I know this fan-art sucks but it's the only one I could find that features both of them.
Well,this has been a long time coming.
Due to how much people liked my "Similarities between Frozen and Steven Universe" article,I decided to make similar one to it.But this time,I'll list off the similarities between two of my favorite series of all time,Samurai Jack and Berserk.
Now before we get into the article itself,let's get some things out of the way.
You see,when I was a little boy,Samurai Jack was my favorite show growing up and now that I'm older,I honestly think it got better with time and right now it's my second favorite cartoon of all time.
I got introduced to Berserk when I heard the song "Forces", which was part of the Berserk OST.After that,I became really interested in the series.And when I finally watched the anime,the movies and even some of the manga,I became a huge fan of the series.I even like the new 2016 anime!
And I know that some of you anime fans out there will say that Samurai Jack has more in common with Afro Samurai than it does with Berserk.While that is true,the reason why I'm comparing Samurai Jack to Berserk instead of Afro Samurai it's because the comparison between the 2 samurai shows have been beaten to the ground,and I didn't want to sound redundant or lazy.
Now that we've got these out of the way,let's begin:
1.Both are incredibly skilled swordsmen,and are nigh unstoppable with their sheer willpower:
I guess Jack would have more varied set of skills,proving to be a master of several martial arts (among them ninjutsu and kung-fu),being skilled in practically any kind of traditional weapon,having a tactical and trained mind and a magic sword that can only harm evil.Since early childhood he has trained with many masters in practically every corner of the world,possessing a self-discipline that is nearly unheard of.His weaknesses would however be that he can't handle any weaponry from the future.Then there's his very honorable and trusting nature,which has led him in a pinch more than once.Also while being considerably stronger,faster and more resiliant than your average human,he is still as vulnerable to blows and cuts like any mortal.He has been defeated and outsmarted several times by foes who possesses as much/or more skill combined with physical advantages.
Guts towers over most of the people he fights alongside and most people he meets.Only Pippin was taller than him back in his younger days.Now,he is probably somewhere around the 6'3"-6'5" zone (roughly between 190cm and 195cm). Aside from wielding a very large weapon,Guts does not depend on his physical strength much,(since he's not seen punching boulders in half) and prefers to use his ridiculous speed and agility to get within attacking distance,while dodging or enduring whatever the giant demons throw at him in the meantime.
Guts embodies quite a lot of Shonen characteristics seen in many well-known characters in manga and anime.But what separates him from those characters is just how thorough an examination the story gives on those traits.His refusal to give up no matter the cost has more or less put his body through so much physical torture that the only thing keeping him from dying is dumb luck or sheer willpower.His extreme devotion to his loved ones severely outweighs any concern for other people.His love of fighting is taken to its logical conclusion.And finally,his dark and troubled past,while having molded him into one of the most proficient warriors in Berserk,has granted him WAY more baggage than he can emotionally handle.
2.Both of them wield a special sword that they carry around with them:
Samurai Jack's sword is a Japanese Katana forged by the deities Odin,Ra and Vishnu and from the power of righteousness within the Samurai Lord's heart.
The sword is the only power that can harm Aku.Jack's sword can only be used for good,but in the hands of evil,it cannot harm an innocent.This was proven when Aku managed to steal the sword from Jack and he could not use it to harm the Samurai,who is innocent.This was something that Jack himself had forgotten.
Very few characters other than Jack use the sword in the series, most notably the King of the Spartans in "Jack and the Spartans" after his own sword was broken and Jack threw him the sword to protect himself.
The sword has the power to cut through any mundane substance,given that there is enough force behind it (Jack was unable to cut through the tough armor of the Ultra Robots in "Jack a d the Ultra Robots" without artificial strength enhancement). Likewise,similar magically enhanced objects can also prove immune to being cut by the sword (for instance the Scotsman's blade was imbued with magic runes and proves impervious). The sword itself seems to be essentially impervious to harm,it will simply rebound off of substances that it cannot harm instead of shattering upon impact.Unlike more mundane katanas,which require extensive maintenance,Jack's sword appears not to require any sort of upkeep,though Jack was shown on one occasion to sharpen it.The sword's main purpose is to destroy Aku and defend the innocent,however,one very important aspect that Jack had failed to consider in his first battle with Aku,was that the sword is nothing without it's wielder.
