Here’s why Griffith hasn’t killed Guts yet and the other way around:
Ultimately, Guts and Griffith haven’t killed each other in either anime adaptation because such a confrontation has not yet happened in the manga, which is the original source material.
The manga has run irregularly for decades, and events in 2021 caused it to stop production for a full year.
So if you want to learn all the details on why Griffith hasn’t killed Guts yet or vice versa, then this is the article to read.
Without much further ado, let’s get started!
Ok. Surely you know that I need to issue a spoiler alert.
The Beserk manga has been running since 1989, and it still isn’t finished.
It is a widely loved work, and a lot of people anticipate each new chapter with dripping enthusiasm.
If I’m going to thoroughly answer why characters have or have not done things in this series, then spoilers are inevitable.
I will be explaining the plot.
If you want to avoid any spoilers, this is your last chance.
Stop right now and go read/watch Beserk (be warned, it’s a very bleak and dark series).
Then, you can come back and join the rest of us.
Why Hasn’t Griffith Killed Guts in the Anime? (2 Reasons)
Alright, let’s get into some spoilers.
The original question was in reference to the anime, except that there are two anime series and some movies.
I’m going to be skipping the movies in today’s discussion.
Instead, I’ll focus on the anime adaptations, and a little later, I’ll talk about the manga, since that’s ultimately where the plot comes from.
The truth is that Griffith never killed Guts in either series, and both of them have long concluded.
So, let’s get into why that is the case.
#1 The Original Series
The first Beserk anime series ran in 1997 and 1998.
That was quite some time ago.
At this point, the source material was nowhere near anything resembling a final confrontation between the two major characters.
Since the manga still had so much ground left to cover, there was no way that Guts was going to die unless he was brought back to life.
He’s the main protagonist, and the story really doesn’t continue if you kill him off.
So, it’s not surprising that Griffith never killed Guts during this run.
As for the plot, the story actually could have ended with Griffith killing Guts at the end of this anime run and leaving a dark, bad-guys-win finale.
That’s not what happened.
Instead, the anime ended with Griffith ascending and joining the God Hand.
This is really just the end of the setup for the revenge plot that has become Beserk.
So, why didn’t Griffith kill Guts when he became so strong?
In terms of the story, it’s because Griffith wanted to hurt Guts.
He was looking to inflict maximum pain, and killing Guts wouldn’t have achieved that.
Instead, he tortured Guts by forcing the man to watch the suffering of the only person he loved.
At the end of that moment, Griffith was so much more powerful than Guts that killing him just wasn’t necessary.
#2 The Newer Series
What about the newer series?
That ran from 2016 through 2017.
This anime adaptation actually picked up where the first one left off.
You are introduced to Guts as a wandering black swordsman, missing an arm, carrying a giant sword, and stalked by evil creatures.
At this point in the story, Griffith is much stronger than Guts and probably could have killed him at any moment.
From a production standpoint, if you kill Guts, the story ends.
So pragmatically speaking, that’s why.
Within the context of the story, Griffith is occupied with other endeavors.
He really doesn’t care that much about Guts through this series.
Instead, he’s focused on building and ruling his kingdom.
Why Hasn’t Guts Killed Griffith in the Anime? (2 Points)
On the other hand, we can look at this from Guts’ point of view.
He clearly is motivated to kill Griffith, and he even has a couple of opportunities to do so.
Why didn’t it happen?
Once again, we need to look at each series separately, especially since they cover such different parts of the original story.
#1 The Original Series
In this anime, it’s a little perplexing.
Guts and Griffith fight three different times, and they both survive each encounter.
In the first fight, Griffith wins, so it’s obvious why Guts doesn’t kill him.
This is the fight that forces Guts to join the Hand of the Hawk.
Later in the show, Guts and Griffith fight again.
This time, they fight so that Guts has the right to leave the Hand of the Hawk, and Guts wins this round.
He could have killed Griffith but he didn’t. Why?
He didn’t want to.
By that point, Guts thought of Griffith as a valued friend.
Guts’ whole reason for leaving was to better himself.
So, he defeated Griffith and left without leaving a scratch on the leader of the Band of the Hawks.
The third fight in the show is something else entirely.
This is at the eclipse ceremony.
By the time they fight, Griffith has become something beyond human.
Guts actually tries with all of his might to kill Griffith, even sacrificing his arm in the process, but it isn’t enough.
He doesn’t kill Griffith because he can’t.
#2 The Newer Series
As established, the second series picked up where the original left off.
In this series, Guts didn’t kill Griffith because, even by the end of it, he wasn’t strong enough.
The story from this point is essentially how Guts fights to survive and gains strength and power, bit by bit, along the way.
The show ended before that progress reached a point where he could kill Griffith.
Outside of the plot, he didn’t kill Griffith because this run ended long before the manga ever got to a final confrontation between the two characters.
The show runners decided not to deviate that far from the manga, so they didn’t make up a new ending.
Instead, the show ended with events continuing to escalate, but before any true revolution occurred.
Why Haven’t Guts and Griffith Killed Each Other in the Manga? (2 Reasons)
Ok. We’ve covered the two anime shows.
But, if we really want to get into why Guts and Griffith haven’t killed each other, it comes down to the source material.
Such a confrontation hasn’t happened in the manga, and that’s where the real answer lies.
Really, there are two reasons why they are both still alive in the manga.
One has to do with the plot.
The other reason comes down to production.
In short, the story isn’t over yet, so that’s why these characters haven’t settled their issues yet.
It’s very likely that their confrontation will be the ultimate climax of the story.
#1 Plot Reasons
So, looking at the plot, let’s think about why Guts and Griffith continue to not kill each other.
Mostly, it comes down to character decisions.
As I said before, the final conflict will likely be a confrontation between Guts and Griffith.
That really seems to be the direction of the series.
If one killed the other before that, it would change everything.
I’ve covered the major confrontations in the anime sections.
The first time the two fight, Griffith wins, and he forces Guts to join his band.
It makes sense.
The second time they fight, Guts wants to go free.
He wins the fight, but he doesn’t resent or hate Griffith.
He has no reason to kill Griffith at all.
The third time they fight, Griffith becomes a demon, and things go dark.
Guts would kill Griffith, but he can’t.
And, Griffith leaves Guts alive as a form of torment.
#2 IRL Reasons
While the plot explanations make sense, there are two real-life reasons why Beserk has not seen a conclusion between these two characters.
The first is the way it is produced.
Beserk is one of the slowest-moving stories of all time.
Only a few chapters are released each year, which is why it has been running since 1989 with only 366 chapters released.
Compare that to something like One Piece that has been printing for almost a decade less and has over 1000 chapters.
The second reason that Griffith and Guts aren’t dead is because of the sad tragedy involved in the real-life production of this manga.
The manga’s creator and writer, Kentaro Mirua, died unexpectedly in May of 2021.
For those who want to know more, the released cause of death was aortic dissection.
Because of his unexpected death, the manga was understandably suspended.
It’s hard to move forward when the story’s sole creator isn’t around anymore.
But, the studio that produces Beserk (Young Animal) has announced that the manga will return.
As of the time of this writing, two new chapters have been released in June of 2022.
This comes after the announcement that Miura’s close friend Kouji Mori would take over production.
Apparently, the two regularly discussed Miura’s plans for Beserk, and Mori knows how the story was intended to end.
He will finish the series, and the conclusion of the current ark and an additional ark have both been announced.
Whether there will be anything beyond that is still unknown.