Kentaro Miura, the creator of the epic – and epically violent and tragic – fantasy manga series Berserk, has died. He was 54 years old. His publisher Hakusensha announced on Thursday that he passed away from acute aortic dissection on May 6th.
Kentaro Miura was born on July 11th 1966 in Chiba prefecture. He became a professional mangaka in 1985. After working on several other series, Miura began serializing Berserk back in 1989 in Hakusensha's Monthly Animal House magazine. The series continued in Hakusensha's Young Animal magazine until now. It has over 40 million copies in circulation. The dark fantasy set in a brutal medieval world follows a cursed mercenary named Guts on a journey of revenge against his former friend Griffin, who has become a demon lord slowly taking over the kingdom by presenting himself as a saviour. Miura's art is highly detailed and elaborate, closer to the European stylings of Moebius and Druillet than the cute cartoony style of Manga. It is often unflinchingly brutal, violent and gory. Dark magic, ruthless politics and an anti-Church subtext, the series was Game of Thrones before Game of Thrones came along. Berserk's impact can be seen all over pop culture, from video games like Dark Souls, Bloodborne and the Final Fantasy series to manga and anime such as Demon Slayer and Vagabond all show Miura's influence. Berserk had one anime series in 1989, an anime film trilogy from 2012 to 2013 and a more recent anime series that ran from 2016 to 2017. The 40th volume of the manga was published in 2018 and Dark Horse brought out the English edition in 2019. The story is far from over. With his passing, Berserk will now probably never be finished.
Japan is the only country on Earth where comics creators work themselves to death on a regular basis. That seems to be the price to pay for the biggest comic industry with domestic and international sales that reach tens of millions of books.
Below is a translation of the statement from Hakusensha:
Dr. Kentaro Miura has passed away
Mangaka Kentaro Miura passed away on May 6, 2021 at 14:48 due to acute aortic dissection. He was 54 years old.
We would like to express our utmost respect and gratitude to Dr. Miura's painting work and pray for his soul.
The farewell ceremony was held by the family.
Dr. Miura has written many popular works such as "Berserk" at Hakusensha for many years. He is still serializing the same work at Young Animal, and since two years ago, he has been serializing "Duruanki" at Young Animal ZERO.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our readers for your patronage of Professor Miura's work, and we would like to express our sincere gratitude for the report of his death.
Hakusensha Co., Ltd.
The Young Animal editorial department is deeply saddened by the sudden news of Professor Kentaro Miura.
How should we capture this unacceptable fact? To be honest, I can't find the words. Whenever I meet a person in the editorial department, I always remember the smile when I was cheerfully talking about my favorite manga, anime, and movies. We have never seen Mr. Miura's angry face. He was always like a fun boy.
I hope that all the fans, all the people concerned, and Mr. Miura will have a happy smile on their faces and quietly pray for their souls with the Young Animal editorial department. Thank you for your cooperation.
Young Animal Editorial Department