Even though there is a lot of historical similarity when it comes to the world-setting of Vinland Saga anime, the anime tries to follow a certain fictional route to be more appealing to its audiences. However, we can be sure that the plot is handled quite realistically and can be considered one of the most realistic world portrayals done in any anime.
Vinland Saga is a well-known Seinen anime, popular among the anime fans and available to watch on so many platforms. Wit Studio has done a remarkable presentation of the Viking era, and a boy named Thorfinn, son of Thors, and his journey to avenge his father’s death. The story of Vinland Saga also covers certain sensitive topics like Christianity and a place called “Valhalla” which is heaven in perspective of Viking race, a place only for those that die fighting and are absolute true warriors.
The anime has an excellent quality animation, thanks to wit, along with insane character development, breath-taking fight scenes, gradual improving story and a solid background soundtrack.
But the real question among the minds of the people is whether the story resonates accurately with the actual history of the Viking era, and was there really a warrior named Thorfinn?
1. The main characters were inspired from real-life warriors
Vinland saga is not a single saga, but a combination of two sagas named Saga of Erik the Red and the Saga of Greenlanders. Thorfinn, our protagonist, is actually inspired from Thorfinn Karlsefni, an explorer and warrior during the viking era. His father, Thors is inspired from Thord Horsehead, a well-known fierce warrior.
Askeladd really did exist, but with a name “Askeladden” from a famous Norse folklore and Canute was a Danish King that ruled thousands of years ago.
As far as the side characters are concerned, Thorfinn’s mother name was actually Thorunn and not Helga, as shown in the anime.
Even though all these characters did exist in real life, their actual personalities and motivations were not really portrayed in the anime. The creators took a creative approach and depicted them as per the story and setting.
2. Political Setting and World-Building is Accurate
The world of Vinland Saga is set in 1013 AD, when the Danish King Sweyn was conquering every other continent. At that time, he was the absolute ruler, his army was quite advanced and prepared for battles. He clearly dominated the era. Similar portrayal was done in the anime as well, so the world building is quite accurate.
But what about the political setting and actual motivations/reasons for the battles? Well, we can be quite sure that the story does not match in terms of actual continents/countries conquered, men killed and army count.
However there are some real concrete facts like for example, the Vikings finding about Iceland, a country far in the north, and able to leave a peaceful life there, away from war. But they really wanted to travel and settle in North America (Vinland in anime), a place quite warmer and better in resources as compared to Iceland.
In the anime, we see Vikings heading forward for a full-fledged battle against the strongest army in the world, the army of England. This is also quite true when we trace back to the aforementioned timeline in real life. Vikings originally came from Denmark and the same was depicted in Vinland Saga’s story as well.
3. The Portrayal of Vikings in Anime
Raiding villages in order to plunder all the riches, food and other luxury items from innocent smaller villages that had almost less to one defense options was one of the trademark qualities of Vikings during that era. They simply were not just raiders. A lot of strategic planning goes into the preparation, out of which using spies was one of the most utilized strategies.
Didn’t we all see the same in the anime as well? Well the strategy was not clearly depicted, but the way Askeladd used Thorfinn was a primary hint towards the actual ways in which Vikings used to raid the villages. They are also shown to be quite attracted towards meats and ornaments, which is quite true as per mythological references. They really liked gold, food and fighting for honor!