Complete List of Berserk Influences on Dark Souls
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Complete List of Berserk Influences on Dark Souls

2009- 2016

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Among all Souls games, Dark Souls has the most known Berserk references. The Berserk influences in Dark Souls are very obvious even to players who are only slightly familiar with the manga.

We can say that Dark Souls is the first game that they really went all out in giving tribute to Miyazaki's favorite manga, culminating in the cover of the DLC Artorias of the Abyss as the ultimate homage.

Berserk and the Souls Games

The creator of Dark Souls, Hidetaka Miyazaki, is a huge Berserk fan, which he has acknowledged multiple times in interviews. Growing up in a home where video games were not allowed, reading mangas like Berserk and Devilman were among Miyazaki's favorite past time.

During the creation of the Souls games, Miyazaki expressed his admiration and homage to Berserk by placing several references to the manga, either through the monster designs, armor and weapon designs, characters, and even in the plot and story structure of his games.

We collected the Berserk references on all the Souls games and shared here all that is present in the game Dark Souls.

For every reference we included in the list, we also provided the chapter in the manga where you can find it and the background info that can give you more context.

Grading System - How Sure are We?

In addition, you can also see for each entry a verdict section, where we share if the inspiration is either:

  • Beyond Doubt
  • High Possibility
  • Similar

Berserk Influences on Dark Souls

Siegmeyer and Bazuso

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 4
  • Chapter Name: The Golden Age - Chapter 3
  • About: Siegmeyer's design is inspired by Bazuso

Miyazaki confirmed in one of his interviews that Siegmeyer's design is inspired by Bazuso. The similarity is on the armor only, though, as the two have very different personalities. Bazuso is one of the early characters hostile to Guts, very different from the jovial and helpful Siegmeyer.

Siegmeyer proved to be a popular character that he re-appeared in a later game in the series as Siegward. He still has the same armor and the same jovial personality.

Moonlight Butterfly and Rosine

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 16
  • Chapter Name: Sky Demon
  • About: The Moonlight Butterfly is inspired by Rosine

Rosine is one of the apostles that Guts fought and defeated. In her apostle form, she takes the form of a giant moth. In Dark Souls, the hero will fight a giant butterfly named Moonlight Butterfly.

I believe that the Moonlight Butterfly boss fight was added by Miyazaki to specifically pay homage to Rosine. It could have been an entirely different boss monster. 

Man-Serpent and Snake Lord

  • Verdict: Similar
  • Seen in: Volume 1
  • Chapter Name: The Black Swordsman
  • About: The man-serpent enemies are inspired by Snake Lord

Snake Lord is one of the early apostles that Guts fought after he became known as the Black Swordsman. He is very similar to the humanoid serpent monsters in Dark Souls.

The man-serpent enemies will return in Dark Souls III, having an upgrade in their moveset and attacks.

Taurus Demon and Nosferatu Zodd

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 5
  • Chapter Name: Nosferatu Zodd
  • About: The Taurus Demon is inspired by Nosferatu Zodd

Nosferatu Zodd is one of the most popular and important monsters in Berserk. He is present in almost all critical moments in the story. 

So it is no wonder that Miyazaki will pay homage to him as the first real boss that you will meet in the game.

It would have been best, though, if there was an upgraded version of the Taurus Demon that the hero would meet later in his adventure. In the manga, Zodd has three forms: humanoid, beast, and winged beast. I have a feeling that we might see Zodd again in future FromSoft games.

Red Eye Orb and Crimson Behelit

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 5
  • Chapter Name: Nosferatu Zodd
  • About: The Red Eye Orb is inspired by the Crimson Behelit

This is another very good proof of Miyazaki paying homage instead of lazily copying Berserk. There is no doubt that the Red Eye Orb is very similar to the Crimson Behelit. Miyazaki could have changed the design to avoid criticisms, unnecessary comments, or allegations of plagiarism. But he does not care. He just wants to pay homage to something very important in the Berserk universe.

The red eye orb is important in the Dark Souls universe and is present in all the three games.

Darkwraith Knight and Skull Knight

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 9
  • Chapter Name: Skull Knight
  • About: The darkwraith knight design is inspired by the Skull Knight

Similar to Zodd, the Skull Knight is one of the most important non-human characters in Berserk. He might be the main character who knows the secret of the Berserk universe. So it is no wonder that Miyazaki designed a group of monsters after his armor.

These monsters will also make a return in Dark Souls III. They do not play a significant role in the lore as the Skull Knight, though.

Rickert in both Berserk and Dark Souls

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 12
  • Chapter Name: Eclipse
  • About: Rickert in Dark Souls is inspired by Rickert in Berserk

Rickert is a young member of the Band of the Hawk who later became a blacksmith under the training of Godo. He is one of the few members who survived the eclipse. 

In Dark Souls, there is an NPC whose name is Ricket, and interestingly is also a blacksmith. However, the biggest proof that this character is inspired by Rickert of Berserk is the cell where he is locked up.

In Berserk, Rickert helps in taking care of Casca by locking her up in a small room of a cave. This cave gives magical protection to Casca against monsters who attack the branded. From their perspective, being locked in the room is safer than going outside.

