Revenge, compassion, humanity, love. Pointy weapons making minced meat of people.
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.
Looking for an intelligent manga with intense violence, action, complex character development with a little bit of viking touch? If you answer yes then this epic manga is a must read.
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.
Childhood innocence, murder, sorrow, revenge, emptiness, redemption and aspiration. Taking place in the 11th century, the age of vikings, Vinland Saga follows the tale of Thorfinn's path of revenge which ultimately culminates into his redemption and aspiration. From the impressive story telling to complex and deep character development, and least but not less, the art style, Makoto Yukimura manages to create a masterfully written story of the brutal age of the vikings.
The story of Vinland Saga is set in the golden age of the vikings, narrating the tale of the protagonist, Thorfinn. Witnessing the murder of his own father Thors at a very young
age by the hands of the antagonist Askeladd, Thorfinn is driven by pure hate to avenge the death of his father. Nevertheless, Askeladd decides to take in Thorfinn to honour Thors. The protagonist resorts to join Askeladd's group in order to defeat Askeladd in a fair one on one duel, which will dominate Thorfinn's childhood. This leads to another great aspect of the manga: the historical context in which the story develops.
As stated earlier, Vinland saga takes place in the golden age of the brutal and battle-hungry vikings. This age was characterized by the rapid expansion of viking territory throughout the northern part of Europe. The author narrates these parts carefully by selecting only the necessary parts in order to not overflow the reader with too many details. This leads to a problem though: the so-called "time skips"; this originates at times drastic changes in the main characters, as well as lack of gradual character development, which I personally like to see.
The narrative is not solely focused upon the protagonist; a lot of attention is paid upon the other main characters, especially Askeladd, in order to flesh them out accordingly to the different events and encounters that take place. The author also lays importance upon showing the reader how the 11th century was, which is important to understand the historical context: plunder, rape, the pillaging of villages and murder. Not to mention the well carved battles displayed through the art.
This fantastic pacing can't be upheld throughout the whole manga without committing possible errors along the way: this is the reason why the manga lessens its pace and settles itself after some time for a more character oriented arc, where readers are presented with humongous and great character development across the board. Some may argue that this is by far the most boring part of Vinland Saga, yet I believe it to be of crucial importance (and also fascinating) that shapes the directions and personalities characters have in the near future. In addition, it focuses as well on the other side of the everlasting battles of the 11th century, the social well-being of that era, as well as the political side of warfare. It also expands on Viking culture a bit, which is a nice addition to the storyline.
This is the most outstanding part of Yukimura's work, regardless of the time skips that lead to sudden character changes. Characters are introduced carefully in the story, giving Yukimura enough time to develop the characters through the interactions and events that happen to the main characters and supporting cast. While the story continues, the reader can carefully observe the changes the main characters experience and undergo.
The main characters of Vinland Saga are certainly one of the best. There is Thorfinn who grows from an innocent, cheerful boy to a ruthless, straightforward, silent murder machine. Such is the impact of his father's death and hate within the protagonist. Then there is Askeladd, a viking leader with honour and pride, yet calm, resourceful and charming, who has a mysterious background. He is in fact one of the most impressive antagonists in the medium, being both fascinating and interesting as a character, his motives being fantastically supported by his past. Another character of importance is prince Canute, who undergoes drastic changes and deep character development, the same as Throfinn. The time skips may interfere in understanding the drastic character changes, though these are hinted within the story or for the reader to imagine.
Complex and deep main protagonists are not possible without secondary characters: these play a big role in the development of the primary characters. The ideals that these characters have, such as the priest or the landlord, are essential to reproduce a realistic character behaviour, as well as deep character development and intricate interactions. This happens to secondary characters too; they're likewise influenced by them, which increases the characters credibility.
The art style of the manga fits well with the historical context of Vinland saga. The brutality and gore of the battles are drawn very well, very realistic. This goes for the background of the frames too, as well as the landscapes showing the devastation of the battles that were fought. The evolution of the art is clearly visible, due to the jump of weekly to monthly releases of the manga, giving the author time to focus upon detail rather than quantity.
The facial expressions are definitely the most outstanding part of the art style. These convey properly how the characters feel at times. This was not just limited to the main characters; even background characters were not spared. The combat scenes are drawn spectacularly too, mixing well with the facial expressions of the characters.
Vinland saga was a magnificent read, I thoroughly enjoyed it in every aspect. From the intriguing story to the incredible character development and design, and the brutality of the art that catches you from the first moment, Vinland saga is definitely one of the top historical manga out there, and definitely a must read for anyone searching for a Viking based manga. Recommendable to anyone with interest in the historical, action genre, just not suitable for younger readers.
