Published: Jul 15, 2005 to ?
Authors: Yukimura, Makoto (Story & Art)
Score: 8.741 (scored by 5755 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
Popular Tagsadventure historical seinen
Jan 24, 2009
Vinland Saga almost has nothing in common with Makoto Yukimura's previous much praised work, Planetes, except for his passion for technical realism. He grounds his work with research, yet at the same time leaving it open for creative exploration. It’s not dry and lifeless, and at the same time it’s not completely in the realm of fantasy. Vinland saga walks the thin line well. Razor blood soaked thin.
This manga is brutal. More brutal than Berserk, Vagabond or anything of that ilk. Not to slight those manga, but one is a fantasy and the other is an adaptation of a romanticising novel. This manga is brutal because Vinland Saga's atrocities are reality-based and certainly not romanticised, whereas other manga usually are more fantastical or divided clearly between good and bad, right and wrong, black and white, or simply 'here is the protagonist, just root for him'. Not so in Yukimura's love letter to old fashioned beheadings, as Vinland is about Vikings.
Vikings pillage villages, they rape and plunder. There is no mercy and no survivors if they can help it. There is no such thing as a Viking displaying the positive nouns mentioned in the first sentence of the review. If Vikings arrive in your village, you will be killed or if you’re extremely lucky sold onto slavery, no matter if you’re young, old, man, woman or child. Based in reality and unflinching, our youthful protagonist, Thorfinn, is a passive-observer to atrocity and active-partaker to violence when it’s in his best interest, to further his goal. Revenge for his father.
Yukimura gets Thorfinn's flashback out of the way early in the story, and it’s a good decision as the boy is so fresh-faced, so loveable and innocent; his love for his father so pure, that to suddenly cut from the flashback back to the present and all the while leaving an essential gap in-between; the question that’s on the reader's mind for most of the manga is: how the hell did that young boy end up like this?
The flashback provides us with the motivation, the reasoning, but doesn’t reveal the details, the important montage of scenes showing a boy growing up and losing his humanity in the process; we don’t see it seep out of him gradually, which would be fascinating and make for great drama. As of this review, we have yet to see this transition from normal child to adult killer, but I have no doubt Yukimura will provide us with more glimpses of what that boy went through to get to where he is when the story begins.
Thorfinn is a jaded efficient killer. Silent and moody, he rarely speaks and when he does he is blunt and to the point. He watches the world burn and die around him without blinking because he is already burnt and dead inside. He can walk past a woman getting beaten and raped without a care in the world; this is the protagonist we're meant to root for. Yukimura doesn’t go all out and have Thorfinn inflict misery on innocents, which would make the manga even more interesting, but would also alienate a large percentage of readers too. As it is, as mentioned earlier, Yukimura walks that thin line with skill.
What Vinland Saga is more about than anything else is revenge. It is one of the best ideas to base a story around. Not the 'man on a mission' revenge, but the exploration of the concept, the idea of it all. Yukimura occasionally takes a break from the main story to focus on the concept via random characters, most humorously with a Christian priest who attempts to teach some Vikings about the concept of 'love' which they just don’t get. This side-plot not only explores revenge and forgiveness, but dovetails into Thorfinn's own predicament neatly, forcing him to reflect on what he's doing with his life.
The main story follows Thorfinn’s target who he sticks to like glue, always ready to challenge him to a duel to the death, his only requirement for completing his revenge. The brunt of all this rage and inexplicable adherence to honour, is an ambitious man seemingly lacking any of it himself, Askeladd seeks to rise in power through convoluted means and avoids becoming a cliché or a bore. His design is almost amiable at times, with a laid back expression on his cunning face belying his actual ruthful nature to achieve his goals. In short, he is not a one-note villain; he is many faceted like a few characters in the manga. Yukimura flips in and out of actual history through this man’s arc, giving the reader cliffs notes on the politics of the time.
The art, to be blunt like an axe disintegrating your face, is fantastic. There is a leap in quality from the first volume to the second, and it is maintained consistently throughout thanks to Yukimura and his budding assistants. There are plenty of memorable action sequences that are staged perfectly; lots of scope and perspective, and the composition is visceral. The violence is in your face and disgusting. Knife and sword thrusts are at times awkwardly landing into skin; fingers are thrust knuckle-deep into eye sockets. It all makes you squirm but you love it because you're reading it in the safety of your own 21st century home.
So the violence is remarkably gross and blunt, sometimes gratuitous to please the crowd, but mostly it’s just disgusting. The gore-hounds reading this will love it for that, but everyone else will feel repulsed, but in a good way because this is a story set amid war and conflict in the 11th century. What do you expect, bloodless elbows into the ribs?
