One of the most well-known franchises to ever originate from Japan is Berserk. The brutally aggressive dark fantasy series first gained popularity as a manga series, but it has also been successfully turned into an anime numerous times with varied degrees of success. The series' strength is evident by Berserk's inability to be left alone.
Berserk tells a moving story about a stoic swordsman on a journey against dark forces, but it’s far from the only manga that digs into such a premise. For those that still need that carnage itch scratched, then here are some excellent manga series perfect for any fan of Berserk.
Update May 13th, 2023 by Louis Kemner: Berserk is still going strong as the world's favorite seinen manga series, with Kentaro Miura's assistants and friends working hard to continue this legendary fantasy saga. After reading all of Berserk's manga updates, readers should look for other fantastic manga series with comparable battle systems, characters, or topics. Numerous of these manga series have grim antiheroes that explore gloomy themes, or they could have violent and exciting action scenes with swords, monsters, and other things. This includes a number of shonen manga series, which, despite what some fans may initially think, share more narrative ground with Berserk.
Vagabond, written and drawn by Takehiko Inoue, shares a lot of the same DNA as Berserk, as it tells the story of a wandering swordsman who yearns for a worthy opponent. Vagabond embraces historical accuracy and the tenets of martial arts more than it does fantasy and ridiculous monsters.
Vagabond's realistic nature is one of its greatest strengths and it makes the gallons of blood that are spilled in the manga have even more weight. It tries to realistically portray how isolating the life of a swordsman can be and it does so with amazing precision.
14 Ubel Blatt
Ubel Blatt is another series that bears such a strong resemblance to Berserk that it's fairly common to hear the two series discussed in the same conversation. Ubel Blatt's dark fantasy environment feels incredibly similar to the world of Berserk as unbelievable monsters intermingle with fairies and elves.
It throws this supernatural world into disarray and war, but it differs from Berserk when it comes to the hero. Koinzell, a half-human reject is a very different archetype than Guts, but he proves that he can take care of demonic forces just as effectively.
13 Blaster Knuckle
Blaster Knuckle is an amazing manga that would easily crumble under its own ambition in less competent hands. Set in the United States during the 1880s, Blaster Knuckle intentionally plays into the racial and societal problems of the time and uses them as a scapegoat for demonic behavior.
Blaster Knuckle tells a nuanced and emotional story that's as brutal as Berserk but has more to say. It’s also been specifically compared to Berserk several times in terms of how it presents violence and action in such a grand way.
Claymore is an exciting manga that leans into the half-human half-demon trope that a lot of action-adventure series embrace. Claymore's protagonist, Clare, is such an individual and she uses her hybrid status as an advantage in the war against yoma, grotesque shapeshifting demons.
Clare's conflicted position is reminiscent of Guts' duality in many ways, but the heavy demon slaying action will definitely conjure images of Berserk. There’s such a glee that’s exhibited in the sprawling action and Claymore consistently ups the stakes with its obstacles and enemies.
11 Blade Of The Immortal
Blade of the Immortal takes the usual conventions of the Samurai genre but mixes them with supernatural material in a very unique way. Manji is a notorious Samurai who has claimed countless lives but is cursed with the burden of immortality.
As a result, he's forced to roam the Earth and dole out vengeance. However, if he's able to kill 1000 evil men, he'll be allowed the luxury of death. It's a fun subversion of the norm and it doesn't shy away from the thrilling Samurai action. It's a very bloody and action-packed manga.
10 Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga is a more recent series, but it already feels very much like a worthy successor to the savage nature of Berserk. The manga explores Viking life as it provides an unflinching look at young Thorfinn Karlsefni, who's forced to quickly grow up and head into battle for his nation.
Thorfinn's development and the tragedies that he experiences along the way are powerful. It’s a manga that’s not afraid to push its characters to dark places, but it also provides a way out. When Thorfinn reaches his lowest point, he will find hope once again and find something wonderful to fight for, just like Guts in Berserk.
Kingdom is a brutal and bloody series that features some extravagant battles and some very personal confrontations, but it frames it all around questions of honor and family. Berserk’s Guts is a full-grown hero, but the protagonists in Kingdom are still figuring out life.