Let me start by saying this is a very good manga, objectively speaking that is. The world of Vinland Saga is one of great depth and one built upon layers of history. The towns, cities, farms and campgrounds feel well thought out and are meticulously detailed, bringing the story to life with a strong sense and feel of believability. Many of the side characters in Vinland Saga seem to have been written to overwhelmingly overshadow the main character, to the point where I had fully believed that the story was in fact NOT about Thorfin, which I believe would have been a good thing. The
main bone I have to pick with Vinland Saga lies within the writing of the main character, one who feels so underdeveloped and forgotten about by the author that he ends up feeling very forced onto the reader during the later half of the series. I wont spoil anything, but basically Thorfin changes his personality drastically after a series of events that unfold over a few years. To put it bluntly, he ruins the story for me completely by becoming a self sacrificing pussy. He creates these idiotic and irrational principals to live by that make him put up with insane amounts of unnecessary bullshit and suffering, many times it has become so brutal that I skip multiple pages because of how overly cringe worthy his bullshit can become. If you can look past and put up with a character that is incredibly arrogant and has an idiotic persistence, I recommend this manga
"God's divine creation is so brimming with love... and yet there is no love in the hearts of men." -Canute
I believe this work to truly be the best manga series currently running, and believe I can back this assertion with valid examples. 'Vinland Saga' is available from Kodansha Comics USA in 5 double-sized volumes (containing the first 10 Japanese volumes), with the 6th and 7th double-sized volumes scheduled to come out later in 2015.
This series is brutal and it's mature, but those two things are not the same. There's no shortage of graphic carnage and gory battles, but any mangaka worth his or her salt
can splash some buckets of blood around and call their story 'mature'. Where this story earns its praise for maturity is in how it handles that brutality. There is no romantization of the Viking Age here, the Norse glorification of violence is not just devastating the people they come into contact with, but even their own culture (suppose you're a Dane who DOESN'T want to go around murdering and raping everything in sight? Too bad- at best you'll be an outcast). In some way every character has to react to the violent culture of the Norse and their reactions are critical in determining their personality. Some embrace it, some run from it, some try to change it through politics, some find solace in religion, some despise it and lose themselves in the hatred of everything. While plenty of manga (and other media in general) simply use brutality for shock factor and call themselves 'deep and mature', this manga actually successfully uses the brutality as part of its main theme. But 'Vinland Saga' doesn't simply wallow in nihilism either (another easy trap for 'brutal' stories to fall into), it has rays of hope. Not easy to reach, not without its own cost, sometimes not without going through Hell first, but still real.
This story uses brutality well, incorporating it into a deeper theme instead of losing itself to gore and nihilism; and it uses hope to counterpoint the brutality without resorting to saccharine slap-happy schlock. The only thing keeping 'VS' from a perfect story score is that the series has yet to end in the US market (I am uncertain of how far it has progressed in Japan). So far, however, it has been magnificent. 8/10
Seriously, look at this manga! Since it's on a monthly release schedule Makoto Yukimura can afford to go for quality rather than quantity. The first chapters were on a weekly release schedule, so they are somewhat less impressive (but still excellent, it's only that the monthly chapters are utterly jaw-dropping). It's clear that a great deal of research went into this series, houses, clothes, utensils, and weapons are all highly detailed- no settling for slapping some medieval stereotypes on the page and moving on. The panels are simple squares and rectangles with clear borders between them, broken up by the occasional splash page- with a series this detailed special care must be made to make sure each image is distinct and the flow is easy to follow. The aesthetic goes for a high level of realism, with very little stereotypical 'manga' influence (no chibis or gigantic eyes here). The art is absolutely stunning. 10/10
Characters make a story. If the cast doesn't have engaging conflicts and interesting development, neither the art or the plot will be able to make up the difference. Thorfinn is a ball of rage and pain as he tries to avenge the father he hardly knew. Canute is a timid and frightened young prince who must conquer or surely die. Askeladd's mind has plots within plots and is more than meets the eye. Thorkell.... OK, he IS pretty easy to figure out, but that's the point. Even the secondary characters have distinct and believable motivations and a few surprises. Nobody feels like a plot device or a cardboard archetype who's only there to do some specific thing because 'the story said so', the cast truly seems like real, flawed (often badly, occasionally horrifically flawed) people interacting with each other. 10/10
There are only two reasons to write about a manga in this much depth: 1) It sucks on a truly incredible scale 2) It is utterly magnificent. Take a wild guess which is my opinion.
The cast is a masterclass in character development. The art is stunningly real. The story takes full advantage of its setting and subtly communicates a deep and mature theme- the ONLY thing I can see undermining this series is a bad ending when it finally finishes (not that I hope it will do so any time soon). I will confess I have a love for historical fiction that might make me more predisposed to liking a series of this nature, but given the examples I've provided I believe I can honestly this is a series any fan of serious manga needs to read. 10/10
I really wanted to give this Manga a 10.
It starts out very well, with a plot hook that makes you want to know what happens onward. The reason I can't possibly give this manga more than 6 is because of the characters. Almost all the main characters are so incredibly Japanese. It hurts seeing a character that is portrayed as a Norse warrior do things, and think things, that fits for a Japanese peasant.
One comment in particular stuck with me. And this isn't a big spoiler as it comes up very quickly and is often repeated.
"A true warrior don't need a sword".
How do I
start elaborating on this? What on earth does such a Japanese mentality have to do in a manga about vikings? And the worst of all, is the pacifistic attitude portrayed. It doesn't fit into the setting at all...
