One of the bloodiest, most brutal series in all of anime and manga is also one of the longest running: Berserk. Running since 1989, the series has seen nearly 40 collected manga volumes – that’s around 8,000 black and white manga pages – two animated series and three animated movies. And now it seem like Netflix might have its eyes on the series. We’re heading into the rumor mill, so take your grains of salt with you.
The Netflix social media accounts devoted to all the network’s geeky stuff, NXonNetflix, took to Twitter and Facebook to ask fans a simple question: “Which Guts do you prefer?” In plain English, that’s total nonsense. If you’re an anime dork, though, you know what’s up:
By the way, the results for this poll are exactly the same on our Twitter and Facebook. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? pic.twitter.com/ZeupUmxu2r
— NX (@NXOnNetflix) December 13, 2018
The two characters depicted are Guts, the main character of Berserk, and Guts the good boy from Kill La Kill, an anime about a girl with giant scissors who fights fashionable high school students for the fate of the world.
If this were just on some random account it would be just a fun question: do you like the sword man or the nice dog? But we’re over a decade into the social media age, and Netflix knows what it’s doing. This kind of post gets people talking. This seems less like a random post and more like someone fishing for information about which licenses to chase after for adaptation.
Of all the anime in the world, Berserk is ripe for adaptation. Just like Cowboy Bebop, Berserk is firmly rooted in western styling, set in what starts out as a pretty standard War of the Roses type period before turning into a nightmarish gothic hellscape. It doesn’t rely on Japanese cultural knowledge like, say, Ghost in the Shell does or like Kill La Kill and the literally countless of other anime set in Japanese high schools.
It’s likely that an adaptation like this hasn’t even been seriously considered. But at the same time, if they’re running this poll, it’s possible there are discussions going on internally. And if Netflix can do a live-action Witcher series, why not a live-action Berserk? Heck, they could even use the same sets. You think I’m kidding, but it’d totally work.
If they did stick to animation, they already have their producer. Producer Adi Shankar helped bring the Castlevania animation to life, and deserves at least some of the credit for that being a legitimate frontrunner in “best video game adaptation ever,” which is absolutely an achievement despite the anemic competition. In response to Netflix’s post, he replied, “I think we know my answer to this.” He told Forbes, “Berserk needs to come back. If someone reputable gets me the rights I’ll bring it back in that 2D hand-drawn vibe and make is closer to the manga, because the hyper-detailed beauty of Kentaro Miura’s artwork in the manga is the true masterpiece.”
There’s not enough here to get excited about. But there’s definitely enough to get lots of people tweeting at Netflix.