The story travels around Europe, from Denmark to the UK to Wales to Iceland, we watch the invasion of England affect different players to the drama and pull them in towards each other through interesting means. There are sieges, manhunts, duels, chases, explosive action, edge of your seat tension, backstabs and unexpected partnerships, Vinland Saga has it all and is addictive reading while educating you along the way with its detailed depictions of an old way of life, from clothes, weaponry to customs and traditions.
Yukimura yet again uses the manga form to bring readers something a little different, a little more reflective of life outside of the pages. Vinland Saga is a dirty mirror of a past raged by a war not remarkable for its reasons or details, but for the ancient race that battled passionately in it. Vikings. Seriously, don’t mess with them. read more
Yesterday, 1:46 PM
Mix the tragedy of a Shakespearean play and badass Vikings and you have Vinland Saga. There are very few mangas that can transcend the medium of manga as a whole; Vinland Saga is one of the few elite mangas that do that with ease. Makoto Yukimura is able to tell a captivating emotional tale about revenge and power, grounded in extreme realism, something that most mangaka simply cannot do.
Vinland Saga starts with an epic prolong that takes up about the first 54 chapters of the manga. I don’t mean epic as in cool fights and badass Vikings (although we do get a lot of that), I mean epic as in its scope and the vastness and the depth of the geopolitics of the medieval 11th Century Western Europe. The prolong fellows Thorfinn on his quest for revenge against the cunning brutal mercenary leader Askeladd. We get a flashback early on explaining why Thorfinn wants his revenge (I will not reveal why since it is a major spoiler). What makes this more interesting than your average revenge narrative is Thorfinn actually works under Askeladd’s mercenary group, and Askeladd knows Thorfinn wants to slay him in a fair duel so Askeladd often uses this fact to manipulate Thorfinn into doing his will. As the prolong reaches its peak the dynamic of their relationship begins to become more and more complex.
Yukimura uses a literary technique known as in medias res and throws the reader into the middle of a war between England and Denmark, which serves as the main backdrop for most of the prolong. Yukimura doesn’t show war as some shounen ideal war where the good guys are always safe, always come out on top and win, and the bad guys are defeated with the power of friendship. There are no good or bad guys, it’s just war. Morality isn't black and white in Vinland Saga; it is more like fifty shades of grey (no pun intended). The war takes realistically barbaric violence to a new high in this one, eyes are coming out of their sockets, guts are splashing on the ground, and arms are being chopped into pieces. Although as the manga proceeds the war and action start to slow down, almost to the point of nonexistent, and the focus becomes more about political intrigue, philosophy, and character psychology.
Which brings me to my next point, Vinland Saga takes realism to a whole other level. Very few mangas can depict human psychology in a more realistic way. The best example to illustrate this would be Canute, the shy soft spoken prince of Denmark. Canute is presented as a character that hates war and violence; he is very timid and often has his caretaker Ragnar speak for him, and he is very feminine. After the death of a close one (Not saying who to avoid spoilers) his character completely changes, he is now cunning and ruthless and has a darker view on the world and slowly becomes obsessed with power. Deaths are often used in this manga to provoke a shift in psychology for the characters or to make a philosophical statement.
The setting of Vinland Saga is by far one of the best I've seen. It’s historical, in its setting taking place in 11th Century England, but there is a lot of room for creativity. It is very clear Yukimura had researched Viking and English history before writing Vinland Saga. The manga is also always analyzing how violence, nationality, and religion are affecting society and the characters involved in the manga.
Yukimura also uses realism in his beautiful artwork. The attention to detail is taken to a hyperbolic level in Vinland Saga. The artwork for something as simple as a room has an insane amount of detail from the rug on the floor, to the food characters are eating, or the books on a bookshelf. Yukimura also gives a lot of detail to human faces; the art is very line oriented which helps bring out the characteristics in someone’s face. The panoramic scenes of huge battles, large villages, and open plains are simply breathtaking. All that being said the artwork is visually stunning; some of the best artwork manga has to offer.
The enjoyment factor is unbelievably high. The story has all of the gore and violence we Americans have come to love and the story never feels slow, old, repetitive, or unoriginal. Reading this manga is truly a rewarding experience and no one should pass up the opportunity. From its themes on religion, the nature of guilt, redemption, and self-discovery, it is almost impossible not to be able to relate to it. It is no doubt that Vinland Saga will be a masterpiece to stand the test of time. What I’m basically saying is go read it now damn it!
