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Berserk: Why Griffith is the Perfect Villain


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JacobC
ANN Assistant Editor


Joined: 15 Jan 2008
Posts: 3424
Location: SoCal
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:51 pm Reply with quote
Okay, the problem we're running into here is with the piece's title, so we're changing it.

As the new title and an editor's note at the top of the piece make clear, this article is not actually about morally justifying Griffith's actions in any way. Anne explains this in her first paragraph, that her title is more about Griffith doing everything "right" in terms of being the most memorable villain possible. The piece is about how Berserk makes Griffith's actions feel inevitable in the story, how it makes you believe that he was fated to become evil even though all his terrible decisions are clearly caused by his own will. It's intended to explain why Griffith does what he does and has such an impact on people, not to justify any of his actions on a moral level, (which is stated several times in the article).

We've changed the title of the piece to make sure this is clear. The original title was sort of jokey in nature (it's basically a meme), I had kept it because the piece was originally pitched to us under this name, and the first paragraph or so of the article clarifies that it's not really what the article is about; Anne is not morally excusing any of Griffith's actions in the piece. But in retrospect, it's obviously misleading about the actual focus of the article, so we've changed it to be more reflective of the piece's content. We apologize for the confusion.
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johnnysasaki



Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 363
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:21 pm Reply with quote
I knew people were going to complain about it and I knew you would back out and change the title.Never disappoint me,guys...
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Merida
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Joined: 21 Feb 2012
Posts: 1326
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:24 pm Reply with quote
Well, i for one got interested in reading the article because of the original title, so changing it just because people aren't willing to read beyond is a bit sad...whatever, i enjoyed it a lot. Being more of a casual Berserk fan who always found Griffith a pretty fascinating character, this indepths character analysis was a very interesting read. Keep up the good work, Anne. Smile
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Treiz



Joined: 16 Jan 2010
Posts: 116
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:55 pm Reply with quote
...on the next exciting episode of The Internet Can't take a Joke....

Interesting article. I never felt that any of the characters in Berserk weren't in control, Griffith made his choices the same as the rest of the characters. It was so plain to me I just tuned out the nonsense about fate and causality.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6256
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:55 pm Reply with quote
Can't say I'm surprised by people raging without reading the article, though I am surprised there haven't been any tl:dr posts, since so many people these days seem to be proud of their short attention spans.

Anyway, it was a very thoughtful and reasoned article that, contrary to comments, does not justify Griffith's actions, and in fact makes it clear he deliberately chose the darkness, rather than being helplessly fated to it on the bones of his childhood ambition.

I'm not sure I agree with the idea that he was sane around the time of the rescue, but maybe that depends on how one views sanity. I always saw him as being ferally desperate at that time, until the Behelit reminded him of his purpose. I'll have to think about that idea some more.

Another interesting thought exercise regarding literary villainy would be to compare Griffith to Monster's Johan, especially vis-à-vis free will, fate, and (in)sanity (and the supernatural, though in the latter's case, it's suppressed to a see-it-or-don't undercurrent). Smile
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青白



Joined: 30 May 2012
Posts: 54
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:42 pm Reply with quote
JacobC wrote:
Okay, the problem we're running into here is with the piece's title, so we're changing it.

The original title was sort of jokey in nature (it's basically a meme).


NOOOOOO! You should have kept it there! That meme title added a dimension of humor that made me want to read the article. But I guess people in the forum just aren't that aware of the joke.
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Souther



Joined: 22 Feb 2015
Posts: 523
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:52 pm Reply with quote
Very nice article *thumbs up*. Also glad that you talked about the Blackswordsman Arc's importance in the story. When it comes to "fate" in Berserk, simply, it's cause and effect being manipulated by evil forces to create events in Berserk. Griffith's actions and background were manipulated so that he'd follow the path he was meant to, but when it came down to the critical moment, he was flat out given a choice, albeit with an extra amount of pushing. If he had no choice, why would the other 4 God Hand need to push him to make the choice if it wasn't a choice to begin with?

I suppose some will argue there comes a point when a choice isn't really a choice depending on the circumstances. However, when Luca and other characters, who are presented as wise and kind, talk about how people exist in a domain which allows them to act no matter how small, as well as Guts and others constantly battling the odds and coming through plus other things, it's clear we're not meant to see causality as an absolute in the story.

As for Griffith's sanity, yeah, he wasn't really sane during that period. Rather, his strong resentment and other complicated feelings towards Guts is what kept him going while locked up in the Tower of Rebirth.

MarshalBanana wrote:
If it was not for Griffith, [character name removed for potential spoilers] would of conquered Midland.


But the war happened because of Griffith and the God Hand's actions.

EDIT: Actually, rereading, the article was saying the torture didn't affect Griffith's judgment in making the choice to sacrifice. I agree with that in the sense that it didn't impair his judgment, but the torture rendering him unable to achieve his dream was a large part of why he made the sacrifice.


