From Dark Horse: Usagi Yojimbo Reading Guide

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Let us be your guide through the wandering adventures of the Rabbit Ronin with this nifty Usagi Yojimbo Reading Guide! 


After thirty-three years, over two hundred issues, several crossovers with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and countless sword fights, Usagi has wandered the lonely roads of feudal Japan and traveled to space and back. So it makes sense that if you’re curious about getting caught up on the adventures of Rabbit Ronin Miyamoto Usagi, you may have no clue where to begin. The good news is that we are here to be your guide through it all and the path to awesome entertainment isn’t as complicated as you think!
Lucky for you, The Usagi Yojimbo chronology has been put in order through our comprehensive volumes of The Usagi Yojimbo Saga.
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While Usagi’s full origin story is not essential to the ongoing plot of his later adventures, it’s always nice to know where our heroes come from. Because Usagi Yojimbo pre-dates Dark Horse, the original run was published by Fantagraphics from 1984-1987 and was later collected into a hardcover edition called Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition, published by Fantagraphics. Luckily, Dark Horse was able to obtain digital rights to the single issues collected in Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition and are available for purchase at digital.darkhorse.com and on the Dark Horse app.

The original run of Usagi Yojimbo covers Miyamoto Usagi’s journey from student, to Samurai, to Ronin following the death of his master Lord Mifune in “The Samurai.” It also includes the epic sequential story “The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy” in which Usagi allies himself with past friends and foes to storm a fortress and save a friend…and possibly Japan.

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The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 1 features the first appearance of the entire Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles team as they visit Usagi’s world to assist Usagi and Gen in taking out an entire Neko Ninja hideout. Many became familiar with Usagi through his multiple appearances on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons. And we’re happy to report that the trend continues as Usagi is currently appearing in a three-episode arc in TMNT on Nickelodeon!
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The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 3 includes “Grasscutter” Pt. II where Usagi finds himself in the middle of a grab for power between two rival ninja clans who both seek to exploit the legendary sword Kusanagi, aka “Grasscutter.” This volume also includes the backstory to fan-favorite character Kitsune.
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The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 4 includes one of the most epic chracter growth moments in the series in “Travels With Jotaro” and culminates in an epic battle of highly skilled swordsmen – and a life-changing duel between sword masters.
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A highlight of The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 5 is a deeper look into Usagi’s best friend Tomoe’s past in “Tomoe’s Story” including how she became bodyguard to Lord Noriyuki andhow she developed her skills as a samurai.
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The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 6 sees the return of Usagi’s greatest adversary in “Return of the Black Soul.” The mysterious demon Jei has fascinated Usagi readers and in spite of hispsychotic antics and bone chilling aesthetics, he has become a fan-favorite villain.
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The opening story of The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 7 “Traitors of the Earth” could be described as The Walking Dead meets anthropomorphic samurai rabbit. Seems odd, but Usagi must face off against a horde of zombie samurai to protect an ancient relic. This volume also includes an Eisner nominated single story the features the only human character in the series, and the man responsible for the death of Usagi’s master Lord Mifune – the Dark Lord Hikiji.
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The Usagi Yojimbo Saga: Legends sees Usagi take on a myriad of opponents, but never loses sight of the warrior’s code: truth, honor, loyalty, and sacrifice. This volume collects some of the rabbit ronin’s most exhilarating stories, including Senso, Yokai, and the long-out-of-print Space Usagi!

The best thing about The Usagi Yojimbo Saga: Legends is that these stories are not essential to the regular Usagi Yojimbo chronology and can be read purely for entertainment value. So if you’re looking for colorful one-shot stories featuring an anthropomorphic rabbit samurai battling aliens and giant robots both in feudal Japan and in outer space in the distant future, this is the book for you!

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