Berserk Metaphysics: On the Idea of Evil
“Dreams. Each man longs to pursue his dream. Each man is tortured by this dream, but the dream gives meaning to his life. Even if the dream ruins his life, man cannot allow himself to leave it behind. In this world, is man ever able to possess anything more solid than a dream?”
The author and artist behind the long running manga Berserk, Kentaro Miura, passed away May 6th, 2021. I came to read this work only in the last two years, and it immediately impressed me. Berserk is no mere common artwork in the comic book industry, it shines even outside of this medium, even if it is a tragically unfinished masterpiece. This piece is in his honor.
Evil is a central concept of Berserk, and how could it not be? The state of being berserk is a state of supreme evil, for in it an absolute opposition is set up within a consciousness: the absolute war of self against the infinite plurality of others which surround and aim to destroy the berserker. The aim of the physical berserker is accomplished with rage and brutality, yet the aim is not with a will to evil, it is not with a desire to make another suffer for the pleasure of the berserker, but it is simply a disinterested will which is pure rage manifest as slaughter. It destroys, it rips and tears, because it is mechanically compelled to by its own existence as an alienated view and being in the world.
The Idea of Evil is an entity in the world of Berserk which is only in the background, its existence and purpose only revealed and developed in a short chapter which the author, Kentaro Miura, retroactively decided to remove due to how concretely central the concepts revealed were, and how much of the flow of the plot was implied by this entity’s being. So much that is foundational to the world was laid out in the short chapter that to retain it as canon threatened to severely constrain the free development of the story before Miura himself was sure where it could or should go. Nonetheless, despite its general non-canon status these days, its themes are still present in the artwork.
The Idea of Evil appears to one of the main characters of the plot, Griffith, after they have sacrificed all of their former comrades in the Band of The Hawk in exchange for the power to realize his dream of ruling a kingdom. It describes itself to Griffith as a dark god born of humanity’s yearning for a reason for their suffering and misfortune, and since in the Berserk universe Jungian collective unconsciousness is a fact of existence, this collective yearning manifested as a sapient entity formed from the ‘dark’ human drives which would normally be called ‘evil.’ These emotions and desires for the reason for why there are circumstances which humans consider evil, and the general unhappiness of a life under such circumstances, are the origin of the Idea of Evil which resides in the deepest ontological layer of reality, the plane of ideas.
The world of Berserk has the material the plane of natural physicality, the astral plane of mythical and magical beings, and the plane of ideas in which collective psychological drives and thoughts turn back upon the planes as a whole and determine them. Normally these three realms seem almost completely disconnected and noninteracting, and only special circumstances allow beings from each to interact with others. The Idea of Evil works through the unconsciousness of humanity as well as through subtle causal chains in the material world—it delivers dreams and inchoate desires that are incepted into individuals with such subtlety that they accept them as their own, and guides material causes in subtle ways to move things and people where it needs them. It provides an explanation for the existence of evil in the fact that it itself is the cause of these evils for the sake of evil. In other words: The Idea of Evil is born of collective evil feelings and desires, functions to order this evil into a rational form as to give it purpose in the form of itself, and both seems to be antecedent efficient cause as well as retroactive final cause of such evils.
It is interesting that Miura named it the Idea of evil, for the way this entity operates is very much comprehensible in some philosophical traditions where Ideas are not mere thought entities in our minds, nor are they disembodied entities in another dimension, but rather are to be grasped as the totality of Truth concerning any beings and events whatsoever all the way from potential genesis to consummate death and reproduction/regeneration. This kind of concept is often imputed to an ‘Idealist’ tradition of speculative metaphysics, yet it is not idealism as commonly understood, it is not a reduction to a singular mind’s inner imagination. In the case of the Berserk universe, the conscious and unconscious thoughts of humans have mediated effects on the world around them via the ideal plane of the world, but this is not a one way relationship of human thought being the genesis and cause of Ideas, it is also a relationship of Ideas being the genesis and cause of human beings. The concept of an Idea is a dynamic codetermination of the abstractly ideal (in the sense of the elements of immaterial mental existence) and the concretely existing (in the sense of spatio-temporal natural existence). While Miura never goes so far as to identify the Ideal domain as the standpoint of totality, and instead only as this otherworldly domain of psychic abstraction of drives united as a causal idea, the story of Berserk and its metaphysics implies this view of the unity of the Ideal as a genus of self-generating totality which includes the natural, and this view further allows the elaboration and explanation of many appearances and events in the artwork that is Berserk.
