Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Reader's Diary #1202- Takehiko Inoue: Vagabond, Vol. 1

It was last year that a friend of mine showed me a picture of Inoue's art from the Vagabond series. I was blown away. It took me a long time to get into manga, but I'd grown accustomed to a familiar style. Vagabond is just breathtaking and different. The overly cartoon faces that I'd just taken for granted as the way manga had to be are replaced here with highly detailed, far more realistic faces but incredibly expressive. Just stunning.

This edition, published by Vizbig, actually contains volumes 1-3 translated versions of the original Japanese. At the beginning of each volume, a few pages are presented in colour. Oddly, they don't work. Inoue's etched details have gotten covered up in favour of watercolour shading and it's a testament to his original drawings that the colour version looks less realistic than the black and white. That said, the monochromatic cover shown above may actually have worked. That's fantastic, don't you think?

The story, be fair warned, is very violent. I could deal with that, but the threats of rape in the earlier third of the book made me uncomfortable. I don't know if these were Inoue's additions, if they were Eiji Yoshikawa's creation (Vagabond is based on Yoshikawa's novel Musashi), or they were based on historical fact (both books are based on the real life of a renown samurai from the 16th Century). In any case, if you can get past that, the story becomes quite compelling. It's a coming of age story essentially, but of a very troubled individual and with hints of spiritual enlightenment bubbling underneath the surface.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That looks nothing like any manga I have ever seen! I like this.