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Overview

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Skull Knight Manga

Skull knight

Skull Knight
Also known as

Knight of Skeleton
Skeleton Knight

Debut
Manga

Episode 37
Knight of Skeleton

Anime

(2016 Anime)
Episode 6
Night Banquet of
Burning at the Stake

Movies

Golden Age Arc III
Descent

Portrayal
Japanese voice

Akio Ōtsuka (2016 Anime/Movies)
Tsutomu Isobe (PS2 Game)

English voice

Jamieson Price (Movies)

Profile
Age

~1,000

Eye color

Yellow (Manga, 2016 Anime)
Purple/Red (Films)

Species

Unknown

Image Gallery
When you confront those who lurk in the darkness, you also envelop yourself in it.

—Skull Knight

Skull Knight (髑髏の騎士 Dokuro no Kishi?) is an enigmatic figure and a self-proclaimed "foe of the Inhumans",[1][2] serving as one of the central protagonists of Berserk.

Over 1000 years old, he has vast knowledge of events surrounding the world and seems to be able to predict causality's next move. Consequently, he has saved Guts and his allies several times over the course of his journey.

Appearance

Skull Knight is a large, domineering figure covered entirely in skeletal armor, with glowing yellow eye sockets and spikes adorning his shoulders and head. He has a dark, flowing cape which covers his upper arms and runs down to his lower legs. He bears a sword with many spikes along its edge, along with a shield with a thorned rose emblem. The horse he rides has a similar skeletal composition, adorned with its own breastplate bearing the figure of a naked woman's head and winged torso.

Personality

An ancient being, he is aloof and mysterious with a great understanding of the deterministic nature of the world. He knows when certain events are predestined and which are in flux.[3] Only at temporal junction points does he actively target the God Hand, such as during the Eclipse and when Femto reveals himself atop a reincarnated Ganishka.[4] However, despite Skull Knight's stance as a foe of the inhumans, he has spared two Apostles which had strong connection to humans and allowed them to run away, the Count and Rosine, after they slaughtered the Hawks traveling with Rickert, The Skull Knight likely spared them because the two apostles had redeeming qualities.[5]

The Skull Knight has a strong rivalry with Nosferatu Zodd, who is always excited to fight the Knight, calling him his "old friend". The Skull Knight is normally indifferent to Zodd, only showing irritation at the Apostle's efforts to stand in his way when trying to save or protect Guts and his company, though the Skull Knight acknowledges their history and rivalry. He has also known and apparently had a close relationship with the witch Flora for at least several hundred years.[6]

Despite his coldness and demonic appearance, the Skull Knight is one of the more heroic and merciful figures in the series, having saved Luca from falling to her death and protected her from the Egg-Shaped Apostle. Though most importantly, the Skull Knight saved Guts and Casca from certain death in the Eclipse. Though he is a force for good, the Knight possesses a harsh view on life as he suggested killing Guts' and Casca's corrupted child, saying it would only give them grief should the child be allowed to live. He also very insightful, telling Guts that Casca wants different things to him.

The Skull Knight values the human will to survive and defy fate, and applauds the efforts of Guts and other struggling humans.

Abilities

Skull Knight is undoubtedly one of the most powerful known beings in the series, whose abilities allow him to oppose Apostles and God Hand members alike. In all of his most recent encounters with Nosferatu Zodd, he has sustained no damage, and even bested the Apostle during the Eclipse.[7] Other Apostles have even shown explicit fear in his presence, as seen with the Count and Rosine,[5] and several God Hand members have had to actively defend themselves when at the mercy of his attacks.

He also serves as an instructor to Guts on dealing with foes from the Astral Plane.

Swordsmanship

Skull Knight's swordsmanship

Skull Knight's swordsmanship on display.