Kingdom appreciates the grand military glory of Berserk and it depicts China in flux as it's torn apart by conflict. Kingdom is more grounded and simple than Berserk, but it elegantly depicts the harsh reality of war and how the casualties can often cloud the purpose in the first place.
Gunnm, or as it's more commonly known, Battle Angel Alita, is the same kind of disorienting mix of genres that Berserk plays around with. Gunnm examines questions of identity, human nature, and war as it elegantly throws cyborgs into a grueling action series on a galactic scale.
The fight sequences are on a whole other level and actually reach the grandiose nature of Berserk. They may initially feel differentiated by technology, but there's so much overlap as both Guts and Alita struggle with who they're expected to be.
Gantz taps into the same level of brutality and focused carnage that's present in Berserk, but it goes in a more science-fiction and technology-heavy direction for the material. Kei and Masaru both die in a train accident, only to awaken in a new world where they're part of a game where they and other recently deceased individuals need to hunt down aliens.
Gantz's story is gripping and cuts right to the chase, but it's the wild aliens and the exaggerated weapons that are used against them that make the series such a memorable experience.
In terms of story and characters there may be plenty that's different between Berserk and Devilman, but they both mix fantasy and horror in a deliciously morbid way. It's the disturbing monster designs and the gruesome dismemberments that take place in Devilman's manga that feel most reminiscent of Berserk.
It’s very easy to transition from one to the other and they’re both trade in gore as if it’s as natural as breathing. They'll both surprise audiences with how intense they become and the progressing depths that their protagonists sink.
5 Attack On Titan
Attack on Titan is actually shonen rather than seinen, but it still has a strong overlap with Berserk regarding its narrative and themes. Like Guts, protagonist Eren Yeager is a brutal antihero who fights with incredible conviction, but he doesn't always have everyone else's best interests at heart.
Instead, Eren will fight and thrive in a world of flesh-eating Titans and far-off empires with War I technology, and Eren will embrace the dark power inside him to change the world. In that way, Eren is also like Griffith, waging war to reshape the world and create a safe kingdom for the chosen people.
4 Tokyo Ghoul
Many of the best seinen manga series may appeal to Berserk fans not because they have knights and demons, but because they share some of Berserk's most essential and intriguing themes. Tokyo Ghoul, for example, stars the dandere Ken Kaneki, who could have had a normal life but fell into the darkness instead.
Just like Guts, Ken will suffer unspeakable hardships in an unfair world, then resort to villainous, costly power to fight back and protect his best friend. Ken will become a savage antihero like Guts, but both of them also have a heroic side that keeps them in the fight even when they're tempted to become fully evil.
3 Jujutsu Kaisen
Compared to Berserk as a shonen manga, Jujutsu Kaisen undoubtedly has more comic relief and more morally upright characters, but if Berserk fans don't mind the shonen elements, they will find much to adore. Similar to Berserk, Jujutsu Kaisen is brutally violent, dark, and filled with horror elements.
In all of these manga series, the protagonist is a tough, tenacious man who works extremely hard to retaliate against his terrible fate, control his inner beast, and defend the ones he loves. A large number of the curse creatures in Jujutsu Kaisen, such as Berserk's Apostles, are pure nightmare fodder.
2 Demon Slayer
Even though it comes in a vibrant shonen wrapper, Demon Slayer, a shonen manga series, and its friendly rival Jujutsu Kaisen have a lot in common in terms of topics and storytelling. Demon Slayer is essentially the shonen Berserk, starting with a tough, guarding swordsman named Tanjiro Kamado, despite the humor and antics.
Tanjiro experienced hardship in his adolescence, and many of the people he cared about passed away. He still has his younger sister Nezuko, who also suffered, and Tanjiro will battle horrifying creatures to save Nezuko and defeat a supervillain who appears unstoppable and views humanity as his toy.
1 Fire Punch
Tatsuki Fujimoto, who is most known for his most recent novel, Chainsaw Man, created the first serialized manga series with Fire Punch. The setting of Fire Punch is a dismal Ice Age where human populations, including the protagonist Agni and his sister Luna, struggle for daily life.
Tragically, Agni's hamlet is destroyed by the supernaturally endowed evil Doma, who also sets fire to Agni and kills Luna. Agni has promised to seek out and kill Doma in retaliation and has only managed to survive because of his quick regeneration.