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Vinland Saga Episode 1 Review: Somewhere not Here

Once I know that WIT, the studio behind Attack on Titans success, will bring the epic saga into anime, I immediately put Vinland Saga anime in my most anticipated anime in 2019 list. So far, I am loving the first episode and here are some highlights than I find interesting and my thoughts about the episode.

Vinland Saga episode 1 highlights

The battle of Hjörungavágr 

The anime opens in the battle of Hjörungavágr in 987. The battle sequences are well made with fluid animation and ost that create an intense battle atmosphere. Here, we are introduced to Thors the great Viking warrior. He is an expert at his job slaying enemies. I think he is one of the greatest and everyone fears him. However, he is troubled and having doubt about the war and the killings. So he fled the battlefield.

Vinland the dream land

vinland saga episode 1 review

The episode takes us from the bloody battle to the peaceful life in faraway North, Iceland. However, we can tell that they are living in a harsh environment. It’s always freezing and the land is covered by snow. Then, enters Leif Ericson the great seaman. He introduces Thorfinn son of Thors to Vinland, a bigger, warmer, and more prosperous land. Even the natives are very welcome to outsiders. How the episode introduces Vinland makes us think it will be about an epic sea adventure to the new continent. But is it?

Life is priceless

Thors who was once the great Viking warrior has changed. He thinks every life is priceless even a slave’s. I think he is feeling guilty about his violent past and tries so hard to rescue the dying man. He even trades the slave with his goats only to give the poor man a proper burial. A decent human funeral.

The brutal chain scene

Even though the anime is about treasuring life, the first episode also shows us its violence side. Halfdan wraps his underling’s head with a chain and pulls it so fast that you can see the skin, blood, and hair stick on the chain. It’s brutal and you can expect the battles in the future will be this violence or even more.


A little bit slow

The first episode is a bit slower compared to WIT’s Attack on Titan that showed us the main character’s goal since the first episode. In Vinland Saga episode 1, you can’t tell yet what’s Thorfinn life purpose or what’s this series about. Nevertheless, I really like how WIT studio introduces us to the series. The Viking theme scoring in the background, the culture, the history, the story depth, and of course the action.

Who is the greatest warrior

vinland saga anime review

Thorfinn and his friends think that Leif, one of the few who can find Vinland is not warrior enough. But I’m sure that this episode wants to tell us that the greatest warrior is not the one who kills enemies the most in the battlefield, but also the one who overcome obstacles to find the new and better land like Leif, and the one who choose peace over war, like Thors.

You can’t run forever

Vinland Saga episode 1 is also about "you can’t run forever." The mysterious character in the last scene is Floki, the dude Thors and Thorkell mentioned in the battle of Hjörungavágr. He is coming for Thors who fled the war. It’s already foreshadowed by Leif’s story about the Iceland ancestors who fled from Norway and Thorfinn’s question to his father about where they are gonna run if they are already at the edge of the world.
Haris Syukri
Haris Syukri I just wanna write everything I saw on screens

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