The Idea of Evil shows itself to be a kind of totality, a reflection of a reflection which is beginning and end. Its self-explanation as a being which came to be in order to give meaning and purpose to humanity’s suffering shows its origin in the individual plurality of concrete living conscious beings, and its orchestration of history shows that it likewise reverberates its being through humanity. If the Idea of Evil is an echo or reflection of humanity’s deepest beliefs and desires, humanity likewise becomes an echo and reflection of the Idea of Evil when they are brought under its determining sway and cede their will to it either unconsciously or consciously. This idea has a seemingly godlike power over the natural world, and its highest power seems to be tied with causality at the highest sense: it is capable of setting up the subtle causal chains for the conditions of specific ‘destined’ events, and these events are teleologically determined in nature since the Idea of Evil enables these events for a seemingly grand purpose, and it ensures that key events go according to plan by sending into the material plane strange objects called behelits.1placeholder Behelits open for the chosen one an interstice of the astral and material world, allowing them to ‘transcend’ their humanity and become an apostle with immense power and free reign to use that power in the world to satisfy themselves however they please, all on the lone condition that they obey the plans of the God Hand when needed. Each behelit is predetermined to arrive into the hands of its destined user no matter what contingent twists and turns the world experiences, and it is destined to be in their hands at the right time and the right place even if they lose it after first encountering it.
We see throughout the story, particularly with Griffith, that the Idea of Evil will nudge the causal flow of events ever so subtly to ensure this is the case. We come to know that Griffith’s birth and life is itself a part of a plan eons in preparation for execution. Almost everything about his life, his frustrations, desires and ambitions, and his personal tribulations and sacrifices are set up by the Idea of Evil so that he may play the role prepared for him. It is not that the Idea of Evil has absolute causal control, or that it has the power to even create souls and birth them into the world, rather, it is that it has immense cognitive powers and knowledge of causality in the material world. It also has enough power of external influence that it can guide these causal chains with nudges, and sometimes strong bumps, whenever necessary to its ends. How do we come to know that the Idea of Evil does not have absolute causal power? Because of Guts and Skull Knight, who are ‘fish jumping above the river of causality,’ and the later revelations from the nature witches and elves which explain that the world and humanity in fact had not always been under the power of the Idea of Evil. The Idea of Evil, therefore, can only condition one to be inclined to take its offers of power with the behelit, but this trade can be refused. The Idea of Evil can be denied, can be willed against, and if it arises from human desires and beliefs, then so too can another Idea arise over and against it. In the very first arc of the story we witness Guts hunt down an apostle hiding as a count who appears to be an overzealous heretic hunter, and Guts comes upon the count’s behelit when he is first saved by a runaway servant of the count. When Guts brings the monstrously transformed count close to death, the count’s behelit activates and summons the God Hand. While the count is revealed to have sacrificed his wife when he flew into a despairing rage after he caught her in a heretical orgy, his second chance at an even greater ascension demands he sacrifice his one daughter in order to fully overcome his humanity, but the count refuses and dies.
From the way the Idea of Evil operates on and relates to the world, we can infer that an Idea is the ‘soul’ or ‘essence’ of things, that through which they are forged and shaped, and which determines their immanent end as a realization of itself. Soul because it is the operative living or moving power which forms things, the in-former of the bodies of Evil. Essence because it posits its own existence through its apostles and pawns in the astral and material plane. Soul or essence, however, are nothing separate and different than the parts which are ordered in the movement and structuring of soul or essence. Ideas are more than soul or essence, they are the unity of the universally abstract, undifferentiated unity, and the individually differentiated and concrete as one and the same. As the so called natural laws and forces are to material entities in physics, so too, and even more exactly, is the idea of a thing to the thing in question. The Idea of an atom would be not just the laws which bind and shape the atom, but the intelligible and explanatory process by which the atom arises from the nature of space, time, and matter such that these bind themselves together as an atom, and in which both atom and forces are truly the determination of one nature which produces and is produced in a circle of mutually self-mediated, and therefore immediate, existence. That is all that is to be said about Ideas as such here, but what of evil as such?
