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The Golden Age Arc is the second story arc of Kentarou Miura's Berserk. The arc is the most prominent of Berserk, having been adapted as both an anime series and a film trilogy.


The Kingdom of Midland and the Tudor Empire have waged war against each other for approximately 100 years.

The fighting abilities of lone swordsman Guts pique the interest of mercenary leader Griffith, following the former's defeat of Bazuso during the siege of a Band of the Falcon-held fortress. The two later engage in a decisive duel, in which Griffith successfully recruits Guts into his Band of the Falcon by defeating the swordsman.[1]

For three years, Guts aids greatly in the Band of the Falcon's military efforts, gaining rank as captain of the band's raiders. With their consecutive military victories and ever-increasing fame, the band eventually wins over the confidence of the King of Midland, who enlists their aid in Midland's Hundred-Year War with Tudor. In a siege on a Tudor-held fortress, the Band of the Falcon encounter the legendary swordsman Zodd, believed to be immortal. Despite being overwhelmed by Zodd's inhuman strength and ferociousness, Guts and Griffith leave with their lives after Zodd notices Griffith's mysterious Crimson Beherit and ominously withdraws afterward.[10]

Midland's generals eventually set their sights on recapturing the border fortress of Doldrey – Tudor's seizing of which ignited the Hundred-Year War. Griffith assures the King of Midland that he and his mercenaries are all that is necessary to recapture the fortress. True to his word, Griffith successfully leads his mere 5,000 cavalry against the 30,000-strong forces of Tudor and recaptures Doldrey, thus concluding the Hundred-Year War.[3]

At the height of the Band of the Falcon's glory, Guts acts on his growing dissatisfaction with fighting for Griffith's dream and departs from the band,[4] to attain something of his own. Losing his most-treasured soldier throws Griffith's mind into turmoil, compelling him to impulsively bed Princess Charlotte on a fateful night.[5] Captured the morning after and imprisoned for treason against Midland's royal house, Griffith is sentenced to a year of prolonged torture by the incensed King of Midland and the Band of the Falcon members are consequently branded enemies of the state.[6]

A year later, having received word of his former comrades' continued activities, Guts reunites with Casca and the remnant Band of the Falcon, sharing an intimate moment with Casca[11] before aiding the band in rescuing Griffith from beneath the Tower of Rebirth.[12] The king, incensed even further both by Griffith's escape and by the fact that Princess Charlotte has chosen to go with them, sends a group of the famed Bakiraka assassins after them with express orders to bring the princess back alive.[13] The mercenaries are forced to release Charlotte before making their escape through the sewers. Charlotte is brought back to the king, but the king is not satisfied with this. Despite Charlotte's pleas to spare Griffith, the king sends the Black Dog Knights, led by an apostle named Wyald, after Griffith and the Band of the Falcon with orders to kill them all.[14]

When Wyald and his Black Dog Knights catch up with the Band of the Falcon, a fierce battle commences between the two groups. Guts engages in direct combat with Wyald, ultimately defeating and temporarily incapacitating the apostle.[15] A heavily wounded Wyald eventually rises again and, in an act of desperation, captures Griffith, demanding that Griffith use the Crimson Beherit to summon the "God Hand", but to his dismay observes that Griffith is no longer in possession of the Crimson Beherit, and so he resolves to kill Griffith. In an abrupt intervention, Zodd tears Wyald in two and then tells Griffith that his beherit will soon return to him before flying off.[16]

Now a crippled shell of his once-glorious self, having been completely ravaged by his torturer, Griffith activates his Crimson Beherit in a moment of utmost despair and invokes the Eclipse.[7] After concluding that ceasing the pursuit of his dream would render all of his previous sacrifices in vain,[17] Griffith sacrifices his remaining comrades[8] in exchange for being reborn as Femto,[9] the fifth member of the God Hand.[8] The branded mercenaries are feasted on by ravenous monsters called "apostles". Guts loses his left arm and right eye and Casca's mind collapses after being raped by Femto.[18] The two are left the only surviving sacrifices of the hellish event only due to the Skull Knight's intervention.[19]

Guts vows revenge on the apostles and God Hand.[20] After having a sword made for him by Godot, he breaks it on the hide of the first apostle to seek him out, before using another sword – the Dragon Slayer – to kill it. Armed with this weapon and a prosthetic cannon arm, and clad in a set of black armor and cape, Guts embarks on a personal war against his sworn enemies as the Black Swordsman.[21]

Major Battles[]

