Have you ever been so close to the euphoric edge but never been permitted, or able to cross it? Vinland Saga constantly feels as if you’re about to experience such pleasure but never has the decency to take you there. The premise behind Vinland Saga is totally promising, as it is set in the tumulus viking age and comes off as an adventurous tale that could make one wish they were a muscle-bound Norseman living in 936 CE.
The stories of vikings being just these bloodthirsty savage beasts may be a bit exaggerated from how things really were. It’s doubtful that their methods and actions were much different from how everyone else conducted business back in those times. Vikings were more complicated than most people today give them credit for, and were skilled explorers and settlers in addition to being able to bludgeon their enemies to death.
We follow the challenging journey of a young Thorfinn, a stubborn little boy whose fate has a lot in store for him. Thorfinn’s father was one of the top vikings of a certain famous viking group years ago. He ended up deserting his comrades and subordinates because that life just wasn’t for him anymore. I don’t blame the guy for not being about that life anymore, after killing hundreds upon hundreds of people, I’m sure you might start to question your existence and attempt to find meaning elsewhere. So yeah, he jumped ship and started a family in a small and homey little village far away from any battles and war.
Thorfinn is your typical curious, bundle of energy, and stupidly naive child. He frolics around the village absorbing all of the fabulous tales told about the world with bright and wondrous eyes. He garners massive respect for his big and strong father even though he does not know what he’s truly capable of. The dad’s name is Thors, by the way. He’s an absolute unit of a man who would instantly win any “my dad would beat up your dad” arguments. He has a big heart, great wisdom, and morals that would put Light Yagami to shame (not very hard to do).
MAJOR SPOILERS: Thors dies on episode 4 and that’s the main catalyst for the main character to become the MC that he needs to be for us to have an entertaining adventure. This is a common theme in anime, someone close to the main character dies early on so that they can receive that oh so juicy trauma and depth added to their character almost instantly. Thors didn’t have to die, Thorfinn might’ve still become a great warrior without that. It is just one of the sharp stones strewn along the path that he walks in life.
Thorfinn’s primary motivator in life is to get revenge against the man who slew his father. The man’s name is Askeladd and he’s the most interesting character in the show. Without Askeladd, the words Vinland Saga would be escaping the lips of people much less. Towards the end of the show, you’d think that the show was called Askeladd Saga.
The extent that Thorfinn obsessed over his revenge was so freaking annoying. The first half of season one, all he could think about was departing Askeladd’s cute bearded noggin from his neck. Sure, fair enough. But I swear to God it was his entire personality for a long while there. He turned into a tsundere eventually, being given plenty of chances to take his head but giving the “hmph, I didn’t want to kill you anyway” shtick. “You’d better not die unless I kill you” is my favorite one.
What I said in the beginning of my Vinland Saga review about the show teetering on greatness but not being able to deliver is because the main character is a flop. The journey is nice and all, but you expect it to actually go places, which it doesn’t. Once Thorfinn’s goal was accomplished, he becomes an empty shell of a man because that’s the only thing that was fueling him since that fateful day that he lost his father as a child. I’m just not a huge fan of the kid.
Overall, it’s worth the watch because it is very enjoyable in the moment, it’s just a bit of a letdown. I won’t get started on season two in this review because that’s for another day, but Vinland Saga really goes downhill at that point; especially Thorfinn. Thank you guys for reading and don’t forget to comment your thoughts below ^_^
~ Overall rating: 7.98 ~