Evil As a Form of Finitude
It is today the virtually universal understanding that evil concerns only a moral consideration of subjects and events that have intent or purpose. People are evil insofar as they desire evil things, and things are evil only as they purposefully produce some perceived wrong in or to people. There is here no room for the ancient and still linguistically alive notion that there could be things and persons which simply are evil—ontological and objective evil—without having neither any intended goal to commit evil nor whose actions and consequences are perceived as evil by those affected by them. The notion of objective evil, of the quality of evil in being, is wholly absent from the modern mind’s consciousness. Nonetheless, the notion of objective evil is there in the everyday ways we deal with certain things. For example: the notion that one could abuse animals or people by giving them what they want, and in doing so produce negative side effects from seemingly caring actions which once understood cannot be truly caring. Another example are the terrible and sometimes grotesque hypothetical scenarios of utilitarianism, and here it brings to mind the super bio-computer Korok from John Dies At The End, where the maximization of utility can justify the indifferent and inhuman treatment of sentient and sapient beings simply as collateral to the achievement of the overall good. What could objective evil be? The Idea of Evil concerns evil as explanation, but just what is evil?
The God Hand—as little as they appear in the entire story—worship and glorify evil as divine. The apostles, for the most part, simply carry out evil and are the most concrete example of it. What we find to be the concrete facts of evil are the following: the giving over of oneself to desire, the gaining of power through sacrificing part or all of one’s humanity, and the acceptance of radical finitude in effectively waging one’s soul to a hell-like vortex of souls that feeds into the Idea of Evil once one dies. Evil, therefore, has immanently to do with what we understand as selfishness, particularly the selfishness which harms or destroys others. It has to do with inhumanity insofar as it is an inescapable requirement for the achievement of evil’s being. It also has to do with a consequence of self-destruction, the fate of hell, for those who engage it.
To become an apostle a human must make a sacrifice, this sacrifice necessarily being the cutting off of an essential human part of themselves. It is a common understanding that a sacrifice is certainly the loss of that which one sacrifices, however, it is not commonly understood that in the sacrifice the sacrifice as sacrifice is canceled out for the one who makes it. The human reborn as apostle has cut off the connection to what was sacrificed, that connection being the desire for the sacrificed itself, and as such there is no remorse for this sacrifice since after the willed act it can no longer be perceived as a sacrifice. To sacrifice a loved one or thing in this case is to sacrifice that love itself, to cut oneself off permanently from it. While the demons of Berserk consider themselves more than human and look at humans as lesser, they are in fact less than human. They are gifted power from the proverbial tree of life at the price of the tree of knowledge. The would-be apostle trades the ontological powers of the psyche, the power to recognize, the power of the free will, for the brute powers of the body and its life forces. The sacrifice of the would-be apostle is akin to the sacrifice of a genius which in despair sacrifices their intellect and so becomes so stupid as to not recognize they ever had and lost their great intellect at all—it is not really a sacrifice after the choice has been made, but it is a step down the ontological ladder.
The powers of life are not ontologically higher than those of the mind, they are in fact lower than the powers of feeling and reason. The trade-off is not of something of equal value for another, let alone a higher for a lesser. The trade off is to literally make an infinite sacrifice, to cut oneself off from an entire domain of existence and interaction, in exchange for a large but finite gain in the powers in the domain of life. To become an apostle is in fact a net loss, and the God Hand does not deny this. The infinite loss is hidden under the gained power, but it is made explicit in the infinite fate of ‘Hell’ once an apostle has died. Hell is a vortex of souls, where the dead are torn apart memory by memory in the abyss of the Idea of Evil until they are only an abstraction of a self reduced to a hollow desire, those dark inchoate desires and thoughts which form the Idea of Evil itself. How could anyone knowingly accept such an exchange? Because they are fools who think they can protect themselves against this fate. Every apostle expects that they will never die in a world full of weak humans, and they seem to stay out of the way of other apostles to avoid a deadly possibility as much as possible.
Evil As Finitude
“Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.” — Aristotle
Evil is finitude, that is, evil is that which has no infinite being or purpose. That which is evil cannot go beyond itself, it is limited to itself in consideration and in fact of action. What is inhuman about apostles is precisely this inability to go beyond oneself and connect to others. Love must be sacrificed, for love is an infinite being-in-relation-with others. When one cuts oneself off from others absolutely, there is a finitization of the self both ideally and physically. In society and communion, people can live beyond themselves by leaving behind a legacy remembered and carried forward by others long after a body has died. Those who leave ideas are the longest ‘lived’ of human beings, for they continue to act in the world through others who share those ideals. An apostle, however, has no ideals and has no community. Its singular body is all there is of it, and when the body dies so too does the individual. This is a fitting and immanent consequence to selfishness in this extreme, and it highlights the immanence of the quality of finitude in evil. There is, however, something further to be said about inhumanity. It is commonly understood that inhumanity is a lack of humanity, a lack of sympathetic or empathetic consideration, in conscious beings. There is something to be said about the actuality of inhumanity as unconsciousness not as that which underlies consciousness, but which is simply without consciousness at all.
