- Paperback: 142 pages
- Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; Gph edition (September 12, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 156097088X
- ISBN-13: 978-1560970880
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #785,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Usagi Yojimbo Book 5: Lone Goat and Kid (Bk. 5) Paperback – September 12, 2001
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“These bittersweet adventure stories offer entertaining reading, especially for young Asian-Americans who feel excluded from mainstream juvenile literature.”
- Los Angeles Times
“I’ve just finished the fourth Usagi Yojimbo trade and the fifth is sitting next to me... If you’re like me, throw away your preconceptions about anthropomorphic comics and get on board. As a fan of samurai fiction (to the point of having a Seven Samurai tattoo) and comics, I can’t recommend Stan Sakai’s beautifully drawn, note-perfect reinvention of the genre highly enough.”
- Kevin Church, BeaucoupKevin.com
“I don’t think I’m exaggerating at all when I say that Stan Sakai is arguably the greatest living comic book creator in the world, and Usagi Yojimbo is a thirty-year masterpiece that has a consistency and craftsmanship that other comics only touch when they’re at their peak.”
- Chris Sims, ComicsAlliance
About the Author
Stan Sakai is a third-generation Japanese American and multiple Eisner-Award-winning cartoonist, creator of the popular and long-running Usagi Yojimbo comic book. (Usagi Yojimbo is a recurring "guest star" in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle universe.) Born in Japan, he grew up in Hawaii and lives in Pasadena, CA.
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There's no such thing as a bad Usagi installment, but Book 5 of the Miyamoto Usagi saga is probably among the weaker of the volumes. It comes right after The Dragon Bellows Conspiracy, a beautifully crafted and masterfully executed 7 part epic that no doubt left creator Stan Sakai a bit drained by its conclusion. As a result, while Book 5 includes some fun Usagi adventures, it pales in comparison to what came before it, as well as what will follow.
Worth noting in this volume is "A Kite Story," the first of several memorable stories in which carefully researched history takes the center stage. Here, Sakai salutes the ancient Japanese art of box kite making. Usagi's presence in this adventure is actually secondary to the primarily educational story. This is a very daring and surprisingly successful approach to storytelling.
Also fondly remembered is "Lone Goat and Kid," a homage to the legendary "Lone Wolf and Cub" manga. For fans of the original series, this adventure does not have much to offer, but if you are unfamiliar with the original material, you will no doubt find this story as thoroughly entertaining as I did. Sakai truly infuses the richness of those characters into this story with little lost in the translation.
Finally, "Blood Wings" and "The Way of the Samurai" both play an important part in the long term continuity of Usagi Yojimbo, though neither story particularly stunned me. Still, there is no such thing as a bad Usagi story.
Fantagraphics has continued its re-releases of the early volumes of Usagi, which had been unavailable for some time. This fifth volume, "Lone Goat and Kid," is a mixed bag. At this point, the "Usagi" series is on the cusp of maturity, and like any adolescent, it stumbles somewhat but is clearly growing.
The volume begins with "Frost & Fire" and "A Kite Story," which are passable but predictable filler episodes. The two-part "Blood Wings" is longer, yet feels underdeveloped and, again, a bit obvious. Luckily, this book ends strong with "The Way of the Samurai" and the title story, "Lone Goat and Kid," which show the series' character development and action at their best. (In fact, "The Way of the Samurai" is one of my personal favorite Usagi stories).
The most interesting thing in volume five, from the perspective of the series as a whole, is the changes in Sakai's artwork. The backgrounds and settings continue to be sumptuous, as they always have been, but now the characters are growing into them. His figures can still be a bit square-jawed, but Usagi in particular shows more subtlety of expression than in the past.
This volume will of course be necessary for Usagi completists, and the quality of the book itself (paper and printing) remains very high. Casual fans may find they can take or leave this collection, although those who do pick it up will discover at least a couple of gems.