Genres: Seinen(young adult, 17+), Samurai, philosophical,
Author: Takehiko Inoue (best known for Slam Dunk manga)
Publication: Weekly Morning, (publisher: Kodansha)
Start Date: 1998
End Date: On Going
Number of chapters at review: 243
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 243
General Overview: This is a more realistic manga based on the novel by Eiji Yoshikawa which is based on the real life of sword saint Musashi Miyamoto. It is a seinen manga so it has deeper more social and philosophical views, arcs, and plots than a standard shounen manga. While there is a small amount of spirituality involved, the action and fighting sequences are very realistic. You won't be finding 5 attacks that look like they should destroy the body entirely being used in a row by two samurai here, but rather the real threat and difference in skill that comes from dodging a blow that leaves a scratch on you.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
The art is amazing. VERY VERY detailed each and every page. Although there aren't any elaborate looking monsters or costumed heroes the realistic and detailed is very cool.
The deep thoughts that go into Musashi mastering his skill and becoming the strongest under the heavens is very engaging. But unlike most standard manga it lacks a big bad boss villain, this may or may not be a big deal to personal tastes. But I will say Inoue does a masterful job in moving along the plot with Musashi and all the supporting characters. There's much character depth in this manga.
Like I said there is lots of character depth in this. Character's growth reaction to situations and realizations I personally think is what makes this such a great manga that stands far above many others.
The big main theme is philosophy of martial arts. Growing and becoming stronger more aware, etc. The theme is rather blunt I'll admit. To really get into it you kinda have to like martial arts or samurai. I'm not saying you must or you'll hate. But give it a try and it might grow on you.
I give this a 10 because never have I read such a realistic manga before. The fights are really something rather amazing in the way they are brought about. The fact that there is no main villain or anything also helps with its originality. Inoue does a great job to keep you hooked and wanting more without there actually being a villain to defeat.
Vagabond is among the best manga I've ever read in my life. It truly is amazing and captivating the way Inoue has written the story and character depths. The only thing that keeps this from being a 10 is that it's themes aren't something that is so easily understood and appreciated.
Well this was my first review leave some comments on what you think. All the chapters used to be available here. But something happened the links broke from rapid share or something. You gotta register but you can find all the volumes up to date Here: www.mangatraders.com
You can discuss the chapters on here just look to your left and find the Vagabond forum link.
Spoiler: Manga's images taken from earlier chapters to avoid spoiler, generally the art improves show
Feel like discussing Vagabond further? Go here:
Vagabond Discussion Forum
Last edited by Luckas; April 18, 2008 at 08:12 AM. Reason: forum link added
nice, i may check out this manga.. thank for the review...
Cool. After you read a few. tell me what you think. Was I right in giving it an overall 9?
Vagabond is an awesome manga and I believe it could have a better vote regarding themes, but I haven't found a way to put in words.
Very nice review, I agree with you on everything except for vagabond fight's being realistic.....
Last edited by Mooncrow; January 09, 2008 at 10:00 AM. Reason: please remember no spoilers =)
To me it's almost perfect. it is my favorite Seinen. i would have given it a bit more points for plot and themes but all and allgood review .
I would have given more for themes, theres the whole idea of climbing the mountain of your own skills only to see the surrounding mountains are far taller. The discussions he has with the two old men.... Anyway, great review, and 9 overall is just right i think.
Thanks for the input maybe now more people will read it... and bumping the thread
Vagabond is the best manga i'd ever read all of my life.i can't even simply call it a manga,it's like a living novel.better than listening to the story,better than reading the novel,better than watching the movie..just second to witnessing it first hand.it has the most depth compared to all other mangas.Takehiko Inoue has combined his unique drawing skills with the epic story of one mighty samurai and has achieved to create this marvelous living manga.i can never thank him enough for doing this and you for your review.my english is not enough to describe my thoughts any further.
Last edited by shinsengumi; February 08, 2009 at 12:26 AM.
I'd give themes a higher score as well. Zen Buddhism as it pertains to sword fighting is more or less idea. As two characters, and a yet to be introduced third (Vagabond is fictionalized history), wrote books on the subject it's appropriate to the manga. As it is based on real people there can't be a main villain. There was no main villain in Musashi's life, thus none in the manga.