The Dragonslayer is the oversized sword Guts has wielded since the Eclipse and is his primary weapon for slaying demons as the Black Swordsman.
While of no use to anyone who does not possess the strength to wield it,the Dragonslayer is an extremely effective weapon to those who do.In combining the wielder's strength and the sword's heavy weight,it can damage enemies who shrug off attacks from more conventional weapons,most notably Apostles.
Due to being constantly used against Apostles and evil spirits,the Dragonslayer exists simultaneously in the Astral and physical realms and can thus damage beings that reside purely in the Astral layer (Meaning it can even harm ghosts).
Sometimes noted to be more akin to "a heap of raw iron" than a sword,the Dragonslayer is a massive weapon that is tall enough to rival Guts' height and is wide enough to be used as a shield against projectiles.It is implied to be heavier than five-hundred pounds.
In his youth,the blacksmith Godo lived in a castle town far from the hut he would one day call home.The castle town's sovereign,a king,sent out of proclamation to all of his vassals to forge a sword that would be capable of killing a dragon and Godo's liege lord entrusted him with the task of doing so.Tired of crafting ornate weapons for nobles who sought elegance in their armaments,Godo took to the task seriously,creating the huge,but unusable Dragonslayer.Offended at how crude and impractical the Dragonslayer was,Godo's liege lord threatened the blacksmith's life,forcing Godo to flee the castle town and settle down at his mine.
The Dragonslayer was kept in storage for years until it was discovered by Guts during a fight against an Apostle,whereupon the Black Swordsman wielded it with ease that shocked Godo,who thought the sword's weight made it unusable as a weapon.Since then,Guts has made effective use of the Dragonslayer against spirits,monsters and Apostles.
3.Both of them have done unbelievable feats:
This is also one of the reasons why these two are the most badass (I'm sorry) characters,their feats.
Both of them have done feats that no normal man could do,making them fearsome warriors.
Let's star with Jack:
- defeated or destroyed armies of robots,bounty hunter robots,bounty hunters,demons,zombies and elemental creatures;
- survived multiple encounters with Aku,and being able to almost kill him;
- survived multiple explosions and against stronger foes;
-survived terrible weather conditions like blizzards,hot weather and rain storms,while wearing only his gi and sandals;
-is a tactical genius (Though he's not very acquainted with futuristic technology);
- defeated 6 bounty hunters,at once,faster than the drop of a melting icicle (I'm serious.);
-was able to take care of a baby without it getting hurt;
-managed to destroy the infection Aku gave him, and preventing it from turning him evil.
Now for Guts:
- slew 100 men by himself in one night and killed well over a 1,000 more since in his life time;
-survived combat with Nonferatu Zodd,twice;
-killed numerous Apostles,including a black-widow-type female who he killed while having sex with her...no joke.Coincidently,he defeated a female God Hand member,Slan,who was aroused by being impaled with his blade.
-caught Grunbeld's dragon tail swing and shattered his shield;
-survived countless wounds;
-killed the "Sea God" from within.
It's no denying that the feats of these two men are incredible and are far beyond anything that a normal human being could do.
But my point is not comparing which of the two is the strongest,but rather to show how formidable they are.
4.Both of them are lone swordsmen who have to defeat a demon that controls the world behind closed curtains in a seemingly corrupted society.
This is where both series share the most similarities.
While the setting and tone may be different,the concept isn't.
I guess that's why I became a fan of Berserk;because of how much it resembled Samurai Jack in terms of its premise.
I'm going to analyze both of them and the world they inhabit,to give a thorough explanation as to what the world they inhabit is like and why they want to destroy the main villain.
During his youth,Jack was the prince of Japan and dreamed of becoming a great samurai warrior,just like his father,who defeated the evil Aku long ago.
However,his life changed when Aku was freed from his imprisonment by a solar eclipse and set out to get his revenge on the emperor who humiliated and imprisoned him.
When all hope seemed lost,the Empress grabs the young Prince and the sword and carries them away from the burning palace by boat.The Empress hands the prince over to the captain of a ship which bears the emblem of his father,while the sword stays with her.
