Post by Old Man Dream on Dec 30, 2019 21:39:55 GMT
Vinland Saga is set in 11th century Europe as it focuses on a young Icelandic boy named Thorfinn Thorsson who is allied with a band of Viking raiders to have an opportunity to kill their leader, Askeladd, in order to avenge his father's murder at Askeladd's hands. Unbeknownst to him, Askeladd exploits the boy's hatred of him to manipulate Thorfinn into following his orders under the condition of getting one-on-one duels to him. Overtime, Askeladd's raiders eventually find themselves dragged into conflict with Danish royalty during their occupation of England.
Before I comment on the story and characters of Vinland Saga, I do first want to dabble into the impressive historical accuracy that went into the making of this series. Vinland Saga is basically a historical fiction series that draws inspiration from a number of real-life historical Danish figures such as King Cnut the Great and Thorfinn Karlsefni, mixed with portraying major stories of Viking history as depicted from the real-life Vinland Sagas. There is a great deal of detail and care put into faithfully depicting the historical time period of Vinland Saga with the weapons, attire, beliefs, and resources available to the people of the era. This accuracy goes as far from the obvious details such as Danish control over England to as minor as Vikings showing prejudice towards those following the Christian faith due to believing it makes them weak-willed and the sailor Leif having found the Americas. These details help enhance the great amount of effort that was put into Vinland Saga's story to make its story fit in with the time period and people that are being depicted.
As far as the story and characters go, Vinland Saga does a great job at keeping focus on a narrative direction and gradually shifting focus elsewhere as it progresses. The first half of the series explores Thorfinn's life living with his family in Iceland before Askeladd's arrival to kill off Thorfinn's father, Thors, and driving the boy to join Askeladd's raiders for the opportunity to avenge his father's death. The series clearly show's Thorfinn becoming hardened by this experience as he becomes single-mindedly devoted to avenging his father's death and overlooking the consequences that this impulsiveness has on his future and reconnecting with his surviving family members and village.
Gradually, focus shifts to Askeladd's raiders coming at odds with the Danish royalty when Askeladd becomes devoted to trying to have the king's son, Canute, succeed as the new king of the Danes. This point in the series aids to flesh out Askeladd's character as being more than the easygoing, ruthless, and manipulative man he comes off as from earlier episodes in Vinland Saga. In addition, it also focuses on developments with Canute's character, who undergoes a good amount of character development in the show's second half when he aligns himself with Askeladd's raiders.
But perhaps the most intriguing element of Vinland Saga is offering an antithesis to the Viking way of life. Raiding, conquests, and revenge are seen as major elements of the Viking lifestyle as they seen these elements as necessary to obtain glory, expand territory, and save face with their society if family or group members are killed. In Vinland Saga though, these aspects are seen for how cruel and merciless they can be as the series isn't afraid to show how violent and pointless that the Viking way is for both those involved and the victims suffering from their conquests. This is especially seen through some major characters in the series like Thors, Thorfinn, and Askeladd who find themselves either sucked into the Viking way or becoming repulsed at how the lifestyle affects them.
Visually, Vinland Saga is easily one of the best-looking anime titles I got a chance to see this year. With well-detailed scenic shots and character designs, the series does very well at depicting the choice of clothing and settings of early Middle Age Europe and even sports great cinematography and fluid animation that is shown off during battle sequences with armies and even one-on-one battles between characters.
Being quite meticulous in faithfully depicting the times of the Viking era while mixing in story and character developments that explore the pitfalls of the culture's lifestyle and offering one of the best visual presentations for the year, Vinland Saga easily stands as one of the best anime I had the pleasure of seeing this year and is one I would strongly recommend checking out if you have yet to do so.
Someday I’ll be gone To somewhere that we belong And God has never played his role 'Cause I’m the one who saves my soul It’s a perfect world we’re longing for
I wished I delve into the history. I had some confusion about the various ethnicities and nationalities of the characters. Yeah, it was definitely really historically accurate for an anime. Better than what I had said in the best manga of the year about Vinland Saga being a cruel representation of war and slavery on humankind. From the review, the "antithesis to viking life" is more fit description than what I made.