Fantasia (幻造世界編 Fantajia?) is the fifth, and current, story arc of Berserk, serialized in Young Animal starting in 2010. The arc is preceded by Falcon of the Millennium Empire and currently spans 40 episodes.
The story follows Guts and his comrades in the aftermath of the World Transformation caused by Griffith. Onboard the Sea Horse, Guts and his party set sail for the mystical island of Elfhelm to seek counsel with the Elf King, who could possibly restore Casca's sanity. Meanwhile, Rickert begins to form his own party while Griffith rules nearly the entire world from his city, Falconia.
Elf Island Chapter
The Ghost Ship in the Full Moon
After the events of World Transformation, bleeding from his Brand since the light hit the ship, Guts and his allies are still sailing on the Sea Horse towards Skellig when they come across Bonebeard's ship the Captain Bonebeard. While it seemed impossible for it to moved after being heavily damaged in the earlier scuffle days ago, Schierke emerges from below deck to warn Roderick that Bonebeard's ship is populated by something not human as he eventually concedes to have Guts and his group face what ever is on the pirate whip while he and his men arm themselves. But the crew finds the animated corpses of Bonebeard and his crew before the former intend to his revenge on everyone as he summons squid-like creatures from to kill them. The creatures run rampant until Guts appears and downs a couple squids with a few deft blows before his opponents are revealed to be appendages of a larger one that he manages to cut down. With dawn approaching, Bonebeard retreats into sea while vowing to return.
Even though the party triumphs, the hull of Sea Horse sustains heavy damage and requires repairs. Roderick sails the ship to a nearby island that seems very eerie with Schierke unsure if they should be on the island. Running off from the others with Puck against Schierke's wishes, Isidro comes across a cave where they meet a blue-haired girl named Isma who warns them not it enter the home of the Sea God. Though at first intimidated, Sea God decides to enter before he gets hurt while knocked off his feet by a wave of water. The girl invites him to her house, where she'll patch him up, and he goes with her while failing to realized he left his dagger behind. Once at the girl's house with his head bandaged, Isidro learns her name is Isma and tells her his group will only been spending the night on her island as he tells her of his adventures.
Meanwhile, Guts and the group find the only settlement on the island: A small fishing village that seems deserted with its residents hiding in their houses. Schierke still could not pinpoint the source of a strange feeling she has before Casca leads the group to a disconcerting statue in a small shrine, shaped like an octopus with a single, large, closed eye. Schierke identifies the stone to represent an old god that might be an Astral being the villagers worship as they have not been touched by the Holy See. Schierke tells the group to continue their search for an inn while she explores the island for suspicious activity, assuring Roderick that she can handle herself. Schierke's search brings her to cave of the Sea God and finds Isidro's dagger before forced to find tentacle creatures, before finding her way to Isma's house to berate Isidro for losing his weapon. Schierke then notices Isma and realizes she is no normal girl. As the sun sets, Schierke learns that Isma is part Merrow on her mother's side and that was ostracized by the villagers for her linage to the point that her father only spoke to her the day he died. Isma explains the village's resentment for the merrow originates from a group of them sealing away a tentacled monster know as the Sea God to a cave under the island. However, through imprisoned, the Sea God is able to extend its tentacles from the island to claim its prey once every month on a full moon. As Isiduro sees a link between the Sea God and Bonebeard, Isma adds that the villagers have been acting strange and that she has heard noises from the cave and under the sea.
Back in the village as the sun sets on a full moon night, the group find an inn but find themselves uncomfortable due to the eerie atmosphere and fish smell. Guts gazes at other patrons and sees that their skin has the same texture as Bonebeard's did the previous night and the odd movement of the cook. When they finish their meal, Roderick decides to head back to the Sea Horse to oversee its repairs while others get rest. However, the group find themselves surrounded by the villagers as they emerged from their houses as fish-like creatures. The group suspect that the village has decided to turn up to greet them, taking the words of the monster the cook became to believe that they are to be made a meal of before they are attacked by tentacles. Sensing Guts in the others in damage, Schierke and Isidro are lead to the village by Isma before the latter sees the Captain Bonebeard crawling onto the land with Bonebeard intend to have his revenge. Despite Shierke's pleas, Guts loses control and leaps onto Bonebeard's ship.
