The adventures of everyone’s favorite rabbit ronin Usagi Yojimbo is still going on strong even today with the latest adventure is “Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden.” While it does feature our favorite bunny, the first issue does feel like a letdown.
Usagi Yojimbo, along with Inspector Ishida, is investigating the deaths of two samurai who have entered the city carrying something important but was stolen by a thief. However, Yojimbo finds out that these murders are more than what they seem.
Stan Sakai decided to go into some serious territory in this story: Japan’s complicated history with Christianity. While some will read that and think this comic is bashing Christianity, in fact, the characters are just viewing Christianity from a 16th/17th Century Japanese point of view. While early, Sakai has handled this subject delicately.
As for the story itself, it is just a murder mystery with the twist being there are Christians involved. The thing about Sakai is that he can take a generic story like this and make it wonderful. There is plenty to be had here and hopefully, Sakai can bring “Usagi Yojimbo’s” charm into full force here.
The big downside of this comic is the art. While it is true to Sakai and “Usagi Yojimbo’s” style, it feels rushed. It isn’t as polished or great looking as Sakai’s normal works. In fact, there’s a huge chase scene in the first half of the comic and nothing about it feels interesting. It feels like Sakai was on a tight deadline and had to rush to get it out.
While the subject matter is great and the knowledge of Sakai’s previous outings, the first issue of “Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden” does feel a bit lackluster with below average art that feels rushed and a story that’s a retread of others. There is a high chance that it could improve, but don’t expect much from this issue.