Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 1: The Ronin (Usagi Yojimbo #1)
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Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 1: The Ronin (Usagi Yojimbo #1)

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  1,758 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Miyamoto Usagi is no Bugs Bunny. He's a rabbit bodyguard, a samurai who wanders the mountains, plains, and villages of a 17th-century Japan populated almost exclusively by anthropomorphic animals. Cats, snakes, rhinos, and ninja moles plot and fight their way across a land ravaged by civil war. The 10 stories in this first collection introduce Usagi, the evil Lord Hikiji,...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published by Fantagraphics Books (first published April 1987)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,949)
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Marissa
I have avoided reading Usagi Yojimbo literally for years because while I'm generally pretty open-minded in my graphic novel reading and more than willing to cross genres, subject matter, etc. I admit, I do have certain biases I am just starting to get over. I've resisted reading both manga as a whole and those specific comics with a cartoonish, personified animal style forever because after being one of the only girls I knew who liked comic books for years, I accidentally turned into kind of a s...more
Justin
For some, these earlier Usagi Yojimbo stories seem foreign compared to the rest of the series, the shift from Sakai's later art style to these earlier drawings has been described as jarring and the writing seems a bit more tongue-in-cheek than later work. Regardless, this first volume introduces us to many of the core characters and themes found throughout the series. It also includes the infamous “Hikiji Panel” in which the series villain is shown as a human.

My biggest complaint with most comic...more
Morgan
How do I begin a review for Stan Sakai’s epic tale of Usagi Yojimbo? For those who do not know, Miyamoto Usagi is a wandering masterless samurai who just happens to be a giant anthropomorphic rabbit. The story itself takes place in Japan during the turn of the 17th century, thus making this book historical fiction rather than anthropomorphic fantasy. Usagi Yojimbo is also a widely recognizable and popular character in the comic book genre.

The best thing about this volume was my impression of the...more
Harold Ogle
Wanting a break from the heavier books I've been piling up in my to-read pile, my more recent trips to the library have been picking up lighter items to consume in less time as interludes. At the moment I'm enjoying an extended interlude of children's books and comics.

In the 80s there was a tremendous flurry of Nippon mania, as the backlash against the dominance of Japanese consumer products inevitably weakened against the rise of Japanese cultural awareness in the United States. With kaiju fil...more
Peter
I picked this book up on a whim and I'm very glad I did. Black and white, lots of action, and tons of references to samurai history. Lee ally well drawn. Definitely going to track down the rest of the books.
Justyn Rampa
This was fantastic!

I love Usagi Yojimbo!

I loved him as a kid when he appeared on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon and I love him now! Stan Sakai does an incredible job with his art in that one panel, it is adorable and cutesy and in the next panel, Usagi is looking like a bad-ass cutting off villainous heads!

I had attempted to read Grasscutter before which is actually pretty late in the series and I think I felt a bit lost or at the very least, I know that I missed a lot of things that S...more
Spyder Collins
Let’s go back in time to 1987 and visit Stan Sakai’s beloved Ronin, Usagi. This rabbit, yes rabbit, is one of the most beloved and dynamic characters in comic history. Never mind the DC and Marvel Universes for a moment, and appreciate the longevity, story and history that Usagi and Mr. Sakai have given all of us.

There is no time, like the present, to get into the Ronin world of Usagi. This well written, expertly drawn character, provides a look into a fascinating world of the samurai in 17th ce...more
Lissibith
Okay, first off, if you're a fan of the Samurai Jack cartoon, you will probably find something to enjoy in this series, because the atmosphere, the style of storytelling, etc. all feel very similar. I would not be surprised is this series was one of the influences for Samurai Jack, but I suspect they're at least both drawing on the same older styles and tropes.

And I LOVE it.

