Vinland Saga Season 2 release date on Netflix, Crunchyroll confirmed for Winter 2023 by OP trailer

Vinland Saga 2
The Vinland Saga Season 2 anime’s story will switch tonal gears as Thorfinn discovers who he is while stuck in the middle of a plot between royalty and rich slave owners. Pic credit: WIT Studio

The Vinland Saga Season 2 release date is confirmed for January 9, 2023, the Winter 2023 anime season.

The 2nd season will be 24 episodes in total released as two Vinland Saga Season 2 Blu-Ray/DVD volumes. That means it will be two cours in total and the 2nd season’s finale, Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 24, will release in June 2023.

The Vinland Saga Season 2 Part 2 OP textless video.
The 2nd cour’s ED theme song.

On October 22, 2022, the official Vinland Saga Twitter stated that Vinland Saga Season 2 will be streaming worldwide on Netflix except for China.

Crunchyroll is also streaming the second season internationally except for in Asia.

READ: Vinland Saga manga ending in 2024? Final Chapter 216 the final arc finale

This Vinland Saga Season 2 OP trailer uses the opening theme song “River” by Anonymouz.
This Vinland Saga Season 2 ED trailer uses the ending theme song “Without Love” by LMYK.
Comments by the theme song artist.

Here is the official Vinland Saga Season 2 story synopsis:

A new millennium begins in the southern part of the Jutland peninsula in Denmark.

After the death of his longtime enemy, Askeladd, Thorfinn lost his purpose in life.

He was bought by the landowner Ketil as a “slave” and engaged in land reclamation work on his farm.

Thorfinn meets a young man there, Einar, who was also a slave like him.

The encounter of Einar led Thorfinn to face the sins he had committed and began to find meaning in life.

On the other hand, Canute, who became the King of England, attempted to extend his territory for the establishment of “the promised land”.

This is “The Story of a True Warrior (Saga)”.

“The story of Atonement and Salvation (Saga) “that lies beyond the prologue.

Some of the Vinland Saga Season 2 cast has already been confirmed. Yuto Uemura will reprise his role as Thorfinn, the main character of the show. It was also confirmed that Kensho Ono will return as Canute, Akio Ootsuka will return as Thorkill, and Yoji Ueda will return as Leif.

Several new cast and characters have also been revealed. Einar will be voiced by Shunsuke Takeuchi. Mayumi Sako will play a new character named Arnheid. Fuminori Komatsu will play Snake. Yuu Hayashi will voice Olmar and Taiten Kusunoki will voice Thorgil. Hideaki Tezuka will voice Ketil.

The announcement was made during a live YouTube premiere release event on June 8, 2022. A Vinland Saga Season 2 trailer was released during the event.

It’s also been confirmed that WIT Studio will not be returning to handle the Vinland Saga Season 2 project. Instead, the anime TV sequel will be produced by Studio MAPPA.

The anime creators also revealed their desire that the entire manga should receive a full adaptation. Does that mean Vinland Saga Season 3 and 4 are coming?!

The official announcement of the second season was made during the Vinland Saga anime’s 2nd anniversary on July 7, 2021. The initial announcement of the second season by producer Twin Engine included a Vinland Saga Season 2 trailer that teases the new story. (The full trailer PV was released in June 2022.)

The release of the full Vinland Saga 2 trailer was teased well in advance. On April 19, 2022, character designer/chief animation director Abiru Takahiko confirmed that actual production was still in process, but at the time he did not provide a hint about the time frame for the Vinland Saga Season 2 release date.

“Before I knew it, a much longer time had passed since we announced the production of [Vinland Saga] Season 2,” he tweeted. “We are still moving forward day by day with the anime production, so we appreciate your patience for a bit longer.”

In response to this tweet, Vinland Saga Season 2 director Shuuhei Yabuta said, “The day when the Viking Age is said to have begun is approaching.” Historically, that’s June 8, 793, so it turned out that he was teasing that the full Vinland Saga Season 2 trailer PV release would be on June 8, 2022.

