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Thread: TNL Comic/Manga Club: Vagabond

  1. Thumbs Up TNL Comic/Manga Club: Vagabond

    Takehiko Inoue's Vagabond is a manga adaptation of Eiji Yoshikawa's Musashi, a pseudo-biography of feudal Japan's most well-known swordmaster (come philosopher) Miyamoto Musashi. The story begins at the aftermath of the Battle of Sekigahara, with Takezo (the main character's common name before adopting Musashi) and his childhood friend Matahachi as surviving foot soldiers of the losing side, embarking on the long journey home from the battlefield. Being very different men, Takezo headstrong and nomadic and Matahachi a cowardly, bumbling sort, they go their seperate ways.

    Takezo presses onward towards their hometown of Miyamoto while Matahachi, engaged to marry as soon as he returns, opts to stay behind and shack up with a former brothelwoman and thief. Matahachi's doting, elderly mother of course blames this entirely on Takezo and manages to convince the entire village of his wicked ways. An idiosyncratic monk named Takuan and Matahachi's jilted ex-fiance, Otsu, help him out of his capture and, realizing there is nothing in Miyamoto for him but ill will, Takezo decides to set out and make a name for himself by mastering the sword.

    Vagabond is an absolute masterpiece. Inoue's meticulously detailed, realistic artwork is hands down some of the most beautiful ever set to paper. The narration is very much outside standard manga fare; though Takezo/Musashi is certainly the main focus (though even he was pushed aside for a course of nearly 6 volumes at one point), the viewpoints and motivations for other characters are fully explored, and their lives are ever changing. They go their seperate ways, meet again, part again; no one is stuck upon a set course or indebted to anyone's motivations but their own. The world of feudal Japan is reproduced exceptionally well and with no punches pulled, fights are at once bloody and beautiful, but also aren't afraid to be clumsy and lucky, as many no doubt were. And while the subject matter could be very serious and dire in most people's hands, Inoue injects a startling amount of effortless whimsy through his master of subtle interactions and expressions. Everything about this manga feels very natural and beauteous in a way that's hard to properly describe.

    There are currently 22 volumes available in the US, published by Viz. The japanese releases are only one volume ahead, at 23. I should point out that Viz does a really bang-up job on localization, they even reproduce the painted pages in full color, which is very rarely done in trades here. Vols. 1-4 are $12.95 each, vols. 5-22 are $9.95.
    Last edited by Bacon McShig; 19 Aug 2006 at 01:54 PM.

  2. Cool, I'll check this out next time I'm up at border's where I just simply read everything and never purchase kekeke.

  3. Oh crist another order from the right stuff since they are having a 33% off viz sale. That would be 3 order in the last 2 weeks.....

    Looks awesome though can't wait to check it out.


    Crap that sale is over ;_; I will find it some where. Though I almost never see it it in stores.
    Last edited by Brand; 19 Aug 2006 at 04:41 PM.

  4. I enjoyed Kenshin, and am finishing up that 28 piece set now, would you say this is more realistic than kenshin, and do you think if I really enjoyed Kenshin I'd like this one?

  5. Easiest way to tell if you'll enjoy Vagabond:

    Rent the samurai trilogy (starring Toshiro Mifune). The trilogy and Vagabond are both based on the same book detailing the life of Musashi. Then buy the first volume or two of Vagabond. If you say to yourself, "ehh, I already know what's going to happen..." then don't buy any more. If not, then press on.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by Thief Silver
    I enjoyed Kenshin, and am finishing up that 28 piece set now, would you say this is more realistic than kenshin, and do you think if I really enjoyed Kenshin I'd like this one?
    Realistic is about the last adjective I'd use to describe Kenshin, considering one of the main characters wields a sword the size of a man and it has enemies with gun arms and shit. Hence, it's hard to really draw any "if you liked, then you'll like" parallel. But yes, Vagabond is far more realistic.

  7. Well, apperently UPS lost my books in their warehouse, so I am getting another shippment sent out. I'll hopefully read these sometime soon.

  8. Since the covers don't really convey the strength of the linework most of the book uses, I uploaded a few page samples. I find the B&W art looks way better than the color.

  9. I still haven't gotten my copies. Going to stab things in the eye. This looks cool I want to read it.

  10. #10
    Finally got these, will be reading them this weekend.


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