As stated in an earlier post, I’ve been a long-time reader of Usagi Yojimbo (rabbit bodyguard). It wasn’t until a recent story that I was moved to write. The story had to do with the main character and his “nephew” Jotaro. In actuality, Usagi is Jotaro’s father, but Jotaro doesn’t know it. This story hit home with me for reasons most of you know about: being adopted.
Anyway, the way Stan handled the situation and the depth of the characters once again showed Stan’s mastery as both a writer and artist. Though my letter touched on this detail, I also asked if Stan has considered taking the long-eared one to a feature-length animation. The printed response only addressed this question. As is typical of letters columns in comic books, emotionally and/or politically charged subjects are not dealt with directly. The response simply stated that Stan has often been approached with the possibility of going to another medium.
A quick preusal of any of his work reveals multitude cinematic devices throughout. In fact, one is reminded of the work of Kurosawa in any of his samurai flicks. Miyamoto Usagi is, in fact, patterned after the historical figure Miyamoto Musashi, the greatest swordsman ever to have lived, and author of the “Book of Five Rings”. Stan has also incorporated aspects from other characters such as Sanjuro from the film “Yojimbo”. The lighter nature of the book seems to be from the latter influence.
Stan spends countless hours doing research into the history and culture of feudal Japan. As a result, readers are rewarded with not only an amazing story and believable characters, but they are offered a glimpse into the rich history of Japan. The biggest inaccuracy, of course, being that the Japanese are not and never were anthropomorphized fuzzy animals.
So again, I urge anyone with a piqued interest to check out any of the many volumes of Usagi Yojimbo. There are collected volumes for those not into the comic book format (or the hassle of collecting a bunch of smaller volumes). Oh, and the issue with my letter is Number 77 (Dark Horse Comics)