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  • The Abridged Series: Berserk Abridged
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The sword Godo offers to Guts after the Eclipse, capable of cleanly cutting through the blade of another sword and the tip of an anvil in a single swing. A merely ordinary sized sword of exceptional sharpness doesn't suit Guts' style though. It doesn't last a single fight.
  • Abusive Parents: Gambino goes above and beyond with this. It even gets him killed.
    • This is also apparent in the Retribution/Peekaf story arc for both Jill and Rosine.
  • Accidental Murder: And, Guts defended himself from said abusive parent by taking up his sword... and ramming it through Gambino's throat by mistake.
  • Achey Scars: Coinciding with Allergic to Evil, the closer Guts and Casca come into proximity with a powerful apostle, the more their brands hurt.
  • Action Film Quiet Drama Scene: The scene where the Hawks are on the border of Midland after the Griffith rescue operation. It is actually their Darkest Hour moment and the scene is very much dramatic because of this since it's building up to the much more dramatic ending such as when Griffith desperately threw himself upon Casca, and Casca resolving that she couldn't leave with Guts. However, there are still softer moments, such as Guts and Casca reassuring each other that they want to be there for each other as friends and as lovers, when the Raiders tell Guts that they are willing to follow him wherever he goes, and Judeau telling Guts to be with Casca no matter what. These moments reinforce the theme of friendship and the bond that the Hawks have with each other; thus, reassuring that our eyes weren't going to dry anytime soon after watching the final three episodes.
  • Action Girl: Casca, before... stuff happened. Subverted by Farnese, who is initially presented as a Knight Templar warrior, but is just a figurehead for the Holy Iron Chain Knights.
  • Action Prologue: Roughly the first three volumes act as this, depicting Guts ruthlessly hunting and killing Apostles. It introduces story concepts such as the Brand and its effects, Apostles, Behelits, the Godhand, and Elves. The next twelve volumes of the manga go through an extended flashback explaining how Guts got involved in all of this.
  • Action Survivor: Mentioned briefly Badassbelow, anybody who isn't a fully qualified badass but still manages to survive near-cataclysmic events for more than two volumes is basically this. That's good enough in the Berserkerverse.
  • Adaptive Armor: The Berserker Armor.
  • Adaptation Distillation / Compressed Adaptation: Given the fact that a twelve volume arc is being adapted into three one-or-so-hour long movies, the new trilogy focusing on the Golden Age arc falls into these. With The Law of Conservation of Detail in affect to save time, a lot of scenes (mainly battle sequences) were cut out in favor of the more important ones, and some scenes were meshed together with other scenes in the first film; hence, it will probably be expected in the upcoming films as well.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: We all know why Guts doesn't like being touched because he got raped as a child, and it's shown very clearly to us in the manga version with three later scenes showing how much he doesn't enjoy it: first when being tapped on the shoulder by a general, second when he mutters in his sleep when Casca is warming him, and third when Pippin picks him up for the lulz. These same three scenes show up in the anime adaptation too, only it's never explained why Guts hates being touched because the flashback sequence explaining it was omitted from the anime.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plothole: Without the Skull Knight the anime is left with a few plot holes.
    • Not to mention: It looked like Guts simply FORGOT to bring his sword for the eclypse. In the manga it was left stuck in Wyald's neck.
  • Adult Fear: No one is going to sacrifice their loved ones and turn into a demon in Real Life, but this series gives you the unpleasant feeling that even your best friends and family members are just one bad day away from stabbing you in the back. By the way: YOU, dear reader, might do the same as well. However, this is always a choice you make, as proven by the count who would rather go to hell than sacrifice his daughter to survive.
  • Adults Are Useless: A plot necessity in the Lost Children Arc, for obvious reason... Sans Guts, who's only about 20-something himself, the adults present are totally abusive, complete morons, or massive cowards. The kids, whether they're apostles or not, are shown to be more ballsy than the adults around them.
  • Aerith and Bob: The Godhand is made up of the demons Femto, Void, Slan, Ubik... and Conrad.
    • Most of the names are from science-fiction novels. Void is likely from Frank Herbert's Destination: Void; Ubik is a book by Philip K. Dick; Slan is by A.E. Van Vogt and Conrad comes from Roger Zelazny's '...And call me Conrad'. Femto is either a prefix in the metric system for extremely small lengths (multiplied by 0.000000000000001, as a matter of fact) or a technical principle (in which case it is spelled PHEMT).
    • The names are not radically different. The only reason Conrad seems strange in comparison to the others is because it's a real life name and the rest aren't.
    • Furthermore, it's a foreign name in Japan, so it doesn't really stick out.
    • How about this? We have Hawk members Guts, Griffith, Casca, Judeau, Corkus, Pippin, and Rickert. Then we have felled Red Shirt members - Dan and Earl???
      • In the manga, their names are a bit more "refined" for the period, and are called by "Dante" and "Errol".
  • Affably Evil: Griffith, to his army, might seem like the nicest, coolest guy in the world and if you didn't know better he would be... Just that if it weren't for the voice in your head screaming, "Eclipse! Eclipse! Eclipse!" every time he's on the screen to remind you why hes a true Big Bad.
  • After-Action Patchup: Casca does this a few times with Guts. These moments allowed the two to develop their relationship more.
  • Alien Geometries: Whenever the Godhand make their appearance when it's not in the typical landscape, it's usually in some weirdass Escher drawing scape.
  • Alike and Antithetical Adversaries: Started out as the Heterogeneous Heroes vs. the Homogeneous Villains variety, with the good guys, the original Band of the Hawk, having light-skinned people and dark-skinned people, men and woman, and with older and younger supporters, and the bad guys, the Tudor Empire, being composed of older white men. Later, as more plot schemes and arcs develop and characters undergo more development, it turns into a Heterogeneous Heroes vs. Heterogeneous Villains scenario.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played straight with Sonia, the Dark Chick in Griffith's new Band of the Hawk. She has a thing for morally dubious guys, be it Griffith or Irvine.
    • Subverted with Casca. Guts was never a "bad guy", he just looks like one.
