Posted by Lenlo on 6 August 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Vinland Saga

Welcome to a surprising week of Vinland Saga! This was completely unexpected, but it looks like we have a week of anime original content to look over. We get a look into Askeladd, Thorfinn’s first few weeks with them and the life of a viking. Lets jump in!

Starting off, like I said, yes this week and seemingly next week is all anime original content. This was a big, but not unwelcome, surprise to me. If anything, this was the best place for Wit to put it. With how they reordered the manga chapters, this is the perfect place to add original content to fill out series a bit, ensuring they don’t have to stretch other content farther than it needs to be. Most of all though, these two episodes will stand as the first true test of Wit’s understanding of the source material. Normally, anime original content is not… the best. As nothing is allowed to change, so as to not change the main story. In this case though, Wit doesn’t have that issue. As their content is just expanding upon a period of time left a mystery in the original story. So, how does Wit do?

Starting off, as I said, this week is entirely anime original. It builds off of existing concepts and relationships in the original work, expanding on them. The big focus for that this week is of course Thorfinn’s relationship with the crew and Askeladd. How he got started, they they kept him around and such. It also established a lot of plot points that were never really expanded on in the original series. For instance why Thorfinn uses daggers, his size, or why he works for/stays with the crew at all. For me, I really liked this. This expansion, this time with young Thorfinn, is going to be good for his character. The most important part for me being the explanation of the duels. Giving him a reason to stick with Askeladd, how he wants to beat him in honorable combat and the like. However, I have seen some complaints.

I have seen a number of people complain “Why didn’t Askeladd just kill him?”. Or “Askeladd is an idiot for not just killing Thorfinn” and such. That they can’t reconcile it with how brutal they were to the villagers. Well, there are a lot of small details here. First up, that was an English village, and Thorfinn is the son of a Viking. So there is a difference in respect/nationality there. Next, none of them expected him to actually survive that long. Alone on a boat, in a forest. That he did was impressive. Finally, Askeladd deeply respected Thors, so much so that he asked him to be their leader. That wasn’t a joke, the joke was Askeladd saving face. So of course he wouldn’t kill the kid of a man he respected so much. So while killing Thorfinn is an option, they have no reason to.

Next up, lets chat about Ylva, because she got the most new content here. Originally, we wouldn’t be seeing Ylva again for a loooooooong time. So this was a pleasant surprise. I think Wit did good here, with showing how strong of a woman she is and becomes in the series. She knows what needs to be done. That life goes on and that their mother still needs to be taken care of. So to avoid grieving, she throws herself head first into work. Doing anything and everything, to an unhealthy degree, to avoid thinking about it all. I really enjoyed what Wit gave us here. Even though she doesn’t appear for a long time normally, Wit let us see more. They understood her character and who she becomes. So thanks Wit, for giving us more of Vinland’s best girl.

This isn’t to say I think Vinland was perfect this week. There are some characterization aspects I think they went a bit to far on, in both directions. For instance, I like Bjorn, fun character. But he seemed a bit to… kind and understand, if that fits what little he did. Showing Thorfinn where edible mushrooms were, chatting with him and such. For a man who threatened his life just a few days ago, it was unexpected. In the opposite direction, I think Askeladd was a slight to brutal with Thorfinn. Not in his general treatment or anything, Askeladd is a very clever man. He will use people as best he can. It was more the kicking on the ground and such. He never seemed the kind of man to inflict pointless suffering, for as little as he cared about it in others. Still, these are ultimately incredibly minor issues.

The last thing I wanted to talk about, since I missed poking at production earlier, are these backgrounds. Holy hell, are these beautiful. Every landscape is a painting, its something I can almost only compare to A Lull in the Sea or something similar. I could stare at them for hours, looking for all the small details. Sure, such high detailed backgrounds occasionally leave the character sticking out against it. But that doesn’t happen terribly often, as the best backgrounds are usually reserved for still shots or wides. Ones where character details can be hidden, letting us focus on the environment. To put it simply, I am very happy with Wit’s production on Vinland Saga so far. It’s about as good as I could hope for. Especially when I remember my other favorite manga, Berserk’s, adaptation a few years ago.

So all in all, how was Vinland Saga this week? For anime original, hell just as content in general, pretty good. Wit showed an understanding of the source material I wasn’t expecting. Finding the perfect spot to expand on the story, while managing to fit it in naturally. I have heard a number of anime original viewers being unable to guess that this was original. That it felt like it fit in naturally, and it does. The only reason I know is because I have read the manga. It makes me excited for next week, which is also anime original. As it will allow me to basically experience Vinland as if it was new. With content i’ve never seen. It wouldn’t be a surprise if we learn the original author, Makoto Yukimura, had a hand in it. So yes, I did and still do love Vinland, and want more.

6 Responses

  1. Avatar Bulletmagnet says:

    That moment when Ylva runs out of things to do… :,(

  2. Avatar niello says:

    The Ylfa part is actually adapted from an extra chapter in the manga, so that’s not original. Though they did cut out some panels, such as Helga doing the dishes and Ylfa saying she doesn’t want to see hee do the work, as she rushed out to harpoon the whale. On the other hand, they added the part we see Leif swearing to find Thorfin.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Damn, I must have missed the extra chapter. Because the last one I remember is Dogland Saga, which was just a one page thing if I remember right. Good to know though. Ill have to refresh.

  3. Avatar Amagi says:

    Honestly happy about the new content, it shows that the directors care a lot about this series and reading a book you will almost always realise that something could be added to make the story flow better as an animated series or just better in general, so I am looking forward to the next episode (which also seems to be partly original) as well as the rest of the series.
    My only concern would be them not being able to adapt the whole first arc with 24 episodes, but I trust them enough to believe they have planned this throughout and know what they are doing. Granted, a lot of the later content is fighting, which takes up way less space in a moving series than a manga, so the manga length might be misleading.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      In regards to the fighting, exactly. I have faith that they will be able to complete the whole first arc, and end on a final shot of Farmland Arc before we close out.

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