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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 like the new part
This is mostly in response to Mattz.
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I like the new turn that the series is taking. I typically hate the "warrior who doesn't fight" thing just as much or more than the next guy if it's not done well (for example, I did not like the "warrior who doesn't fight" ideal in Trigun. It was poorly done). On the other hand, I think Vinland Saga is much more refined than any other attempt at the ideal I've seen.
Vinland Saga took the reader on a journey before arriving at the ideal, as opposed to the character having it from the start and having the reasoning explained. All throughout Thorfinn's life, he basically wanted nothing but revenge on Askeladd, fueled from his hatred. Eventually, Askeladd was killed, and not by Thorfinn's hands, which essentially destroyed Thorfinn's purpose in life. If you understand this, I think it makes the farmland saga a lot more interesting, at least that's the way that I see it.
To be honest, I was a bit worried that Vinland Saga would boil down to Gungrave-like plot where the main character seeks revenge as the point of the story. If you can't tell, I disliked Gungrave. If you didn't watch Gungrave, then you can think of Thorfinn as Sasuke from Naruto (oh God do I hate that character). I was very happy when Askeladd died by someone else's hands because that meant that the story of Vinland Saga doesn't have to be stuck in the dark ages of a revenge plot.
That being said, I'm actually very interested where the author is going to direct Vinland Saga in the future. I think that if you dislike Thorfinn no longer being a Sasuke-like nothing-matters-but-revenge character, then you probably shouldn't read Seinen, and should stick with mindless action-Shonen mangas like Naruto and Bleach. Not that those mangas are bad, don't get me wrong. I like those mangas as well but they're more geared towards exactly what you're looking for.
doesn't work as a historical, but good despite that
Full disclosure: I've a PhD in Icelandic sagas. That should have automatically made me a hater of Vinland Saga - thru' "how can some mangaka know moar about my subject than me" line of reasoning. But truth be told, I still enjoy it - I just understand, while I'm at it, that it has nothing to do with Norsemen. Not that it has factual mistakes - on the contrary, it's pleasingly accurate there, good job on the homework, man! - but the mindset... It's not medieval Scandinavians, it's Japanese posing as the guys. A completely different world-view, set of ethical priorities etc. So, as a history tale, it fails; but when taken simply as an action-packed psychological drama (guess that's the most accurate description) in an exotic setting, it's a winner - lush, realistic art, 3D characters, a good doze of suspense and plenty of emotion. I still wish Yukimura would have continued his previous series, Planetes, longer, or done a new series in that vein, but Vinland Saga is nevertheless high-class seinen.
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Ever since Thorfinn became a slave, I've been looking forward to the moment his warrior spirit would reawaken. Now I guess it did happen, but alas, it's the 'no violence' kind. I face-palmed myself into oblivion. If this peaceful "I'm a true warrior who wont hurt anyone or I'll cry" shyte's gonna continue, I'm gonna flush this manga through the toilet. Figuratively. But absolutely.
Like at First, and then...
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i've never remembered there's a scene where woman get raped, but i dont know, its been a long time since i read this manga.
but of course i like it at first, but then thing seems kinda boring recently, slow-paced, boring farmland saga, ugh can't stand it, get a move on please
Would love it, except...
Well, I was enjoying it at first, with interesting characters, story, and good art. I'm usually okay with unsympathetic characters too, but I kind of started to detest Thorfinn after
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he just stands by and lets an innocent woman get raped. That pretty much blew past my tolerance line.
So, if you don't have any problem with that kind of character, then I would definitely recommend the manga, but for anyone else... maybe you're better off reading something else.
There are already many well-written reviews here which explain in detail why Vinland is so darn awesome so I won't go into that....
I love Vinland Saga: the art, the plot, the characters...everything! Even though Vinland is at a slow point right now, Thorfinn is finally starting to develop into a coherent character and that is interesting enough! Plus there are implications of politics and plot development in the background, with the other characters from the previous arc exerting a subtle influence on the plot.
I can't wait for the next chapter!
