Review of Usagi Yojimbo #143

By Alex Vazquez

This is my first time reading a Usagi Yojimbo comic; my only exposure to the character being the ’87 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, and owning the vintage toy. I’m aware of the high praise this long running series has received though and I can see why. There is an unabashed love for traditional Japanese culture, a charming simplicity to the artwork, and a protagonist with gravitas.
The plot in this issue revolves around the brewing of shoyu, or soy sauce. Not the most stimulating of subjects, but our writer extraordinaire, Stan Sakai, filters it through an endearing shoyu brewer, who walks Usagi (if not us readers) through the brewery process. The love of traditional crafts, as portrayed by the hapless brewer, is infectious.
He is, I surmise, the latest of victims that Usagi protects from whatever villainous lot. In this case, our antagonists being a rival brewer and his hired thugs.  While the story may not be groundbreaking it’s still a rewarding and educational read nonetheless (I now have a new found love for soy sauce).

If this issue is any indication of what this series represents then consider me on board. The story ends off on a cliffhanger, so some sword swinging action is bound to ensue in the next issue. As such, I’ll be there faster than our wandering samurai can swing his sword.

Follow Alex on Twitter @Nettomono

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