usagi yojimbo

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The single-issue story “The Hatamoto’s Daughter” begins with the death of a samurai by a band of ruffians deep in the forest. Hiding his daughter, and proof of illegal matters the gang’s leader wants returned, the man is cut down. Finding the young girl hours later, a wandering Miyamoto Usagi takes it upon himself to see her safely delivered to Inspector Ishida in the closest town.

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“The Secret of the Hell Screen” concludes as Miyamoto Usagi and Inspector Ishida lay a trap to capture those responsible for the pair of recent murders at the temple which houses the most bizarre piece of art Usagi has ever come across in his travels.

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“The Secret of the Hell Screen” continues as Miyamoto Usagi and Inspector Ishida continue to investigate the odd deaths surrounding the bizarre piece of art that even the son of its creator believes is cursed and needs to be destroyed. No closer to answers, Usagi’s dreams begin to make the rabbit ronin wonder if there isn’t some truth to the curse of the Hell Screen. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $3.99]

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Rain-soaked and road-weary, Usagi arrives at the Temple of the Golden Buddha (home to a most unusual piece of art depicting the nature of Hell). At first turned away by a over-zealous guard, Usagi refuses to leave which leads to a reunion with his old friend Inspector Ishida who has arrived to investigate a murder an decide the fate of the temple. With factions wanting both the temple to remain open or to be closed, and the victim killed in a manner Ishida can’t identify, the inspector asks for Usagi’s help on the case.

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Following a chance encounter, Miyamoto Usagi chooses to join Yamaguchi Kyosai on what should be an easy assignment to escort a merchant to trade negotiations. Well… easy until Usagi learns that the merchant fears an attack from Lord Hikiji. Of course he’s right to be be concerned as the hired guns are quickly dispensed with in a surprise attack by Komori Ninja.

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Tying into the story of the previous issue, Usagi Yojimbo #153 picks up events during the storm and shows us what became of a certain rabbit ronin while the villagers where finishing saving their homes from the flood. After witnessing one of the men killed by a Kappa, Miyamoto Usagi goes after the creature to exact some manner of justice. Instead of the bloodthirsty water spirit, our hero finds a frightened Kappa female and her young son who, along with the villagers, have been put in danger by a new wild Kappa who has come to the shores of the river.

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Usagi Yojimbo #152 starts with the action in full swing as we find the rabbit ronin fighting off a storm and attempting to help a village stop the rising river from flooding and destroying their homes and fields.

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In “The Distant Mountain” the wandeing rabbit ronin comes across a samurai named Yoshi whose fellow warriors are all killed by bandits willing to kill and be killed over head-scratching prize. Even though it is obvious that Yoshi’s lord is vain, ridiculous, and not worthy of such loyalty, Usagi chooses to accompany Yoshi to make sure the samurai’s mission is completed… even if Yoshi won’t live to see its end.

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“The Thief and the Kunoichi” comes to a conclusion as Usagi and Chizu make the best of Kitsune‘s plan to sell Inouye’s secret treaty back to the merchant. The warriors decide to use the time and setting of the transaction to their advantage by destroying a secret shipment of Ginseng Inouye is counting on to help fund his underhanded dealings.

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Finally my rabbit ronin withdrawal is at an end. Usagi Yojimbo has returned! After three years of the series on hiatus writer/artist Stan Sakai returns to bring us the further adventures of Usagi Yojimbo with with first issue of a new three-issue arc “The Thief and the Kunoichi” which will reunite Usagi with a few familiar faces.

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