  • Always Save the Girl: Guts pretty much said that so long as he and Casca survive, he doesn't give two shits about anything else. Most exemplified during the Conviction Arc, where Guts would rather an entire hoard of evil spirits infest St. Albion, killing hundreds of refugees in the process, and a whole mock Eclipse go down than let Mozgus and the citizens burn Casca at the stake as a witch.
    • Also worth mentioning that if there is even the slightest chance that Casca's sanity might be restored to her, Guts is willing to take the risk each and every time. Has been exhibited canonically and non-canonically.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Paedophilia is kinda common in Miura's work to emphasize just how crappy a place Midland is and it's not just homosexuals like Gennon who kept a harem of young boys hostage and had sex with Griffith. Just ask Charlotte. Or even better, ask Guts himself why he Hates Being Touched so much.
  • All Just a Dream: This is what Corkus convinces himself is going on after his mind snaps during the Eclipse. Unfortunately for him, believing it doesn't make it true.
    • The fact that a naked woman appears out of nowhere and attempts to seduce him doesn't help convince him otherwise.
    • Otherwise often heard among people of the Berserk-verse in general, especially those that have no connection to the Astral World.
  • All Men Are Perverts / All Women Are Lustful: A rare instance where both tropes are played equally and without any compassion for either gender.
    • The trope is most apparent during the numerous orgies and attempted/succeeded rape.
  • All Myths Are True: Thanks in part to an extended and en masse case of clapping your hands to believe. Serpico even remarked in volume 24 that ghosts and monsters were one thing, but witches and trolls were a bit too "fairy tale-ish" to believe. And since the Layered World was merged, they've become a lot more true.
  • All Trolls Are Different: They're vicious little beasts that look like a Biological Mashup between a bipedal rat and a pig, with a dose of star-nosed mole. See for your self.
  • Allergic to Evil: The Brand of Sacrifice on Guts and Casca will start bleeding or hurting if demons are near.
  • Ambiguously Brown: In the world of Berserk there seems to be two "races" under this category: individuals such as Pippin and Donovan have more African features, while people like Casca and Silat have more south Asian features. The former is played straight as they are less prevalent, especially in recent arcs, but the latter group has been subverted as they come from a country that is based off of south Asia called Kushan. Special mention goes to Casca, who, although it is strongly implied that she is Kushan, it is never outwardly stated, leading fans to categorize her in a real world context, ranging from Indian, African, Middle Eastern, mulatto, even Tibetan.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Griffith. Enough said.
  • Angels, Devils, and Squid: Being a Fantasy Kitchen Sink has allowed all three types of entities to exist in the world of Berserk in some form or another. There is a lot of overlap between them, but the Four Elemental Kings are the closest you can get to straight angels, the Apostles and Godhand are the devils, and the more malevolent spiritual entities (such as, fittingly, the Sea God) are the squid.
    • The Battle for Windham ends up as a somewhat muddled case of this. Griffith, who takes on an angelic appearance, leads his army of humans and Apostles against the now gigantic and nearly mindless Eldritch Abomination that was once Ganishka and his "army" of Cthul Humanoids.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Both Guts and Casca do this to each other right before their Relationship Upgrade, Guts being more irate and Casca being a lot more tearful. But hey - They Do!
  • Animated Armor: The Skull Knight.
  • Annoying Arrows: Played straight and subverted at the same time: the crossbows frequently used by various soldiers generally instantly pierce the armor of and kill other human beings, and while Guts himself rarely gets hit by them, a single bolt to his hand renders him unable to wield his sword two-handed, giving him a significant disadvantage in that fight. On the other hand, the Apostles are simply so large that the crossbows are simply too small to hit their internal organs, though Guts often shoots out their eyes to great effect.
  • The Antichrist: Thanks to the prophecy about the white and black hawks and the fact he wants to kill the person the freakin pope declared as The Messiah, this is technically Guts. Due to the violence Inherent in the System, this may or may not be a good thing. Or another way to look at it is that Griffith is the anti-christ since, you know, no one is supposed to know that the anti-christ is the anti-christ. Schierke refers to him as the Hawk of Darkness, and she'd know better than most people.
  • Anti-Hero: Guts, and maybe the Skull Knight.
  • Anti-Villain: Rosine.
  • Anyone Can Die: And boy howdy, do we mean ANYONE. Men, women, children and babies, horses and other animals, secondary characters - NOBODY is immune to dying a horrible and grizzly death in Berserk. While we're at it, we mind as well add that being a main character does not exempt you from any degree of suffering, only getting by with a set of Plot Armor that mind as well be made out of glass.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Especially when they turn into Apostles.
  • Arm Cannon: There's one in Guts's left hand, and he can also rig it with a crossbow.
  • Armor Is Useless: The plate armor all the Mooks wear might as well be tin foil as far as Guts's weapons are concerned, and Guts is just as Made of Iron in or out of armour.
    • Not necessarily - when fighting the apostle Grunbeld without armor, Guts says something to the effect of absolutely needing armor to survive against an enemy of his power. He also credits it with protecting him against the goat-cult leader.
    • Not to mention Guts gets some extremely useful armor. Extremely useful in the sense that it makes him stronger. As far as protection is concerned, it does the opposite.
      • The armor is also extremely useful because it's the only thing keeping the wound inflicted on him by Slan (which hurts the body and soul) from killing him.
      • Technically it doesn't make him stronger only removes the subconscious limit the minds placed on the body allowing him to push himself way, way beyond his limits. Although for all intents and purposes it makes him stronger.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: The Black Dog Knights were a branch of Midland's military consisting of the kingdom's criminals. They were incredibly ruthless, and their leader, Wyald, was a real piece of work.
  • Arrow Catch: In volume 22 by one of the Kushan army.
  • Art Evolution: The artwork in the manga was merely average in the beginning, with some characters looking rather odd, and now arguably has the best artwork of any manga. This gives a good example of how the art changes from volume to volume. With regards to Guts, the guy we see the most, he's been getting more square-jawed and square...faced as the series go on. More illustrated references for your convenience.
