Vinland Saga Episode 1 + 2 [First Impression]
NOTE: Three episodes have been released by Amazon Prime as a special. I’m covering the first two as my first impression, since it gives us a good feeling for what the show will be! The rest will be posted next week and the following week is when the new episode airs.
“There is no one who it’s okay to hurt.”
The first two episodes of Vinland Saga offer a refreshing look into a subject anime doesn’t normally cover at all: vikings. The genre tag is ‘historical’ but don’t let that fool you, this series is action packed and isn’t really shoving dates into your head. I have been excited about this anime adaptation for so long and I can say after this premiere that so far I’m pleased. There is the occasional budget 3D animation use, but I think Vinland Saga uses a very sophisticated brand of 3d animation that tends to blend in with the settings. Okay, sophisticated is way too nice of a word- it’s not bad. And when the animation is 2d it tends to stand very well on its own.
These episodes focus in on Thorfinn, the protagonist, and his family life. His father, Thors, is ostensibly a pacifist farmer. In truth he has a sordid history in the military and abandoned his post to go be with his wife and children. We learn a lot about how Thors views fighting in these two episodes and the quote “There is no one who it’s okay to hurt” comes straight from his mouth as he lectures Thorfinn. I will often complain about the way stories ingratiate their characters to me, and while shows like Dr. Stone work by engaging us with comedy and heartfelt sincerity interwoven into a quickly paced narrative, Vinland Saga shows us the type of life led by those in the story and the sheer significance of the central figure, Thors, in the world of the protagonist, Thorfinn. We can tell very quickly where the story will probably lead Thors, but we get to spend enough time with him that we lament this inevitability. On top of it these episodes do not even cover his tragic end: we don’t see that until the episode after. Instead, this introduces the heart of Thorfinn’s real struggle: a struggle against betrayal and a desire for revenge.
I’ve always been a fan of revenge stories and Vinland Saga has sold me on loving the protagonist who will meet a tragic end and I’m endeared to his son who will no doubt be on the trail of revenge for him. What Thors teaches not genuinely Thorfinn, but the viewer, is the importance of life. He teaches in the first episode that even a moment of freedom is worth nearly any price when he buys a dying slave from his owner for the cost of 8 ewes. It’s hard not to be endeared to the ex-soldier and find his story remarkable but tragic.
OKI’S FIRST IMPRESSION:
Story: Vinland Saga is very character driven even though it focuses on a very real time in history. I think historical fiction stories that let the viewer forget about the specifics but be drawn into the rich history of a time period are the most succesful, and I have no doubt Vinland Saga will be able to keep viewers if it retains the pace of the first two episodes. I have yet to see where the actual story beyond characters will go and so I’ll need more time to process this. So far, a solid 7 out of 10.
Characters: It’s hard to think of shows that do a better arc for tragically fated characters. I can think of one, Claymore, one of my all time favorite manga and animes of all time. My investment is already very high and I’m interested to see where the characters will go after tragedy befalls them. 9/10
Art: 100000/10, it’s my kind of art and the animation stays pretty consistent, even when using 3-d to save on budgets.
Chance of Blogging: High
Likelihood of Watching: Guaranteed