You don’t buy a Samurai comic book to learn about the minutia of seaweed farming. You want fights and action and drama. Yet when Stan Sakai teaches you all about Kaiso (seaweed farming) you sit there enthralled as another culture and another time comes to life before your eyes. It is these glimpses into traditional everyday life that make Usagi’s world so enthralling and so believable. It is also this calmness that makes the violence so powerful. When you have spent pages being introduced simple defenceless folk who are murdered without cause it really has an impact, just as violence should.
This is the usual sprinkling of tales of all sorts. Usagi is in most of them but we learn more about those whom he meets than his own story save how a samurai should act when he meets people of all stations. This book is a wonderful glimpse into a different and fascinating world and it is a real emotional journey with some quite tragic tales. The art is good but subtly plays second fiddle to the narrative with no bold or cinematic moments. A definitive Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Usagi Yojimbo: Volume 11 – Seasons – Stan Sakai