One of the most consistent and best manga in the last thirty years is Berserk. The manga took over the world since its release, showing that some runs can be good even if they are released for over twenty years. Late Kentarou Minura is responsible for this masterpiece, and his world of Berserk is going to continue. Of course, the worldbuilding of Berserk is also magnificent and the main characters like Guts, Griffith, and Casca, are immensely characterized. However, in this article, we will talk about the Brand Sacrifice Tattoo, which became really popular amongst the fans of Berserk manga. Let’s see what is the meaning of the Brand of Sacrifice Tattoo in Berserk.
According to Berserk lore, the Brand of Sacrifice in Berserk is a mark for those anointed for the Invocation of Doom, a sacrificial ceremony in which those who participate in the ceremony will transcend their humanity. This results in the creation of an apostle or a God Hand member, which will sever individuals’ ties with humanity. In other words, one who survives, like the main character Guts, has access to the Astral world – Guts exists “outside the reason of the Physical World, giving him half-step over the most others in the current casualty.
We will talk about the Brand of Sacrifice in more detail and try to explain the significance it has in the Berserk lore and story. Furthermore, we will investigate what is the Brand based on, who is branded in Berserk, and if it is real. If you are interested in this topic, stay with us until the end of the article.
What Is the Brand of Sacrifice Based On?
We already know that Berserk anime introduced us to so many interesting and cool aspects of worldbuilding in the last thirty years. Miura himself stated multiple times over the years that he drew inspiration from many parts of the fictional media. For example, the design of the main character Guts was influenced by Mad Max, and the aspects of Conan the Barbarian, and Elric of Melniboné heavily inspired the world of Berserk.
When it comes to the concept of casualty, the Physical and Astral World, the inspiration is drawn from Greek Tragedies and religion and the themes of the manga are human resistance, betrayal, revenge, and human nature and morality. Miura connected all of these aspects so cleverly that today Berserk is considered the best dark fantasy manga of all time, and that inspired so many great anime/manga over decades.
When it comes to the inspiration for Brand of Sacrifice, the Brand itself has quite a lot of similarities to old Norse runes, but the concept of Invocation of Doom is probably inspired by Christianity and its concept of hell and afterlife. This is all speculation since Miura did not explicitly said that what was the inspiration for the Brand of Sacrifice. However, the concept is quite similar to Christian philosophy and the fact there are apostles and God Hand members, only confirms suspicions. There is also a connection to the Lord of the Rings and Vikings mythology.
Who Has the Brand of Sacrifice in Berserk?
After we explained the inspirations of Berserk’s Brand of Sacrifice and what is based on, we will now explain which characters are marked in the Berserk manga. Characters that are branded include:
- Guts – his tattoo is on the right side of his neck.
- Casca – her tattoo is on the upper-middle part of her breast.
- Judeau – his tattoo is on the palm of his left hand.
- Corkus – his tattoo is on his forehead.
- Pippin – his tattoo is on his right arm.
- The Egg of the Perfect World – his tattoo is on his tongue.
- Gaston – has his Brand on the left shoulder.
- The Count’s wife has her tattoo on her upper chest, between breasts.
- Corpses under the Tower of Rebirth possess tattoos on their foreheads.
- Finally, the Lady Priestess of the Cherry Blossoms has her Brand on her right shoulder.
All of these characters had their own way of getting the Brand of Sacrifice, which is usually occurring during the Eclipse that is happening every 216 years – the occultation ceremony is a rare sacrificial ceremony during which a new member of the God Hand is born. The Band of Falcons, the group of Griffith and Guts, got branded after Griffith sacrificed them to become a new member of the God Hand – demon sovereigns who act as the executors of the Idea of Evil’s will.
Most of the Band died and succumbed to the injuries, and only Casca and Guts stayed alive. However, Casca got the worst end of the deal, because a new member of the God Hand, formerly Griffith, now Femto, attacked and sexually assaulted her in front of everyone, until the Skull Knight came in, broke the Eclipse, and saved both Casca and Guts.
This particular event was traumatizing not only for the characters but fans as well, and even after the release of the “Eclipse arc” at the end of the 1990s, Berserk fans still find this part of the storyline gory and shocking to the point of not rewatching. Thankfully, Miura provided us with new stories and arcs including both Guts and Casca and sucked us into the Berserk world once again.
Is the Brand of Sacrifice Real?
Even though the creator Kentarou Miura said multiple times he was inspired by a lot of fictional media works all over the world, his idea of Brand of Sacrifice is truly original. There are variations of this sign in history and in mythic stories, and some similarities to Viking runes, however, we can surely say that the Brand of Sacrifice is not real at all. It is a fictional idea that originates from the Japanese manga series Berserk.
Although, some fans got really inspired by the late Miura’s work and over the years of following this notable series, decided to brand themselves, with their own Brand of Sacrifice. We already mentioned the themes of Berserk like betrayal, and revenge, but human resilience and sacrifice, are the main traits of the main characters and are one of the main staples of the manga series itself.
Redetermination is something that the characters of Berserk are not very fond of and one of the themes also includes that the individual needs to take fate into their own hands, or in other words, “you will die one day, however, you have the strength and courage to give your all until you eventually do pass away.
Some fans joke that the Brand of Sacrifice looks a bit like a Bluetooth symbol, but that does not stop the fans from tattooing themselves onto various parts of the body.
Even though the Brand of Sacrifice is not really real, to Berserk fans it is, and we will leave one of the fan explanations for the Brand of Sacrifice tattoo: “The Brand of Sacrifice represents that I am mortal, but have the strength to fight until my dying breath.”