  • Artifact of Doom: Behelits, egg-like items that are direct conduits to the Godhand and allow their possessors the opportunity to become demons... for a hefty price. Griffith's Crimson Behelit, the 'Egg of the Conqueror', is the worst of all.
    • The Berserker Armor as well.
  • Artificial Limbs: Guts's arm.
    • Subverted in that while its usefulness in combat is handwaved by a magnet in it that lets it help hold a sword his fake arm is actually just a hunk of metal with some weapons inside it -- it's not functional as a limb, and he can't control it or grab things with it. Although it's a looong time between when he gets it and when this is explained...
      • But when his magic armor is active, he can use it like a normal limb.
  • Art Shift: Puck and Isidro.
  • Asleep for Days: After being rescued from the Eclipse, Guts and Casca were out of it for at least 3-4 days. After Guts finally wakes up, he awakens into a nightmare.
  • Assassin Outclassin': It's pretty much been proven that attempting to assassinate Griffith will ultimately lead to the conspirator's own assassination.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Guts' main combat strategy.
  • Author Existence Failure: What many fans fear will eventually happen due to the series' lax release schedule.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: One could say it happens for Griffith, if only the whole thing didn't take place in hell, a crown was involved, and his friends weren't being eaten alive.
    • Perhaps chapter 307 is more appropriate when Griffith summons his own PALACE
  • Awkwardly-Placed Bathtub: During their stay in Vritannis, Casca is given a bath by Schierke - in the cramped room that they paid for at an inn with Guts and Isidro still present in the room, veiled by only curtain and Schierke's attempt at tying Isidro to a chair so that he won't peek. Much Hilarity Ensues.
  • BFS: The Dragonslayer; originally done as a marketing gimmick, it's actually justified later in the series - it doesn't really have much of an edge, and other characters mock it as being "more a slab of iron than a sword", but Guts swings it fast enough to tear people in half with brute force.
    • The ginormous sword comes with an additional advantage: Durability. All the swords Guts used in the Golden Age arc broke at some point. Usually in the middle of a battle. His last "normal" sword didn't even last thirty seconds because Guts abused it so badly it snapped like a twig.
    • Not only is the Dragonslayer ultra durable, but it also double serves as a shield, since the blade is wide enough for Guts to hide his vital spots behind when on the defensive and to also deflect projectiles.
      • To further elaborate, when Guts was about to go Apostle-Hunting for the first time, he used a giant sword much like he used during his mercenary days, only to discover that despite its size, the Apostles were simply so large and tough that the sword generally broke before he could kill them. Discovering the Dragonslayer a second later, he realized it was one of the few weapons capable of killing them, purely because of its incredible mass.
  • Babies Ever After: How Griffith envisioned life with Casca if his original plans did not go accordingly right before he activated his crimson behelit via Despair Event Horizon when he saw Casca in love with Guts.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Brutally subverted in Guts and Casca's relationship. Guts and Casca conceived their child right around that point in the story where things take a strange optimistic turn in their relationship... and of course, it does not last. When that baby was born, Guts was not happy. Although, to be a bit more sympathetic on Guts' part, it could be that he doesn't hate the child in itself, but rather what the child represents: the byproduct of a horrible event that he failed to prevent from happening to Casca, an event that pretty much quashed any chances that Guts and Casca could have had of actually having a real family (since it was implicated from their interaction with the mysterious child on the beach that the two would not have made bad parents).
  • Backstory: There's a lot of it. Eleven volumes, in fact.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Guts and Casca get one of these.
    • Two, actually, when they were fighting the Bakiraka in the sewers. Those were the good ol' days.
  • Bad Dreams / Nightmare Sequence: Guts has a lot of these, first due to his childhood trauma, and then after the events of the Eclipse. What's worse is when people, specifically Puck and Schierke, go into Guts' inner memories, they are bombarded with horrific images of the Eclipse. Also, in the non-canonical game Sword of the Berserk, when Casca briefly regains her sanity, she said that she was having bad dreams.
  • Badass: When your name is Guts and you can survive two years of drawing demons to you like a lightning rod, you earn the title...
    • And the Skull Knight also qualifies in a big way. He's been in the demonslaying game even longer than Guts has, and it's rumored that he went through the exact same thing Guts did when Void first became a Godhand.
      • He's also hinted to be the former Emperor of the World. Now that's badass (in its own way).
        • Heck - any character who survives more than two volumes is a badass by default.
          • I wouldn't be so quick to say that. That would include Farnese, Puck, Isidro, Corkus, the King, Charlotte...the list goes on. Berserk pretty much demonstrates how it's better to be lucky than skillful (or even useful on a regular basis).
          • Needless to say, Berserk is just LOADED with badass. The examples listed on this page are just the tip of the iceberg. If this wasn't such a shitty place to live with all of its flaws, the Berserkerverse would just be a World of Badass. Aw, hell - it IS. See below.
  • Badass Bandolier: Guts and Judeau have them for their throwing knives (though Judeau had them before Guts started carrying knives). Just in general, there are bags and pouches everywhere in Berserk (we weren't kidding about Miura being ultra detailed with the costumes). They're so prominent that they have become a Memetic Mutation within the fandom. Here are some examples.
  • Badass Cape: Oh yeah, Guts has one all right, huge, sweeping, black, tattered, and always billowing at just the right times for maximum effect.
    • Griffith as well, with a neat, well-kept white cape in contrast.
    • And the Skull Knight's got one too.
    • Casca could count too. In fact, she, Guts, and Griffith are the only members of the Hawks to wear 'em, which certainly signifies their Badass status among the Hawks.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Guts and Schierke are this.
  • Badass Crew: The Band of the Hawk, baby.
  • Badass Grandpa: Azan is well past his prime...and still kicks ass!
  • Badass Normal: Guts earned the title...and that goes double when it's done without superpowers.
    • Most of the original Band of Hawk fall under this trope.
    • Serpico counts as this: He can stand toe-to-toe with Guts by using superior tactics, which include fighting him in areas where his bulk and oversized weapon are a disadvantage.
      • To emphasize, Serpico does this same tactic more than once to Guts.
