Griffith is the main antagonist of the series. He is the founder and leader of the mercenary group Band of the Hawk.
Griffith is of average height and an athletic toned build, with a somewhat pale skin tone. He has long curly white hair, often seen straight in the anime with blue eyes. He is noted to be a very beautiful man, and has feminine features that many have commented surpass that of women's, while some can hardly tell he is a man.
He was continually focused on his goal of achieving his dream of obtaining his own kingdom, willing to sacrifice anything and everything to achieve it. From birth he had always "known the way up", allowing him to command several soldiers with his charismatic ability. To this end, he sees his subordinates as objects rather than friends. In this regard, he can be considered something of a sociopath, in the sense that he is charismatic, manipulative and uses people to achieve his own ends. For example, in the anime, it is implied that his involvement with the princess was a facade to allow him to rise further.
The only member of the first Band of the Hawk excepted from his manipulative nature and abilities was Guts, who Griffith states was the "only person who was able to make him forget his dream". Griffith had purposely abandoned the castle he was defending to recruit Guts into the Band of the Hawk, marking the only time he had actively and forcibly recruited another person. Later, Guts became the only person who has ever chosen to leave his service, which led Griffith to challenge Guts to a duel over this "betrayal". After losing to Guts, Griffith became so forlorn as to recklessly seduce the princess and was imprisoned as a result. Some have interpreted this as indicative of a homosexual, or at least homophilic, aspect of Griffith's feelings for Guts during the Golden Age, but there is no direct evidence of an erotic inclination. What is uncontestable is that Griffith valued Guts above all other members of the Hawks and was deeply distressed by the affront that another could place his dreams above his own enough to leave him.
The Band of the Hawk ArcEdit
Extraordinarily charismatic and handsome, Griffith's tactical skill gave him and his army the reputation of invincibility, and the favor of the King of Midland, who was locked in a century-old war with the Empire of Chuder. Due to his many important victories in this war, he is made Lord Protector of Midland by the king, despite his common ancestry.
Early in his career, he won Guts' service in a duel and Guts became his sword in both the battlefield and in his political fight with disgruntled Midland nobles. A large part of his success was due to Guts' fighting ability and Griffith grew to be dependent on Guts, although their relationship was not exactly friendship.
After the assassination of General Julius, Griffith stated to Princess Charlotte, and in front of Guts and Casca, that he did not consider his subordinates as his friends and that a friend must be someone he considers his equal, who chases his own dream instead of following someone else's.
Rescuing Griffith ArcEdit
During the assassination of the Queen of Midland and the nobles of Midland who plotted his assassination, he feigns regret and sympathy in order to secure Guts into the Band of the Hawk, without knowing the decision Guts had already made. Griffith confronts Guts with the same condition as their first hillside duel, stipulating that Guts remains in his service should he lose and be freed if he wins. He loses and does not see Guts off, morbidly staring at his hand in disbelief of his first real loss. Stunned and feeling betrayed, Griffith sought comfort in a one-night stand with Princess Charlotte. The affair was discovered, after which Griffith was imprisoned and tortured for a year, and the Band of the Hawk labeled as outlaws and hunted by other armies.
Griffith was rescued by Guts, Casca, Judeau, and Pippin, but was already physically crippled with the tendons in his wrists and ankles severed, tongue cut out, and mind broken. Although not directly shown, it is implied—given the nature of his transgression—that he might have been castrated. Upon waking up in Guts' arms, Griffith raises a weak hand to choke Guts, though Guts is so overcome by Griffith's suffering that he embraces him in tears. Feeling Guts' sorrow, Griffith lowers his hand to rest on Guts'. Charlotte wraps a cloak around Griffith while Pippin carries him out as they follow Guts to escape. The group is, however, followed by the Bākiraka, and Charlotte blocks a poison dart that was meant for Griffith. A hostage negotiation then takes place, where the Bākiraka determine that they will give Charlotte the antidote if the Hawks give her up. Griffith wordlessly reassures a reluctant Charlotte that he will return for her. As the remaining member of the Bākiraka releases gas in the tunnel and ignites it, Griffith spies an opening in the tunnel that Pippin uses to allow the fire to escape, and the group to survive.
Griffith is then taken to a home of a family friendly to the disgraced Hawks, and then transported to the larger group of Hawks. Seeing the battle against Wyald take place, he reaches a hand towards a nearby sword but is astonished to realize that he can no longer hold it. A dying Wyald then grabs Griffith and searches him for his Behelit in order to perform a sacrifice and guarantee his life, but does not find the Behelit on his person and resolves to kill him. However, Griffith is saved by the timely intervention of Zodd, who kills Wyald and assures him that the Behelit will return to him by its nature before flying off.
Seeing Guts and Casca loving each other finally drove him insane (in his final moments before the Eclipse, he dreamed of a normal life, with children and Casca as his wife). Despairing the loss of his dream at Guts' influence, his state of madness that coincided with both the reappearance of his lost Behelit and a solar eclipse. The God Hand appeared, and he sacrificed the Band of the Hawk to them to become the fifth and final God Hand Femto. Femto's first act upon being incarnated as a God Hand was to rape Casca in front of Guts, serving to drive her insane both from the horror of the violation itself and from the extreme agony caused by her Brand being in such close proximity to him. He was only stopped from finishing off Guts and Casca when the Skull Knight showed up to rescue them.
The Count ArcEdit
Guts spends several years tracking Griffith down to exact vengeance upon him. When the two finally meet, the Count summons the God Hand. Guts began the fight already grievously wounded by the Count. He was also suffering from ill effects because of his proximity to the God Hand while bearing the Brand. The battle quickly ends when Femto telekinetically launches Guts into a wall.
One of his main abilities after being reborn is the power to induce submission in others just by being around them. The sight of him and the sound of his voice are enough to bend anyone's will and turn them into loyal servants, ready to die at his command. Ganishka had his ambition almost shattered when confronted by Griffith, feeling that he would "sacrifice everything" if he allowed himself to be touched by him. Turning into mist as a last resort to avoid direct contact was his only way of not being enslaved.
- Main article: Femto
Femto (フェムト Femuto) appears with exposed scale-like muscles, cape-like wings on his back, with his torture mask (previously the iconic hawk-beak helmet) fused to his body. The entirety of his body is black (dark red in the TV anime. In the movies, it's black). His name is possibly inspired by the mathematical prefix PHEMT.
- In the Anime series he is voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa in Japanese, and by Kevin T. Collins in English.
- In the Berserk Film Trilogy he is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai. Child Griffith is voiced by Minami Takayama in the Japanese and by Veronica Taylor in English.
- In the original anime Griffith's Armour is different from that seen in the manga and film trilogy and Femto's form is Red rather than Black.
- The Set armor worn by Griffith during the Golden Age Arc, as well as Set Guts' attire, can be attained in the game Dragons Dogma. His Talon saber and Guts' sword from the arc appear as well.
- It is likely that Frikka from Chapter 00 forms the basis for Griffith's appearance and at least some nuance of his attraction towards Guts.
- The Appearance of his helmet bears resemblance to Winslow Leach from the 1974 film Phantom of the Paradise.