Vinland Saga : The Journey Begins

Episode 6

Tabi no hajimari” (旅の始まり)

Thorfinn now has to devout his life to the battlefield to get another duel with Askeladd, what that means for the child is that he now has to enter a world his father didn’t want for him just to avenge his father who died to keep him safe.

I wonder if this will ever become something Thorfinn is aware of?

I will admit that I watched this episode as it came out so am reviewing it a little from memory and not because I don’t want to watch the episode again but because neither me nor Anna could watch it without once more just having to step away from the show a emotional wreck that can’t really talk about what we’ve just seen.

Thing is Vinland Saga does everything it does really well.

When Thors died, everything even that lead up to that, it was dramatic and sad but the death of a hero who did the right thing to save the people he cared most for.

This episode saw something much different.

It first showed the loss of innocence of Thorfinn. Going from a child who was angry trying to kill a human for revenge after the loss of his father to a emotionless, nearly, killer that did everything he could to kill not only those on the battlefield but in the end the man who he blamed for his fathers death.

That in itself was hard to watch. I said in the intro that we all know that Thors didn’t want this for Thorfinn, Thors had realised long ago that the killing was all for nothing and he did everything he could, including becoming a traitor, to keep his family and loved ones safe. Not only that but his death was all to keep his son safe, would Askeladd have let Thors go if Bjorn hadn’t jumped in? We’ll never really know but all Thors wanted was for his son to be able to live a peaceful life away from fighting and the hell that he had been through.

Unfortunately his son is stubborn and whilst he might never grow to be the greatest warrior you’ll ever see the group of Pirates use his small stature and growing ability with his knives to possibly turn him into the best scout/assassin you’ll ever see.

Which makes it even sadder.

What really wrung the emotions out of us was when he met the mother and daughter duo.

Now to clarify we walked away because this actually hit us really hard emotionally. It was such a good moment in the show and after I watched it I asked Anna to watch it because I had no idea what to write about it and when she watched it she also had no idea so we gave it some time and that time led us to just writing this between the two of us.

The lady in question had lost her son but when she saw Thorfinn hurt she wasn’t going to let him die out there so she took him in, fed him and clothed him, combed his hair and even lied to soldiers about who he was to keep him safe. What was really good was that they put the fact that Thorfinn didn’t know English and the woman obviously didn’t know Norse in there which played a big part of the story as Thorfinn begged in English for her and her daughter to run knowing that Askeladd was about to attack, mainly because he was about to signal him, and she just didn’t listen.

One of the best scenes I’ve ever seen isn’t a new concept, we’ve seen this a million times in anime, movies, TV shows and probably even adverts.

Thorfinn seeing her in a crowd, demanding to know why she hadn’t run, probably not in English so all she saw was a angry child screaming at her, then the Vikings invading and her being swept out of view with Thorfinn having no choice but to add this to the pain he’s already suffering and running with the Vikings.

That image of the broken comb on the floor broke me.

What made it even worse was that before all this was the argument with her daughter over what was right.

Is it right to save a child or was it right to hand him over? If she had saved him, taken his daggers and given him over to the soldiers there is a chance that Askeladd wouldn’t have invaded or if he had that they would have been slightly more prepared knowing that Thorfinn was there, in that village, so it might have been a target.

What the mother got right was that there must be something making a child do these things which makes it more heartbreaking knowing that there was a reason and that he saw the kindness in her and her daughter and wanted to protect them but at the same time still had to go forward with his job.

Was that out of his need of revenge or just the inevitability that this is his life now?

Either way it was such a good episode from possibly one of the best anime of the year so far.

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