Vinland Saga Episode 09 takes us to the heart of the war in England. Will Thorfinn be able to kill the traitor Thorkell, who defends London Bridge?

WARNING: in this review there will be images of very explicit wounds (aka severed fingers and a lot of blood). Be careful if you are easily impressionable.

The reviews of the anime continue Vinland saga! We presented the manga Thu, and reviewed the episodes 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 e 08. Today we talk about episode 09, entitled The battle of London Bridge!

London Bridge, well defended and ready to smash ass ships in Vinland Saga Episode 09!
London Bridge, well defended and ready to crack asses ships in Vinland Saga Episode 09!

Vinland Saga Episode 09: the plot

The Danish invasion of England proceeds, but the troops have encountered a seemingly insurmountable obstacle: the city of London. In fact, the Danes, approaching the place along the Thames, found themselves the way blocked by the heavily fortified bridge over the river.

The lock on London Bridge

Askeladd and his men must find a way to pass. Bjorn complains: his boss had promised them an easy victory. Askeladd justifies himself by saying that he didn't know that Thorkell had passed over to the side of the English. Bjorn is disgusted that Thorkell only switched to the enemy for money, but Askeladd notes that they too fight for Sweyn for money and because they think he can win. Bjorn, however, disagrees: he does not fight for money, but because he likes to kill. Askeladd laughs and remarks that this is precisely why he can be trusted.

However, as all the big shots of the Danish army are gathered there to lay siege to London, it is the right time for Askeladd's company. get noticed. But when Bjorn asks him if he has a plan, Askeladd responds by ordering Thorfinn to bring him Thorkell's head. Thorfinn in exchange asks for a new duel, promising Askeladd that their next fight would be their last. Askeladd accepts and sends the boy to work: “Only those who fight get what they want. It's the fate of the warriors, and my head is worth. "

Thorkell is the most puffy and embraceable man in Vinland Saga, however!
Thorkell is the piliest, most embracing man of all Vinland saga, in any case!

Floki infamous tries to parliament with Thorkell

Meanwhile, Jomsviking's ship Floki infamous approaches the London Bridge to offer Thorkell a higher reward than the British, and therefore bring it back to the side of King Sweyn. Bjorn is sure the traitor Viking will accept, but Askeladd is not so sure.

Thorkell, in fact, commands his men to stop the rain of stones and arrows on the Jomsviking and cheerfully greets Floki. He returns the words of King Sweyn to Thorkell: if they surrender, their lives will be spared and their wealth will not be taken away. Floki asks why Thorkell cheated on them: they fought together for years and his brother Sigvaldi is worried about him too!

But Thorkell replies that he fought against England until the year before, finding the British weak, inexperienced and disorganized. England has no hope against the Danes. Here because it's more fun to face the Danes! So, Thorkell almost sinks Floki's ship infamous throwing a huge boulder at her and forcing the Jomsviking to retreat. Thorkell yells after them, "Ask King Sweyn if he isn't sick of fighting battles he knows he will win!"

Other than Euron's ballistae! Thorkell launches the bare-hand trunks!
Other than Euron's ballistae! Thorkell launches the bare-hand trunks!

The assault on London Bridge

Failed the diplomatic attempt, King Sweyn orders to attack London Bridge. Danish troops would have an easy life, if Thorkell did not sink their ships to the sound of whole trunks thrown like javelins. In the end, the Danish ships are shattered and Thorkell loudly asks why his enemies don't invent something. At this rate, in fact, they will never conquer London Bridge.

But just then the ship of Askeladd approaches the bridge, with Thorfinn perched on top of the mast. Anticipating a good fight, Thorkell orders that no one touch the boy: the little guy is all his! Thorfinn nimbly avoids the blows of Thorkell's trunk, which is always happier: it will be fun!

Thorfinn also gets a wave of expressiveness!
Thorfinn also gets a wave of expressiveness!

The duel between Thorfinn and Thorkell

Thorkell then confronts the boy with his bare hands, proving to be a tough opponent against the latter's daggers. At the first blood shed, man congratulates Thorfinn, who in the meantime realizes that if Thorkell punches him, he will certainly kill him. Thorfinn continues to fight, but cannot reach the enemy's throat with his blades: he is too tall for him! How much I understand you, friend carpet!

So, Thorfinn tries to unbalance it and hit him while he's on the ground, but Thorkell lets his palm stab to be able to grab the boy. One shot is what he needs to dislocate Thorfinn's arm. But at this point the Danes (including Askeladd) withdraw and Thorkell stops raging the boy to despair of the fun just ended.

If you're not careful, someone could steal your FINGERS!
If you're not careful, someone could steal your FINGERS!

A strange respect

The man then turns to Thorfinn to tell him that he is sorry that his companions have abandoned him and that he has done his utmost anyway. Not hearing him answer, Thorkell fears he has killed the boy and lets his guard down. Thus, Thorfinn takes advantage of it for cut off two fingers with the other dagger and walk away from him. Thorkell is delighted that the opponent still wants to fight, despite being so small.

So, he asks the boy for his name and, recognizing the name of Thors, try asking him for more information about his father. But Thorfinn takes advantage of the distraction to jump off the bridge, disappearing into the Thames. Thorkell orders his men not to hit him with arrows and yells at Thorfinn that theirs was a fun fight: they must absolutely do it again, one day!

King Sweyn and his usual sympathy in Vinland Saga Episode 09
King Sweyn and his usual sympathy in Vinland Saga Episode 09

The retreat of the Danes and the task of Canute

In the meantime, the Danish camp is taking care of the wounded, treating those who can be saved and giving the coup de grace to those who would die anyway. King Sweyn walks among the wounded, arguing with the infamous Floki how long it would take them to conquer London. The six months are too long for a single city, as autumn has already begun. Thus, Sweyn orders to move the bulk of the army, leaving only 4.000 men to besiege London. This small force will have to be under the command of Canute, who will then have this opportunity to make a name for himself.

