Usagi Yojimbo, on the surface is a simple concept Anthropomorphic animals in 16th century Edo Japan with the narrative centering around a Long Eared Samurai , a Rabbit the eponymous Usagi of the title Usagi,literally means Rabbit in Japanese and Yojimbo refers to Bodyguard Rabbit Bodyguard It mixes several references to the Samurai films of Kurosawa with a deliberate homage to the great samurai swordsman Miyamoto Musashi while treading its own unique path There really isn t another comic like it on the stands and Sakai has been writing, plotting and drawing this gem for the past twenty five years orsticking to what must seem like a cutthroat monthly schedule He makes it all look so easy which just proves it probably isn t Usagi is a Ronin a masterless Samurai He wanders the land on a Warriors Pilgrimage, honing his mind and his sword A near master swordsman, Usagi practices a unique fighting style His gentle demeanor, humble bearing and diminutive frame often leads his adversaries to underestimate him to their detriment The Kill Bill films of Tarantino center around the bloodshed unleashed by Samurai swords in the hands of a skilled wielder The aesthetization of violence is a common theme with Tarantino and he repeatedly uses Japanese samurai motifs over the course of the two Kill Bill films I enjoyed those films but they led me to expect the same within the pages of Usagi Yojimbo The animal characters are mostly cute I expected decapitated bunny heads and chopped feline limbs Stories of the seamier side of human nature and war Sakai delivers none of this at least, not in the way you would expect The violence in Usagi Yojimbo is always tinged with regret Usagi takes no pleasure in it, tries to avoid killing and maiming as much as possible and always resorts to defense However, once you see the click of the sword, with the picture of Usagi flicking the blade from the scabbard it is almost certain that blood will be shed The fight sequences are brilliant Sakai takes his time, worrying less about space andabout the deliberate choreography of death People are stabbed, decapitated and killed Most of it is left up to your imagination with almost no blood The graphics of the death continue to toe the line between humor and morbidity the dead lie with their tongues lolling out and creative skulls paraphrasing the end of their appearance in the comic It makes for excellent reading the violence isn t cool, it isn t desirable and it almost always ends in tragedy for some character This is age appropriate violence A centerpiece to the entire saga and one of the major plot motivators is Bushido the unrelenting and unbending code of the Samurai It is a harsh discipline, focusingon the tenets laid down by it than any sense of morality There are several instances in the story where a common question asked is if a samurai retainer who serves an evil corrupt lord is justified in rebelling against him The answer is invariably no No matter how evil corrupt and insane your lord may be, no matter what criminal activities he may indulge in, no matter how depraved his tastes it is the duty of the retainer to follow him and remain Honorable The concept of good and evil and self righteousness is almost done away with Usagi is our hero just because he has the good fortune to have served under Lord Mifune, a great man just prior to his death in the Battle of Adachigahara He seems to recognize this fact and I think this influences his approach to almost all his antagonists Those who serve an evil lord winrespect from him than the evil lords themselves Sakai, through his focus on the laws of Bushido manages to evoke an atmosphere of rigidity and sacrifice that makes the book quite unique at times When Usagi s sweetheart is married off to someone else he fails to put an end to the wedding due to his loyalty to his lord his duty forbids him from going away The duty of a Samurai s wife is to her husband, this prevents his love Mariko from ever being with him Honour and duty are cages within which our characters live their life It is a harsh law that seems to hurt muchthan helps but it is his adherence to this discipline that sees Usagi through his many encounters He is unable to avoid direct challenges to a duel as a result he must kill, albeit with regret, if he is to regain his honor Usagi isn t a rebel He doesn t seek to reform or buck the system When a peasant begs to hold on to the swords of her lover, a samurai he is quite categorical about the right thing to do the sword is the soul of a Samurai and doesn t belong with a peasant In another episode he tells a peasant s son that there is no hope for him to ever become a Samurai Any historical novel seeks to impose the character of a man of our times on someone dead years ago Stan Sakai eschews this approach by depicting a man rabbit of his time in Usagi and making him a truly sympathetic character This focus on honour and Bushido is not the only layer to this comic There are severalHistory lessens on the culture of Japan are interwoven into the narrative be it pot making, kite making or the fashioning of a Samurai blade An entire episode dedicated to seaweed farming was a highlight of the series and the Grasscutter arc elaborates on the major dieties of Japanese culture This is a meticulously researched comic that isnt heavy handed with the historical details It mixes humor, history, culture and pathos to make a wonderfully enjoyable comic Rather than speaking about the artwork in the peripheral fashion I have employed so far I think I ought to come out and say it the artwork is fascinating It uses simple lines and expression to convey the message At first glance it seems simplistic but as I trace my eyes over the artwork a wealth of detail leaps out The grass bends gently with the breeze The folds of Usagi s kimono float lazily around him as he jumps into the air The Sword strokes are clear, easy to follow with the use of masterfully placed after images Sakai is a master of the quiet panel Several pages hold only movement, expression and silence, lending a wonderful quietude to the comic until a brutal explosion of action breaks the silence Quiet panels fused with a silhouette are evenmelancholy it forms a space in which the contemplation of the character within the panel tends to wash over the reader himself The artwork isn t simple A lifetime of garish coloring and the bright