The prince spends his childhood and teenage years in various cultures,learning just about every fighting style there from all parts of the world,for when he grows up,he can use his father's sword to destroy the Shogun of Sorrow,for good.
Having finished his tour of the old world,the Prince,now grown up,heads to a designated rendezvous point where he reunites with his mother.The mother and child embrace after their long separation,and she returns to him his birthright:the sword of his father.
Returning to his land,the Prince finds his people enslaved.The countryside is riddled with likenesses of Aku,and the Emperor,like all his subjects,has been put to work in the mines,though he is being tormented by Aku's evil minions far more than anyone else.The Prince easily defeats the minions and frees his father from his shackles.
The Prince promises that he will vanquish Aku by the power of his sword,but his father berates him,saying that the sword is but a tool,and that the true power lies in the hands that wield it.The Prince sets off on horseback,promising his father not to fail him.But the Emperor is worried,for he knows evil always "finds a way".
When The Prince confronts Aku and almost defeats him,Aku uses his opportunity and opens a magic portal that sends The Prince into the far away future.He did so because when the time comes to confront The Prince again,Aku would be much stronger.
Once The Prince arrived in the far future,he's faced with a world that's literally alien to him and doesn't know what to do.
After surviving being shot down or crushed under a trash-compactor,by using his skills,a couple of locals start referring to The Prince as "Jack" (They said it in a way to mean "pal" or "dude",but The Prince didn't know that.)
The Prince is then invited into a futuristic disco bar,where nothing is recognizable to him.Aliens and mutants are walking around,the music is loud and irritating,and is surrounded by technology he doesn't understand.
When The Prince defeats a gang of robot-aliens,who picked a bone with him,he is approached by an anthropomorphic dog named "Sir Colin Bartholomew Montgomery Rothchild The Third", the dog and his comrades beg for The Prince's help because they're enslaved by Aku.The Prince decides to help them and introduces himself as "Jack", the name the teens called him earlier.As they were leaving,unbeknownst to them,a spy of Aku has had heard their conversation and went to give the Shogun of Sorrows himself the information.As soon as he heard this,Aku became infuriated and wished to see who would dare to oppose him and saw that it was Jack.Aku knew this day would come and proclaims that Jack will now suffer the pain he felt in the past and sends an army of Beetle Drones to attack them.
At the excavation site,Jack and the archaeologists learn that Aku has sent an army of machines to destroy them and begin to prepare for their coming arrival.
During the night,Jack devised a plan to use the Dogs' heavy equipment and the crystals they mined to use against the Beetle Drone army.
The fight was hard,but Jack emerged victorious and freed the Dogs from Aku.Then,he decides to find a way back to his past,and defeat Aku so that neither the past or the future will ever suffer from Aku's evil tyranny.
Aku,being the ruler of Earth,made Jack the most wanted person on the planet,and every bounty hunter in the world is after him,thus lowering any hope of having peace or succeeding.
Throughout the course of his journey,Jack has encountered many strange people.From aliens,to robots,to mutants,to anthropomorphic animals,etc...And has helped/saved them by either sacrificing himself,or just by outsmarting his opponents.
He also has multiple occasions to go back in time,but there's always something to thwart him,or he chooses to save the lives of others who are in danger at that moment.
In the episode "Jack and the Spartans",Jack encounters a Spartan army who've been fighting an evil robot and its army for generations.Near the end of the episode,when Jack and the Spartan King destroy the robot,the factory and the robot are beginning to explode,however,Jack sacrifices himself to save the king's life. (He survives in the end,though.)
Helping this army has nothing to do with his mission or his goal to go back in time,yet he still decided to help them.
His concern for others outweighs his concern for himself.Which some people might find confusing,since...Why does he risk his life so much for others who have nothing to do with his quest?...Especially since staying alive is important for finding a way back to the past.
My head-canon is that throughout the course of the series,Jack slowly realizes that no matter how hard he tries and how many opportunities he has to go back,there will always be something to interfere with him at the moment,losing of hope of ever returning.
I think this theory is backed-up even more with the end of the episode "Jack and the Ancient Masters' Son", Jack chose to save the life of two Shaolin Monks who helped him on his way to the portal.
After saving them,the monks ask him:
"-Thank you brother for saving us.But...Why didn't you enter the Time Portal?
-You were prepared to sacrifice,I was not.
