Berserk is one of those classic manga series that has a strong following. Its popularity was further enhanced by the critical acclaim over the years from critics and fans alike. On the other hand, it is akin to an incomplete bridge, given the late Kentaro Miura sensei’s untimely demise back in 2021. Nonetheless, the manga, to this day, remains at the pinnacle of the grim and dark fantasy genre. Going forward, we will explore other manga similar to Berserk that is equally enthralling and just as epic in all senses of the word.
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Now, before we begin our short adventure, let us first delve a bit into the grim yet thrilling world of Berserk and have a glimpse at all that makes it shine brighter than all of its peers. Being a pioneer of the fantasy genre and setting itself apart with its unique grim notes, the series has made ripples across the world of manga and anime. Set in a world that is much unkind and unwelcoming to men and women, and populated by all sorts of demons, we follow the protagonist’s, Guts, grisly adventure, exploits, and a bloody quest for vengeance. The series touches upon all sorts of themes from loneliness, friendships, and comraderies to betrayals and pain and the best and worst aspects of human nature, along with entire spoonsful of sword-swinging, bloodthirsty action. The series explores tender moments of emotions as well as raw savagery and epic sword-swinging, all captured in the late Kentaro Miura sensei’s beautiful drawings and brushstrokes. So hold on to your metaphorical horses, and sit tight, for it’s going to be one helluva ride.
Manga Similar to Berserk
15. Monster – by Naoki Urasawa
On a fundamental basis, Berserk and Monster are two brilliant manga series but based on vastly differing themes. While the former is more action-oriented with adrenaline moments aplenty, the latter provides its fair share of psychological thrill to keep you guessing. Despite such stark contrast, Monster can be considered a manga similar to Berserk, given the philosophical and psychological aspects that the manga brings to the table. Both being masterpieces in their own rights, highlight the best and worst aspects of humanity and the human mind, plagued by a multitude of dilemmas and regrets, all pointing towards stronger character growth and tragedies in equal measures. Monster provides plenty of moral dilemmas when the life of the protagonist, Dr. Tenma is turned upside down after he saves the life of a kid, who turns out to be the titular monster. A twisted tale that has some semblance to its brutal counterpart, it’s a must-read on our list.
14. Blade of the Phantom Master/ Shin Angyo Onshi – by Youn In-wan
On a list of manga similar to Berserk, Blade of the Phantom Master is as close to a manga or manhwa as they come. With too many similarities than one could bother to count, both series share themes that range from superficial tones to deeper aspects of the story and plot. In this series, the protagonist, Munsu, is tasked with bringing justice and ridding his country of corruption. But after the fall, he sets about to bring his own brand of justice, fighting treacherous battles and supernatural elements along the way. Munsu’s actions parallel that of Guts, while seeking vengeance against his best friend turned villain. While Berserk is also revered due to its detailed artwork, Blade of the Phantom Master rivals Berserk even in this regard, capturing the story in a manner that others can only hope to.
13. Kingdom – by Yasuhisa Hara
Set in the era of the warring states of China, Kingdom follows the epic of tale of Li Xin, an orphan who strives to climb the army ranks and unify all the warring states of China. While it has its share of tactical battle scenes, it cements its spot as a manga similar to Berserk as both deal with dark and violent themes in eras marred by constant wars. Protagonists of both series march on their bloody paths having a goal set in mind, while coming face to face with moral dilemmas and equally hard choices. They go up against scenarios and encounter situations that no ordinary mortal could ever deal with. In that regard, both Li Xin and Guts are total badasses. And should you grow fond of one, you will definitely love to dive into the adventures of the other.
12. Attack on Titan/ Shingeki no Kyojin – by Hajime Isayama
Attack on Titan’s popularity has shot up tremendously in recent times, and justifiably so. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, it focuses on the adventures of Eren in his quest to eliminate the towering titans and protect his Paradis island, we embark on a saga with more twists and turns than a roller coaster ride. All the while, adding to the richness of the lore and breathing life into the characters. While the plot offers little to match, there are many common themes and elements that both series touch upon. Both set in eras that radiate medieval European vibes offers a bleak future. Yet amidst the darkness, hope persists. Both series also deal with aspects like mystery, blood and gore, class struggles, political intrigue, fanaticism, and so on and so forth. But do note that Attack on Titan is definitely a grim shounen tale, Berserk is better suited for the more mature audience.