Vinland Saga S2 anime
This key visual for the Vinland Saga Season 2 anime was released on June 8, 2022. Pic credit: Studio MAPPA

The big studio change was also teased in advance. On May 3, 2022, Reddit users reported on a Twitter Spaces discussion between director Yabuta and Vinland Saga manga creator Makoto Yukimura that took place on May 1, 2022. During this discussion, Yukimura reportedly confirmed the earlier rumor that Vinland Saga Season 2 will have a studio change by saying that he missed the fact that the animation team “moved from WIT to MAPPA”.

Even months prior to the Twitter Spaces discussion the studio change rumor was considered to be credible since the employees who previously worked on Vinland Saga Season 1 at WIT Studio have moved over to Studio MAPPA. For example, director Yabuta moved over to MAPPA in May 2020 and worked on Attack On Titan: The Final Season by producing the first promotional video trailer before shifting over to the Vinland Saga Season 2 production.

Arguably, Studio MAPPA already has enough projects on its full plate. By February 2022, the studio had already announced Chainsaw Man, Jigokuraku, Dance Dance Danseur, Kakegurui Twin, and the Yuri on Ice movie.

Considering that the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie box office in Japan broke the records previously set by Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, it was not surprising that the Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 anime was confirmed to be in production in 2022. In addition, the Attack On Titan Season 4 Part 3 release date is also confirmed for 2023.

In response to Yukimura’s revelation, the director cut him off and joked about leaking classified information that might lead to the cancellation of the second season. The director also clarified once again that the animation team will remain the same, which is the most important factor.

Director Yabuta has long been saying that the main staff creating Vinland Saga 2 will mostly be the same as the first season.

“Time goes by really fast. This one year, our team had many problems to solve and we have made difficult decisions,” the director tweeted on July 25, 2021. ” But fortunately, the team composition is almost the same and we are motivated to concentrate on this season.”

In the May 2022 Twitter Space discussion, the director revealed that he was in the middle of preparing or editing the Vinland Saga Season 2 trailer PV. The voice recording is also in progress since Yukimura namedropped some of the seiyuus and they noted that Snake’s voice is very manly and sexy. The second point is important since VAs typically don’t start their work until near the end of production.

Furthermore, the Vinland Saga manga’s ending is coming up since it’s in the final arc. Anime news Twitter user Komi suggests the manga series might receive a “full adaptation”, which means that Studio MAPPA will turn the entire story into a full anime series.

That doesn’t mean that the second season will be extra long and finish the story. Instead, Vinland Saga Season 3 and 4 came up when Yukimura asked the director to do the best he can not only for the second season but also for the third and fourth seasons, as well!

Keep in mind that this is not an official confirmation of Vinland Saga Season 3 and 4. It’s possible that all Yukimura was expressing was the desire for the manga to be completely animated, not that the producer internally greenlit the additional sequels for production already.

The Vinland Saga World Twitter account also flatly stated that Komi’s interpretation was, “unfortunately, false information.” The next day Komi also directly admitted, “This may be a mistranslation so don’t think about [it] too much.”

According to news source Animehype, the Vinland Saga Season 2 anime production committee will be comprised of Vinland Saga mangaka Makoto Yukimura, publisher Kodansha, Studio MAPPA, and Studio Kafka. Keep in mind this information has not been verified by an official source and should be treated as a rumor.

Vinland Saga 2
AnimeHype has already deleted the original tweet. Pic credit: Twitter

In the first half of February 2022, Animehype also claimed that a Vinland Saga Season 2 trailer preview (PV) was coming out soon. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but it’s possible that work was delayed.

On February 14, 2022, director Yabuta may have been discussing the Vinland Saga Season 2 preview trailer when he referenced an “unexpected situation” during the ongoing work on the second season:

“We have been hit by an unexpected situation. But now, we are concentrating on our work in a stable environment thanks to the support of many people,” the director tweeted. “Some people might think that the story of this season isn’t suitable for anime series, but I don’t. Certainly the storytelling is unique. But there is an important phase of the whole story in this season. And I believe it will make this anime special.”

This character design artwork for Vinland Saga Season 2 was released in April 2022. Pic credit: Abiru Takahiko/Twitter

It’s been officially announced that the Vinland Saga Season 2 anime TV series will feature a returning director and character designer.

