Intense and emotionally gripping, Vagabond is one of the best series being released today.
Writer/Artist: Takehiko Inoue
Translation: Yuji Oniki
Adaptation: Yuji Oniki
What They Say
"Invincible is just a word, a mirage." With this revelation, Musashi sets out again to continue along the way. But will the path he chooses take him further towards the light or deeper into the darkness that is all too familiar to him, the spiral of killing and death?
Breaking one of my steadfast rules, I decided to put Vagabond to a little test. I have read only the first three volumes, which were fantastic, and I wanted to see if I could jump onboard later in the series and still understand what was going on. Normally I resist this tactic with tooth and nail; there is a reason the author writes them in order, and to fully enjoy a series, I feel that I should read every single volume. In order! Not starting with volume 31! But here goes -
I love Vagabond. It didn’t matter that I jumped in so far into the series. I literally could not put this book down until I reached the last page. Then I started making plans to pick up the omnibus volumes that I don’t have, so I can go back and find out what I missed. In addition to being a fantastic artist, Takehiko Inoue is a wonderful writer. He made me feel emotionally involved with Takezo and Matahachi as they sought the truth about themselves and tried to find inner peace. While I love the action scenes, I also love the quiet, reflective moments when the characters are forced to look at the truths about themselves, and sometimes those truths are very, very ugly.
Most of this volume is focused on Matahachi and his deathly ill mother. Matahachi is a pretty wormy character. He lacks courage and inner resolve, and he will do anything to keep himself alive. He’s a liar and I think he is cowardly, but here he must look at himself and uncover his flaws for others to see. That’s a hard thing for anybody to do, but for somebody who has been living a lie for so long, it is devastating. As Matahachi admits his flaws to himself, I found myself liking him better. I even liked his mother better, because despite her flaws, she was steadfast in her devotion to her son. Even knowing his failings, she still believed in him and devoted her life to him.
Vagabond is a series that has it all; great art, a compelling story, intense action that flares to life and sucks you into the battles. I can’t believe that I haven’t been reading it all along, because it has all of the elements that I love in a good book. If you are looking for an intelligent read that showcases the best in both action and emotion, give Vagabond a try. I bet you will like it!