I’m a bit split on Vinland Saga this week to be honest. On one hand, the story continues to be top notch and one of my favorite of the year. On the other hand, the production was a mix of iffy and pretty good. Either way, let’s dive in.
Starting off, the aforementioned production. There were a number of good shots this week of course, Wit did what it does best. Such as Thorfinn charging in against Thorkell, or Askeladd’s fight for his life. Some of the good shots even included things like the CGI sled. In fact, in general, the CGI was pretty cleverly used throughout the episode. Very little of it actually felt intrusive. However, as is the curse of an anime adaptation, I can’t help but compare it to the manga. As there are a number of scenes that just fell short comparatively. The number one of course being Thorkell’s confrontation with Torgrim, which just lacked the impact the manga panel did. As if they just copied over the character model from a sheet and put him in, rather than the passion Yukimura put into the panel. You can see what I mean down below.
Onto the actual story, we got another glimpse of Askeladd’s past this week. For how short it was, it tells us a lot about him as a character. In a way, he is very similar to Thorfinn. A parent/family member speaking of Avalon/Vinland, a land to the west where there can be peace. Living a life of war, etc. The comparison isn’t perfect, but then we don’t have Askeladd’s full history yet, do we? What I really liked about this though was the talk of a king. Askeladd has spent his whole life waiting for a king from the west, his Artorius. Looking for a man to follow, just as his mother said, even perhaps seeing such a man in Thors years ago. Only now he is getting old, so what does he do? He tries to make his own king in Canute. Can’t say he doesn’t try.
Moving on we have Thorkell, and his reaction to this whole thing. Staying consistent with the last set of deserters, Thorkell is not impressed. Not with the mutiny at least. To him, it makes sense of course, why would you be afraid to die? Why would you not fight to the last, it’s not like you didn’t give it a good try? Still it’s not like he didn’t get anything out of this. For one, Thorkell was rather impressed with Askeladd. Even on his knees, arrows through his legs, Thorkell respected him for what he had done. For the chase, and for his courage in the face of mutiny. And of course he was happy to hear Thorfinn hadn’t taken part in it either. Really, everything’s coming up Thorkell.
On the soldier’s, it’s not like they were complete idiots either. We saw a number of intelligent decisions from them. Such as when chasing Bjorn they attacked his horse, rather than him. Or when fighting Askeladd, they eventually decided to just shoot him rather than continue to engage him in melee. So it was nice to see some good decisions from the mooks. On Askeladd’s side, we did see some more unrealistic stuff going on though. Playing up the classic “legendary viking warrior”, cutting people in two, etc. In some instances, there was some good logic there. His heavy armor would protect him from blows, though the impact would still hurt. And while cutting helmets, Kabutowari, wasn’t really a viking thing it is also historically possible. Still, it did feel rather… fantastic for the scene. I enjoyed it though.
So yeah, this week was a bit of a mixed bag, but I still enjoyed it. There were bits of beauty throughout, such as Vinland really nailing the HORSE PUNCH. And Thorfinn’s various scenes throughout the episode. But it was also held back by some CGI in places and such. Nothing terrible, definitely nothing worth the outrage currently be directed at Vinland’s director on twitter. I can understand some disappointment, but come on people. Apologies for the short post this week, but really not feeling it for some reason. Like the week is a wash maybe. Regardless, I will see you all in 2 weeks, since episode 18 is delayed! Though if you want more of my opinion, know that Throwback Thursday is starting up again this week with Neon Genesis Evangelion! See ya there.