    • Roderick counts as well: he's not much of a swordsman or a demonslayer, but a superior sea captain. Put him in command of his ship, and he racks up the kills on the high seas.
  • Badass Transplant: As though Guts needed to be any more badass.
  • Band of Brothels: Luca and her girls.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Played straight initially -- Griffith is a Ken doll -- and averted later in the story -- some pages could easily be mistaken for Hentai -- though it's played as much to elicit revulsion as arousal.
    • Not to mention Puck, who literally shows this trope off every time he appears.
    • Oddly enough, men have genitalia but no nipples.
  • Bathtub Scene: Post-Eclipse Casca gets a few of these. Cue in the Les Yay with either Farnese or Schierke!
    • Farnese gets one as well when she returns home for a short time.
  • Batman Cold Open: The series opens up with Guts killing some nameless Apostle (who's later revealed to have killed Corkus) within the first five pages.
  • Battle Couple: Guts and Casca become this before the Eclipse.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: At one point in the Millennium Falcon arc, Schierke has to go inside Guts's mind using Astral Projection to snap him out of the influence of his inner beast the first time he uses the Berserker Armor.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Discussed by General Adon during his first encounter with Casca, where he incorrectly assumed that she only became a general in the Band of the Hawk because she slept with Griffith. Really more of a "Be A Whore To Get Your Promotion" scenario.
  • Beach Episode: Hey, even Guts and his True Companions need a break at the ocean, what with all of the weird shit they go through day after day.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Subverted in Guts' new group with the three ladies (excluding Evarella). Schierke is The Smart Guy, always formulating the plans but doesn't use physical action. Farnese would be the brawn, though she isn't an experienced fighter, but she's the most willing to put up a fight when necessary. And Casca is the beauty, as she is the most beautiful in the group, can't fight in her current condition, but is the person that everyone in the group wants to protect.
  • Beauty to Beast: Griffith, he got better though... which, considering it came at the cost of his immortal soul and his sacrificing the lives of those loyal to him, it was hardly typical.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason why grumpy ol' exiled Godo adopted little orphaned Erica. Yay!
  • The Bechdel Test: Can you believe it? In such a dark setting, with such manly values and violent surroundings, there ARE indeed times when two named women talk to each other about something else than men. Can be survival (Luca and Nina), feeling out of place among regular people (Sonia and Schierke) or just plain outlook on life as a woman in a Crapsack World (Farnese and Lady Vandimion).
    • It's funny that Casca, the series' only genuine Action Girl, only talks to a woman once - and it's about a guy. In fact, Casca talks a lot about the guys in her life (but being a chick who is practically One of the Boys, it's somewhat understandable).
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Arguably justified with Griffith, though it's not quite the torture that sends him over the edge, but more the consequences that followed afterwards.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Guts is a cocksure, ultra-macho, Alpha male Jerk with a Heart of Gold who has been Raised by Dudes and who usually hits before speaking. Casca is a fiery, type-A Tsundere, Alpha female Hot Amazon who had to deal with sexual assault early on in her life and isn't exactly the submissive type. He has a thing for her, but is too maladjusted to convey such feelings. She has a thing for him, but also her pride and dutifulness as a commander. They go for the next best thing.
  • Berserk Button: Well DUH!! But more seriously, there are two things that cause Guts' instant Unstoppable Rage: a) Meeting a Godhand or post-Eclipse Griffith. Period. b) Anyone trying to hurt Casca only has a few seconds left to live. And these seconds will be filled with pain.
    • It don't stop with daddy. The Child, a being that was originally thought to have no real emotion or thought, was seen with a pretty damn scary Death Glare when some pagan worshipers tried to rape Casca. They paid for it dearly.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Griffith. Do not stand in the way of his dream unless even if you have a death wish.
  • Big Bad: The Idea of Evil, the deity that created the Godhand, or Griffith who provides the primary motivation for the story.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The entire Godhand as a group may count, being the ringleaders of the majority of Apostles encountered Until it's revealed they are being led by The Idea of Evil
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The Battle of Doldrey. It's going to be even more glorious when the second movie comes out. The final battle against Griffith and Emperor Ganishka can count as well.
  • Bigger Bad: The Idea of Evil cosmically, it's on the very top of the Berserk-verse as far as evil is concerned, but it has little to do with Guts' quest.
  • Big Good: Griffith, in spades, though he always seemed to have an absolutely nasty side to him even before The Eclipse. It's just that only Guts ever caught a glimpse of it. Nowadays, however, Griffith is the resident Dark Messiah, having cruelly betrayed Guts and the entire Hawks Band to the Godhand as Femto.
    • With Griffith "stepping down" from the role, the Skull Knight, the most powerful opposition to the Godhand, now qualifies.
    • On a more personal level, the strongest force of good is definitely the love between Guts and Casca.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Skull Knight pulls this perfectly when he breaks into hell, fights past the Godhand, and rescues Guts and Casca from being eaten.
    • In general the Skull Knight has turned this skill into an art, for whenever he appears he only ever does two things: either mutter something mysterious and prophetic and vanish, or to rescue someone with a great deal of flair.
    • Averted twice with Vardas' public execution by the evil Count. Puck tries to talk Guts into doing one of those but he refuses and leaves. Puck then tries to pull it off himself and fails miserably. Justified for Guts who knows well this is clearly a trap meant to pull him into a stupid heroic rescue where he would be overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: What? What the hell do you mean this isn't the epitome of romance in the series? There's gorgeous Scenery Porn and Guts's Badass Cape is blowing in a caressing manner around the two. It's even more glorious in amazing technicolor.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Definitely Guts.
    • And even more definitely Azan.
  • Big "Shut Up!": When the Hawks get sent to the Vortex and nearly everybody is panicking - especially Corkus - Casca tells everybody to shut up in order to get them back in line.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: In their own circle, Pippin is the huge guy, Corkus is the skinny guy, and Judeau/Rickert are the short guys. Guts, Griffith, and Casca have their own dynamic.