The protests of the prince's guardian, Ragnar, are of no use, and Canute must defeat Thorkell with a fifth of the original army. Sweyn accuses Ragnar of having made his own son weak with the teachings of Christ. For this reason, Canute is a debauched, despite being a man.

A Thorfinn who took defeat VERY WELL!
A Thorfinn who took defeat VERY WELL!

A bittersweet epilogue

Meanwhile, Thorfinn re-emerges from the lower Thames, keeping his shoulder dislocated, realizing that he also has a sprained ankle and some broken ribs. Further upstream, Thorkell watches in dismay as most of the Danish army leave. And while his English companions rejoice, he despairs.

Thorfinn returns to Askeladd, who asks him if he would prefer to stay and lay siege to London, as it hurts him to walk. In response, Thorfinn repositions his dislocated shoulder on his own and follows the marching army, limping. While around him the soldiers are wounded, but bold, Thorfinn curses that crazy Thorkell, wondering what's nice about a battle.

Too bad that the static images cannot convey the beauty of the fights in Vinland Saga Episode 09!
Too bad that static images cannot convey the beauty of fighting in Vinland Saga Episode 09!

A hit in action Vinland Saga Episode 09

After the substantial monotony of the previous episode, Vinland Saga Episode 09 is a life hit huge.

In fact, in this episode many things happen and the rhythm it is always excited, although there are many moments when the characters speak. However, their dialogues are never unnecessary fillers, but serve to better present the character of the characters and the military situation. From these dialogues we discover Canute's Christian education, thus being introduced to the religious tensions between pagans and Christians. Plus, we also understand a little more about Bjorn and why he's fighting.

When instead there is action, thewell-kept animation makes it truly spectacular. Finally we can see a fight longer than a few sword strokes, as happened with Thors and Askeladd. The fight between Thorfinn and Thorkell shows all the skill of the Wit Studio, with fluid action scenes and spectacular shots.

Also 'expressiveness of the characters seems to undergo an improvement, with their less static facial expression.

Of course, it must be taken into account that the action in Vinland Saga Episode 09 it is often very over the top. Thorfinn and Thorkell do out-of-the-ordinary feats, and certainly Thorkell is exaggerated. This kind of fighting is the most manga thing we'll see in Vinland saga, which generally tends to be much more likely. But we can forgive a bit of exaggeration, when we see Thorkell wrecking ships to the sound of WHOLE LOGS, which Euron and his crossbows they just have to keep quiet.

Thorkell is kawaii even without two fingers and the remaining nails with the desperate need for a manicure!
Thorkell is kawaii even without two fingers and the remaining nails with the desperate need for a manicure!

Thorkell's introduction in Vinland Saga Episode 09

Thorkell is another one of my favorite characters from this manga and, I must say, in Vinland Saga Episode 09 made a truly spectacular entrance.

Wit Studio really put a lot of care into making this cute psychopathic, investing a lot in his facial expressions. In fact, theexpressiveness of Thorkell it contrasts a lot with that of people like Thorfinn, who is generally quite expressionless, although he is more so by characterization than by the animation skills of Wit Studio.

Thorkell is a character simpatico, affable and friendly. This contrasts greatly with the fact that he is also practically a warrior addicted to the excitement of battle, and therefore also an unscrupulous killer. We see this contradiction very often in Vinland Saga Episode 09.

Initially, Thorkell talks to the infamous Floki as an old friend, only to throw a giant boulder at his ship. Next, we see Thorkell killing Danesi, and then kindly inciting them to do better. The fight with Thorfinn is an alternation of attempts to kill the boy and friendly compliments and encouragement. When he greets Thorfinn, Thorkell is happy that they can see each other and fight again, specifying that the next time they "go through with it." That is, that one of the two dies.

Although these behaviors seem contradictory, there is no real contradiction in Thorkell. For him, in fact, war is a natural part of life, just as death is, therefore. For this reason today he can make friends with a person and tomorrow he can face him to the death while remaining friends. In Thorkell, war is something so normal and obvious that it has transcended even hatred. Thorkell is the extreme result of a society that mythologizes war: a warrior who kills and fights because he likes to do it, without a spirit of self-preservation.

Still, Thorkell is one of the cutest and kindest characters we've met so far! Ever since Thors died, Thorkell is the person who treated Thorfinn with more humanity, and this while trying to kill him! This underlines how Askeladd is a cold manipulator who doesn't care about Thorfinn.

And when the battle is over, here are some beautiful landscapes!
And when the battle is over, here are some beautiful landscapes!

Conclusions on Vinland Saga Episode 09

Vinlanda Saga Episode 09 officially takes us to the heart of the plot. The flashbacks and the excursions in France are over, so we can run directly to England!

As I said, the episode has a great pace and flows beautifully. Thorkell is beautifully done and brightened my day. The fights are well thought out, direct and animated and also in this episode the colors of the sunset give life to beautiful ones backgrounds.

We continue to see short frames of Canute, who sits silently in the shade, without speaking and with the helmet on his head. I guess this presentation serves to get viewers to form their own opinion of the prince, who we will get to know better in the next few episodes. Also very good is the presentation of King Sweyn, whose face always remains in the shadow, but whose hand is felt in events.

It seems that the next episode will be much quieter, without major fights and with a long dialogue between Askeladd and Thorfinn. So, let's get enough of this sudden surge of action and wait patiently for Thorkell's next appearance.