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

(Usagi Yojimbo #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  3,502 ratings  ·  155 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 1987 by Fantagraphics Books
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,502 ratings  ·  155 reviews


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Marissa
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comix, classics
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
Sam Quixote
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I started reading Usagi Yojimbo comics when the volume count was in the 20s, so I missed all of the early comics; I think if I had started with this first volume, I wouldn’t know why people loved the series so much or how it’s managed to continue on to 28 volumes! That’s not to say that this first volume is crap, but it doesn’t have that special quality to it that impels you on to pick up the next one and the next and so on.

Stan Sakai’s legendary anthropomorphic rabbit character, Usagi Yojimbo
...more
James DeSantis
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was sent to me by a friend and I'm glad I got a chance to read it. This is like a nice "calm and fun" tale between all the shit I read haha.

SO Usagi is a samurai. He's going around the world helping others and taking jobs. This book is basically a bunch of short stories put all together. I actually read volume 1 was just that, short stories, even before Usagi got his own comic. So this is a small glimpse into the life of the Ronin before he got his own series. SO we have tales of hors
...more
Diz
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I found the stories charming, the characters endearing, and there is clearly a lot of respect for Japanese culture in this comic. There are a lot of situations in which people are not clearly good or bad, which creates a lot of interesting story opportunities. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.
Roy
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty light in tone but at times felt a little disjointed as its just a bunch of different stories. Fun but I prefer the Manga Vagabond as far as samurai go.
Peter Derk
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a great series that people haven't read enough. When it comes to the canon lists, this one doesn't make it too often, and I can't figure out why.

Okay, if I had to guess, it's probably because warrior bunny isn't exactly easy to latch onto as concepts go. But when you read, it's pretty fun.

Oh, and I'd bet people are occasionally surprised with the way the main character talks to "peasants" and such. He kind of treats them like shit, but it's my understanding that this is how things were i
...more
James Adams
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have wanted to dive into this series ever since I saw Usagi's action figure (a TMNT tie-in) back when God was a baby and dirt was new, oh so many years ago. So, why haven't I? The usual bs; lack of access, an epic TBR, fear of disappointment, etc., etc....
Now, with a Comixology subscription and HA's A-Z challenge, it was time. So I read it, and it was good.
Usagi may be an anthropomorphic rabbit, but this isn't a super-cartoony series in execution. It is more like Lone Wolf and Cub in tone, alt
...more
Crystal Starr Light
Aug 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: manga
Bullet Review:

Enjoyable manga. It took some getting used to - this fluffy bunny isn't just sweet and fluffy after all. It could be kinda violent, without getting into the truly gruesome. What was most odd was how episodic it was - there was some connection between chapters, but not a huge amount.
Morgan
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic
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
Elias Helfer
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a rather weird book. On one hand, it's a book of cutesy anthropomorphic animals. On the other, the protagonist is a grim rabbit ronin, going around killing neer-do-wells.

It's an anthology with short stories of Myamoto Usagi going around, working as a bodyguard, and being an all-round badass. He may be a bit too much of a badass - he hardly ever seems threatened himself. In general, though, the stories are entertaining, and the art is fine.
Rachel
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
So fun to read the early stories of Usagi. He has become one of my favorite characters because of the humor and serious stories he has. Seeing some of his earlier comics where the art is a bit different than today and seeing how his story grows, his background, and being introduced to some of the major characters in the series is very fun.
anthony e.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pretty straightforward and by-the-book. Still, this is early work, and therefore missing a lot of the richness that makes Usagi so excellent is to be expected. Far better than average beginning, mind you, and thoroughly enjoyable.
Peter
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Koen
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
At times it felt a bit dated, but I liked almost all the little stories and the characters in there.
It was funny, full of action,... what else do you need, right? ;)
Derek
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Utterly charming. It's taken me far too long to get to Usagi Yojimbo but better late than never. I'm already looking forward to volume two.
Αταλάντη Ευριπίδου
This is so much better than I expected. Full of action and fun and with a great main character.
Roger
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with a brain who likes well-written comics.
Shelves: comics-omnibus
Way back in the 80's, I discovered independent comics, Cerebus the Aardvark, Flaming Carrot, and Usagi Yojimbo. At the time, the rabbit didn't interest me so much as the aardvark, probably because, at the time, I was devouring Robert Howard novels like they were candy and anything that paid homage, even satirically, was interesting to me.

