Far, far to the west, across the sea .. there lies a new world where the trees are laden with fruits and glassy plains cover the land. It’s warm and fertile. It’s a faraway land, without slave traders and without wars.
This was not the narration that started the story, but rather just a seed that it planted inside the mind of the audiences at the very first episode. It gives us a vague hint as to what type of their happily-ever-after looks like, or at least what they hope it to be. It’s also at this moment that child Thorfinn realised what a weird man his father was, trying to give hope to a dying slave. It’s something that he would never understand, at least, when he was little.
But, his fathers’ words in fact, speaks for all the people in that chaotic world, that are trying to live peacefully. These few sentences has such a great impact to cover for the entire theme the story is on about, and foreshadowing all kinds of horrible situations that could happen in the dreadful world. It warns us.
Because from the first episode, the red only spread wider and wider. Again, and again there are always the issues on slavery, domination of lands, massacre of innocent villagers, rape, blood and more blood enveloping that era. It’s just never enough. And from it, an inevitable and unchangeable fact emerged. It’s the same fact in their times, and in ours.
It can change an innocent happy-go-lucky kid to one who is filled with hatred and murderous intent in one instant. The cries of baby, the terrified scream of villagers and the well-animated blood splatter all adds up to to prove this fact. A fact that gives you a clear vision of how cruel people can be, and how it’s perfectly normal to be that cruel. Because no matter how we struggle – only the strong will survive.
Yet, you still continue to watch it ( if you did ). You crave for details on how Thorfinn will make up for his incompetence, how an old Askeladd emerge and become one of the top characters you care about, how a wimpy Canute take the spotlight and search for the never-reaching conclusion. Until it hits you.
Just like a war doesn’t have clear distinction between evils and justice, the anime doesn’t have a happily-ever-after. All that’s happened, every emotions evoked are long-lasting and they carry these characters forward to reach their goal. Their revenge.
This is why tons of people love this anime. The story is executed well that anyone can understand the story and motive behind each action, like how persistent Thorfinn is and Askeladd, for continue to play with him. The songs added much credit to the story with the opening that can pump adrenaline and ending that eases your nerves, giving ample anticipation for the next episode. Their next action. The next act of revenge.
The art, by Wit Studio ( the same studio that handled Attack on Titan ) once again show you the true faces of despair, anger, amazement, determination and relief. A grassy scenery that fills with body parts that are torn apart. A town drenched with red and with piles of bodies buried underneath. It’s the contrast that they have created made the chaotic world stands out in the peaceful surrounding, and it dealt a great impact here.
The faraway land that is far, far to the west and across the sea?
I think you know its name.
Thanks for reading.