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"I control the vastest territory in the world. I won't relinquish it. Even if it's blood-smeared and defiled...this world belongs to me. I'll reign over this unclean world as a demon king and rebel against god."
– Ganishka[2]

Emperor Ganishka is the head of the Kushan Empire and one of the most powerful known apostles. He desires first and foremost to extend the territory under his control to every corner of the world. Unlike most apostles, Ganishka opposes the God HandGriffith in particular – and aims to transcend them, in stark contrast to other apostles.

Personality Edit

"Life... The world... It's all darkness. In the all-engulfing darkness, you fear, you instill fear, you writhe and creep. Lightlessness... That is...life..."
– Ganishka[1]

Surviving the ploys of the ever-scheming Kushan royalty and aristocracy throughout his youth hardens Ganishka into a callous, calculated prince, one who brings about the deaths of his younger brother, mother and father. In order to survive and thrive as a young monarch, Ganishka devotes himself to the art of war, and becomes convinced that inspiring fear is the only way to progress, all while harboring many unshakable fears of his own. He becomes increasingly obsessed with reigning supreme over the entire world, all in a vain attempt to quell his own fears.[1]

When he meets Guts, Ganishka is impressed by the swordsman's skill, grit and ability to survive as one branded. He finds Guts agreeable, and deems the swordsman's inner malevolence and madness appropriate for the bloodstained world of man.[5]

Unique among apostlekind, Ganishka refuses to submit to the God Hand, believing himself to be the sole individual worthy of reigning over the world. As such, he fosters strong enmity towards Griffith when the White Falcon begins thwarting his invasion of Midland. During the Kushan attack on Vritannis, when he finally meets Griffith face-to-face, he is disabled by the White Falcon and forced into retreat;[12] thereafter, he acknowledges the immense difference in his and Griffith's power and is left disturbed, exhausted, and humiliated. His resulting humiliation is so great that the emperor lowers himself into the Man-Made Beherit to reincarnate again, in an attempt to surpass the God Hand.[9]

In his twice reincarnated form, Ganishka loses his capacity for rational thought and sense of self, perceiving everyone around him as insects. Initially, he is able to recognize Daiba, but he gradually becomes disoriented and loses himself in his own immense power. When crushing his army under his footsteps, he expresses glee and likens the resulting gore to blooming red flowers.[6] In the deep recesses of his turbulent mind, however, Ganishka reflects on his lifelong darkened reality and expresses melancholy upon acknowledging the seeming lightlessness of life.[1]

Story Edit

Early Years Edit

E303-Den of Vipers-Manga

Ganishka spends his formative years overcoming the schemes of those who seek his death.

Ganishka is born the eldest son of a Kushan king. His mother favors his younger brother and attempts to poison a six-year-old Ganishka to ensure his brother's ascendance to the throne. Surviving the attempt on his life, Ganishka exacts his revenge by killing his own brother, whose death drives his grief-ridden mother to commit suicide some time after.[1]

Though many in the Kushan royalty and aristocracy plot against him, Ganishka manages to survive the "den of vipers" as he grows into an adult. Upon meeting his father as a young man, he notices primarily the intense fear and suspicion in the king's eyes; in response, the young prince arranges the king's death and takes the throne for himself. While upon the throne, Ganishka comes to believe that the best way to solidify his sovereignty is through fear and conquest. His campaigns leave him no time to spend with his wife and child, the idea of which comes to fear anyhow.[1]

E303-Assassination Attempt-Manga

Ganishka is nearly assassinated.

As a young monarch, Ganishka devotes himself to the art of war and becomes peerless on the battlefield, becoming possessed by his ambition to reign supreme. Returning to his royal palace to attend a banquet several years later, Ganishka is again poisoned, and then nearly assassinated by royal guards at the behest of his fearful son. In a last ditch effort to survive, Ganishka activates a beherit given to him by a stranger some time ago and sacrifices his son in exchange for being reborn as an apostle.

Millennium Falcon Arc Edit

When Midland is ridden with plague and famine, Ganishka uses the opportunity to invade the kingdom and successfully seizes the royal city of Wyndham as a foothold to conquer the land. He holds Princess Charlotte hostage in the Tower of Rebirth and intends to have her bear his child to solidify his rule over Midland. However, his plan is foiled when the reborn Band of the Falcon mounts a diversionary attack on his forces while Griffith and Zodd escape with the princess in tow.[13]

Ganishka later launches an assault on Vritannis as the Holy See forms an alliance to oppose him, sending his monstrous forces to decimate the population. After Guts defeats Daiba, Ganishka manifests his fog form to combat the swordsman. He is impressed by the man's tenacity and ability and survive as one branded, and offers to enlist Guts as a soldier, given that they both oppose the Band of the Falcon, though Guts bluntly refuses. Just as Ganishka prepares to take the swordsman's life, a group of flying Band of the Falcon apostles led by Zodd arrives to attack the emperor, though they all fall to his lightning strikes. However, when Guts and Zodd form an uneasy alliance, where the former atop the latter pierces Ganishka's fog form between the eyes with the Dragon Slayer, the emperor's form dissipates, his weakness figured out.[14]

E283-Ganishka Kneels-Manga

Ganishka kneels in defeat before Griffith.