  • Bishonen: Griffith
  • Black and Grey Morality: In Berserk, most people are either a monster (literally), have been turned into bastards by the horror of their world, or make themselves bastards in order to survive. There are some genuinely nice people around, but you have to look harder for them.
    • Probably because they're almost inevitably raped and/or torn apart.
      • In midland, being good is inevitably the mark of being a Red Shirt.
  • The Blacksmith: he likes to see the sparks fly up...
    • Don't forget Rickert. He's the one who assembled Guts' artificial arm/cannon and a lot of other useful items for him.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: Hawks' scanlation.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Luca is the redhead, Nina is the blonde, and Casca is the brunette during their time together.
  • Blood From the Mouth: Like waterfalls.
  • Blood Knight: Nosferatu Zodd.
    • Also Guts. He thoroughly enjoys violence, and although he always fights with a purpose, he does enjoy it very much.
  • Body Horror: Surprisingly used sparingly. A notable example is Gaston's death during the Eclipse.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Serpico, for Farnese. Also, every female ever who gets protected by Guts, even if it's just for a little bit. Even if they're, like, eight. Except for Casca.
    • Also true for Caska aswell, before she went crazy of course. Although its debatable if Caska didn't already have feelings for Guts before he single handedly killed 100 mercenaries to protect her.
  • Boob Bite: Played for Fan Disservice in volume 23 when Guts, being influenced by the beast to rape Casca, bites her over her nipple. It's only when she yells out in pain that he stops and is absolutely horrified at what he has done to her.
  • Boobs of Steel: Though female anatomy is drawn on a realistic level (but it still doesn't protect them from having the most Clothing Damage done to them), Slan presentably has the largest pair of breasts, being the most powerful female character in Berserk. A close second would be Casca, who is the series' only genuine Action Girl.
  • Bow and Sword In Accord: Guts uses a BFS and crossbow, though he prefers melee and is armoured appropriately.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Guts meets Casca. Guts loses Casca during Eclipse and abandons her after. Guts finds Casca again by saving her at the Tower of Conviction. Now, boy just needs to cure girl of her insanity in order to actually "be" with her again.
  • Brain Bleach: Do yourself a favor: get a membership to Costco or some other warehouse club, because you will need to replenish your supply a lot during the course of this series. You'll need over 5 gallons of the stuff just to get through the Golden Age Arc with your sanity slightly intact - AND IT JUST GETS WORSE.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Casca.
  • Breast Plate: Averted -- Female warriors in the series usually dress reasonably sensibly, when they're wearing anything at all.
  • Breather Episode: Their beach chapter doubles as this as the true companions have a rare chance at self-reflection and sharing their feelings as well as eating delicious and improvised seaside cuisine. This lasts for a good few hours before some more monsters come to attack them!
  • Bridal Carry: Caska gets this treatment from Guts after her fight with Adon.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: ... And you wouldn't after seeing an Apostle for the first time?
  • Broken Ace: Griffith.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Casca played the bro when she initially chose Griffith over Guts after saving him from torture. It didn't end well.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu
    • The Skull Knight unintentionally does this to the mountain-sized Eldritch Abomination that was once Ganishka. Ganishka dies, but his death ends up merging all layers of the world at once, flooding the entire planet with astral creatures in minutes!
    • With the help of the merrows, Guts was able to pierce the Sea God's heart and kill it. But being stuck inside the monstrosity with many grievous injuries left him in little position to be able to escape it on his own as it began to "collapse" all around him.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Serpico is Farnese's half-brother. She isn't aware of this, and she developed feelings for him in their teenage years and even made a very emotionally charged advance on him. Serpico being in the know, he resisted.
  • Bug War: Guts' entire battle against Rosine and her minions was basically this. Remember that Rosine didn't just transform children into insectoids, but also adults.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The holy iron chain knights try to capture a severely wounded Guts alive. He tries to play nice for a wile since he knows his opponents aren't really his enemies. But when they poke him too much... EEEK!!
    • An instance came up during the Golden Age Arc after the Hawks' first encounter with Nosferatu Zodd, where some nobles caught wind of the supposed supernatural account and decided to snark Guts off (who was walking with crutches at the time). Guts promptly smashes one of the noble's feet with the end of his crutch, and he actually had the balls to try and challenge Guts to a duel... a good stern and scary Death Glare set him straight.
  • Burn the Witch: Casca gets herself into this predicament when she is suspected of having evil supernatural powers thanks to the brand on her breast that attracts evil it was actually the presence of she and Guts's corrupted child that sparked the accusations both among the pagans who wanted to rape her and the Holy Iron Chain Knights who wanted to torture her, since the child summoned the demons in order to protect her in both situations.
  • But Now I Must Go: And everything goes horribly wrong in T-minus 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Hey! Princess Charlotte! Free tonight?
  • Butt Monkey: The pirates just can't catch a break. Even after they're all transformed into hideous monsters.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: It's actually done realistically by Guts on an unconscious Casca. She gurgles up the water and everything.
  • Call Back: Oh, a lot. Especially with Apostles. During the Eclipse, we see three Apostles from the first three chapters of Berserk - the nameless female demon that has sex with Guts (in disguise, of course), Baron Koka and The Count. Furthermore, the Lost Children arc is focused around Rosine and (to a lesser extent) her two semi-Apostle insect henchmen, who attacked Rickert's camp with the Count just before the Eclipse. And during the sequence where Griffith rescues Charlotte from Ganeshka, we see Borkoff, the Apostle who took Guts's arm.
  • Canon Dis Continuity: Chapter 83, in which Griffith meets The Idea Of Evil, has been removed from all printings by request of the author on the basis that it gave away too much of the plot too soon. In this case, it might be only temporary.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: During the Eclipse Judeau attempts to confess his love for Casca but is only able to say "I'm glad to see you cry," before dying in her arms, lamenting that she never thought of him as more than a valuable ally.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Godhands have one goal in their eternal lives: making humanity as miserable as possible. They take their job VERY seriously and gleefully go to unimaginable extremes to turn the world of Midland into a living hell.
    • Even better, the Idea Of Evil itself presents itself to Griffith with its very name when they meet.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Even incidental background characters, human or otherwise, are given unique and distinct appearances.