but shallow palette of superhero comics seems to have robbed me of what little sense I possess The black and white lines in Usagi are pieces of art I want to revisit forever Like most successful comics, Usagi Yojimbo doesn t succeed through the strengths of the main character alone Usagi has a wealth of peripheral friends and enemies who recur throughout the various stories These plot points keep diverging and melding together seamlessly over the course of the volumes I have read I am still about halfway through the entire run but so far the side characters are vibrant, well sketched and interesting Gen, the bounty hunter, the crime solving Inspecter Ishida, the ex samurai turned priest Sanshobo The women in Usagi s life are a fun bunch his lost loves Mariko and Kinuko, his comrade in arms Tomoe and his antagonist friend Chizu Add to this his lion sensei Katsuichi, his frenemy Kenichi and a pet lizard Spot, not to mention the blind swordspig Zato Ino, Sakai has amassed a wealth of characters who ought to see him drawing Usagi comics well into hist nineties Usagi Yojimbo is to superhero comics what a glass of single malt is to spurious liquor It is the very pinnacle of comic book art I agree with an another reviewer who states that in the twenty five years he has been following Usagi, Sakai has yet to draw a single bad issue I am not yet through the entire run and I must agree the first issues are great though Sakai is still finding is feet Seven issues in and you will be hooked till the end This is an excellent comic, worth reading and proof that in the right hands the comic book has a significant advantage over the prose form It should probably be the introduction to the world of comics and I hope that those of you who havent yet started reading comics will avoid wading through a lot of garbage like i had to and start with Usagi Yojimbo Believe me, its worth it 5 on 5 stars Absolutely wonderful The Noodles storyline did something none of the others had yet, I not only was interested enough to be entertained, I was moved by the events of the story Comics are often entertaining, sometimes they re clever enough, and cool enough to be really great, but rarely are they truly emotionally moving I think Noodles is one of the best arcs I ve read in any comic in quite a long time. This volume was a joy to read It s been a few months since I picked up an Usagi Yojimbo trade, but as I read through this one I kept thinking to myself Has it always been THIS great Although I ve thoroughly enjoyed every preceding story, Sakai just seems to keep getting better The art particularly the landscapes are evenbeautifully and clearly drawn than usual The cast of interesting recurring characters keeps growing I m beginning to get a sense of the scale of the world that Sakai is building, and it s truly impressive.I will say that I hope that the Hikiji subplot eventually builds to something rather than simply lying there for 20volumes in this series That being said, even if it doesn tI m probably too invested to stop Now to hunt down the next volume My favorite Usagi Yojimbo volume thus far There s a je ne sais quoi improvement in the tightness of the art and especially the plot Usagi is always moving forward, there s always an outgoing impetus at the end of every vignette, a quality that felt absent before Ten volumes in, Sakai seems to have mastered his craft The How It s Made aside about seaweed farming is worth mentioning for how much I love that sort of thing, and the Noodles story was remarkably affecting. The consistent quality of this series just blows my mind There s always something new and unexpected happening, but the tone and voice of the book remain level. There s some good stuff in here Noodles is by far the best, most emotionally engrossing story of this collection, the Inazuma stories introduce us to a new, formidable frenemy for Usagi, and the Black Soul story reminds us that SPOILERS is still out there I m 10 volumes into Stan Sakai s 30 year run on Usagi Yojimbo and I m no longer baffled by how consistently good all of these stories are. Another great collection A bit slower and low key from previous volumes, but still a joy to read I hope I have an excuse to reread these books all over again someday. Un ensemble d histoire courte pas forc ment homog ne.On y retrouve par exemple Kitsun dans une histoire clairement ignoble avec le nauvre Noodles qui se fait crucifier , ou les ninjas chauve souris la recherche d un secret qui pourrait leur co ter cher.Une ou deux histoires se d tachent pour moi D abord la premi re mettant en sc ne les p cheurs d algues, qui est nouveau l occasion pour Sakai de nous expliquer la vie dans la Japon m di val Et ensuite celle d Inazuma, qui traverse ce recueil comme la foudre pour finalement nous expliquer pourquoi elle tue sans cesse des hordes de tueurs D ailleurs, en parlant de a, entre les ronins, les duellistes, la mafia japonnaise, j ai clairement l impression qu on ne faisait pas de vieux os dans ce japon. Join Usagi Yojimbo In His Hare Raising Adventures Of Life And Death Watch As He Faces Assassins, Medicine Peddlers, Bat Ninjas, And This Is A Story Of Honor And Adventure It S A Masterful Adaptation Of Samurai Legend To Sequential Art Dark Horse Is Proud To Present This Epic Story Of Good Versus Evil Sakai S Unique Blend Of Storytelling And Japanese Legend Has Made A Unique Niche For Itself Citliv sestaven a d ky tomu vyv en sb rka, kde je od ka d ho typu Usagiho dobrodru stv zda il z stupce A tak tu m me kr tk pov dky i dlouh p b hy rozv jej c hlavn d jovou linku, d jepisn nikam se ne enouc pohled jak to tenkr t chodilo v tom kter m zam stn n stejn jako akc nabitou samurajskou vyb jenou a do toho n jak ten atmosf rick kaidan i p b h cti i pomsty Ov em jakkoli zda il , tak v z sad nemlich to sam , co ve ker p edchoz i n sleduj c Usagiho sb rky Ot zka tedy je, zda je to klad i z por s rie.
Stan Sakai Japanese Sakai Sutan born May 25, 1953 is an artist who became known as an Eisner Award winning comic book originator.Born in Kyoto, Sakai grew up in Hawaii and studied fine arts at the University of Hawaii He later attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California He and his wife, Sharon, presently reside and work in Pasadena.He began his career by lettering
- 117 pages
- Usagi Yojimbo, Book 10: Brink of Life and Death
- Stan Sakai
- 18 August 2019 Stan Sakai