As his most attributable skill, Skull Knight's swordsmanship is masterful, allowing him to easily dispatch Apostles with merely a single strike from his Sword of Thorns. Relying only on his base swordsmanship and wits, he is able to sever the arm of Zodd the Immortal in combat.[7][4]

Upon swallowing his Sword of Thorns and coating it in ingested Behelits to create his Sword of Actuation, the capabilities of his swordsmanship increase tenfold. One stroke of his Sword of Actuation alone operates on a dimensional scale, as seen in Qliphoth; during the collapse of the domain he is able to use his newly formed sword to not only send a horde of demonkind into a dimensional vortex, but also slice open a dimensional portal for him and Guts to escape through.[8] On the head of Ganishka's god form, a stroke from Skull Knight's Sword of Actuation, intended for Femto, is manipulated by the angel and redirected at the dying Apostle—its large-scale, space-cleaving properties ultimately sparking the World Transformation.[4]

Other skills

Almost always atop his horse companion, all of Skull Knight's most recent battles have been fought on horseback. His horse is both fast and agile, capable of swift, precise movements and huge leaps when necessary. While saving Guts and Casca and concurrently being attacked by a newly born Femto, Skull Knight has no trouble acquiring the two Hawks, thwarting Femto's efforts, and escaping the scene unscathed.[7]

Most peculiar in Skull Knight's repertoire of skills is his foresight; he possesses strong causal awareness, knowledge of that which has yet to occur.

History

Background

Skull Knight's past is shrouded in mystery. Given the similarities between his helmet and that of the infamous Emperor Gaiseric, in addition to the time in which they both supposedly existed, it is likely that they are the same person. Skull Knight harbors a particular grudge against Void of the God Hand, who may well be the 'sage' that Gaiseric had imprisoned within the Tower of Conviction before calling upon an angel to proclaim the sins of the king. It is also hinted that Skull Knight was the previous owner of the Berserker Armor, which bears a skull visage before it is transformed by Guts' inner darkness. According to Schierke, the previous owner of the Berserker Armor fought until the armour had bled him of every last drop of blood when trying to pierce his body back together. He also has a history with several ancient characters, including Flora and Zodd the Immortal, whom he met on his millennia long quest against the God Hand.

Golden Age Arc

Guts meets Skull Knight

Skull Knight meeting Guts for the first time.

On the night of Guts' departure from the Band of the Hawk, Skull Knight approaches him for the first time to leave him with a prophecy. While nearing Guts' campfire, his aura alone throws Guts off kilter initially, resulting in the former Hawk becoming anxious and uneasy. He begins to speak of a perilous event, coined "the Eclipse", that will take place in a year's time stating that Guts and his companions will be swept away in a torrent of madness and death. Further cautioning the "struggler", Skull Knight tells Guts to fight and survive in spite of his impending doom before leaving the campsite and vanishing into the night.[3]

Skull Knight threatening the Count

Skull Knight defending Rickert from the Count.

As the Eclipse nears a year later, Skull Knight re-surges to aid Rickert when his party of Hawks are ambushed by the Count and Rosine, among other Apostles. Just as the Count prepares to engulf Rickert, Skull Knight intervenes and demands that the Apostles cease their slaughter. Surely enough, the threatened Apostles withdraw from the scene, and with their departure Skull Knight, too, retreats into the night.[5]

On the day of the Eclipse, Skull Knight encounters his old-time rival Nosferatu Zodd, who he presumes is guarding dimensional gate to the Interstice where the Eclipse is taking place.[9] However, Zodd's true purpose for being there is to engage in combat with Skull Knight. Accepting that his encounter with Zodd was within the current of causality, Skull Knight engages in combat with Zodd, handily besting his rival and then breaking into the nearby temporal junction point.[10]

Skull Knight attacks Void

Skull Knight attacking his archenemy Void.

Upon entering the Eclipse, Skull Knight immediately attacks Void, who diverts the attack back at his assailant via a dimensional portal. After blocking his own strike and having a short stare down with his archenemy, Skull Knight sets his sights on rescuing Guts and Casca, quickly dispatching the Apostles in his wake. In his approach, however, he is targeted by Femto, who uses his newfound abilities to form a compaction ball of Apostles around the former. Completely undeterred by the angel's attack, Skull Knight acquires Guts and Casca and leaves the temporary interstice.[7]

After exiting the Eclipse and returning to the physical world, Skull Knight orders Rickert to tend to Guts and Casca's wounds. A blood-lusted Zodd returns to resume their battle, but Skull Knight asks that he delay their confrontation. Seeing that Guts in fact survived the Eclipse and proved his prediction wrong, Zodd leaves the scene rather intrigued by the turn of events. With Guts and Casca's wounds seen to, Skull Knight takes Rickert and the branded survivors to a nearby elven safe haven.[7]