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Casca caught Guts's heart on his cape during the Griffith rescue operation.
  • Caught in the Rain: The predicament that led to Guts and Casca's second Intimate Healing encounter and an eventual Relationship Upgrade from reluctant comrades to actual friends.
  • Chain of People: Happened in volume 19 on the Tower of Punishment, when Luca falls off a ledge during Mozgus's attack and Nina, then Jerome, then Isidro grab on hold. She still falls, but the Skull Knight saves her.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Guts is powerful enough to carry the Dragonslayer because he's spent his entire life in battle, and as a result is hellishly strong.
    • Plus, he learned how to use a sword as a child, using a full size adult sword, which taught him to use larger swords than normal from an early age.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Subverted with Rosine, who is driven to believe that she is the center of one by parental abuse, then sacrifices her parents to fulfill her dream. By the time Guts fights her, she's been kidnapping children from nearby villages to turn into demonic fairies for a while and is practically insane.
  • Character Development: Farnese goes from being a clearly unbalanced Knight Templar / Stepford Smiler to a quasi Team Mom while learning magic from Schierke. Also, Schierke herself, after a few adventures, starts seeing just why maybe humanity might be worth saving, after all.
    • This applies to many characters. Guts in particular is a prime example. As one that has the most fluid character development, he's also the most human of all the characters. He has changed throughout throughout the story, from the vicious and cruel Blood Knight that we was in the early portions of the manga, to the more calm, composed, and melancholy warrior (with a Super-Powered Evil Side that threatens to surface at times) that he is now.
    • Even some minor characters, such the young girl Jill and the insecure prostitute Nina, develop in their own subplots.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: A literal one. Toward the end of the Golden Age Arc, while Guts and Casca are (badly) recuperating after the events of the Eclipse, Ericka shows Rickert Godo's storage shed, which contains a lot of nifty weaponry and accessories - among them being several prototype prosthetic limbs and the Dragonslayer itself.
  • Chekhov's Gun: We already know how important the Behelit is in the manga, but in the anime it is treated in this fashion.
  • Chest Burster: Nastier monsters such as the trolls of Qliphoth and Ganishka's demonic soldiers are born this way.
  • Child Soldiers: Guts in his youth and Rickert.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Guts and Casca were both forced to kill somebody out of self-defense when they were kids.
  • The Clan: The Bakiraka.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The whole reason why The Idea of Evil exists. Also implied in the manga as the reason elves exist, prompting Puck to whip out a banner saying "Cognito Ergo Sum" whenever someone says that they think he's not real.
    • Arguably EVERY SINGLE supernatural thing on the series is more or less the result of this, as Qliphoth is implied to be formed from human nightmares and the demons are all people transformed of God Hand, which in turn come from The Idea Of Evil. This is what makes the monsters so terrifying; no matter how many you kill, there will always be monsters around thanks to mankind.
    • Also discussed in volume 24 during the groups' time at the mansion of the spirit tree, where Isidro suggested that if supernatural entities appeared because people believed in them, then all they'd have to do is stop believing and they wouldn't get hurt! Schierke added that it wasn't that simple.
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: The jerkwad aristocrats who hate Griffith's peasant guts love doing this in their dark, shady headquarters of cunning-ness. Yes, clasping your hands at your eventual downfall always assures your victory.
  • Cliff Hanger: The anime ends on a weird but nonetheless climatic cliffhanger.
  • Clingy Comedy Villain: Adon.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Griffith's Behelit.
  • Clothing Damage: Casca. A lot.
    • Guts also suffered from clothing damage while he was killing apostles during the Eclipse (though not to the extent of which Casca suffered) and when his armor got ripped off by Slan when she manifested in Qliphoth.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Boy fucking howdy.
  • Cock Fight: A strange variation. It happens between Guts and Casca over Griffith in the first part of the manga but the object of the fight turns about in an very dark twist during the Eclipse when Griffith rapes Casca in front of Guts.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: An important message from the King of Midland asking him to kill the shit out of some people ain't going to stop Wyald from banging one of dozens of women in his room.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: This happens a lot. Guts to the Apostles, the Apostles to humans, Mozgus to everyone he encounters (because maybe they might have been having some heretical thoughts at some point in their lives), the King of Midland to Griffith, so on and so forth.
    • The most vile example is what Casca and Guts went through when Griffith horrifically raped Casca during the Eclipse. Not only is she being horribly violated, but the brand on her chest is causing her excruciating pain during every waking moment, since Casca is most likely the closest any human has ever been to a Godhand. This is also a very cruel form of torture for Guts, since he's being Forced to Watch all this happen to the love of his life by his best friend and he can't do a damn thing about it, even after chopping off his arm to try and save her. And it's made even worse since Griffith is smiling at him while he's doing this. It's no wonder that Casca's mind just shattered after the events and Guts virtually hates the entire world now.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Take a shot every time Guts uses a child as a hostage or for bait. Better yet, don't--it's dangerous.
  • Combat Sadomasochist
  • Comic Relief: Plenty, in contrast with the series' usual grim tone.
    • Puck seemingly exists for this reason.
  • Competence Zone: At the end, only an army made up of older teens and early twenty-something year olds were able to win Midland's war.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Why Apostles have been demoted to Elite Mooks in recent chapters.
    • Already in effect before. The larger a group of baddies gets, the quicker they go down.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: A non-Reset Button variant. Before the Eclipse happened and, stuff happened to her, Casca became pregnant when she and Guts made love, but neither of them were aware of the pregnancy until Casca miscarried their corrupted fetus due to the extreme trauma she sustained from the Eclipse. However, since the fetus was touched by the supernatural world - and accepted a nature of evil in the process - it survived and continues to be presence within the series.
  • Conveniently-Timed Attack From Behind: How Guts reintroduces himself to the Hawks after the one-year time skip, when he kicks Silas (random mook in the first anime) In the Back when he corners Casca.
  • Cooldown Hug: Casca dished these out to great effect when she was sane. Guts does this to her upon their reunion in the Retribution arc.
  • Cool Old Guy: Godo The Blacksmith.
