Manga series Vagabond from author/illustrator Takehiko Inoue, also of Slam Dunk fame, is an extremely delicate subject among fans. This is due to the fact that, after suffering periods of hiatus as it is, the author has seemingly expressed little desire to ever return to the series. This is likely due to burning out from having to dedicate so much work on his own to creating the chapters.
It’s a massive shame as it is frequently regarded as one of the best manga ever made, alongside Berserk, coincidentally another hiatus-plagued series. Some might wonder why this has never gotten an anime adaptation. Here we’ll go over five reasons a Vagabond anime is needed and five why it would be a bad idea.
10 Needs: One Of The Best Manga Ever
Without a doubt a very simple, basic reason, but it is one that would normally justify a manga series getting an anime adaptation. There are manga that aren’t even considered “good” among a lot of the anime/manga fanbase that get adaptations. Therefore, why shouldn’t Vagabond, a series hailed as one of the best or the best manga series ever made, get an anime?
Based on this logic alone, this should have been picked up a long time ago. This series is one that takes a surprisingly realistic and grounded approach compared to most of the big money-making anime out there.
9 Bad Idea: Difficulty In Finding A Studio
A potential roadblock in getting Vagabond a successful anime adaptation is first finding a suitable studio. Getting a studio to pick up the series at all is work on its own. However, in this case, finding one that can handle and do justice to the series adds another layer of difficulty to the whole process.
There are definitely plenty of talented anime studios out there, but they usually have their hands full with other series already under production or some that might be seen as bigger sources of revenue. While excellent, Vagabond isn’t exactly deeply ingrained into the mainstream when compared to several others.
8 Needs: Attracting More Attention To The Series
Building off of the last thought in the previous entry, putting in the work to get this series adapted into a high-quality anime could potentially bring Vagabond deeper into the mainstream. Frankly, a lot of people are going to be more happy to watch an anime than read the manga. While sad considering they are missing out on some great work, that’s how some of the market functions.
However, plenty of avid fans who may not have heard of or were on the fence about, in this case, Vagabond, would give the series overall an injection of popularity and have people come back to read the manga if the anime is great.
7 Bad Idea: Potentially Ruining The Artwork
Among the first things anybody who has read any Vagabond will tell you in regards to the series’ (various) strengths is the artwork throughout. The images shown in this article are just a taste of what you will find within each panel of every volume. While still somehow retaining a distinctive-enough “manga feel” to the art, it is arguably the most realistic depiction of characters and environments in the medium.
Everything is displayed in such excruciating detail from the facial expressions, combat and to even blades of grass. In addition to finding a proper studio, getting one that is capable of doing justice in recreating the panels colored and animated could hurt the potential adaptation significantly. While an extreme example, just look at the most recent Berserk anime.
6 Needs: If Successful, The Animation Could Be Incredible
Offering a counter to the previous point, should this hypothetical series find a worthy studio to tackle the adaptation, the animation could be beautiful and a sight to behold. It would likely be the studio’s biggest challenge yet considering the level of quality in Vagabond art is in a higher class than most, but perhaps not impossible.
There are quality studios out there, like Ufotable and Madhouse, who maybe could string up something incredible visually and breathe new life in the still images of the manga. Last year’s Demon Slayer (Ufotable) was an absolute feast for the eyes.
5 Bad Idea: Unnecessarily Getting People’s Hopes Up
To some, this might not seem like a big enough issue to justify not giving this manga series its own anime. However, whether this hypothetical anime comes out great or not, it could disappoint fans in at least one specific way. As fans of the manga know, and as has been referenced already, Vagabond seems to be on an indefinite hiatus at best or essentially cancelled at worst.
Newcomers to the series watching the anime could get their hopes up to seeing a final resolution that, honestly, may never come. Whether coming to this realization makes an anime adaptation worth it or not is up to the audience.
4 Needs: Creative Liberties On An Ending
Serving another counter to the last point made, whatever writer(s) the potential animation studio chooses to collaborate with could opt to take some creative liberties in crafting an ending to a hypothetical Vagabond anime. The roadblock to this, admittedly, could be getting Takehiko Inoue’s blessing to do so.
Although, since the manga is a historical one that takes creative liberties in telling Musashi’s story anyway, writer(s) could look to historical records of the ronin himself to create an ending to potentially get around this. But getting Inoue’s approval would likely be the best route. Should said writer(s) be competent enough, this could be a satisfying way to get a conclusion of a manga that likely won’t get one.
3 Bad Idea: Potentially Botching The Story
Taking creative liberties on established works obviously does not always guarantee success in quality story content or financial/commercial gains. Since the Vagabond manga is unfinished, taking creative liberties would be the biggest and most noticeable if they intend to complete the story.
There are other places where this could show, which will be talked about further down this article. The point is that if the writers take creative liberties that end up hurting the hypothetical anime, it could botch the story in general, and fans would not want to see that.
2 Needs: Inspiration To Finish The Manga
As if this entire article wasn’t already based on a major long-shot, this particular entry is arguably the biggest one in favor of giving Vagabond an anime, but a fan can dream. Should the whole process of getting the manga to be picked up by a studio and writers to green-light an anime, premiering, and actually being good actually happen, perhaps this would inspire something in Takehiko Inoue.
That is to finally continue and ultimately finish the manga itself. If that happens, then fans, old and new, all win in the end and maybe the studio in charge of the anime won’t even have to take creative liberties on an ending.
1 Bad Idea: Cutting Out Too Much Content
This point somewhat ties into the earlier thought on why adapting Vagabond into an anime would be a bad idea due to potentially botching the story. In addition to taking creative liberties in terms of adding story content not previously established in the source material, there is picking and choosing what from the manga gets adapted.
Arcs in Vagabond can be long and animating the series at all is a big ask, so it’s likely content will be cut out. Given how important all the content in the manga is to each story beat, this is something that will likely hurt the story, even if there are a few 20-something-episode-long seasons.
Manga series Vagabond from author/illustrator Takehiko Inoue, also of Slam Dunk fame, is an extremely delicate subject among fans.