Four days later, in the forest near Godo's cottage, Skull Knight appears before Guts and tells the swordsman that he is now a being of the Interstice and will incessantly be preyed upon by both Apostles and spirits of the dead ones alike who desire physical bodies to inhabit.[11] With spirits closing in on their location, Skull Knight lends Guts his sword in order to ward off the spirits. He continues on with his monologue, but after being silenced by Guts for his mentions of "destiny" and "sacrifices", and witnessing the struggler's declaration of war, Skull Knight begins to understand how Guts survived the Eclipse. When the spirits finally cease their assault, Skull Knight informs Guts that they haven't been defeated, but have only found another being in the Interstice to prey upon. Coming to the realization that Casca, too, is branded, Guts asks for Skull Knight to take him to his lover.[12]

Guts attempts to divulge Skull Knight's identity as they ride towards Casca's location. However, Skull Knight once again only notes that he is an enemy of the inhumans. Having arrived at Casca's location, Skull Knight observes that the spirits are not harming Casca, as she gives birth to a creature he realizes is Guts' unborn child. He advises Guts to follow the guidance of his brand and heed the darkness he will inevitably confront, so as to not be enveloped by it. With that said, he wishes the struggler good luck on his journey and takes his leave.[1]

Conviction Arc

Skull Knight ingesting a Behelit

Skull Knight ingesting Rosine's Behelit.

In the scorched land that was once the Misty Valley, Skull Knight treads ominously through the decimated vale, realizing that Guts had some part in the destruction. Knowing that Guts hadn't fallen to evil fortune, Skull Knight begins to wonder just how long Guts will be able to continue on his path. Upon arriving at the tree Rosine once considered her home, he dismounts his horse and reaches into a small gap between the tree's roots. After extracting Rosine's old Behelit, he ingests it before leaving the site.[13]

Skull Knight warns Guts

Skull Knight explaining the God Hand's plan to Guts.

Skull Knight explains to Guts the significance of the Tower of Conviction in the God Hand's design, as the entire area is a haven for the restless dead that makes it an ideal place for an Incarnation Ceremony, similar to the Eclipse, where Femto will regain his corporeal form as Griffith. He ends his monologue by saying the Incarnation Ceremony cannot be stopped, as it has been ordained by fate. Guts becomes skeptical of causality's supposed ultimate nature, however, pointing out how both Skull Knight and Zodd predicted his death during the Eclipse, yet he still survived. Skull Knight is impressed by Guts' resolve, and reasons that the Incarnation Ceremony could be different than the Eclipse and that Guts might indeed be a "jumping fish" in the river that is causality. Just before departing on his horse, he leaves Guts with a parting message: "Fight, or rescue. Your lover will be left alone. It won't be as simple as catching two birds."[2]

Skull Knight destroys the alter

Skull Knight attacking the Egg-Shaped Apostle.

In the nick of time, Skull Knight saves Luca from falling to her death and then takes her to the Tower of Conviction's burial grounds. There, after meeting and being given a speech to by the Egg-Shaped Apostle, Skull Knight proceeds to strike the Apostle down; his attack misses, however, causing him to temporarily question the confidence of his sword, but he then reasons that it simply wasn't the Apostle's time to die.[14] Not long after the encounter, the two witness the large-scale physical manifestation of the malice pervading the Tower of Conviction. Realizing that the malice was taking such a form without the occurrence of a temporal junction point, Skull Knight comes to the conclusion that the Incarnation Ceremony has already begun.[15]

SK reunites with Zodd

Skull Knight encountering Nosferatu Zodd.

After having distanced themselves from the commencing Incarnation Ceremony, Skull Knight cautions Luca not to return to the tower if she cares for her well-being. She disregards his warning, however, and returns to the tower. As Luca leaves, Skull Knight muses over her "ignorant fool-hardiness", somewhat perplexed by her trivial perspective of the situation, unmoved state of mind, and her not soliciting his assistance. Despite this, he notes that he would be unable to aid her regardless, stating that, "All moves as if parallel to that time..." Shortly after, he is approached by Zodd, an encounter parallel to their previous one during the Eclipse.[16]

SK gazes upon the ruins of the Tower

Skull Knight contemplating the events to come.

