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From Kodansha USA:
FOR HONOR AND VENGEANCE
As a child, Thorfinn sat at the feet of the great Leif Ericson and thrilled to wild tales of a land far to the west. But his youthful fantasies were shattered by a mercenary raid. Raised by the Vikings who murdered his family, Thorfinn became a terrifying warrior, forever seeking to kill the band's leader, Askeladd, and avenge his father. Sustaining Throfinn through his ordeal are his pride in his family and his dreams of a fertile westward land, a land without war or slavery...the land Leif called Vinland.
Note: Was nominated for the 2008 Manga Taisho award. Won the Grand Prize in the manga division of the Japan Media Arts awards in 2009. Won the 36th Kodansha Manga Award for Best General Manga in 2012.
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I normally wont bother with ratings, and they generally tend to annoy me whenever I read them, People writing what is just opinion but, is spelled out as if it were fact always gets me. I will say that I think that the story is excellent regardless of preference, I liked the the way it was told and the amount of depth in many aspects of the story to say the least. I feel that is always important to see and decide for yourself whether you will like something or not. Instead of believing what is only someone's opinion which is faultless ignorance it is better to know, and decide for yourself. In my opinion the story is at the least worth a glance. I feel that its is by no means a superficial story only interested in characters that look cool, but an earnest read to say the least.
... Last updated on February 21st, 2014, 9:46am
It's a real story of vengeance, and more
It's a real story of vengeance...by a boy. The characters hold true to their personalities. They make choices different from the other and see the world in very different perspectives too. The topics discussed in the manga are emotional, interesting, and realistic. What is a true warrior? Where is a land without war and slaves? Is there love among us? It does so without being cheesy; this isn't some sort of shounen story talking about the power of love and friendship. This manga isn't about preaching, but showing. I cannot tell you exactly what VS is about. Right now, it's moving to a different direction because it's a dynamic story like that. The first half of the story had been resolved and we're about to move on to something else - something bigger.
The topic that the mangaka works with is not a new one. People have told stories about the greatness of having raw physical strength, and many have also criticized how this force, to get your way, is not real strength. The main character, Thorfinn, believes in using his physical abilities and using his anger to fuel it. When the anger dies out he loses what he once lived to do. He questions his actions and the world he lives in, and thus begins his transformation.
The manga is overall, strong. The personalities of the characters are well presented and you're well introduced to the world. It's not without blemishes though. The mangaka too quickly, too sloppily, forced some of his characters to undergo their changes. The suddenness is questionable and could have been avoided. Still, the mangaka tells this story well, and it's worth a read.
I don't look forward to manga's next chapter. I've never really gotten attached to the characters, but I am curious about how thorfinn will grow. It's too bad. The story just falls short by a bit.
As good as it gets today
This phenomenal seinen manga is recommended to all fans of Berserk, Blade of the Immortal and historical fiction only found on HBO/Showtime or european comics. The first volume burns slow(it was a shonen manga then) but is full of promise and soon becomes a ravishing drama about revenge, slavery and the price of freedom. The mature tag is not only because of the unflinching violence but of the deep psychological anguish some of the leads go through. The art is also as good as it gets within monthly deadlines(my darling Berserk i am looking at you). The reviewers below me validly complain about the slow pacing of the farmlands arc and i understand but don´t agree. The slow pace was needed to properly show the mundanely and insignificance of the live of a slave and represented the leads inner turmoil rather well. When it finally kicked its gears up the manga delivered the best volumes jet, so get reading already and find out what this high rated masterpiece is all about.
... Last updated on September 28th, 2013, 12:38am
Better than most
If you're looking for something realistic, psychological and with a fair amount of gore and blood, Vinland Saga is probably it.
I can't comment on the historical accuracy of the portrayal of the Vikings etc but I like how Yukimura Makoto doesn't shy away from the key issues of war, slavery, sexism and such. It's important to remember that history isn't all vanilla. Rape was a common occurrence and slavery even more so. No romanticism of war and violence here which is a relief from the normal tropes of manga.
Personally I think that Thor's character development is really, really good. No insane character heroics or anything. He's someone looking for his own views on life and the world around him and that's part of the process of growing up.
Quite a few people have complained about the farmland saga part. I would say don't worry. It sets up beautifully for a reunion with the earlier part of the story at this point in time and looks to be just as good as earlier part of the story.
