Vinland Saga 2 – Episodes 8 Review

Watching this season of Vinland Saga has definitely and completely sold me to the story Makoto Yukimura-sensei wants to tell. The nuance he has always displayed when approaching this world, exploring the horrors of war and slavery, going all the way to depicting the humanity in his characters is beyond superb. There is just this narrative honesty I find in the way he’s writing it and for a story that was so battle oriented on its first act, when I look back at it, I can see that it’s always been cleared threaded that this was the path we were supposed to take alongside Thorfinn. The exact destination may still be unclear, but for a story that started out about revenge, taking the risk to follow the path of redemption and doing it right is nothing short of commendable to me.

As for the anime itself, it still does freaking slaps. The production team of Vinland Saga, in particular, is one I have lots of appreciation to. It’s easy for me to overlook the efforts of these many people who come together to deliver these stories we enjoy so much (especially when there are so many anime out there), but I’m grateful that this staff is so vocal about their love for this series. The move from WIT to MAPPA may have slandered down some of the amazing fluidity the visuals once had, but in the hand of this staff, their efforts keep bringing this series constantly to a place of spotlight, production values wise. Every episode is marvelous (and mind you, looking much better than a lot of titles out there), and the direction, storyboard, voice acting, and even the anime extend scenes keep taking this show to a spot of its own.

And about the story itself, condensing these two eps (8 & 9) comes a delicious taste of just what the story is proposing us now. Ep 9 is clearly the star of the show, but none of that could happen without all the build-up from before. In this, the first of our two eps contribute a lot to that. Ever since Einar’s arrival at the farm, Thorfinn has clearly gained a lot of liveliness. Just how clear his memories of the past are is still hard to guess, but he can’t shake off the feeling of forgetting something really important, especially when his night terrors become more vivid. What the important truth really is isn’t made clear at first, but the truth of the matter is that Thorfinn’s whole life has been guided toward his desire to attain vengeance against Askeladd. It’s quite curious, how this name keeps popping up to Thorfinn’s life. For better or for worse, the truth remains that Thorfinn’s entire existence up to not so long ago was entirely dictated to gravitate around Askeladd’s. As the years passed, their relationship became that much more complicated – it was a twisted game where unwillingly, the Danish man sort of took upon the role of a father figure to Thorfinn. In the end, Thorfinn got nothing when he was killed right in front of his eyes. But even if he were the one to make the hit, I still doubt any meaning would come out of it at that far point they were in. At least substantial enough to change Thorfinn to the positive.

As hard as their lives are as a slaves, Thorfinn and Einar can count themselves as two very lucky fellows, having found people such as Sverkel-san who, in this case, just comes about with the right words. Thorfinn has found a dead end in his life and without his revenge, he fears he’s become nothing. But what Sverkel said is a truth he’s been overlooking – if it’s empty, you just fill it with something. Little by little, if you have to, but someday, it will no longer be empty. Easier said than done? Yes, and in Thorfinn’s case in particular, I can see why this is so hard to do. But as if these were not enough problems for a day, they still have to deal with the jealousy of the retainers upon witnessing just how much their land has improved since Einar’s arrival. They destroy it in total, but without any proof, there is nothing the two men can do. Patel offers to help in the matter, suggesting he investigates the land so they can prove it was the retainers who did it. But in the face of rage, of course, Einar isn’t having any of that. It is beyond cruel to have your work reduced to zero like that by the sheer pettiness of people, even more when your life depends on it. In that, his rage is completely justified, as well as him snapping at Thorfinn for remaining infuriating calm about it. He, too, is clearly suffering – but in the face of the destruction his hands have caused, he doesn’t believe there’s any right for him to be angry about it.

Nonetheless, upon seeing the group, Einar gives in to their provocations and finally snaps, with his eyes set on getting the reverence for his farm. But in a very surprising turn of events, it is Thorfinn who delivers the heavy blow. Just what this means to the answers he’s been trying to attain is left open in thin air.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s