‘Vinland Saga’ Opens Up With a Strong Beginning to Season Two

Vinland Saga Opens Up With a Strong Beginning to Season Two

After a very successful first season of the hit anime “Vinland Saga,” season two is finally out, to many fans’ delight! The series is based on the successful manga series created by Makoto Yukimura, and has been his greatest success by far. 

The term “beginner anime” is thrown around a lot these days. It’s supposed to mean a show that eases watchers into the world of anime, not throwing them in with over-the-top dialogue and unfamiliar comedic styles. And “Vinland Saga” really is the perfect beginner’s anime. It has the great action and addictive characters that come with a lot of well-known anime, yet also features smart, interesting dialogue, thought-provoking ideas and terrific graphics. Vinland Saga is also easily accessible — it’s available on Netflix, with the option of English subtitles or dubbed voices. 

Vinland takes place during the time of the Vikings. The show follows main character Thorfinn’s journey from being an innocent kid in his home of Iceland to his time as a warrior, and what follows. Thorfinn’s story is loosely based on the real Icelandic viking, Thorfinn Karlsefni. 

In season one, the audience sees Thorfinn turn from a wide eyed kid into the Dark Warrior, ruined by what he had seen and done in the great war. On his journey, Thornfinn meets extreme warriors who are fully committed to their causes, and his initial story is one of revenge. Unable to move on from the moment that haunts him, Thornfinn dedicates the next eleven years of his life to avenging his wrong. It leaves him a shell of a man, with nothing to live for and no intention of living.

Throughout the first season, although he often is distracted by his desire for revenge, Thornfinn always has the goal of creating a peaceful society in Vinland (this world’s Finland). In his childhood, he constantly heard stories about the beautiful, fruitful land of Vinland and wanted to create a new society there without war, slavery or enemies. 

The show works in vastly different genres depending on the storyline, but all of it is about the arc of Thorfinn. While season one focused on the battlefield and its emotional anguish, season two does a complete 180. If you are expecting more of Thorfinn’s incredible battlefield feats, you will be disappointed. However, this season expands Thorfinn’s journey and his quest to find meaning in his life, beginning years after the end of the last season. 

One of the strengths of “Vinland Saga” is its tremendous animation. Although the animation was stunning during the engrossing fight scenes of season one, it excels with the beautiful broad landscape of the farm in season two. Also, when the audience gets a quick look at Thorfinn’s hopes for the paradise of Vinland, it’s much easier to understand why he thinks he can build a perfect society there. Vinland is animated as a peaceful, magical oasis. 

In season two, Thorfinn finds himself alone as a slave at a large farm without someone to claim as a father figure anymore. He has none of the will to live and kill that he had in season one. He struggles to find meaning in life with his sole purpose — getting revenge on a single person —gone.

In a jarring scene in Episode three of season two, Thorfinn lets himself get cut by a worker on the farm. He doesn’t bat an eye, flinch or plead in any way. Thorfinn is at a low point in his journey, but he has a lot more character development to go through. I’m excited to see his path continue on screen as he becomes the perfect warrior — there is a lot to come.