-But with the portal destroyed,you will have to find another way home.
-I am getting used to that."
He admits that he's getting used to every opportunity of going home has slipped away so much from him and that he might be stuck in the future,forever.
Jack has incredible will-power,there's no doubt about it.Every time he fails to return to his time-period,he keeps on going,always searching for a way back to his own time.But a lot of people seem to forget that Jack is still human.Not only are there instances throughout the series where Jack was defeated by others,who are more skilled than him,but there is a strong chance of him giving up.
I'll touch upon this topic again when we reach the end.
Also,wouldn't going back in time and destroying Aku change the space-time continuum and erase everything and everyone he met on his journey?
In the episode "Jack Remembers the Past", Jack finds the remains of his once majestic land,now in ruins.He starts to get get flashbacks of his childhood and how peaceful,innocent and beautiful it was before Aku attacked.
This shows that Jack longs for his home,as well as for the love and forgiveness of his parents.
This is probably one of the biggest reasons why Jack wants to go back is because he misses his home.
While that's justifiable,that doesn't justify what comes next...
To quote Fist of the North Star:
"I believe that your separation from Julia must be linked to the ultimate fulfillment of your destiny.Fate's plan,in which we must all play a part.I have a hunch that your role is an important one.
I'm surprised if the world needs you,even more than you need Julia."
This line has a point.In Aku's world,where his name is law and only the strongest can live,having someone like Jack fight for those who cannot fight means more to the world than his need to go back in time.He's literally jeopardizing the future,for his own goal to go back to his time and destroy Aku,which like I said,would ruin the space-time continuum,preventing the existence of all those friends he helped in the future.And that,in no uncertain terms,is selfish.
Yes,destroying Aku in the past will ensure a better future,but even if Aku still ruled the world,most of the people Jack encounters seems relatively peaceful,as if Aku never took over the planet.So destroying him would probably cause more harm than good.
This is the downfall of any great hero,their own self-interests.
It's ironic that a samurai from the past was more needed and did more good in the future than he did in his own time.
Despite his goal,Jack is an samurai through and through,as his honour is beyond human.You might cite the Japanese inspiration Samurai Jack from movies like Seven Samurai or anime like Rurouni Kenshin,but that doesn't mean it's the only cartoon that was.And yet,Jack remains on outlier.In a way,Jack is the perfect male-empowerment fantasy;strong,righteous,honorable and determined (Almost to the point of blindness.),yet unconcerned for the body-count he leaves in his wake.His violence is justified by the life and death situations that revolve around him and everyone he comes across.Heck,the fact that he only uses his immense skills against literally heartless people is justification enough.
And Guts isn't any better...
During the Golden Age,Guts was originally a mercenary for the Band of the Hawk.But developed the skills of a master swordsman,and managed to slay 100 men.
In the Dark Ages,Guts' nights are spent tenaciously fighting demons,zombies and ghosts.
But with all seriousness,Guts' goal and personality is rather puzzling due to his role as a very active and dynamic character.
In the Berserk series there are multiple time-skips,where we see Guts from the moment he was born,to his adult years.And if the Berserk Wiki is accurate with his timeline,then Guts is barely over 21.
Throughout these 20 or so years,Guts' life has been filled with misery.While Jack had a tragic backstory,Guts' backstory is even more tragic,and is quite possibly the most tortured individual I've ever seen.
A man who endures physical pain is manly,but a person who withstands wounds of the heart is even manlier.It's easy to see that many people sympathize with Guts,for he's gone through so much crap.(Sorry about that.)
Guts lost all of his comrades,but is driven to insanity with the hellish faces he sees every night.
Physically,Guts lost his right eye and left arm in a failed rescue attempt to save his commander,Casca.To make matters even worse,it was Guts' most trusted friend who brought about all this misery for his own ambition.His desire to become king has led the Band of the Hawk as a sacrificial offering where they got eaten by Apostles,leaving Guts and Casca as the sole-survivors.
Upon awakening,Guts' life has changed as his wounds will forever remember Femto's betrayal.But the 2 things he can't forgive are Casca's sexual abuse,and the corruption of his unborn child.
Ever since then,Guts has been on a man-hunt,slaughtering Apostles and killing whoever gets in his way.
