Griffith has a dream to be a king, which he places above all. Through bonding with the Band of the Hawk, Guts realizes they all have their own dreams; not as ambitious as Griffith’s, but dreams still. Except for him, who’s only known battle. Living just to kill is no life at all, so he can only be Griffith’s friend and equal with a reason to live. When Guts chooses to leave and find that reason, Griffith feels betrayed. The worst treachery is yet to come.
After being horrifically mutilated, Griffith calls forth the Godhand. They offer him a choice; sacrifice his followers and gain the power to see his dream of a kingdom through, or don’t. He chooses the former with brilliant self-delusion; his dream has already taken hundreds of lives, so better to add more bodies to the pile than make those previous sacrifices for naught.
This massacre birthed the Guts who we first met. However, while the “Black Swordsman” descends into nihilism, the story still doesn’t. Guts befriends new companions and relearns empathy. From there, he gradually worked to put his bloodlust (personified as an astral “Beast of Darkness”) behind him. The Skull Knight, Guts’ mysterious ally, calls him “the Struggler” for how he fights against forces more powerful than him. You don’t struggle like that if you’ve succumbed to despair.
Heroes who try to do good against all odds, like Guts, include Spider-Man, Thorfinn from “Vinland Saga,” Hughie from “The Boys,” and the Supe kids from “Gen V.” Dusty’s shirt is not just a cool reference, it’s a key to the heart of what makes “Gen V” great.
“Gen V” is streaming on Amazon Prime Video, with new episodes every Friday.