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Growing up in the late 16th century Sengoku era Japan, Shinmen Takezō is shunned by the local villagers as a devil child due to his wild and violent nature. Running away from home with a fellow boy at age 17, Takezo joins the Toyotomi army to fight the Tokugawa clan at the Battle of Sekigahara. However, the Tokugawa win a crushing victory, leading to nearly three hundred years of Shogunate rule. Takezo and his friend manage to survive the battle and afterwards swear to do great things with their lives. However, after their paths separate, Takezo becomes a wanted criminal and must change his name and his nature in order to escape an ignoble death.

Note: Won the 24th Kodansha Manga Award in the general category in 2000. Won the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2002 and was nominated for the 2003 Eisner Award in the Best Writer/Artist category.


Related Series

Associated Names

Groups Scanlating
Guren no Heya Kara

Latest Release(s)
c.325-327 by Imperial Scans over 2 years ago
c.327 by HappyScans! & Guren no Heya Kara over 2 years ago
c.326 by HappyScans! & Guren no Heya Kara over 2 years ago
Search for all releases of this series

Status in Country of Origin
37 Volumes (Hiatus)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter

User Reviews

9 topics, 67 posts
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User Rating
Average: 8.9 / 10.0 (1438 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.85 / 10.0
 44% (633 votes)
 28% (406 votes)
 15% (221 votes)
 6% (89 votes)
 2% (30 votes)
 1% (11 votes)
 0% (5 votes)
 0% (5 votes)
 1% (8 votes)
 2% (30 votes)

Last Updated
September 28th 2017, 4:31am PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)
Morning (Kodansha)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher
Viz (37 Volumes - Ongoing)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #353 increased(+58)
Monthly Pos #435 decreased(-36)
3 Month Pos #258 decreased(-101)
6 Month Pos #124 increased(+3)
Year Pos #133 decreased(-5)

List Stats
On 4782 reading lists
On 1766 wish lists
On 165 unfinished lists
On 514 custom lists

Note: You must be logged in to update information on this page.

Forum Posts
70 Vs 1 over 2 years ago
Vagabond to Resume on January 29 over 2 years ago
Vagabond's Return Delayed Until Fall over 3 years ago
Vagabond Returns March 15 over 4 years ago
Why is there no discussion thread for this masterpiece? over 5 years ago

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User Comments [ Order by usefulness ]

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amazingly great read   
Rating: 8.9 / 10.0
by Azari02
May 20th, 2009, 7:00pm
The action is pretty good, (though i think the choreography could still use improvement), and the story is even better, as well as the philosophical side. It could easily be the best seinen manga out there,
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right into the centre of the warrior's heart   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by Isara
May 11th, 2009, 2:40pm
Seriously, sometimes I wonder what people expect in a picture-carried story about a man who dedicated his whole life to the way of the sword.
This is a story about THE one person who revolutionized sword techniques, starting off as a wild brute with nothing but anger and hatred inside (the problem with his father - very much the number one Freud theory) pushing and fighting his way through his darkest feelings to become the somewhat genius swordsman he later was.
Killing people comes with mastering a weapon build to do just this and Inoue Takehiko did an awfully great job trying to show us modern people what living for the art of killing and fighting must have meant.
Musashi grows into a man and an artist and Inoue lets us be a part of his struggling, with all of these hallucination-scenes and wandering of the mind as well as pure technique and hardship.
Fighting 70 men in a ridiculous effort to save himself from being followed and killed in the dark, while knowing that this will most likely make his life even harder (revenge and such), is a truly unnerving way of showing a situation with no possible peaceful solution. There is no way of getting out of this situation alive and well and thus he chooses alive.
Scenes like these almost tore my heart out, imagining the pain, exhaustion and distress.
Definitely the best read about the meaning of martial-art I know.
And the art is just breathtaking. Someone wrote a comment about the scenery and realistic ancient culture, I second that.
For someone who can take realistic thoughts and is interested in the overall topic, this is a must-read.

... Last updated on May 11th, 2009, 2:43pm
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Loving it   
Rating: N/A
by sunglasses
April 29th, 2009, 5:16pm
I don't know why I love Takehiko Inoue's work so much. Maybe it's because of the character development. Maybe it's because of the magnificent and mesmerizing artwork. Maybe, it's because... of the overflowing and havoc-wrecking emotion that fixes your attention on the action... and the drama... I recommend this to anyone who liked Slam Dunk.
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Very good... though not without problems   
Rating: 9.3 / 10.0
by VampireBanana
April 25th, 2009, 1:22am
The drawing is technically very good. In fact, everything from the characters, backgrounds, tones, etc., are accurately depicted and very well-constructed. In fact, I feel that the scenery is rather gorgeous and same for certain depictions of certain characters. However, at times, I feel like the art has sacrificed the ability to emote in favour of technicality.

The story is intriguing. I'm sure I've read a simpler version before but never has it been told and etched out in such detail. The conflicts, the various motives and lives of the entire cast is depicted and written with care. And the historical settings are very well-done, from the buildings to the food, to the clothings and behaviours of the people. (In fact, the story feels very historically realistic as opposed to an interpretation from a 21st century viewpoint.) And the action scenes are fairly cool too as even the varying sword techniques are depicted accurately and interestingly in terms of art and writing.

However, such an in-depth, panel-intensive approach to storytelling is not without risks when considering the immense cast involved as the series is what? Probably halfway through the total intended story arcs. This is further complicated by the philosophical aspects. Though interesting as they lend an introspective layer to this series, the author seems bent on repeating them so it adds on even more pages to an already lengthy saga.

