The bloody, dangerous lives of Vikings make for great stories of adventure, bravery, and battle prowess. Vinland Saga is a tale that manages to encompass all these aspects of standard Viking life with a diverse cast and engaging story. Being able to predict everything would be boring, but there's no worry of that with this manga. Characters die or are killed off suddenly, giving you a constant state of apprehension. The most well-thought-out plans are destroyed in mere moments despite numerous chapters of buildup. The tide of battle is ever-changing and Vinland Saga does a grand job of capturing this tumultuous nature.
One of the things that makes Thorfinn such an interesting character is how much he changes outwardly over the course of the manga with small glimpses into his more private, intimate side. Many times, it seems like the story is going in one direction only to completely change characters and motivations surrounding Thorfinn. The epic battles and super-human strength of the noble fighters in Vinland Saga are as much a trademark as the unique characters themselves. With a strong combination of fighting and character development, let us suggest 6 manga like Vinland Saga!
Similar Manga to Vinland Saga
- Authors: Miura, Kentarou
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Demons, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural, Military, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 39+
- Published: Aug 1989 - ongoing
Guts, Griffith, and Casca belonged to the Band of the Hawk, knights of the king, and enjoyed their life together. That is until Griffith sacrificed the Band of the Hawk to achieve his dream of unrivaled power, letting demons loose on the land. With Casca's mind broken and Griffith's betrayal, Guts has no friends to turn to. Men in power are as bad as the demons running rampant, both desiring to exert their power over weaker humans. Guts has only one reason to continue swinging his massive sword, and that is to kill the man that brought about his ruin.
If you want an epic tale with no end in sight, Berserk is a great choice. Much like Vinland Saga, it explores themes of betrayal and finding one's reason to live after everything is lost. While starting off as a knight of the King, Guts often finds himself treated like an outlaw despite his good intentions. Both manga also have main 'villains' that are somewhat hard to hate despite their convictions in killing others without a thought. Both Askeladd and Griffith have lofty desires made possible with the blood of innocents and yet maintain a certain regal, admirable air about them. They are both calm foils to the easily emotional Thorfinn and Guts whose lives they ruined. While Berserk has a supernatural element to it that is missing in Vinland Saga, it shares the adventure and violence of warriors fighting to avenge those they loved.
- Authors: Inoue, Takehiko (Story & Art), Yoshikawa, Eiji (Story)
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Historical, Samurai, Seinen
- Volumes: 37
- Published: Mar 1999 – May 2015
Shinmen Takezou and Matahachi Honiden are two best friends living in a rural village who long for a more exciting life. They think they'll find the adventure they seek if they join the Toyotomi army, but a quick defeat is a cruel wake-up call. Takezou returns to the village by himself to let them know Honiden is still alive, but the villagers quickly turn on him thinking Takezou killed Honiden himself. After Takezou is left for dead, a monk named Takuan gives him a second chance at life and a new name, Musashi Miyamoto. After so many years of violently lashing out and making enemies of everyone, the new Miyamoto learns to control his anger while at the same time sharpening his skills.
Instead of the Danish Vikings, we have the Japanese ronin (mercenary). Miyamoto also goes through a great change in his character, although for most of the manga it goes the opposite direction of Thorfinn. Miyamoto starts off as a violent young boy who learns to appreciate the beauty of life while Thorfinn goes from a happy, wimpy child to a young man who only cares about getting revenge for his late father. Both stories deal with themes of rebirth and redemption and finding things worth fighting for instead of blindly fighting. This is another long series so you won't have to worry about running out of material for a while!
3. Youhei Pierre
- Authors: Noguchi, Takashi (Art), Satou, Kenichi (Story)
- Genres: Action, Fantasy, Romance, Seinen
- Volumes: 4
- Published: 2004 – 2007
Pierre is the leader of a band of mercenaries taking advantage of the fear and chaos of the 100 Years War in France. One day, as Pierre engages in his usual robbery of helpless travelers, he's shocked to find that one of the three men is actually a woman in disguise. Thinking that she's just another girl for him to force himself on, he's shocked when she declares herself the savior of France and asks him to wait until she has completed her God-given mission. As thanks, she says she will submit herself to Pierre after her work is done and for some reason, Pierre is compelled to let her go. When their paths cross again, their roles become somewhat reversed as Pierre decides to serve this mysterious and powerful woman known as The Maid.
