It was too big to be called a sword. Massive, thick, heavy, and far too rough. Indeed, it was a heap of raw iron.
– Description of the Dragon Slayer
Background[edit | edit source]
As a young man, the blacksmith Godot lived in a castle town far from the hut he would one day call home. When the castle town's sovereign, a king, sent out a proclamation to all of his vassals to forge a sword capable of killing a dragon, Godot's liege lord entrusted him with the task of doing so. Tired of crafting ornate weapons for nobles who seek elegance in their armaments, Godot took the task seriously, creating the huge, but unusable, Dragon Slayer. Angry at how crude and impractical the Dragon Slayer was, Godot's liege lord threatened the blacksmith's life, forcing Godot to flee the castle town and settle down at his mine.
Story[edit | edit source]
The Dragon Slayer was kept in storage for years until it is discovered by Guts during a fight against an unidentified roaming apostle, where the Black Swordsman wields it with ease and slays the apostle in two swings, shocking Godot, who thought the sword's weight made it unusable as a weapon. Embarking on a warpath against demonkind afterward, Guts makes effective use of the Dragon Slayer against evil spirits, possessed monsters, and particularly apostles. When Guts returns to Godot's abode two years later, Godot sees the wear and tear the Dragon Slayer has been put through and decides to reforge it.
When Slan manifests a rudimentary form in Qliphoth to meet Guts, the Skull Knight intervenes and notes that the Dragon Slayer has been tempered by the malice of the countless malevolent astral beings it has slain, and is therefore capable of wounding Slan's assumed form. With this knowledge, Guts runs the Dragon Slayer through Slan, causing the abrupt dissipation of her troll guts form.
In the bay of Vritannis, during Guts' battle with the Kushan wizard general Daiba, the Dragon Slayer is imbued with the power of a fire spirit of woe summoned by Schierke. Guts uses the empowered sword to deal a blazing blast to the Kundalini aiding Daiba, causing the magical beast's large water form to dematerialize.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Given the sword's incredible size and weight, the Dragon Slayer functions more like a bladed club than an actual sword, though Guts is more than capable of using it to cut through various targets. The sheer momentum of Guts swinging it can tear anyone caught in the attack impact into pieces with one swing; this often is applied to more than one enemy at once, cleaving through multiple foes in a single swing. Even apostles in their true forms can barely stand up to the sword, and often have their bones and internal organs heavily damaged by an attack from the weapon.
When Guts activates his Berserker Armor, his resulting inhuman physicality and ferocity allow him to use the Dragon Slayer to significantly greater effect. Standard apostles are slain in a matter of seconds, and other even larger enemies are cut down just as easily, sometimes in droves. With such superhuman strength behind it, the Dragon Slayer's cutting power becomes considerable; while wielded by a Berserker Guts, it is capable of breaking through Grunbeld's cannon fire-repelling shield, and even the corundum skin of the dragon-apostle's true form, which is said to be stronger than steel.
Due to having been used to slay countless apostles, pseudo-apostles, and other malevolent astral entities, the Dragon Slayer has been tempered by the malice of such beings. As a result, the sword has become more effective against monsters and evil spirits, capable of wounding even profound entities such as the Sea God and the assumed forms of members of the God Hand.
Creation and Conception[edit | edit source]
Kentarou Miura originally had the idea for an Asian male with a Japanese sword and a gimmick on his left hand to run around in a setting like medieval Europe; after much thought, he decided the right ideas were the Dragon Slayer and prosthetic cannon arm. Miura has admitted that he originally hit upon the idea of a massive sword merely as a gimmick to attract readers. Moreover, he has noted that though large swords were featured before Berserk in series such as Guin Saga and Pygmalio, he feels they were merely drawn big; that they never carried an appropriate weight behind them or invoked realistic reactions upon being swung. With the Dragon Slayer, Miura wanted to give the impression that someone with the physique of a pro-wrestler may be able to swing it once or twice, and so he gave much consideration to how much muscle his main character would need in order to swing such a sword.
In an original design of Guts, his signature weapon was a katana rather than the massive Dragon Slayer. In Berserk: The Prototype, the Dragon Slayer bears a slightly different design, with the blade tapering outward toward its hilt to form something resembling a crossguard. Additionally, Guts only wields the Dragon Slayer with his right hand, never wielding the sword with both his right hand and left mechanical arm.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The Dragon Slayer is the only weapon shown thus far to wound a member of the God Hand in any capacity. However, the Skull Knight states that his Sword of Beherits can "entomb" them.
- A common misconception is that the Dragon Slayer was once used to kill an actual dragon; it has yet to be used to do as much in-canon. The manga does, however, feature an image of a decapitated dragon's head in volume 3's cover art, and a bisected one when Godot initially describes the sword. Additionally, it is used by Guts to decisively overpower the dragon-apostle Grunbeld.
- Guts has wielded oversized swords since the age of six. At nine years old, he wielded a bastard sword during his first castle siege. In the years following, he graduated to a longsword, which he killed an enemy general with. At fifteen, Guts uses an oversized two-handed sword to kill Bazuso.
- The Dragon Slayer has never been properly wielded by anyone besides Guts. It takes two Holy Iron Chain Knights just to lift it after Guts is captured, and Isidro finds himself pinned beneath it after trying to lift the weapon.
- In the Dreamcast game based on the series, it is nigh-impossible to swing the Dragon Slayer in tight corridors without it bouncing off the wall to little effect. In the PS2 game, this is not an issue; most of the action takes place outdoors, while the few indoor or underground areas that Guts goes into are spacious enough for him to use the Dragon Slayer to full effect.
References[edit | edit source]
- ^ Berserk, Volume 26, "Whore Princess of the Uterine Sea"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 1, "Black Swordsman"
- ^ a b Berserk, Volume 14, "Armament"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 14, "One Who Hunts Dragons"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 17, "To the Holy Ground (1)"
- ^ a b c Berserk, Volume 26, "Companions"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 31, "Bursting Flame"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 26, "Berserker Armor (2)"
- ^ a b Berserk, Volume 27, "Fire Dragon"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 37, "Siren"
- ^ Berserk Official Guidebook interview
- ^ Berserk, Volume 18, "Spirit Road (1)"
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