“I wasted a half year due to illness. But now, I’m happy to be involved in this team again and to be able to concentrate on Vinland Saga,” tweeted director Yabuta. “I’ll give it my all. Thank you!”

“l’m so happy to be able to finally announce that Season 2 is coming,” tweeted Vinland Saga character designer/chief animation director Abiru Takahiko. “I believe that what l should do now is to continue drawing every day with dedication, trying to respond to all the fans’ expectations. Thank you all for your support. I plow fields again today.”

Vinland Saga Season 2 Art
The Vinland Season 2 character designer released this art to celebrate the official announcement of the second season. Pic credit: Abiru Takahiko

The official announcement of the second season was made during the Vinland Saga anime’s 2nd anniversary on July 7, 2021.

“The second season of the anime Vinland Saga is in production. I am very happy to be able to convey the news that the fans expected,” wrote Vinland Saga creator Makoto Yukimura. “I am also looking forward to the second season. Let’s wait for the follow-up news together.”

As Makoto-sensei mentioned, the official Twitter account is promising that there will be additional follow-up news released in future. The date of this second announcement wasn’t specified.

Celebratory artwork was released by the director, character designer, and original manga creator.

Vinland Saga 2
“The soul of the beast returns to the earth.” The key visual for Vinland Saga Season 2 released in July 2021. Pic credit: Unknown Studio (WIT Studio?)

On February 25, 2022, the director discussed the results of a fan art contest celebrating the manga series that was hosted by producer Twin Engine.

“Thank you for your participation! I’m glad to see so many various fan arts and realized again that Vinland Saga is a manga loved all over the world,” he tweeted. “We are taking so long to make next season satisfactory. I’d appreciate it if you could wait a little longer for next information!”

Anime news leaker claimed early on that the second season would happen. For example, Spytrue tweeted out that “Vinland [Saga] S2 is on the pipeline.” Spytrue was also correct in claiming that “Vinland Saga S2 will not be in 2020, unfortunately.”

Why would the anime sequel be pushed out into 2022 and beyond? Spytrue claimed a giant-sized reason at the time, although it turns out part of his claim was wrong (see the release date section below for more details).

What’s more, Spytrue’s predictions about the Vinland Saga Season 2 release time frame were made before the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus pandemic swept the globe.

Vinland Saga Season 2 Anime Teaser
“This is the story of a true warrior.” The montage sequence from the special movie clip definitely seemed to be teasing the Vinland Saga Season 2 anime. Pic credit: WIT Studio

The good news is that the manga’s story of historical explorer Thorfinn is in the middle of its final story arc and will probably not finish until years from now. That means the anime series could stretch on for multiple seasons as a regularly renewed anime TV show.

Japanese publisher Kodansha has done everything possible to make sure the anime is the next big hit. The reviews and the hype surrounding the anime have been overwhelmingly positive. An anime exclusive on Amazon Prime, Vinland Saga has been listed next to Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba), Fire Force (Enen no Shouboutai), and Dr. Stone as the best of the season.

It’s a coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of the horrors of the Viking wars set during the turn of the 11th century. The first episode drops audiences in the middle of the year 987 Battle of Hjörungavágr, but the overall story is a slow-burner that puts character-building and philosophy in the forefront.

The Vinland Saga characters are based on historical accounts of the period, with the main protagonist Thorfinn based on real-life explorer Thorfinn Karlsefni. Leif is, of course, based on the historical Leif Erikson, an explorer credited in modern times with discovering the North American continent where Vinland is located. Other characters are based on legends or invented, with Askeladd’s name based on a Norweigan folklore character that was known for being clever.

As previously mentioned, the studio making Vinland Saga Season 2 has changed. The first season was produced produced by WIT Studio Attack On Titan fame. Studio MAD BOX, a subsidiary of Madhouse, assisted with the special effects.

Shuuhei Yabuta is confirmed to be returning to direct the Vinland Saga Season 2 anime. Yabuta also directed the excellent Inuyashiki: Last Hero anime. The director has a background as a CGI artist and a CGI/3D director (Attack On Titan), so it should not be surprising that CGI is used extensively in the battle scenes.

Hunter x Hunter animation director Takahiko Abiru is confirmed to be returning as the character designer.

