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I control the vastest territory in the world. I won't relinquish it. Even if it's blood-smeared and defiled... this world belongs to me. I'll reign over this unclean world as a demon king and rebel against god.
– Ganishka[2]

Ganishka was a Kushan emperor and one of the most powerful known apostles. He desired first and foremost to extend the territory under his control to every corner of the world. Unlike most apostles, Ganishka opposed the God HandGriffith in particular – and aimed to transcend them.


Life... The world... It's all darkness. In the all-engulfing darkness, you fear, you instill fear, you writhe and creep. Lightlessness... That is... life...
– Ganishka[1]

Surviving the ploys of the ever-scheming Kushan royalty and aristocracy throughout his youth hardened Ganishka into a callous, calculated prince, one who brought about the deaths of his younger brother, mother, and father. In order to survive and thrive as a young monarch, Ganishka devoted himself to the art of war, and became convinced that inspiring fear was the only way to progress, all while harboring many unshakable fears of his own. He became increasingly obsessed with reigning supreme over the entire world, all in a vain attempt to quell his own fears.[1]

When he met Guts, Ganishka was impressed by the swordsman's skill, grit, and ability to survive as one who is branded. He found Guts agreeable, and deemed the swordsman's inner malevolence and madness appropriate for the bloodstained world of man.[10]

Unique among apostles, Ganishka refused to submit to the God Hand, believing himself to be the sole individual worthy of reigning over the world. As such, he fostered strong enmity toward Griffith when the White Falcon began thwarting his invasion of Midland. During the Kushan attack on Vritannis, when he finally met Griffith face-to-face, he was disabled by the White Falcon and forced into retreat;[11] thereafter, he acknowledged the immense difference in his and Griffith's power and was left disturbed, exhausted, and humiliated. His resulting humiliation was so great that the emperor lowered himself into the Man-Made Beherit to reincarnate again, in an attempt to surpass the God Hand.[7]

In his twice reincarnated form, Ganishka lost his capacity for rational thought and sense of self, perceiving everyone around him as insects. Initially, he was able to recognize Daiba, but he gradually became disoriented and lost himself in his own immense power. When crushing his army under his footsteps, he expressed glee and likened the resulting gore to blooming red flowers.[5] In the deep recesses of his turbulent mind, however, Ganishka reflected on his lifelong darkened reality and expressed melancholy upon acknowledging the seeming lightlessness of life.[1]


Manga E303 Den of Vipers

Ganishka spent his formative years overcoming the schemes of those who sought his death.

Ganishka was born the eldest son of a Kushan king. His mother favored his younger brother and attempted to poison a six-year-old Ganishka to ensure his brother's ascendance to the throne. Surviving the attempt on his life, Ganishka exacted revenge by killing his brother, whose death drove his grief-ridden mother to commit suicide some time after.[1]

Though many in the Kushan royalty and aristocracy plotted against him, Ganishka managed to survive the "den of vipers" as he grew into an adult. Upon meeting his father as a young man, he noticed primarily the intense fear and suspicion in the king's eyes; in response, the young prince arranged the king's death and took the throne for himself. After becoming king, Ganishka came to believe that the best way to solidify his sovereignty was through fear and conquest. His campaigns left him no time to spend with his wife and child, the idea of which he came to fear anyhow.[1]

Manga E303 Assassination Attempt

Ganishka was nearly assassinated at the behest of his son.

As a young monarch, Ganishka devoted himself to the art of war and became peerless on the battlefield, becoming possessed by his ambition to reign supreme. Returning to his royal palace to attend a banquet several years later, Ganishka was again poisoned, and then nearly assassinated by royal guards at the behest of his fearful son. In a last ditch effort to survive, Ganishka activated a beherit given to him by a stranger some time ago and sacrificed his son in exchange for being reborn as an apostle.[1]


When Midland is ridden with plague and famine, Ganishka uses the opportunity to invade the kingdom and successfully seizes the royal city of Wyndham as a foothold to conquer the land. He holds Princess Charlotte hostage in the Tower of Rebirth and intends to have her bear his child to solidify his rule over Midland. However, his plan is foiled when the reborn Band of the Falcon mounts a diversionary attack on the emperor and his forces while Griffith and Zodd escape with the princess in tow.[12]

During a Holy See Alliance ball in Vritannis, Ganishka – in his fog form as manifested around his projected astral body – issues a declaration of war against the military alliance,[13] and initiates a large scale attack on the city by his forces. After Daiba is defeated by Guts, Ganishka combats the swordsman. He is impressed by Guts' resilience and tenacity to have survived as one who is branded, and offers to enlist Guts as a soldier, given that they both oppose the Band of the Falcon, though Guts bluntly refuses.[10] Just as Ganishka prepares to take the swordsman's life, a group of flying Band of the Falcon apostles led by Zodd arrives to attack the emperor, though they all fall to his lightning strikes. However, when Guts and Zodd form an uneasy alliance, where the former atop the latter pierces Ganishka's projected fog form between the eyes with the Dragon Slayer, the emperor's form dissipates – a weakness of his having been figured out.[14]

Manga E283 Ganishka Kneels

Ganishka kneels in defeat before Griffith.

