Reviews: Sakai, Stan

Don’t Pay No Union Dues

Stan Sakai
Usagi Yojimbo Saga, book 8

The Usagi Yojimbo Saga, Volume Eight is an omnibus that collects books 29 through 31 of Stan Sakai’s eponymous series. At its centre is the masterless lapin samurai Miyamoto Usagi, who wanders through a slightly skewed version of Edo-era Japan.

Because I got this as an e-arc, I failed to grasp how much of a tome Volume Eight is. On paper, it’s probably weighty enough to cause serious back pain when lifting the volume.

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Just Like a River Running Through

Tomoe’s Story — Stan Sakai
Usagi Yojimbo, book 22

Tomoe’s Story is the 22nd volume in Stan Sakai’s long-running Usagi Yojimbo anthropomorphic comic series. It collects six stories featuring Tomoe, a feline woman samurai, who keeps crossing paths with Miyamoto Usagi. Unlike other friends/allies, such as morally unencumbered Gen and ostentatious jerk Inukai, Usagi and Tomoe share many moral perspectives, but their friendship is not without its complications.

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The Long-eared Samurai

The Wanderer’s Road — Stan Sakai
Usagi Yojimbo, book 3

Labels matter. If I said “funny animal comic” you might think of Mickey Mouse, Captain Carrot, or Tom & Jerry. If I said “anthropomorphic comic,” you might remember somewhat less humorous graphic novels: Maus, Erma Felna EDF, and the subject of today’s review, Usagi Yojimbo. Or more specifically, Stan Sakai’s 1989 Usagi Yojimbo Book Three: Wanderer’s Road, which collects short pieces crafted between 1987 and 1989.

Miyamoto Usagi is a long-eared lagomorph ronin living in a fantasy version of Edo-era Japan. There, everyone is some form of anthropomorphic animal1: rabbits, snakes, monkeys and so on. Lacking a master, Usagi moves from place to place, having adventures along the way.

Here are seven of them.

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