(“The reason for portraying shadows is to depict light.”)

–This is a story of redemption and self-redemption.

Before writing this review of Vagabond, I gave it a lot of consideration.

This piece is simply too unique. To be honest, this is the only manga review I’ve ever written that doesn’t have an over-the-top narrative or enthralling setting. Eiji Yoshikawa’s best-selling literature is used as a source of inspiration, but a drastic change is made to contribute artistic substance to a swordsman’s story.

It’s more correct to call it a commercialized piece of art.

In September 1998, a historical manga featuring the “invincible sword master” Miyamoto Musashi appeared in Magazine Morning, which was based on the novel Miyamoto Musashi: Sword and Zen by Eiji Yoshikawa.

The story begins in the aftermath of the Battle of Sekigahara, where corpses are strewn across the land.

To establish a name for themselves, Shinmen Musashi and Matabachi Honjita sign up for the army but are barely able to make it out alive.

Then a series of tragic events occur: Matabachi abandons his fiancée and flees away with a woman; Matabachi’s mother leads a manhunt for Musashi; Musashi is arrested by the monk Takuan and falls on a millennium cedar; Takuan saves him when he is dying; Musashi is brought back to life after few nudges from Takuan.

In the following three years, Takezo changed his name to Musashi and embarked on a lengthy journey to challenge as a ronin.

After the defeat at the Yoshioka Dojo, Musashi received guidance from Hōzōin In’ei. the master of the Hōzōin temple. Musashi’s confidence soared after his victory against Inshun Hozoin, and he decided to take the “quickest route” and challenge Sekishusai Yagyu, the world’s current number one swordsmen, the invincible.

The fight took place at night. The image is dark because it depicts a nighttime combat. The four-on-one fight is particularly intense. The sub-screening, drawing, and pacing are all expertly executed by Inoue using an ingenious technique to achieve a perfect balance of dark and light, slow and fast in the picture.

Musashi was able to enter Yagyu’s room after beating the 4 Yagyu senior disciples. He was standing in front of the “invincible,” and he could grab it. But a backscratcher pushed the blade back into its sheath.

Faced with the unarmed and dying Yagyu, Musashi shook and requested with a shaky voice,

inquiringly, “What is the so-called “invincible” ?

“Invincible, it’s merely a word”

You’ve made it to the summit of the mountain, and all you see there is the summit of the mountain. In the manga, Zen is there at all times.

The following encounter with Tsujikaze was a thrilling one. Musashi devised the famous “Niten Ichi-ryū”, fighting with two swords together, a Katana and a Wakizashi, in order to deal with the unexpected kusarigama. 

Musashi beat Yoshioka Kiyoshiro when he returned to Kyoto. Destiny finally brought Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro together in Kyoto in 1604.

Kojiro was a divine being, a model of perfection.

He was born with a rare and exceptional skill. Since he was a child, his parents were martyred in the war and entrusted him to the samurai Kanemaki Jisai .

Kojiro’s life was set up for him to excel in swordsmanship: he was born deaf, was educated by a well-known teacher, and was raised with the “master of the sword.”

A pure guy, he is a man who lives for the sword, a man who is adored by all swords because of his devotion to the weapon.

As a demon from hell, Musashi stands as a powerful emblem of destruction.

He is unsure of himself and striving. He killed an adult at the age of fifteen.Nature is his teacher, and the skeleton in the secret cave is his spiritual home. Fear and loneliness are all he feels as he runs through the mountains and forests, fighting for his life like a savage beast. Although he has strayed several times, he has learned to reflect, reflect on his actions, reflect on his spirit, and reflect on his swordsmanship in order to remedy his errors. There were those who thought he was evil, and there were those who thought he was kind.

Shadow and light are linked between Musashi and Kojiro.

Musashi is a symbol of endeavor, whereas Kojiro is a symbol of innate ability.

Musashi symbolizes maturity, whereas Kojiro symbolizes innocence.

Musashi represents brashness, Kojiro represents elegance.

The Vagabond is never a manga that caters to the market. No brotherhood, no fantasy, no endless boss battles as well. A lot of time is devoted to shaping humans and the human condition. When it comes to depicting Miyamoto Musashi, Inoue chooses to express his own inner experience. From characters to plots, story, painting, this is the summit of Inoue’s 20-year manga career.

“With more than 10 years experience, ROM is your reliable source of high quality swords and knives” 

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