Usagi is a ronin who lost his master in a terrible war, and now travels the countryside, helping people where he encounte...more
Trevor Barton
Jan 16, 2008 Trevor Barton rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves the Japanese culture and/or amazing storytelling, as long as they're 13 or older.
Recommended to Trevor by: I found it while browsing the web.
Stan Sakai's "Usagi Yojimbo" is brilliant at best.
Following the adventures of a Ronin (masterless samurai) by the name of Miyamoto Usagi, each book is simply amazing. Each panel is drawn with detail and beauty, and the characters are all wonderfully fleshed out. The stories weaved throughout each book are filled with emotion, and you will soon be pulled into the amazing world Stan has created.
José García
Curiosa mezcla de comic, aventuras en el Japón antiguo, con luchas sangrientas, pero protagonizadas por animales. Y la verdad es que pese a lo extraño de los ingredientes la cosa funciona. Sakai crea un mundo a semejanza del Japón de los samurais poblado de animalitos que encarnan a samurais y ronins.
Usagi es un Yojimbo, un guardaespaldas a sueldo que va buscando aventuras y señores a los que servir a cambio de dinero. Pequeñas historias independientes con algún personaje común para crear una s...more
Charlie Potter
Enough to get you hooked, but his later work improves by leaps and bounds.
Rifky Zulham
Miyamoto Usagi, adalah samurai yang hidup di penghujung abad ke 16. Jalan hidupnya sarat dengan pertempuran. Ia hidup pada zaman dimana para tuan tanah (Lord) harus bertarung guna memperebutkan tanah dan kekuasaan. Usagi mengabdikan dirinya pada Lord Mifune. Dalam sebuah pertempuran yang dahsyat Usagi harus kehilangan majikannya yang tewas terbunuh. Otomatis Usagi menjadi seorang Ronin, samurai tanpa majikan. Daripada mengabdi pada majikan lain ia memilih menjadi samurai pengelana untuk memerang...more
Mike
Usagi Yojimbo as a whole is a masterpiece. Stan Sakai painstakingly creates his tale with great care and reverence, retelling Japanese fables and folklore while building a multilayered story around the life of a masterless samurai wandering turn-of-the-17th-century Japan. He pays great attention to detail and research and achieves a sense of reality, even when the story veers into the mythic and fantastical.

The use of amorphous animals as the characters might seem unusual to first time readers,...more
Helmut
Kaninchen-Ronin gegen Schweine-Samurai

"Usagi Yojimbo" (Kaninchen-Leibwächter) ist der seltene Fall eines Comics, der oft ernste und brutale Geschichten durch eine komische, anthropomorphe Alternativwelt aufbereitet. Alle Protagonisten sind Tiere, Kaninchen, Stiere, Schweine, Füchse und so weiter, aber sie handeln wie Menschen; keineswegs ist dies ein Kindercomic, denn die erzählten Geschichten sind zwar ab und an komisch, meist aber doch recht ernsthaft - ich würde sagen, die Geschichte von "Lon...more
Gabriel Wallis
I wasn't too sure of what to expect when I started this graphic novel. I remember Usagi Yojimbo as one of the many "mutants" on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, when I was a kid, and I remember him having his own comic series. But I honestly thought that he was an offshoot of the Ninja Turtles, not that he was an entirely different character in his entirely different universe in feudal Japan. He was just a guest on the Ninja Turtles. I even had a toy of him! Now, going back to the graph...more
Einzer
when i first saw this character i doubt myself if it's another adaptation of miyamoto musashi,a samurai's legend.the character maybe a parody,but the story is amazing.its like read eiji yoshikawa's musashi with different style.set in a world of antromorph character.a world where humanoid animals role as humans.i began to like it since it tells about samurai's way of life. anyway this is a must read book for a samurai fans.
Jason
For some reason I've avoided/written-off this series, but after seeing one of Stan Sakai's original drawings at the Cartoon Art Museum and being mesmerized by it, I decided to finally check out vol 1 from the library... I'm hooked now, and I'm excited to see other reviewers say that the later books are exponentially better. Bring it!
Todd Landrum
I really enjoyed the art of this book. The faces throughout are especially well-done - determined, morose, joyful, wonderment, rage - all are excellently conveyed just through the artwork.

And all of those expressive faces are on a .... bunny rabbit samurai. I don't really get the whole animals-as-people thing, but this world of rabbit samurai, rhino bounty hunters, molemen ninjas, and fox villagers never comes across as weird or strange (and the unicorn villager on the final page is a great lau...more
Joshua
A simple cartoony style combined with anthropomorphic animals may make it seem goofy at first, but this is a good collection of serious (and violent) stories of excellently portrayed characters set in feudal Japan.
Roos
Berlatar belakang abad 16 di Jepang, Zaman Perang Saudara. Miyamoto Usagi selamat dari pertumpahan darah meskipun harus kehilangan majikannya. Usagi memutuskan untuk menjadi Samurai Pengelana disaat teman-temannya lebih memilih menjadi penjahat dan tukang pukul. Bersama Gen - si Badak Petualang, Usagi memulai petualangannya.

Lucunya dikomik ini ada Kura-kura Ninja dan Master Splinter-nya, usut punya usut ternyata Usagi pernah jadi bintang tamu diserial Ninja Turtles.