Banana Fish and Ajin: Demi-Human writer Hiroshi Seko and Saga of Tanya the Evil writer Kenta Ihara wrote the first season’s scripts. Tokyo Ghoul composer Yutaka Yamada was in charge of the music.

The Vinland Saga’s opening theme song music for the first season was “MUKANJYO” by Survive Said The Prophet, while the ending theme song was “Torches” by Aimer.

Beginning with Vinland Saga Episode 13, the opening song (see above video) switched to “Dark Crow” by Man With A Mission. The ending theme song (see below video) changed to “Drown” by milet.

The Vinland Saga Season 2 OP “River” will be performed by Anonymouz while the ED theme song music “Without Love” will be performed by LMYK.

The first season ended with Vinland Saga Episode 24, which aired on December 29, 2019.

  • Updated January 12, 2023: Vinland Saga Season 2 episode total and BD/DVD info added.
  • Updated December 19, 2022: Added Vinland Saga Season 2 ED trailer.
  • Updated October 24, 2022: Exact Vinland Saga Season 2 release date confirmed by OP trailer. Added OP info.
  • Updated August 24, 2022: Added quotes from Makoto Yukimura interview.
  • Updated June 8, 2022: Added time frame for Vinland Saga Season 2 release date and trailer.
  • Updated May 3, 2022: Added studio change confirmation and other details from Twitter Spaces discussion.
  • Updated February 11, 2022: Added Vinland Saga Season 2 MAPPA studio change rumor.
  • Updated July 26, 2021: Director confirms that Vinland Saga Season 2 will be produced by mostly the same staff.
  • Updated July 7, 2021: Vinland Saga Season 2 production announcement!
  • Updated June 21, 2021: June 2021 announcement planned. Added new analysis to manga section.
  • Updated October 29, 2020: Vinland Saga 2 teased during WIT Studio livestream.
  • Updated September 28, 2020: Director teases Vinland Saga Season 2 anime.
  • Updated July 22, 2020: Added Great Pretender news and relevance to Vinland Saga.
  • Updated May 29, 2020: Attack On Titan Season 4 studio change confirmed. How that impacts the Vinland Saga Season 2 rumors.
  • Updated December 27, 2019: Added a rumor that claims Vinland Saga Season 2 is not in 2020 due to WIT working on Attack On Titan Season 4.
  • Updated December 16, 2019: Added Vinland Saga S2 rumor.
  • Updated November 25, 2019: Added director’s comments about anime original content.
  • Updated November 11, 2019: Added news of Vinland Saga manga’s ending/final arc and EP 18 delay.

This article provides everything that is known about Vinland Saga Season 2 and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.

Why the Vinland Saga Season 2 release date is in Winter 2023

As of the last update, publisher Kodansha, producer Twin Engine, and Studio MAPPA have officially confirmed the exact Vinland Saga Season 2 release date. The production of a Vinland Saga sequel was announced on July 7, 2021. As Anime Geek predicted, the Vinland Saga 2 release date was confirmed to be in Winter 2023.

From a financial perspective, Amazon probably paid a pretty penny to make Vinland Saga one of their exclusives. Considering that streaming revenue is the most significant factor influencing the odds of a Vinland Saga sequel that’s probably a good thing.

The fact WIT Studio was chosen for the initial adaptation is a reason to suspect Vinland Saga Season 2 was already planned out for the future. As previously mentioned, anime news leakers claimed that the second season would be scheduled several years out.

But why change studios to MAPPA? As it so happens, WIT Studio is just very busy so it makes sense that starting the Vinland Saga S2 production would be scheduled to start in 2021 at a different company.

For 2020, WIT created an original story called the Great Pretender, and the first episode premiered in Japan in early June 2020 (Netflix’s Great Pretender Season 2 release date was set for late 2020).

In 2021, WIT Studio released the memorable Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song anime. In 2022, WIT released the Ranking of Kings anime, an adaptation of a manga series, and the Spy x Family anime release date was also in 2022, never mind Spy x Family Part 2. As for original stories, they’re planning Netflix’s Vampire in the Garden, the Grimm anime, and the Moonrise anime.