11. Giganto Maxia – by Kentaro Miura
Coming from none other than the late legend himself, Miura sensei’s Giganto Maxia stomps its way into this list. Set in a very distant future of a science fiction sort of world and with heavy references to Greek mythos, the story follows the peculiar duo of Delos and Prome as they travel through wastelands, and eventually have to fight for their lives. While there are elements of machoism, pride, wrestling, and battles, Giganto Maxia is a different breed from Berserk, yet it remains to be a manga similar to Berserk nonetheless. Both focus on topics like a lone hero accompanied by magical companions taking on opponents much larger than them. Albeit a short series, it showcases Miura sensei’s ingenious artworks. Impeccably and seamlessly capturing moments and stories within pictures and drawings, the series provides an insight into the late mangaka’s growth as an artist over the years. And so, a must-read for any Berserk fan!
10. Gantz- by Hiroya Oku
The story of Gantz begins with the end of Kei’s and Masaru’s normal lives. Sacrificing themselves to save a stranger, they are brought back to life in a room full of other recently deceased. A mysterious black sphere, the titular Gantz, tasks them to kill monstrous and alien targets, while they are offered to be teleported back to their regular life if they succeed each such task. Only for their life to be not so regular anymore, for they can be summoned back any time. Gantz is undoubtedly a manga similar to Berserk, as both are grim tales for the slightly mature audience. Although the former has a more of sci-fi futuristic setting, both provide a relishing treat for the blood and gore lovers out there. Both shine in their depictions of violence, humor, heartbreak, and more as they push their characters to the brink only to bring them back and repeat.
9. Dorohedoro – by Q Hayashida
Set in a dark and grisly world with much violence and little order, we follow the story of the amnesiac reptilian-headed Caiman and his closest ally, Nikaidou. Their world has the filthy realm titled Hole, inhabited by humans and victims to the much powerful magic users who experiment, torture, and brutalize the former as they see fit, who reside in a separate rich, colorful realm. And so Caiman with aid from his allies, seek to regain his memories and understand how he came to be this unusual hybrid from being a human. While the plots differ, Dorohedoro makes its mark as a manga similar to Berserk with its dark fantasy setting and supernatural elements along with plenty of bloodshed and badassery, as well as leaving the readers with much to think about. However, Dorohedoro does make a better balance of tragic comedy and dark humor for moments of lightheartedness amidst the carnage. It is, so, a definite fun read!
8. Übel Blatt – by Etorouji Shiono
Übel Blatt’s main plot starts when the Szaalanden emperor sends fourteen warriors to aid war efforts the threat of the Wischtech invasion, while only seven return. 2 decades hence, the series starts with Kóinzell slaying some of the traitors of the original fourteen who had survived. With his past and his intentions shrouded in mystery, he soon becomes a symbol of hope and fear for those he meets. While the manga’s artworks can only hope to compete with Miura sensei’s masterpiece, it still is a manga similar to Berserk. Both share a dark fantasy setting with over-the-top sword fights, mature themes, and cover themes like lone warriors out for revenge in the face of betrayal from their close ones. While its no Berserk, it is still a fun read for fans of the fantasy genre.
7. Fire Punch – by Tatsuki Fujimoto
In a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world where all is frozen and ravaged by ice and snow, we follow Agni’s road to vengeance. ‘Blessed’ with regenerative powers, and having had a horrifying past, he soon loses his beloved sister in a dastardly attack. Afflicted by the assailant’s powers, he burns but is unable to die due to his own ‘blessing’, yet suffers from the affliction. Taking the heat to his heart, lighting his desire for fiery vengeance, he sets on this dark path. Fire Punch stands as a manga similar to Berserk and with good reason. Both series explore edgy messed-up worlds with the leads on their quest for revenge. With good pacing, we explore the new worlds and all that they have to offer to fuel your nightmares. So go on, stave off the cold as you pick up this adrenaline-rushing, gripping tale and explore the frosty realm.
6. Goblin Slayer – by Kumo Kagyu
This is a refreshing take on the dark-fantasy genre with its symbolism. While most focus on epic stuff like fighting the strongest villains in over-the-top fashion for glamour, saving the world, and so on; this takes a deeper look at something more rooted, yet horrifying. Follow the story of the lead hero on a quest to slay down any and all goblins. Yes, goblins, the lowest of fantastical threats that inspire neither fear nor awe. Yet, his actions have more impact on the commoners’ daily lives than any glorious battles with overpowered overlords. Both series depict the lead’s journey with a tragic past and have plenty of magic, sword slaying, blood, and gore as well as mature themes. Albeit being a manga-like berserk, it takes its own unique approach making for a thrilling yet humbling read for any fan of the fantasy genre.