“Really, there’s nothing more pure and cruel as a child.” — Jet, Cowboy Bebop
Though the quote is from another artwork, there is no better example than one of Berserk’s most uncomfortable parts: The Lost Children arc. This early part of the story concerns a little girl, Rosine, who becomes an apostle to escape her wretched life with abusive parents and with a community that shuns her for being too different to the average girl. One day Rosine resolves to run away to the Misty Valley in order to go live with the elves she has heard about in fairy tales, particularly the fairy tale of Peekaf, a half-elf that is rejected by his human community for being different. When she arrives at the valley at last she finds nothing there and waits defeated and despairing for her eventual death to the elements. Her parents and village search for her, and eventually she is found, but what should have been a heartwarming reunion quickly becomes a final heartbreaking abusive encounter which activates Rosine’s behelit and leads her to sacrifice her parents in order to become an ‘elf.’ What she does with this power is consequent to her childish mentality: since her parents and community adults were bad to and for her, all adults are bad and must be killed. Further, since she felt mistreated as an outsider, and her life was made miserable by adults getting in the way of her fun, all children must truly feel like this. Finally, since she found her ‘elfhood’ to be a liberation from all of this, so will all children. Rosine, therefore, harasses (and murders through devouring) the adults in surrounding villages and captures children in order to forcefully cocoon them and transform them into minor elves like her. What we find in her utopia, however, is terrible: while there are moments of seemingly wonderful childish bliss playing and flying in the valley, there are also moments in which the bestial nature of these elves appears in brutal deadly combat when they start to ‘play war.’ Rosine sees nothing wrong with this kind of fun, and neither do the minor elves who take part in and truly die in these ‘games.’
What makes Rosine evil here is not at all that she intends to do harm and enjoys it. What makes her evil is that she does not even recognize what she does and causes as anything of moral significance. Rosine literally cannot understand that what she does is wrong, so she cannot be convinced that she should not do it. What is wrong, Rosine thinks, with elves really killing each other in war games? Humans kill each other all the time, and it isn’t even fun! One could say that Rosine is entirely innocent, yet this innocence is precisely her source of evil. Innocence is the lack of knowledge of good and evil, it is an indifference to reasons and consequences because one has not achieved universal recognition or cognition.
It is commonly said that Nature does not care, and this is true. Nature is evil precisely because it does not care, for Nature is a realm of endless finitude where all things are outside each other and come together under the condition of this externality which as and within Nature cannot be overcome. Natural evil is thoughtless and without intention, conscious beings are simply collateral to blind forces that move through one body to another, and in space and time all things fall apart and are never fully united. Because the very being of Nature is external, any appeal to it as the basis of infinite universal ends necessarily falls into finitude and must be ultimately evil if this externality is not transcended. The nature of Nature is that it is endlessly self-fragmenting into finite entities which fall outside each other immediately and which are only in the deepest levels of mediation beyond their immediate physical being revealed to be essentially and internally connected. If one appeals to Nature for one’s ends one arrives at the conclusion of nihilism, for there can be no ends when all of Nature is seen as mechanical and forever external with no ‘end’ to be sought, or one arrives at the conclusion that though no singular end is natural there is a form of attaining ends which is justified by Nature’s being itself: brute power.
What makes a will and intention evil is that it wills only a finite end, one that does not go beyond a limit it has been given in its finitude, and which in being finite is by its very concept and consequent existence doomed to just as quickly pass away. But, one may ask, what makes finitude identical to evil? Why should this be so? The concept of the finite is that which is limited, bound, and but a passing moment in an endless relay of existence where nothing endures. In and of itself the finite is not evil, it is in fact a necessary good so that the absolute Good may come about. What alone makes finitude evil is that it holds back a higher development—evil is a necessary good which has overstayed its welcome, an element that does not accept its boundaries and oversteps into a part of existence where it does not belong and where its very existence undoes not only the domain it intrudes on, but the domain which sustains the source of evil.
