Gambino (ガンビーノ Ganbīno?) was Guts' adoptive father. He was the leader of a mercenary band, taught Guts how to fight with a sword, and gave Guts the scar he bears across his nose.[1] In the manga, Guts received it during a practice fight, while in the anime, he cut Guts' nose on the night he attempted to kill him.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Gambino was a man with short and spiked hairstyle. He had a muscular body.[1] After he lost his leg he carried a crutch to hold himself.[2]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Despite his combat and leadership experience, Gambino was a man who was easily angered, careless, and had no love for Guts. He sold Guts as a child prostitute for one night to Donovan.[1]

During the next battle, in which Guts took revenge upon Donovan, Gambino lost his right leg by a cannonball, effectively ending his career as a mercenary. This increased his anger toward Guts. He blamed Guts for the death of Shisu, his alleged lover and Guts' foster mother. He resented Guts from the moment he took him in and considered Guts' to be a bad omen, as Guts had been born from his mother's corpse but lived on regardless. This anger eventually drove him to try to kill Guts.[2]

Despite this, Gambino did not always treat Guts with hostility. He did at least train Guts in swordsmanship, the life of a mercenary, and gave valuable realistic lessons in combat.[1][3]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Gambino was very skilled as a swordsman, and he was a capable spearman.[1] After he lost his leg, he was still capable of wielding his sword against Guts.[2] He also proved a shrewd and ruthless commander.[1][3]

Story[edit | edit source]

The leader of a band of mercenaries, Gambino is introduced observing, alongside his band, a collection of corpses hanging from a tree. One of the hanging women, who had been dead for a considerable amount of time, had given birth to a living baby. Shisu, one of the women traveling with the mercenaries who had suffered a miscarriage and almost driven insane since then, insisted on taking the baby, whom Gambino insisted is dead until the baby cried. Gambino acceded to Shisu's demand to adopt the baby whom they name Guts. However, some of the mercenaries contended that picking up a baby in such a place was a bad omen.[1]

Three years later, Shisu died from the plague whilst Gambino was engaged in a battle. Gambino comes to blame Guts for her death. Three years later, on a battlefield, he ordered Guts to hand him a spear, which he then used against an enemy. The dead body fell in front of the scared Guts, while Gambino hit and berated him.[1]

Gambino trained Guts in swordsmanship, but Guts insisted on using a sword too large for him, with Gambino declaring that they didn't keep children's weapons in the camp. In one training session, Gambino happened to knee Guts in the stomach, telling him he had to start earning his keep. Guts charged with his sword, but Gambino slashed him a few times. Guts countered with a thrust, cutting Gambino's cheek. In a fit of rage, Gambino cut Guts' nose, giving him a scar. The following day, Gambino gave him a medicine for the wound on his nose.[1]

Three years later, Gambino told Guts to work hard in his first real battle. When Guts killed an enemy, he was put to the ground by another one who is then killed by Gambino. Gambino berated Guts to not get excited just because he killed one. After the battle, Guts gave Gambino his share, who spared Guts a coin.[1]

At some point, Guts was placed in a decoy squad unbeknownst to him (and the rest of the troops). Offered a reward of three silver pieces, the squad sprinted into an ambush volley of arrows. The entire squad was wiped out, except for Guts, who had been wounded in the shoulder. After Gambino had routed the ambush group, he found Guts still alive, and congratulated him on his lesson learned - that to survive in this harsh world, one must live, think, and fight for himself - anything else will guarantee exploitation and death.[3]

Some time later, Gambino prostituted a sleeping Guts to a pederast mercenary named Donovan. After Guts was raped, he confronted Gambino, who had a hangover. Gambino merely replied that it was too early to train, a reply which made Guts ponder whether he was unaware of the events that unfolded.[1] In the following battle, Gambino lost his right leg to a cannonball. No longer able to take part in battle, his position as a leader began to weaken. Once again, Gambino blamed Guts for his misfortune. When Guts showed up with the bonus for killing the enemy general, Gambino instead furiously demanded for the meat for his dog, hitting Guts in the cheek with his crutch and bringing ridicule from some other mercenaries. That night, Gambino entered Guts' tent in a drunken stupor to kill him. He ranted at Guts, blaming him for the death of Shisu and his condition, going so far in calling him a devil's child. He even confessed to Guts that it was he who sold him to Donovan. When he attempted to slash Guts, Guts mortally wounded him in his throat.[2]

Gambino was last seen in a Guts dream after his first encounter with Griffith, where Guts dreamed of himself as a child running from a monstrous incarnation of Donovan, who then pins Guts to the floor. Gambino and his dog (which has the head of a diseased Shisu) looks on from a hill of corpses as Guts cries out for his help, only to remind Guts that he lost his leg and was dead by Guts' own making. The apparition of Gambino pulls his own head from the wound Guts gave him on the night of his death. Guts' dream ends with a Gambino and Shisu's skeletons proclaiming that he should have been the one to die, and Guts begging Gambino's forgiveness.[4]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Gambino's adoptive child Guts grows to share several traits with him, including a relationship with a woman who'd end up insane, very tumultuous relationships with their respective son figures, an abandonment of their respective interests for another important ideal (Gambino abandoned a dying Shisu to attack a castle while Guts abandoned Casca to take revenge on Griffith for the events of the Eclipse), and loss of half a limb.
  • Gambino's death in the anime was different from how it was depicted in the manga, with Guts running his sword through Gambino's heart as he attacked.
  • Gambino is an Italian word derived from 'gamba', meaning 'leg'. It is used as a nickname for someone who has short legs.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Berserk, Volume 3, "Golden Age (1)"
  2. ^ a b c d Berserk, Volume 4, "Golden Age (2)"
  3. ^ a b c Berserk, Volume 37, "Spring Flower of Days Long Passed (1)"
  4. ^ Berserk, Volume 4, "Golden Age (5)"
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