Griffith is one of the most overpowered villains in all of manga and anime. We are constantly told in the story, that he is fated to achieve his vision of the world and his peerless strength knows no bounds. The citizens of Falconia see him as the saviour of humanity, but the main character, Guts, who knows the truth about Griffith, is his enemy and seeks nothing but revenge.
But can can Griffith be killed by Guts, or is he just too strong?
The abilities of Griffith
Charisma and leadership
Through his charisma and magnetic presence, Griffith attracts apostles and men alike and inspires them to fight for his cause. Even back in the Golden Age arc, he was worshipped by his band of mercenaries as a religious figure and even various nobles were inspired by his progression from humble origins into royal society.
This pseudo-religious status was brought into reality after Griffith sacrifices his band of mercenaries to demigods known as the “God Hand”, who in exchange, granted Griffith godly powers as the fifth member of the God Hand, Femto.
Members of the God Hand are not gods themselves, they execute the will of the Idea of Evil, an extremely powerful entity in the astral realm. It granted Griffith with various powers and enhanced his charisma and leadership to the point where Griffith developed the power to command apostles, otherworldly monsters, who were considered to be unbeatable by humans at the beginning of the story of Berserk. Becoming an apostle gave Griffith many magical powers in the astral realm, possibly making him immortal and and immune to physical damage, but also isolating him from the physical world.
This isolation was short lived though, as Griffith ends up reincarnating into the human world in his old appearance and begins assembling a new “reborn” band of the Hawk, that consists entirely of very powerful, mythological apostles. Creatures, who became possible by the merging of the physical and astral realms into Fantasia. Joining these mythical creatures and legendary heroes under one banner is certainly a great feat of leadership and charisma, previously considered to be unimaginable by other characters in the Berserk verse. The human members of his kingdom, however, are blissfully unaware of the true source of Griffith’s power and follow him fanatically. As one of Griffith’s high councillors notes:
To lead a country, and its people, you need a fantastical vision. We are all of us, drunk on the illusion that man so skilfully weaves – Lord Foss, Berserk, Chapter 358.
Griffith frequently uses his powers to create spectacles that dazzle the citizens of Falconia, as is perhaps intended. For example, he has showcased the ability to commute with the souls of the dead, when he gave Falconian soldiers the possibility to speak to and pay respects towards their fallen comrades. He can manipulate masses, rally the strong under his banner and he has built the strongest army in the human world consisting of legendary heroes and apostles like Zodd, Locus the “Moonlight Knight”, Grunbeld “the Great Flame Dragon” and Rakshas from the Kushan clan, thus forming the reborn band of the Hawk. What is remarkable about these figures is that they originate from different parts of the world, and would without the uniting purpose that Griffith and Falconia represents, probably be at war with each other. So Griffith’s charisma, albeit completely based on lies and deception has the ability to unite beings of different and often opposing goals.
The first wish Griffith uttered to the Idea of Evil during the sacrificial ritual, Eclipse was: “I want wings”, and not the Kentucky fried ones, but demonic wings that grant the ability to fly. The wish was granted by the Idea of Evil and thus, Femto can fly. This puts Griffith at an advantage against characters that cannot. In his fight against the flying apostle Ganishka, for example, Guts required the help of Zodd from the reborn band of the Hawk to fly close to his target and attack. Griffith has no such limitations, he can maintain a safe distance and use his very powerful ranged attacks to neutralize almost any threat.
Griffith freely uses a set of abilities similar to gravity manipulation or Telekinesis. He has pushed a fiercely attacking Guts back by a simple force of will and has crushed a number of apostles into a rotating ball of flesh during the Eclipse, the event where the majority of the original band of the Hawk was killed. It is unclear how a character that relies on brute force like Guts or many other fighter type characters in the series are supposed to fight against this overwhelming ability. Unless there is some magical tool involved that can suppress Griffith’s gravity manipulation, or if he for some reason freely chooses to not use it, I can’t see most characters in Berserk even getting close to him to try to inflict some damage, much less catch Griffith by surprise.
The question could be raised, if Griffith’s gravity powers have a limit of either fatigue or power, but so far no indication of a limit has been showcased in the story. Quite the opposite, words like absolute and limitless power have been thrown around on more than one occasion.
Perhaps the biggest feat that Femto has showcased in the story, is his ability to bend and manipulate space according to his will. During his fight with Ganishka, Skull Knight mounts a surprise attack on Griffith and slashes him with his Sword of Thorns.
