Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Monday, May 08, 2006

Usagi Yojimbo Book Seven

I'm continuing my steady march through the 20-some Usagi Yojimbo books (just finished w/ book seven) and can't praise Stan Sakai's work enough.  UY is filled w/ literally hundreds of excellent "wandering Ronin" adventures (many of which are wonderfully retold, classic Japanese folklore/tales), complete w/ countless memorable moments and characters, and just enough morality to build a "warm fuzzy" w/o getting preachy. 

Sakai's attention to historical detail is impressive (and a huge part of the draw for me); he expresses an obvious breadth of knowledge about feudal Japanese culture, Samurai/Ronin, and Bushido; revealed a little bit at a time, issue after issue, book after book.  IMO this is what amazes me most about UY, you read simple story after simple story, and don't realize what you've taken in until you sit back and think about it as a whole.  Very, very cool.

Anyways, i won't get into too much specifically about book seven here, though i do love Usagi's best friend's character (Gen) to no end, and suffice it to say this volume is the best i've read so far and i'm looking well forward to book eight :)


09 May, 2006 14:23, Blogger Ryan X said...

When you get a chance, hit me over email with a quick explanation of UY. You write about it so much, I am almost obligated to pick it up at some point. This blurb on Book Seven has really got my interest cooking. Thanks.'


09 May, 2006 19:52, Blogger zilla said...

i sent this to you by email too:

ryan - i think i might only have your work address so i hope you don't mind getting this there...

if you have ANY interest at all in feudal japan (samurai's, lords, ronin, ninja's, martial arts, swordplay, bushido, personal and family honor, "the last samurai") then you should def check out UY.

i know it's the kind of book you look at at first and say "how in the hell will this book about a samurai rabbit going to appeal to me?" but you just might be surprised. don't be turned off by the use of animals as characters either, it actually grows on you and isn't nearly as "simpleton" as it may seem at first. after a while it's actually a huge plus.

stan sakai has been writing this book for like 20 some years (i think it's the longest running comics series w/ one writer/artist in history by far, so if you like it you've got 20 some TPs to read).

the adventures are simple and folktale-ish, but entertaining, endearing, and SO easy to digest (the best way i can describe how "digestible" they are is to tell you that i read them almost exclusively on the can, where a single UY story is just about the PERFECT length :)

plus (as i mentioned in the review) sakai's attention to historical detail really rounds it out for a nerd like me.

don't start w/ book one, buy book 2 and start there... it's worth a few bucks (10 or so) to see if you like UY... like i said earlier, if you DO, you're in for pretty much unlimited UY stories (100+ issues!).

PS i've also got to say that UY is/should def be considered a hall of fame comic. something EVERY comic reader in the world should have at least tried. IMO

09 May, 2006 19:52, Blogger zilla said...

can you guys tell i have a soft spot in my big green heart for UY? hahah. sorry to brain dump so large and nasty :)


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel