Guts, a man who calls himself "The Black Swordsman", looks back upon his days serving as a member of a group of mercenaries. Led by an ambitious, ruthless, and intelligent man named Griffith, together they battle their way into the royal court, and are forced into a fate that changes their lives.
A blacksmith is forging an enormous sword while a dark man with only one eye and one arm stands back and watches.
There is a great battle taking place at a fort. The attackers are doing well, except one thing stands in their way - a grey knight and he states that none shall pass him.
Guts and Griffith begin their sword fight.
Guts reminisces about his childhood.
Guts is now a commander of Griffith's army, taking many risks in battle, Casca takes him to task for it. Griffith is knighted in the Midland court much to the nobles' dismay.
In another raid, Guts and Griffith come across a demon known as Nosferatu Zodd.
Princess Charlotte of Midland strikes up a friendship with Griffith.
Griffith and Guts continue their success in battle and Griffith is made a Count.
Griffith saves Charlotte when her horse bolts during a fox hunt. Yurius, the king's younger brother, attempts to have him assassinated.
Guts, sent by Griffith, assassinates Yurius and his son Adonis. Griffith gets closer to Charlotte. The Hawks depart for yet another mission.
On a stormy battlefield, Caska, Griffith's second in command, is wounded while fighting the leader of an enemy army. Guts runs to her rescue but when she passes out at the edge of a cliff, he cannot catch her in time and they both fall into the river below.
Caska is still unconcious, so Guts shelters them in a cave while the rain pours down. She comes to and tells Guts about her past and about Griffith's.
Guts and Caska try to fight their way back to the Hawks while the enemy army they were fighting from before try to stop them.
Caska finds Judeau's division of Hawks and leads them back to where Guts was fighting alone. Although injured, he defeated all the enemy soldiers by himself. They return to the Hawks' camp and Caska tends to Guts' wounds.
The King of Midland and his various generals confer about Doldrey Castle, long since captured by the Chudan Empire. Griffith plans an attack and the King agrees despite the protests of his other officers. Only one other general supports Griffith's actions. The Hawks attack Doldrey.
With the help of Nosferatu Zodd, Guts defeats the defender of Doldrey Castle.
With the victory at Doldrey, Griffith is promoted to White Phoenix General, an aristocratic title. The Queen of Midland and other court conspirators try to poison Griffith.
Griffith has his revenge by having the Queen's castle burned down.
Griffith will not let Guts simply leave. He says that Guts belongs to him.
Guts arrives at the home of Godo the swordsmith and stays there for a while while Godo crafts a new sword for him. Guts practices more on his sword techniques with the help of Godo's little daughter Erika.
Guts returns in time to save the remaining Hawks from annihilation.
With Guts help, Caska and the Hawks hope to rescue Griffith.
Breaking away from the King's pursuing armies, the few Hawks left contemplate their future. Guts comforts Caska, who is despondent over Griffith's condition. Griffith begins to dream.
Seduced by the promises of demons and his dreams from his childhood, Griffith agrees to fulfill his destiny and become one of the God Hand demons.
Griffith's men are sacrificed to the demon's appetites. Guts fights on, at first to save Griffith, then to save himself from the result of Griffith's ambition.