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  1. #1

    Post Takehiko Inoue's Vagabond Discussion

    Does anyone read the Takehiko Inoue manga Vagabond? I think it is one of the best drawn, best written things I've read in years. It has an outstanding supporting cast and the protagonist is loosely based on the most important person in martial arts history.
    Last edited by Ood Omega; 02-26-2014 at 04:28 AM.
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  2. #2
    The Could-Have-Been King Ghost's Avatar
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    Vagabond is pretty high grade stuff, no doubt - an epic it the true sense of the word with a great deal of artistic value. Also, I like swords.

    It has an outstanding supporting cast
    It does?

    Because as much as I like Vagabond, the supporting cast isn't really what comes to mind when I think of it. Aside from Musashi and Kojiro (who is basically the other main protagonist) there's, like, four people worth keeping in mind: The monk, the girl, the whimpy dude and Ittosai.

    and the protagonist is loosely based on the most important person in martial arts history.
    That's... pretty debatable. Or at least, I think you exaggerate.

    Musashi is an interesting historical figure, sure, and he was certainly very good at killing people, but I'm not certain he had that much of an influence on martial arts in general.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    It does?

    Because as much as I like Vagabond, the supporting cast isn't really what comes to mind when I think of it. Aside from Musashi and Kojiro (who is basically the other main protagonist) there's, like, four people worth keeping in mind: The monk, the girl, the whimpy dude and Ittosai.
    Maybe I'm just gushing but I will elaborate more. I'll start by listing some of them.

    The monk Takuan (an important person in the Musashi mythology) and one of his real-life friend/acquaintance.

    Matahachi "the whimpy dude" IMHO is used by the writer as a literary foil. He is basically the stark opposite of Musashi. I'd like to elaborate more on this in future post.

    Jōtarō who is begrudgingly Musashi's first pupil ends up traveling with Otsū ("the girl"), I don't know how far you've read so I'm afraid to give away spoilers.

    there's a huge list of people he fights not just Kojiro who is his main rival that I think are interesting.

    Kōhei, the younger brother of the bandit that Musashi kills, was going to revenge kill Musashi when he was tied up in that tree by Takuan. Kōhei ends up not killing him and learning the chain & Sickle style from the grand daughter of a dead bandit.

    Is Ittōsai the old man with the bamboo backscratcher?

    I'll write more later this post is getting long-winded.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    That's... pretty debatable. Or at least, I think you exaggerate.

    Musashi is an interesting historical figure, sure, and he was certainly very good at killing people, but I'm not certain he had that much of an influence on martial arts in general.
    Just noticed the word "one of" was accidentally ommited from my OP. Though I'm interested in your opinion who in MA history is of bigger influence?
    "It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison

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    Nah, don't really care for it. Pretty art though.

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    I like it quite a lot, but it's hard to keep it in mind when he's producing new chapters at molasses speed. I understand he's also producing REAL at the same time, but I'm not sure I care.

    It's a brilliant samurai manga, especially for examining the mind of a swordsman, I especially liked his depiction of the battle against the 70 Yoshioka, but it's practically at a dead stop and he's not even gotten into the leadup for Ganryu Island.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inkthinker View Post
    It's a brilliant samurai manga, especially for examining the mind of a swordsman, I especially liked his depiction of the battle against the 70 Yoshioka, but it's practically at a dead stop and he's not even gotten into the leadup for Ganryu Island.
    The build-up to the battle of Ichijoji Temple where he decimates Yoshioka school was an incredible arc that IMO starts when he first duels Denshichirō to a draw over a year earlier.

    I'm guessing you've seen Hiroshi Inagaki's Samurai Trilogy if you already know what happens on Ganryu island? and yes he is taking too long to come out with more chapters.
    "It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison

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    I actually enjoy the philosophical portions of the story a lot. I like Inoue's representation of Musashi's... "id", I guess? His anger and power and "force of being", the moment when he and Itō Ittōsai face off, represented by each other's force of id, was awesome. And the internal struggles he has with that same force are fascinating as well.

    Is anyone else plugged in enough to know where the series is now? It's supposedly ongoing, but it seems like he's been at 34 volumes for a couple years now.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inkthinker View Post
    I actually enjoy the philosophical portions of the story a lot. I like Inoue's representation of Musashi's... "id", I guess? His anger and power and "force of being", the moment when he and Itō Ittōsai face off, represented by each other's force of id, was awesome. And the internal struggles he has with that same force are fascinating as well.
    I was thinking it is his bloodlust but I like your interpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inkthinker View Post
    Is anyone else plugged in enough to know where the series is now? It's supposedly ongoing, but it seems like he's been at 34 volumes for a couple years now.
    Last I read Musashi was spoilers:
    staying with Iori, a boy who's father had just died. He actually came across Iori trying to cut his father into pieces because his corpse was too big to carry. The farm land Iori and his father live on keeps getting flooded by the river every time it rains so Musashi decides to build a dam and it teaches him a life lesson.
    end of spoilers
    Last edited by Ood Omega; 03-31-2013 at 10:54 PM.
    "It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ood Omega View Post
    I was thinking it is his bloodlust but I like your interpretation.
    It's that as well... it's the beast within the man. One of the reasons I really liked the Ittōsai meeting was seeing how that same force exists within other people, and that metaphor for what happens when two powerful creatures (men or beast) come within range of one another.

    From looking at the chapters list on Wikipedia, Inoue's up to 304, which means there's been something like one new chapter every four months for the last two or three years. And to think I used to sweetly curse Kentaro Miura for taking so long with Berserk...
    Last edited by Inkthinker; 12-29-2012 at 11:10 PM.
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    Does any one collect this manga? Recently I found a copy of Vol. 1 @ my local comic shop and the cover art is different than that which is available for order on Amazon. The version I bought is cataloged @ Comic Book DB and the other version is here on Amazon. Does anyone know what the difference is between the one I bought and the one on Amazon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Inkthinker View Post
    From looking at the chapters list on Wikipedia, Inoue's up to 304, which means there's been something like one new chapter every four months for the last two or three years.
    Does that mean the next chapter is due out around March or May?
    "It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison

  11. #11

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    Two new chapters out!
    "It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison

  12. #12
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    WHUUUUAAAA? It's only been, like, a year or so. He must be feeling energetic. :D
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    This manga is freaking great! I reread it every now and then, because I'm actually pretty close to his age in the story right now. His evolution from demon child to confident warrior is truly inspiring. I'll be buying the VizBig editions once I save up some money. There's been plenty of new chapters out lately, and I think there's 5 chapters out there that haven't been translated yet.
    A great story is simple: never break character.

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  14. #14

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    Musashi trying to farm Iori's rice paddy really reminds me of the retired master In'ei of Hōzōin temple (spear technique school) earlier in the manga. Also I'm really curious how things will turn out for the starving villagers.
    "It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison

  15. #15

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    Who would have thought a story about farming could be so compelling. Not only does Musashi finally learn some humility but the villagers also learn to be self sufficient. Only Takuan would think stringing someone up in a tree would teach them discipline. I'm glad chapter #317 ends on a happy note now that the hard work of Musashi and all the villagers has come to fruition.
    "It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison

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