Please don't complain about how the manga's release is so slow. Good things take time. The amazing art in the manga is probably very time consuming. Scanlating it also takes time. Appreciate what you've got!
Great Start, Shaky Future
Great start. Blood, guts, glory, war. The first 8 volumes are pure awesomeness but then after a time skip the author changed what made this series great and is trying to turn the protagonist into some kind of Viking Kenshin Himura, All about non-violence and puppies and rainbows. Hoping it doesn't last.. but reading it now makes me sick to my stomach but you got to have hope right?
It survived !
I loved Vinland Saga from the start, and I still do. But I honestly had some worries about the way it became. Some will say it changed, some, that it lost its charm, some even that it's downright depressive as of now but I just think it evolved. Of course I miss the fighting and the war and the awesome characters from before. But it's an historical manga, not just some action manga about blood and guts and all that. As it gained depth, it strayed from the bloodstained path, and just as confused as I was at first, I understood it was needed because life is not about war. Thorfinn needed to understand that for this manga to be a complete manga from this Yukimura Makoto, known for his realistic art and psychological style.
Still, I think we're not through with the war. It's coming back. This was an Thorfinn goes farm big awesome arc. That or he'll die before becoming a warrior again
My type of manga!! The art,the story and the character's are awesome!! If you only read typical shounen type manga stay away from this.Seriously it's only going to make you write and stupid @ss comment like -->>>k.bell11
i wouldnt recommend this manga. I dropped it about halfway through because i didn't care about the characters and the plot is really slow, i mean there's a 20 chapt flashback right at the beginning, before i was even wondering about the backstory. Thorfinn is a bit annoying and everyone else is basically an idiot, there was no emotion, the characters felt forced and the battles were mediocre. Read Ares instead.
It really is a extraordinary series. Unique, engaging, badass, with a solid comfortable blend of drama, good quality humour, amazing action/war scenes and true real life gritty realism. You might think the plot would just be the usual revenge story, but it turns out to be a lot more than that, with plenty other directions being involved. It's pleasantly unexpected. The art, of course, is very well drawn, detailed and overall great.
The characters are also remarkable. They are quite real, with great interactions and very complex in many ways - not just the usual black and white. Also, they can get dirty, they can be affected by the stresses and brutality of daily life, or they can actually die. No more perfect unhindered hair or porcelain skin and clothes as emphasized in everything else, which just adds to the authentic intensity. In general you will definitely have at least one genuinely favoured character (Or one you love to hate). And for the ladies, if it matters: there are some really good looking men!
It really stands out against SO MANY other mangas out there. In retrospect, if you are a fan of the "Song of Ice and Fire" novel series by George R.R Martin (Like I am) you would likely enjoy this manga. And overall, works for an older audience who might feel weary/uninterested with other typical mangas and their themes.
And yes, after all the Viking travels, battles, great dramatic moments, and the rise and fall of certain princes/kings who are fighting amongst one another, there is a Farmland/slavery bit that has offput some people (And I can understand why, it can feel slow, considering how long it takes for updates to occur. I was lucky enough to not have to wait at that time since I got into the series only a couple months ago, and just read through easily). But one has to comprehend the importance of journey, realization and personal will, instead of everything that are just handed over to characters or having the story depend only on constant typical action scenes. Everything in this series is so much more deeper and meaningful. The Farm chapters also offer a whole new other buildup for the next dramatic segments, as is tension of a ruler desiring to come in and take over everything through force, and there are other inner conflicts growing within the dwelling. Besides, during the farm era segment, you also get inbetween chapters that follow another main character who is going through the process/stress of being a rising and conquering king.
The only downside is sometimes the chapter updates can be a tad bit of a torture to wait, with cliffhangers of course existing in a healthy amount. But, considering the intricacy of the whole thing, I reckon it is better to get slower updates in order to obtain quality instead of faster updates and have everything rushed or poorly done.
It's not historically perfect of course (I mean, it's rare that anything is anyhow) but it is nevertheless quite satisfactory - it still does it's job. I'm Viking descent myself afterall, so it pleases me well enough. There are a lot more worse books, movies and whatnots out there that totally butcher history.
Anyhoo, definitely a recommended read. It's a gem, and a top personal favourite.