As one of the dark horses of the 2019 anime, one of the claimed-to-be “Big 3 of the Seinen series”, and one of the bloodiest and most barbaric modern-day anime, Vinland Saga was anticipated for its sequel. People always wondered what happened to Thorfinn after he deliberately failed to avenge Askeladd.
Then, the prayer is answered. Vinland Saga Season 2 is produced and currently airs at the beginning of 2023. The animation studio is shifted to MAPPA which has a brilliant portfolio these days. Everything seems to be going well until the few first episodes came out and probably baffled many people.
Pretty sure you know what the reason is, Thorfinn. Our main protagonist has changed, in a very pathetic and miserable way possible. He used to be a very strong and fiery young man who just wanted to cut anything in front of him and made sure the death of his father may be paid for by Askeladd. But now, he is just an empty and low-spirited human being who works as a slave.
Not only his characterization is changed, but the direction of the series is somehow also different than the prequel. The first season brought a lot of bloody action sequences and epic quests of the Vikings, but now, it becomes “farming saga” or “farming simulator” instead with small amounts of high-tension scenes.
A lot of the anime-only folks are surprised and even disappointed with the sudden change. Some people and that’s probably you as one of them, might be thinking “Where the hell is the Thorfinn that l used to watch? Is this anime going to be this boring forever from now on?”
Now, if you think so, then it is ensured that Vinland Saga is not your cup of tea. Because the truth is, the whole point of this series is not the bloodbath and barbaric actions of the Vikings, but the journey of life learning and land finding by our main protagonist, Thorfinn.
Let’s take an example from fellow Big 3 of Seinen series which is Berserk, you might be familiar with the “long prologue” storytelling. Berserk for some people might be known as a medieval fantasy story that focuses on two knights named Guts and Griffith. But, if you follow the story pretty far, you know the previous sentence is only a prologue prior to the main plot of the story.
The main plot is actually the story of the adventure of Guts who seeks revenge on Griffith who has turned into a demon by cold-bloodedly massacring his friends and even raping his beloved woman Casca. Along in the story, Guts finds new companions who will help him to cure Casca’s mind and sanity, tame his own inner beast, and defeat the villainous enemies.
That is what Vinland Saga is offering too. The things you saw in the first season up from the beginning until the very end of it were all simply just a setup, a prologue to the main point of this series. As the title says, it is “Vinland Saga”, a large story that focuses on the development and growth of a young man named Thorfinn Karlsfeni who dreams of living in a beautiful land called Vinland.
It does not mean the future story does not give any more intriguing wars or battles, it’s just the bloodbath will no longer be centered around Thorfinn anymore because he has changed, just like what you saw when he climbed up his nightmare and vowed to not be in violence anymore, that is our new Thorfinn!
The point is, if you are just interested in this series simply because of its action, then you will definitely be disappointed for the rest of the series. But if you love the character writings of Thorfinn and his progress to be a better man and claim his dream, make sure to keep staying tuned for more stories that should be coming whether in the anime or the manga.