Reviews: Sakai, Stan

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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