Your Quarters Worth

Rest Easy, Stranger

A Selfish Ode To Kentaro Miura

A few nights ago I discovered that Kentaro Miura, creator of the Manga/Anime series Berserk, recently passed away.

It bummed me out.

This week’s Quarter’s Worth is a deep dive into how Miura’s death affected me, as well as how selfish my reaction was.

Finally, I’ll touch on the weird nature associated with a celebrity stranger’s death.

During a discussion a few nights ago with fellow anime/manga geeks, Berserk came up. That’s not atypical. In truth, it’s on par for most such conversations.

Listening to a friend and I expound how great the series is, a high school age acquaintance mentioned that Miura had died.

The young man hadn’t consumed any of Miura’s work, but he knew of him. Considering the graphic adult content found within Miura’s lifelong opus, it’s good thing he hadn’t read or seen any, but still the artist was on the kid’s radar.

Kentaro Miura wrote and drew Berserk for over thirty years.

More than three decades on one story!

And Berserk’s coherent. It’s emotionally accessible. It’s dark and passionate while being something beautiful and light-hearted.

Berserk’s been adapted into multiple animated series, several films, and a handful of video games.

It’s also inspired countless others’ work, including my own. Recently Your Quarter’s Worth reviewed the Dark Horse Deluxe versions of the manga right here.

My reaction finding out Miura died was melancholy.

I’ve never met the man. I’m not even sure if we’ve ever been in the same hemisphere. Yet, consuming Berserk, I felt a deep sense of connection to him.

I relate to the macabre elegance found within his epic. Guts, the protagonist Black Swordsman, reminds me of. . well, me. . .at least if I was a badass alternative universe demon-slayer.

In addition to my relationship to the story, Berserk held power that ran outside of books and television screens. It produced countless bonding experiences with my wife and friends.

I can clearly recall discovering the first disc of the television series in the anime section of Circuit City almost twenty years ago while shopping with my wife.

Berserk was the one of the first of many, many anime my wife and I watched together.

And being a wannabe creative myself, I am envious of the level of mastery Miura has achieved in his lifetime. The discipline and patience required to produce forty volumes of such intricately drawn art is insane.

I get distracted by the next shiny story–or, ahem, video game–after penning about two thousand words. I am envious of such the extreme level of dedication and focus Kentaro Miura put forth in his lifetime.

Miura is more like Guts than I could ever aspire to be.

Guts is The Struggler. His quest is unending.

Guts knows no peace. He is doomed. Revenge is always just outside of his grasp, teasing him into furious rage.

Viewers and readers have waited with bated breath as volume after volume and episode after episode released, in hopes of finding out if the hero ever finds solace, or failing that, his vengeance.

SPOILER ALERT! With Miura’s passing last month, Guts never does.

Kentaro Miura died on May 6th of an acute aortic dissection. The wall between the two chambers of his heart ruptured and caused what sounds like an incredibly painful death. And here I am disappointed over the loss of my consumable entertainment. What a pathetic, selfish ass I am!

I should be sad I never reached out to Miura while he was alive to inform him how much Berserk meant to me, how it strengthened my life’s relationships. Instead I was mournful over the fact that I’ll never have a conclusion to his epic story.

I reflect, not on Miura’s death, but on my reaction to it. I recognize a pattern easily observed throughout the history of pop culture. Kobe Bryant, David Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson, Biggie, Pac, Kurt Cobain, the list is endless.

We become infatuated with “stars” during their lifetimes. Then we deify each upon their deaths. “True fans” seem to exponentially multiply in the wake of their tragic endings.

We don’t have claim over their lives and life’s work just because they brought joy and entertainment to our boring, vanilla existence.

The world lost a master creative in Kentaro Miura. It lost another with Eric Carle’s passing on May 23rd. Neither were on Earth just for our pleasure.

Like us, they were also just perfectly imperfect human beings.

When given the opportunity we should’ve let them know we appreciate them, whether through social media, at a meet-and-greet, or best yet, through financially supporting their effort.

It would have taken little bandwidth on my part to reach out to tell Kentaro Miura how amazing his creation was and to relay its importance to me. My own effort would have been infinitesimal in comparison to the meticulous diligence he put forth throughout his life.

In the future I’ll do better. I’ll be a better fan.

Even though the world is moving at a breakneck pace, there’s always time to send a note, a positive review, or to purchase something from them over the internet.

That’s all it takes to show those that inspire us they’re valued.

Rest easy, Kentaro Miura. We appreciate the joy and connection you brought to us.

Written by John Andreula. Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk.

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