Just like Shonen, there are the Big Three Seinen Manga as well: Is Vagabond on the list?

Vagabond manga is one of the big three seinen Manga

Seinen is a category of ani-manga series with no shortage of critically acclaimed titles. To name some, there’s Berserk, Vagabond, Kingdom, Monster, Stein’s Gate, and Vinland Saga. Similar to the Big Three Shonen anime, some anime hold the mantle for the Seinen counterpart, the Big Three Seinen Manga!

While most of these titles are either ongoing or finished, given how Vagabond has been on an indefinite hiatus, does it still qualify as one of the Big Three Seinen? Let us find out! 

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Is Vagabond one of the Big Three Seinen Manga?

Musashi Miyamoto in Vagabond Manga
Musashi Miyamoto | Image Courtesy of Takehiko Inoue

Whether it’s the critical acclaim, sales, or popularity in the fandom, Vagabond excels in every aspect. The manga has garnered praise and attention from fans for its phenomenally detailed art style which goes hand in hand with an equally compelling story. The fights of Miyamoto Musashi and the art style of Takehiko Inoue, are the main attractions at first, with the philosophical themes getting stronger with every interaction Musashi experiences.

His opponents whether it’s the humans or the circumstances highlight his will and what makes him so legendary. These themes have resonated with a lot of fans around the world, a discussion about the legendary Seinen series is incomplete without Vagabond’s mention. Hence, Vagabond is undoubtedly one of the Big Three Seinen Manga despite its unfinished status. 

So, what are the Big Three Seinen Manga?

The Big Three anime essentially mean how big they are concerning the success (both critical and commercial) and their influence. With Vagabond’s confirmed spot on the list, here are the Big Three Seinen Manga: 

Berserk

Griffith during the Millenium Falcon arc in Berserk manga
Griffith | Image via Dark Horse Digital

Critical acclaim, accolades, sales figures, and popularity, Berserk has got it all. The insane amount of positive reception is a result of the storytelling and art style. A fantasy setting and characters with an insane amount of depth sets Berserk apart as an experience. Authors like Hajime Isayama and Makoto Yukimura seeking inspiration from Berserk, speak volumes about its influence on the Dark Fantasy genre. 

Vagabond

Musashi Miyamoto in Vagabond manga
A still from Vagabond manga | Image Courtesy of Kodansha

In an interview, Inoue Takehiko mentioned that focusing on the fights will eventually kill the character and that he would rather focus on the experiences of the character. Considering that Takehiko Inoue’s take on Miyamoto Musashi is heavily philosophical and appeals to fans for how introspective it can be as an experience. With over 82 million sold copies, Vagabond has maintained an unmatched presence in the Seinen sphere over the years.

Vinland Saga and Kingdom

Xin and Thorfinn from Kingdom and Vinland Saga
Xin (Kingdom) on the left with Thorfinn (Vinland Saga) on the right | Image Courtesy via IMDb

Kingdom often gets overshadowed by Vinland Saga when it comes to the better Seinen Series which can be a result of the thematic differences. Similar to Vagabond and Berserk, Vinland Saga has a more nuanced approach to human nature. With over 7 million copies in circulation, Vinland Saga has accumulated critical acclaim and massive love from a dedicated fanbase.

If not better, Kingdom is equally deserving as Vinland Saga to rank among the Big Three Seinen. With over 100 Million copies in circulation and numerous awards under its name, Kingdom’s commercial track record is pretty phenomenal. 

Conclusion 

While there are several other manga that are commercially and critically acclaimed like Monster, the sheer influence and legacy of the Big Three Seinen is admirable. Having a series run for decades while maintaining the quality of the art style and the plot isn’t only commendable but also worth experiencing once! 

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