When I saw a trailer for Vinland Saga, an anime series with Vikings, I was all in.
I mean everything Norse has been the rage and so why not check out an anime, I mean are mechs gonna blast out of the ships? Is Odin going to come down and blast everyone away with energy rays? What would a Viking anime series be?
Well it turns out, just a damn good anime series with a historical setting.
The show kicks off in the Battle of Hjörungavágr where our first protagonist Thors is fighting. The bad ass takes some hits and falls in the water. After killing a man under water he swims away, apparently deciding killing isn’t his jam anymore.
We then visit him living a more peaceful farming and family life in a village in Greenland. The English launch an attack on Norsemen in England, and so the Vikings decide it is time to go to war. An old leader comes to Thors and basically says if he joins the fight then his desertion will be forgiven. The other option really is the village is going to be burned down so the softened Thors agrees to go to battle.
They are making their way along when it is discovered that Thors young son Thorfinn is hiding within a battle. This young kid doesn’t believe in his dad’s words of peace and wants to get all knifey.
The opportunity arises sooner than he expected as the ships are ambushed in a ravine. The pirates here were hired to kill Thors, and after Thors shows he still has all of the tricks of the trade, he lets himself be killed so that the bounty will be collected and the village will be saved.
These are like the first 4 episodes of this 24 episode series!
When watching I figured that Thors was going to be our badass hero of the series, but it quickly turns and it becomes a show about an angry young Thorfinn. I won’t spoil more of the plot but man it travels far fast. We see bits of development in the characters but for the most part, the journey is the story and it is a journey worth watching.
The animation is really good, and this is especially important in the battles where a lot of blood is spilled.
It feels like watching any historical series with swords and shields and blood a plenty. Weirdly some characters can jump massive distances which is the only thing that comes in when needed for a cool scene, but isn’t used as much as you would expect given they can basically jump tower walls. The voice acting is also solid which helps carry on the line.
I figured Vinland Saga would be good, but I didn’t expect it to be anywhere near this good.
The fast paced story could have easily been stretched to three series, but the show runners decided to make pace a priority and the show really benefits from it. If you are at all in the Norse loving phase that most other mediums are going though, then this anime series is a must watch.