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TV Anime VINLAND SAGA Season One
Celebrating Re-Broadcast and Global Streaming

First Special Group Interview Topic: Scenario Original Author: Yukimura Makoto,Director: Shuhei Yabuta,Head Writer: Hiroshi Seko

The second season of TV anime VINLAND SAGA will start airing January 2023! To celebrate the TV rebroadcast and worldwide streaming of Season One, not only available on Amazon Prime Video, but also NETFLIX, and more. We've gathered original author Yukimura Makoto, director Shuhei Yabuta, and series composition Hiroshi Seko to discuss the story of the show.

The following interview is full of exclusive contents such as behind-the-scenes stories and highlights from Season One, as well as insights into the making of Season Two!

SPOILER ALERT: Please note that this interview contains some spoilers about Season One.

From the left of the photo:Director: Shuhei Yabuta,Original Author: Yukimura Makoto,Series composition: Hiroshi Seko

First Special Group Interview Part 2

INDEX

Einar, Season Two’s New Character

Let's talk about Season Two next.

Yukimura
They put a lot of additional detail into the characters and backgrounds of the farm arc. It shows very neatly how each character ended up there, and as the writer of the original manga—and I’m repeating myself here—I really felt a sense of gratitude. [Laughs.]
Yabuta
The lynchpin of the start of Season Two is definitely Einar. He left a strong impression on me when I read the manga, so when we were outlining the series, Seko and I started with discussing where his strength came from. I didn't think we could start mapping out the series until we understood the source of his strength.
Seko
We spent a lot more time working things out prior to outlining than we did in Season One. We made a little change to the process of how Thorfinn and Einar become friends, so we had to talk a lot about how we would approach that.
Yabuta
The atmosphere and pacing of the farm arc is different from Season One's—a different feel from most anime, really—so we ended up discussing a lot how we could make it entertaining for viewers who hadn't read the manga.
One thing we talked about was what kind of condition Thorfinn was in as he returned from Season One. We couldn't use him effectively as a character without working out just how much savagery remained in him. Thorfinn and Einar's relationship was also an essential part of the story in terms of its watchability and entertainment factor, so I'm glad we spent so much time on it. When we completed the series outline, it felt like we'd made some serious progress.
Yukimura
When I read the script, I could really feel how much Yabuta and Seko agonized over it, how much they cared about Einar and were trying to process him as a character before setting him out into the world.
Yabuta
We tried hard to portray him with the same strength and kindness we felt from him in the manga. The challenge was how to combine those two to make his character. Einar’s way of relating to Thorfinn in the beginning is superficially different from the source material, but his fundamentals haven't changed. Think of it as new scenes being born in the process of trying to make an Einar close to his manga version.
Seko
Right, and ultimately, we land on the relationship that Einar and Thorfinn have in the manga. We did everything we could to make sure they ended up there.
Yabuta
In a world where violence is easily justified, Einar is incredibly strong, cheerful, and kind, despite being a slave. I really think he's a superhuman and I just couldn't help but think about what made him that way. He's just that cool of a character. I had the chance to speak with Yukimura after production started on Season One, and he gave me the impression of a person who can just naturally write a character like Einar.
Yukimura
Okay, that topic really caught my ear. [Laughs.]
I certainly don't think of Einar as superhuman myself. But when you put it like that, he really isn't in a situation where you could keep cheerful. Hmm. Einar’s superhuman. You may be right about that.
Yabuta
He's living in even worse circumstances than Thorfinn. Thorfinn may not be directly involved in the death of Einar’s father, but he’s still a symbol of violence. Yet the way Einar interacts with Thorfinn, and the way he strives to live so resolutely, so optimistically? He’s definitely a superhuman. I think that portrayal shows Yukimura's strength as a writer. And since I don't have that kind of special talent, I needed to have a lot of long talks with Seko to realize the character of Einar.
The Message of VINLAND SAGA

In an increasingly violent world, what kind of meaning do you see in portraying those kinds of characters in an anime?

Yabuta
People might think it’s a pipe dream or just idealism, but I think it's scarier to imagine a world where people don't tell that kind of story. There may be people who do evil in the world, but there's no way that good people are going to disappear, either. I think it's necessary to have people who speak to that ideal. We couldn't make the anime of VINLAND SAGA without feeling that. And I think that's the meaning behind making this show during this kind of time.
Yukimura
I think people need to have goals in order to live. You'll end up bogged down in decision-making without one and just end up lost. I’m talking about having an ideal. And if you have to have one, I think that you might as well make it big, hang it somewhere far, far away. That way you'll never get bored of pursuing it.
Seko
Earlier, Yukimura shared that he hates violence. I do, too. I think the stuff is terrifying. Just the other day, I watched Russell Crowe in Unhinged (2020), where his character loses everything and starts to kill people while saying ‘I have nothing left but violence’. If the last thing left for a person who has lost everything, or who has nothing to lose, is violence, it is impossible to bind it by law. And it can be said that the history of human beings is the history of violence. Humans and violence are inseparable from each other. With that in mind, I feel that each of us needs to think about how to deal with violence. Especially in this modern age where violence of various scales is abundant. And I think that "VINLAND SAGA" is trying to give an answer by challenging the "violence" head-on.
By Season Two we'll only have part of the answer, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing where the story ends up and what Yukimura's "ideal placed in a furthest place" will be. There aren't that many works of art that truly confront violence head-on like this one, and I'm eager to see how audiences will react to it.
Yabuta
With how things are in the world, there'll definitely be more times when we'll want to talk about VINLAND SAGA.
Yukimura
As Seko repeated for me, I really don't like violence, which is why I've thought long and hard about how to deal with it and attempted to express that through this story. I'm sure some might look at me, a manga artist living way out on the edge of Asia, and tell me to cut out my naive nonsense, but I feel it’s something I have to say.
A few days ago, I received a message on social media from a reader in Ukraine. “I'm in the middle of an evacuation. What would a true warrior do at a time like this?”
They were in the midst of a far more terrible situation than anything I've ever experienced, so I didn't know if I had the right to answer, but I gave one. I said, “Even in the midst of a war, I think a true warrior would try their hardest to think up a way to make up.

I think that wheat fields stand as a contrast to violence itself. The farm arc being broadcast and steamed with the world in this state might get people thinking about things.

Yabuta
We've portrayed tilling land and growing wheat as humanity being productive. All we can say now is how this will change as VINLAND SAGA goes on? I think it can be seen as a starting line for all of us moving forward, so I do hope plenty of people the world over watch it.