I went into this, not expecting it to be historically correct at all. But the blatant disrespect it shows towards the culture of the time, and the force-feeding of Japanese culture into a Manga about Norse people is just too much.
When starting reading this manga the expectations were very high, because it started out very well. The way it develops is frankly an insult to old Norse culture, while it oddly enough glorifies the church? That one really took me off guard.
Really wanted to like this manga, but I can't advice it if you want something that actually represent Viking culture at all. The pacifistic attitude is way over the top stupid.
I'll keep this review brief.
I started reading this manga because it was part of the recommendations for the "Kingdom" manga. Let me tell you for anyone who wants to read this for the same reason; there's so little similar about the two mangas you'll probably end up as pissed as I am.
I've never wrote a manga review before, but after reading about half-way through I got so annoyed by the complete and utter genre change from action/drama to a buddhist/hippy/drama, I just had to write my first one.
The manga starts off about a young boy thats struck with hardships and turns into a hard
person and warrior. And as the manga progresses it seems he is trying to reach enlightenment, through the author's views of enlightenment. Theres alot of religious/anti-religious banter and rants that occur through-out.
At the end of the day, I absolutely hate this manga for what it has turned into and the people that've recommended reading this after Kingdom. Kingdom starts off a certain way and keeps on that track and the character development all continues along the same path. Vinland Saga starts off one way and transforms the manga into something else.
I don't recommend this manga to anyone looking for a war/action/strategical supplement to Kingdom. If you enjoy sob stories and read the Gandhi biography over and over, then you will enjoy this.
Vinland saga is a Historical Seinen manga based on true historical facts along with . It is more like famous manga Kentaro Miura's Berserk and Takehiko Inoue's Vagabond. If you are a fan of Vikings TV show then Vinland saga is basically a manga version of it with Realistic art, Gore and blood, Tragedy, Self Reflection, Emotions, Adventure, Dreams, War, Conflict and Vengence!
Thorfinn is son to one of the Viking's greatest warriors, but when his father is killed in battle by the mercenary
leader Askeladd, he swears his intent to have revenge. Thorfinn joins Askeladd's group in order to challenge him to a duel, and ends up caught in the middle of a war for the crown of England.
Art - 10/10 : The art is quite realistic and detailed.Each and every armor, tools, clothing, weapons etc. are well drawn that each part has perfectly look and feel as a Viking or Saxon Merch.
Here is photo -[ http://i3.mangareader.net/vinland-saga/91/vinland-saga-3947335.jpg ]
The Vinland provide the excitement and feel of being a Viking.Though it might be crime to feel like that now in this age and era.It has tons of Slashing and hacking of flesh of human kind.Blood and Gore is about at average level and thus its Seinen.
Here is photo -[ http://i2.mangareader.net/vinland-saga/91/vinland-saga-3947367.jpg ]
Story - 10/10 : As you can guess from the plot summary, the story is well equiped with Good story.It contains Drama, Tragedy, Comedy(not much) and catchy phrases.
Eg.“A true warrior needs no blade” – Thors
Each and every character is unique and has different personality and psychology befitting their character design.You may not have any problem with characters being out of the line or their behaviour is weird.The mangaka placed utmost care in handling the psychology of the character.
The story is Very Brutal. There is no good or Evil in this manga, it is just you and your views towards it. The Vikings are very Brutal rac as they are also called as 'Pagans'. The Vikings used to raid, rape, kill and destroy the innocent saxons village. Same goes with Saxons as they used to kill Danes village(non-raiders).
Enjoyment - 9.5/10 : You might be thinking why is it all so high? well The art is very realistic and mistakes bound are very few.The Story and concept of the manga is really unique and entertaining.I have enjoyed all the moments from the manga as the adventure of thorfinn leads from Vengence to Self-Enlightenment.
I dare you to read this manga to read thorfinn's Adventure to New World.
Overall - 10/10
Historical fiction is often a hard subject to tackle, especially for anime/manga. The pandering nature of the medium somewhat limits the spectrum of takes on historical events in a fictional retelling, usually falling into the comedy "parody" or shonen-action genres. Vinland Saga is not either of those. It's everything historical fiction should be. It’s fun, it's sad, it's epic, and it's thoughtful. High adventure, fast paced action and political intrigue are abound in Vinland Saga, balanced out by an equal amount of philosophical introspection and character development. All around, it's an uncommon masterpiece.
Vinland Saga, as stated before, is historical fiction, and set in a uncommon
era for the medium, and especially uncommon for anime/manga. Touching off during the Danish invasion of England in 1013, we follow Askeladd, a mercenary leader and Thorfinn, a vengeful youth serving Askeladd only for the opportunity to avenge his father's death at Askeladd's hands. Vinland Saga’s story possesses this amazing and tantalizing sense of grandeur and epic scale to its conflicts that makes every chapter feel fresh and exciting. For every chapter with adventuring and warring this is another for plotting, thinking and contemplating. And for every moment of triumphant victory there is a moment of bitter defeat and death. It’s a fantastic ride, and continues to be.
