Kentaro Miura, Creator of Epic Manga ‘Berserk,’ Dies at 54

Kentaro Miura, who reached a worldwide readership for greater than 30 years together with his Japanese manga sequence, “Berserk,” which set the usual for inventive originality and narrative boldness within the fantasy media trade — in card video games, comics, video video games and animated sequence — died on May 6. He was 54.

Kate Jay, a spokeswoman for Dark Horse Comics, Mr. Miura’s English-language writer, stated the trigger was acute aortic dissection, a tear within the aorta branching off from the guts. She didn’t say the place he died.

According to Dark Horse Comics, “Berserk” has bought about 50 million books worldwide and about three million within the United States. It originated in a Japanese journal in 1989 and shortly grew to become a guide sequence, in multivolume hardcover editions and single-volume paperbacks sufficiently small to suit right into a coat pocket.

Since showing in guide type within the U.S. in 2003, “Berserk” has offered refined fare to a technology of Americans who grew up dedicated to different Japanese fantasy franchises, just like the online game sequence Pokémon and the anime TV present “Dragon Ball Z.”

The sequence follows the exploits of Guts, also referred to as the Black Swordsman, a one-armed, one-eyed former mercenary who inhabits a world of grotesque monsters, roving militia teams and medieval weaponry. For a lot of the sequence Guts seeks a protected haven for his love curiosity, Casca, and falls out and in of an alliance with Griffith, a good friend who matches Guts’s personal preventing prowess.

Mr. Miura (pronounced mee-oo-ra) was an “artist’s artist,” stated Dave Rapoza, an illustrator who has designed covers of Marvel comics and playing cards for the cardboard sport Magic: the Gathering. In most manga, he stated, the drawing is “cartoony and simplified.”

“Then you see his work,” Mr. Rapoza stated of Mr. Miura. “Everything was so detailed and beautiful. They felt like old Dante’s ‘Inferno’ illustrations.”

Mr. Miura’s drawings, in pen and ink for many of his profession, have been additionally in comparison with the work of the Dutch Renaissance grasp Hieronymus Bosch, notably for Mr. Miura’s photographs of little human figures occupying sweeping fantastical landscapes. These imaginary worlds tended towards the hellish (with moments of the chic), made up of corpses, skeletons, monsters and, in a single of the story’s pivotal moments, a big, ominous eclipse.

An ominous eclipse in “Berserk.” Mr. Miura’s apocalyptic model was in comparison with that of Hieronymus Bosch. Credit…Dark Horse

Mr. Miura was recognized for his spectacular, apocalyptic model; particular photographs — a humongous sword, a monster cloaked in shadow — are instantly recognizable to his followers.

In a 2019 interview with the Japanese manga information website Comic Natalie, he recalled being yelled at by his editor for endlessly refining his work; when utilizing a digital artwork software program, for example, he drew pixel by pixel. He had a studio with 5 full-time staff, although on “Berserk” they have been usually allowed to assist solely with backgrounds.

The affect of “Berserk” might be seen in well-liked video video games like Dark Souls — whose monsters undertake the gargantuan scale of Mr. Miura’s — and on such TV reveals as “Castlevania,” on Netflix.

In conceptualizing “Castlevania,” Adam Deats, the assistant director, stated, “Miura was the very first thing I brought up.”

Many readers shaped a bond with the characters in “Berserk,” who typically present vulnerability, together with frequent shows of grief. The narrative would grapple with in any other case taboo topics, like rape. Mr. Deats praised the “bravery” of Mr. Miura’s storytelling.

“He was willing to kill off a lot of named characters in one fell swoop to bring Guts to his lowest point,” stated Mr. Deats. “Playing things a little bit darker and letting ourselves linger on things was something I always took from his work.”

Kentaro Miura was born on July 11, 1966, in Chiba, a metropolis east of Tokyo. His mother and father have been artists. He created his first manga for his classmates when he was 10 and gained a brand new artist award from the Weekly Shonen Magazine when he was an adolescent. In highschool he joined a clique of boys all hoping to turn into manga artists; they have been the inspiration, he later stated, for the Band of the Hawk, a gaggle of pals and fellow mercenaries in “Berserk.”

Mr. Miura graduated from the artwork faculty of Nihon University in Tokyo in 1989 and printed the primary installment of “Berserk” that yr within the October version of Animal House journal. The sequence continued to look in that journal, later renamed Young Animal, for the remainder of his life. Hakusensha, the Japanese writer of Young Animal, collected the tales into “Berserk” books, which Dark Horse Comics then translated, with Duane Johnson serving because the chief translator.

Information on Mr. Miura’s survivors was not instantly obtainable.

Thirty years after “Berserk” started, he was trying ahead to persevering with it for a lot of extra. He stated in 2019 that it was solely “approaching its back half.” (With his loss of life, the long run of the franchise stays unsure.)

Like different followers who had anticipated Mr. Miura to resolve the story, Mr. Deats stated he discovered the information of Mr. Miura’s loss of life “soul crushing.”

“I wanted to see the thematic end to the story,” he added. “The impact of the story has been so great that I think about what it was doing or what it was saying all the time, even into my 40s now. I don’t know if it will ever stop influencing me.”

Makiko Inoue contributed reporting.