By Danae Stahlnecker,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Violent Viking drama about revenge has graphic war imagery.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
War and violence are not something to find pride in. Every person deserves respect, compassion, and the chance at a better life. Revenge is a corrupting motivation. Additional themes include honor, sacrifice, protection, family, and peace.
Positive Role Models
Thors, Thorfinn's father and a renowned warrior, is compassionate, peaceful, and protective. He helps a dying man escape slavery, denounces violence for violence's sake, and tries to keep Thorfinn from experiencing war.
The story features a Middle Ages war between England and Denmark over land settlement and revenge. The primary characters are Vikings and Danish warriors, with a large supporting cast of characters of English, Frank, and Norse descent. The complexities of war are shown from both sides, specifically the widespread negative impact and the existence of anti-war sentiments. Many characters are based on real-world historical figures and Scandinavian legends. Christianity is a driving force --sometimes to help others, but sometimes to harm -- and is frequently ridiculed by Vikings. The few female characters are all side roles.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Battle scenes are graphic, showing blood, corpses, dismemberment, bladed weapons, and characters dying. Characters enjoy violence (e.g. soldiers laugh while torturing a Christian monk they eventually kill). Children witness war; some play-act battles while others fight in real battles. People are sold into slavery and brutally treated. A parent spanks a child as punishment. Characters talk about killing themselves to escape dire circumstances. Sexual violence is implied in discussions between soldiers and an image of a man carrying a woman away from a burning village.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
In one scene, a child's bare bottom is exposed. Characters are shown bathing, with backsides clearly shown. Frontal nudity is brief but censored.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language includes profanity ("s--t," "hell," "bastards") and verbal threats ("die," "I'm gonna kill you"). Soldiers imply sexual violence in how they discuss women and children during battles. Characters describe people from other nations as "scum."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A warrior eats a mushroom that acts like a steroid, giving him increased strength and fighting ability. Characters drink wine and beer.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Vinland Saga is a historical fiction series about the perils of war and revenge. Violence is frequent. Most scenes involve gruesome battles between armies or one-on-one combat, with bloody and graphic depictions of stabbings, dismemberment, beheadings, and death. Thorfinn (voiced in the English dub by Aleks Le and Laura Stahl) is only 6 years old when he witnesses his father's murder and is forced into war. Montages show him learning to kill -- first animals, then people -- while still a small child. The context of war in the Middle Ages brings up depictions of slavery and implications of sexual violence, suicide, and prejudice against others based on religion and nationality. Characters curse ("s--t," "hell") and verbally threaten others. Nudity involves characters backsides; a child's bottom is shown when he is spanked by a parent, and adult's backside is shown when bathing. Although graphic, the series ultimately questions violence and promotes a complex look at war that aims for peace instead of fighting.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 1 parent review
Report this review
What's the Story?
VINLAND SAGA tells the story of the Jomsviking warrior Thorfinn (voiced in the English dub by Aleks Le and Laura Stahl) as he grows up amidst war, seeking retribution for the murder of his father, Thors (voiced by Greg Chun). As a child, Thorfinn thought only of glory in battle, despite his father's teachings about peace. He stows away on his father's boat as the adults head to war, but is met with tragedy when Thors sacrifices himself to save the others, only to be unjustly killed. Fueled by anger, Thorfinn joins Askeladd's crew in hopes of one day besting Askeladd (voiced by Kirk Thornton) in battle and avenging his father.
Is It Any Good?
This grim historical drama offers thought-provoking complexity to a warrior's experience. Vinland Saga is graphic and emotionally heavy, showing the gruesome realities of war and a Viking culture of violence. While the constant stream of blood and gore can be overwhelming, Thorfinn's journey towards peace and personal growth is compelling enough to keep viewers watching for more than just the violence. Beyond that, the other characters' differing motivations for fighting offer interesting insights into real-world historical events, cultures, and legends.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence and war. What perspectives do different characters have about the violence the both experience and perpetuate? Why do they have these perspectives? How do you feel about their ideas?
Families can talk about peace. What would it take for communities to achieve peace? How do the characters find peace for themselves and their communities?
Families can talk about historical fiction. What parts of the story are based on real-world history? How does the history help us understand the characters' motivations and personal journeys?
- Premiere date: July 7, 2019
- Cast: Aleks Le, Laura Stahl, Kirk Thornton
- Networks: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime Video
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: History
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: March 21, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Anime TV for Teens and Tweens
Best Anime Movies
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate