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The Most Bizarre Things Elden Ring Revealed In Its Manga

What's more of a surprise than receiving an official "Elden Ring" manga months after the game's release? Realizing it's a tongue-in-cheek gag manga full of bizarre moments.

In September 2022, FromSoftware's parent company, Kadokawa, published the first few chapters of the "ELDEN RING The Road to the Erdtree" on the official (and 100% legal) manga site Comic Walker. The manga is available in multiple languages and is free for all readers, so there's nothing stopping you from checking it out. Unless you hate irreverent comedy, that is.

As previously stated, the "Elden Ring" manga is what is known as a gag series, where just about every page has a joke, and the point isn't to tell a story but to make audiences laugh. The first couple of chapters have covered the opening moments of its source material, adding a comedic spin. Here are some of the strangest gags we've bumped into so far.

The Tarnished is officially a wretch

While combat in "Souls"-like games, "Elden Ring" included, is intentionally difficult, it is also extremely satisfying due to its flexibility. Players can place points in any stat they want and combine their choices with different items and spells to create a variety of builds. But to point gamers in the right direction, most of these titles offer starting "classes." Each "class" offers basic equipment and different stat distributions to ease players into the game, but gamers who want an extra challenge in an already difficult experience can choose a "class" with minimal gear and stats. Guess which one the manga went for.

After the "Elden Ring" manga is done translating the game's opening cinematic into gorgeous full-color illustrations, the comic introduces players to the "hero" of the story: an amnesiac Tarnished with only a loincloth and club to his name. And the loincloth has snapped. You don't have to be an "Elden Ring" expert to realize the manga's main character has clearly gone with the Wretch "class," and he didn't even pick a Keepsake.

Why is this "class" so noteworthy and bizarre for the manga? Well, it isn't on its own, but the main character's "Wretch"-edness is used as a setup for more jokes and gags down the line. Plus, who in their right mind picks a Wretch on their first playthrough? That's the "class" of experienced players who know the ins and outs of every enemy, spell, and weapon.

The real reason Torrent chose the Tarnished

In the opening minutes of "Elden Ring," the spirit steed Torrent finds the player character and decides to become their most reliable ally in the Lands Between. The game doesn't expand on why Torrent chooses the player character, so one can only assume it's because they're the protagonist (and they always get the best stuff). The "Elden Ring" manga, however, has a different explanation for Torrent's decision — one that makes the Tarnished the literal butt of a joke.

In the manga, Melina has misgivings about the Tarnished who eventually becomes the story's main character. Instead of seeing anything lordly in him, she likens him to "an underwear mannequin someone threw out." But Torrent is convinced the unconscious man lying face down in front of them is the hero the Lands Between needs. Why? Melina asks the same question, and Torrent responds with a snort that apparently translates to "his 'nice, firm haunches.'" In other words, Torrent thinks the Tarnished has a nice bum.

And that's it. Torrent is willing to risk the fate of the Lands Between on a total stranger simply because he likes the shape of their butt. And Torrent clearly didn't think this criterion through since he balks when Melina points out that those powerful cheeks will be riding on top of him.

No pockets, no problem

Inventories in video games often make no sense, especially in games such as "Elden Ring." How can anyone lug over 130 sets of armor, 300 weapons, and who knows how many consumables in their pockets without breaking their back? The "Elden Ring" manga does one better and asks how the Tarnished can carry items without pants. And like Torrent, this question turns the protagonist's rear end into a punching bag.

When Melina finds the Tarnished, she has several Flasks of Crimson Tears she wants to give him. Just one problem: Since the Tarnished is a Wretch, he doesn't have any pockets, let alone clothes, so Melina wonders how she can ensure the he won't lose these crucial items. Readers get their answer two pages later: She somehow stuck the flasks to the Tarnished's butt. No idea how Melina got them to stick so tightly, let alone got them to stick at all. Maybe Torrent was right when he said the Tarnished had "nice, firm haunches!"

The sight of flasks sticking out from the main character's butt is bizarre on its own, but he also manages to roll down a set of stairs and get launched into the air — courtesy of a Tree Sentinel — without breaking the items. Either readers have witnessed a miracle, or the Tarnished is far more dextrous than Melina and Torrent realized. At least the protagonist eventually figures out a better storage solution by stringing the flasks through his loincloth.

Varre the Blood-Soaked...Farmer?

"Elden Ring" has many beginner traps, one of whom is White Mask Varre. He is the first NPC players meet in the game, and he welcomes everyone by insulting them. You can't do anything about it, but not because the game doesn't let you attack him. If you do challenge Varre, he'll beat you down, and the game will respawn you at the last Site of Grace you visited — which is right next to him. As soon as you revive, Varre will start attacking you again, resulting in an ever-repeating cycle of death and embarrassment. Even if you don't attack Varre, later questlines reveal just how violent he is. It's almost a shame that his manga counterpart is nothing like the source material.

