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Growing up in the late 15th century Sengoku era Japan, Shinmen Takezo 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. But after their paths separate, Takezo becomes a wanted criminal, and must change his name and his nature in order to escape an ignoble death. Based on the book "Musashi" by Eiji Yoshikawa, Vagabond is a fictional retelling of the life of Miyamoto Musashi, often referred to as the "Sword Saint" - perhaps the most famous and successful of Japan's sword fighters.
Miyamoto Musashi, born Shinmen Takezo, only at a very young age, embarked on a journey to become the strongest samurai only after being exiled from his own village. Musashi is the son of a samurai family, whose father is one of the most renowned samurai across the nation. One of the foremost reasons that drives Musashi to excel in sword-fighting, is his desire to overcome his father for all the harsh treatment given during his childhood and Musashi's incapability to rebel. Musashi is unique in terms of his sword-skill for the unfamiliar movements and lack of style he use. This is due to the fact that he spent most of his entire time in the forest having been labelled as a demon child by his village for his demeaning and wicked nature. Frankly, the forest is his home and where his master resides.