In May 2020, it was confirmed that WIT Studio is not animating Attack On Titan’s final season. Instead, Studio MAPPA is producing Shingeki no Kyojin’s final season with mostly different staff.

Unfortunately for anime news leaker Spytrue, that means his claim about Vinland Saga 2 was proven to be untrue. In the past, Spytrue had claimed that “Vinland Saga Season 2 is not [being scheduled] for 2020 [so] that [Attack On Titan S4 may be done] by WIT”.

This meant that Vinland Saga director Shuuhei Yabuta is now freed up from solely focusing on Attack On Titan since he’s been replaced by Takahiro Uezono. Director Yabuta was the 3D director on all of the Attack On Titan seasons except for Season 3: Part 1.

As previously mentioned, in fall 2020 the director was working with MAPPA for Attack On Titan: The Final Season, but he was also confirmed early on to be working on an unnamed project.

Keep in mind that anime studios often work on several projects at the same time. Since most anime creators are freelancers the primary staff for Vinland Saga 2 will remain the same but some of the smaller roles could be handled by different people.

Considering that voice recording work was confirmed in early May 2022, that’s why Anime Geek predicted that the Vinland Saga Season 2 release date will be in Winter 2023.

Vinland Saga 2 was teased by the main staff for a long time before the official announcement

When Episode 24 was released there were also rumors floating around that a Vinland Saga movie was announced. That’s not true.

It appears the rumors started when the official Vinland Saga Twitter account said, “We have a special movie for all viewers.” That tweet was a reference to a special clip they released on Twitter/Youtube, not a full-length movie.

What is true is that the “special movie” clip definitely contains scenes from future story arcs. In addition, WIT Studio director Shuuhei Yabuta also seemed to be teasing anime fans on Twitter about Vinland Saga 2.

“This big incident changed everything for Thorfinn, but his story will continue!” the director wrote. “I pray that he will meet many people, and his eyes truly open to seeing the vast world. … I hope it was of benefit to [all of you] involved in [making] this work, and [I] hope to get together in another work!”

The Vinland Saga Season 2 announcement was teased even further by the director and the chief animation director for almost a year.

In September 2020, director Shuuhei Yabuta tweeted out three drawings of some of the main Vinland Saga characters. He told his followers that “there is a small easter egg” and asked everyone to figure it out.

On the bottom left of each artwork, there were Nordic runes, and each symbol represents an English character sound. If you spell it out, the runes say “sea son two”.

There is also Japanese text that has the characters grumbling about being made to wait.

Thorfinn says, “How long must we wait?” To which, Askeladd replies, “That’s why I hate kids…” and Canute says, “It’s soon… I guess…”

While the director was definitely teasing Vinland Saga Season 2, he also added a disclaimer by saying, “Whatever it [the easter egg] is, there are no deep meanings…”

Vinland Saga Shuhei Yabuta
This artwork by director Shuuhei Yabuta teased the Vinland Saga Season 2 anime. Pic credit: Shuuhei Yabuta

In early October 2020, the director announced that he would be joining the CG staff at Studio MAPPA to help them finish Attack On Titan Season 4 (he will be the only returning staff from WIT Studio). But he also announced that he has his “own directing title” so he can’t “focus on AoT only”, which could be a reference to him directing the Vinland Saga Season 2 anime since his involvement in any other project hasn’t been confirmed yet.

On October 27, 2020, WIT Studio held an online livestream talk show where they discussed the Vinland Saga anime production. Notably, the director said, “I think most of the stories will be about the first season, but I would like to touch on as many stories as possible, including our recent situation, so I would be grateful if you could take a look!”

If the stories are about the first season, then are they planning a second season? The director addressed fans’ questions with a follow-up tweet.

“My messages may not satisfying, but that’s all I can tell you now,” Yabuta wrote. “I appreciate your understanding. We believe that this series will continue, and we’ll keep working on it!

On March 19, 2021, Vinland Saga character designer/chief animation director Abiru Takahiko tweeted, “Have continued to involve in the production of Attack on Titan. And I will also participate in The Ancient Magus Bride as one of the Studio KAFKA staff. But there is another work that I have to do the most. My most important work, you know. I plow fields again today.”

