After 14 years, 20+ volumes and overwhelming demand, Vinland Saga is scheduled to have its own anime adaptation this summer in 2019. For some of you that are dedicated manga readers, you probably don’t need any explanation as to why you NEED to watch Vinland Saga; but there are those that don’t read manga and need to know about this series. For the last few years, it has won numerous awards. In 2009, it won the Grand Prize in the manga category of the Japanese Media Arts Awards, and it won the Best Manga from Kodansha Manga Awards back in 2012. Beyond these recognitions, what is it about this series in anime form that you NEED to watch?
It is Loosely Based on True Stories and Myths
Granted manga and anime are Japanese in nature, but every now and then, they can adapt stories from other cultures and that’s where Vinland Saga comes in. Vinland Saga loosely tells the tales of 11th century Vikings. The title of the manga is an obvious reference to The Vinland Sagas, two 13th century Icelandic texts which are separated as The Saga of the Greenlanders, and The Saga of Erik the Red. The main character of this series is Erik the Red’s song, Thorfinn Karlsefni, who is mostly portrayed as a young man in the manga. However, the manga and the upcoming anime do take some liberties to tell to make it feel more Japanese. So, if you’re into Vikings or Norse mythology, this is a MUST SEE!
If there’s one thing we can promise, you are going to get some crazy action. Do you enjoy Berserk’s bloody and violent action? Then that’s pretty much what you’re getting with Vinland Saga based on what we have seen in the manga. Considering that it’s going to air on Amazon Prime, we can anticipate there won’t be any needless censoring. While don’t expect anything too over the top and ridiculous like in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, it knows how to keep the action grounded in reality. When it does go to certain extremities, the series does an excellent job of explaining and demonstrating why a certain character can do something crazy, which we wish to avoid for now due to spoilers for those who have no familiarity with the manga. Based on what we’ve seen in the trailers, we’re positive that the anime is on the right track of portraying the original manga’s intense violence by sparking in some emotional content.
Great Art and Animation
OK, we can admit that this is just based on mere trailers, but considering what has been shown so far, not only does the design stay faithful to the original manga, its resolution and tones capture how the manga covers does their own respective coloring as well. Considering the Nordic nature of the original source material and culture, you have a lot of tall, blonde, white people wearing Viking armor and riding on Viking boats. Plus, the frame rate, panning, and cinematography does a great job of capturing not just the action, but giving you a context of the environments of the 11th century with Northern Europe’s snowy environments and the vastness of the sea. Even for those long familiar with the manga, the techniques shown in the trailer should be a good indication that this anime can help make the material give a sense of freshness. Last, no CG or cel-shading!
This adaptation has a great mix of both experienced and up and coming with its selected voice talents. Playing Thorfinn is Shizuka Ishigami as a boy, and we have Yuto Uemura as he becomes a young man. You probably know Shizuka Ishigami as Renge from Rinne, Izumi from Shokugeki no Souma, and as Ryota in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. As for Yuto Uemura, as Atsushi in Bungou Stray Dogs, Gai in Sword Gai, and Amajiki in the third installment to My Hero Academia. For some of the more experienced seiyuu members, we have Naoya Uchida as the voice of Askeladd. You likely know him as Doc Q in One Piece, Hayato Jin in Getter Robo Armageddon, and as Madara in Naruto. For Thorkell, he is voiced by one of the industry’s greats, Akio Otsuka, who you likely know as Batou in Ghost in the Shell, the Japanese voice of Snake in Metal Gear Solid, and as Gus in Carole & Tuesday. Based on the trailers, they do a great job of capturing the intense nature of the series and hope to hear more when the series premieres.
All we need left is to hear the rest of the music beyond the trailer. We are positive that the in-series soundtrack needs something appropriate with loud horns and drums to reflect the atmosphere and culture of the series. Other than that, we’re positive most fans are anticipating that the opening and/or ending themes are going to use something more modern and intense, and we’re fine with that. Though the series is presently confirmed for 24 episodes based on what we’ve seen, we’re positive in the near future, we can get more. For a series that’s been 14 years in the making, I’m sure we can a new season sometime by next year. For now, let’s enjoy what we’re going to get this summer.