Vagabond review

Apr 16, 2021
Its rare I am changed on a spiritual and philosophical level by a piece of media. Sure I may form certain opinions after consuming a story or movie, however Vagabond is the only story to every completely change how I look at life.

To absurdly oversimplify it, Vagabond is a story of self improvement and finding your place in the world. Before I read Vagabond I didn't know where to go with my life. But soon after starting it I realised this wasn't a normal manga, this was different.

By volume 10 I had already been so motivated by Musashi and his journey that my grades at school had improved exponentially. Vagabond taught me what it means to push oneself to you absolute limits. Reaching your potential is important, but more important is realising life continues after you reach your goals. And that's okay. Life doesn't have an epic conclusion, it is a single long journey from start to a end. Though you won't have some Hollywood conclusion to your story, you can accomplish many goals along the way and it is important to constantly be pushing yourself, for when you stop trying is when you lose your way.

There will be no spoilers in this review don't worry
Story: 10/10 Vagabond follows the journey of Miyomoto Musashi and loosely follows the actual life of Musashi. Over the course of his journey Musashi is taught numerous things by the people he encounters. This taught me to seek knowledge from people I meet. I'm everyone has stories to tell and things to teach you, meeting new people and discovering new things is a great way to progress towards your goals. Musashi's development doesn't happen in huge jumps, but instead happens over the course of the story. All his experiences shape who he is.

Art: 10/10 I doubt I need to say much about the art. Vagabond is notorious for having amazing art, and is considered by many to have the best art of all manga. Reading a Vagabond chapter generally takes me a lot longer than normal because I find myself staring at each page admiring the beautiful art, only to realise I haven't even read the words yet.

Characters: 10/10 A big part of Vagabond is seeing how each character grows, and the anticipation of their eventual dual or interaction. I've found myself wishing some characters didn't have to right because I enjoy both so much, and would be saddened if one were to die. The fact I care so much about character throughout this story shows how compelling they care. Each Vagabond character feels like their own person and the main character or their own story. It just happens that we are following Musashi's. I am always excited to learn a characters back story and to find out how they become the person they are. These feel like real people with real emotions, and I hope I find another story that makes me love a stories character as much as Vagabond.

Enjoyment: 10/10 There have been many times over the course of Vagabond where I have literally been on the edge of my seat in anticipation. Excitingly turning the page and trying to keep my cool as I fanboy over how amazing the action scenes and dialogue are. Even arcs that some may consider "boring" are very enjoyable to me. This story is a hood example of how to write what seems like boring things in an exciting way. There's literally an arc about farming, and its one if my favourites in all of manga because of how well it is written and portrayed.

Flaws: The series is currently unfinished, and by the looks of it won't be finished for a very long time as its on a long hiatus. That's literally all the flaws I can think about.

Overall: 10/10 I understand that Vagabond isn't for everyone, but I would 100% recommended it to literally everyone. I have become a better person (in my opinion) after reading Vagabond. And if you find yourself lost in the world, in a dark place or just feeling depressed in general. I urge you to read this story, it helped me in more ways than I can describe and I hope it can do the same for you.


Author Inoue, Takehiko