Fast-forward to now and there's a part of me that regrets not including Usagi in my comics diet. I'm making up for it now because Usagi is still going strong. T
...more
Curtis
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stan Sakai has built a bridge between the high art samurai films of Kurosawa and the animal action comics of the 1980s (i.e. TMNT).

Very fun and quick to read! I'd love to dive into an omnibus sometime in the future!

Harold Ogle
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku
Ahh, the classic Usagi Yojimbo. Usagi: Japanese for Rabbit. Yojimbo: Japanese for bodyguard. This classic manga, heavily influenced by the work of Akira Kurosawa, tells the story of a ronin (samurai without a lord to serve) who is taking a musha shugyo (warrior's pilgrimage) during the beginning of the Edo period of Japan; 17th century. Usagi encounters many different characters, all also anamorphic animals such as himself. A classic style of episodic stories which (I assumed) will slowly interw ...more
Amy
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I put off reading this for years because I generally don't get on very well with manga style comics. But truthfully, if this hadn't been written by a guy with a Japanese name it wouldn't be referred to as manga at all, the aesthetic is very much in line with other Western comic books.

Trying to write a review of this to justify four stars is difficult, because the stories were pretty simple, the characters were somewhat one dimensional, and the art was pretty goofy in places. But I honestly love
...more
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
Nick Ragust
Jan 12, 2015 rated it liked it
The first book in the usagi yojimbo series contains a collection of stories following a rabbit samurai named Miyamoto Usagi set in 17th century Japan during a time where the leading class of citizens were the samurai. It really shows the depth and background of a time less taught in schools and I gained lots of insight on a topic I was not very familiar. The artwork is simplistic yet imaginative as lots of the shadows and details are done by lines and dotting and having the animal element in it ...more
Shamanjules
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stan Sakai is one of the finest sequential art storytellers of my time. Put him up there with Eisner and Kirby. It’s fun to revisit this collection of early Usagi stories and witness how Sakai takes his time, creating movement by using three panels when two will do. I like those deliberate decisions. There’s great detail from corner to corner, his anthropomorphized characters emote so well. It’s all great stuff. And he’s part of the TMNT canon, so hell yeah.
Centauri
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quick pace, easy to follow, elegant, interesting, and fun: this is Usagi Yojimbo. Not gory like a manga of the same content would be, but definitely not a little kid's story. There is political issues, violence, and hard-learned lessons. Usagi may seem too trustworthy at times, but that innocence is nice in a character that could hold off a battalion of sword wielding baddies. I am surprised I had never heard of the series.

As usual, I have a lot of catching up to do
Khalil
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The real struggles of a mundane character in a fantastic setting are the strengths of this series. Usagi Yojimbo is forced to contend with his past, and even consider how to sell his skills to poor peasants just to make ends meet. While his skills with the sword are extraordinary, time and again he exercises imperfect judgment in an effort to live up to his own ideals.
Brian Dickerson
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kx-03
The beginning of an epic 34 year, still continuing, series. Stan Sakai’s line work is so beautiful and perfect it looks like vector-based artwork. The sans coloring approach is spot on with Sakai’s ability to tell a story throw clean black lines.

Reading this first volume makes me want to create a mind map of characters as I read through the nearing 30 volumes.
Andy
Although this series has been long venerated as a classic, and I can see the elements of that veneration in this first volume, I think Sakai is probably finding his (and Usagi's) way in this introductory volume. Yet the art is wonderful, the stories quite good. I'll definitely keep reading.
Isaac
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Really fun and even sometimes thoughtful.
Joseph
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a good historical fiction should be.
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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

Other books in the series

Usagi Yojimbo (1 - 10 of 33 books)
  • 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. 5: Lone Goat and Kid (Usagi Yojimbo, #5)
  • Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 6: Circles  (Usagi Yojimbo, #6)
  • Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 7: Gen's Story (Usagi Yojimbo, #7)
  • Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 8: Shades of Death (Usagi Yojimbo, #8)
  • Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 9: Daisho (Usagi Yojimbo, #9)
  • Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 10: The Brink of Life and Death  (Usagi Yojimbo, #10)
  • Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 11: Seasons (Usagi Yojimbo, #11)