There was no way that this could end well.
Usagi Yojimbo – “The Hero” Part 2 of 2.
Writer and Artist: Stan Sakai
Cover Artist: Stan Sakai
Usagi Yojimbo #5 rightly starts where it left off: both Usagi and Lady Mura are staying in a little abandoned temple to spend the night. Of course, this is the perfect site for an ambush. It seems that hungry peasants were on their toes to capture, rob, and kidnap whomever they felt as weak, and this is such a case: a woman and a lone bodyguard should be an easy prey.
Lady Mura is a great writer, a stubborn woman, and a creative talent all rolled into one. As we said before, she is a clear homage to one of the most famous writers in Feudal Japan. Sakai doubles up his homage talking about her next piece of work, the story of Empress Jingu and her incredible conquests:
Traditional records of ancient Japan purport that Empress Jingu was born around 169 AD. She married Emperor Chuai and later took his throne in 200 or 201 AD after he died. Immediately following his death, she led a three-year invasion into Korea. Several old paintings depict her leading this invasion. She returned triumphant. She was said to have carried her unborn son in her womb for three years during this conquest.
Historians propose that perhaps a period of less than nine months contained three seasons or harvests, which were each referred to as a year. Regardless, her son Ojin was later deified as Hachiman, the god of war.
However, the strict bushido code does not accept, at this point in time, that a woman dares to surpass the fame of her husband. This husband will invoke all his rights as a man to ensure that she will no longer humiliate him.
It is a sad ending for Lady Mura, one that not even Usagi Yojimbo can challenge, and it makes me feel restless. You can re-imagine the past with the tools and advancements of the future, but, if you want to stay true to the story, some things such as racism, lack of individual rights, cruelty to women and children, and far more are just a few centuries behind. It′s tough, and it reminds us why we should all be feminists now.
AVAILABLE: October 2019
DIAMOND CODE: AUG190768
PAGE COUNT: 32
Featured image by Stan Sakai, all images belong to IDW Comics