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"Backlighting" is episode 303 of the Berserk manga series.


In the deepest recesses of his turbulent mind, Ganishka reflects on his life-long darkened reality, before the Skull Knight ambushes Femto atop the emperor-apostle's twice reincarnated form.


A series of flashbacks reveals several key events of Ganishka's past.

As a child, his mother clearly favors his younger brother. Wishing for the younger brother to become heir to the Kushan throne, she poisons Ganishka. He survives, and as revenge, murders his own brother. His grief-stricken mother soon after takes her own life.

Manga E303 Den of Vipers

Ganishka survives the den of vipers".

Despite still having political adversaries in other members of the Kushan royalty and aristocracy, Ganishka manages to survive the "den of vipers" as he grows into an adult. Upon meeting his father, the current Kushan Emperor, in person, Ganishka notices unshakable fear and suspicion in the man, spurred by Ganishka himself. Later, while embarking on a royal visit, the emperor's elephant goes berserk and throws him off to his death. This is an assassination executed by Ganishka and another man: the man, working with Ganishka, had fired a poison dart into the elephant, causing it to go berserk. Ganishka then kills his assassin cohort.

Manga E303 Assassination Attempt

The assassination attempt of Ganishka.

Following his father's death, Ganishka is promptly made Kushan emperor, but is still plagued by many political opponents all vying for the throne. To curb this, Ganishka devotes himself to inspiring great amounts of fear in his enemies. His method of doing so is to frequently declare war on and dominate other nations. As is expected of him, Ganishka marries and conceives a child with his wife. However, his endless military campaigns prevent him from spending time with his family, whom he secretly fears.

After years of waging war and fostering the idea of reigning supreme over the world, Ganishka attends a banquet in his honor. His drink is poisoned, and the guards in the room turn against him and his loyalists. The person responsible for the attack is none other than Ganishka's son, now an adult. Ganishka is stabbed numerous times by spears, yet survives long enough to reach an oddly-shaped stone which was bestowed to him by a stranger long ago. Sacrificing his own son, Ganishka becomes an apostle.

Manga E303 Skull Knight Ambushes Femto

The Skull Knight ambushes Femto.

In the present, Ganishka remains absorbed in his thoughts and sees the world as only a black, empty void. Suddenly, a light begins expanding before him, and out of it a hand appears. Ganishka fears the person to whom the hand belongs, reasoning that "he who bears the light exists in the deepest shadow". The hand belongs to Griffith, who has reverted into his God Hand form of Femto. As Femto reaches out to touch Ganishka, a portal is torn open behind the angel, and out of it steps the Skull Knight, who slashes at Femto's back with the Sword of Beherits.


  1. Ganishka
  2. Femto
  3. Zodd
  4. Skull Knight