Undaunted by the blow, Ganishka summons his army in full force and initiates a second wave attack against the fully encircled Holy See Alliance armies. Just as it seems the Kushan will decimate the Holy See Alliance, Griffith and the Band of the Falcon arrive to swiftly turn the tide of war. When Griffith enters the emperor's mobile palace, Ganishka fills with trepidation and instinctual reverence for the White Falcon. Realizing a touch from Griffith will completely subdue him, Ganishka manifests his fog form in retaliation, though he is immediately incapacitated regardless when Griffith employs the nearby sea winds to nearly scatter the emperor's form. Kneeling in defeat, Ganishka accepts the terms of Griffith's ceasefire, retreating to later have their final showdown in Wyndham.[12]

E304-Ganishka Explodes-Manga

The Astral World spills out from Ganishka's twice reincarnated form.

At a later point, a humiliated and distraught Ganishka lowers himself into the Man-Made Beherit to reincarnate again in hopes of transcending apostlehood. He surfaces as a skycraping eldritch abomination, toppling Wyndham and his own army beneath his colossal feet, and slowly losing all sanity and sense of self. Griffith, in his God Hand form Femto, ascends to the emperor's head, where the Skull Knight ambushes him. Having anticipated the knight's arrival, Femto grabs his aggressor's space-tearing sword stroke and redirects the attack towards Ganishka. An astral fissure is then formed, and from Ganishka's cavitating form spills out a blast from the Astral World,[11] which gives birth to the global Interstice of Fantasia and leaves in the emperor's place the World Spiral Tree.

Abilities Edit

E274-Ganishka Lightning-Manga

Ganishka shooting lightning in his fog form.

Ganishka wields great power and stands as one of the most powerful of all apostles, capable of casually dominating multiple other apostles simultaneously. Unlike other apostles, who transform directly into their true forms, Ganishka's true form is a moisture-based proxy comprised of wind and water elementals.[14] This proxy resembles his visage, can range from room-sized to gigantic, and can be manifested by from afar at will. In this fog form, he can also generate lightning strikes, providing him with an extremely powerful offense capable of dominating multiple powerful apostles[3] and disabling the likes of even Zodd.[15]

His fog form has one notable weakness, however: When a weapon capable of wounding astral beings (such as the Dragon Slayer) strikes his proxy directly between the eyes, his fog form dissipates and Ganishka experiences a significant measure of pain.[14] Additionally, Griffith is able to use an intense, timely gust of wind to nearly scatter the emperor's fog form, leaving him unable to keep up his proxy and kneeling in exhaustion afterward.[12]

In his twice reincarnated form, Ganishka's power is so great as to be uncontrollable and gradually wear away his sanity and sense of self. In this form, he is capable of effortlessly toppling cities and crushing armies beneath his feet, though mindlessly.[10] He is also capable of breathing massive torrents of fire from the various mouths over his body, and spawning Pseudo-Apostles from the Daka crushed beneath his feet.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Kentarou Miura (author). "Backlighting". Berserk. Volume 34. Episode 303. Hakusensha.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kentarou Miura (author). "Dread Emperor". Berserk. Volume 27. Episode 231. Hakusensha.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kentarou Miura (author). "Demon God". Berserk. Volume 27. Episode 234. Hakusensha.
  4. Kentarou Miura (author). "Thunder Emperor". Berserk. Volume 31. Episode 274. Hakusensha.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kentarou Miura (author). "Attack of the Demon Army". Berserk. Volume 31. Episode 275. Hakusensha.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kentarou Miura (author). "Giant God of Blindness". Berserk. Volume 34. Episode 297. Hakusensha.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Shikaisha., Nakajima, R., Shimizu, Y., Mochizuki, M., Okada, M., Suzuki, M. (2016). "Berserk Official Guidebook". Hakusensha.
  8. Kentarou Miura (author). "Demon City". Berserk. Volume 27. Episode 230. Hakusensha.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Kentarou Miura (author). "Mist of Death". Berserk. Volume 33. Episode 292. Hakusensha.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Kentarou Miura (author). "Roaring Sky". Berserk. Volume 33. Episode 296. Hakusensha.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Kentarou Miura (author). "Fissure". Berserk. Volume 34. Episode 304. Hakusensha.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Kentarou Miura (author). "Wind Coil". Berserk. Volume 32. Episode 283. Hakusensha.
  13. Kentarou Miura (author). "The Sleeping Princess Awakens". Berserk. Volume 27. Episode 235. Hakusensha.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Kentarou Miura (author). "Human Bullet". Berserk. Volume 32. Episode 277. Hakusensha.
  15. Kentarou Miura (author). "Cloud Cluster". Berserk. Volume 31. Episode 276. Hakusensha.

Appendices Edit