After daybreak, the Skull Knight reappears atop a penetrated tower wall in the midst of battle, ushering the combatants to look in the direction of a reconstituted Griffith.[17] Long after all parties have left the city, the Skull Knight looks upon atop a cliff and contemplates the events that Griffith's reconstitution will eventually bring to the world itself.[18]

Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc

Berserk12

Skull Knight revealing his Sword of Actuation.

Hinted to have been the one who told Flora that Guts and his group would visit her, the Skull Knight appears before the witch after Guts's group leaves the Spirit Tree for Enoch Village. When Flora presumes that he has a favor to ask, the Skull Knight replies that, "Even if I don't do it myself... that one may also be a factor guided by the law of causality..."[6] The Skull Knight later comes to Guts's aid in the Womb of Darkness when he is overpowered by Slan, disappointed to see only her and not the other three senior members.[19] After a exchange of words, the Skull Knight battles the wave of trolls and ogres Slan conjures to deal with him. When Guts finally musters enough strength to damage Slan with his Cannon Arm, Skull Knight reassures him that his Dragonslayer—"tempered by the malice of hundreds... thousands of dead"—will be able to run through the angel. Heeding Skull Knight's advice, Guts stabs Slan in her abdomen, resulting in the decomposition of her avatar body.[20] But Slan's abrupt disappearance has adverse effects as the heart of the interstice she created is becoming pure chaos with the creatures she conjured affected. This forces the Skull Knight to reveal his Sword of Actuation to seal the multiplying swarm of fell beasts into the Abyss while getting Guts to safety. The Skull Knight then takes his leave after returning Guts to his allies.[8]

SKFloraBA

Skull Knight and Flora overseeing the Berserker Armor.

Later, back in the Mansion of the Spirit Tree, Skull Knight oversees Flora's finishing touches to a set of armor, and states that she must be aware of the danger it poses and its karmic nature. She concedes to his first point, but states that it will be necessary for the journey its intended user is on, and that the choices she and Skull Knight had made in the past are not predestined to repeat.[21]

Suddenly, both are alerted by the intruders in Flora's domain. They step out onto Flora's balcony, from which Skull Knight leaps, landing on his horse. A surprised Flora asks if he intends to defend her from the intruders, which he confirms, saying that her death will be easier if it is not at the hands of enemies.[21]

Skull Knight and Zodd mansion battle

Skull Knight in battle with Zodd on Flora's mansion grounds.

Not too long thereafter, Grunbeld and Zodd arrive at the mansion grounds in search of Flora. While Grundbeld chooses to oppose Guts, Zodd opts to hold off his rival, commanding the lower-ranking Apostles to bring him Flora's head. Skull Knight finds it odd that Zodd would chase a woman in the midst of battle, to which Zodd retorts that he simply is the only one capable of holding the former off. Skull Knight then comes to the conclusion that they both have different reasons for opposing each other this time around.[22] In the middle of their battle, Zodd witnesses Guts donning the Berserker Armor and looks Skull Knight's way, reminiscing over previous battles between the him and his rival and concluding that Skull Knight must want Guts to follow in his path.[23]

On a moonlit beach sometime later, Skull Knight rendezvouses with Guts and Schierke and warns Guts of the harm that befalls users of the Berserker Armor, revealing to them that he was the armor's previous wearer. He cautions Guts to never make light of the armor if he wants to continue on as a human. With the advice received, a curious Guts then asks him to divulge the purpose of attack on Flora's mansion. Skull Knight replies that Griffith likely considered Flora an obstacle in his quest for worldly omnipresence due to her magical abilities; that only those outside of the confines of the physical world can confront the Hawk of Light. Before departing into the night, Skull Knight informs Guts of Sovereign Hanafubuku of Elfhelm, supposing that the elf may be capable of returning Casca to her original self, but warns that what Casca truly wants might not be the same as what he does.[24][25]

FemtoSkullKnight

Skull Knight attempting to assassinate Femto.

