In Vinland Saga, we get to know the world of the Vikings, which is rich in culture and puts survival in extreme circumstances to the test. Based on the manga of the same name, the Vinland Saga series will show us all the extremes of Viking life. If this sounds tempting to you, then get ready for 24 episodes and an incredible journey to the 11th century, when the Vikings ruled the world. For those wondering if you should read the manga or watch the anime, the answer is simple, both. The anime series doesn’t make any more radical deviations from the plot found in the Vinland Saga manga, so you won’t miss anything whether you choose the manga or the anime series.
Revenge, brutality and blood (Story of Vinland Saga)
Thorfinn Thorsson is the main protagonist of this incredible story. He is a complex character with grand ambitions, driven by hatred and anger over the murder of his father. After losing his father, Thorfinn becomes a warrior ready to do anything to achieve his revenge. Although this is primarily a revenge story, it also answers how to survive in the brutal eleventh-century world that says, “Fight or die.” Through this anime adaptation, we will see that we can get an idea of what everyday Viking life looked like.
Besides Planetes, Vinland Saga is mangaka Makoto Yukimura’s most well-known work. We mentioned that the anime is a faithful adaptation of the manga and that there are almost no significant differences in content.
The first few episodes of Vinland Saga introduce us to the 11th century and show us the brutal reality of the world at that time. From faithful depictions of the weather to bloody battles, of which there are plenty in this series, it is clear to us from the beginning that the author wanted to present us with an authentic world in which Thorfinn is chasing his father’s revenge. Wit Studio, known for doing the animation for the first two seasons of the Attack on Titan series, once again showed top-notch professionalism.
Vinland Saga is at the very top in terms of visuals. The production is very professional and of high quality. The landscapes and the Baltic Sea (where a large part of this series takes place) are illustrated perfectly and as realistically as possible. In some episodes, scenes contain photorealism techniques that bring this series to the level of a masterpiece.
There’s a Viking culture that we must quickly adapt to, such as rough clothing, crude ships, and historical weapons. Vehicles are replaced by horses, and technology is crafted by the hands of humanity. In essence, this anime retains a beautiful setting but with dark elements of complex storytelling. In terms of characters, Vinland Saga is one of the more exciting anime series since the characters change radically, and their transformations form a large part of the plot itself. The central protagonist is Thorfinn.
The story follows his rebellious life. We are shown a drastic change from a happy, cheerful, smiling boy to an embittered, hateful beast that kills everything in front of it. He is opportunistic, wild, and unpredictable. Thorfinn is a fundamentally good person, although judging him in a moral sense is difficult, especially if we consider some of his actions. In this sense, the anime series did an outstanding job of asking whether Thorfinn is a good person or a bad person?
This is not easy to answer, mainly as the plot develops further, and this question becomes more and more difficult. Thofrinn’s relationship with Askeladd should be seen in the same light. Although he killed his father, Thorfinn is ready to practice patiently and is preparing for the moment when he can overcome the Viking gang’s strong and fast leader with his skills. Of course, that will be a challenging task.
What is particularly interesting as the series progresses is the influence the characters have on each other, and here we primarily mean the relationship between Thorfinn and the mentioned Askelado.
If we go back a few steps, we will also remember Thorfinn’s father, Thor. He was one of the most potent Vikings, as shown at the beginning of the series. Thor is a symbol of a fearless warrior. And even though he is not present in the series as much as the other characters, Thor teaches us what it means to be a true warrior. He is honourable, strong, and full of pride and respect not only for his friends but also for his enemies. Thorkell appears opposite Thor, a real barbarian eager for battle and blood. Fearless, immoderate, rude and without respect and understanding for the people around him. However, when Thor’s son defeats him in battle, he learns to respect other warriors’ inner world and dedication.
It should also be noted that the Vinland saga is not only a story about violence and revenge. It has a society ruled by order with laws and dictators. Within the story, we meet Canute, a prince with a cowardly personality and a bishonen-like appearance. However, by the end of the series, Canute will become persistent, brave, and one of the key figures in the whole story.
Changes in the characters’ characters are also present here, and this time it goes from negative to positive. Character change is one of the fundamental things of the entire Vinland Saga series. Death is also essential since it is a mediator and incentive for changing characters. In addition, the impact of death on the series’ main characters shows another aspect of realism that Vinland Saga is committed to. The result of death, as in real life, has an emotional effect on the characters and makes them change following those feelings. As I watched more of the show, it becomes more and more intriguing to understand each one. Unfortunately, a 2-course adaptation does limit the potential of full character development. There’s much more to be found in the manga, but that’s for another story.
In conclusion, Vinland Saga contains a lot of violence and represents a brutal and cruel world with almost no mercy. But, on the other hand, in this story, we can also find elements that tell us how far a person can go if he is dedicated and devoted to what he wants. Where are the human limits, and do we constantly change for the better? These are just some of the questions that this series asks. It is up to us as viewers (readers) to think about the questions posed and try to answer them.
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