Usagi Yojimbo

Usagi Yojimbo #16

by Alan Rapp on January 7, 2021

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #16 comic reviewUsagi Yojimbo #16 offers the opening chapter of a new story of Miyamoto Usagi helping his old friend and teacher Sōjōbō, a dai-tengu, fight off lesser wood spirits known as guhin tengu who are jealous of Sōjōbō’s position and status and have returned to plague him once more.

As he does so often, and so well, writer/artist Stan Sakai weaves in an explanation of Japanese culture and folklore detailing the tengu and the different types, providing a background to the spirits while also offering flashbacks to Sōjōbō’s previous encounter with the guhin tengu which cost him a hand. He also draws some terrific reactions shots of Usagi talking with his friend that rank among some of my favorites.

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Usagi Yojimbo #14

by Alan Rapp on December 1, 2020

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #14 comic review“The Return” concludes with Miyamoto Usagi and Kenichi fighting off a horde of misguided former Mifune supporters hoping to damage the honor of Lord Hikiji with an attack on the shogun’s agent. Usagi Yojimbo #14 offers a couple of more surprise guest-appearances as Mariko arrives with the help of her son Jotaro and Usagi’s old master Katsuichi.

There’s plenty of action in this final issue as the warriors hold off the assassination. However, discovery of the plot by Mifune supporters does Usagi no favors as he is forced to leave his home once more. Before exiting, however, he does get to spend a little time with the son no one knows is his and his former sensei, offering some joy to a trip home that was scarred in violence and death. And now, once again, the rabbit ronin’s travels continue.

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Usagi Yojimbo #13

by Alan Rapp on October 19, 2020

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #13 comic reviewMiyamoto Usagi and Kenichi‘s attempts to prevent the attack on the shogun’s agent on his way to the city runs into complications as after alarm is raised quickly after dispatching a pair of guards and neither samurai have an opportunity to free the hostages. Mariko‘s journey to find help also runs into obstacles with soldiers blocking her path.

While Mariko is able to fight through the soldiers in her path, thanks to her skill with a blade, Yayoi doesn’t have that training to fall back on and isn’t as lucky on her trek to deliver warning to the party of the shogun’s agents about the trap they are walking into which will doom the village. The best laid plans…

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Usagi Yojimbo #12

by Alan Rapp on September 2, 2020

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #12 comic reviewMiyamoto Usagi is offered a chance to do harm to Lord Hikiji. The lord is far too well protected to ever attack directly, as Usagi knows all too well. Instead, Kato suggests they strike at Lord Hikiji’s power and weaken his reputation by denying him any further advancement. The cost? Every life in Usagi’s home village.

Kato’s plan is devious and brutal, to attack the shogun’s agent on his way to the city which will harm Hikiji’s reputation and also bring the shogun’s vengeance down on the village. Realizing how large the plot already is, Usagi pretends to go along with it for a time, acting as the samurai willing to do anything for his lord’s honor.

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Usagi Yojimbo #11

by Alan Rapp on August 14, 2020

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #11 comic reviewUsagi Yojimbo #11 kicks off a four-part tale of Miyamoto Usagi returning to the village he grew up. After being injured, Usagi drifts down river where he is found by the surprised Mariko, the love of his life, and nursed back to health. Mariko’s husband Kenichi is less pleased to see the return of his childhood rival (Sakai offers flashbacks of the misadventures of the three as children).

After thinking better of returning all the way home, fate has brought the rabbit ronin full circle despite his intentions of giving his village a wide berth. There is mention of Usagi and Mariko’s son as Usagi learns he has been sent to learn from the same master who instructed him, but Jotaro himself doesn’t make an appearance here.

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