Naming the villain of this arc is a spoiler in itself so unless you’ve seen it or know the ending of the golden age arc don’t read this because there’s a twist at the end unless you’ve seen the manga in which it gets introduced early. This can also link to my guardians of desire series so read that if you want to get all the details about the villain.
Unlike in the anime Griffith is revealed as the villain of the arc in a dramatically brilliant way. Through the opening chapters we know that Guts has been cursed to death and has demons following him, we also know that something bad happened to make him the way he is and there naturally needs to be a person or group of people that caused it.
The god hand are mentioned when Guts kills the apostle but it’s difficult to know what they did or if they even did anything personally to Guts to make him the way he is. Despite this through the actions of Guts and the hell that he lives in we start to craft an image in our head of what the villain was like to make him turn out this way.
Before anyone is even introduced we find that the villain is a cruel and calculating monster. The minor villains like the skeletons which Guts dispatches early show how powerful the villain must be. Even spirits that don’t do anything seem to have some strange power over Guts which he finds hard to control showing through little things like this just how powerful the villains are.
All of these things help but the villain in question would be great even without this due to the way he’s introduced. Because we know nothing about Guts’ past it’s strange that he recognises a member in dark black armour: Griffith and they clearly know each other.
“Still… squirming around in your pitiful existence I see.”
Not only does this make Griffith look like an immensely evil demon especially when he’s better than Guts but it also shows that they have a history each other where Griffith was always better than him, showing his power. Guts can only look in horror as if in disbelief showing his fear and also desire to be respected from Griffith.
“A few worthless servants is inconsequential to us”
This demonstrates his authority and the fact that he’s truly a horrible person for not caring about his servants. It portrays the fight between Guts and Griffith as good against evil instead of two separate sides that are equal yet have fallen out.
“Black Swordsman you say…? His petty existence is beneath our notice”
In those sentences he’s talking to his allies instead of Guts showing his lack of empathy or care towards his character. Despite the fact that they knew each other it’s like he’s so powerful that he forgot he was there. The reaction in Guts shows pain and misery as well. He needs to tell Griffith again that he’s the reason for his power but he simply smiles and says…
“Yes… you’re nothing but a squirming sacrificial offering.”
So not only does he not care but he also feels justified in his actions. It would seem that even while he was alive as a human he didn’t see Guts in a good way and probably never thought they were really friends, increasing the tragedy farther.
This post ended up being a bit too long to put into one so we will continue this in the next one.