I’m not the first to express my love for Berserk, the multi volume manga created by Kentaro Miura. Jake wrote a great post about Berserk back in 2015, you can read it here. But where Jake focused on the art style of Berserk I would like to take a moment and try to show the similarities between Berserk and Age of Sigmar. The settings are of course wildly different, but there are certain aspects that could belong in either one.
At first glance the two settings may not appear to share much, but as always when it comes to Games Workshop, you have to cut a bit deeper.
The world of Berserk can be quickly summarized as such, it is a bleak and depressing world, grim dark in the best possible way. Our protagonist is found as a new-born babe beneath the corpse of his hanged mother. It doesn’t really get much happier from there.
The world of Berserk is a mix of low fantasy tropes with a heady blend of 80’s machismo and a dash of Japanese humor and style. However, I would say it isn’t impossible to see similarities to the Warhammer world in it. The kingdom of Midland, the location for most of the early part of Berserk, could easily be a place in the Warhammer world. Just like the Warhammer world the world of Berserk is also touched by the magical and the monstrous. Apostles roam the world, magical monsters slip through the cracks in reality and in strange dimensions four eldritch gods prepare the apocalypse.
So we have two bleak worlds, similar in their darkness and era. But with enough differences to clearly distinguish them from each other and most of the competition. The Warhammer world kept getting darker through the various editions, hope was almost always lost and things kept accelerating until the End Times arrived and the final apocalypse began. In Berserk the apocalypse begins with the infamous Eclipse. Friendship is destroyed and beasts return to the world. It is a slow building escalation that reaches its second act in the Incarnation Ceremony and climaxes in the Blast of the Astral World. This is similar to the destruction of the Warhammer world and the creation of the Mortal Realms.
Suddenly both settings are awash in the mythological and the fantastical. Dragons soar through the skies, shining knights tries to reclaim the land for humanity (and aelves and duardin and other strange beings) and awe-inspiring cities appear.
And in both settings it is clear that things aren’t going as well as one could hope. The pressure is building and the walls of sanity are crumbling. Chaos and darkness is always so near, longing to devour humanity. This for me is what makes AoS28 so compelling, the possibility to take something familiar and shiny and discover all the dark aspects. Just like Bersek the Age of Sigmar is still a place where humans live, die, love and hate.
I hope you have enjoyed this short post. I would love to hear your opinion on the subject, is there any other settings you think are similar to the Age of Sigmar?