The illustrated version of Varre starts off normally, complete with his insulting spiel about how the Tarnished is maidenless and will probably die alone. The main character, like many who sat through Varre's speech, is insulted and attacks. This is where Varre diverges from his normal attitude. Instead of responding in kind and devastating the Tarnished, Varre instead falls to the ground in a cowardly fashion. Not very becoming for a disciple of Mohg, Lord of Blood.

Given how many players Varre has dominated, it's strange seeing him surrender without even being hit. But that's just the beginning, because in the second issue, Varre has taken up farming and is cultivating Rowa Raisins for Torrent.

Arts and Grafts

In "Elden Ring," few practices are more horrific than the art of grafting. Godrick the Grafted — one of the best bosses in "Elden Ring" — used the process to attach limbs from other people onto his own body to make him stronger, hence his name. As a result, Godrick became a misshapen monstrosity with more mismatched limbs than anyone cares to count. But Godrick is not the only product of grafting, as the Grafted Scions also exist. According to the manga, however, Godrick is interested in creating some...different items through grafting.

Near the end of Issue One, right after a Tree Sentinel punts the Tarnished into the air, the manga introduces readers to Godrick the Grafted, who is holding an audience with his loyal soldiers and Gatekeeper Gostoc. The purpose of this meeting is to show Godrick the latest grafted creations, which are all bizarre, avant-garde art sculptures. One is a bunch of arms connected together to form several heart shapes, another is an arm holding up several feet, and the third is a lobster claw with what look like fingers stitched to it. That final one is simultaneously the laziest and the funniest.

Why is Godrick so interested in having his underlings creating fleshy art sculptures? Well, the absurdity that's probably part of the joke. Always play with the audience's expectations.

How do you do, fellow Tarnished?

Speaking of Godrick, since the manga introduces him far earlier than the game does, he receives a lot more attention and lines. Then again, if the manga didn't outright tell you he was Godrick, you might be hard-pressed to recognize him.

Godrick looks like his old self, but apparently someone grafted the personality of a valley girl to his brain. He is far too interested in making grafted art pieces that are "trendy" and injects words such as "like" and "y'know" into his sentences. And all the while, his extra hands twiddle about with his hair. To solidify this new attitude, Godrick even offers his men some platitudes, like entreating them to create a grafted product they "can all be proud of," and explaining that "design's about taking away so it looks like you're adding." That's rich, coming from a man who added so many arms onto himself he had to graft his head to a troll's body just so he could add more.

To be fair, the stereotypical depiction of a valley girl in pop culture is that of a vapid, affluent person who is stinking rich but thinks they deserve more than they already have, which kind of describes Godrick with scary accuracy. But to see him talk like a valley girl from a 80s movie is, for lack of a better word, bizarre.

Goodbye, fourth wall

Tutorials are an important part of video games. If you weren't told how to drive a car in "Grand Theft Auto 5", you might never learn. However, in-game tutorials break down controls and mechanics using words that reference controller buttons and UI assets that only players can see. How weird would it be if a real life personal trainer taught someone how to use a punching bag, but instead of discussing proper form and speed, they instead discussed button prompts and QTE timing?

When the Tarnished begins his journey in the "Elden Ring" manga, he's a weakling (he's a Wretch, after all). He can barely hold his own against random patrolling guards, so when Melina meets him, she gives the normal speech about turning runes into strength. That explanation goes over the protagonist's head because of all the proper nouns, so Melina tries a different approach: video game lingo. She likens runes to experience points (because they are) and strengthening to leveling up (because it is). And wouldn't you know it, the Tarnished suddenly understands everything Melina says.

Of course, Melina isn't the only character to take a sledgehammer to the fourth wall. The Tarnished says that he wanted to go with a strength build (more on that later), and he even acknowledges that he lives in a gag manga and chastises Melina for "ripping down the fourth wall." But hey, it's his fault he wasn't smart enough to understand Melina otherwise.

That's Not How Intelligence Works

Intelligence builds are pretty overpowered in "Elden Ring," if not soulsbornes in general. With the right spells and equipment, channeling most of your points into Intelligence lets you sublimate most enemies — and some bosses — without ever getting close. That's because the Intelligence stat increases the amount of damage Sorcery spells deal. However, a few extra points in the Intelligence stat are no replacement for common sense.

In the "Elden Ring" manga, after Melina teaches the Tarnished how to leveling up works, she decides to exchange all of his runes for points in Intelligence. Why? Because, in her words, the Tarnished is a "dimwit." The Tarnished didn't want extra Intelligence because he would have preferred points in Strength, but Melina broke the rules and assigned the stats for him anyway. And the punchline? Even after leveling up his Intelligence, the Tarnished is still an idiot, given he completely forgot about a pursuing Tree Sentinel when he stopped to chat with White Mask Varre.

Either the Tarnished's Intelligence was previously far too low for the extra points to make a difference, or increasing Intelligence doesn't actually make someone more intelligent in the Lands Between. Given that Wretches have more Intelligence than half of the other starting classes in "Elden Ring," the latter is more likely. Plus, since the Tree Sentinel has defeated the main character in one hit twice, those runes probably would have been better spent on Vigor or Strength. Maybe the Tarnished isn't as clueless as Melina thinks.