Schierke, Isidro and Isma arrived at the village, with Schierke realizing that every resident on the island has been transformed into a tentacle save Isma due to her mother's charm. Schierke requests that Isidro and Isma guard her body while she attempts to recall Guts' mind, only be knocked back into her body when the Berserker Armor prevents her from entering his mind. Guts begins a relentless massacre of the tentacles and sea slug creatures while Bonebeard panics, before noticing Casca being attacked by tentacles and saving her. While the others are wary over if Guts is in control, he can only see Casca clearly along with the thing she is holding: the flame-creature he saw on the beach outside Vritannis. The flame-creature enables Guts to regain control with Schierke's spell adding to that effect. Though the situation calmed with the Captain Bonebeard departing, the group refocuses on Casca running off to find the mysterious boy from before with Schierke and Guts realizing the child is more than he appears.
After Isidro convinces Roderick to let Isma come with them as he has his men quickly repair the ship to escape the island. But Guts explains that they need to destroy the tentacles at the source to ensure no future attacks, with Isma explaining the cave is where the tentacles come from. Schierke calls that everyone regroup on the Sea Horse so that preparations can be made, having Farnese summon the Four Kings to protect the ship so she astral project herself to Guts' side to keep the Beast of Darkness from consuming him as he needs the full power of the Berserker Armor to defeat the Sea God.
The Sea God and the Merrow
Arriving to the cave of the Sea God, Guts ventures into its depths until he reaches a more spacious cavern with dozens of giant sea slugs appear from the water below along with Bonebeard's ship. Bonebeard then says that the sea slugs are merely extensions of the Sea God itself, and bids Guts to peer through the darkness of the cave. Guts acquiesces, and through the darkness he finally sees the Sea God. Its sheer size is such that Guts cannot even see its whole body, but instead only its wide mouth. The Sea God lets out a low grumble, but this coming from such a big monster hits Guts like a gust of wind. Though Schierke advises that Guts find a bottleneck near the cave's entrance to kill the sea slugs can be killed one at a time, he decides to instead charge through them and enters the Sea God's mouth. Deducing that Guts is dead, Bonebeard decides to go after Sea Horse, he and his crew able to bypass the barrier. In the battle that ensured, after defeating Bonebeard, Isidro drives the pirate off when he drops a bomb into the both of the main tentacle he and his crew are attached to. Inside the Sea God, after escaping the stomach, Guts reaches the heart as the Sea God senses the danger and sics its immune system on Guts and intensifying its heart beat to hurt him while emerging from the island with the crew of Bonebeard's ship becoming full tentacles in the process.
The wave caused by the island destruction crashes against the Sea Horse with Isidro knocked overboard with Isma diving after him. But as they surrounded, Isma heards a voice in her head to say her true name. Isma utters it silently, and she is instantly transformed into a hybrid human-fish creature whose torso and head largely remain the same but whose legs become a tail. With her new powerful tail, Isma easily swims back up to the Sea Horde with Isidro in her arms. As Roderick redirects his men from her to the Sea God, with Ivalera warning her not reveal her true name because of the power it holds over Astral creatures, the voice that told the girl to speak her true name is revealed to be one of the Merrow swimming under the Sea Horse as she joins her kind as Roderick intends to help them fight the Sea God. Isma manages to dodge several attacks by sea slugs and tentacles, but soon finds herself overwhelmed and surrounded. She is saved at the last moment by an adult merrow that she recognizes to be the one who told her to utter her true name: her mother.
Inside the Sea God, nearly blind and deaf from overusing the Berserker Armor, Guts gets nearly killed by the creature's heart increasing its heart beat until he and Schierke hear the Merrow singing as it causes the Sea God's pain. This leaves an opening for Guts to destroy the heart after Schierke guides him to it, the witch returning to her body as the Sea God dies. Isma's mother thanks the humans for their help while offering her people to assist in the search before the sea dragons are lured by blood spilled from the Sea God's body.
Inside the Sea God's body, Guts finds himself alone and tries to find his way out before the flame-child appears and guides the swordsman as he attempts to ask what it is and why it is helping him. Eventually, it indicates Guts' escape is through a fleshy wall inside the Sea God's body, Guts finding himself washed away by the ocean current before found by the merrow. Soon after, Isma resuming her human form, the Merrow serve as escorts to the Sea Horse in gratitude for their help in defeating the Sea God. As Guts' injuries are tended to be Schierke and Farnese, they and the rest of the group learn that mysterious boy has left again. This turn of events has Schierke convinced that the boy might be an emissary from Skellig sent to investigate Guts' group or even be the elf sovereign Hanafubuku.
