Vinland Saga

Title:Vinland Saga
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Wit Studio
Thorfinn is son to one of the Viking's greatest warriors, but when his father is killed in battle by the mercenary leader Askeladd, he swears his intent to have revenge. Thorfinn joins Askeladd's group in order to challenge him to a duel, and ends up caught in the middle of a war for the crown of England.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

24-episode anime that premiered on July 6, 2019.
Animated by Wit Studio.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3715#628]
(Five episodes watched):

I wish our introduction to Thors hadn't been by depicting him as an unstoppable, invincible, implacable killing machine. In a naval battle he never makes a mistake, never displays fear, and every blow he hurls kills an opponent (and his chainmail hauberk somehow doesn't drag him to the bottom of the sea when he falls overboard). But we had no idea at that point whether he would be a hero or a villain and I was not attracted to such a murderous person. Afterwards we get to know him a little better: he doesn't like slavery, apparently, and bristles under the repressive political system--it's odd that such a fearsome warrior doesn't hold a higher spot in the political system. The climate of Iceland is nothing to brag about, either. For various reasons, he decides to take his family and move to Vinland (North America). I felt that his motivations were vague and unfocused, and the time spent showing him in battle would have been put to better use in defining them better and getting to know him--or his son, who will be the main character--more thoroughly. Of course, slaughter is always good for ratings. So, I was not thrilled by episode one of Vinland Saga but having an interest in history there was no doubt that I would continue watching for the time being. I was surprised to read in the synopsis above that Thorfinn would somehow wind up involved in a power struggle in England, when the title of this anime implies that the story would take place in North America.

Episode two was better. Thors has had enough of making war, but is drafted to take part in a campaign in England. But it seems pretty clear that the real reason he was recruited was to assassinate him, thus creating a vendetta for Thorfinn to pursue. Who wants to bet that, while the plot is ultimately successful, Thors doesn't go easily and kills half a dozen or so of his would-be assassins? Still, I was fairly intrigued. In episode three he and his lads are lured into a trap. It was difficult to suspend disbelief enough to accept him knocking out numerous sword wielding opponents with nothing more than his fists and elbows. The plot in general didn't give me many surprises or thrills. Askeladd will bushwack a hero, slaughter the inhabitants of a town, but not bother to kill the helpless and annoying Thorfinn? The tension wasn't being ratcheted up much. Maybe if we learned some more about Askeladd rather than leaving him a two dimensional evil anti-hero things would be better. Did he have a reason to kill Thors other than just money? Perhaps the biggest problem is that I don't like Thorfinn all that much. He seems like a typical Viking boy, out to distinguish himself in battle (and later pursue revenge), but he hasn't really done anything to make me think he is an admirable person who I want to succeed all that much. You might even say that he is kind of boring. So, when you get right down to it, my impression of Vinland Saga is that the plot is unconvincing and doesn't surprise or thrill me. The Viking premise is about the only novel thing about it. Perhaps I could tolerate this for twelve episodes, but I have heard that this will be a two-season show.

Last updated Saturday, October 05 2019. Created Thursday, July 18 2019.

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