9

This question and its answers will contain spoilers.

I just finished watching Berserk (the original, not the 2016 continuation), and was able to follow the plot up until the second to last episode.

At that point, the ground turned into faces and almost all of the main characters got killed. Griffith turned into a weird bat-thing. It seemed like Casca was raped, and Guts lost an eye and an arm.

What is this weird scenario? What happened? How does the plot actually end? Why did Griffith transform? Can someone just explain what happened in the last two episodes of the series (the conclusion)?

  • 3
    The end of the series is very open, a lot more of this is explained in the manga, which goes on far beyond this ending in the anime. – Dimitri mx Sep 2 '16 at 8:19
  • From what i recall the start of the original Berserk Anime (and the manga) is "present day" where every shown after that occurred in the past. the anime stops shorts of showing the final events that link up to present day Gutts where he has his metal arm and the Dragonslayer – Memor-X Sep 2 '16 at 8:28
10

For you to understand the ending, you need to understand about the Crimson Behelit that Griffith has.

What is a Behelit?

The purpose of the Behelits is to create an Interstice between the physical realm and the part of the Astral Realm where the God Hand reside. A Behelit belongs to a predestined owner and therefore, no matter the circumtances, will always finds its way to its owner when his desire to escape his current situation is great enough for it to fully activate so the owner can be transformed into an Apostle. From there, the Behelit would gradually come to another to repeat the process. Normally, a Behelit would activate from being exposed to the owner's blood.

The Crimson Behelit

Griffith's Crimson Behelit, which he obtained from a fortune teller as a youth, was a rare and unique item said to grant one's greatest desire in exchange for the owner's flesh and blood.

After Griffith sees Guts and Casca together and realizes he may lose all the members of the Band of the Hawk, he runs away and falls in a stream. There we see he finds his Behelit among the river stone.

The behelit activates and summons the four members of God Hand.

Also known as the Egg of the King by both Nosferatu Zodd and the God Hand, it appears once every 216 years when the time of the Eclipse draws near, its owner destined to discard physical form transcend into one of the God Hand. It is not known whether there were five different Crimson Behelits or whether the same came to each of the God Hand's members in turn.

God Hand then inform Grifith that in order to become one of them, he must sacrifice all the members of the Band present there. Thus, they all are marked with the brand of sacrifice and are killed by demons. Guts and Casca however escape with the help of the Skull Knight.

Source: Behelit

  • To add in a bit to @Arcane answer the skull knight did not appear in the original. In the remakes, manga and 2016 version he is a very prevalent character. The anime you watched is called the golden arc which covers most of the adventures that occured when Guts was a member of the band of the hawk.The end scene called the festival was described perfectly and it's because Guts and Casca survived this that Guts lost his right eye and left arm and Casca lost her mind. Ricket survives only because he wasn't there. – Callat Feb 2 '17 at 13:58
6

Griffith is a very ambitious person, he's ready to do anything in order to achieve his dreams. However, he was broken, he couldn't do anything anymore, and his dreams were going to end in front of his eyes.

He had the behelit, the egg of the king, which allows you to achieve something and sacrifice something else in return. He had the choice, and he chose to sacrifice his comrades in exchange for a great power, a power that will bring him closer to his dreams, and give up his humanity, so he ended up transforming. Everyone who uses the behelit becomes some kind of demon as they make contract with creatures from the other world.

Spoiler warning (events of the manga and 2016 anime) :

After what happened, only Casca and Guts survive, with a cursed brand that causes them to be always haunted. Casca however loses her mind after she was traumatized, while Guts keep on fighting trying to find Griffith and get his revenge.

4

Griffith desires a kingdom above all. That's what pretty much all of the Golden Age Arc revolved around. During this arc, you could even say that Griffith IS the PROtagonist of the story. It was all about the pursuit of his dream of being the one on top of a castle.

Now there is much more back story & lore behind those final moments of the arc in the berserk universe, but the basic gist of it is... Given Griffith's predicament where he could no longer pursue his dream in his broken state, he ultimately made the choice to sacrifice his former comrades so that he may be reborn and therefore be able to continue that pursuit. But the conflict of reasoning behind that choice and why he ultimately made the one that he did is what encapsulates the best of the Golden Age Arc. Some further insight into that below.

Why did he end up making that choice? Well, beyond the obvious reason of his mutilated, and therefore useless, body... And why did it cause him to turn against, and target Guts in particular, after he became Femto? Would you have made the same choice? These questions make up the best part of berserk in my opinion.

So, would you have made the same choice? It's commendable if you wouldn't, but understandable if you would. The story shows how Griffith ultimately came to his own personal decision, and all I can say is it's got less to do with his body and more so to do with what he's already sacrificed, even before the Band of the Hawks, as well as just being the type of person he is.

Last, but not least, Griffith's actions against Guts as Femto is also a lot deeper than many people realize. As he made his choice, Griffith admits that Guts is the one who, thru comraderie and perhaps even friendship, made him forget about the pursuit of his dream even for but a short time. This, especially for a character like Griffith, is almost like an assault to his very nature. Therefore, it's no wonder that Griffith, reborn as Femto, practically devoid of most, if not all of his humanity, targets Guts for this "transgression". And yes, the biggest part to this was raping Casca in front of him.

If you rewatch the show again, keep this post in mind.

3

this expands upon @Arcane 's answer.

The reasons behind Griffith's acts inside of the astral realm is a revenge of sorts. To become a member of God Hand he must make a sacrifice,. This does not explain his personal actions against Guts and Casca.

Griffith is destroyed by Gut's desire to leave the Band of the Hawk, that is why they dueled in the snow. Griffith also knows that Casca was losing her devotion to Griffith who strung her along, as this helped prove the idea he is both beautiful and dangerous. After Guts successfully leaves Griffith knows he lost his fighting strength and believes he is not beautiful anymore. That is when he breaks into midland castle to sleep with the princess, both to prove to himself he was making progress to become king and to console his loss of his two closest friends.

This was the greatest mistake of his by far as the king captured Griffith after the act. Losing his army means he lost the three things that brought him to the height of the social ladder and nearly to his goal; His strength, his beauty, and his army/followers. At this point he believes there is nothing left for him in this world and would like to die, his reason for trying to commit suicide multiple times in the final episodes.

Then the God Hand is summoned to him, and offer him everything he lost and more. the only thing he had to do was sell out his old friends and followers. This was an easy choice, they had abandoned him once and he was not willing to let his ambitions die to save people that betrayed his trust. This explains the Astral plain and his choice to become a God Hand, but not his rape of Casca.

Griffith knows that Casca loves Guts, it was evident after years together and her own lust for Griffith faded. Guts commits the greatest betrayal to Griffith by leaving his sworn service and breaking the trust in his own strength. So Griffith decides to break both Casca and Guts like they broke him.

So Griffith rapes Casca and makes sure Guts watches, to hear her enjoyment and show Guts that Griffith the greater man in this department. It is also a reference to Gut's own rape during childhood, who would never wish the same pain on someone else he loves. The rape was not to show sexual desire for Casca but more of a pissing contest between two dogs after the same mate

Griffith both initiated the competition and ended it in one move...

as Casca's mind breaks after the betrayal of a man she once loved and admired.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.