1. The world is a very dark place
The story and world of the Berserk anime, manga and movie is an extremely dark place. It is filled with evil though, greed, murder, torture, rape, Paganistic orgies, and pretty much any bad thing you could ever think of wrapped into one package. The world of Berserk makes almost every horror movie seem like a trip to Candy Land and that’s not saying much… I mean Berserk makes Clive Barker’s Hellraiser series seem tame.
In a way, the Berserk universe is a realistic reflection of humanity’s dark side, because people do commit atrocities, such as the Cartels in Mexico and how they dismember living human bodies and scatter them all over the streets, or how Islamic and Muslim men throw acid in women’s faces, scarring and disfiguring them for life because of some perceived adultery they committed. All the rape and murder that you see in the news. Reports of pedophiles and child molesters that you read about. All of humanity’s darkest thoughts, desires and evil deeds are pretty much summed up in Berserk, which proves that the world is indeed a scary place and you either survive or you don’t.
2. Being a Mercenary is the way to go
The protagonists of Berserk are all mercenaries, which means they are swords for hire and will only work for the highest bidder. If you apply the mercenary mentality to real life, you will be highly successful. When it comes to the profession work field and getting hired on, you always want the highest paid position. The mercenary mentality may not earn you many friends in the industry, but it will earn you a higher paycheck as you are perceived as a “go-getter” (not a word, but it works). If you are not satisfied with your current job and know you have the skills to find another job, then you should very well go out any apply for that other job (the worst they can say is “no”).
Being a mercenary means you are highly skilled at what you do (which is why you get paid more than the average soldier). In the work force, you will need to hone your “fighting” skills and keep up with industry trends as well as technological trends to stay one step ahead of the competition. If you are just a mediocre worker, then you will never be more than a common foot soldier, but if you possess superior skills and knowledge, then you definitely have the opportunity to advance in your chosen career path. Being a mercenary is like being a contractor, consultant, or just a person who is interested in general career advancement. These people will do whatever it takes to get the job.
3. Ambition is everything
Griffith is the main anti-hero/antagonists in the Berserk story, but he starts out as one of the protagonists on the same side as Gatts (or “Guts” is the main character with spiky hair who carries a huge as sword). This aside, the main thing I learned from Griffith’s character is that he is willing to do anything and sacrifice anyone to fulfill his dream of becoming a king.
4. Always watch your back
The Berserk story includes elements of betrayal, which is one of humanity’s greatest flaws. Nothing feels worse than being betrayed by someone you trusted. Near the end of the Golden Arc age, Griffith was imprisoned by the King of Midland for having sex with his daughter. Even though it was consensual, the act of a common mercenary taking the virginity of the King’s only daughter before her wedding was an act of betrayal. The King trusted Griffith and even promoted him to a Noble after winning numerous battles for him, but one day Griffith just snapped and sneaked into the princess’ room and had sex with her. Griffith also betrayed and sold out his own mercenary band after they rescued him from the torture tower. At the end of the Golden Arc era, Griffith sacrificed the most trusted members of his mercenary army, including Gatts and his second in command, a woman named Casca as well as all of the other main members that stuck with him until the bitter end (Pippin, Judeau, Corkus and Gaston).
But that’s not all. When Gatts was nine years old, he was also betrayed by the man who raised him as an infant, a mercenary named Gambino. Gambino sold Gatts for one night to another mercenary (a big black dude and pedophile) named Donovan and that night Donovan sodomized Gatts for just three silver coins. When confronted about it the first time, Gambino feigned ignorance and it wasn’t until much later when he got drunk one night and admitted to selling Gatts to Donovan before trying to murder him. Gatts did of course manage to kill Gambino before he was able to kill him. Unfortunately for Gatts, the rest of the mercenary band misunderstood what happened and even though Gambino was only killed in self defense, they did not take it too well and Gatts was chased out and left for dead.
5. Never let your Ego and Emotions Control You
There was a scene in Berserk called the Battle of Doldrey when the White Hawk (this is Griffith’s mercenary band) volunteered to do the impossible; take over the impenetrable fortress of Doldrey. Where all the Midland knights failed, Griffith knew he would succeed because he knew his enemy well (Governor Gannon). Well, Governor Gannon was an arrogant man who let his heart and his ego take control of his logic. See, Gannon was a creepy old man who is also homosexual and a pedophile. He kept an entourage of young boys whom he routinely slept with (creepy and sick I know, but this is the Berserk universe). Well Griffith was one of these boys, but he did so willingly; see Griffith was a mercenary with ambition. He wanted to grow his army large enough to eventually carve out new lands for himself, but he needed money. In his mind, sleeping with one old man was much safer and easier than fighting 10 battles and it paid about the same. In a way Griffith manipulated Gannon into believing that he was in love with him.
