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Gambino is a minor but an important antagonist who was seen years before Berserk. He was sort of an adopted 'father figure' to Guts. Although Guts considered him as his father, Gambino did not, for once, think of Guts as his son. Also, unlike his adopted son, Gambino succumbed to the personal misfortune that befell him which ultimately claimed his own life.
Years ago, Gambino and his mercenary troops came across a group of hanged people and one dying woman gave birth to a child. When his lover Shisu (who recently suffered a miscarriage and her mentality got regressed with grief) cradled the baby, Gambino knocked it to the ground and the baby boy came alive, crying. While it was considered a bad omen to his band, Gambino nevertheless decided to take the baby boy in to ease Shisu's mind. Also, Gambino did not expect the frail-looking boy to live long.
But three years after, the baby survived and became a boy named Guts. Shisu (who regained her sanity while raising Guts) was struck with a horrible plague and died from it, with Gambino blaming Guts for the misfortune. For the next three years, Guts (while still a child) carried Gambino's weapons into the middle of battle, braving arrows, cannons and falling bodies all over the place. Understandably, horrors of battlefields took huge stresses on young Guts, but Gambino was unmoved and harshly abused Guts every time the boy shows sign of falling behind. As Gambino began military training for child Guts, Guts had to use an adult-sized weapon, Gambino took advantage of Guts struggling to raise the sword by cutting his opponent in the face a few times. When subordinate mercenaries voiced Gambino's harsh and unfair methods, Gambino merely replied that they are mercs, everyone has to earn his own bread and Guts is no exception. During the sword lesson, Guts saw an opening and nicked Gambino's cheek, and the mercenary leader immediately retaliated by giving Guts a deep gash across his nose. This action drew criticism from his subordinates, and Gambino, perhaps to preserve his image and reputation, pretended to care for Guts by giving him an ointment to heal.
When Guts became nine-years-old, Gambino saved his adopted son who had just scored his first fatality on the battlefield. After simply giving Guts a single coin and taking away most of the Guts' earnings, Gambino is met by a mercenary named Donovan who made a request; The mercenary leader paid off Donovan to rape Guts. When confronted, Gambino pretended as if nothing had happened and told Guts it was too early for training.
As Gambino led his troops to battle again, Guts, thinking that Donovan lied to him, kills Donovan amidst the confusion of battle; Meanwhile, a cannonball had blown Gambino's right leg off. Treated by medics, he is crippled for life, unable to fight again. Believing his wounds are caused by bad omen regarding Guts, Gambino's abuses towards his adopted son became increasingly more savage to the point Gambino's mutt (named Shisu) is being treated better than Guts.
One night, Gambino in his drunken fury tried to kill Guts, blaming him for the death of Shisu and all the miseries that befell the abusive leader, as well as confessing to selling him to Donovan. Just as he was about to finish him, Guts ran his sword into Gambino's throat, killing him.
Gambino was seen again in Guts' flashback in later portion (post-Fantasia arc) of the manga. Guts, when he was still under Gambino's command and Gambino still had his functional limbs, was dispatched under Gambino's order as a scout. It turns out that Gambino used Guts and his squad as a bait to find out the location of enemy forces. In the ensuing ambush and skirmish only Guts managed to survive, albeit captured. After undergoing through various events including his first encounter with a fairy and a gladiatorial fight, Guts was eventually freed to make himself back to Gambino. Gambino then reminded Guts two important lessons for all mercs: 1. trust no one in the battlefield and 2. mercenaries' own lives are included as part of salaries they earn.
Powers and Abilities
Gambino was said to be a skilled swordsman and spearman. His authority made him a ruthless commander.