Usagi is a Ronin, a wandering samurai without a master. His master was killed during the feudal wars of Japan. Now he wanders the country fighting injustice and honing his spiritual and martial skills. Usagi may be recognizable from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons of the early to mid 2000s, in which he made a few cameo appearances. This is fitting, seeing that the two have been around for just about the same amount of time and were once part of the same company.
In this story, Usagi has found himself in a village during a rainstorm. This usually wouldn’t be a problem for the rabbit samurai but the storm is causing the river to flood. Usagi takes it upon himself to organize the villagers to fortify the river bank and protect their homes. The villagers are exhausted and hungry. The flood is eroding their work almost as fast as they can lay it down. What’s worse is when he is told that bandits have raided the village and run off with their food. He quickly jumps into action. He hears that the bandits have made off with their harvest, which was going to last them a year, so he takes off after them alone. Leaving the villagers working on the dike, he runs into the forest. It is a rough going, as the storm is destroying any tracks left by the bandits, until he finds a basket of food that was left behind.
When he finds the bandits, a fight ensues, which Usagi wins. He returns to the village with the food and the bandits are willing to help with the dike. After the storm and everything has been settled with the bandits who are now going to stay, they notice that Usagi is missing and they can’t find him anywhere. The story ends one year later showing the lives of the village.
Usagi Yojimbo was written and drawn by Stan Sakai, who has been doing this since the creation of Usagi in 1984. Sakai’s style is always fun and somewhat playful. The black and white panels play on the classic feel to the book, and to the character himself. The story is funny, as well as a little on the simple side at times. With it being an all ages book, that can be expected. The story is of great quality but some may not take it seriously because of the way the narrative is told. The story is told in its entirety and there is no continuation of this particular story. However, the course of adventures of Usagi will continue.
Title: Usagi Yojimbo
Issue No. 152
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: Feb. 17 2016