Character-wise, Vinland Saga is not lacking in the slightest. The cast is a mix of fictional characters loosely based on Nordic legend and real historical figures. Thorfinn starts off seeming like some bitter, whiny, revenge obsessed shonen protagonist, but he quickly comes into his own. His development takes off as the story progresses. Askeladd is nothing short of my favorite anti-hero in all of manga. He's ruthless, cruel, and bitter, but at the same time he possesses a sort of charm about him. He takes no pleasure in his actions, with his motivations shrouded in mystery. He’s just overall a great character. But, the crown for character development in Vinland Saga has to go to Cnut, one of the aforementioned real historical figures. He goes through transformation through transformation, and always accompanied by serious philosophical pondering and questioning. These parts are an absolute joy to read. Surrounding these three pivotal characters is a retinue of side and minor characters, from the real life Thorkell the Tall to the not real members of Askeladd's company. Each character retains a certain aspect that makes them unique and likeable, all adding flavor to an already fantastic plot; It’s just more excellence on top of excellence.
Vinland Saga started off with a somewhat simplistic art style. It was still good, but there were no great details to characters faces or anything to really write home about. Keyword started off. As the manga progressed, the art becomes darker, more refined, and much more detailed. Wrinkles on character's faces become apparent, creating some awesome panels of badass men being badass. The action sequences are very fluid and a blast to look at, and the grand panoramic scenes are nothing to scoff at either. As it stands now, the art is very impressive and a feast for the eyes in spots, acting as an excellent supplement to a great premise.
At the time of this writing, Vinland Saga looks like it is only gearing up for its main act, which baffles me considering the quality of its apparent preamble. It’s a story of adventure, of war, of politics, and of men seeking paradise. So just do yourself a favor and read it. I promise you won't be disappointed, because Vinland Saga truly is a-
Makoto Yukimura’s award-winning Vinland Saga is the #1 manga I look forward to reading every every few months when a new volume is released. Why? Well, maybe because it's maybe the best historic - fact and fiction story I've ever read. After all the it's-amazing blah blah blah praises I've heard from the anime community, I finally decided to give this manga a go a couple weeks ago and once I started, I just could not put the manga down. Who knew that a mere manga about Vikings-love-revenge could result in one of the greatest tragic stories ever both inside and outside of the manga
community. From the historic settings to the masterfully developed characters to the captivating plot, this manga doesn't leave anything out.
I'm sure most of you have read Berserk and loved it considering it's one of the most popular, and highest rated manga here on mal; I'm going to tell you that Vinland Saga is much more violent, touching, deep, romantic, enjoyable and to an extent, sinister. Vinland Saga takes us back in time a thousand years, to the world of the historic Vikings. What did Vikings do back in the day? They conquered and slaughtered. Sure the entire manga isn't all realistic and doesn't follow history exactly, but Vinland Saga still stays true to it's reality-based horrors and battles; you could call a realistic mythology.
The basic outline of the story follows the adventures and misadventures of a young viking, Thorfinn's path to revenge, love, betrayal, and redemption. After witnessing the murder of his father as a boy, Thornfinn swears revenge against Askeladd, his father's murderer as well as Thornfinn's cunning commander. But Thornfinn's reason for joining Askeladd's band of Vikings isn't solely for his revenge, there are hidden deeper meanings of Thornfinn's reason for life that date back to his past in Iceland and the mythical country that's said to be peaceful and perfect to the west of Iceland - Vinland. But in the midst of his revenge and search for this mythical land, he gets caught up in the middle of a great war for the Crown of England.
What do I love about the plot? Not only is it mind-blowingly genius, and absolutely captivating, but there's absolutely no sugar-coating anything, no cute, childish crap, no bullshit. There is only the harshness of reality back in the 11th century. What's the first thing we get to see in the manga? People being turned into Slaves, Mass Murder, Torture (More people get their eyes cut out in beginning than I've ever seen combined from any other stories), Rape, and a supposedly heroic main character who sits back, watches, and laughs at the horrors unfolding before him. This is portrayed perfectly, for War in reality, isn't one where some main character decides to befriend a couple enemies through compassion, and suddenly they go super-sayan and end up defeating their enemies-a greater army because they have "the will to win"... No, War is a disgusting event in which everyone that's part of it will end up suffering, and Vinland Saga portrays that to it's finest. The first half of the manga truly depicts and draws the reader into horror-the world of the Vikings. The plot is my favorite historic-drama story I've ever read, it's just on a whole new level of greatness. It strives to teach the reader's about the Viking's history, while keeping us entertained by adding fiction and allowing the readers to not only read it, but live it. You think this story is only about revenge and war? Oh how you couldn't be more wrong. The Viking's were merciless, but that doesn't deny them from being a human being does it? It's an instinct for survival of their own. What does it mean to be a human? To have a conscience, to show compassion, to love others and to have others love you back? Thorfinn's brutal journey to revenge (think, there must be a reason Thorfinn's father was murdered right? What do you think that reason is? That is an ongoing mystery in the series~) yet maintain his humanity and experience a magical thing called "love" sets the tone for what's to come for this masterpiece~ But beyond just the story, the themes and philosophical questions brought up in the story keep the readers thinking, which is half the fun in reading. The psychological emotions that the characters experience translates directly to what the readers feel: This series just takes psychological minds to a whole new level. This manga has officially made me a fanboy.
