Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Return of Vagabond

Pre-publication advert for the return of the Vagabond strip
(Courtesy of Kodansha Press)

Last month saw the return of Inoue Takehiko's manga Vagabond to the pages of the manga 'Morning' after a break of some one and a half years.

For those who don't know it, this is an immensely popular work based around the life of Miyamoto Musashi, using Yoshikawa Eiji's novel as a starting point. With an intricate plot and detailed back stories, it diverges from Yoshikawa's novel on many points, and is fully worthy of being treated as a major work in its own right.

Cover of the May 16th edition of Morning
(Courtesy of Kodansha Press)

Inoue, who commented in interviews on the difficulty of continuing a story that continually threw characters he had so closely identified with into dark and violent situations, stopped writing in mid-story, citing his physical condition as the reason.

In the meantime, he busied himself with other projects, including raising money for victims of the Tohoku earthquake, and a major work painted in situ for the Higashi Honganji Temple in Kyoto.

After an official announcement this March, May saw the first installments of the continuation of Vagabond. Although Inoue said he would take it easy and work at a slower pace, I'm all sure all his fans are happy, just so long as he continues.

From the May 5th edition of Switch

In an interview in the May edition of the magazine Switch, he explained that he had been looking for a way to continue that involved something more than hurrying to a predetermined conclusion, combining the enjoyment and energy of the exhibitions he mounted with the manga strip.

I hope he finds it.