I read all of Usagi Yojimbo

The title says it, I binged through pretty much all of "Usagi Yojimbo" and there are one hundred and fifty one issues. Japanese American writer and artist Stan Sakai is responsible for this long running hit. If you look into Sakai you'll find he hasn't done much work outside of "Usagi Yojimbo," it is his mangnum opus. Sakai has created something mesmerizing in this adventure comic about Samurai life.

alt

Usagi is a ronin Samurai during a time of peace. His lord has been killed and he refuses to find another. Instead he travels Japan studying Bushido, the way of the warrior.

Each adventure Usagi stumbles into, whether stopping a corrupt leader, fighting vagabonds, or helping peasants, feels like a fable. In fact many of the stories are based on real life fables that Sakai has adapted for his comic. Whether based on an actual fable or not, each story is used to give us a glimpse of Japanese culture and folklore.

alt

Usagi Yojimbo is a love letter to Japanese ancestry. Sakai is Japanese-American and uses Usagi as a way to explore his roots. Yet it is more than just a love letter to Japanese culture, it is an attempt for Sakai to walk parallel with his character Usagi on the journey to understand the world and himself.

"Usagi Yojimbo" is both sad and serious at the same time. Some of the tales feel old and powerful with love and hate pulsing through them. Others tales are none to serious, and Sakai even brings the Ninja Turtles into the mix. His including the ninja turtles is kinda weird, but I kinda love it. Sakai knows Usagi Yojimbo is a fun comic, and yet he also takes his readers and subject matter seriously.

From kind of stupid farmers to ridiculously evil merchants, Sakai doesn't spare the chance to share with his readers. He uses Usagi Yojimbo to truly interact with his audience, to show them things he finds interesting, funny, beautiful. Readers may not find it as bingeable as I did, but I think a lot of readers would enjoy what Sakai has created, it's well worth the time.

alt