Review – Usagi Yojimbo #150 (Dark Horse Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer/Artist: Stan Sakai
Release Date: November 18th, 2015

What can I say about Usagi Yojimbo that hasn’t been said? Well… not much really, so I won’t.

If anyone out there is unaware of Miyamoto Usagi, here’s a quick recap. He is a Ronin, in Edo era, Japan, and he has adventures.

Oh, and he’s a rabbit.

Although I’m well aware of Usagi Yojimbo, the last time I read a book was in 1991, it wasn’t at a good drop-in point so I never read another one. So it was with some trepidation that I started reading this issue, after all it is the 150th book in the current series with over 30 years of history behind it.

I needn’t have worried. The story is a single standalone issue and is really easy to get into. One thing that stood out for me in 1991 and still did with this issue was that the characters, although they are anthropomorphic, the situations that they find themselves in are far from childlike. This issue deals with voyeuristic sadism and the manipulation of an honour code system. Not something I thought I would ever say in relation to a comic rabbit.

Stan Sakai is the creator, writer and artist of Usagi Yojimbo, and it’s obvious that he still enjoys his job. It’s also obvious that he knows his Japanese lore. It makes for a decent read. His art is cartoony, clear, simple and dynamic.

I am conflicted by this 150th issue. It works well as a standalone issue, but there wasn’t a lot of scope to get to know the hero. He makes tea and then does heroic stuff. The villain of this story had more oomph. If continuing issues follow a similar vein then Usagi Yojimbo would be like a comfortable pair of slippers. You put them on and then forget about them.

Whilst I enjoyed my first dip into the Rabbit Bodyguards (that’s the title of the book in English don’t cha know) world for the first time in 24 years, it didn’t quite do enough to blow me away.

Rating: 3/5.

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The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil.

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