Notably, Takahiko is using the visual for the Vinland Saga Season 2 farmland story arc as his Twitter profile background.

It’s possible that the anime production committee had not made up their minds at the time so the director was trying to drum up support for the idea. Or, Vinland Saga Season 2 had already been secretly put into early production but they were not allowed to talk about it quite yet.

While the majority of the talk show was in Japanese, they did make sure to speak in English for a message to international fans. During that section, the director provided an update on Vinland Saga Season 2.

Vinland Saga manga ending by 2024 with a final story arc?

The story of the anime is based on the Vinland manga series by writer and illustrator Makoto Yukimura. The manga started serialization in 2005 as a weekly shonen manga but eventually switched to a monthly seinen format by the end of the year. He typically publishes around 11 chapters per year.

In the May 2022 Twitter Spaces discussion, Yukimura commented that he changed from weekly to monthly publication since he’s a “very slow author” and that recent 2022 chapters have shown much happiness since the upcoming chapters will show a raw reality.

As of July 24, 2022, the series was up to Vinland Saga Chapter 195: Thousand Year Voyage Part 4. As of May 23, 2022, the tankobon books were up to Vinland Saga Volume 26.

Furthermore, the Vinland Saga manga’s ending is coming up since it’s in the final arc. Based on Yukimura’s estimate made on November 10, 2019, Vinland Saga would end on or after Chapter 216.

Starting in October 2013, the official English translation of the Vinland Saga manga series began being released in North America by Kodansha USA. But the release is being handled very differently from most Japanese-to-English manga releases. The English volume numbering is different since every two Japanese volumes are combined as one omnibus book.

That unique release format means the English Vinland Saga release is not too far behind the Japanese version even though the numbers are lower. As of December 14, 2021, Japanese Volumes 23 and 24 released as the English Volume 12.

In July 2021, production company Twin Engine noted in its press release about the second season that the Vinland Saga mang has exceeded 5.5 million copies in circulation. The Vinland Saga manga was nearly canceled in the USA in the middle of its run due to low readership, but a loyal fanbase kept Kodansha going and then the anime boosted the series’ popularity.

Vinland Saga creator Makoto Yukimura voiced a character in Vinland Saga Episode 23 and 24. Pic credit: Twitter

Many years ago, the creator claimed he was targeting Volume 25 for the Vinland Saga manga’s ending. Manga creators are notoriously bad at estimating the length of their stories and it seems very likely Makoto will exceed his earlier plans.

In an interview published on August 22, 2022, Makoto stated that Vinland Saga’s final chapter is coming up when he was asked about the “roadmap” for completing the ending.

“It’s been about 25 years since I became a manga artist, and my current wish is to make children become adults safely, and to draw Vinland Saga properly until the final chapter,” Yukimura said. “To tell the truth, there is not much left on the roadmap. We are not that far away from the final installment. The roadmap was drawn up before the serialization started, but the details are different. There are many characters that didn’t appear in the original plan. But I have been flexible in drawing the details according to the situation. I have recently come to realize that it is better to leave some playful parts in addition to the solid bones in that way.”

So far, the manga’s story takes place before the stories told in the actual real-world Icelandic Vinland saga. In November 2019, Makoto stated that he plans on creating four major story arcs: War, Slave, Eastern Expedition, and the final Vinland arc.

The Eastern Expedition arc ended with Chapter 166 and beginning with Vinland Saga Chapter 167 the manga creator began drawing the “last arc”. Although Makoto did not set an exact target for the Vinland Saga manga’s ending, he expects the final arc to take “several years” to create. The arc will exceed 50 chapters with over 1,000 pages.

Since the manga is released monthly that means Makoto could reach the ending between May 2024 and July 2024 at the earliest barring any hiatus or delays. Since each manga volume has either 8 or 9 chapters the final volume could be Volume 28 or 29 and the book would likely release in late 2024 or early 2025.

Vinland Saga manga compared to the anime

WIT Studio has managed to take the beauty of the Vinland Saga story and enhance it with the brutality of animated warfare. Although anime fandoms often deride the usage of CGI in animation, WIT Studio pulled it off in a way that hardly distracting. Plus, can you imagine the budget if the whirling camera of the sea battles was all hand-animated?

