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The Viking Revenge Anime Fans Of The Northman Need To Watch Next

"The Northman," an engaging Viking revenge film from director Robert Eggers, has made some big waves following its April 2022 release. Set in 10th century Scandinavia, "The Northman" follows Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård), a Viking prince who vows to take revenge on the men who killed his father, King Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke). Responses to "The Northman" have been overwhelmingly positive: Following its release, critics flocked to social media to sing its praises, and it currently holds an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.

However, there is more than one great Viking revenge narrative that's been made in recent years (and we're not just talking about the History TV series that immediately comes to mind). For those anime fans who loved "The Northman," there might be no series worth a higher recommendation than "Vinland Saga." Animated by Wit Studio ("Attack on Titan," "Ranking of Kings"), and based on the original manga by Makoto Tukimura, "Vinland Saga" provides just as much of a passionate Viking revenge narrative as "The Northman," and it's easily the most significant anime narrative that "Northman" fans need to watch next.

Vinland Saga is a life-spanning revenge epic

While "The Northman" plays its Viking revenge story as straight as an arrow, "Vinland Saga" presents itself a bit differently. Like "The Northman," it is still a bloody, brutal story about Viking warriors defending their honor and lusting for greater power. However, the themes of "Vinland Saga" also make a strong case for pacifism over violence.

It follows the adventures of Thorfinn Karlsefni, a historical Icelandic warrior who (in the real world, per Encylopedia Brittanica) became famous for leading a Viking expedition to the New World (or as they called it, Vinland) in the 11th  century. Most of "Vinland Saga," however, takes place long before Thorfinn ventures from Scandinavia. Instead, we follow Thorfinn from his peaceful childhood as the son of one of the world's greatest — yet now-reformed — warriors, Thors. When Thors is killed by a band of mercenaries, the six-year-old Thorfinn pursues them, embarking on a lifelong quest to become a true warrior and kill their cunning leader, Askelaad.

Things don't play out exactly as young Thorfinn plans, of course, and later portions of the manga soon make clear that his revenge-quest has always been a fruitless endeavor. Despite this, the series spares no expense in depicting all the intricacies of warfare and politics in medieval Europe. It's an epic, emotionally compelling story full of fighting, philosophy, and the endearing presence of explorer Leif Erikson. And, if you happen to enjoy the characters and setting of "The Northman," it's the perfect anime for any aspiring Viking fan.