The Conviction Arc is the third story arc of Kentarou Miura's Berserk. The arc is preceded by the Golden Age Arc in the real world and Black Swordsman Arc in-universe, spanning 82 episodes (including Berserk: The Prototype) and leading up to the Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc.
Lost Children Chapter
One night, in his travels with Puck, Guts encounters a group of bandits in a forest holding a girl named Jill captive. The hostile animation of a tree infused with evil spirits causes the captors to flee, leaving Guts to battle the entity until sunrise. Guts and Puck are lead by Jill to her village, where they learn of the mysterious "Misty Valley", as well as the ravenous attacks and child abductions by elf-like creatures said to originate from there. The swordsman's brand begins to bleed soon after as the elves of the valley mount an attack on Jill's village. During Guts' fight with the elves and their apostle leader, Rosine, Puck informs him the "elves" are in fact the aforementioned abducted children. After the abrupt retreat of Rosine and her elves, the residents blame Guts for the state of their village and charred corpses of children in the barn – in actuality the reverted remains of Misty Valley elves he incinerated in battle. Guts in turn uses Jill as a hostage to escape outside the village's walls, releasing her after gaining a safe distance and setting out to eliminate Rosine.
The next day, having been followed by Jill, Guts leaves the girl behind, thinking her to be a nuisance. He fails to anticipate Rosine's abduction of Jill, however, and follows the apostle to the entrance of Misty Valley. Upon arriving, he encounters the bandits from earlier, who have been converted into Rosine's pseudo-apostles and tasked with protecting the valley from intruders. After defeating the "Protectors of the Children", he ventures into Rosine's emergence grounds, incinerating the cocoons of developing elves and creating a wildfire which slowly engulfs the entire valley. An enraged Rosine assumes her true apostle form and initially overwhelms Guts with her immense speed. Using Jill as bait in the growing blaze, Guts is able to ambush the apostle and land a fatal blow on the false elf as she comes to Jill's aid. Just as he prepares to end Rosine, he is shot by Jill's father Zepek – who is accompanied by Holy Iron Chain Knights – and forced to flee.
Binding Chain Chapter
In time, the Holy Iron Chain Knights catch up to the Black Swordsman, revealing the horrors they believed to be his doing as well the prophetic warrant for his detainment by the Holy See. Heavily injured from his previous encounter, he is able to muster only enough strength to ward off most of the attacking knights, before being overwhelmed by their vice commander, Azan. Realizing he lacks the strength to combat the entire regiment, he attempts to demoralize and disrupt the knights by eliminating their inexperienced head commander, Farnese, but is disabled by her attendant, Serpico, and subsequently detained.
With Puck's help, Guts escapes the encampment and flees into the night on horseback with Farnese as his hostage. When Farnese runs off and finds herself at the mercy of their possessed, lustful horse, Guts is reminded of Casca's rape during the fifth Eclipse, and is then filled with enough pure rage to combat the demons until morning. Before dawn, Guts is harassed by a possessed, bared Farnese before the spirit compelling her eventually relinquishes its hold at sunrise. Serpico soon arrives at their location and, after a brief exhibition with Guts, leaves with Farnese, her faith shaken.
At a later point, while resting atop a hill, Guts' demon child appears before him, imparting to him a vision of Casca burning at the stake as well as a vague description of her potential location. Indeed, upon returning to Godot's where he left her, he finds Casca has gone missing, and from Rickert learns of the city of Albion – the refugee camp Midlanders were flocking to in light of a recent plague – where he gambles his lost lover might be.
Birth Ceremony Chapter
Journeying to Albion, Guts is intercepted by the Skull Knight, who warns him of an impending mock-Eclipse set to return "[he] who signifies the Falcon" to the Physical World. Upon arriving in the city, Guts immediately begins investigating Casca's whereabouts, and with the aid of Puck and Isidro, pinpoints a cultist den where she has been taken. There, amidst the chaos of battle between possessed cultists and Holy Iron Chain Knights, Guts leaves Casca in Isidro's care before engaging the Great Goat pseudo-apostle, slaughtering the transformed heretic and escaping the den through a back exit. Afterwards rendezvousing with Isidro, he learns the young thief failed in escorting Casca, having allowed the Holy Iron Chain Knights to capture her during their escape.
After Guts returns to Albion and defeats the pseudo-apostle Holy See inquisitor Mozgus, a massive tidal wave of the city's manifested pain and anguish sweeps over droves of present refugees, taking the lives of myriads in its passage. Before long, the Tower of Conviction is completely engulfed in a swarm of tormented souls. This results in the complete collapse of the tower, as well as the realization of both the living and dead's ultimate desire: salvation, achieved through the sudden breaking of day and consequent eradication of the dark torrent. Not long after, the survivors are met with the arrivals of Zodd and the Skull Knight; the knight directs their attention to a concentration of light in the distance. All present are then enthralled by the sight of a reincarnated Griffith, who is whisked away by Zodd shortly afterwards.
Anime and Manga Differences
- The 2016 anime omits the Lost Children Chapter.
- In the 2016 anime, the encounter with the possessed tree occurs immediately following Guts’s battle with the skeleton horde featured in the Black Swordsman Arc.
- In the manga, after escaping the Holy Iron Chain Knights' encampment, Guts takes Farnese to the middle of a road, while in the 2016 anime, he takes her to an abandoned mansion.
- In the 2016 anime, Guts fights the Keeper of the Hounds after kidnapping Farnese, while in the manga, he fights an unidentified apostle very similar to the keeper near the end of the Golden Age Arc.
Lost Children Chapter
- Guts vs a possessed tree
- Guts vs Elves of Misty Valley
- Guts vs Rosine's "Forest Guardians"
- Guts vs Rosine
Binding Chain Chapter
Birth Ceremony Chapter
- Guts vs Holy Iron Chain Knights in Albion
- Guts vs Great Goat
- Guts vs Mozgus' pseudo-apostle disciples sans the Twins: the Bird, Angel Face, Bubblehead, and the Imp
- Guts vs pseudo-apostle Mozgus
- Kentarou Miura's inspiration for the Conviction arc was the film The Name of the Rose.
- Kentarou Miura has described the Conviction arc as following a sekaikei flow.
- ^ Berserk, Volume 16, "Firefly"
- ^ a b Berserk, Volume 16, "Holy Iron Chain Knights (2)"
- ^ a b Berserk, Volume 19, "Reunion"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 21, "Tsunami of Darkness (1)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 21, "Arrival"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 14, "By Flight"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 15, "Queen"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 15, "Will-o'-the-Wisp"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 16, "The Road Home"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 17, "Morning of Truth"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 17, "Revelation (3)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 17, "To the Holy Ground (1)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 18, "Spirit Road (2)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 19, "Ambush"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 19, "Cliff"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 21, "The One Who Clings, the One Who Struggles"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 21, "Dawn"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 21, "Starting a Journey with Resolve"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 14, "Elves of Misty Valley"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 14, "Evil Insect"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 15, "Guardian (1)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 15, "Cocoons"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 16, "Holy Iron Chain Knights (1)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 17, "Night of Miracles"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 19, "Black Swordsman on the Holy Ground"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 20, "Hell's Angels"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 21, "Monstrous Priest (1)"
- ^ a b Berserk Official Guidebook