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Kentaro Miura, creator of Japanese ‘Berserk’ manga, dead at 54

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Japanese artist-author Kentaro Miura — creator of “Berserk,” one of the best-selling manga series of all time – has died of an acute aortic dissection. He was 54.

On Thursday, his US publisher Dark Horse Comics confirmed that he passed away on May 6. Miura was a “master artist and storyteller,” his reps announced in a statement. “He will be greatly missed. Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones.”

Miura launched his beloved series in 1989. It now spans 40 volumes and 35 million copies have been sold, according to its Japanese publisher Hakusensha. In 2017, Miura’s Dark Horse editor announced that more than 1.2 million copies had been sold in North America as well.

Set in a darkly humorous fantasy world inspired by medieval Europe, the adventures of sword-wielding warrior Guts and Griffith, leader of the mercenary Band of the Hawk, have also inspired an anime TV series, feature films and video games.

Miura’s US editor, Chris Warner, once hailed the series as “a harrowing dark fantasy of monumental depth, complexity and audacity,” one that weaves an “astonishing visual tapestry is like nothing else in graphic fiction . . . While the horror and violence are at times disturbing and unquestionably adult, Miura still manages to produce genuine emotion and plenty of humor.”

“Our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers for this tragic loss,” tweeted Hisashi Koinuma, producer of the video game “Berserk and the Band of the Hawk.”

The last impact of “Berserk” is reflected in multiple platforms: Video game series such as “Dark Souls,” “Bloodborne” and “Final Fantasy” — as well as manga and anime titles including “Demon Slayer,” “Castlevania” and “Vagabond” — all “bear the mark of Miura’s influence,” according to the technology experts at CNET.com.

Upon hearing of Miura’s death, thousands of “Berserk” fans have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the iconic artist.

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