Kentaro Miura, creator of seminal dark-fantasy manga Berserk, died on May 6 of an aortic dissection. When his death was made public on May 19, Final Fantasy XIV players paid tribute with spontaneous memorials honouring Miura, Berserk, and its impact on the Final Fantasy franchise itself.
Miura’s work deeply influenced the Final Fantasy franchise so it’s fitting players would pay tribute to him in-game. Without Berserk’s influence, Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud Strife would lack his iconic buster sword, FF14 wouldn’t have its Dark Knight class, and on and on in numerous examples big and small. To say Berserk deeply influenced generations of creators is an understatement.
Dark Knights, decked out in their finest glamours, lined the streets of FF14’s capital cities, their big-arse swords slung across their shoulders in homage to Guts, the main character of Berserk.
On Balmung, one of the most populated servers in the North American Data Centre, the seemingly endless trail of mourners in Ul’dah snaked up and down the main thoroughfare.
There was something profoundly emotional about being among the mourners. I was overwhelmed by the fact that so many people, seemingly without prior coordination, just decided to do this in honour of a man they’d likely never met. Humanity doesn’t often put forward its best face, especially in video games, but when we do, it’s incredibly moving. When I first logged in to my server to see the memorial for myself, bards were using their performance action to play a song I didn’t recognise. When I visited the Balmung server, I heard the same song again and, thinking it had something to do with Berserk, I looked it up. It was Guts’ Theme. Suddenly emotional, I started to cry.
I never read Berserk, never watched the anime, nor played any of the video games. Though I am personally unfamiliar with Miura’s work, I do know that it has influenced a lot of the video games and anime shows I’ve enjoyed. Seeing this display and seeing others mourn with personal statements of Miura’s impact on their lives, I’m finally going to give the anime a shot.
Rest In peace Miura-san. “For those we have lost.”