Long story short (watch the anime), when Griffith’s mercenary band laid siege to Doldrey, not only did he face an invincible fortress, but also the Tudor Empire’s greatest general Boscogn who was well renown for his combat prowess and strategy. Governor Gannon, wanting to capture Griffith alive was distorted by his emotions. So badly did he want Griffith, he actually disrupted Boscogn’s strategy to win the battle and gave the order to empty out the fortress leaving no defenders stating that “any man who brings back the White Hawk (Griffith) alive will be promoted two ranks and given anything he wants”. Well, you can only imagine the chaos this caused among the ranks of trained soldiers as they all fought as individuals in order to get the reward. Needless to say, things didn’t end well for the Governor and even Boscogn was killed and the fortress was taken over in spite of the Governor’s army outnumbering Griffith’s White Hawks 5 to 1. The moral of the story, do not allow your emotions to distort your rational thoughts as it may get you killed (which is what happened to the Governor).
6. Life isn’t really that bad…
As I’ve said before, Berserk is a really dark anime and there are situations that the main protagonist Gatts has to deal with that no ordinary human could even imagine. The man lost his f*cking arm because he had to chop it off himself after watching the woman he loved get raped by his former best friend (Griffith). He was sodomized by a big black dude when he was nine years old, he never had any parents and he was raised by an abusive drunk. He was also branded as a sacrifice by Griffith to the God Hand and the only way he was able to escape was because Skull Knight rescued him. After the Eclipse arc, Gatts was never the same and become more cynical and chaotic neutral (not good, not bad, just doing whatever he wanted and could to survive).
After seeing what Gatts and the other characters had to go through, it just goes to show you that life isn’t really that bad, and no matter what, you just have to keep on going. For all you f*cking emo kids out there, Gatts would just tell you “go ahead and die” because the world has no use for weaklings. If you threatened to kill Gatts, he would just say “you’re more than welcome to try”. Gatts is just a f*cking bad ass character hands down and he has my respect because he proves that no matter what, you just have to keep on going; so fuck you emo mother f*ckers and your “Death Note” bull sh*t.
7. Know What You Want and Stick to Your Goals
Even though Griffith was the biggest douche bag, he was highly charismatic and well liked by everyone. While I’m not saying you should go out of your way to manipulate people, I am saying that you should always follow your dreams and do not let anyone else take them away from you.
8. Never Give Up
Gatts is marked as a sacrifice to the God Hand, which means he involved himself with demons, so he’s destined to go to hell. Not only that, but his life is also a living hell because of the brand on his neck that the Apostles gave him right before the Eclipse. This mark cursed him and no matter where he went, he would be haunted by demons and supernatural creatures, so for Gatts, life is a constant battle and he just can’t stop fighting. The day he stops fighting is the day they take him to hell. So what I learned from this is no matter how what, you just have to keep going. If you give up, then it’s end, because you will never know the outcome. Who knows? Maybe one day Gatts will be able to defeat Griffith (the guy who branded and cursed him) and lift the curse. It’s not very likely, but at least he’s trying.
9. Survival of the Fittest
In this world, you need to be a combination of skillful, intelligent, resourceful and well connected in order to make it. Berserk emphasizes upon this with Gatt and Griffith’s characters being highly skilled at what they do. Gatts is obviously the most skilled combatant and is also intelligent and resourceful but Griffith is also skilled but is also resourceful, intelligent and charismatic which allows him to be well connected. These rules apply to real life and a person’s career advancement opportunities, because you obviously have to be the best at what you do in order to be an effective asset to any organization, including one that you lead (assuming you are an entrepreneur who owns a business). If you are an entrepreneur, you will need all of these skills and possibly charisma as well in order to encourage people to buy into your products or services. Quite simply, just be the best at what you do or as good as you can.
10. Life is Possibly Determined by Destiny and Luck as well
One of the Apostles once mentioned in the Berserk Manga series that Gatts would make an excellent Apostle, but another Apostle then said it was not possible because he was not chosen and he was already marked as a sacrifice. Griffith, however was chosen from the beginning by the God Hand and his fate was already determined. There was nothing anyone could do to prevent his transformation into an Apostle because it was his destiny.
For some people, just being there at the right place at the right time is what makes or breaks them. For most people, success is determined by luck and destiny as one cannot control many factors such as winning the lottery or finding the right billion dollar idea. Many people are skilled and talented at what they do, but the real decisive factor is being at the right place at the right time. Bill Gates was talented and a genius, but he was also born in the right family, was there at the right time and place, so in a way, it may have been his destiny to become the richest man in the world one day. Most people end up just wishing and striving for this to happen, but chances are it won’t, because they were not destined for this type of thing.
My advice, is just to accept your lot in life, but always strive for greater things and never give up.