Long ago, in a little Viking Village called Flake, young Wickie lives a happy life. His father, Halvar, is the chief of the Vikings, and would have liked a son a little more courageous. So, he and his team take Wicke along on their journeys to give him the experience he'll need to be a real Viking. Yet, somehow Halvar and his men end up trapped or hopelessly stuck somewhere in most cases, and it`s up to Wickie alone to help them out with his flashes of wit.
Chiisana Viking Vickie is a children's series from the 70s. It follows the adventures of a group of vikings, each of which with their own quirks. The main character Vickie is the son of the viking chief, Halvar, and is considered a weakling and a coward by most people in the village. However, he's very clever and usually ends up saving the others with his quick thinking.
There's no red thread from the beginning to the end. In about half of the episodes, the vikings are on their way to pillage some far-away land and take away everything worthwhile. Or, rather, this is their intention.
Since this is a kids' series, it can't really show the protagonists being evil, violent thieves. As such, the vikings' raids usually get resolved in one of two ways: 1) when they arrive, someone else is already there causing trouble, so the vikings defeat this bigger villain and get a bunch of rewards from the grateful locals, removing the need to steal anything, or 2) the local king or chief is such a massive jerk that by the time the episode ends, the vikings are perfectly justified in taking something for all their trouble.
The other half of the episodes take place in the vikings' home village, Flake, and shows them dealing with domestic life, such as working in their vegetable fields or going to the market. It's a running gag that trouble often brews between the vikings and their nagging wives, with the wives usually winning whatever argument there is.
There's no particular character development for anyone in the series, but all the main characters have clearly defined personalities that stay consistent through the series. Even though the characters aren't very deep, you grow to care about them if you watch enough episodes because they're all funny and endearing in their own ways. All the characters get their moments to shine and in some cases even entire episodes dedicated to them. For me, the highlight of the series was the duo of Snorre and Tjure who're always bickering but are actually good friends.
The only annoying inconsistency I spotted was that there was an entire episode dedicated to finding a wife for Faxe, the dumb giant of the group, but his bride was never shown again after that episode. In fact, in a much later episode we see that Faxe is unmarried and in love with a totally different woman.
Vickie, who is the main character, stands out amongst the vikings by being far more intelligent than the others. Whenever there is trouble, he gets a brilliant idea that solves all their problems. Sometimes the ideas are actually clever and would work in real life, and sometimes they're reaching and/or entirely implausible. Vickie might be an annoying character with his fast wits if not for the fact that he's a coward who routinely runs away from danger or trembles in fright whenever things get bad. It makes him feel like a balanced character. On top of that, he's genuinely good-hearted and tries to reason with the others when they want to do something evil.
The animation is simple and sparse, but since the character models aren't very complicated, the style and quality stay on the same level pretty much all the way through, with one exception. Short segments of the first episode are so crude and badly drawn that I simply can't understand what's up with them. Thankfully, there's no sign of this after that, and most of the time I felt that the animation worked perfectly for what they were trying to achieve. But the series definitely shows its age and won't awe you at any point.
I watched the series in German, so the background music was by Karel Svoboda. I think the Japanese version may have a different soundtrack. I have no sources for this, but I know some other old anime series that were shown with Svoboda's music in Europe had entirely different music in Japan. In any case, Svoboda was a genius and his music works perfectly here. It's upbeat and funny but can get dark or touching when needed.
This is a fun children's series from which you can watch pretty much any episode in any order, though there are sometimes multi-episode storylines. There's also no need to watch all of the episodes, either. In fact, watching all 78 episodes might make you sick of the series pretty fast, so I would suggest not marathoning it. But an episode every now and then is a nice snack, particularly once you begin to enjoy the characters and just want to see what weird things they end up doing next. The only episode I actively disliked was the very last one because I felt it went against established characterization and was a pretty weak, almost depressing way to end the series.
Since there are so many episodes, here are some of my favourites in case someone wants to give the series a try: 25, 26, 31, 32, 34, 44, 56, 59, 63, 68, 70.