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Book Club: Usagi Yojimbo.

Book Club: Usagi Yojimbo.

Anthropomorphic anime rabbit about to do battle.

Jon Moy is a freelance writer based in Detroit. He’s written about a lot of things, but mostly about fashion. He’s just happy to be here. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @moybien1212.

Usagi Yojimbo is a graphic novel series about an anthropomorphic rabbit ronin set in Feudal Japan. Written, drawn, and lettered by Stan Sakai, this series is, in my opinion, some of the best storytelling in comics. At the time of this writing, there’s over two hundred issues which means any newcomer to the wandering swordsman can binge without fear of exhausting their new favorite epic. Exhaustively researched, the series serves as an amazing primer on Japanese folklore and ancient traditions and culture. Sakai blends heroic tales with the details of quotidian life seamlessly. Sakai’s skill in storytelling and worldbuilding combine to create a truly immersive experience. Anthropomorphic animals can often feel like a cheap hook or relegate an otherwise adult story to the world of kids lit or the dreaded ‘young adult’ category; but in a rare accomplishment, Sakai has actually created a story for all ages. The only real hiccup I have when reading is that all the animals still ride horses. I’m not sure how you would get around riding horses but then having anthropomorphic horse characters, but let me tell you, it’s kinda wild to see a rhino carrying a sword while riding a horse.

Who wouldn’t love following along with a wandering warrior, righting wrongs and eating soba along the way? While I don’t do a lot of wandering the countryside fighting sword masters and mythical beasts, I do love wandering the aisles of my local bookstore. But, given that many of us cannot do that safely right now, order a Usagi Yojimbo tome from Bookshop, an Amazon alternative that shares profits amongst independent bookstores. You can even designate your local spot to receive all of the profits. It’s important to find ways to support small businesses in our own communities. Usagi would be proud of you.