Usagi Yojimbo #15
Written by: Stan Sakai
Art by: Stan Sakai
Colors by: Hi-Fi Design
Letters by: Stan Sakai
It cannot be stated enough, when it comes to storytelling, Stan Sakai is one of the greats. There is no better example of that than Usagi Yojimbo #15 “Sojobo.” Throughout this issue, we don’t get a lot of action, and overall the story is simple — a wandering ronin taking a trip down memory lane, visiting the villages and acquaintances of his youth. Despite the lack of action, I couldn’t put this book down.
This book is a tale of two Usagi’s, one of a youthful, brash, and overconfident samurai in training, and the other who has become a wise, thoughtful, yet calculated ronin. Through a simple flashback, we get another moment in which Usagi is taught a valuable lesson that was instrumental in his journey to becoming the fearless warrior he has become.
“Sojobo” bounces between past and present, and while other writers can oftentimes muddle up a story with this device, Sakai has always been a master at being able to transition from past to present that is both clear and purposeful. After 30- plus years, one would think that Sakai has written all there is to know about the youth and background of this character - however, we get another layer of the onion peeled back in “Sojobo” that shows us why Usagi Yojimbo continues to be such a fascinating character to read about. It simply amazes me that Sakai is always able to keep the reader so invested with the tale of this wandering ronin.
Whether you are new to Usagi Yojimbo or a long time reader, what you will appreciate and love about this book is Sakai never gets too comfortable. Whether he is battling new foes, bumping into old friends, or simply traveling the countryside, each issue is a fun read.
Also, Sakai left things at the end of Usagi Yojimbo that has me anxiously awaiting the next issue.