I have watched several shows based on manga ranging from Black Lagoon Eda to the Vinland Saga. I still remember when I finished watching the first season of Vinland Saga, I just couldn’t wait for the next season.
So, the first thing I did was start reading the manga to know what happened next in the story. However, as I was starting, I came across multiple comments and feedback that lowered my expectations for the Slave Arc i.e. Vinland Saga Season 2 events. A significant number of people disliked Vinland Saga after its first arc due to its deviation from an action-packed story.
However, when I read the manga up til the latest chapter I came to the conclusion that it was unwise to not get excited about Slave Arc because it was one of the best arcs of the overall story.
The hate that the Slave Arc got in the manga, I think Vinland Saga Season 2 is also getting a portion of it. In this post, I will explain why this hate is not justified.
So, if you are watching the second season of the show, you would not need to be told that it is way different than the first season. As mentioned above, the first arc was heavily focused on action. Of course, it had to be as the official name for the arc was “War Arc”.
Vinland Saga is a story inspired by the history of Dane and England and involves deeply the culture of the Norse and other groups of that era. The author Yukimura started off his story with an action-driven arc because it was crucial for the plot and the characters involved.
The tragedies and the circumstances that Thorfinn and Canute – two of the main characters – faced during the events of the war were important for the foundation of their characters and to portray the historical events happening during that time.
The only problem was that the fans assumed that Vinland Saga was always going to be like this and it is like one of those anime where the whole point of the story is that the main character needs to get revenge and he will keep getting stronger by facing more powerful enemies in the coming arcs. It also made them think that Vinland Saga was perhaps always going to be about wars. But this is where they got it wrong.
Based on multiple statements of the author, it can be deduced that from the very beginning, Yukimiura never intended Vinland Saga to be a story with never-ending battles. It goes way beyond that. Therefore, in Vinland Saga Season 2, the author started to focus on the other aspects of the story that he always wanted to highlight which is the character development of the main characters.
If I summarize the Slave Arc of Vinland Saga, it is purely a character development-driven story. In order for the next arcs to make sense and to tell the complete story of the Vinland Saga, the Slave Arc has a very crucial role to play. This is the arc where the main character Thorfinn actually finds out his true purpose. In this arc, he meets his life-long partner in his adventures, Einar. Not only that, but we see how the pampered Canute from the first season became the resemblance to the historical Cnut The Great.
Now, the thing is some fans can say that this arc should have had more action than it has. I would argue that in order to tell a good story, it doesn’t mean that it must involve action sequences. The time of action was in War Arc and we had a fair share of blood in that arc. This is the time for the characters to mature, find their purpose, and set on a course that will eventually tell the tale of the Vinland Saga. Hence, the second season or Slave arc delivers all of it masterfully and it doesn’t need to fit with what people think Vinland Saga should have been.
Lastly, I would say that the shift from an action-packed story to a full-on character development-driven plot was sudden and unexpected, and for this, the backlash can be justified a bit. But it’s still not justified that people downright start to despise a great show that just took a different turn to tell a historically-inspired story it always intended to tell.