Jan 7, 2009
The story is set during the golden age of the Vikings (11th century) particularly during the invasion of England. The main story is about Thorfinn's quest to avenge his father's death by defeating Askeladd (his father's murderer) in an honorable duel and he plans to accomplish this by working for him and doing whatever Askelad asks and in return he is granted a chance to kill him in an honorable duel. The story however is not just focused on Thorfinn, in fact more focus is given to the other members of the cast particularly Askeladd who might actually be the real main character of the story and other historical figures such as Thorkell and Canute and their participation during the conflict of the era.
I personally loved the way each character both historical and fictional mix together during the viking age, i mean come on there is already an abundance of samurai and knights in the manga market but this might possibly be the only manga where the main characters are bloodthirsty Vikings who enjoy killing their enemies, enjoying their women and selling their defeated foes into slavery. (Absolutely Fresh!)
The artwork is extremely well-made, the attention to detail is nothing short of incredible. Each character, not only the main characters are very detailed and you can easily tell each one apart from one another and the weapons, environments, clothes, items all really look very accurate well at least based on what I've seen on the discover channel. There are plenty of battles that really show the grotesque nature of the medieval ages and the horrors of war have never been depicted this way before in any manga I know of. Often times the fight scenes are a bit exaggerated similar to the manga adaptation of Battle Royale.
The characters simply blew me away, I have never read a manga with such deep character development. Each character has a very unique and human feel to them. The characters here are unpredictable and each major character has a very detailed background that help progress the story and keep things fresh. I especially loved the way the characters here rely on their strategy as much as they rely on their brute strength.
Overall: Vinland Saga is an intelligent epic manga filled to the brim with intense action and a large cast of complex characters that make this one of the best mangas this reviewer has ever read. The excessive violence and antagonistic nature of the characters may be too much for some readers though. read more
Mar 19, 2013
The manga: A good friend was who recommended this gem, I would say that one of the first impressions I had of this manga in one word was "realism", but many sleeves can do that, what makes this so special? . Maybe it's because as a reader you can feel how hard life has been the only character with detail about the hands, or simply take a look at their faces. Not a detail "extreme" as the buildings in Gantz or sweat on I am Hero, but it's a naturally significant detail that give you the desire to feel the same as them and repeatedly until it succeeds. (Note: This may vary according to the consumer, the company is not liable for effects-not caused-to the reader, it is generally because of the lack of imagination of it)
The themes of this manga are arguably political largely because this set in the era of the Vikings and their turf wars, only here the policy is governed, as in all historical manga with arduous battles and liters of blood shed in the fields, in short, the most entertaining of all politics: D
Performer: Our main character is a young boy named Thorfinn, which is very attractive from the beginning because it is the typical foolish and savage that everyone loves. The guy is semi-orphan and goes and becomes a boat crewman Vikings for their own reasons at an early age long this personality is stubborn and arrogant but as events pass the resulting personality ... remains exactly the same (expect a gradual change not? hehe as nai) for that? October 9 volumes published, he does what he pleases and attacks whom he pleases, all an impulsive character, until we reached a point in history where you see a clear jump in growth as a person of Thorfinn , which is both immediate and progressive, something I found very internaste.
What does this mean? Well, it's hard to say anything about this manga without spolier ... the guy is a total lap dog with a limited objective such as common sense, but in a rather unexpected way his "plan" changes completely, forcing him to make sense of his life which so far has not found but it is that this killing by get some, what matters is that, thanks to that it awakens a true "human."
Conclusion: And I think I went a lot with the character, haha. The point is that it is an excellent title that I recommend to all lovers of manga in general, if you like you'll like seinen (whole story well thought), if you like shounen'll like (no order fights and a good dose of comedy), if you like bishounen you'll like (Thorfinn is pretty cute), if you like gore, you'll like it (blood spurts in each espadazo).
- The design / realism, and gave my explanation above.
- Originality, for the world of Vikings wars manga are scarce.
- There is a villain or a goal, the story can end at any time, and may also extend what he pleases.
- Currently published in the Afternoon ( . _ .)