The sword was said to have the ability to “bury” even members of the God Hand, but Griffith easily distorts the space around the slash and re-targets the powerful attack towards the twice reincarnated Ganishka instead, thus opening the door to Fantasia, the merging of the physical and astral realms. Having the ability to distort space is an incredibly overpowered ability. Can Griffith be killed, if he can change the target of any attack at will? Distorting space pretty much gives you the power to dictate what is going to happen in any fight whatsoever unless your opponent can distort it back or somehow negate this ability. It seems very unlikely that Guts will ever develop powers that are able to negate this ability.
Protection by Causality
Another constant theme around Griffith is that he is fated to rule and that he cannot be killed, because of the laws of causality itself. The most powerful figures in the Berserk world are constantly alluding to this. For example, in chapter 237, Skull Knight explains to Guts:
“He now exists beyond the reason of the physical world, where no one in the mortal world can threaten him. It would be akin to someone in a story challenging the one who wrote it. It cannot be done. To stand and confront the Hawk… one must also exist outside the story.” – Skull Knight, Berserk, Chapter 237.
When Skull Knight attacked Griffith during his fight with Ganishka, for example, the God hand was already aware that this would happen, and Griffith was prepared. Their knowledge of the future is not absolute, but it seems that in many cases causing harm to Griffith is negated by the laws of causality itself.
In the world of Berserk, there are two plains of reality: the physical world and the mysterious astral realm where the apostles and Griffith’s real body resides. Guts himself, due to being branded by the Eclipse, is partially trapped inside there as well. As he is continually forced to defend himself against its various monstrous forces he seems to become progressively more powerful and less human as well.
His sword, the Dragon Slayer is imbued with the od of countless defeated apostles and carries enough power to wound even God Hand members. Guts has added the “Berserker armour” to his kit, a powerful dwarven artefact that possesses its wearer and brings out all of their dormant strength, but slowly imbues the wearer with magic, making them less human.
When Guts defeats one of these monsters, the Slug Baron, the Baron’s soul is dragged into the Abyss, a hellish, deepest level of the astral world, leaving his physical body behind to die a natural death. So, perhaps if Griffith can be killed inside the interstice, his soul should will be drawn into the Abyss and he will die.
Another possible weak-point could be his reincarnated, human body. Griffith’s dream is to found a kingdom for the realm of men and become its ruler. In order to achieve this, he could not remain confined to his incorporeal Femto form. He needed to re-enter the physical world, which he manages to achieve in the Conviction arc.
No great king in history has ever been able to achieve this. An incisive utopia. That is the land the hawk of light brings about for mankind. Falconia – Locus, the Moonlight Knight, Berserk, chapter 336.
One of the antagonists in this arc is the Egg of the Perfect World, a strange mix between a Behelit and an apostle, who ends up consuming the child of Guts and Casca who became demonically possessed by Griffith during the events of the Eclipse. This sad creature was devoured by the Egg of the perfect World and used to give birth to Griffith’s new corporeal form.
This child was conceived by the love between Casca and Guts and became demonically possessed during the events of the Eclipse, where the original band of the Hawk was killed. The fact that the body of this child was used to reincarnate Griffith could be the key to defeating him. The effects of this rebirth on Griffith can be seen, for example in Berserk chapter 179, where Griffith notices “a faint throbbing”, as he spectates Guts fighting his demonic servant Zodd and attributes this to the feelings of the unborn child.
Another sign of the influence of this child on Griffith’s form is the appearance of Moon Child. A strange ghostly child that has appeared in Berserk only during a full moon who appears to be the child of Guts and Casca as he would have been without the events of the Eclipse and the killing of the band of the Hawk.
In chapter 358 a strong clue was given, that this child is in fact Griffith transformed. The ending of the chapter shows Griffith examining his hair turning darker, and vanishing into the moonlight. Clearly, there is a timespan where Griffith’s body takes the form of the Moon Child, the child of Guts and Casca. How will this come into play in the future remains to be seen, but if Griffith can be killed, it will likely play a big role in his eventual demise.
Conclusion: Can Griffith be Killed?
Griffith can be killed if Guts will be able to exploit the weakness of Griffiths transformation into moonlight boy. It is shown in the story, that Griffith’s body in the real world is somehow linked to the Moonlight boy and if he were to be killed, it is possible, that Griffith will die as well. How all of this will pan out really depends on where Kentaro Miura wants to take the story, but the seeds for this type of conclusion have clearly been planted into the story of Berserk.