  • Corpse Land: In an early story in the manga, Guts passes through the remains of an old battlefield with a priest and his family on pilgrimage and has to fight demon-possessed skeletons and other undead because of the Brand he bears.
  • The Corrupter: The Beast.
  • The Corruptible: First it was Griffith, and the process completed. In fact, we can go on to say that anyone who is destined to become an apostle is this. Now this is Guts, due to The Corrupter mentioned above.
  • Cosmic Plaything: *FacePalm*. Okay. Where would you like to start? The part where Guts's life sucked even BEFORE he was born and how he narrowly escapes death every twenty-five minutes or how Casca has an invisible blinking sign that says "Rape me!" to all men in a ten mile radius? Why even bother explaining it here? See below.
  • Costume Porn: Armor, clothing, dresses. If it's worn on the human body, Miura draws it in exquisite detail.
  • Coup De Grace: Femto tries to do this to the unconscious Guts and Casca, but Skull Knight swoops in to save the day.
  • Covers Always Lie: Volume seven depicts Guts with a shield. Guts never uses a shield.
  • Cradling Your Kill: After accidentally stabbling Adonis, the son of Earl Julius, a horrified Guts holds the dying boy's hand until it slips lifelessly out of Guts'. The moment changed Guts.
  • Crapsack World: Oh yeah. Some people manage to survive and better themselves, but for most, it's a nightmarish existence topped off by a nightmarish death. To put it simply, life in Midland sucks.
    • If you're a peasant, there is substantial evidence in the manga that your sole purpose is to be cannon fodder for whatever instance of nightmarish horror is currently roaming around. This is discounting the general misery caused by constant wars between neighboring countries, the in-series equivalent of a demonic version of the Crusades and the reconstruction of the entire world based on the vision of a spiteful, backstabbing sociopath.
    • And it's implied that if your nightmarish death is brought about by demons, then you go straight to a great morass of souls surrounding a giant heart. And even if you don't, it's implied everyone goes there when they die, without exception. It isn't really Hell as the Judeo-Christians see it (if it had an analogy, it would be in the Shinto Jikoku, or "land of the dead," which is also a place which everyone goes to when they die), but from what has been shown of it in the manga, it isn't a very pleasant place.
    • Face it: if you started out as a halfway decent person in this world, you probably won't be going out as one (either because you'll be literally chopped in half by some demon or you'll give up your humanity to become one of those who causes the suffering, either metaphorically or via Behelit).
    • Yet even with all the horrible things going on, the world itself has stunningly beautiful natural landscapes brimming with life. It has the potential to be a really nice place to live if not for humanity who are so good at ruining everything for themselves.
  • Creepy Child: The kid Casca found on the beach and is implied to be the Fetus Terrible mentioned on the other pages.
  • Creepy Souvenir: The torturer in the Tower of Rebirth cut off Griffith's tongue and made it into a necklace. But he got his.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Oh my god...where do we begin?!?
  • Crusading Widower: Guts. Though he didn't marry Caska and he wasn't the dad to the Hawks, but this is essentially what he becomes.
  • Cry Into Chest: Casca does this a lot with Guts, both before and after they become a couple, with tears and without. Princess Charlotte does this with Griffith as well.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Holy See.
  • Cue the Sun: Normally represents how Guts (and companions) has survived another harrowing night of fighting ghosts and hellspawn.
  • Curse: Though they survived the Eclipse, by bearing the Brand of the Sacrifice Guts and Casca are doomed to be followed by evil spirits and demons until their dying breath, where they will then have to serve an eternity in hell.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Guts is granted the Berserker Armor, which gives him incredible strength and speed, but it deadens the nerves so that the one who wore the armor would just fight and not feel anything. Guts has to wear this, or else he'll die due to the injuries he sustained in a fight with Slan.
  • Cute Mute: Casca, after what happens to her. Poor, poor Casca.
  • Cute Witch: Schierke.
  • Cut Short: The anime, and frankly, they couldn't have kept it going without giving the censors a set of heart attacks...
    • Although seeing as how it ended with Guts cutting off his own arm and Casca being raped while Guts is forced to watch as the cost of his eye, its questionable how much worse it could get.
      • ...This is Berserk. It can always get worse.
  • Dances and Balls: Lots of dancing balls are hosted by aristocrats. Most of them end in incredibly violent ways.
  • Darker and Edgier: After reading this page, it should be obvious that Berserk is arguably the best example of the trope in manga.
    • It's even Lampshaded in the American volumes, which bear this text on the back cover:

  Berserk is the hammer of the manga forge, a white-hot amalgam of bruising action, breathless horror, and brimstone humor that separates men from boys, wheat from chaff, and heads from shoulders! DO YOU WANT TO LIVE FOREVER?

  • Dark Fantasy: In spades.
  • Dark Is Evil: Just about all Apostles are evil by nature, and obviously so...
    • Dark Is Not Evil: ...But it's not always the case. Some spiritual beings look creepy but are otherwise fairly benign, the aptly named Skull Knight largely devotes his time to fighting the forces of evil, and the Black Swordsman himself, Super-Powered Evil Side aside, is the hero of the story.
  • Dark Messiah: Griffith after he uses the Crimson Behelit to become the fifth member of the Godhand. However to the people of Midland it is Guts. This is not going to end well.
  • Darkest Hour: Once the Hawks make it to the border of Midland, they must come to terms with their predicament: they've been outcasted from the kingdom and Griffith is mutilated beyond repair. The dream is over.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone seems to have their moments in this doom and gloom world, but Serpico takes the cake.
  • Deal with the Devil: What essentially happens when a Behelit is activated and the Godhand is summoned.
  • Deadly Upgrade: The Berserker's Armor?
    • Also Guts didn't always have the Dragonslayer.
  • Death by Childbirth: Berserk loves to play this trope for the Squick. The most "normal" case happened to Guts, whose mother bore him either post-mortem or while she was being hanged. Other cases include women whose children were demonized (or were impregnated by demons) being gruesomely killed when the demonic spawn claw out of their mothers' wombs.
