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Literature / Vicky the Viking

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A Swedish book series created by author Runer Jonsson in 1963, with new installments coming out through the 1980s.

Vicky the Viking is about the adventures of the titular character, the only son of the Viking chief Halvar of Flake. Vicky accompanies his father and his crew on their voyages and pillaging sprees, and though he lacks in physical strength, he proves himself useful by using his brains instead of brawn in solving the problems the Vikings face.

An animated series (Chiisana Baikingu Bikke in Japan, and Wickie und die Starken Männer in Germany) was made as an International Coproduction between Germany's Taurus Film and Japan's Zuiyo Enterprise.note  It lasted for 78 episodes on ZDF in Germany and Fuji Television in Japan, and has been adapted into many languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Arabic, Dutch, Portuguese and (naturally) Swedish. The French dub is much-loved in Canada, where it aired on Radio-Canada and was later rerun on Télé-Québec and Teletoon.

It was adapted to animation once more as an All-CGI Cartoon in The New '10s by Belgian company Studio 100. This newer series ran for 78 quarter-hour episodes, and has also been broadcast in numerous countries and languages. However, neither show has come to the United States. note 

A Live-Action Adaptation film was made in Germany in 2009. Speaking of Germany, a whole area is themed after Vicky's world at Europa-Park.

The anime series in particular was an influence on Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece.

This work provides examples of:

  • Actual Pacifist: Unlike the other Vikings, Vicky abhors violence. His various plans almost invariably involve humiliating, outwitting or disarming his enemies rather than hurting them.
  • Adapted Out: In the original first book, Halvar's crew was much larger; Halvar had two ships and both ships had "32 pairs of oars," meaning that there were more than sixty Vikings along on the journey. Only a handful got names and personalities, though; and in the animated adaptation Halvar's crew is a LOT smaller, with only one ship. In the orignal animated series, the size of the crew seems to vary; sometimes there are a number of unnamed Vikings there, sometimes the eight main characters (Halvar, Vicky, Ulme, Tjure, Snorre, Gorm, Faxe and Urobe) seem to be the entire crew. In the CGI reboot those eight are consistently the entire crew; in one episode Faxe even says that the ship only has room for eight people.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Vic's hair is usually orange, but is sometimes yellow in the reboot.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The first animated series adds a lot of extra plots and sub-plots to the original stories from the books. A prime example is how in the first two episodes, Halvar and Vicky have to plot how to smuggle Vicky on board the ship since the other Vikings are against him coming along — but in the original book, Halvar just brings Vicky along quite openly and nobody argues because he's the chief.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: In "Oops a Daisy", Vicky has a birthday, but nobody says how old he is.
  • Arrows on Fire: When Sven and his men are after the heroes, Halvar uses flaming arrows to set his sails on fire.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: On their first raid together, Vicky suggested that his father send a scout to spy on the enemy. Halvar brushed it off and ordered his men to charge blindly. Next thing you know the whole crew fell into a trap.
  • The Bard: Ulme, especially after some Character Exaggeration for the animated series. He's the crew's resident musician and Warrior Poet, more of a Nice Guy than many of the other Vikings.
  • Big Eater: Faxe in both series, particularly the newer one. The fat lord as well, although he also a disgusting eater.
  • Blind Mistake: Sven steals the king's scepter, but the king can't tell Sven and Halvar apart because of his terrible eyesight. When Vicky gives him glasses, he looks at Halvar and realizes he's imprisoning the wrong person.
  • The Cameo: Maya and Willie make an appearance in one episode of the CGI reboot series. The new Maya series and the new Vicky series are produced by the same studio, and the '70s anime versions of both were produced by the studio that eventually became Nippon Animation.note 
  • Character Development: At first, Halvar was disappointed that his son Vicky was a weak little boy. As the series goes on, he warms up to him considerably and even refuses to set sail without him.
  • Character Exaggeration: Most of Halvar's crew have become more caricatured and exaggerated in the animated series compared to the books.
  • Cowardly Lion: Vicky is far from the fearless berserker Halvar initially hoped he would be. He's afraid of violence and will go pretty far to avoid any sort of danger, and he's not shy about letting others know when he's scared out of his wits... and yet, when he needs to he will face his fears and face danger... even if he'll always try to fight smarter and not harder.
  • Crosscast Role: When the Vikings have a play about the gods, Urobe plays the goddess Hel.
  • Disguised in Drag: Vicky pretends to be a handmaid to save a prince in an older episode. In the new series, the Vikings enter a castle dressed up as harem girls.
  • The Dragon: Pox, Sven's second-in-command.
  • The Dreaded: Halvar and Sven the Terrible both fear the tax collector. The former didn't even bother to fight him and relied on Vicky's idea to give as little taxes as possible and keep the rest of their loot hidden. The latter simply turned tail and ran away.
  • Dreadful Musician: Ulme in the newer series.
  • Epic Flail: One of Sven's weapon is a chain and ball.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Once an Episode, Vicky will brainstorm and hatch an idea to solve the episode's dilemma. This is always accompanied by a triumphant piece of music and a shower of sparks.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Halvar's Vikings will raid and plunder other civilizations, but not Native Americans because they have never known warfare and the battle will be greatly unfair. Especially since the Native Americans welcome them with opened arms with no strings attached.
  • Evil Chancellor: In "Arabian Nights", the evil vizier steals power from the caliph and the Vikings help him retake it.
  • Fat Bastard: One antagonist our heroes come across is a morbid overweight obnoxious lord. The man is so fat that his butt is stuck on his chair and hasn't gotten up in years. Anyone who eat without his consent is harshly punished. After Vicky defeated him, the epilogue showed that he lost considerable weight and became a much nicer person.
  • The Film of the Series: A few live-action films were made based on the series.
  • Fireman's Safety Net: When Ylvi and Ylva are stuck on a ledge, Vicky and some of the women in the village use a bedsheet to catch them.
  • Gentle Giant: Faxe may be slow, big and strong, but is one of the nicest character of Halvar's crew.
  • Girl Next Door: Ylvie live not far from Vicky's house and is always nice to him.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: When Faxe has the opportunity to eat a bunch of sausages without permission, an angel and a devil appear and argue over whether or not he should eat them.
  • Hates Baths: In "Snorre Soaps Up", Snorre's refusal to take a bath results in his mother threatening to cancel the spring festival.
  • Hidden Depths: Ulme is revealed to be a very good and enduring runner and is chosen to compete in a marathon. In the original book, his talent for poetry and acting also count as Hidden Depths, because up until he reveals them he's been a pretty normal member of Halvar's crew; a little more mild-mannered and well spoken than the others, but he hasn't really stood out a lot. When time comes to trick the Danes, Ulme proves to not only be a fantastic actor but also, quite out of the blue and without having shown any interest in poetry before, improvises a long poem about about their misfortunes that thoroughly impress the Danes. After that, his role as the team's bard and poet is pretty much nailed.
