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VAGABOND: The Strongest Ronin Under The Heavens

Vagabond introduced the comic verse to a nonpareil genre, which concisely displays the ruthless struggle of martial artists in ancient times. The mangaka of Vagabond is also the artist of the celebrated manga Slam Dunk, Takehito Inoue. The manga gives an intense thrilling experience of the ancient Japanese era.


After successfully completing “Slam Dunk”, Takehito Inoue decided to publish a work which breaks the chain of orthodox manga writing. The light novel “Mushashi” by Yoshikawa Eiji provided inspiration for the manga. The manga is focused on the initial life of the protagonist which was often overlooked in the literature.

The manga won several awards including Grand Prize at Japan Media Arts Festival and had worldwide sales of over 82 million copies. However, due to health issues, Inoue manga went on hiatus in 2015 and there isn’t any news regarding the progress of the series.


In aftermath of a grisly war, a teenager named Takezo managed to survive the hunters, to make his second chance fruitful Takezo decides to become “Invincible under the heavens”. However, his past often compelled his inner bloodlust to turn Takezo into a monster who was periodically targeted by authorities in order to exterminate evil impulsive force inside Takezo. A roving monk, the distinguished Takuan, takes pity on Takezo and christened ‘Devil Child Takezo’ into young Ronin (Masterless wandering Samurai) named Miyamoto Mushashi to prevent the pursuit from superstitious authorities. These circumstances initiated the journey of Takezo toward his goal.

Vagabond’s plot is a blend of fiction and historic genre which retells the early life of the legendary samurai, ‘sword saint’ Miyamoto Mushashi. A lonely enlightened warrior who slowly learns the importance of friendship and self-reflection.


The story of the manga is illustrated exquisitely using detailed drawing forms. The work of Inoue has several audacious and violent fighting scenarios but the overall art style is quite intriguing and attractive. Moreover, the story arc which required nighttime scenes is too different from usual artworks are the uses dark shades to intensify the environment around the character of the story.


In my opinion, the best component of the manga is the character description. I wholeheartedly admire the determination and efforts of the mangaka for creating such a wonderful cast of characters. Apparently, the character of the protagonist is alluring, the gloomy past has a major hand in Mushahi’s life story. The thirst of becoming invincible always showed the calm and self-composed mind of Mushashi under aggressive and impatient physique.

Furthermore, the story distinctly shows the cruel and ruthless society of ancient times. It also depicts several facts regarding human nature which are often noticed in reality, such as envious friendship and mass manipulation etc.

I believe that reading the manga yourself will drag you into an unparalleled world. If you like the plot and writing of a manga then I personally this masterpiece, because its intense plot and charismatic characters will have, are influence over you. 

Featured & Written by; Dark Mikado


What do you think?


Written by Dave

I am a part-time poet, writer, and music enthusiast constantly trying out the stuff that I like. Writing for fun is my favorite hobby.

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