Manga Review: Vagabond

Details: More information can be found at https://myanimelist.net/manga/656/Vagabond

Score: 7.8/10

Vagabond is an fairly successful, award winning manga series. It’s one part sword fighting action story and one part existential-philosophical story. The most frustrating part of this series is that it is incomplete. The author went on hiatus a while ago and never came back. The author is also the author of hit series Slam Dunk, so I guess he’s just sitting back and enjoying that Slam Dunk money. Regardless, what’s exists for Vagabond is still great.

Vagabond tells the story of Miyamoto Musashi, a master swordsman who lived during 1500’s Japan. This is an exaggerated story, so don’t expect it to be historically accurate. It starts from when he was a young man and continues to somewhere in this thirties. At least, that’s when the author went on hiatus. Throughout Musashi’s life, he defeats many warriors of great renowned and becomes a swordsman who was known as the greatest of his time.

There is a lot of action and all of it is drawn well. It’s exciting and fluid. I also love the philosophical portions where he thinks about his strength, his weaknesses, and the ultimate philosophies behind swordsmanship. There’s something very zen or Buddhist about Musashi’s musings and it certainly feels deliberate on the author’s part.

The art is fantastic. Often times it transitions from its standard line work over to paintbrushed water colors. It gives a surreal effect that helps convey this existential look into swordsmanship.

Overall, Vagabond is a great series and fairly unique when you compare it to other similarly themed manga. The art is great and the story is thought provoking and extremely violent. I definitely recommend this manga is you don’t mind that it’s incomplete and if you can handle blood and gore.

Score: 7.8/10

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