Japan has made many different cultural contributions that have gained serious traction within the country and even in the West, and manga is right up there with anime as one of the most significant.
In today’s guide, I’m going to take a look at some of the most similar manga to the immensely popular Berserk.
So which manga are like Berserk? Vagabond, Claymore, Gantz, Kingdom, and Vinland Saga are manga like Berserk. Most manga similar to berserk deal intimately with human themes along with a healthy sprinkling of carnage throughout their pages.
There are undoubtedly more options that you can likely find.
In this guide, I’m going to take a short look at Berserk and what makes it so unique compared to other manga and then I’ll more closely explore the alternatives that you can opt for if you’ve already burned through all of Berserk.
Berserk is one of the best manga series of all time if you judge it by the number of copies that it has sold, and it is based in a medieval world with two main protagonists. The first and more popular of the two is Guts, who is a mercenary who wanders the world on his own.
He is joined by the secondary main character, Griffith, who is the leader of the Band of the Hawk, which is a group of infamous mercenaries. Throughout the series, Berserk addresses many philosophical concepts, including morality and how it relates to human nature.
The series also dives into how human beings are resilient creatures that can undergo some of the most traumatic experiences while still maintaining the will to live. Berserk’s world is rarely a just one, and it explores how its characters cope with the fact that human beings tend to make the world a terrible place.
5 Manga Series Like Berserk
Vagabond is an anime with a historical basis, as the manga is based on the real life exploits of Musashi Miyamoto. Of course, the manga itself is heavily fictionalized, and it is not meant to be a true to life representation of the legendary swordsman’s life, but rather a story told with him as its inspiration.
That being said, Vagabond is still heavily grounded in history, as you won’t find the main character facing off against fantastic creatures but often against other people. This follows similar themes to Berserk, in which many of the antagonists and bad guys are other people instead of just monsters.
Of course, there is also the similarity that Vagabond is also based on the idea of a wandering warrior looking for a place where they belong. Of course, another major similarity between the two series is that Vagabond and Berserk both feature plenty of blood and gore, so they’re not too far apart artistically.
Claymore is a series that once again features a swordmaster as its protagonist, and Clare is a hybrid human and demon that brings the fight to her demonic half-siblings. Her position as a bridge between both worlds lends Clare an advantage that she uses to full effect throughout the series.
Many people compare Clare to Berserk’s Guts, since both characters are immensely conflicted but also capable of impressive feats. Of course, Claymore’s action heavy nature also makes it similar to Berserk in that sense, and the artwork will likely lead to a few flashbacks of your first reading of Berserk.
Once again, there is plenty of carnage that you’ll witness as you leaf through the pages of Claymore, as you may have guessed from the name of the series. Claymore consisted of 27 volumes and it was eventually turned into an anime that features 26 episodes, essentially in line with their respective volumes.
Gantz is a manga series that is set in a science fiction setting consisting of a game that is played after the participants die. In this game, the participants must use futuristic weapons to hunt down aliens. The protagonists are Kei and Masaru, both of whom previously died in a tragic train crash.
While Gantz may do away with the fantasy aesthetic that you’ve come to expect from manga series that are similar to Berserk, there are still several similar themes between the two of them. For example, Gantz features characters that are undoubtedly human, with flaws and personalities of their own.
Of course, no manga similar to Berserk would be the same if it weren’t for the recurring elements of carnage and violence. There are plenty of creative and futuristic weapons that are used in this manga to hunt down the aliens that are the targets of the game, and you’ll be sure to get a kick out of them.
Kingdom heralds a return to the medieval era, being based in China during a period of strife and constant war. Much like Berserk, Kingdom is heavily grounded in warfare and it asks many poignant questions about why people fight and why we can overlook the terrible things we do to each other in war.
Of course, no series with a basis in warfare would be complete without the violence that we’ve seen in Berserk, and there’s no shortage of it here. One major difference between Kingdom and Berserk is that Kingdom’s protagonists are still largely learning what they want to do and where they want to be in the world, whereas Guts seems to have things a little more figured out.
Vinland Saga is based on Vikings, and it follows Thorfinn as he grows older and adopts the viking lifestyle of raiding and warfare. Thorfinn is similar to Guts in that he is a lone wanderer and warrior who has to make his way through the world using only his skills and intuition.
Much like Berserk, Vinland Saga features some extreme violence and savage living conditions. Another similarity between this manga and Berserk is that neither of them are willing to treat their characters with kids’ gloves, putting them into difficult positions and dark experiences.