Considering the fact that this show was produced by Wit Studios, I had no doubt that at the very least, there would be a high production level. By the end of the season I was left wanting so much more from the world that we were introduced to, and after twenty four episodes we were only being introduced as this entire season was in fact the prologue to the narrative. The manga has been going since 2005 and has collected twenty three volumes at the time of this writing so there is clearly plenty of story to tell yet. A second season has been announced though a release date has not been disclosed yet.
The narrative starts off simple enough, revolving around our central character, Thorfinn's desire for revenge on Askeladd for killing his father Thors. However, as the narrative carries on, and as more characters are introduced, the greater the scope of the narrative becomes. So much so that we are treated to a combination of a war epic crossed with a political thriller. The character relationships are always intriguing, and as the show went on I was finding myself more and more interested in the scenes where characters are sitting, talking, and plotting, more than I was with the battles and fight scenes. Though the fight scenes were incredible in their own right.
Moving onto the characters themselves. They are many and varied, some lasting the length of the entire show, some dipping in and out of the narrative, and some only being present for a single episode. What is impressive is that, regardless of the amount of screen time they had, each character feels unique, and well thought of, from a conceptual standpoint. In addition, the world that these characters live in is merciless towards them, where they are beholden to the world and change accordingly rather than the world changing around them. The show also goes as far as to utilize the fiction statement of historical fiction as a lot of the characters that we see on screen actually existed, and there are statues of them present in our world, however the actions and journeys of the characters are exaggerated for the narrative the author is weaving.
As is typical for a Wit Studio production, the visuals are sublime. The world is magnificent to look at, the character designs all stand out wonderfully, the compositions of the frame are stellar, and the movement is immaculate. There are only so many ways that I can say the show looks amazing. To put it simply, the show looks amazing. Even the way they use the colour palate in the show is well executed emphasizing both the grim aspects of the world and the wondrous aspects of it in turn. In short, this is a good looking show.
Finally the music. The soundtrack of this show is fantastic, it has been something I have been listening to on loop for the past few days, at the time of writing. Yutaka Yamada, who also composed the soundtracks of Tokyo Ghoul, a soundtrack I listen to to this day, and the anime Babylon, knocks it so far out of the park that the park is no longer visible. Even the opening and endings of the show are great, the endings in particular, 'Torches' by Aimer, and 'Drown' by Milet.
With all that out of the way Vinland Saga is an anime I wholeheartedly recommend. It is so well structured that it can stand on its own and be a great starting off point for a seasonal anime. The show is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.