A cult classic, Kentaro Miura’s Berserk was first serialized in 1988 and later adapted into an animated series in 1997. A beautifully designed film series was released a few years later, and a new manga arc was subsequently adapted in 2016. This seinen series has been consistently popular for its unique as well as grotesque narrative and concepts.
Fans of this series are a select bunch. That said, their tastes can be satiated in many other ways by similar anime. Not every recommendation is going to hit the spot for Berserk‘s devoted fandom, but stories that deal with the struggle of morality, fantastical creatures, and copious quantities of gore might just do the trick.
Updated on June 5, 2023 by Ajay Aravind: Kentaro Miura’s Berserk may well be one of the most iconic animanga series of all time. This legendary narrative has continued even after the original creator’s recent death, proving just how much fans want closure from Guts’ seemingly neverending journey. Although it’s hard to find anime programs on the same level as Berserk, we’ve updated this list with entries that are certainly worth watching.
Sharing Berserk’s medieval theme, Claymore is a tale that follows Clare, a female Claymore named after the immense sword she wields. In this regard, she’s much like Guts’ legendary ‘Dragon Slayer’. The titular Claymores are human/demon or ‘Yoma’ hybrids, and use their superhuman strength and wit to defeat their demonic cousins.
These individuals can even possess other people. Similar to Berserk, this anime is based in a world filled with demons and bloodshed. More importantly, Claymore has multiple strong female roles — in comparison, Casca is the only major female character in Berserk.
8 Hellsing: Ultimate
Hellsing: Ultimate, the OVA series that closely followed the manga by Kouta Hirano, is one that immediately comes to mind when thinking of blood, gore, and monsters. Alexander Anderson, one of the supporting characters and an arch-rival out to kill Alucard, would fit in well within the Berserk universe. In other words, he is a priest within the Vatican who kills vampires.
Hellsing: Ultimate incorporates religious and paganistic themes and acts of ridding the world of heretics and sinners. In addition, the use of gigantic weaponry like Seras’ massive Harkonnen cannon bears a striking resemblance to the world of Berserk. Hellsing: Ultimate contains strong sexual themes and language, making it suitable for older viewers.
Video game turned anime, Gungrave has been described as ‘Berserk with guns.’ The premise of the story is shared between both of the main protagonists, Guts and Brandon Heat, also known as ‘Grave’. These two were once calm individuals, molded into something more sinister as they experience betrayal and loss.
Also, both characters would do anything in their power to protect their love interest/significant other, as this is all that they have left that holds meaning in their respective worlds. Guts and Grave are driven by revenge and use any means necessary to exact it, such as wielding extremely powerful weaponry and being particularly ruthless.
Bastard!!, as the title suggests, is a fantastical wild ride not suitable for young audiences. This sex-driven romp bears many similarities to Berserk in that it doesn’t shy away from mature themes. From slime that deteriorates clothing in very suggestive areas to muscle-bound men who rip both demons and men apart, Bastard!! and Berserk share many aspects.
However, Bastard!! is more comedic and not so serious at times — a dark fantasy that’s not nearly as morbid as Berserk. Both take place in medieval times and magic is heavily utilized. Fans interested in a lighthearted and romantic version of Berserk should check out Bastard!!
5 Devilman Crybaby
Devilman Crybaby, a Netflix original series based on Go Nagai’s manga, showcases many scenes of graphic nudity, gore, and sexual themes. Along with these similarities to Berserk, the premise follows two male friends, Akira and Ryo, who have a relationship like that between Guts and Griffith.
Both series contain one friend that influences the other, despite their opposing perspectives. The grotesque monsters and the use of human possession in Devilman Crybaby are reminiscent of the cursed world that Guts has to deal with on a daily basis. All in all, this anime seems to be more shock value-based rather than stricken with pain and tragedy.
4 Fist Of The North Star
Fist of the North Star is a series that most hardcore anime fans have heard of. It replicates several Seinen tropes, particularly with its male-dominated ‘save the helpless woman’ vibe. However, it also follows the story of a man, Kenshiro, as he searches his post-apocalyptic wasteland for his missing fiancee, Yuria, who was taken away by a jealous rival.
This event is rather similar to what happens in Berserk, when Guts doggedly attempts to protect Casca after she loses her memory and reverts to a child-like state. In addition, both these series have overly muscular men putting their lives on the line for a woman who has suffered greatly at the hands of someone she trusted.
3 Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Runtime: 102 minutes
The second animated film in the Vampire Hunter D series, Bloodlust is a cult favorite and one of the most beautifully animated movies of the 2000s. It follows the path of wandering dhampir (half-vampire, half-human) D, as he searches for a vampire Noble who abducted a young woman.
The premise is primarily a romance with supernatural beings and bloodshed, but its narrative is deep and brooding like that of Berserk. In that vein, the two main male protagonists, D and Guts, share many common traits. For instance, they’re quiet, reserved, extremely skilled, and devoted to their goal. For fans of the occult, this masterpiece is worth a watch.
2 Blade Of The Immortal
Another series known for its gore is Blade of the Immortal, based on the manga of the same name. This samurai tale follows Manji, a man cursed with immortality. To free himself of this hell, he must first take one thousand lives. His fate is very similar to Guts’, as both of these men are cursed, albeit in different ways.
After Guts is branded during the Eclipse, he is relentlessly followed by demons who wish to devour him. In comparison, this series contains just as much tragedy and a sense of bleak morality as Berserk. Blade of the Immortal was adapted twice, first in 2008 and more recently in 2019.
Based on the manga X/1999, X is a classic from the manga artist group known as CLAMP. Although technically belonging to the Shoujo genre, X carries numerous similarities that would appeal to fans of Berserk. X has its share of dark fantasy, with the Dragons of Earth/Heaven battling for the future of humanity, as well as a looming Armageddon.
The overwhelming sense of dread and religious undertones match well with the world of Berserk. Checking out this series would possibly open up interest in this genre, as Shoujo does not necessarily have to be girly and cheerful all the time.
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