Though fans are still processing the sudden loss of noted mangaka Kentaro Miura, writer/artist of the long-running dark fantasy epic Berserk, his publishers at Hakusensha are still leaving the possibility open that his series could continue. Though a powerhouse in his own right as a dedicated draftsman, Miura was known to employ a team of assistants at his in-house Studio Gaga, and, now several months after his untimely passing, it appears these pupils of the late master will be given a chance to prove their mettle in finishing the legendary series.

Before Miura’s death, Berserk stood as one of the longest continually-running manga series, having begun publication in 1989 in Monthly Animal House, later renamed Young Animal. A consummate artist, Miura’s tale of the Black Swordsman, Berserk,  has gone on to become an indelible part of the fabric of global popular culture, made even more remarkable due to the often controversial subject matter depicted in the harrowing story of one man’s fight to rid the world of monstrous demons. Unrivaled in the raw exhibition of skill on display in the pages of his manga, Miura set the bar remarkably high not only for himself but for the field of manga as a whole throughout his long career.

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Perhaps the best way to honor this dedication would be to allow the series to continue on to its conclusion under his trusted protégé, at least that is the likely takeaway from a recent letter to the fans from Hakusensha Editorial in the latest Young Animal Magazine which showcased the final chapter Miura produced, #364 and served as a tribute to the late artist’s work (provided here by Manga Mogura). The letter praised Miura’s devotion, as well as the respect shown by the fandom in wake of the tragedy, and reads in part:

We are deeply sorry to inform that there is no information to share about the future of the Berserk series at this time. One thing we can promise you is that as Young Animal, the publisher that has worked with Kentaro Miura on Berserk, our first priority will always be placed on him-what he would think if he were still with us.

While by itself this update shares little concrete progress, it should be noted that given the length of time since Miura’s passing (4 months), it is likely that cancellation would’ve been announced if there were no chance of a revival. These facts, when taken in tandem with Studio Gaga member Akio Miyaji’s tweet on May 21 that he “would do [his] best,” begin to paint the picture of a possible posthumous continuation by Miura’s band of assistants. While chapter 364 was likely completed primarily by Miura himself, any continuation of the story would have to be composed by another hand, or team. This sets up the possibility that Miyaji, along with the rest of Miura’s crew, is hard at work on a speculative chapter 365, which may very well serve as their official audition for the right to conclude their teacher’s epic tale under his former publisher’s masthead.

Posthumous continuations of big-name series are rare, but do occur. One example would be Brandon Sanderson’s conclusion of The Wheel of Time series after the death of author Robert Jordan. Only time will tell if Kentaro Miura’s Berserk has a future… but for now anything’s possible.

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Sources: Young Animal Magazine (via Manga Mogura), Akio Miyaji.

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