Breathtaking and accurate. Holy crap.
Being a total history dork, when I saw 'Vinland Saga' in my RSS feed, I kinda flipped. Started reading out of sheer curiosity, and totally fell in love.
First, it is incredibly historically accurate, even down to the helmets! No horned helmets here! The references to Norse folklore are fantabulous. The characters are wonderful and 3-D, and Thorfinn is a refreshing change from the usual shounen hero. Canute as well - his character has been fleshed out nicely. The gore is mostly kept to a tasteful level.
All in all? I'm addicted. Very few manga can keep me bouncing in my chair, eager for more, but this one does it. It's a shame this series is so underrated - won't stop me from cosplaying Thorfinn, though. =]
hmmm the story take a little slow.. i actually didn't wanted to read this manga at first and found out through desperation(couldn't find anything else to read) but after the boring intro..Everything change plot,emotion and epic scene finally brought me to like it. Like the way it represent the cruelty of humans
I anticipate upping my ranking to a ten by the finish of this one. Yet another manga for which I breathlessly await the next release.
I'm going through a Viking phase right now. So my preference for this manga is probably a little biased. I don't know much about the actual history of the Viking invasions of England, but the clothing, ships, housing, weapons, and details of day to day life have been rendered with fair accuracy in Vinland Saga.
The fighting, maybe a little over the top, yeah, especially the horse punching episode. Still, I didn't find the gore to be excessive. When I picked this book up my biggest worry was that it would be one long slaughterfest full of lovingly drawn images of blood pumping from cloven torsos. When it comes to Vikings, it's especially easy to glorify the violent aspects and gloss over the reality of such acts with a load of heroic pap. Vinland Saga doesn't do that. Many battles are portrayed as are heroic intentions. I think what balances it out is that all the battles arise out of strategic context, and motives from greed to stupidity to nation building, to ideology, to revenge are portrayed. The characters fight for good and bad reasons, and the characters are rounded enough so that you can really sympathize with their choices.
I've read a lot of shounen/seinen where the young warrior character gets idealized as some pinnacle of manhood and the reader gets a load of poorly supported philosophizing that comes across as justification for being a thoughtless brat who "solves" complex problems with violence. I also worried that Vinland Saga would follow this formula. Fortunately, this story is nothing like that. Yukimura Makoto philosophizes about war in a mature and complex way. He does not beat his reader with a moral hammer or dissolve into sentimentality. He is building a construct of a "true warrior," but he's been adding layers for 58 chapters now, I don't quite know where he's going with it, and I remain immensely engaged with his ideas.
There's also plenty of between battle content that fleshes out the political situation of the time as well as the various cultures of Iceland, Denmark, England, and Wales. Yukimura handles pacing fairly well, interspersing these scenes with the battles in a way that keeps the story flowing evenly. The plot moves along nicely but never feels so rushed that you can't take in the scenery.
I picked up Vinland Saga with a lot of reservations, all of which have proven baseless. This is a really engaging story, and I think it will appeal to more than just history nerds. Read it through that first long flashback and see if you can resist getting hooked.
I'm quite surprised
This is probably the only series about Norsemen I could think of, and actually does them justice. And the war was depicted in full color, with no atrocities being spared, exaggerated just for the hell of it, or turned into a long moral lesson/tearjerker . Those proud warriors, who almost live exclusively for battle, valor and honor, and dream of being allowed by Odin into Valhalla after dying on the battlefield, so that they can continue to fight and party for eternity. It is a mindset that is almost incomprehensible to any of us today. It was a time full of endless battles, political scheming, genocides and terror, pure heroism, and stark beauty. This epic tale of a young fighter is but a single piece dedicated to those people. The artwork is excellent, the fighting scenes are fluid, distinguishable, detailed and original. This is more than anything I could ask for. This is something that I would really like to be turned into a movie. But alas, some manga series can never be showed on TV, 'won't someone please think of the children', Askeladd has without a doubt become my favorite character. Crowning moment of awesome.