The manga Berserk by Kentaro Miura has been around since 1989 and has been released in America as paperback and a few years ago in digital, but now 30 years after it’s original release Dark Horse graces us with the beautiful Berserk Deluxe Edition Vol 1. Collecting the first 3 mangas in a over-sized 7×10 hardcover, this new format is twice as large as the original releases and barely smaller than a DC/Marvel Omnibus. With some press releases from 2018 stating that this format is mangaka Kentaro Miura’s preferred format it’s easy to see why while reading it.
While browsing books it’s often said, Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but in the case for this Deluxe Edition that statement means nothing. The outer design resembles that of an older leather bound book that belongs in a museum with its title, mangaka’s name, volume, and publisher embossed in a beautiful red lettering. It seems Dark Horse went with the idea less is more and aside from the lettering on the cover is the famous Brand of Sacrifice etched on that gives a sense that the book itself is branded. The deluxe edition is gorgeous to look at and will make any bookshelf look even better once we start getting more releases. The pages inside look to be sewn instead of glued (I’m no expert on this) and its bound well enough that we have no gutter loss, giving us no double page spreads lining up awkwardly which I’ve seen often in other omnibuses and TPB’s.
Each Deluxe Edition contains three manga volumes and as this is the first volume it collects 1-3, which covers The Black Swordsman Arc, and the first chapter of The Golden Age Arc. Berserk is well known for it’s dark fantasy setting, graphic violence, and sexual content, which may scare off many people due to just how mature rated the manga can go; but if you are looking for a mature, medieval dark fantasy story then Berserk is one of the best ones out there. In The Black Swordsman Arc we join Guts (our main character) in present times as he meets Puck and goes on the hunt for Apostles to find The God Hand. After killing one at the town he stopped by the duo makes their way towards another town running into obstacles along the way. A few more kills under his belt and we meet the main villains of the series, The God Hand. Following a brief altercation between them and Guts we get a hints towards the future and a mysteries past that segments to the next arc. With the first chapter of The Golden Age Arc we get a brief glimpse of Guts past and how he become the Black Swordsman he is today.
Kentaro Miura’s art is a perfect fit for this format. With its large size it makes it easier to see every small detail Miura puts in each panel which he is well known for. Pages that looked good in the original format look spectacular in larger form, breathing a new life into the art. With how well the art transferred over it makes the wait for the other Deluxe Editions harder due to the fact that Miura’s art transformed over the years and readers were treated to painting quality visuals of structures and giant landscapes. With the release of this new addition is that the sound effects have finally been translated into English, this in itself isn’t such a big deal but it does add a little to the experience and makes this edition feel even more unique.
Readability: While reading it in a few different positions I found no matter how I read it it felt nice to hold and read through the pages, and as a nice little bonus Dark Horse added a nifty sewn in bookmark.
Final Thoughts: Just about everything in this new edition is perfect, even the price tag isn’t bad, but the one con of this magnificent package is that it comes with no extras, or bonus content, which feel like a missed opportunity. I’ve read Berserk in the original trade paper manga and in the digital format, and I can say that the Berserk Deluxe Edition feels like it was the way the manga was always meant to be read.