The Mercenaries and Vikings share a lot of similarities. Both groups love plundering, raping, and fighting. Pierre and Askeladd are both good leaders who show little remorse for their actions though Pierre certainly becomes much more kind later on. Both stories involve war with religious overtones and philosophical musings on what is the right way to live. Unlike most of our manga on this list, Youhei Pierre has a female main character who is much more than a wife or a slave.
Any Manga Like Vinland Saga ?
- Authors: Hara, Yasuhira
- Genres: Action, Drama, Historical, Military, Seinen
- Volumes: 49+
- Published: Jan 2006 – ongoing
Xing and Piao are two young boys who have nothing except each other. They aspire to become powerful generals but the first cruel twist of fate is Piao would die, leaving Xing by himself. His dying words spurn Xing to continue seeking power and he ends up working with Zheng Ying, heir to the Qin throne. With a nation wrought with war, these two work to unite a broken kingdom and create a lasting peace they've never known themselves.
Though the setting is in China during the Qin dynasty far from the cold lands of Norway, Whales, and Denmark, these manga share many themes. Both Xing and Thorfinn lose someone they love at an early age as well as their childhood innocence and forsake emotional connections in exchange for strength and the chance to fulfill their bloody dreams. Zheng and Canute are princes who rise to power through much bloodshed and war with the resolve to bring peace yet show kindness in mourning the loss of those sacrificed. Both manga span many years, showing characters coming and going and our main characters being molded by the events around them.
5. Shut Hell
- Authors: Itou, Yuu
- Genres: Action, Drama, Historical, Seinen, Gender Bender
- Volumes: 14
- Published: Dec 2008 – Mar 2017
Sudou is a normal young man for the most part, aside from vivid dreams of an ancient past he can't understand. Things become slightly more clear when he meets Suzuki, who he ends up bringing back to his apartment. He feels a special connection with her and when she begins to sing, he is suddenly transported back in time. He ends up in the body of a monstrous woman known as Shut Hell and meets Suzuki's ancestor Yurul. The Mongols have destroyed Shut Hell's tribe and killed her comrades and she seeks vengeance. Yurul may be a Mongol himself but he seeks to preserve important texts and thus allies himself with Shut Hell.
If you're a history buff and liked the attention to detail in the landscapes and clothing in Vinland Saga, you're sure to like the careful consideration of location and time present in Shut Hell. Both manga feature famous characters from history with a merging of fiction although Shut Hell has more of a supernatural feel to it. Mauraders and merciless thieves are also the reason a sweet main character is driven to madness and violence, becoming a force to be reckoned with.
6. Arslan Senki (The Heroic Legend of Arslan)
- Authors: Arakawa, Hiromu (Art), Tanaka, Yoshiki (Story)
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 8+
- Published: Jul 2013 - ongoing
Arslan is the idealistic young prince of Pars who people do not think much of, even his own father. One day, Pars is invaded by a neighboring country and the King is killed. Arslan flees for his life but vows one day to take back the throne and bring peace to his subjects. He meets new companions on his quest to gather an army large enough to fight back against the invaders. He also learns the reality of war, slavery, and the powerlessness of being poor in a country that only values money.
If you liked the political dealings and battles in Vinland Saga, Arslan Senki will not disappoint. While this manga tells the story from the 'good guys’' point of view, the drama and danger associated with those close to the throne will remind you of the bloodshed over the throne of the Danes. There's a bit more of a presence of magic, though it doesn't play much of a role in the plot. This is another long and dramatic plot based on violence with a hero who starts off weak and then becomes a capable warrior.
Vinland Saga lives up to its name, being quite an epic tale. It's not an easy story with good versus evil, and sometimes even the best characters have to get their hands dirty. Life isn't black and white and when we get to enjoy stories that show us the darker side of existence with flawed characters, there's a truthfulness that really grips you. All of these manga have a loss of innocence with an immense amount of fighting which is sometimes portrayed as cool and fun and other times incredibly painful. If you're on the lookout for tales of adventure where justice and love don't always win, we hope you'll enjoy these suggestions. If you know of other manga that grip you like a Viking ready to strike, let us know in the comments!