And to me, the final blow is that by focusing too much on action and bloodshed at times, the writer has diminished the characterisation of Musashi by making him seem too murderous when he fights for other purposes. Yes, I understand the need to depict the blood-thirsty era of the samurai ages but without constant narration or other forms of storytelling techniques, it's hard to seriously and properly maintain the layers of his character or of the other cast. In contrast, I feel that Cesare, Historie and Vinland Saga do a much better job of preserving characterisation while depicting a story amidst blood-drenched histories. That is: showing the characters to be capable of extreme violence while not allowing the bloodthirst to overshadow the storytelling.

... Last updated on April 25th, 2009, 3:22am
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Rating: N/A
by GodOfMadness
April 13th, 2009, 7:44am
The art is amazing. The storyline is amazing. This manga is amazing. I don't think Otsū and Musashi will develop a relationship, he's "The way of the sword" all the way. But I don't want her with Musashi's childhood friend either >.< He's a coward and a jerk.
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Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by serobins
April 9th, 2009, 10:33pm
I read this religiously, buy the books, and rate it a ten based on the art alone. The drawing is just plain amazing.

The story is alright. It's usually a dozen chapters of gritty sword fights followed by a dozen chapters of Musashi moping around and philosophizing while he heals/trains. I like a good samurai disemboweling as much as the next girl, but I think I'm missing the point of a lot of the way of the sword stuff. Oddly, I like the side stories about Kojiro and Musashi's childhood friend better than the main story a lot of the time.
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rofl, you guys try too hard   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by xGunner1
February 23rd, 2009, 6:40pm
Reading some of these reviews, pretty god damn funny. Here's a quote

"For instance, there's this scene in which Musashi fights 70 samurai. The fight lasted...what? 20, 30 chapters? By the end of it, I was literally EXHAUSTED I wonder if the author did that on purpose to let us experience a bit of how tiring it must have been for Musashi to fight that many people..."

EXHAUSTION, happens when you sit in a chair reading manga. lmao

"First off, the art just makes me hyperventilate..."

0_o, im sorry but when I read mah manga I don't overexcite myself to the point of hyperventilation

*breathes heavily*

Main point is that you guys need to chill out and lighten up on your reviews a little, then again it gave me agood laugh XD!
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Very violent   
Rating: N/A
by JHax9999
February 16th, 2009, 8:39am
To the laughing idiot above me:

Heh, you're a peculiar one. I don't know why you feel the need to critique other people's reviews, but obviously you've never been taught any courtesy or manners. Dude, everyone reads manga differently. Some read it for a good laugh, others get caught up in the plot. Nothing wrong with either case. I don't give a damn how you read your manga, and neither do I tell you how to state your opinion. So, how about you stop telling others how to write their own review and actually contribute something relevant to the topic. Just a suggestion.
This manga is great. Beautiful art, riveting plot, morally ambiguous characters... all these make for a very interesting read.
But I just have to say, there is so much needless violence. And the brutality of the killings can be quite off-putting, especially when you're continuously bombarded with it throughout the whole manga.

For instance, there's this scene in which Musashi fights 70 samurai. The fight lasted...what? 20, 30 chapters? By the end of it, I was literally exhausted. I wonder if the author did that on purpose to let us experience a bit of how tiring it must have been for Musashi to fight that many people, or if he's really just doing fan-service for his gore-hog readers... but anyway, there's a whole bunch of bloodshed and really awful, just awful, killings.

My point is, it's just kinda hard to like a character when you see him kill a man in cold blood, and then see the man's little kid come running out and crying over his dead body. Pretty hard to clap for the victor there, unless of course, your a bit of a jerk and that stuff amuses you. If that's the case, good for you, you've hit the goldmine with this manga. Anyway, this isn't a criticism, it's just to show you how morally ambiguous and dark the tone of the story is, and what a tough position this can put you in as a reader. This manga is heavy reading, not the rainbows and lollipop stuff you get from most manga.

Anyway, if your a bit of a saddist, and you like gorey stuff, along with a pretty great storyline, this manga is for you. But be warned, things are gonna get ugly, fast.

... Last updated on March 11th, 2009, 7:33am
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reaaally good   
Rating: N/A
by elalendi
February 14th, 2009, 8:33pm
First off, the art just makes me hyperventilate. I mean, you have to be blind not to appreciate it. Everything's so realistic... the color pages make me squeal... action scenes are just awesome and every detail is just PERFECT.

Now the story is surprisingly good too. I'm not a big fan of historical/samurai stuff, and I had no idea who the heck Musashi was before I read this, and didn't care to learn about him, but when I picked it up just to look at the art I was surprised to find myself immediately absorbed. THe pacing's kinda slow but really consistent. The plot's very interesting, got all the good elements of violence (but not too graphic or annoyingly pornographic with so many sex and rape scenes like you'd see in other seinen works), in-depth characters, blah blah, and it's "orderly" (as in not confusing and all over the place). And I love how the story is told sometimes, with flashbacks and POV changes coordinated really well. Oh, and the protagonist is very likable, and there's even a heroine (sort of) who's super likable too.

So... I definitely recommend this. But you might need a lotta time on your hands since this is looong.
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Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by strayed
January 27th, 2009, 4:34am
looking for a masterpiece? perfect proportional drawing? great samurai fighting? then VAGABOND is your choice!
this manga doesn't have even a single point of unsatisfying!
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