Thursday, September 27, 2012

Usagi Yojimbo Book 4: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy by Stan Sakai

Welcome to Edo Japan! Usagi Yojimbo is the story of a rabbit named Miyamoto Usagi, a rounin (a samurai that doesn’t have a lord to serve) who wanders the land taking jobs as a yojimbo (bodyguard).  Throughout his journey Usagi meets many fascinating characters; some who become allies willing to aid him in his journey and others who turn into sworn enemies.  These characters help keep the story fresh as the focus is not constantly on Usagi. One of the series’ charms is the characters being anthropomorphic animals, which makes the otherwise bloody story more approachable.  The series is one of the longest I’ve seen, having well over 23 volumes. Although it is not necessary, I would recommend starting from book one since the story sometimes makes references to previous books.  The art is a cross between Japanese manga and western comics all drawn in black and white.  Teachers looking to introduce students to Japanese culture, history during the Edo era (1603 - 1868), and the Samurai code (Bushido) should look into this series.  Students that have enjoyed Buddha, Maus and Barefoot Gen would probably enjoy Usagi Yojimbo as well. --Claudio Leon

No comments: