Berserk is a no-holds-barred series created by Kentaro Miura that features elaborate art, an absorbing story full of carnage and sacrifice, and a protagonist, Guts, who is one of the most brutal and unrelenting characters in all of manga. And it’s a series that’s been a force in the industry for a little over 30 years and one that's held the mantle of my favorite manga since the day I read it. While Berserk is more so a dark fantasy, it's pages are full of so much horror that it landed a spot on my top horror manga of all time list.
In celebration of this huge milestone, Dark Horse released Berserk in a new Deluxe Edition format with the first volume coming out in 2019. At the time of writing this post, they have now released six volumes with the seventh releasing on March 9, 2021.
Check out my thoughts on the Berserk Deluxe Editions and get an inside look of the first Deluxe Edition below! I've also added our review of the Berserk Deluxe Editions on YouTube below if you'd like an inside and all-around look at the first volume!
What are the Berserk Deluxe Editions and how do they differ from the individual volumes?
The Berserk Deluxe Editions are larger format (7 x 10in) hardcover books. Each volume collects three individual volumes of Kentaro Miura’s Berserk. To give you an idea of how large these volumes are, the first Berserk Deluxe Edition is nearly 700 pages long. At the end of each volume, the original cover art is included as well. Another nice touch is the black ribbon bookmark, which is included in each volume.
There are two different printings of the Berserk individual volumes. The first were released by DMP and Dark Horse together. The DMP volumes are out of print. Dark Horse later began releasing the Berserk individual volumes on their own.
When comparing the Berserk Deluxe Editions to the individual volumes, both the DMP and Dark Horse paperbacks, the most obvious difference is their size. The individual volumes are 5.12 x 0.7 x 7.21in while the Berserk Deluxe Editions are 7.41 x 1.98 x 10.2in. The sound effects are also translated in the Deluxe Editions in the beginning volumes, which is something that was not done in the individual volumes until later on.
Potential negatives to buying the Berserk Deluxe Editions
They only release three Berserk Deluxe Editions a year
The series is still continuing with the most recent volume to release being Volume 40. Currently, the Deluxe Editions only collect through Volume 18. With that being said, if you are someone who wants to get completely caught up on the series, the Berserk Deluxe Editions are behind since they release only three a year. At this pace, it will take a little over two years for the Deluxe Editions to catch up to the individual volumes. Even so, the positives I’ll talk about below make them well worth the wait.
Positives to buying the Berserk Deluxe Editions
The Berserk Deluxe Editions are well made and they are joy to read
The Berserk Deluxe Editions look amazing and are of high quality, and as of now, they are my favorite special edition manga release to come out in recent years. The outside is covered in black pleather, which gives the book a nice texture and overall appearance. The lettering of the cover and spine has a metallic red foil look to it that shines in the light and really pops. The Brand of Sacrifice is also embossed on the front cover. They feel great in hand, stand out on the shelf, and they embody the dark and gritty style of Berserk well.
I’m so happy they made these Deluxe Editions hardcover and that they have an eye, which gives some space between the spine and the binding and allows the book to lay flat while reading. Because of these choices, the Berserk Deluxe Editions don’t have the same reading issues, such as words being obstructed by the centerfold, that I experienced with other larger format manga editions, such as the Attack on Titan Colossal Editions.
I also love the pages which are thick, and as a result, aren’t see-through. They also have a paper white color to them that is easy on the eyes and pleasing to look at. Everything is just so crisp and clean in these volumes and they are one of the best special editions in terms of quality and look that I’ve ever purchased.
They take up less space on the shelf
Three volumes of Berserk would take up approx. 2.1in, whereas the Deluxe Editions take up approx. 1.98in each. The difference here is marginal, but every little bit counts.
Kentaro Miura’s highly-detailed art shines even more in the Berserk Deluxe Editions
Kentaro Miura’s work is intricate and there is a lot to admire throughout the pages. With their larger format, the Berserk Deluxe Editions give his art more room to breathe and the panels are blown up to a size that allows you to see every little detail of his art even more so than before. This is also something you can experience in the individual volumes, but not to this scale. All around, the Berserk Deluxe Editions provide for a better viewing and reading experience.
You get more for your money
The Deluxe Editions are close to the price you’d pay if you bought the three volumes contained within them individually. Since they are hardcover and have a larger format, you definitely get more for your money with the Deluxe Editions.
Final thoughts: Are the Berserk Deluxe Editions worth it?
Without a shadow of doubt, yes. Even though they are slower to release, I have nothing negative to say about the Berserk Deluxe Edition volumes themselves. They are beautifully made and, in my opinion, they are the best way to experience and read Berserk by far.