Colleagues remember Kentaro Miura, whose personality was nothing like the dark, hopeless world of his biggest hit.

Few manga/anime franchise can match the epic scope Berserk, both in terms of its narrative and real-world publishing circumstances. Since its debut in 1989, the dark fantasy tale has chronicled the rise and fall of monarchies and demigods, and the stakes have felt all the higher for the franchise’s frequent extended hiatuses over its 30-plus years.

Sadly for those who’ve been following the series for the past three decades, Berserk creator and manga artist Kentaro Miura has passed away. Hakusensha, the Tokyo-based publisher that’s currently serializing Berserk in its Young Animal anthology magazine, announced via its website that two weeks ago, on the afternoon of May 6, Miura succumbed to acute aortic dissection, a condition that affects blood supply to the internal organs. He was 54 years old.

Though readers had come to expect lengthy gaps in Berserk’s publishing schedule, the manga’s 363rd chapter, its most recent, appeared in the late-January issue of Young Animal earlier this year. Miura was also concurrently writing/drawing the manga Duranki, which was also being published by Hakusensha in its Young Animal Zero magazine.

“We hold Miura-sensei’s works in the utmost respect, and are honored to be their publisher. We pray that he is at peace,” says the announcement from Hakusensha, adding that Miura’s family has already held a private memorial service for him.

In addition, the editorial staff of Young Animal offered their condolences, along with their memories of Miura:

“This is a difficult reality to accept, and we are not sure how to process it. Honestly, it’s hard to put our feelings into words. When we remember our time with Miura, whenever we would meet with him, he was cheerful and happy to talk about manga, anime, and movies that he’d enjoyed, and he always had a smile on his face. We never once saw him look angry or upset. He always looked like a happy person who was a kid at heart.”

That sunny personality may seem very much at odds with the dark, grim tone of Berserk, but you don’t keep drawing a hit manga for 32 years without realizing how much people enjoy it, and winning recognition while doing what you love is a dream come true for an artist. In the end, it’s both sad an ironic that after becoming famous for a series where readers couldn’t wait to see how it ends, fans now have to say goodbye to Miura all too soon, but he leaves behind an incredible body of work that will continue to entertain and inspire.

Source: Hakusensha via Oricon News via Livedoor News via Jin
Top image: Hakusensha
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