Guts begins to doze off, and he dreams of Casca as she was before the Eclipse. Then, he suddenly remembers the Skull Knight's words about her: Guts' wish may not be Casca's. An image of the Eclipse flashes into Guts' mind, and he is startled awake. He wonders what will become of Casca after her sanity is restored and she is able to remember the Eclipse. Guts then contemplates his next move after Casca's mind is restored; his mind immediately wanders to Griffith.
Later, after walking from a nightmare, Guts wonders what would Casca do should her mind is restored with all memory of her ordeal in the Eclipse while contemplating what he would do next. At that time, the mysterious boy watches the Sea Horse from one an invisible tree branch before taking his leave.
Paradise and Pandemonium
Since Ganishka's death and the World transformation, the world has changed with humans escaping from the Astral creatures that now roam the land. Among the supernatural wildlife, the trolls are the most reoccurring threat for travelers. Rickert happened to be in one such caravan alongside Erica as he attempts to hinder the trolls that are attacking their group. Luckily, the group are saved from the trolls by Irvine and soldiers led by Laban before a Cockatrice ambushes them. Rickert is shocked to see Irvine as an Apostle while killing the monster bird, further conflicted to learn he is a member of Griffith's new Band of the Hawk. Soon after, Rickert's group gain their rescuers as escorts. During a later attack by Harpies, Rickert recognizes Laban who failed to remember the boy's ties to the previous Band of the Hawk.
The group soon arrive into a plane filled with gemstone formations that Laban explains are Wing Stones that ward off evil before pointing to the World Spiral Tree that it all that remained of Ganishka. The caravan eventually reaches Falconia, now completely inhabited while learning that numerous escort groups are sent to save and gather as much of humanity as they can find. After Ladan presents him with a letter of recommendation for several local guilds, Rickert feels conflicted that he also gains a writ with instructions to see Griffith a day after settling in. Rickert and Erica later get board in inn owned by Luca and the hooded Daiba serving as a stablehand due to his skill in talking to animals.Berserk, Volume 38, Episode 334.
The next day, as Rickert heads off, Erica, along with two other young boys, amuse themselves by trying to sneak into the barn behind Luca's inn, in which a monster is said to live. Inside the barn is Daiba, who frightens the boys off while hypnotizes her into doing his choirs due to knee pain. But Daiba did not expect Erica to be no stranger to manual labor as still shows interest in entering the barn. It was only when she noticed Daiba's knee pain that she gives him a leg brace that Rickert made for Godo in his final months.
Meahwhile, after an arduous climb, Rickert reaches Falconia's citadel and presents his writ to enter. Inside, Rickert runs into the citadel's captain Owen who learned of the boy through Ladan. But Owen explains that Rickert would need to wait as Griffith is attending a funeral mass for those among the caravan who did not make it, using his power to enable their spirits to give comfort to the surviving loved ones with Sonia as their medium. Locus appears behind Rickert and Owen, the former deducing he is not human as the Apostle explains while this gives the survivors closure, it also tells them that they know an afterlife exists. Locus then borrows Rickert, deducing the boy wishes to know about the Eclipse, to take him behind the city to see the Apostles' personal arena Pandemonium. There, with Rickert shocked to see an Apostle fighting an ogre, Locus explains that Griffith has enabled their kind with a place they can belong and only need to defend humankind in return. Locus concludes that Griffith created a true utopian society where no one has to fight amongst themselves or fear death.
Once the mass concludes, Griffith and his inner circle settle themselves in a gazebo to enjoy the tea and cake Charlotte made before Locus arrives with Rickert standing nearby on a small bridge. Parting from the others, Griffith meets Rickert for a private discussion. As Griffith approaches, Rickert is conflicted on what to say as Griffith sacrificed their allies while having created an utopia society. But the moment Griffith asks Rickert if he still wants to help him achieve his dream after learning the truth, the boy slaps him across the face to everyone's shock with Griffith ordering his men to stand down. Revealing the shame he was not able to join the others in saving him, Rickert tells Griffith that he cannot truly hate him but tells him that he will always be a part of the Band of the Hawk rather than its replacement before walking off with Griffith telling his entourage that Rickert merely rejected an offer of camaraderie. But as Locus angrily crushes a stone handrail with his grip over the turn of events, the event was witnessed by another.
Over the next few days, despite his talents making him a valuable asset to the city, Rickert fears he may be forced to leave Falconia for slapping Griffith. But the fact that the advanced city was only made a reality by his comrades' deaths convinces Rickert leave on his own violation. While Luca accepts Rickert's decision to leave Falconia, she asks him to reconsider it if Erica accompanies him. Later that evening, Rickert wanders through Falconia's armories while pondering over what his next course of action should be before is confronted by Raksas who attempts to kill him before Silat and his Tapasa intervene. After the battle that ensues, losing his mask in the process, Raksas fall back while vowing to return later. Recognizing Silat as one who led a host of mercenaries who ambushed the Hawks years ago while learning the Kushan needs him for intelligence on Griffith, Rickert barters a deal for Silat to get him and Erica out of the city.
