Usagi Yojimbo

Usagi Yojimbo #19

by Alan Rapp on April 28, 2021

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #19 comic reviewAs his wanderings lead him further away from home, Miyamoto Usagi comes across a father and son catching tokage for a hermit. Curious to learn more, and helping when one of the two is injured, Usagi helps deliver their latest catch only to run into another ghost from his past.

“The Master of Hebishima” offers a creepy setting in the island of lizards and a hooded figure of mystery who invites the rabbit ronin in but soon reveals a connection between the pair (shown in flashback). He was the soldier who attempted to prevent Usagi from making off with Lord Mifune’s head. Living in shame at being unable to stop the samurai, and getting distracted by a snake, the warrior has dedicated his life to conquering his fear of snakes living on an entire island of them as fate has brought his nemesis to his door.

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Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #5

by Alan Rapp on April 9, 2021

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer's Road #5 comic reviewReprinting the story from Usagi Yojimbo #11, “The Tea Cup” offers a team-up of Miyamoto Usagi and Murakami Gennosuke who the rabbit ronin runs into on the road. Gen has accepted a job to deliver a valuable tea cup, but there are those who don’t wish him make that delivery. With nothing else to do, Usagi decides to accompany his friend as the two fight and bicker along the way.

The story, reprinted in color, offers a good example of the Usagi/Gen dynamic. There’s plenty of action for the duo on the road, and they even decide to help a pair of lost orphans (and despite Gen’s objections he takes far more care with the pair than Usagi would have ever guessed). We also see Gen isn’t above taking advantage of his friend by using him as a decoy to make the escape (and making Usagi believe the cup was destroyed).

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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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