War is coming. And now we know the stakes. But who set it up better? Fantasy or the History
Voyager: You wanna just gi’me this one now, or…
EvilBob: Funny. I was about to ask you the same thing.
Voyager: Like… as a joke?
EvilBob: No. I’m dead serious!
Voyager: …Do you enjoy causing yourself such suffering?
EvilBob: Suffering? You don’t know the meaning of the word!
Voyager: …we’ve been doing this… for almost 3 years… and you have the unmitigated gall… to tell me that.
EvilBob: …Hoshen Engi. (your fault, by the way)
Voyager: …Touche. On to the opening thoughts!
EvilBob: The second episode of Vinland Saga consists of mostly buildup. We did get some more on Thors’s background and why he chose to leave. And we also got his past seemingly coming back to haunt him as the Vikings have come for him. So now we have a plot. It’s a standard plot for a war series but it’s there. I personally think they could’ve made this prologue a little faster. I don’t recall this being anywhere near this long in the manga.
Voyager: Yeah, yeah. You wanna know how you get an audience stoked for a war? This is how ya get an audience stoked for a war. By showing us, right away, exactly what our heroes are up against. And not only that, but giving us a taste of the stakes in very real fashion. This episode had action, tension, and a whole lotta that ever-so-important secret ingredient: HYPE. Bell getting backed up by nearly every ally he’s made, the gut-punch of Lili “abandoning” them. Dude. What more can you ask for? A direct confession from the goddess? Oh. Right. Also: Dammit, Bell, you idiot! You dorky, lovable idiot!
Voyager: So. That Thors guy is pretty cool, yeah?
EvilBob: Oh my god, yes! He’s so strong! Powerful! And intelligent!
Voyager: And the kid’s pretty… kid-like.
EvilBob: Y-yeah. What’s your point?
Voyager: No point. Just that you have a couple of interesting characters, in your episode.
EvilBob: Yeah, I do! They’re great, aren’t they?
Voyager: Yep. A tired old war veteran and a kid who just wants to be a hero like daddy. So very memorable. In fact, it’s almost like I’ve heard it a thousand times before. Huh. How strange. Nah. I must be imagining things. What else makes them stand out, do you think?
EvilBob: Uh… they’re… vikings?
Voyager: Heh? That’s not what I’m talking about. I mean their personalities or relationships! Like Bell and Hestia’s interactions or Hestia’s decision regarding the War Game with Apollo. Or Lili’s turmoil when faced with her familia. Even Ais actually taking some initiative to help Bell despite being warned to do otherwise. Man, so many great and unexpected character moments in this episode. Surely you’ve got some of those you’d wanna gush about too.
EvilBob: …you’re enjoying this.
Voyager: Eeevery second of it. Does this mean I win?
EvilBob: Ergh… you smug little…
Voyager: I’ll happily take that as a yes!
Voyager: And that story of yours. It’s moved along quite a bit, huh? What with war coming to the village, dragging Thors and the people into it against his wishes. And Thorfinn dealing with the revelation that his papa’s a hero. Man, that was all some pretty great story setup, right?
EvilBob: Yeah, actually! And it’s gonna get even better with the next episode! All this buildup is totally gonna pay off, for sure.
Voyager: Hm. Right, right. I should certainly hope so. Though I can’t help feeling like that buildup is rather slow, yes? And it hasn’t exactly led to any further development than what we already had. Not really. A pity, for sure.
EvilBob: Slow buildups aren’t inherently bad, you know.
Voyager: Of course not. Slow burns can often lead to some of the most satisfying conclusions. But you wanna know what’s even better?
EvilBob: …no, but you’re gonna tell me anyway.
Voyager: When they can manage to make even the buildup exciting! Isn’t that just the best?!
EvilBob: Stop enjoying this, dang it!
Voyager: Ahahahaha! I win again, then?
EvilBob: Lousy, arrogant…
Voyager: Hm. I’ve already won the round, so I guess we don’t really need to bother with this catego-
EvilBob: Not so fast!
EvilBob: I’m not going home emptyhanded, you!
Voyager: …But… you’re writing this… from home.
EvilBob: None of your semantics!
Voyager: Oh, hey, another 5-point word. Good for you.
EvilBob: If there’s one thing Vinland Saga does extremely well, it’s the visuals! When it gives us some action, it’s epic!
Voyager: Oh! Well, then, let’s review the action in this episode!
EvilBob: The… the action? In this episode? Err…
Voyager: Eh? What ever could be the problem?
EvilBob: W-well… uh…
Voyager: Oh! My episode had a lot of action, too! And it was awesome! They really have leveled up since the last season, some four years ago. More fluid camerawork, better effects, even the sound design’s improved. Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The action in your episode. It was pretty great too, riiiight?
EvilBob: Yes! I-it was! It was so good. Almost like it was nonexistent. Aha. Ahahaha…
Voyager: Hmmm? Now, Bob, you wouldn’t happen to be fibbing, would you?
EvilBob: Of course not! I’m not some 8-year-old child!
Voyager: Of course, of course. Then you must’ve been really impressed with that two-minute action sequence at the front of the episode, huh?
EvilBob: *eye twitch* Yoooou…
Voyager: Heehee. So that’s three in a row for me, yeah?
EvilBob: Conniving, two-faced…
Voyager: Hm. All these words you keep mumbling sure don’t sound very flattering.
EvilBob: Benevolent, courteous person who I definitely don’t hate at all and absolutely respect more than anyone!
Voyager: Aw, shucks.
Voyager: Hey! It looks like this round was an overwhelming success!
EvilBob: …Says who?!
Voyager: Me, of course!
Voyager: Ah, but what did you guys think, at home? Did DanMachi earn this win yet again? Or should Vinland Saga have taken home the crown? Let us know, down below!
EvilBob: Thanks for letting us waste your time, people.
Voyager: And thanks, as always, for reading. Keep up the Awesome!
EvilBob: And keep it Classy.
Voyager: Take Care.