“Before Christianity spread, apparently people had no sense of resistance to engaging in violence. The spread of Christianity throughout Europe was just after the period depicted by the Vinland Saga. So they were that much more barbaric before they were given a broad ethical view. … Due to the low value of life, violence such as domestic violence was rampant. I believe that Vinland Saga has something to depict about violence precisely because of that era.”

Makoto Yukimura

Overall, the anime presented the story of the manga linearly with careful pacing that allowed the characters to develop fully. The story has been expanded upon in various ways, with some events reordered.

In fact, the epic opening scene showing Thors waging war in the Battle of Hjörungavágr was an original scene in the anime. The scene provided action showcasing Thors’ prowess as a warrior while also depicting Thors’ motivation for deserting the Jomvikings during battle. The anime then jumped ahead several years in time.

Instead, the manga did the reverse. The manga opened the first two chapters by showing an older Thorfinn assaulting a fortress and taking a commander’s head so he could win a chance at a duel with Askeladd. The story posed the question of why Thorfinn would seek vengeance against the man he was working for. By the ending of Chapter 2, the manga then flashed back 10 years to when Leif was regaling the children with tales of his sea voyages to the west.

The anime also introduced more original content in Episodes 5 and 6 by showing more of Thorfinn’s childhood, but then finally adapted Chapters 1 and 2 with Episodes 7 and 8.

“First, I was really happy to see a Vinland Saga that I didn’t know play out on screen. I particularly felt a sense of gratitude regarding the fifth and sixth episodes. Thorfinn is separated from his father Thors at a young age and ends up working for Askeladd, but in the manga, I skipped over what happened until Thorfinn was sixteen. The anime did a great job of showing the process of him growing up and filling in that gap, so I really appreciated it.”

Makoto Yukimura

The anime even fleshed out the characterization of Thorfinn by showing how his desire for a one-on-one duel started with him attempting to attack Askeladd in his sleep. In the manga, Askeladd said he didn’t fear ambush in his sleep. He knew Thorfinn was a prideful warrior who “would rather die than do something like that.”

From there the anime started to follow the manga in a more straight-forward fashion. The most significant change was expanded characterization for Asgeir and original content for Thorkell. The anime also had Thorfinn waking up in the barn because of loud music whereas the manga had Askeladd’s men raping an English girl.

Vinland Saga Episode 20 21 22 23 and 24 to change the manga's story says WIT Studio director Shuhei Yabuta
The Vinland Saga anime director said that episodes 20 through 24 made changes to the manga’s story. Pic credit: WIT Studio

But Vinland Saga Episode 20 and beyond is promising to be different from the manga based on comments from WIT Studio director Shuuhei Yabuta. On November 25, 2019, he noted on Twitter that since “there is no guarantee that there will be a continuation [Vinland Saga Season 2], it [the first season] must be made satisfying by itself. It’s a mistake to think that you can enjoy it simply by making it formless, so you must do everything you feel is necessary.”

The director also revealed that “there will be some adjustments from the manga in future episodes.” He explained that the studio staff thought the changes “necessary” in order to “enjoy this series as an independent content. I hope you enjoy our attempt!”

At the same time, the director promised that the overall “outline will not change”. That probably means that the anime’s final scene will remain the same as the manga, which isn’t too surprising since the ending of the War prologue arc sets up the conditions for the next story arc. After all, the director doesn’t want the anime to diverge so badly from the manga source material that Vinland Saga Season 2 became impossible.

Vinland Saga Episode 24 Anime Thorfinn Face Ending
WIT managed to capture perfectly the betrayal and tragic anguish Thorfinn felt from losing his entire purpose in life. Now, all Thorfinn has is Askeladd’s last words. Pic credit: WIT Studio

One significant change to the manga’s depiction of events was to show a montage of characters in the dagger’s reflection rather than simply focus on Thorfinn’s broken visage during the ending of Episode 24. The odd part is that the montage wasn’t simply the past leading up to this critical juncture, it was also the future.

