Very few anime can take a historical setting and take it seriously and stay true to its source material.
Vinland Saga is accurate compared to other Anime that tries to use history as their backdrop; Other shows will usually add lasers, large breasts, and un-necessary sci-fi elements.
Aside from being a factitious story and with factitious characters, there are accurate uses of historical figures and events. Even the portrayal of Norse life around 1000AD is pretty well done.
However, this is a Japanese anime and manga; there are bound to be lots inaccuracies. I went into Vinland Saga expecting no accuracy; it surprised me. If nothing else, it made me interested in the real events and people (e.i Canute, Leif Erikson).
While not terrible, the animation was a little stiff.
There were definitely some stunning scenes and pretty good action sequences. In parts, however, the animation seems very rigid and used this new 3D technique I see everywhere now, to fill that gap.
It did still work but hope that season 2 is a little more refined.
One area I wish more anime companies put more diversity into is their music. Don’t get me wrong, I love the OST of Vinland Saga. While being a show about Vikings, the Japanese openings and endings themes really grew on me too.
There was a time, however, when you would see animation studios spend more resources on using foreign composers or artists. For example, the anime Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo recruited artist Jean-Jacques Burnel of the Stranglers to compose not only the opening and ending themes but several original pieces; some in French! Heres hoping for Old Norse songs next season!
The story follows a fictional revenge plot using the explorer Thorfinn as inspiration and combines the dramatization of King Canute‘s rise to power. It’s the supporting characters in this story that make it interesting to watch. Both the characters of Thorfinn and Canute can be a little frustrating to watch.
But its characters like Askeladd and Thorkell that keep you pulled in.
Taking place around the Danish invasion of England, one historical accuracy I really enjoyed was the portrayal of the meeting of Christians and Pagans. In one scene, a group of Vikings is traveling with a Christian monk, many are mocking his “skinny god”, while another looks up to the monk and asks him to keep talking about what he is seeking.
Studying how many during this period converted over to Christianity is for me quite amazing. Here you have invading conquers pillaging Churches only to convert years later.
Even King Halarld Bluetooth, father to Sweyn Forkbeard, and grandfather to Canute, converted to Christianity.
I enjoyed watching Thorfinn’s journey but feel the show would have benefited from focusing on the characters that were introduced but then disappear from the narrative. I will have to read the Manga and wait to see what’s explored in season two.
I really enjoyed that the creator and production team wanted to tell a more authentic, historically inspired story than you would normally see from most studios. I enjoy seeing other cultures from a Japanese point of view, and it most cases they inspire me to want to learn more.
Recently I did a DNA test with ancestry.ca. I’ve only ever known about my Canadian Aboriginal background. Through this test, I found out that I am 35% Indigenous North American, 22% Swedish/ Danish, and 14% English. I’m even 8% Welsh!
I’ve never been able to truly identify with any culture before, so it was uplifting to get some clarification. Some of my ancestors lived in Vinland, while the others sought it out.
The history behind the real Vinland Sagas and the people who already lived there is an amazing story.
Vinland Saga was a great show that helped me have some fun with my heritage and piqued my interest in learning more.
My Rating: 8/10