But truth be told, the "character" aspect of this manga is the greatest part of this story. The first thing that really stands out about Vinland Saga is the writer, Yukimura Makoto’s ability to weave together the characters’ past and present to create a deeper understanding of the characters’ motives and characterizations. The reader gets to go on a grandiose journey from 6 year old Thornfinn to adult Thornfinn and learn all about his history, as well as the history of the Vikings-events that happened in real life during the 11th century Europe. Anyways, all the characters are multi-faceted and intriguing, especially the two main characters, Thornfinn and Askeladd. Everyone is developed to their maximum potential.
Askeladd, did you know that that name is derived from a North European Folk Tale hero, Askeladden? I sure as heck didn't, until I read about it. From the get-go of the series, we see the evolution of Thorfinn from happy child to bitter teen because of what Askeladd did to Thorfinn's father. So obviously the first thing we think is that Askeladd is the bad guy. But as we delve into his past, and how/why he became the cruel, mercenary man that he is currently, more questions arise about the concept of evil/good and right/wrong. Askeladd's design and development is one of the most memorable character developments I've ever seen. Thornfinn isn't much different at all. Thornfinn, is he even a hero? Certainly he's a morally ambiguous character whom can't be distinguished as purely good or bad; it's left to the readers to decide for themselves accordingly to their own beliefs and ideals whether what Thornfinn is doing is truly righteous or evil. He's awfully similar to Light Yagami in many ways; absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's disturbing how true this saying is. Thornfinn too starts off as an innocent boy and as tragedies unfold one after another in his life, his ideals and personality changes, turning Thornfinn into one of the most ruthless main characters of all time, and this anti-hero is who we're supposed to root for. Mmmmm, fascinating indeed.
Hah, the art puts every single other manga's art to shame. I proclaim Vinland Saga as the manga with the best art. The art just adds onto the realism aspect of this masterpiece. The detail put into each character's (Viking's) portrayals should be lauded. Holy Moly, absolutely stunning. Askeladd practically oozes underhanded nastiness without being drawn as an exaggerated farce of a man with his emotionless wrinkled up face alongside his intimidating Viking beard. Thornfinn looks like a wild savage beast trying to find his humanity yet at the same time prioritizing his revenge above anything else, including his own life. The portrayal of the historical setting is a true work of art~ Every volume, the art just improves too~ The memorable vicious, gory scenes are all beautifully portrayed as well, without hiding anything - perfect.
This is the single-most enjoyable manga I have ever read, period. I'm sure you won't be disappointed either~
In a world which knows nothing but violence, war and betrayal, it is still possible to find your glimmer of light.
Vinland Saga takes you away to the 1000s, an old, long forgotten era, where seamen known as Vikings are the ruler of the sea. They murder and plunder without inhibitions.
The protagonist of Vinland Saga, Thorfinn sun of Thors, is one of those Vikings. Only with revenge on his mind he travels from battle to battle, day in, day out.
However, you will learn that everyone has his own reasons, his ambitions to go that path of violence. And even among those Vikings there are libertines such
as Thors(father of Thorfinn)who kinda works as a moral authority.
It's my belief that Thors character may leave the biggest marks among all readers. That's propably due to his perfectly adjusted use of rethorical questions. Questions which can bother me even know, but that's not bad though.
Apart from that the story is kinda predictable and therefore a little bit underwhelming. Sometimes you may realise that characters act completely out of their former pattern. The authors logic is also questionable, when he can't even complete a plotline appropirately. The best example would be Askeladd, one of the most mysterious characters in the manga. Due to that the author wastes too much potential.
On the other hand there are quite a few times when the protagonist, Thorfinn, lacks temper.
Another point of criticism is misplaced and unfounded character developement.
Later in the story a character will go against his own principles and it will result in death That's purely arbitrary. I can't spoiler you, but see it four yourself.
I enjoyed Vinland Saga to a certain point, sure, however, I also 'raged' due to the authors unfounded caprice.
As I mentioned before there was potential the author never considered to begin with.
Furthermore I had many problems to admit Thorfinn as a protagonist. Most of the time he is nothing more than a side-kick without relevance. That changes later with further progress though. I could offer criticism the whole day about Vinland Saga, but it won't change the fact that it's still really entertaining.
It's thrilling, it's thought-provoking. Vinland Saga won't become boring.
See yourself and maybe you will come to a different conclusion.
It was a long trek since I started this manga. There were two attempts. The first, I lasted until 6 chapters, the second, with effort and scrolling, I finished 'till the latest update of chapter.
The manga details the prologue around the first 50 chapters and after that, the real story.
And when it comes to details in the story, well, let me tell you, it equals to describing thick fantasy books.
I don't mind this style. I mean, if done well, it could be a great captivating read. You'd bury yourself to the world the manga enforces.
It's just that, I've seen this kind. Can't tell you
a specific title of a manga series but it just seems I've read this kind to many series, movies, anime, books , etc. It was predictable. And when you read a lot of pages just to get to that predictable point, it's just no fun.