This same view is shared by the blacksmith Rickert in Dark Souls, as he feels safer in his own cell than being outside.

Skeleton Baby and Fire Baby

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 15
  • Chapter Name: Red-Eyed Peekaf
  • About: The skeleton baby is inspired by the fire baby

In the manga, there is a location where Guts was attacked by monster babies that are surrounded by flame. If the baby touches a person, he will burst on fire. Guts spent a night fighting these small enemies.

In the game, while exploring the path towards Nito, you will face the Skeleton Babies. These small enemies have a very similar attack to the Fire Babies. They can also cause Toxic build-up on the player if touched, similar to the burning effect of the babies in Berserk.

The Real Ornstein and Smough

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 15
  • Chapter Name: Lost Children
  • About: Ornstein and Smough are influenced by the duo of Mantis and Beetle

Ornstein and Smough are the most famous boss enemies in Dark Souls. So it is really an amazing find to discover their origins in Berserk. 

While Guts was on his way to fight the apostle Rosine, he was blocked from progressing by two strong enemies - their names were not provided, though, so we will just call them as Mantis and Beetle. 

This is what Guts said about them:

"Not good! I can't fight them both at once! One has thick armor, and the other has speed!" - Guts

Isn't that what every player says when facing Ornstein and Smough for the first time?

Ornstein represents speed and can cover long distances in one stride. On the other hand, Smough is slow and lumbering but makes up for it by being high-damaging and having a thick armor. 

Wheel Skeleton

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 17
  • Chapter Name: To Holy Ground
  • About: The wheel skeletons in Dark Souls are inspired by those in Berserk

This is one of the most widely known references to Berserk in Dark Souls. 

These monsters are so popular that they returned in both Dark Souls II and Dark Souls III.

Pinwheel and the Deific Image

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 20
  • Chapter Name: One Unknown in the Depth of Depths
  • About: Pinwheel is inspired by the Deific Image found in the den of the Egg apostle

Pinwheel has a rich lore in Dark Souls. He has three masks that simultaneously give him special powers. In the Design Works, it is also shown that he is made of three people fused together.

In Berserk, when Luca accidentally found the den of the Egg apostle, he saw a Deific Image shown in the screenshot below. The deific image is made up of the skin and bones of priests, all fused together.

The Deific Image also contains the faces of all the priests that have been absorbed, similar to that of Pinwheel.

There is also one similarity that is shared by both locations. They are both full of candles.

My conclusion is that Miyazaki adopted the Deific Image and its location, and created the concept of Pinwheel based on that.

Pharis and Irvine

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 23
  • Chapter Name: Fire Dragon
  • About: The Pharis set is inspired by the apostle Irvine

Miyazaki publicly confirmed that many of the armors and sets in Dark Souls are inspired by other media, like in the case of the Warrior class set (inspired by Parn from Record of Lodoss War), and the Thorn Armour set (inspired by both Saint Seiya and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure). 

The Pharis set is very similar to the clothes worn by the apostle Irvine. 

But the real giveaway is the pose that is being made when the Pharis bow is used for attacking.

Great Feline and Monster Cat

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 30
  • Chapter Name: Duel
  • About: The Great Feline in Dark Souls is inspired by the Monster Cat in Berserk

The giant cats found in Darkroot Garden are very similar to the monster cats in Berserk, both in size and appearance. 

Both are also very vicious and can move and attack really fast.

Andre of Astora and Godo

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 10
  • Chapter Name: Sparks from a Sword Tip
  • About: Andre is inspired by Godo of Berserk 

Godo plays an important role in Berserk as he is the maker of the Dragon Slayer sword, which is Guts' signature weapon. Andre, on the other hand, is the main blacksmith who helps the hero when he is just starting in his adventure.

The two blacksmiths also have visual similarity, except that Godo is already passed his prime when he met Guts.

Artorias and Guts

  • Verdict: Beyond Doubt
  • Seen in: Volume 28
  • Chapter Name: Cover of Volume 28
  • About: Artorias is inspired by Guts wearing the Berserker armor

Miyazaki gives the highest homage to Berserk in Dark Souls by making the main humanoid boss of the only expansion as Guts. Not only is the homage visual, but it's also contextual. Artorias gets consumed by the abyss the more he fights it, finally succumbing to it in the end. Guts gets consumed by the Berserker armor, the more he relies on it to win against monsters.

If you have read the manga and played the game, you would notice that their attack styles are also similar. We could imagine Miyazaki telling his designers, "Artorias' repeated jumping attacks should be like this," pointing to the manga.

And the most interesting part is that it is a cover-to-cover homage. The Artorias pose in the game cover above is a replica of the cover of the Berserk Volume 28.

Again, as shared earlier, Miyazaki did not have to do this. The essence and value of the game do not increase from this. But for those few who know that homage is being done, there is that joy for discovering hidden beauty.

Berserk Influences on other Souls Games

If you would like to see how Dark's Souls scored compared to the other Souls games when it comes to Berserk influences, see this full summary.

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