Usagi Yojimbo has been a long running comic book series that was started in the 1980’s. The title of the book literally means “rabbit bodyguard” in Japanese and Usagi has been on many adventures. These stories are set in a world where there are no humans, only anthropomorphic animals and it is set in feudal Japan. The book started out through small publishers and now is being offered from Dark Horse publications. This review focuses on the latest issue, which is Usagi Yojimbo #159.
The title of the story is The Hatamoto’s Daughter and is a self-contained story, which means that if you have never read an issue of the comic this is a great starting point. The story starts with a samurai carrying his daughter and running through the woods. He is running from three men who fight and kill the samurai while his daughter remains hidden from the men. Usagi happens along and finds the little girl and takes her back to town. The same three men who killed the little girl’s father approach her and claim that one of them is her uncle. Usagi is suspicious and one of the men is about to draw his sword but is restrained by another as not to cause a scene. What is the little girl hiding? What did these men want with her? This is a great story from cover to cover and will keep you reading all the way to the end.
Usagi Yojimbo is created by Stan Sakai, who has worked on this book all of his life. He not only writes, but illustrates this book and he lends a great style to these stories. If you are a fan of the old Japanese movies that involved samurai (such as Zatoichi or Ran) then you would love this book.
If you have never read an issue of Usagi Yojimbo this is a great place to get started. It has wonderful characters, an easy to read story and even a bit of action and suspense thrown in for good measure. For more information on this and other comics go to www.darkhorse.com and get ready to fight with honor.