Created, written and illustrated by Stan Sakai
If there is one thing that escalates a story quicker than a giant steam powered robot fighting for anthropomorphic animal life, then I don’t know what it would be. This is not your typical Usagi saga where the ronin rabbit teaches us and his companions some valuable life lesson through samurai battles and non-battles. This tale that’s being told by Stan Sakai may be different with the inclusion of aliens and end of the world scenarios, but it still has that same Usagi feeling where self-sacrifice is just another step along the honorable Usagi’s path.
If you haven’t been reading the previous issues in this arc, you get caught up real quick with what the current situation is; alien invasion with the only hope being in a Usagi Gundam to protect the Shogun and the world. I was a fan of Sakai’s animal humankind world set in feudal Japan before this issue, but now all I want is warfare on a massive scale set in this classic architecture and cultural time period. I wish I had known that a Usagi Gundam was in the works when I met Stan Sakai at Boston Comic Con so I could have gotten an illustration of that (not that I am upset over the images I got from him). Giant robot vs alien fights aside, the battle unfolds in a clear panel to panel flow that made this fight really enjoyable.
There is a “big” drama moment during a particular shocking moment (to me at least) as the secret of Usagi and Jotaro being father and son has been shown and talked about in previous issues (but never with the participating party), and it turns this all-out rock’em sock’em fight into a heartfelt family moment that creates an ancient family heirloom in Usagi’s katana and wakizashi (the pair of traditional samurai swords). The end of this arc comes to a close with the signature Stan Sakai/Usagi Yojimbo warm feeling of a great story being told and in the end that is what this was; future space Usagi telling the children of the future space feudal castle the tale of how he got his name and ancestral swords. The only thing I can do now is search for a Usagi Yojimbo Gundam toy.