Humiliated and enraged by the blow, Ganishka summons his army in full force and initiates a second wave attack against the fully encircled Holy See Alliance armies. Just as it seems the Kushan will decimate the Holy See Alliance, the Band of the Falcon arrives to swiftly turn the tide of war. When Griffith enters the emperor's mobile palace, Ganishka fills with trepidation and instinctual reverence as an apostle for the member of the God Hand before him. Reasoning that a touch from Griffith will completely submit him, Ganishka manifests his fog form in retaliation, though he is subdued in short order when Griffith employs the nearby sea winds to nearly scatter Ganishka's released form, forcing the emperor to reassume his normal form. Kneeling in defeat, Ganishka accepts the terms of Griffith's ceasefire and retreats to later have their final showdown in Wyndham.[11]

Manga E304 Ganishka Explodes

The Astral World spills out from Ganishka's twice reincarnated form.

At a later point, a humiliated and distraught Ganishka lowers himself into the Man-Made Beherit to reincarnate again in hopes of transcending apostlehood.[7] He surfaces as a skyscraping eldritch abomination, toppling Wyndham and his own army beneath his colossal feet, and slowly losing all sanity and sense of self. Griffith, in his God Hand form Femto, ascends to the emperor's head, where the Skull Knight ambushes him. Having anticipated the knight's arrival, Femto grabs his aggressor's space-tearing sword stroke and redirects the attack toward Ganishka. An astral fissure is then formed, and from Ganishka's cavitating form spills out a blast from the Astral World,[9] which gives birth to the global Interstice of Fantasia and leaves in the emperor's place the World Spiral Tree.


Manga E274 Ganishka Lightning

Ganishka shooting lightning in his fog form.

Ganishka wielded great power and stood as one of the most powerful of all apostles, capable of casually dominating multiple other powerful apostles simultaneously. Ganishka's released form was a moisture-based fog manifestation resembling his visage. Additionally, Ganishka could gather wind and water elementals around his projected astral body to manifest a much more massive fog form akin to a towering cumulonimbus cloud.[14] In his fog form, he could generate lightning strikes, providing him with an extremely powerful offense capable of simultaneously dominating multiple powerful apostles[3] and temporarily stunning the likes of even Zodd.[15] Furthermore, the ambient fog Ganishka manipulated could cover vast swaths of land, such as the entire city of Wyndham, to detect those within it,[6] transform animals endowed by it into pishacha,[16] and devour all living things it touched if Ganishka so willed it.[7]

His fog form had notable weaknesses, however. When a weapon capable of wounding astral beings (such as the Dragon Slayer) struck the fog form manifested around his projected astral body between the eyes, his projected fog form dissipated and Ganishka experienced significant pain.[14] Additionally, his immediate fog form was subject to scattering, something which Ganishka desired to avoid at all costs. Griffith was able to use an intense gust of wind to nearly scatter the emperor's immediate fog form, rendering the emperor unable to sustain his released form and forcing him to reassume his normal form in exhaustion.[11]

In his twice reincarnated form, Ganishka's power was so great as to be uncontrollable and gradually wear away his sanity and sense of self. In this form, he was capable of effortlessly toppling cities and crushing armies beneath his feet, though mindlessly.[8] He was also capable of breathing massive torrents of fire from the various mouths over his body and spawning pseudo-apostles from the troops crushed beneath his feet.


  • According to the Berserk Official Guidebook, Ganishka is around 180 cm (5 ft, 11 in) and 92 kg (203 lb). (NOTE: The Berserk Official Guidebook is highly questionable in its veracity.)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Berserk :: Volume 34, "Backlighting"
  2. ^ a b c Berserk :: Volume 27, "Dread Emperor"
  3. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 27, "Demon God"
  4. ^ Berserk :: Volume 31, "Thunder Emperor"
  5. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 34, "Giant God of Blindness"
  6. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 27, "Demon Castle"
  7. ^ a b c d Berserk :: Volume 33, "Fog of Death"
  8. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 33, "Roaring Heavens"
  9. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 34, "Fissure"
  10. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 31, "Attack of the Demon Army"
  11. ^ a b c Berserk :: Volume 32, "Gust of Wind"
  12. ^ Berserk :: Volume 27, "Sleeping Princess Awakens"
  13. ^ Berserk :: Volume 30, "Declaration of War"
  14. ^ a b c Berserk :: Volume 32, "Human Bullet"
  15. ^ Berserk :: Volume 31, "Cloud Cluster"
  16. ^ Berserk :: Volume 28, "Jñānin"