Saturday, October 26, 2013

Vagabond #36

It's a bit intimidating picking up and start reading a series on the 36th volume, but I'm a huge fan of the work of Takehiko Inoue (井上雄彦) so I thought it was time to jump into the long running saga of Vagabond (バガボンド).

Although Inoue is most well known for the basketball classic Slam Dunk (スラムダンク), it was the annual wheelchair basketball series Real (リアル) that brought his work to my attention. All of Inoue's work shares a common theme, from Basketball to Bushido, they focus on artistic movement of the human body, and Inoue's amazing ability as an artist is shown in the care taken with the facial emotion of his characters.

Vagabond tells the story of Musashi Miyamoto (宮本武蔵), a ronin (masterless samurai), from the 16th-17th century. Inoue draws on the historical fiction of Eiji Yoshikawa (吉川英治), which has been translated in English by Charles Terry. Musashi himself was also an artist and author, his most famous work is the guide on strategy and tactics, The Book of Five Rings (五輪の書).

One of the most celebrated swordsman in Japanese history, there have been multiple film and TV adaptations of Mushashi's story. The most highly acclaimed being the 1955 Academy Award winning Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto directed by Hiroshi Inagaki (稲垣浩), and featuring samurai screen legend Mifune Toshiro (敏郎三舟).

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