Vinland Saga [Review]
- Source Material: Manga
- Studio: Wit Studio
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Historical, Drama, Seinen
- Synopsis: “For a thousand years, the Vikings have made quite a name and reputation for themselves as the strongest families with a thirst for violence. Thorfinn, the son of one of the Vikings’ greatest warriors, spends his boyhood in a battlefield enhancing his skills in his adventure to redeem his most-desired revenge after his father was murdered.”
– MAL News
The Viking were infamous for their bravery and thirst for war, we’ve all at least heard of these brave warriors but not all of us know the bloody paths that these men walked. Vinland Saga dives deep into the history of the Vikings, pulling names from Norse Mythology and stories to creates the vast amount of characters within the show. Vinland Saga thrives on the two themes: A Warrior’s Honor and Revenge. Thorfinn’s thirst for revenge propels the story forward into something much more ominous and sinister. The depictions of war, along with the lifestyle of the Viking wasn’t quite what I pictured it would be. With my limited knowledge of Viking before watching the show, I understood that they find honor in the battlefield, with belief that only those that die in battle would find their way to Valhalla (the land of the gods). While this is still true, the means of doing so isn’t rainbows and butterflies, the amount of bloodshed after each battle, each village burned to the ground…is quite a terror to behold. And war is just one piece that makes up the world of Vinland Saga, the political aspect creates a tension even amidst a seemingly peaceful moment.
Artwork & Animation:
There’s a gritty and roughness to the source material that really catches the eye. That aesthetic translates quite well into an anime format. The rustic and dangerous atmosphere is kept intact throughout the through the immaculate details from the barbaric fighting style to the more traditional Norse armament. The fighting animations is something that is to be commended, the brutality that Vikings used to decimate their foes is no laughing matter, from the distorted figure of a broken arm of the limp posture of a lifeless body, the scenes of war are captured in a true sense of the word. The color palette of the show continues to amaze me as I look through the screenshots I had taken throughout the show. The exquisite range of the colors with slight accents really gave the show’s art a kick!
Vinland Saga has one of the more complex character developments I’ve seen. While the cast is large and there are multiple faction, no one ever seems to be “left behind” as each character has his or her own “world” that they live in. Thorfinn and Askeladd take a bulk of the spotlight throughout the show but that isn’t to say that the other weren’t memorable, it’s even to recollect most of Askeladd’s battalion, even though most wouldn’t survive long enough to see the end of the season. The myriad of relationships throughout the show all have weight and feel purposeful and that, in my opinion, makes Vinland Saga a worthwhile watch as the characters have a depth to them that does beyond their basic character profile.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
Pulling a lot of ancient norse influence the soundtrack invokes the rustic and brutal atmosphere that it should but also adding that rock and post hardcore vibe through the opening themes with “MUKANJYO” by Survive Said the Prophet and “Dark Crow” by Man with a Mission. Simmering things down, the more acoustically warm ending song shat still have an edge to them like “Drown by milet. A versatile soundtrack with a lot to offer yet still sticks to that rustic sound and occasionally pumping up the energy using war drums to provide that war tension.
Vinland Saga was kinda frustrating for me at first, I really didn’t like the way that Thorfinn’s character went about his revenge for obvious reasons. But the story really grew on me when we starting to meet more characters and fight more battles. Vinland Saga shows that the Viking’s world isn’t nice and you need to crawl your way to the top, even at the cost of the others. It’s and impactful story and the ending reveals that there is much more that we have seen! I’m going to jump over to the manga and see where it takes me!
The Viking’s were brave and proud warriors, but there’s a darker side to them then what you’ve seen in the movies. Thorfinn’s journey for revenge takes him through the calamities of war, fighting and clawing his way through to survive. This show isn’t for the faint of heart.
Best Girl: Ylva
As you can imagine, there aren’t a lot of girls in the show (at least the ones that are alive…). Ylva’s presence reminds me of the beginning of Vinland Saga where things were still warm and happy within the village that Thorfinn lived in with his family (Ylva being his sister). Her tough exterior may for fun conversation and moments in those beginning episodes. I really hope Vinland Saga continues and Ylva makes a return!
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