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Vinland Saga 5 by Makoto Yukimura

Vinland Saga 5 (edition 2014)

by Makoto Yukimura

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384298,882 (4.57)None
Title:Vinland Saga 5
Authors:Makoto Yukimura
Info:Kodansha Comics (2014), Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:Already Read, Your library
Tags:manga, historical fiction, Vikings

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Vinland Saga, Omnibus 5: A Life Without Purpose by Makoto Yukimura



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Thorfinn's goals have changed and have taken most of the fight out of him, but a tragedy will unfold in front of him, forcing him to reevaluate his current existence. This is a slower installment than the others, out of necessity since farm life is so inherently different from a warrior's life, but the psychological and philosophical changes in both Thorfinn and Canute is what carries the story forward - the stakes are as high as before, as moral development is just as interesting as physical in a good character. Thorfinn's "followers" are a very creepy aspect and quite astute if a little obvious. Still a great story that I can't wait to get to continue. ( )
  -Eva- | Mar 5, 2016 |
Makoto Yukimura's award-winning manga Vinland Saga, an epic and thoroughly researched work of historical fiction, has quickly become one of my favorite series currently being released in English. I was very happy when Kodansha Comics initially licensed Vinland Saga, but with each new volume that is published my excitement increases. The English-language edition of Vinland Saga is being printed as a series of hardcover omnibuses, each containing two volumes of the manga as originally released in Japan. The fifth omnibus, published by Kodansha in 2014, collects the ninth and tenth volumes of the Japanese edition of the series which were published in 2010 and 2011 respectively. It also includes a section of questions and answers exclusive to the English-language edition in which Yukimura discusses some of the inspirations for and creative processes behind Vinland Saga. I already enjoy Vinland Saga immensely, but greatly appreciate of this sort of bonus material.

Ever since his father was killed in front of his eyes, Thorfinn has devoted his life to one thing--seeking revenge against Askeladd, the man he holds responsible for his father's death. But when Askeladd takes King Sweyn's head and doesn't survive the resulting skirmish, suddenly Thorfinn is left directionless and without purpose. Despondent and empty, he ends up a slave on an expansive wheat farm in Denmark. There he really only goes through the motions of living, suffering silently under the humiliation, discrimination, and torment inflicted by the farm hands and hired guards. It's not until Einar arrives at the farm that Thorfinn is slowly drawn out of his despondency. Of the two, Einar is much more lively and still chafes at his enslavement. And, unlike Thorfinn, he actually knows a thing or two about farming. As difficult as it will be to achieve, those are skills that could conceivably help them earn back their freedom.

The amount of research and historic detail that Yukimura has put into both the artwork and the narrative of Vinland Saga has always been impressive, and that hasn't changed with the fifth omnibus. Vinland Saga incorporates the politics and social structures of the time period directly into the story in a very engaging way, making them critical issues that the characters must deal with and which greatly impact their lives. At this point in the series, the manga has largely moved from the battlefield to the wheat field, but it still retains its intensity. Farming, like war, is also a life and death struggle which requires men and women to submit themselves to arduous and unforgiving tasks for the smallest chance of survival. The main difference is that raising crops is a creative act while battle is a destructive one. It seem appropriate then that Thorfinn's labouring in the fields might actually help to bring him some healing, especially since in his past he was part of a force that would raze farms and villages when needed or convenient.

Much of the fifth omnibus of Vinland Saga is devoted to Thorfinn and Einar and the system of slavery that they are now a part of. A great deal of focus is given to Thorfinn and his psychological development in particular. In addition to historical accuracy, Yukimura also excels at creating realistically complex and well-defined characters in Vinland Saga who change and are affected by the events around them. And in some cases, they are the ones to bring great change to the world in which they exist. One of the characters that has transformed the most is Canute, the younger son of King Sweyn. Out of the entire omnibus, only two chapters show what has become of him, but they leave a tremendous impact. Once a seemingly weak and timid young man he has shown incredible fortitude and strength. Where Thorfinn has lost his purpose, Canute has found his. Canute's ambitions and his willingness to do anything it takes to forge his kingdom will have far-reaching implications.

Experiments in Manga ( )
  PhoenixTerran | Nov 22, 2014 |
This latest book in the Vinland Saga series was definitely more of a transition novel in the series. The illustration is still beautiful but the story was less intense than the previous book.

Thorfinn was sold off as a slave at the end of Vol 4. He and his first and only friend have been working the fields and dealing with the anger of the fieldhands. Meanwhile Prince Canute continues to solidify his claim to the English throne.

Thorfinn has gone through some amazing changes. He is obviously depressed and has lost a lot of his fire and purpose. The book takes an interesting turn towards fantasy is a dream sequence where Thorfinn has to confront his past actions in a very hell-like place.

Prince Canute has also changed a lot. He has claimed the Kingship but there are other contenders. Canute slyly and ruthlessly deals with the contenders and solidifies his claim to the throne. His appearance has changed, he is much more manly and cold. The whole thing is interesting given Canute’s father’s claim that the crown is cursed and will corrupt all whole wear it.

There is a quick summary of the story so far at the beginning of the book (thank goodness). The illustration continues to be top notch and absolutely beautiful. I also enjoyed Yukimura’s comments about his thoughts on Viking society and comments about his life.

As I mentioned this is a transition story, we are starting a new phase in the Vinland Saga here and I am incredibly curious to see where it goes from here.

Overall another wonderful installment in this historical fiction manga series. I love these books and highly recommend them to adults everywhere. I can’t wait to read volume 6. ( )
  krau0098 | Nov 2, 2014 |
Thankfully this complex manga starts with a brief characters and 'story so far' introduction page. This volume starts with the beginnings of a whole new phase. If it were a TV show, this would be season 2. Without going into too much detail, Thorfinn no longer has his revenge and is working in the fields with his first ever friend. He has some antagonistic moments and reveals his past to this new friend. At first he just wants to die but upon realizing he doesn't really, he starts to ask himself what is it that he should live for. Meanwhile the battle between the Danes and England continues on. The English have a few more Kings but Canute keeps up the battle and has become battle hardened, sly and crafty. He's even grown more manly, looking very different now. We finish Vol. 9 with Canute finally becoming King of England. Then comes the second half of the book, Vol. 10 and OMG! Absolutely fantastic! Thorfinn takes a turn. This is a violent volume but its theme is rebirth; Valhalla is examined against the Christian concept of Hell and oh man, as a Christian myself I found this chapter utterly amazing and full of Christian allegory. I can't wait for the next volume! I also read the author interview at the end of this book (which I'm usually not interested in) because it started with Yukimura's interest in theology. Intriguing. ( )
  ElizaJane | Oct 16, 2014 |
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