El manga: Un buen amigo fue quien me recomendó esta joya, podría decir que una de las primeras impresiones que tuve de este manga en una sola palabra fue "realismo", pero muchos mangas pueden hacer eso, ¿Qué hace a este tan especial?. Tal vez sea por que uno como lector puede sentir lo dura que ha sido la vida de los personajes tan solo con detallarle las manos, o con simplemente darle un vistazo a sus rostros. No es un detalle "extremo" como los edificios en Gantz o el sudor en I am Hero, pero es un detalle naturalmente apreciable que te dan el deseo de sentir lo mismo que ellos y en varias ocasiones hasta lo logra. (Nota: esto puede variar de acuerdo al consumidor, la empresa no se hace responsable por efectos -no causados- hacia el lector, en general es a causa de la falta de imaginación del mismo)
Los temas de este manga podría decirse que son en gran parte políticos, ya que esta ambientado en la época de los vikingos y sus luchas territoriales, solo que aquí la política se rige, como en todo manga histórico, con arduas batallas y litros de sangre derramada en los campos, en pocas palabras, la política mas entretenida de todas :D
El protagonista: Nuestro prota es un joven muchacho llamado Thorfinn, el cual es muy atrayente desde el principio ya que es el típico necio y salvaje que todos adoran. El chico es semi-huerfano y va y se vuelve tripulante de un barco de vikingos por sus propias razones a temprana edad, durante mucho tiempo se ve esta personalidad terca y arrogante pero conforme transcurren los consecuentes sucesos su personalidad...se mantiene exactamente igual (esperaban un cambio gradual no? jeje pues nai) durante que? 9 de 10 tomos publicados, él hace lo que le viene en gana y ataca a quien le de la gana, todo un impulsivo personaje, hasta que llegamos a cierto punto en la historia donde se ve un salto claro en el crecimiento como persona de Thorfinn, que es tanto inmediato como progresivo, algo que encontré muy internaste.
¿Qué quiere decir esto? Bueno, es algo complicado decir cualquier cosa sobre este manga sin hacer spolier...el chico es un total perro faldero, con un objetivo tal limitado como su sentido común, pero de una manera bastante inesperada su "plan" cambia por completo, obligandolo a buscarle sentido a su vida cosa que hasta la fecha no ha encontrado pero tampoco es que se este matando por conseguirle alguno, lo importante es que, gracias a eso en él despierta un verdadero "humano".
Conclusión: Y creo que me fui mucho con el personaje, jaja. El punto es que es un excelente título que yo recomiendo a todos los amantes del manga en general, si te gusta el seinen te va a gustar (Toda una historia bien ideada), si te gusta el shounen te va a gustar(Sin fin de peleas y buenas dosis de comedia), si te gusta los bishounen te va a gustar (Thorfinn es bastante lindo), si te gusta el gore, te va a gustar (chorros de sangre en cada espadazo).
- Su diseño/realismo, ya di mi explicación arriba.
- Originalidad, para el mundo del manga las guerras de vikingos son escasas.
- No hay un villano ni un objetivo, la historia puede terminar en cualquier momento, así como también puede extenderse lo que le venga en gana.
- Actualmente se publica en la Afternoon ( . _ .) read more
Feb 4, 2012
Art - Outstanding. On par with Berserk I would say, although cleaner and slightly less detailed.
Character - Thorfinn is strange, I think the word "edgy" might be appropriate. He seems almost too hostile to be human, and I don't really understand how he could change from a seemingly normal person into an asshole over a single event. It could be argued that he was an asshole to begin with. He did not even ask about his mother, after over a decade of being away from her. Then he turns into a mindbroken slave - well, actually just a really macho silent guy. Was he always like this? It just seems kind of weird. Maybe he's just not used to being treated nicely...(well actually there were plenty of times where he was treated nicely, so that's not really an answer). He gets more talkative and friendly later on in the farm arc though, so perhaps he finished puberty then. His comment on the heavy plow seemed quite random and out of place though. All this happens without much explanation so I'm left wondering how did it all happen, and whether if it was even plausible. Askeladd was a complex character, and appears to reveal a different side of him to everyone he meets. His ways of testing people are fairly simple, although I do wonder if they are reliable. He also claims to be able to see through people with one look, which I again doubt is possible. Thorkell is your token Blood Knight, although better written than most Blood Knights I've encountered so far, he still acts far too immature considering all the life experiences he's had. Does he really want to know what it means to be a "true warrior"? Just start a family already! Canute turning from a useless pussy into a heartless bastard in a flash was quite unexpected, although I suppose mental instability can swing both ways.
Enjoyment - The characters felt quite real and genuine to me, which was a rare experience. The dialogue wasn't just chitchat, it revealed key information about the background or characters. The action was done just right, not so much that it was just pointless killing but also not so little that it amounted to nothing but "farmland saga". I felt a genuine sense of wonder at the world created by Vinland Saga.
Overall - Absolutely amazing series, if you're looking for well-developed characters you can relate to, great action, and a fair degree of historical accuracy then this is for you. read more