At the height of Griffith's defense of Vritannis, as he reverts to Femto and nears Ganishka, Skull Knight appears and attempts to strike him down from behind with his Sword of Actuation. However, his appearance is anticipated and his sword stroke is manipulated by Femto via space distortion, who then redirects it at Ganshika. This causes a chain reaction with Ganishka's god form that results in the World Transformation, shaping the entire world into a global Interstice with astral creatures fully manifesting in the physical world.[4] As of now, Skull Knight's current whereabouts is unknown.

Trivia

  • Gaiseric's skull-like helmet and possible connection with the God Hand have led many fans to speculate that he may be the Skull Knight of the present. Slan, one of the members of the God Hand, also refers to him as 'your majesty' so he could very well be Emperor Gaiseric. Further fueling this speculation are the similarities between their mounts (both adorned with a small bust of a female figure) and the crystal-like spikes protruding from the top of the Skull Knight's head/helmet that bear a striking resemblance to a crown; however this is merely speculation and any actual link between the two remains unconfirmed.
  • Skull Knight states that, like Guts and Casca, he also resides in the Interstice.[2]
  • Puck believes that Skull Knight "kinda feels like an elf".[2]
  • The Skull Knight almost never dismounts his horse.
  • Flora states that Guts is a "fellow struggler" to Skull Knight.[6]
  • The Skull Knight bears a similar hatred to Void, that Guts does to Griffith/Femto implying a similar history.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kentarō Miura (author). "Demon Infant". Berserk. Volume 14. Episode 92. Young Animal.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Kentarō Miura (author). "Spirit Road (2)". Berserk. Volume 18. Episode 142. Young Animal.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kentarō Miura (author). "Knight of Skeleton". Berserk. Volume 9. Episode 37. Young Animal.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Kentarō Miura (author). "Fissure". Berserk. Volume 34. Episode 304. Young Animal.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Kentarō Miura (author). "Festival's Eve (2)". Berserk. Volume 10. Episode 52. Young Animal.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Kentarō Miura (author). "Elementals". Berserk. Volume 24. Episode 203. Young Animal.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Kentarō Miura (author). "Escape". Berserk. Volume 13. Episode 88. Young Animal.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Kentarō Miura (author). "Companions". Berserk. Volume 26. Episode 221. Young Animal.
  9. Kentarō Miura (author). "The Feast". Berserk. Volume 12. Episode 79. Young Animal.
  10. Kentarō Miura (author). "Storm of Death (1)". Berserk. Volume 13. Episode 80. Young Animal.
  11. Kentarō Miura (author). "The Sprint". Berserk. Volume 13. Episode 90. Young Animal.
  12. Kentarō Miura (author). "Vow of Retaliation". Berserk. Volume 13. Episode 91. Young Animal.
  13. Kentarō Miura (author). "The Beast of Darkness". Berserk. Volume 16. Episode 118. Young Animal.
  14. Kentarō Miura (author). "Omens". Berserk. Volume 20. Episode 160. Young Animal.
  15. Kentarō Miura (author). "Collapse". Berserk. Volume 20. Episode 162. Young Animal.
  16. Kentarō Miura (author). "Shadows of Idea (3)". Berserk. Volume 20. Episode 165. Young Animal.
  17. Kentarō Miura (author). "Daybreak". Berserk. Volume 21. Episode 174. Young Animal.
  18. Kentarō Miura (author). "Determination and Departure". Berserk. Volume 21. Episode 176. Young Animal.
  19. Kentarō Miura (author). "Vicinity of the Netherworld". Berserk. Volume 26. Episode 219. Young Animal.
  20. Kentarō Miura (author). "Whore Princess of the Uterine Sea". Berserk. Volume 26. Episode 220. Young Animal.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Kentarō Miura (author). "Claw Marks". Berserk. Volume 26. Episode 222. Young Animal.
  22. Kentarō Miura (author). "The Blaze, Part 2". Berserk. Volume 26. Episode 224. Young Animal.
  23. Kentarō Miura (author). "The Berserker Armor, Part 2". Berserk. Volume 26. Episode 226. Young Animal.
  24. Kentarō Miura (author). "Proclaimed Omens". Berserk. Volume 28. Episode 237. Young Animal.
  25. Kentarō Miura (author). "The Boy in the Moonlight". Berserk. Volume 28. Episode 238. Young Animal.

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