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A great little read for anyone interested in Japanese mythology,
This review is from: Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai (Usagi Yojimbo (Dark Horse Unnumbered)) (Hardcover)I'm a massive fan of the Usagi Yojimbo comics, so when I found out that Stan Sakai wrote his first Usagi Yojimbo Graphic Novel, titled Yokai, I pounced upon it. One of the great strengths with "Yokai" is it's a stand alone story and you don't really need any previous information or knowledge of past Usagi Yojimbo stories (UY from now on) to really get into the story. It follows the exploits of Miyamoto Usagi, the main protagonist - roaming ronin, travelling through a haunted forest (natch) where he stumbles upon a crying woman who asks for help. Of course, Miyamoto Usagi agrees to help and thus travels deeper into the forest - encountering many Japanese folklore monsters, meeting up with an old friend and stopping an event that will allow many of the monsters free entry into the world. The story takes many twists and turns and the ending is quite a startling revelation. This is the only moment in the book when it depends entirely on your knowledge on previous UY exploits for its effectiveness. It's definitely not a crippling flaw however, but what is is its duration. The story can be read in about 15 minutes, it's so well realised that I wanted more from it. It's certainly not Stan Sakai's finest work, that honour still belongs to Grasscutter (which I recommend to anyone).
Stan Sakai's distinct line work is still as strong as ever, and his superb use of bold colouring really brings his artwork to life. This is one of the few instances when Sakai's story is coloured in, I wish he did it more often.
Overall, this is well written and well paced book. It does end a bit too quickly for my liking. But it's a great addition to the UY series and should be read by fans, and it's a good entry level for people who have not yet taken an interest in the rabbit's exploits. Hopefully after reading this book you'll look into the main comic books; it's an awesome series and my personal favourite :)
Also comes with an interview of the author!