Last edited by Souther on Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:38 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Knoepfchen



Joined: 13 Dec 2012
Posts: 688
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:01 pm Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
Another interesting thought exercise regarding literary villainy would be to compare Griffith to Monster's Johan, especially vis-à-vis free will, fate, and (in)sanity (and the supernatural, though in the latter's case, it's suppressed to a see-it-or-don't undercurrent). Smile


Funny you should say that. My original idea was writing about the nature of evil in fiction in more general terms, exploring how it's a story theme and setting that determine what makes a good villain. I wanted to use Griffith, Johan and Psycho-Pass' Makishima as examples for villains done right within their worlds' philosophies. It was rightly pointed out to me this might end up a bit vague, and given that I already had to cut down this article from an impossible ~5000 words to a still alarming 3000, it's probably a good thing I'm only going to be sacrificed for gushing over one perfectly written villain instead of three. He really is the best of the bunch, though, so it's worth it. Twisted Evil
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Introgauge



Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:02 pm Reply with quote
Why are children reading/watching berserk? And why are you allowing these kids to dictate wwhat you decide to put in your articles? Clearly they can't handle the subject matter within Berserk, and your article is suprisingly astute, which is analogous to how berserk is presented. At first you would think berserk is all about sex violence and shock value. These are the very people who would complain about berserk for if they first saw it. You define this sentiment. But they never bothered to compliment your amazing skill in dissection. This is completely insulting to you. Never give up your initial thoughts and actions. I'm not listening to them,I'm listening to you.
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escahime65



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 78
Location: Iowa
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:13 pm Reply with quote
I thought this was an excellent analysis of Griffith's character and I learned some Greek literary terms too! Miura really is a genius when it comes to character complexity. While I agree that what he did to Casca is unforgiveable I still can't find it in me to hate Griffith completely because I can kind of see his point of view.

I think that he was sane after the torture but he just couldn't accept the loss of his lifelong dream to become a mute, pitiful cripple in front of the people who always looked up to him as an ideal. That was completely unacceptable and when the prospect to become a god instead showed up he took it regardless of the cost. He still blamed Guts for leaving him and didn't care how he and the others would suffer. I think everyone can relate to wanting to hurt back the one who hurt you regardless of whether or not it is deserved. It's the addition of the supernatural and demonic environment that really amps up the consequences to these all too human failings. In short, if one of the seven deadly sins described Griffith it would definitely be pride.
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xyz



Joined: 10 Jan 2002
Posts: 213
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:15 pm Reply with quote
Griffith is one of my favorite anime characters and my favorite from Berserk. I always thought he was in love with Gatts.
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Ulinox



Joined: 22 Aug 2009
Posts: 653
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:44 pm Reply with quote
It's funny how people jumping on the new anime adaption have no idea what Griffith has done and why he is a villain at all. All he's done is be "reborn" and fight the kushans.

Last edited by Ulinox on Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
Posts: 314
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:44 pm Reply with quote
鏡 wrote:
I'm pretty sure Casca's rape wasn't mentioned because the article assumes knowledge of the events of the eclipse on the part of the reader. Moreover, I don't think the article was actually a moral argument attempting to vindicate Griffith's actions, but an argument that they were the product of human fragility rather than comic-book style evil machinations. Griffith is a tragic character - I don't think that makes him or his actions any less despicable.


This is also how I read it. I thought Anne made quite a compelling argument; her interpretation of Griffith's motivations, and her argument for his humanity and its importance to our giving a shit about the story, were quite powerful and well stated.

Admittedly the original title sounds like it was in terrible taste (ironically, the very depth of emotion generated by Griffith and which Anne is trying to explain also makes a title of the original sort an ugly bet; with emotionally lighter material it would have been fine), but the article itself was very well written and argued. Will be a shame if people refuse to engage with it over poor initial titling.

And a bigger shame if folks try to paint Anne's argument as justifying Griffith's actions or apologizing for them. It is very clear that neither of those was her goal.

Souther wrote:
. When it comes to "fate" in Berserk, simply, it's cause and effect being manipulated by evil forces to create events in Berserk.


This is a pretty problematic interpretation from the modern perspective on causality. It is fundamentally a thing that cannot be "manipulated," as that only moves the chain of "Who caused what?" further backward, and replaces one cause with another.

Although one of my favorite scientist-philosophers, Stuart Kauffman, has tried to propose and champion an understanding of causality and its relationship to randomness that makes room for other determining factors like will (or weird extra-dimensional evil angel-monster critters, in Berserk's case).
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Souther



Joined: 22 Feb 2015
Posts: 523
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:35 pm Reply with quote
NeverConvex wrote:


This is a pretty problematic interpretation from the modern perspective on causality. It is fundamentally a thing that cannot be "manipulated," as that only moves the chain of "Who caused what?" further backward, and replaces one cause with another.


If you have a goal in mind, an incredible amount of knowledge and the supernatural means to shape events on a grand scale in order to achieve your goal, it's no problem at all. But to give you the short answer on this, check out a summary of chapter/episode 83. It was removed by the author, but you'll understand.

EDIT: maybe a better way of describing it would be to say evil forces create events in Berserk through cause and effect.


Last edited by Souther on Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:56 pm; edited 2 times in total
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littlegreenwolf



Joined: 10 Aug 2002
Posts: 4738
Location: Seattle, WA
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:42 pm Reply with quote
Thank you for changing the click bait title. If the headline isn't the main idea of the piece, don't use it. Picking a joke is well and good, but not when it's a horribly distasteful joke on one of the most vile rape scenes in all of manga. Playing for shock value by using a click-bait title on something as controversial as rape is cheap, and not something that should be made light of.

Some people here saying I'm overrating are a big part of what is wrong with rape culture, and if a site decides to suddenly start treating it lightly, going so far even as to make a joke out of it, it's going to lose a lot of long time readers. I'm not here for 4chan memes and mentality.
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