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YMMV / Vinland Saga

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  • Arc Fatigue: Many consider the Baltic Sea War arc to be the story's weakest arc so far. It is rather long (lasting 36 chapters compared to previous recent arcs which generally lasted only 8-10 chapters), some felt it relied too much on out of place humor, especially towards the end, it had multiple chapters focusing on random vikings (who generally were about to die), especially towards the end (seeing a pattern here?), it had a lot of focus on Garm, who many dislike (mainly due to feeling like an over the top shonen villain in a relatively realistic seinen series who manages to fight Thorkell of all people to a draw), and overall had too nice and neat of a conclusion (Thorfinn is named leader of the Jomsvikings, and his first act is to disband it, ending the conflict once and for all). That is not to say the arc didn't have it's good moments (such as Floki finally getting his just deserts, albeit nonlethally), but overall it's generally considered to be unnecessarily overlong and not quite up to scratch with everything that came before it.
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  • Awesome Art: Especially once Art Evolution kicks in. Vinland Saga is sometimes compared to Berserk when it comes to its artwork, and while most would say that it doesn't quite reach its levels, that should still tell you something.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The inexplicably frog-like Frankish Lord in the first chapter of the manga (who looks much more cartoony than pretty much everyone else, and is named Jabbathe of all things) can be excused as Early Installment Weirdness due to the manga starting off as a shounen series before moving to seinen. But in the anime he feels even more out of place due to the chronological reordering and expansion of events which conveys the general tone of the manga better than starting off with the first chapter would, and then being adapted extremely faithfully on top of that.
    • In his war with Thorkell, Floki unleashes his secret weapon - a huge hirsute man-thing with fangs who is even taller than Thorkell and might as well be a real troll, Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Thorkell is shocked but wrestles it into submission anyway, with his men cheering like it's a WWE match, and he later demands its life be spared as he wants it for a pet. While bizarrely funny, this clashes with the mostly grounded tone of the rest of the manga, where the only "troll" was Thors.
  • Broken Base:
    • Fans are divided between that like Thorfinn change into pacifist and those that dislike it and wish he was back to his old self.
    • The "Farmland Saga" arc, some people think it's good development while others think it's a waste of time or when the series goes downhill due to the change in tone.
    • The general Genre Shift the story undergoes starting with the above arc counts as well. Some dislike the fact that the story is no longer about raiding vikings and doesn't have nearly as much action, while others are fine with the shift and enjoy watching Thorfinn's path towards finding his place in life.
  • Critical Research Failure: Women in Viking Age society enjoyed more freedom and power in their communities than depicted in the story. However, that is a relatively recent discovery, and Yukimura probably couldn't have known that when he began the series back in 2005.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Thorfinn's sister Ylva has her fair share of fans, despite barely appearing, due to being the most prominent of the few female characters for a long while.
  • Funny Moments: Thorfinn's "Oh Sh.." and the look on his face when he realizes he just broke his (technically) superior's chin.
  • Growing the Beard: The move to a monthly Seinen is considered by many to be where the story really improves, along with Art Evolution.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Thorfinn's desire to colonize Vinland is presented as a noble goal for the most part. However, any student of history knows that subsequent European attempts colonize America would lead to the near total destruction of the Native Americans due to the introduction of unfamiliar diseases and conflicts with European settlers. This catastrophic event likely would have occurred several centuries earlier if the Norse had been successful in their effort to establish a foothold in North America.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Askeladd Olafson introduces himself to the audience sacking a fort and robbing it of its riches with a series of clever schemes, barely shedding a drop of blood. Leader of a group of Viking raiders, Askeladd was born the son of a slave and a lord. Murdering his father years later after his mother's death, Askeladd framed one of his brothers after ingratiating himself to his family. Playing the cutthroat court of King Sweyn with clever gambits, Askeladd has the caretaker of the weak prince Canute murdered to build Canute into an ideal candidate for the throne. Also driven by his desire to protect his maternal homeland of Wales, Askeladd finds himself briefly outplayed by Sweyn who demands he kill Canute or see Wales invaded by the Danes. Askeladd instead chooses to kill Sweyn and allow Canute to kill him, achieving all his goals posthumously by making Canute a beloved, respected King and knowing the young man will forge Askeladd's ideal kingdom and defend Wales out of gratitude.
  • Memetic Badass: Thorkell!
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Why can't they just carry longboats forever?", mocking the Broken Base.
    • Even with more female characters being introduced in the later arcs, Thorkell is best girl.
  • Moment of Awesome: Happens at least once a fight scene, and there are *a lot* of fight scenes.
    • Three Words: "BOW BEFORE ME!"
    • Thorfinn finally getting angry again and punching one servant hard, all after he just told Einar to keep his calm. Followed by the Funny moment above.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Ignoring the Broken Base about how the story turned away from being about pillaging vikings, there is a segment of the reader base that dislike Thorfinn's Character Development of becoming a pacifist, wanting a return of the "badass" Thorfinn who kills without any concerns. This is ignoring the fact that this Thorfinn was little more than a shell of a human being who didn't feel any joy about anything. The only thing that mattered in his life was getting revenge on Askeladd, he never even enjoyed all the killing he did, he just felt numb indifference. And once Askeladd died, Thorfinn had literally nothing to live for. Not exactly a mindset to be cheered on.
  • Moral Event Horizon: For Svein, his Sadistic Choice to Askeladd of "Kill my son or I invade your homeland." Master Ketil crosses it with his brutal beating of Arneis.
  • Narm: In a few episodes of the anime, Thorfinn briefly does an Airplane Arms Ninja Run akin to Naruto unlike in the original manga. This is hard to take seriously, given the Early Medieval European setting, and the anime coming around the same time as the "Invade Area 51 by Naruto running" forced meme.
  • Wangst: Thorfinn gets called on this by some critics, but at least he has a legitimate reason for his bouts of depression and general surliness, but Ketil's son? A spoiled little rich boy who wants to be a warrior, always whining about how life is unfair. Although he gets better later on, after he was tricked into killing one of Canutre's men and finding himself positively horrified of the deed.
  • The Woobie: Arneis. Losing her husband because he went to fight a meaningless battle for no reason, followed by losing her son when she was made a slave. She's sold to Ketil, and seems to do well on the farm but at the cost of being Ketil's bedwarmer. Then her husband comes back as an insane criminal who wants to save her and recover their son. Then he dies in her arms and Ketil violently beats her into a bloody pulp when he gets the news she tried to run away at just the wrong time. Then she dies of her injuries, pregnant with Ketil's child.

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