WIT Studio went out of its way to tease the future crew since the montage shows Einar on a boat, which sort of makes sense because he’ll play a role in Vinland Saga Season 2. But the montage even dipped down into the Eastern Expedition arc by showing Hild in the mountains and Gudrid on the beach, which is odd since those characters don’t even show up until after Chapter 100, the ending of the Slave arc.

Vinland Saga Volume 8 Manga Cover Art
Askeladd plays a dangerous game with the royalty of Denmark. Pic credit: Yukimura Makoto

Due to all the original content, the anime had only adapted 20 chapters by the ending of Episode 10. By Episode 18 the anime had reached Chapter 36, which featured a fight between Thorfinn and Captain Thorkell.

Based on this pacing, WIT Studio targeted Chapter 54 of Volume 8 (English Volume 4) for the ending of Vinland Saga Episode 24. That offers the best stopping point with the story arc focused on Askeladd (the first story arc called War is considered a mere prologue!).

The good news is that the next manga story arc provides the perfect number of chapters for Vinland Season 2 to be a two-cour season yet again. It’s possible WIT won’t have to use any original content for the second season as padding since the 2nd arc is shorter (46 chapters compared to the first arc’s 54 chapters).

Since the third story arc, the Eastern Expedition arc, finished in November 2019 there are even enough chapters currently published for Vinland Saga Season 3 to be produced. However, the third major story arc is long enough (65 chapters) that it might need to be split up into separate anime seasons (or, the third season could be three cours).

Better yet, English-only anime fans who desire to read ahead of the anime can dive right in by picking up the English Volumes 5 through 7. Start by reading Chapter 55. The manga is available digitally via Apple Books, comiXology (currently on sale half off), Google Play, Kindle, Kobo, MyAnimeList, and nook.

Vinland Saga Season 2 spoilers (plot summary/synopsis)

Note: This article was initially published before Vinland Saga Episode 24 aired in Japan. Complete spoilers for Vinland Saga Season 2 were added after the 1st Season finale had aired.

The last time we watched Vinland Saga, King Sweyn was assassinated, and Prince Canute executed Askeladd and seized control over the military. With vengeance and thus his sense of purpose taken away, Thorfinn lashed out at the Prince.

As punishment, Thorfinn was sold into slavery and he now he works to clear a forest for a slave master’s farm. Thorfriends befriends fellow slave Einar, who has tried escaping from slavery multiple times over the years.

The farm owner, Ketil, believes that even slaves are deserving of fair treatment. Thorfinn was promised he could buy back his freedom if he could succeed at farming.

Vinland Saga Volume 10 Manga Cover Art
The Slave arc is known by manga fans as the Farmland Saga for a reason. The tone of the story switches gears to be a more character-driven story since there isn’t a lot of action. Without revenge driving his every action, Thorfinn the farming slave has become a shambling husk just happy to be still alive. Pic credit: Yukimura Makoto

Now that Thorfinn has a chance to focus on living, he can discover who he is and who he wants to be now that Askeladd is gone. As such, he gains a new respect for life similar to his father and now pursues pacifism as a way of life.

Meanwhile, King Canute of both Denmark and England desires to build a paradise for the Vikings, and he won’t hesitate to kill anyone who gets in his way. The problem is that Canute is running low on funds and resources.

It turns out Canute wants to seize the very farmland that Thorfinn is tilling to earn his freedom. Canute concocts an incident to force the wealthy Ketil family into becoming outlaw so he can seize their property.

After learning of Canute’s treachery, Ketil and his family become fugitives, and Canute pursues them after everyone escapes aboard Leif Erikson’s ship. Worse, Ketil is betrayed on all sides, including by someone he holds dear.

Canute invades the farmland with his top warriors and the fearsome Viking mercenaries. Ketil rallies forces by recruiting veteran fighters and farmers who owe him money, but Ketil’s forces are no match for Canute’s military.

Thorfinn finally gains his freedom, but he feels honor-bound to stay in Denmark and finish his business with Prince Canute. But how can a pacifist resolve such a tense situation peacefully? Can Thorfinn forge his path by finding the way of a true warrior?

Unfortunately, anime fans will have to wait until the Vinland Saga Season 2 release date to watch what happens next. Stay tuned!

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