Going back to the earlier remark of dynamic characters,Guts' personality is constantly shifting,as in his childhood,he was devoted to his mercenary leader,Gambino.But that all changed when he himself was a rape victim,thereby losing his trust in people.
His trust is then recovered when meeting the Band of the Hawk,which then changed Guts into more of a social and honorable person.He was a man willing to follow his commander for a greater cost,acting as a right-hand man out of respect for Griffith.However,to be his equal,Guts set on a journey of self-discovery,seeking his purpose in life and role should he live by.
As a man,Guts couldn't stay in Griffith's shadow,as everyone wants to their own person,fulfilling their own desires,ambitious or not.
With a twist of irony,this same devotion led to a chaotic turn to hell,where Guts has lost everything,thus regressing into an angry avenger,seeking to fulfill his craving for murder.
Much like Jack,Guts' awesomeness comes from him being a mortal man,beheading Apostles and other enemies with sheer will-power...Guts at times was a psychopath.
In the chapters leading to the Black Swordsman,Guts wouldn't endure his past with the best examples,like leaving immensely broken Casca all alone.Instead,Guts focuses on killing,and making sure his enemies suffer while being very sadistic in nature.
Adding to his list of atrocities,Guts would use children,innocent bystanders and corpses as shields.And was even the cost of a whole village being killed and burned,to which Guts replies "He doesn't care."
With all these things,Guts is very unfitting to be called a man or a hero.You can't call someone heroic when he goes around putting people down,breaking apart their convictions,or even telling a little girl to kill herself.(I'm serious.That really happened.) But quite possibly the most horrendous thing he did,was torchering and killing a girl's father,right in front of her eyes.Yes,the girl's father was an Apostle,but in these panels where he commits these awful acts,make me feel disgusted.
In a way,Jack and Guts are mirror opposites of each other,with Guts being the dark reflection of Jack.
Despite bathing in the blood of his enemies and making his hands dirty with more blood,what makes Guts a man? Three thing:his perseverance,his current repentance and his love for Casca.
From childhood,Guts has managed to survive multiple battles when he's always outnumbered.He even killed wolfs.His savage nature...or better said,his "berserk" nature,has a gritty was of being admired,as he's a one-man army,capable of killing just about anything.Fighting against his fate of death earns him the name of Struggler,but his most admirable quality is understanding his past misdeeds.Lately,Guts' been behaving as more of a mentor,and gradually calming his rage for his priority is Casca's safety.
He may have put aside his revenge for the time being,but there's still a chance for Guts to go berserk,as he constantly battles against himself.
Guts isn't a hero like Jack,he's a soldier who has experienced unbearable grief,and wishes nothing more than Casca's peace.She serves as his anchor,pulling him back from madness,as the memories of his youth were the best moments of his life,where he found her as the most trustful and irreplaceable person.
Guts' struggles has led him to carry sorrow,possibly never experiencing love or raising a child.But he will ensure Casca's safety,as he doesn't want her to suffer ever again;for if Guts loses his love,his humanity shall forfeit.
What this man needs is solace,happiness and an end to his suffering.But until then,Guts tries to control his rage,therefore placing love above all else.
The reason why I wanted to make this article is not because both of them are series that I hold dearly,but because both of them were getting continuations this year.
In the fall of this year,Samurai Jack will get a 5th Season,and it will the conclusion to the series.According to show-creator,Genndy Tartakovsky,the 5th Season will take place 50 years after the events of the show,and the rest of the Season will show what happened between the 4th and 5th Season.
Remember when I said I'll be talking about Jack giving up? The fact that the 5th Season will take place 50 years later and that Jack is going to be more violent,further reinforces my headcanon that Jack sooner or later will give up on his quest to go back and that his old conventional ways will no longer be efficient.
In the July of this year,Berserk got an adaptation that continues where the Golden Age Arc left off.However,it turns out that it actually skipped some Arcs that most Berserk fans wanted to see.
I know Samurai Jack isn't anime and that it has more similarities with Afro Samurai than it does with Berserk,but that doesn't mean that it doesn't share any similarities with Berserk.Plus,comparing the two samurais would have been redundant and lazy.
I love both series and seeing that they both got a continuation this year made me so happy that I decided to dedicate this article to them.
Smell ya later!