Rickert later returns to Luca's inn with the cloaked Silat to get supplies, telling Luca that he is no longer safe in Falconia while Silat explains he is taking the boy to the Bākiraka clan's hidden fortress. Silat adds that he considered joining Griffith the day of Ganishka's death, but ultimately decided against allying himself with another inhuman being. But as preparations are being made, the maskless Raksas stares down at Falconia from a large falcon-shaped statue before putting a new mask to resume his attack. Though Rickert and Silat were ready for him, Raksas reveals himself to be an Apostle while taking Erica as they attempt to kill the monster with weapons and fire. But Erica runs onto the battlefield with the Apostle grabbing her to with the intent rip her apart and douse the fire on his body with her blood. But Daiba appeared at the last second, using snakes to force Raksas to drop Erica into his arms to repay her kindness to him while expressing his wish to leave Falconia as well. With Daiba's snakes and vermin slowing Raksas down, the gang head to the barn where Daiba kept some Garudas while he gives Luca a sack of diamonds for compensation. Rickert and his group then mount on Garudas to escape, firing a rocket at Raksas when he attempts to catch up to them. With on devastating shot, Raksas is sent reeling back into the city while everyone sees the group flying off into the night.
After eight days of travel, the Sea Horse has reached the island of Skellig with Isidro inquiring why Puck left his home in the first place. Puck goes into a long story that he picked a fight with a seagull over fish and got himself stranded on the main land. Isma's mother gives Guts and his company a seashell to communicate with her while warning them to not linger on the island too long as a day on it is decades long. But the crew soon find out that is no simple walk to Elfhelm as were greeted by countless traps. The first is a field of stones that caused those not from the island to become lost, with Puck leading the group pass them. The group stumbled into a pumpkin field where Isiduro accidently animates a small army of scarecrows, Shierke using her magic to reduces the golems to dust. It is then revealed that Guts' group are being watched by a witch coven with their member Morda conjuring a wickerman golem to attack the party before it is split in two by Guts' sword.
The witches eventually themselves known with Schierke trying to reason with them before everyone realizes the fire from the wickerman golem is starting to spread. Luckily, the fire is stopped by rain magically conjured by a wizard named Gedfring, whom was told of the group's arrival by Hanafubuku and takes them a manor in Elfhelm where he and the other archmages live along with their aide Danann. There, the Archmages inform Guts of the World Transformation that Griffith induced with Gedfring explaining that the restoration of Casca is within their sovereign's power along with the nature of elemental magic. Guts and his group are later taken to the Spirit Tree within Elfhelm where Hanafubuku has took residence in, learning that Danann is Hanafubuku herself.
After sentencing Puck and Magnifico to a day of community service when the two's collaborative plot to overthrow her is brought into light, Danann asks Guts to remain while requesting Schierke, Ivalera, and Farnese to accompany her and Casca. Once in a mushroom filled chamber, Danann explains to Farnese and Schierke that the Passage of Dreams ritual requires them to astral project themselves into the mind of Casca and travel through its recesses. But Danann warns them that the world of a person's mind is a more difficult place to move about in compared to the Astral Plane, Schierke and Farnese entering into Casca's dreamscape after being put to rest. The two women initially find Casca's dreamscape to be a series of childish scribbles with a shadowed silhouette meant to represent Guts, guided by Danann's petals to their destination: A mental recreation of the Eclipse over a barren landscape where they find a hound with a missing leg dragging a casket around. Inspecting the casket, Schierke and Farnese find the shatter remains of a doll-like figure with little creature inside it: A mental representative of Casca. Danann proceeds to direct Farnese and Schierke to their next destination as the latter beckons the hound, Casca's mental image of Guts, to come with them.
- Isma joining the crew of the Sea Horse.
- Rickert forming a group with Silat and Daiba.
- Guts and company reach the island of Skellig.
- Casca undergoes the process to have her sanity and memories restored.
- In an interview with Young Animal, Miura revealed that as of the beginning of the Fantasia Arc, Berserk is roughly 60-70% done in terms of story progression.
- The arc is often referred to by fans as the "Boat Arc", poking fun at the incredibly long amount of time Guts and his friends are onboard the Sea Horse.