like Berserk? Tell us about it in the comments section below.