Fleas, lice, killings, and depression: those words basically sum up this week’s episode of Vinland Saga. Thornfinn’s journey of becoming a savage killer has begun, and it’s honestly hard to watch without feeling broken hearted.
Japanese Original Episode Title: 旅の始まり
Askeladd and his men reach Gainsborough and start negotiating with the rest of the Danes to help with the war and get rewarded for it. After closing the deal of working as ‘mercenaries’ against the English, they are instantly attacked. An intense battle begins where Thornfinn kills a man for the first time. As the time passes and they start invading more villages and engage in more battles, Thornfinn becomes quite skilled with his two daggers and helps Askeladd and his men advance forward with their raids. He is later given the mission of scouting further in the English territory where he is wounded by an arrow in his left arm. Then he is found in the forest by a kind old English lady and her daughter who take him in and take care of him. After spending a moment in their house, he warns them to run away from the village and goes away. He then sets fire to a house nearby that acts as a signal for Askeladd and his men to invade the village and start slaughtering everyone.
The pirate life: They were waiting for the rain to shower and get rid of the fleas? Can you imagine how horribly bad they would all smell? I honestly started scratching my entire body when I saw that scene. I wouldn’t be able to last even one day as a pirate.
All the gore: This episode had a lot of gore that was put in the most unexpected scenes. You would think that the battles would be filled with guts and disgusting scenes but nope, they just had a lot of stabbing and a lot of blood flying in the air. But I must say that a few scenes had some great impact at Thornfinn and to me as a viewer. When he saw guts spilling out of a man’s body for the first time, he was so disgusted that he puked. I actually felt kind of the same when I saw that crow in the opening scene of the episode, plucking a man’s eye off and holding it with his beak. Now I know that I won’t be eating anything while watching this series.
Those feels: Damn, this is getting more and more depressing in every episode. The whole story with the lady that took Thornfinn in was so painfully tragic. The lady lost her son and wanted to save Thornfinn. She took care of him and combed his hair to get rid of the lice (hopefully he will keep doing this and share it with his fellow crewmates) and the highlight of this episode was when she sees him killing the Englishmen. She cries because she realizes what kind of horrors this child have been through to act this way and Thornfinn realizes that he will never go back to having a normal life. The look on his face at the end of the scene, says it all.
Themes & Trivia
Thornfinn’s voice changed: I don’t know if you noticed but as he gets older, his voice begins to change. He actually has a different seiyuu voicing him when he gets older and he is no other than Yūto Uemura, a voice actor famous for his role in Bungo Stray Dogs as Atsushi and Darling in the Franxx as Hiro.
King Ethelred: Æthelred II, known as the Unready, was King of the English from 978 to 1013 and again from 1014 until his death. His epithet does not derive from the modern word ‘unready’, but rather from the Old English unræd meaning ‘poorly advised’; it is a pun on his name, which means ‘well advised’. He came to the throne at about the age of 12, following the assassination of his older half-brother, Edward the Martyr. The chief problem of Æthelred’s reign was the conflict with the Danes. After several decades of relative peace, Danish raids on English territory began again in the 980s. Following the Battle of Maldon in 991, Æthelred paid tribute, or Danegeld, to the Danish king. In 1002, Æthelred ordered the St. Brice’s Day massacre of Danish settlers. In 1013, King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark invaded England, as a result of which Æthelred fled to Normandy in 1013 and was replaced by Sweyn. However, he returned as king for two years after Sweyn’s death in 1014.
‘On the battlefield, weaklings like you die first’. When Askeladd said that to Thornfinn, I could honestly see a scene in the future where Thornfinn wins his ass and spares his life because he realizes that he is better than that and remembers the words of his father. From the looks of the series, it doesn’t feel like Thornfinn would end up like this, but I have high hopes for this kid. He will prevail and realize that he doesn’t have to be a murderer to redeem his father.
It hit my ass.
Honestly, in the whole tragedy of this series, this line told by one of Askeladd’s men had me laughing. It blows my mind how these people have murdering and killing as part of their daily lives. And the worst thing is that they seem to enjoy this pirate-Viking lifestyle.
Summer 2019 | Anime Info | Simulcast