Physically things are finite insofar as they have spatial and temporal beginning or end. Psychologically beings are finite insofar as their feelings or drives concern only finite ends such as the immediate satisfaction of desires without any concern for its conditions and effects on self or others. The animal consumes, and bites the hand that feeds, making no distinction from friend, foe, or indifferent object in its blinding need to satisfy a desire. Even if a desire’s aim goes beyond the individual’s immediate being such as a broader yet still finite group—for example one may love the human species a whole all the while remaining in the sphere of finite ends since this emotional end concerns only the human species against equally capable and intelligent nonhuman beings—others are for the evil being entities towards which indifference is the mode of relation at best, and violent hostility at worst. The evil of the intellect, of cognition or conceptualization, is the understanding of the world in which no universal unity in difference is possible, a view in which people and things are false or true, and in which this hard distinction justifies the indifference to the fate of the so called false, and an indifference to that which is not seen as integral to one’s aims as well as a disregard to the question of whether an aim is something we should pursue.
The matter and forces of Nature are evil, for they are in essence powers indifferent to particularities. One piece of matter is as good as any other, and placed under the same condition of forces it will move, affect, and be effected by another in the exact same manner. Here is the basis for the statement that there are indeed Natural evils, catastrophes of Nature which are evil not only because of the effects they bring about, but because they are utterly indifferent to what they affect. A famine, a storm, an earthquake, and a volcano are merely the playing out of blind forces of Nature which in merely being have the unintended consequence of destroying not just entire civilizations, but entire species, entire worlds of life, and entire natural wonders of equally unintended paradise and beauty.
Living beings are evil, for life knows nothing of the sacredness of individuality, nothing of the value of a good life, but only of the value of the species. Life consumes not only the unliving world of chemicals and minerals, but also the living world as well. The parasite, the bacterium, and the predator do nothing in their world out of a will to create suffering or destruction; it is only in their nature to do as they will and to will as they do, and this indifferent and blind command of the drives only happens to create states of pain and chaos as much as they create states of bliss and harmony. The animal as such is also evil, for even when they rise to the heights of sociality it is not on the basis of a comprehended infinite universality, but only on the basis of a happenstance emotional and cognitive nature that reaches beyond the individual into the herd, and sometimes beyond the herd into other species. The animal lacks the capacity to know and comprehend infinite universality, and as such no matter how broad its sphere of positive feeling is it nonetheless lives in a world in which its very existence is evil and for which the world it inhabits is also evil, for it consumes and destroys wantonly wherever it goes and however it acts regardless of its intents or knowledge just as much as the environment around it is in a constant war for existence even in its balance. Just as humans walk over the Earth without a thought to the tiny creatures they crush, so too is all of Nature evil.
The human being—a spiritual being—is the only being which may will evil just as much as it alone may will good. The human alone (not as a species but as an ontological kind) has the will to evil in the sense that it knows and wills finite ends which foreclose the being and freedom of other beings.
The Inhuman: Apostles and the God Hand, Or Reason Without Rational Being
The demonic is interestingly not formally called such in Berserk; a demon is called an apostle, and this is important. The etymology of the word apostle is the Greek apostolos, which means ‘someone sent,’ a messenger or actor on behalf of someone else—this has a very similar definition to the etymology of angels (angelos) as divine messengers. Apostles in Berserk are not self-made lone agents, they are made demons for a purpose. They are apostles, but apostles of what or of whom? The immediate response may be the God Hand, the ‘angels’ and direct servants of the Idea of Evil who carry out plans and bring key causal chains to fruition. But the God Hand themselves are merely apostles of the Idea of Evil, they are complete slaves to its causality, yet this slavery is their freedom and desire.
The fact that demons are apostles ironically reveals their rational nature, that is, that they are not absolutely evil, not radically finite and merely vanishing appearances among appearances. They work under the auspice of something greater which transcends them and is both their origin, their soul, and their purpose despite the illusion of working only for themselves. This rationality, however, is itself irrational in two ways. First, it is irrational since the victory of evil as such is the victory of the part over the whole, and so the destruction of the condition for the possibility of existing. Second, it is irrational in that the worlds beyond the material plane no longer work within the bounds of mechanical naturalist reasoning, i.e. it is beyond the rigid analytic understanding of immediate material life.