  • Horny Vikings: All of the major viking characters have horned helmets.
  • Human Popsicle: Halvar’s grandfather Olaf and his crewmates were frozen in ice for decades.
  • The Insomniac: When Snorre has a tooth ache, his pain cause him to scream and annoy everyone. It's so bad that everyone couldn't sleep all night. When they successfully remove his tooth, everyone let out a sight of relief. And then an enemy ship was heading their way. The worried crew, tired from their sleepless night, doesn't know how well they will fare in the upcoming battle.
  • Jabba Table Manners: The morbid overweight lord eat without any utensils, stain his clothes and swallow all manners of meat (bones included). He could easily be a human version of Jabba the Hutt.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tjure can be this to everyone, but he does care for the village and will never betray his own people.
  • Little Stowaway: In episode 1 of the first animated series, Halvar, chief of the Vikings of Flake, promises his son Vicky to take him along on their next raiding cruise if Vicky can beat him in a footrace/stone carrying competition. When Vicky succeeds very much against Halvar's expectation, Halvar is in a quandary because he knows that the other Vikings are against taking Vicky on board. As a solution, in episode 2 Vicky suggests for Halvar to smuggle him aboard in a barrel, so he can later pretend he did not know that Vicky was on the ship. This works, and when Vicky is finally discovered, Halvar feigns surprise and indignation, but persuades the crew to take him along rather than to lose time by turning back. Meanwhile, Vicky's friend Ylvie, who has got wind of Vicky's plan, tries to join him by hiding in another barrel, but is found out before the ship departs.
  • The Maze: Greeks have tricked Halvar and the crew in entering a labyrinth. It's up to Vicky to rescue them and find the hidden treasure.
  • Motivation on a Stick: Vicky uses a carrot on a stick to make a cow go onto the ship.
  • The Musical: Studio 100 created a musical based on the series in 2015 called "Wickie de Musical" shown in Belgium.
  • Nice Girl: Ylvie is a kind girl and always defend Vicky from the other mean kids in the village.
  • Noodle Incident: How Halbar lost his eye. It apparently involved a fight for a fish.
  • Parents as People: Halvar isn't always the most understanding of fathers, but he does love Vicky and is proud of his son's brains... he just wishes he'd be slightly less of a wimp.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed: When a thief hypnotizes the people of Flake, Vicky pretends to be hypnotized and then lies to him about the location of some treasure.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When the Vikings travel to England, the Normans at a local castle all have red eyes.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Ulme in the original's English dub had an Italian accent and spoke in sentences that rhymed.
  • The Resenter: Gilby dislike Vicky and is jealous of his success with Halvar's crew. He does warm up to him once however, when Vicky saved him from a forest fire.
  • The Rival: Gilby, a boy in Vicky's village who often quarrels with him over which of them is braver.
  • The Smart Guy: Vicky, of course, is a weak and scrawny Cowardly Lion as opposed to the ideal of the touch, fearless viking, but he is the cleverest and most resourceful of the Flake vikings.
  • So Near, Yet So Far: The vikings discover a great treasure in an Arctic cave, but it's behind a transparent ice sheet that they can't break through. They ultimately decide to let the treasure be and continue their voyage.
  • Taking the Bullet: Non-lethal version. In one of the CGI episodes Halvar takes a hit from some berries, in the Viking equivalent of a paintball challenge, to prevent his son from losing.
  • Tasty Gold: When Vicky finds some gold in a field, he bites it to see if it's real.
  • Technicolor Toxin: In "Trojan Snorre", the evil chancellor tries to poison Snorre's food with bright green poison.
  • Thinking Tic: Vicky will rub the underside of his nose with his finger when trying to think of a plan. This always precedes his "Eureka!" Moment.
  • Those Two Guys: Tjure and Snorre are always paired together for some reason.
  • Trial by Ordeal: When Halvar is accused of a crime that Sven committed, he has to face three trials. The first trial involves limbo dancing, the second trial involves not getting blown away by powerful wind, and the third trial involves touching a white-hot sword without getting burned.
  • Trojan Horse: In "Trojan Snorre", the Vikings sneak into a castle using a wooden statue of Snorre.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In one episode, Vicky has had enough of the wolves and set up a contest to see who can capture the most. Next episode, the villagers want to kill the wolves to skin them, much to Vicky's dismay. Sven attacks the village, however. Vicky has the wolves released on the raiders, saving the wolves and the village at the same time. The last scene of the episode shows a wolf chasing after Vicky, who laments that he saved the wolf's life and didn't receive any gratitude. Considering Vicky was responsible for the wolves' capture in the first place, it's pretty much justified.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Played so very straight in the newer series. The audience won't know anything about most of Vicky's plans until he's set them into motion.
  • Upper-Class Twit: The King of Sweden is portrayed as more of a spoiled rich kid than a leader. In one episode, he wants to kick everyone out of Flake so he can build a vacation home there. In another episode, he's willing to force Ylva to leave her family to become his royal cook.
  • Villain Song: Sven has one in the musical during the song "Storm Op Zee"
  • Visible Odor: When Tjure and Snorre have a smelly feet contest, their foot odor is green.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: When Gilby and his friends steal the ship, Gilby gets seasick and vomits over the side.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Vicky has almost zero physical strength, but can create amazing plans and inventions on the fly.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In the original series, Vicky is terribly afraid of wolves. This is downplayed somewhat in the newer series.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Vicky thought himself worthless because he couldn't beat up a wolf. Gilby, of all people, said Vicky is much better than that. Vicky had saved the village from a fire and saved Gilby's life. Everyone in the village begin to cheer and applaud Vicky's heroism.