  • Death By Origin Story: Everybody who died in the Golden Age arc, which is basically Guts' back story.
  • Death Wail / The Scream: Played for tragedy during the Eclipse. First, Guts screams in rage, anger, and sadness after seeing the slaughtered remains of his friends and comrades in a lake of blood. Then, after going through the immense horror of being forced to watch Casca get raped by Femto, Guts howls a scream that we can only describe as sheer pain when he watches her fall limp and broken after Femto is done with her.
  • Death World: The world of Berserk has never been a pleasant place, but ever since the magic came back, it's gotten even worse! Various spiritual creatures, including dragons, hydras, trolls, and sea monsters have appeared and have since been wreaking havoc on the unprepared populace.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Subverted when Guts demands a rematch from Griffith, and then Double Subverted when he's beaten anyway, and is enlisted into the Band Of The Hawk.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The Godhand.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Griffith.
    • If he does qualify for this trope, then it would be the milder variety where he uses sex as a means to manipulate others, be they young princesses or ugly, depraved old men--who happen to be very rich.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Crossing this is pretty much required to activate a Behelit.
    • Which invariably leads to crossing moral lines.
  • Determinator: Guts is essentially the poster boy for the trope. Beat him, burn him, even impale him, he will not let go of that sword. And let's not forget Griffith, who's willing to achieve his childhood dream even if it means everyone close to him being eaten by demons... and becoming one himself.
  • Deus Angst Machina: After losing all his friends and 15% of his body in the Eclipse and having to watch helplessly while Femto raped Casca to the point of madness Guts understandably loses it. Ok, that was pretty bad. This must be the bottomline! Of course the Skull Knight promptly arrives to inform Guts about the more unpleasant properties of his brand that will keep him from ever sleeping again and finally it is revealed that Casca was pregnant of Guts child and the embryo was corrupted by Femto into a ghastly demon. And that's just the beginning...
  • Deus Ex Machina: The Skull Knight sometimes comes off as this. However, there is a catch: Even the Skull Knight is revealed to be an Unwitting Pawn who just plays out his predestined role. So there is no such thing as coincidence in this universe.
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: The ending to the anime. NO, OH GOD NO.
  • Diagonal Cut: Serpico's Wind Sword has this effect.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: In chapter 290, after a battle with the pirates, Farnese and Roderick have a heart-to-heart talk about how each person on board has a special role, and Roderick let it slip that she's taking care of Casca, the most important person in Guts's life. He then thinks to himself that that was probably not the best thing to say to her...
    • Casca also does this in volume 10 during the Griffith rescue operation. She wound up telling Guts that she was more or less jealous of Princess Charlotte and her affection toward Griffith... even though she and Guts had just shared an entire love scene together a few nights previous. You can guess that Guts wasn't too happy at hearing this tidbit and Casca immediately regrets saying it and tries to apologize, but the damage has already been done.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Well what did you expect from a guy whose mission is to take out God himself? Guts puts himself up against unimaginable adversaries and usually comes out victorious one way or another. That being said - and living in this kind of world - Guts doesn't come out of fights without some damage being done.
  • Dirty Business: Guts left the Band of the Hawk partly because he was uncomfortable with being Griffith's personal assassin and having to kill a child.
  • Dirty Coward: Played with during the Tower of Conviction arc. Nina is definitely a coward, but Luca tells her that because of that, she might be the one who'll fight the hardest to live. She's also portrayed slightly more sympathetically than is usual for this trope, as she is deeply ashamed of her cowardice, and actually steels herself to pull off a Heroic Sacrifice, only to lose her nerve (not unreasonably) when she sees exactly what would happen if she went through with it.
  • Disappears Into Light: This is what recently happened to Ganishka.
  • Disturbed Doves: Happens when Griffith appears after being reincarnated in human form on Earth.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The entire Kushan populace. Except Ganishka. Probably only when necessary, though.
  • Domestic Abuse: Just another whiff of how realistically crappy life in Midland can be, sans monsters. Young Guts, Jill, and Rosine had it bad.
  • Don't Look At Me: These are pretty much Casca's last words as a sane person while she is being horrifically raped in front of Guts who is being Forced to Watch anyway. After that, she's a mute.
  • Downer Ending: The anime. And how!
  • Dress Hits Floor: "Cape Hits Floor" in the slightly more censored anime, where after their second Intimate Healing encounter, Casca starts fighting with Guts after he insulted her... in nothing but his cape... This can count as a funny moment depending on how you look at it.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Laban is able to save an entire castle full of prisoners by dressing them up in Kushan armor.
    • In the 1997 anime, Guts infiltrates a fort commanded by Adon by disguising as a Tudor soldier.
  • Driven to Suicide:
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma: Guts played with trope when he was with unconscious Casca in the cave. It was insinuated that he briefly thought about having his way with the her, but he mentally slapped himself for it. Still, the most that he did was gently brush Casca's hair, while the rest of the night was spent holding Casca so that she wouldn't freeze to death. This probably served as the first subtle hint that Guts found Casca physically attractive, but at least it wasn't as disturbing as the King of Midland's scene with his daughter.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: All three main characters get these. A lot. They're an unhappy bunch, so you can't really blame them.
    • Guts gets them when he goes through his Heroic BSOD after assassinating Count Julius and, by accident, his young son. Also, the eye-shine never quite comes back to Guts' eyes after the Eclipse, save for one moment when the Skull Knight tells him of the possibility of Casca being cured at Elfheim.
    • Casca has these during her time as leader of the Hawks, prominently when she is about to attempt suicide.
    • And Griffith - poor post-torture/pre-Eclipse Griffith.
  • Dwindling Party: After Guts's departure and Griffith's arrest, the Band of the Hawk began to dwindle little by little, some of them being killed in ambushes, others simply abandoning the band. Luckily, Casca took over and held the Hawks together as best as she could. The real kicker came when Griffith, having made his Face Heel Turn, threw the Hawks to the dogs and allowed them to be eaten by voracious Apostles, one by one.
  • Dying Like Animals:
  • Dysfunction Junction: Everyone has a problem in this world.
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