The God Hand is a special set of apostles who give up not one aspect of humanity, but their entire humanity. They are concerned only with grand transcendental projects under the guidance of the Idea of Evil, and each presents a face of Evil as a concrete individuality. Void is understanding, Slan is eros, Femto is longing, Ubik seems to be a deceiver, and Conrad is as of yet not touched on enough so as to reveal his particular nature. Though they profess their aim of Evil and its holiness, it becomes quite clear that this evil is not exactly proper. The willingness to work together, the collective goal to realize the Idea of Evil’s plans, and the fact that the will and desire of each is constituted by a unitary source, the Idea of Evil, is a logical testament against the absoluteness of Evil.
The Victory of Death: The Death of Death
What the Idea of Evil ultimately plans is, one may say, an oxymoronic question, for the embodiment of self-seeking finitude cannot, for the same reason of what it is, seek any final end. Were evil to consummate itself as absolute, it would for that same reason come to nothing in dissolving itself.
The Endless Struggle of and Against Evil
There is something intimated by Miura in the work, and in interviews. What is it that he reveals? In the final chapter published while he was alive, we find that Guts witnesses a memory from the prior wearer of his berserker armor.2placeholder He meets the dwarven maker of the armor, and is told that the armor stores memories of past users. He is informed that despite being skilled with the armor, he has yet to master it, meaning that he has not yet mastered his own rage. What we find in this memory is startling only to those who do not follow the finer details of the plot: prior to the current five members of the God Hand we find that there are four members who are different in this memory, meaning that the God Hand members are not in fact immortal all-powerful entities. Earlier other characters imply strongly that there is something of a spiral cycle to the world, meaning that similar individuals and events occur over time, but each time differently and in a more developed manner. What is revealed here is that the plan being played out in Guts’s time is not the first iteration of a plan, but one of some unknown number of iterations which have in some way failed. While some interpret the Idea of Evil’s plan to include Skull Knight and Guts, and this inclusion being hidden from the God Hand as well—and there is reason to believe this to an extent—it is not clear that this can hold given the different iterations of the world order and events revealed in this memory.
If the Idea of Evil indeed be evil, however, it makes perfect sense that whatever it may be planning, it cannot actually achieve it. The Idea of Evil and its pawns are stuck in an endless treadmill, an asymptotic approach towards the desired limit end goal, an infinite striving precisely because they are evil. Their radical finitude dooms them to this. One finite being, one evil embodiment, succeeds only to just as immediately fail by the hand of evil itself, for evil is within itself divided against itself in a war of the finite trying to overcome the finite through the enforcement of an individual finitude that reveals itself to only be particular. If there be many prior God Hands, then the current members are not essential and are eventually to be expended.
The Idea of Evil is not God—it does not have full determining power. It seems that the plan, if there is a final end to it, is to merge the astral and material plane, and perhaps eventually the ideal with them as well. With such an achievement the Idea of Evil itself could become directly embodied and present in the world, and it would not need the God Hand. Such a merging would be akin to the solipsism of this Idea, and it would thereby seemingly succeed at erasing otherness to itself, but in so doing it would just as much erase it as an other to the world. If the Idea of Evil has attempted to merge the planes before in order to better exert its influence and control, and these merges have failed, then there is no reason to believe the current attempt will have any more success.
Miura, therefore, said in interviews that he already knew the story would have a positive end. The Idea of Evil and its apostles cannot logically overcome the Good, for the fate of evil is that of its own accord it overcomes itself as evil by wiping itself out from existence. Though one could imagine that temporally evil endlessly rises and falls, logically evil as such itself rises only to fall and never rise again as evil, but only as finitude properly placed in the infinity of the world’s living unity.
In the original Japanese the literal phonetic structure is beherit, which happens to be a Syrian word for ‘devil.’ It is unclear whether Miura had this word in mind, or if perhaps he had an English wordplay in mind with something like be-hell-it. Both are not outside of Miura’s knowledgeable capacities and interests, and both make sense with the object’s function.
The berserker armor is a dwarven artifact which harnesses a wearer’s inner rage and allows them to ignore the limit of pain along with the limit of the self-destruction of the body—broken bones, torn muscles, and ligaments—by supporting the body with terrible structural mending in the heat of combat. If bones are broken, the armor pierces itself through the wearer’s body to keep it functionally together, but it does not heal the user, and in fact only hastens their eventual death by bleeding to death.