Though, the only thing that should have keep me on edge was if this or that one's going to die next. Well, let me tell you, almost all women, girls, children gets killed, raped. And so, normally, I couldn't care less to any introduced characters they put in. When so many are whores, killers, murderers.
== Story ==
As said, the first 50 chapters is part of a prologue. It describes the boy in vengeance. He suffered a lot. But when prologue, I'd assume little characters are going to matter. Right I am, many in it got killed. and 50 chapters? Talk about long. He come on this journey and neglect the teachings he was brought up by, with abandon, he becomes stronger as time passes. But along the way, an unexpected event turned this brutal environment we were suppose to head and teach us the value of life and repentance.
== Art ==
Gruesomely detailed. There is a certain ruggedness to the style of drawing. The Main character got a really suitable face for his purpose. Cruel and bitter. Enemies were quite well drawn. From one look, there no chance you could mistake them for good bunch. They reek of malice.
== Character ==
The character is predictable. His actions, his face, reactions are predictable. Being a kid around adults, we could expect this so, but after growing up, he still is. I mean, the story or arc his heading to has been done enough to be as predictable as a kid. Expect him to be brash, hard head and all that is expected from a kid whose been through hard life.
== Enjoyment ==
Me no likey this series. It's brutal expected from a savage time. But more from that, more than 10 times I've said it in this review, the story/arcs were predictable. Though its quite good for a bit of history lesson here and there, assuming they be a bit accurate in their time. So if you like history, since its full of it, and brutal encounters, and life lessons, then this is for you, though I warn you, there is a high chance it is Predictable for your taste.
Vinland Saga is THE most amazing piece of literature I have ever seen in my life. It takes my favorite guilty pleasure : badass and manly muscle Jesuses beating the bloody shit out of each other, and put them into one of the most complex and interesting storyline I have ever read. I know the existence of this manga since basically forever but I decided to read it about a month ago when I realized it was getting an anime adaptation, and needless to say that I am pissed when I think that I waited 14 years before reading this masterpiece.
Story (10/10) :
way I found to describe the quality of the story is to take the quality of the insanely well-acclaimed golden age arc of Berserk, except this insane level of quality never end in Vinland Saga. The story begins with our main character Thorfinn sticking with Askeladd, commander of a bunch of ruthless vikings, but unlike the bunch of muscle animals who only follow Askeladd for their thirst of blood and the after-battle plunder, Thorfinn follows Askeladd because he wants to murder him. The story from there goes from unpredictable twists to cold-blooded murders basically every single chapter. The story is brutal, realist and twisted as about 99% of the time, the stronger person (whether he's a bad guy or a good guy) always beat the weaker person. I feel like if I say more than that, I would spoil something without even realizing, but it's easily one of my favorite story ever made.
Characters (10/10) :
My favorite kind of story are the one where the characters are neither hero nor villain, because you never know what they are about to do next. Basically every character can become the ''hero'' or the ''villain'' of the story at about any given time and the best exemple is Askeladd, but for the sake of no spoiler I won't go into details. Every character feel like they are actual, real humans being and their actions always seems logical and don't fall under the cliché of the main hero willingly fighting someone who is 10 times stronger than he is and beats him anyway because he's the main hero. The main character is Thorfinn: he starts as a blood thirsty lunatic, living only to kill Askeladd in a duel, and gets a lot of amazingly well-made character development throughout the story. The other main character is Askeladd: he starts as an absolute asshole to a point where it makes you think that he must be the villain of the story and also gets a lot of character development. The final main character is Canute, the king's son: he starts as the biggest pussy and loser of all time, to a point where everyone basically thinks that he's a chick because of his long and absolutely beautiful blonde hair (they even compare him to the Norse goddess of beauty and war, Freyja) and also gets a ton of character development, probably the most of them all. Some other characters are three muscle jesuses who's name starts with Thor: Thors, Thorkell, Thorgil, who can murder a entire army with their fists and have the strength to throw a spear for a distance of about two miles and getting an instant triple kill like the absolute badass they are.
Art (10/10) :
Yukimura have the drawing skills of God. Vinland Saga have the best quality of art I have ever seen in a graphic novel in my life. Seriously, I have no idea how a simple human is able to draw like this, so he obviously must be a god. The Pablo Picasso of Japan. The Vincent van Gogh of bloodthirsty manly bros.
Overall (10/10) :
Vinland Saga is purely a godlike masterpiece. A book of this quality deserves to be read by everyone, manga and anime fan or not. The only thing I hope now is that Wit Studio doesn't fuck up the anime adaptation like everything they ever did that isn't Attack on Titan.
There are very few series I have read or watched that I would give a perfect 10, but believe me when I say this series is a masterpiece. This series at first glance seems like your typical story of revenge, but after reading a few chapters you realize it is so much more.
Story: This story has it all, in terms of truly depicting all the emotion included with drama such as despair, anger, revenge, sadness, repentance, hope, and bearing with sin while moving forward, very few works compare. the author takes his time with the story, the first half is a prologue, but
it never gets boring, and continues to be exciting and intense all the way to its current chapter. I cant really get to into the story without spoiling it.
Art: The art is well drawn, and captures the emotion very well, I think the author does a great job of showing facial expressions.