5. Vagabond – by Takehiko Inoue
Heavily inspired by the legendary historic swordsman Musashi Miyamoto, Vagabond follows the journey of an aspiring swordsman who, with his friend, sought out a grander life in their way of the sword. Yet as fate would have it, he soon stands accused for a grave murder and is forced to go on the run. Vagabond wholeheartedly deserves its top 5 spot on this list of manga similar to Berserk with its rich plot, detailed art, well-paced character growth and the likeness in the medieval settings as well as the sword-oriented brutal fights. While Berserk has is a more fantasy-based series, Vagabond is rooted in a higher realistic setting and much more lifelike. Regardless, any who is fond of the masterpiece that is Berserk, is for sure to fall in love with Vagabond. A must-read with a double thumbs-up from our side!
4. Vinland Saga – by Makoto Yukimura
Talking about manga similar to Berserk, it would be a grave injustice to not include Vinland Saga, another work of wonder. Set in 11th century Europe, the plot begins with the young Thorfinn witnessing his dad’s, a great Viking warrior, murder. Vowing revenge, he sets his sight on nothing but exacting revenge on his father’s killer, Askeladd. The series, however, goes on to also cover the volatile political scenario of the 11th-century European countries. Being bloody epics, both series are set in worlds where violence reigns the day, with battle hunger and bloodlust aplenty. The plots are gripping as both shifts from moments of innocence to sorrow, emptiness, revenge, redemption and onwards thereon.
3. Bastard!!: Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy – by Kazushi Hagiwara
Bastard!! is a gritty and dark series much alike Berserk. There are more themes that make it a manga similar to Berserk, than one can keep count of. For starters, both are set in medieval times in a fantasy world full of demons and monsters, featuring quite powerful antiheroes as the respective leads. Neither plots shy away from mature themes as well as other adult themes like extreme violence as well as nudity. The overall plot itself is sort of basic wherein a dark wizard, trapped in a young boy, has to fight against others to prevent the resurrection of an evil god. However, there are plenty of twists and turns blended smoothly by some skillful storytelling. Ergo, a must-read for any Berserk fan, especially considering how underrated and old this series is.
2. Akame ga Kill – by Takahiro
While there are many action-oriented manga as well as those set in the grim and dark genre, Akame ga Kill is perhaps one of the best combinations of the two. It surpasses most series in the areas of bloodshed, gore and uber-cool fights, being one of the very few to actually be a manga similar to Berserk. With cruel violence being commonplace in both series, and death lurking around the corner, no character is safe. Add to them, the twists and turns that will blindside even the most avid reader. Additionally, both series also pose plenty of moral, ideological, and philosophical dilemmas to the characters that drag even the readers into their stories. While definitely not meant for the faint of heart, prepare your minds for the gore galore in the two of the best dark manga to be made.
1. Claymore – by Norihiro Yagi
Finally arriving at the bottom of the list, we have none other than the epic work by Norihiro Yagi sensei, Claymore. Set in a medieval era of sorts, with humans living in constant fear of demons, our lead fights against all odds, slaying down the overpowered monsters while unraveling secrets that may shake their own worlds! It is a series so similar to Berserk, that even reading it will conjure up images and scenes from Berserk itself, or vice versa. With oversized and overpowered demons, sword-swinging action, bloody battles, bleak outlooks, amazing artworks and the whole shebang, Claymore feels like Berserk’s closest sibling. Both series even flesh out the anti-hero archetype of the leads while exploring their duality in their inner conflicts, philosophies and morals. There is plenty of character growth that feels all too natural with the story progression. All in all, no true Berserk fan can ever skip this amazing series that is as close as one can get to the cult classic!
All said and done, the hero’s journey has been explored since decades. Yet the variety of themes such as friendships and comraderies, treacheries, revenge and redemptions have been expressed in such in numerous ways, that the journey will always remain a fresh one for any reader. And Berserk, being one such perfectly balanced tale puts readers in the lead’s shoes immersing them into the story, bringing it to life. So, did you like our list of manga similar to Berserk? What other manga similar to Berserk, would you have loved to see on this list? Do let us know in the comments below, and which among these are you fond of!