Thors vs Askeladd
What They Say:
Episode #4: “A True Warrior”
Thors and his men fall for Askeladd’s trap and faces a dangerous situation, but Thors defeats many of Askeladd’s men with his overpowering strength. However, Thors knows that it will be difficult to save everyone, including his son, who’ve been living in a peaceful village their entire lives, and makes a tough decision.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Four episodes in and I was a bit concerned after the pre-credit scene completed about the animation quality going forward. Bjorn’s berserker charge looks heavy on the drugs and not particularly threatening. The action was a bit rougher than what we had seen previously, and in such an action-heavy story I hope that this is as shaky as it gets. The rest of the episode shaped up well, which is good because Thors battle with Askeladd is a very important moment in the story.
The director doesn’t rush the story. Everything plays out with the gravity the situation demands.
That action is smooth, easy to follow, and above all gives the viewer a good sense of just how strong and fast both of the warriors are. Thors is just a machine of a man, his shorter build hiding precision power. He disarms and takes out men with his bare hands, showing that years on the homestead have not made him soft in the slightest. He takes out an entire boat on his own and then moves on the easily take out Bjorn.
Askeladd is impressed with the man he was sent to kill. So impressed that he makes him an offer which Thors refuses to dignify. Askeladd sees in Thors a man worthy of his name, and his respect, but he has a job to do and his men are pirates. Thorfinn and the other young men of the village are a liability and Thors forces Askeladd to promise to keep his word to let them go at sword-point.
Anyone could see this moment was coming, but it probably doesn’t make it any easier for viewers new to the series. Leif is left picking up after the confrontation, and Thorfinn loses himself in grief and rage. When we next see the boy he has stowed away on his father’s captured ship, throwing a tantrum which is so vicious it gives Askeladd’s men pause. Thorfinn’s future is now in jeopardy because the six-year-old can’t grasp the message his father tried to impart on him.
This episode sets the stage in Vinland Saga for everything which will come after. Thorfinn watches his father make the ultimate sacrifice for the peace and safety of his family, and little Thorfinn is left with nothing but rage. Askeladd shows his cunning and his metal in the confrontation, making him a dangerous man to cross. Thorfinn now walks the path of revenge, but it’s the last path that his father wants for his son. This series remains one of the most perfect manga adaptations in a very long time, and it is mana from heaven for action anime fans.
Episode Grade: B +
Streamed by: Amazon