Vol: 37; Ch: 327
1998 - 2015
4.49 out of 5 from 3,463 votes
Rank #7

Following a horrific defeat at the battle of Sekigahara, two survivors, Takezo Shinmen and Matahachi Hon’iden, are deflated at having been unable to make a name for themselves and earn glory on the battlefield. But while Matahachi is anxious to go home, Takezo has vowed never to return and intends to become a vagabond, travelling the country polishing and testing his skills as a swordsman. With a beastial mercilessness when it comes to killing and a habit of cutting down all in his path, it doesn’t take long for Takezo to become a wanted fugitive. However, after being captured by a monk named Takuan and given a new lease of life, Takezo begins to live under the name of Musashi Miyamoto. Now, with a new view on life and death, Musashi continues to travel the nation challenging the most infamous fighters to achieve his goal of becoming the strongest samurai ever known.

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10/10 for everything? Damn, I sound like I'm really easy to please. That isn't case (I think), but I'm usually open minded. Enough about that, though. Allow me to pour my heart out for the legend of Miyamoto Musashi beautifully illustrated in Inoue Takehiko's best work yet: Vagabond. AS ALWAYS: May contain spoilers idk. Of course I came here from Slam Dunk otherwise the name "Inoue Takehiko" would've remainded a mystery. Am I slightly ashamed for not knowing someone as great and talented as him? No...yeah. Reading chapter 1 was a trip and a half for me. I wasn't interested in the story 100%, but I was extremely attracted to the enigma that is Shinmen Takezo. An attractive boy with a wild attitude and a lust for killing? That's what messed up dreams are made of. Matahachi on the other hand...nah. I remember struggling to finish chapter 8 as I thought Oko and Akemi were main characters. I was totally not okay having a super sexy prostitute lust after Takezo, but I also wanted to see Takezo get it on. What do I really want in my life? Anyway... I finished chapter 8 and suddenly I was on chapter 45. I'm pretty sure Inoue Takehiko put some sort of spell in this manga that puts the reader in a temporary trance. I can vaguely remember my mouth hanging open through most of it and not swallowing my spit until it leaked out of my mouth. As unattractive as that sounds, it's a natural response! Vagabond is simply the work of an angel. The artwork is extremely detailed and there were many close ups of Takezo that looked almost real. The character development (or under development in Matahachi's case) was pleasing to witness as Takezo has many chances to learn something new and he takes each and every one. Though he is quite rude and unruly in the beginning, it is his same dare devil attitude that allows him to meet and fight very skilled swordsmen who leave him with another bit of knowledge to aid him in his quest of becoming the most skilled swordsman. Like...Takuan! I knew from the very moment Takuan was introduced that he would be a big help to our wild monkey Takezo. Like Slam Dunk, I must admit some fight scenes dragged on a little longer than they needed to and while I enjoyed Sasaki Kojiro's arc, I was also desperate for it to end! Kojiro is another enigma within the Vagabond universe, but I must continue to express my love for Takezo. Sorry, Kojiro. Kojiro: A-waah. I have quite a few chapters to go and the manga is still ongoing, but I know for a fact that my opinion won't change. In fact, I feel like the upcoming chapters I'm going to read will only strengthen what I've already mentioned above! I read reviews of Vagabond before actually reading the manga and some of them were negative which is why I should mention that despite reading my review, it is highly possible that you may not like Vagabond. Why? Well we all have our own preferences, of course! Anyone who doesn't like Vagabond should probably be avoided, though. Check the negative reviews and make a mental note to ignore these people if you're unlucky enough to encounter them in your daily lives. The legacy of expert swordsman Miyamoto Musashi lives on through Takehiko's Vagabond and will hopefully awaken the dormant fighting spirit we all have inside of us. #1 manga? You bet.


It's fantastic. More of a highbrow manga, I'd say, that's aimed at a more mature audience.  Let's start off with the art. The art is phenomenal. I literally follow Takehiko Inoue art accounts on instagram just so I can see it everyday. It's that good. Even if you somehow dislike the characters and story and everything else, you can still read it for the art and still enjoy it.  Then the characters. I love the characters. They're well written, well fleshed out and well developed. This manga places quite the emphasis on character development and organic growth, which is why the story is nothing amazing though well written. I really like that Musashi starts off quite a loser; someone, who, at the start, I facepalmed at for some of his decisions. Then, you know, he becomes the greatest swordsman in all of Japan. The character growth is organic and natural; it doesn't feel forced and the pacing is great albeit a little slow for my taste. This is not limited for the protagonist, by the way. Other characters are also very well developed. This is something you'd turn off the lights and sit down exclusively for. But I'll mention that the author has dropped it, which is unfortunate. I dropped it for this reason. I don't want to be heartbroken at the end by the lack of a satisfying ending. Anyhow, this is a great read. I recommend it to anyone besides people who enjoy harem wish fulfillment fictions, not because this is not good enough, but the reverse. 

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