Last year, after the sudden death of Berserk mangaka, Kentaro Miura at the age of 54, the fate of the series was undecided. Fans were wondering about what will happen to their favourite manga series, and will they ever be able to see the end of one of the most popular manga series.
Berserk manga series will be coming back with a new chapter on June 24. First, the manga will have six chapters to end the ongoing “Fantasia Arc”, and after that a new arc will begin. In the future, the manga will have the following credits: “Original work by Kentarou Miura, manga by Studio Gaga, supervised by Kouji Mori.”
Miura’s Studio Gaga is the studio where he worked with his assistants and apprentices, on Berserk manga. The new supervisor, Mori is a close childhood friend of Miura’s, whom Miura frequently consulted with for plot details on Berserk. Mori stated in the statement that he “knows Berserk’s story till the end.” Mori drew a one-shot manga in Young Animal last year that tells his story of lifelong friendship and creative relationship with Miura.
In a long statement released by Mori, he pointed out that he has discussed the ending of Berserk with Miura since the manga’s iconic “Eclipse” event 30 years ago. After Miura passed, he thought about discussing the ending through an interview, or through some illustrations with an accompanying article, but deemed these methods as insufficient. He welcomed Studio Gaga’s offer to continue the manga, and promises to “recall the details as much as possible and tell the story,” assuring readers that while the telling will be imperfect, he thinks he “can almost tell the story that Miura wanted to tell.”
Mori’s complete statement is as follows:
Nearly 30 years ago, Miura called me and said, “I need to talk to you about drawing a rough draft.” I went to his workplace just to talk as we always do, but Miura looked more serious than usual. “I need to draw the Eclipse,” he said. I sensed it would be hard work, but couldn’t believe it when I was trapped indoors for a week… In that very moment, the storyline for Berserk was completed, until the very last chapter.
Strangely, the story for Berserk went on exactly as we discussed at the time, with almost no changes. I continued to talk to Miura often, whenever there was a big episode. We did so ever since we were students, consulting each other while working on manga.
I think people with good intuition would realize by now that I know the story for Berserk up to the very end. Still, I cannot say that I can draw it because I know it. That is because only the genius Kentaro Miura can write a masterpiece like Berserk.
However, a great responsibility has fallen on me.
While he was alive, Miura said, “I haven’t told anyone other than you, Mori, about the story in its entirety.” And that was the truth. It is too big a responsibility. I thought, should I talk to fans about it through an interview? Or should I publish an article with some illustrations? But that wouldn’t convey the scenes that Miura described to me, or the lines of Guts and Griffith…
Just when I was trying to decide what to do, I received a message.
“The staff are saying they will finish the last chapter that was left behind, so can you take a look?”
The last few pages of the chapter were incomplete. Some did not even have the characters drawn on them.
I took a look at the manuscript, without expecting much.
Desperation can push people to create miracles — There it was, the completed manuscript for Berserk.
“Mr. Mori, will you let us do it?”
Miura’s apprentices, who Miura had been so proud of while he was alive, asked me straight.
Company Director Shimada, a mentor for me and Miura, also said, “If you do it, the company will give our full support.”
I thought, if I run away now, Miura would say:
“I talked to you about it so much, but you didn’t do it!!”
Alright. I’ll do it properly.
I have a message and promise to everyone. I will recall the details as much as possible and tell the story.
Also, I will only write the episodes that Miura talked to me about. I will not flesh it out. I will not write episodes that I don’t remember clearly. I will only write the lines and stories that Miura described to me. Of course, it will not be perfect. Still, I think I can almost tell the story that Miura wanted to tell.
The talent Miura’s apprentices have are real!
They are brilliant artists.
Many of you may not be fully satisfied with the Berserk written without Miura, but we hope everyone’s thoughts will be with us.
Both Mori and the Young Animal editing department promised not to “deviate from Mr. Miura’s own words.”