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Chuck Wendig
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Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 29: Two Hundred Jizo

Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 29: Two Hundred Jizo - Stan Sakai I've mentioned before how much of a fan of Usagi Yojimbo I am, so I'm not going to go through all of what makes the series, characters, and stories so good. This is the 32nd collection of stories featuring the character, and that longevity alone should tell you how good they are. In fact, I've found myself recommending this series to people who are looking for comic recommendations, regardless of what their main interest is. You want something with good art? Usagi Yojimbo. You want something with good characters? Usagi Yojimbo. You want good stories? History? Something for all ages? Stories with courage and honor and a touch of humor? USAGI YOJIMBO.

Two Hundred Jizo continues with the story of Usagi, our wandering rabbit samurai, and anyone who has read and enjoyed his adventures before will find a lot to like here. Usagi represents the samurai ideal, and he and the people with whom he surrounds himself are honorable and admirable, while the people he goes up against in his adventures are avaricious, petty, and rash. It's easy to define the good guys and the bad guys in the story, and Sakai does an outstanding job of pitting them against each other in short morality plays that are fantastically drawn, and are inspired by real Japanese history.

This collection has a few bonus stories included, as well, with a couple of comical "interviews" with Usagi by Stan Sakai himself, and one at the end of the collection where Sakai shows us how he goes from idea to finished product when he creates a story. He doesn't just repeat a story already included in the collection, either; he creates a new story to showcase his creative process. It's a fascinating examination into his craft, mostly because it's such a simple process.

If you haven't started reading Usagi Yojimbo, you should, and as soon as possible. You might want to start at the beginning, so volume 29 might not be for you. If you've been reading the series up till now . . . well, I suppose you've already read this one, too. We should be friends!