Vinland Saga S2 is a Materclass in Character Writing

Key takeaways from Vinland Saga S2 review:

  1. Vinland Saga Season 2 takes a dramatic shift in setting and tone, transitioning from brutal violence and revenge to a quiet farm life, showcasing the protagonist Thorfinn’s struggles with ordinary challenges, which are made equally imposing through excellent storytelling.
  2. The character development in Season 2 is exceptional, particularly for Thorfinn and his relationship with Einar. Thorfinn’s journey from a broken man to finding purpose and hope is portrayed gradually, while Einar’s optimism and friendship play a pivotal role in his transformation.
  3. The animations and soundtracks in Vinland Saga Season 2 are visually stunning and impactful. The art style is visually appealing, with standout moments. The sound design, including powerful BGMs and remarkable voice work, adds depth to the series, creating an immersive experience for viewers.

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 2 Review - But Why Tho?

There are a plethora of historical mangas out there. We all love to learn some history while going through a compelling story. Very few mangas or anime do this better than Vinland Saga though. It has everything, historical accuracy while making sure that the story and characters are interesting.

So when Season 1 ended on a cliffhanger, I am sure everyone was left begging for more. But I don’t think any of the anime onlies were prepared for what we got. After the brutal violence and the revenge-heavy plot of Season 1, Vinland Saga S2 suddenly drops us into this quiet setting, far removed from the war or anything like that.

So join me on this long review and analysis of Vinland Saga S2 as I do my best to try and explain why this season hits as hard as it does. There will be spoilers ahead so consider yourself warned. So let’s start.

Vinland Saga Director Apologies for Season 2 Controversy

Plot

From a blood-stanched battlefield straight to a farm. The problems Thorfinn faces now, feel so ordinary now compared to all the things he faced earlier. The retainers rampling his and Einar’s crops, being given an old horse to work with, being bullied by the mercenaries protecting the farm, etc. These are much smaller threats than Thorfinn used to face every day just a few years ago And yet, the anime does such a good job of making them feel just as imposing.

But of course, it is Vinland Saga, it won’t always be all nice and calm farm life now, would it? Of course, tensions start rising soon. And the manifestation of these tensions is Gardar. Nothing stays the same after Gardar is introduced into the story. He is this big brute of a man who killed his owner and burnt his farm. And yet, the anime manages to make us feel bad because of how well his and Arnheid’s backstory is written.

Vinland Saga Season 2 Reveals Preview for Episode 2

All this while we also get periodic updates on Canute’s campaign. Canute’s side of things comes into play in the last few episodes. I know how it’ll end and I will not spoil it because the whole encounter is brilliantly written.

Characters

Thorfinn

This is where Vinland Saga S2 is pretty much unbeatable. At the beginning of the season, we see a broken Thorfiin. Someone who has completely given up on life; has nothing to live for and sees no point in continuing to live.

Through his encounters in the season, he changes a little bit gradually. In the first encounter with Snake, he learns that he wants to live, later in the fight with the retainers, he makes his first step to move on from his war PTSD after being knocked out and so on. And then he reaches another developmental milestone at the very end of the whole Canute affair, which I will not spoil

Vinland Saga Director Hypes Season 2's Themes

Einar

A big force in helping him change was Einar. Thorfinn probably would’ve been the same empty husk of a man we first see in the season if he never met Einar. Einar’s optimism rubs off on Thorfinn and it is thanks to him that he is finally able to move on.

Einar himself gets such nice character development. We get a full episode to see his back story and how he met Thorfinn. Einar goes from trying to strangle Thorfinn at night to a true friend. Thorfinn and Einar complement each other so well. Einar is very much like younger Thorfinn, hot-headed and impulsive. Thorfinn now though is this calm and rational individual so he plays off of Einar really well.

Vinland Saga: Season 2 Premiere Review - IGN

Others

We have one of the best-written main duos with some of the best side cast I have ever seen. Ketil’s wife, for example, appears twice in the whole season but I still remember her. Arnheid, Snake, Sverkel and then Ketil himself all have their little character arcs that flesh out their character and make them memorable. Canute’s growth sky-rocketed in Season 1 but it does not stop in Vinland Saga S2 either.

What’s even better is that all of them support Thorfinn’s growth in one way or another. All of these amazing character, their interactions, and their influences on one another come together to create the beautiful masterpiece we call Vinland Saga S2. It is amazing how well Mappa translated all of this character writing from the manga into the anime.

Vinland Saga: Snake's Sword Explained

Animations and Soundtracks

The animations look amazing as you might expect. Vinland Saga has always had this really good art style and Mappa really capitalized on that. Probably the most impactful moment animation-wise for me was Thorfinn’s inner conversation with Askeladd when he is hanging on that cliff. That scene is breathtaking.

The sound design is equally impactful with some heavy-hitting BGMs and some phenomenal voice work. The first opening was amazing, the 2nd opening I don’t like as much but it is really good too. The 2nd ending though, chef’s kiss, it is perfect. Mappa didn’t pull any punches with Vinland Saga S2.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 5: Canute carves his path to Kingliness as  series steps away from Thorfinn and Einar

Conclusion

That is all for now. Vinland Saga S2 is amazing and Mappa did a fantastic job in adapting it. Here are my final scores for Vinland Saga Season 2:

  • Plot: 10/10
  • Characters: 11/10
  • Animations: 10/10
  • Soundtracks: 10/10
  • ‘You have no enemies”: 10/10
  • Overall: 10/10

Yep, I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever about Vinland Saga S2. Now, let me know what you think in the comments. I know a lot of people won’t agree but remember, this is my opinion, it is ok to disagree. We have no enemies after all. With that said, I will take my leave here. See ya!

Also, check out my first impressions of JoJo Part 9 right here.

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