Agak nyesel juga beli buku ini...more
Keith Davis
The first volume in the Usagi series is a collection of short pieces that introduce the principle characters and establish the setting and premise. Stan Sakai's art has evolved considerably over the last couple of decades and these early versions of the characters are more self-consciously cute than what would come later. Sakai walks a fine line between realistic and cute, and is not afraid to be cute, but is never gratuitous about the cuteness. I would define an Ewok from Star Wars as gratuitou...more
Camilla
Jan 12, 2008 Camilla rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
I enjoyed the first volume of Usagi Yojimbo quite a bit. It is a collection of short episodes in the wanderings of Usagi Yojimbo, a masterless samurai wandering through a feudal Japan populated by anthropomorphic animals as well as people.

Many of the stories are connected to the political situation in the nation, others are a step into the ronin's past or his encounters with fellow travellers. Although the body count is high, the violence is cartoony and this book never seems to take itself too...more
Matt Kruse
Kind of fun, but at least in this first volume it seems to whip back and forth between humorous encounters and stories which hint at greater depth, and that wasn't quite working for me.
Eric
Usagi is great. I love this book. The art has a simple and cartoony but can shift from comedy to drama in a heartbeat. Sometimes, it has some beautiful moments with Usagi walking through a field during sunrise. Color would harm this art as the black and white focus the detail and keep you following the story.
This volume was fun. It's a nice introduction to Usagi and his personality. He's a great lead; calm and efficient, but there are those moments he looses his cool. The characters he runs into...more
Nicolas
Usagi Yojimbo, c'est un concept : celui d'animaux anthropomorphes vivant à la façon du japon médiéval.
Notre héros est donc usagi, devenu ronin (samouraï sans maître) à la suite d'une bataille perdue. Et dans ses aventures de ronin, il rencontrera de méchants lutins, mais aussi des amis qu'il reverra à l'occasion de multiples aventures. Come Gen le chasseur de primes rhinocéros, ou le jeune seigneur panda.
Le mélange entre le dessin naï, les personnages animaux (souvent rigolos par leur conformati...more
Steve
I absolutely love Stan Sakai and his rabbit samurai (rabbit bodyguard is a direct translation of the title by the way). He fuses Japanese mythology, history, and legend with Kurosawa films using anthropomorphic characters. It is a thing of beauty.

I originally had all of the comics collected in this graphic novel back in the 80s, but lost them over the years. I was happy to find that it had been released as a graphic novel, and can't recommend these stories more highly, particularly to those who...more
Waterfall
I read some of this series years ago and really liked it. I like it even more now when I know more japanese words and popular culture, and understand a lot more of the names and shout-outs. :~D
Anita Fisher
The first volume in one of the greatest series of graphic novels. This is Stan Sakai's take on feudal Japan, with a rabbit Samurai as the lead. But don't be fooled into thinking that this is yet another furry comic - Stan Sakai's characters come off the page so vividly human that I, for one, forget that they're not rendered as such. Beautifully drawn and composed, and historically well-researched, Usagi Yojimbo has deservedly earned a heap of Eisner awards
Fizzgig76
Reprints stories from Albedo, Critters, and Usagi Yojimbo Summer Special. Miyamoto Usagi begins his adventures and begins to make an enemy of Lord Hikiji...the man who killed his master. The stories are short, fun, and to the point. Like Cerebus, the animal format really doesn't mean much and there are human characters also so it is a weird combination. The stories are sometimes humorous and sometimes serious, and the art is great. A nice collection.
Mr. Hutchinson
I picked up this Graphic Novel because we are beginning to study Japan in my social studies class. This is my first year teaching about Japan and was looking for something to read during DEAR that would connect in some way.

I was surprised how much Japanese culture, folklore and social structure is woven into these stories. It's violent and bloody, but so is much of my content.

I really liked the stories use of sword play, honor and humor.
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Stan Sakai (Japanese: 坂井 スタンSakai Sutan; born May 25, 1953) is an artist who became known as an Eisner Award-winning comic book originator.

Born in Kyoto, Sakai grew up in Hawaii and studied fine arts at the University of Hawaii. He later attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He and his wife, Sharon, presently reside and work in Pasadena.

He began his career by lettering...more
More about Stan Sakai...
Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 2: Samurai (Usagi Yojimbo #2) Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 3: The Wanderer's Road (Usagi Yojimbo #3) Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 4: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy (Usagi Yojimbo #4) Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 12: Grasscutter (Usagi Yojimbo #12) Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 9: Daisho (Usagi Yojimbo #9)

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