Character: The characters are shown flawlessly, you see quality character development, and the author does a good job of having you understand how and why certain characters feel the way they do, as well as making you despise other ones.
Enjoyment: I read this entire series (well whats released so far) in 3 days, but it was good enough that I could have not slept and finished it in one sitting if I did not have things to do.
Overall:It is truly a masterpiece, flawless character development, and heavy and even heartbreaking scenes are show very realistic, sometimes its so brutal it is hard to read, but it could not be a masterpiece without being so realistic. I would suggest this to anyone wanting a quality, realistic heavy series, however some scenes are very graphic and this is not for the faint of heart. If you want a happy heartwarming story look elsewhere.
Story - Not your typical revenge story. Almost funny in a way, if it were not so brutal. The revenge arc is fairly interesting, where we mostly see Askeladd's and later Canute's characters being developed, with some of Thorkell as well. Thorfinn got practically no character development during the revenge arc and only really developed after he became a slave. I found the farmland saga quite refreshing and not at all boring compared to the previous arcs, even though there was less action.
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.
A gritty historical adventure manga with a strong story, great character development and beautiful artwork makes this manga one with few peers.
I only have two very minor issues, I feel that at times the pacing of the story is slightly out and some scenes could benefit from another page of 'screen time'. I also would like some of the side characters to have a more fleshed out story but this could be done to reduce bloat which I completely understand.
I personally find the art style to be exquisite and the attention to detail makes for breathtaking landscapes and stunning battles. The intense fights are made
all the more engrossing by this effort and it draws you in as a reader. Because of the deep engagement you feel the visceral emotion, it is like being present and I can only compare the raw gut feelings you get reading this to the ones I had reading Vagabond. The complex characters and meticulous character development are so effective due to the emotions the story and art elicit; this combination means the characters are so human and alive that the empathy you feel is very real.
Makoto Yukimura has put in countless hours of work to produce this masterpiece and his dedication has shone through, a union of talent and hard work, I could not reccomend this to anyone enough! An absolute must read, even if you are not into violence or history I recommend flicking through this manga just to get a look of the amazing artwork.
Recently I've read "Vagabond" only to know that it went on hiatus, thus being depressed I found a similar manga called Vinland saga and lo it was as if I hit a gold mine. Vinland saga might be similar to berserk and vagabond, but hell no!!! It's actually closer to Fullmetal Alchemist.
Hatred, revenge, failure, realization and finally redemption that what Vinland saga is about. What I found amusing was not the brutality of wars but the ideals or philosophy it conveys effectively.
In this story there are no dragons, there are no mythical beasts, perhaps that’s what it is as of now, but it's just an
alternate history of age of Vikings where people try to make the world a better place. Some use power, some use love, some run away, it shows various ways people might struggle to make theirs and the surroundings a better place.
I’ll warn you before itself that this isn’t like “Berserk” where MC is a badass going on rampage nor does it dwell in a lot of supernatural elements where spirits talk as in “Vagabond”, but this is a story of humanity and love.
What makes this manga interesting is not the MC but the side ones which influence the situation.
I don’t want to mention characters as it would only be spoiling so I’ll just mention about one person: Thorkell, he is a ruthless savage who only longs for wars but at the same time he is a person who has a dark sense of humor who makes you laugh crazily, in that way every character depicts the presence or feel.
There is also one drawback many might object is the time-skip, tbh I think I praise the author for avoiding unnecessary pages by drawing those parts as it is better left for imagination rather than spoon feeding everything, cos there is a lot of plot to be completed and it would just be another filler arc.
Many a time there are situation where you might have "hope" for things to go well in the story but finally they end up the same you thought would happen without being given the hope, you might call it cheap trick to provoke unnecessary tear-jerking moments but in fact if you and I were in that situation we would be making the same hasty decisions which might eventually land us in that same shit.
Art is good, also the fighting scenes are well drawn, but as I said it doesn’t focus more on unnecessary crap, so don’t expect berserk or vagabond badass scenes here or the quality of art as every chapter is drawn in just a month.
Thereby I would say that Vinland Saga is the best thing I’ve read and I don’t regret the time I've spent to read it even though I have an exam tomorrow, that much worth is the story. It is easy to understand the philosophy, realistic, thrilling and best thing is we have hope that we get a new chapter released at the end of every month without fail, unlike Berserk and Vagabond which have no clue when they might end.
This is the First Time I've Encountered the "BEST of the BEST"
-How it was done- 8
the story were told in great style, I've never seen anyone who would put such a prologue in 50 chapters, or 50 months, I mean, that's a gamble in Manga Making. The Art was Superb, it was able to give the expression and the message without showing too much scene. The characters design here are not the best looking, but the best in showing who they are. But the background is superb, which is hard to pull.
So far, the only disadvantage of this manga is the the Chapters Story, this
is not for People who can't Marathon a manga, but for people who can read straight 50 chapters with inconsistent pages at least 1250 pages worth.
the plot is not something to be taken lightly, this was based on the history of the Europe, I'm good at History, and the things that were taken here is accurate. And I know about Vinland Saga in its original form, and it's really true that the first ones to land America was Vikings.
Since I love History and Strategic Warfare, this one was able to show not Strategic war which I was expecting, but It's the Art of War. It was able to show the Honors of Great warriors, it isn't something that can be taken lightly, especially in respecting someone. This is even better than half baked characters which has no reason to fight the people, this is a manga that was able to portray "Why People became Bad" the best example will be shown in this manga, this is not something for "Bad vs Good" but the "Difference of Opinions" which sparks every battle.
And to be Honest, This is the only manga that was able to portrayed the Difference of Atheist and Christians. They've shown something that was written on the Bible, which is really true. The best way to describe this manga is, "No God, There's Glory and Heaven, but with God, there's Hell in this world" So if you can see that, then you will see the Difference of Good and Bad in this manga, which can't be seen Clearly.
-Worth- this is not something to called 10/10, but 10 x 10^9
If you wanna see the best way to live, then Read this, this is not your ordinary philosophical manga, but it's the Proverbs of Life in this world, this the only Manga that was so Accurate in terms of Meta Physics, Biblical Message, Atheism, Art of War, Proverbs, Transformation and more. And to be Honest, this is the only 10/10 in my hobby of reading manga and watching anime. This manga will help you in your daily lives. This is not a Manga for Story, but for Life.
Vinland Saga depicts a mythology in the most realistic from. You’ll be disgusted seeing the horrors of war yet before you throw down the manga you’ll realize it has established a tight grip on you. In the most basic form the manga deals with war and slavery. But the allure of the manga lies in its depiction of revenge and forgiveness. The story follows the adventures and misadventures of Thorfinn who after witnessing the murder of his father swears revenge. Revenge can drive a man insane and its effect on 6 year old boy is incomprehensible.
Manga depicts gore scenes with grotesque beauty. True nature of
war is shown without holding anything back i.e. Pillaging villages, raping and selling the victims into slavery. It also takes us into the psych of a warrior’s mindset showing how a warrior justifies killing in the promise of Valhalla. The first half deals with warfare and is successful in reeling in the readers with lucid action scenes and Viking fantasy world. It focuses on the warrior's perspective and readers can’t help falling into the disgusting notion of glorifying war. The geographical explanations are both accurate and educating; it is significant in contributing towards the reader's understanding of the Viking world.
As we go deeper the manga offers a lot more than bloodshed, it shatters the war glory illusion and tells the story from the point of view of the victims, the slaves. It’s a mature and bold thing to do because a lot of mangas focus on glorifying violence which becomes their selling point. The character development of the Protagonist, Thorfinn is marvelous. But this is also a negative point, the series focuses substantially on the protagonist that I felt that no justice was done to secondary characters. If more time was invested in other characters the development would have been immaculate.
The manga gives us a lovely message. Thorfinn who was an assassin takes up a plough in his hand instead of knife and realizes the horrors he has caused. War causes withering while agriculture brings out growth in people. Understanding the consequences of the atrocities causes by power-hungry warmongers, Thorfinn vows never to fight and turns the other cheek towards is attacker. This reflection of Gandhian philosophy is powerful and sends a strong message to the readers. Not only Gandhi but George Orwell’s “1984” WAR IS PEACE can be seen in the actions of King Canute who uses brutal force to establish utopia.
Vinland Saga is an ongoing manga and there is a lot of potential for character exploration; I hope they start focusing on other characters, till then it remains one short of masterpiece rating.
Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura is a personal favorite of mine. I think it is widely underrated (in the west at least).The art and the character development are nothing short of masterful.
Vinland Saga is a historical fiction based on Vikings, the norman conquest of England, and the eventual voyage to Vinland (AKA North America). The story can basically be split up into 3 parts. Without spoiling anything, the first part is about revenge. There is a lot of good, realistic fighting in this part. Most people fall in love with Vinland Saga for its realistic depiction of Viking warfare. The second part is about
transformation. This is where a lot of people stop reading. In their defense, this part is almost completely different from the first part (at least until it transitions into part 3), but I personally, really enjoyed the character transformation in this part. The ongoing part 3 is the quest to Vinland. The actual “Vinland saga” basically just started, but this isn’t the type of series where the end goal actually matters. This story is all about the journey and Thorfinn’s evolution as a human being.
Vinland Saga is really a character driven manga. The characters are what makes it shine. Many of the characters, even minor characters, are well developed and very believable. The main focus is on Thorfinn’s evolution, but it also goes into the difficulties of ruling a kingdom, court politics, the realities of war, and other interesting topics. “The crown does queer things to the heads of the men who wear them.” is a Vinland Saga quote that reminds me of Game of Thrones.
The art is probably the most interesting thing about this manga for me. Not only would I give it a 10/10 for just how well drawn it is, but it’s also very well researched and thought out. The weapons and wardrobes are all what was actually used during the time period. The first time I noticed how much attention was paid to detail was when I saw the cut, calloused hands of a common woman. Most mangaka wouldn’t put effort into a detail like that, but it is an important aspect of the era. Women who have to do all kinds of house chores with primitive instruments would not have dainty woman hands. It’s small details like this that really help draw you into the time period.