Kentaro Miura has died. The renowned mangaka, best known as the creator of the ongoing Berserk series, passed away May 6 from an aortic dissection. He was 54.
Although his death happened weeks ago, the news of Miura’s passing only broke today via a Tweet from his publisher Hakusensha,
— 白泉社 (@Hakusensha) May 20, 2021
“Report of Kentaro Miura sensei’s death
Kentaro Miura sensei, author of Berserk, passed away on May 6, 2021, due to acute aortic dissection. We would like to express our profound respect and gratitude toward Miura sensei and his art, and pray from the bottom of our hearts so that his soul may rest in peace.
May 20, 2021 Hakusensha Co., Ltd.”
On social media and online gaming spaces, fans worldwide expressed their shock and grief at the loss of the renowned comics author.
Dark Horse Comics, the US publishers of the Berserk manga, said,
He will be greatly missed. Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/ETQoFvTXrS
— Dark Horse Comics (@DarkHorseComics) May 20, 2021
Born July 11 1966 in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, Kentaro Miura had his first work published in 1985 in the Kondansha Weekly Shōnen Magazine. Futatabi (‘Once More’) was a one-shot story that he had originally submitted as part of the entrance examination for Nihon University’s art college. For it he was nominated as Best New Author in Weekly Shōnen. In 1988 he developed a 48-page early version of his longstanding series Berserk, which was published in Hakusensha’s Gekkan ComiComi. A year later Berserk returned as a full series in Hakusensha’s Monthly Animal House (renamed Young Animal in 1992) where it continued to be published – despite inconsistent scheduling in later years – through to his death.
Berserk follows the lead character Guts in a violent European-style dark fantasy world. 2019 saw the release of the fortieth tankōbon volume in English. A popular series, Dark Horse Comics had said in 2017 that “Berserk is one of the most popular and longest-running seinen series ever published in North America…with over 1.2 million copies sold” and it had “recently smashed onto the New York Times best-selling manga list”. Plagued by frequent hiatuses and delays over the years, fans had long expressed concern that the series would never be finished.
Miura had more recently begun a new manga series Duranki in 2019 in a “storyboards and rough copies” capacity, with his assistants at his production company Studio Gaga doing the finished work. The series follows a child that has mysterious gifts in a world heavily influenced by Mesopotamian, Sumerian, and Greek mythology.
It is Berserk for which Miura will forever be associated, and the influence of the series stretches far and wide, particularly in videogame spaces. According to Dualshockers, a gaming site, “Over the years, Berserk inspired countless other works, who most notably either borrowed Guts’ gigantic Dragonslayer sword, or recreated the series’ atmosphere and monsters. The most popular and recent example being Bloodborne by FromSoftware.”
In the massively multiplayer videogame Final Fantasy XIV, lines of Black Knights – a character class – were forming in one of the areas of the game, across all servers. This was both a tribute to Miura and the widespread admiration for his long running dark fantasy manga Berserk, which has been running since 1989.
the line keeps getting longer and longer, this is amazing
— Oz! @ 5.5 (@localhyurzen) May 20, 2021
Berserk has around 50 million copies in circulation and is considered one of the best selling manga of all time. It has been adapted into two anime series, a film series and videogames.
Miura will be missed.