Hump Day Husbandos: Guts (Berserk)

Hump Day Husbandos

Do you like a bad boy? Cause there aren’t many who are badder than Guts from Berserk. The guy is a walking, talking rage machine, showing no remorse for the people he cuts down, whether they’re demons or the people who serve them. However, that isn’t what makes him one of the most compelling protagonists in manga history, and it isn’t what makes him husbando material.

Normally, I go for soft, loveable himbos when choosing my 2D men to fawn over, but Guts’ portrayal in Berserk, with the deep exploration of pain and trauma, makes him one I can’t possibly pass up.

Who is Guts?

Guts with one arm

When we first see Guts, he is the proverbial bull in a China shop. He walks into a bar full of people and kills all of them just to send a message to the demon lord who rules over them. He wields a sword bigger than most men and uses it with shocking dexterity for a man of his strength. Oh, and he also has a cannon where his hand should be, just to add to the edginess of the man.

When we finally get to see some of his backstory, it still doesn’t paint him in a terribly positive light. He was born to a dead woman hanging from a tree, close to drowning in a pool of blood and entrails. Guts was raised by a leper woman and quickly put to work as a mercenary by the time he was nine. He was, in many ways, born for battle, which was where he excelled for the first several years of his life.

Why we love him

Guts catches a sword

If that had been all there was to Guts, he would have made a wicked side character to a manga but never would have been able to carry a property like Berserk for as many years as he has. Fortunately, Guts isn’t just an exploration of rage and violence but of the trauma that can lead a person down that road. As we’ve discovered in our ongoing journey through Berserk, Guts wasn’t born a monster; he was made that way by the grown-ups in his life who failed him.

His adoptive father abandoned him. His friends turned on him. Despite his great strength and skill, he was discarded at the first sign of trouble. He should have died young, but his resolve to live proved stronger than even he could imagine. Eventually, he fell in with Griffith and the Band of the Hawk, where Guts finally found true companionship and, quite by accident, love.

Why you’ll love him

Of course, this is Berserk and we know for a fact that Guts’ story doesn’t have a happy ending. His new family and the woman he loves is taken from him with incredible violence by someone he had seen as a friend. Griffith’s betrayal cuts deep, even in a medium that is famous for them, both because of what he meant to Guts but also because of how desperately Guts wanted to become his equal.

That trauma, as much as everything that happened when Guts was a boy, is what made him into the monster he eventually becomes. The story is often shocking and takes a huge effort and time to process, but watching Guts grow, fall, and grow again, over and over, is one of the most fascinating journeys in manga history. In fact, whenever you see a brooding guy with a giant sword in an anime or JRPG made in the last 20 years, chances are that they are influenced by or a direct homage to Guts.

Not caught up on Berserk? Fortunately, you can grab most of it in digital format on Amazon, though it can be a tough slog to get through.

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