  • Guts vs Bazuso[22]
  • Guts' first duel with Griffith[23]
  • The Band of the Falcon vs Zodd[2]
  • Guts vs 100 Blue Whale Knights[24]
  • The Battle for Doldrey[25]
  • Guts' second duel with Griffith[4]
  • Guts plowing through Midland guards while escaping the Tower of Rebirth[26]
  • The remnant Band of the Falcon members and Guts vs Silat and his henchmen[27]
  • Guts vs Wyald[28]
  • The Skull Knight vs Zodd[29]
  • Guts vs numerous apostles during the fifth Eclipse[30]
  • Guts vs an unidentified roaming apostle[21]

Anime and Manga Differences[]

  • While Shisu isn't seen in any anime adaptation, she is briefly mentioned by Gambino in the 1997 anime.
  • The 1997 anime omits Donovan, while Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I - The Egg of the King alludes to him during Guts' coma.
  • Guts' first battle with the Band of the Falcon is omitted in the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc film trilogy.
  • Samson Coborlwitz is omitted in Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II - The Battle for Doldrey.
  • The second attempt at murder (poisoned drink) against Griffith by the Midland nobility is not seen in the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc film trilogy.
  • Guts and Casca's dialogue by the tree is absent in Berserk: The Golden Age Arc.
  • Neither the 1997 anime nor Berserk: The Golden Age Arc establish the Queen of Midland as Julius' secret lover.
  • Griffith's deduction of the King of Midland's lust for his own daughter is omitted from the 1997 anime.
  • The King of Midland's sexual assault on Charlotte is cut from both the 1997 anime and Berserk: The Golden Age Arc.
  • Valancia is excluded from Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III - The Advent.
  • While both adaptations omit the Bakiraka, Silat is only omitted from the 1997 anime and appears in Berserk: The Golden Age Arc.
  • Both the 1997 anime and Berserk: The Golden Age Arc omit Wyald and the Black Dog Knights.
  • The arc ending is only present in Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III - The Advent. The 1997 anime ends with Guts losing his right eye.
  • Unlike in the manga, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc has cameos from Puck, Farnese, Azan and Serpico.
  • Neither adaptation includes the birth of the Demon Child.
  • Guts' fight against the unidentified roaming apostle is omitted from the 1997 anime and Berserk: The Golden Age Arc. In the 2016 anime, the roaming apostle is named the "Keeper of the Hounds", given a proper backstory, and doesn't encounter Guts directly after the fifth Eclipse. The keeper also serves the Snake Lord's role as the apostle who Guts interrogates for the God Hand's whereabouts.
  • In the 1997 anime, all moments featuring the Skull Knight are absent.


  1. ^ Episode 83 was omitted from volume publication at Kentarou Miura's request and so has not been included in the total episode count of the Golden Age Arc.


  1. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 4, "Golden Age (6)"
  2. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 5, "Nosferatu Zodd (1)"
  3. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 8, "Battle to Capture Doldrey (6)"
  4. ^ a b c Berserk :: Volume 8, "Morning of Departure (3)"
  5. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 9, "Beginning of the Endless Night"
  6. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 9, "Demise of a Dream"
  7. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 12, "Eclipse"
  8. ^ a b c Berserk :: Volume 12, "Parting"
  9. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 13, "Birth"
  10. ^ Berserk :: Volume 5, "Nosferatu Zodd (4)"
  11. ^ Berserk :: Volume 12, "Promised Time"
  12. ^ Berserk :: Volume 10, "Reunion in the Abyss"
  13. ^ Berserk :: Volume 10, "Bakiraka (1)"
  14. ^ Berserk :: Volume 10, "Flower of the Royal Palace of Stone"
  15. ^ Berserk :: Volume 11, "Mortal Combat (2)"
  16. ^ Berserk :: Volume 11, "The Immortal, Again"
  17. ^ Berserk :: Volume 12, "The Castle"
  18. ^ Berserk :: Volume 13, "Afterglow of the Right Eye"
  19. ^ Berserk :: Volume 13, "Escape"
  20. ^ Berserk :: Volume 13, "Vow of Retaliation"
  21. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 14, "One Who Hunts Dragons"
  22. ^ Berserk :: Volume 4, "Golden Age (3)"
  23. ^ Berserk :: Volume 4, "Golden Age (5)"
  24. ^ Berserk :: Volume 7, "Ready to Die (3)"
  25. ^ Berserk :: Volume 7, "Battle to Capture Doldrey (3)"
  26. ^ Berserk :: Volume 10, "A Way Through"
  27. ^ Berserk :: Volume 9, "Fugitives"
  28. ^ Berserk :: Volume 11, "Demon Dog (4)"
  29. ^ Berserk :: Volume 12, "Feast"
  30. ^ Berserk :: Volume 13, "God of the Abyss (1)"