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Usagi Yojimbo Reading Order, the comics that inspired Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles

Now adapted on Netflix under the title “Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles,” Usagi Yojimbo is certainly not a new series. In fact, this creator-owned comic book series was created by Stan Sakai in 1984 – Usagi Yojimbo first appeared in Albedo Anthropomorphics #2, published by Thoughts and Images in November 1984. 

Openly inspired by Japanese cinema and real-life samurai Miyamoto Musashi, Usagi Yojimbo explores Japanese history, folklore, arts, and more. The story tells the adventures of the Miyamoto Usagi, a rōnin samurai rabbit, in Japan at the beginning of the Edo period (early 17th century) – it is an anthropomorphic comic where humans are replaced by animals – as he travels the country on shogyusha, sometimes monetizing his services as a bodyguard. 

The concept of the series, with Usagi meeting new people which each new adventure during his travels, makes reading Usagi Yojimbo easy as you don’t have to track down every book in order of publication. You can just pick a story at random. Of course, if you like what you read, you can also start from the beginning.

The publication history of Usagi Yojimbo is not clear and simple, as the series has been published by multiple publishers: Fantagraphics Books (Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 1), Mirage Studios (Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 2), Dark Horse Comics (Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3), and lately IDW Publishing (Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 4). The samurai also appeared in occasional short stories published by other companies.

Usagi Yojimbo Reading Order:

Usagi Yojimbo has been a black and white comic book from the start, but as years passed (a lot of years), more and more stories were published in color – but not a lot in the end.

If you want an entry point, you can pick up at the beginning of each volume, but it’s not necessary as each book can be read as a stand-alone.

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 1

The first publisher was Fantagraphics Books, from 1984 to 1996. This is a paperback collection for the first volume:

Usagi Yojimbo: Origins

In 2021, IDW started to republish the first original Usagi Yojimbo stories IN COLOR!

The 2 Volume Hardcover Box Set

Fantagraphics collected all those stories in one beautiful (and expensive) Hardcover Box Set

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 2 & 3

The second volume (16 issues) was published Mirage Comics, until its closure. Then, Dark Horse Comics took over and launched the third volume (172 issues). This is a paperback collection for the second and third volumes:

Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Those are out-of-continuity Usagi Yojimbo science-fiction stories:

  • Usagi Yojimbo: Space Usagi
    Collects Space Usagi (vol. 1) #1–3, Space Usagi (vol. 2) #1–3, and Space Usagi (vol. 3) #1–3, and stories from Usagi Yojimbo Color Special #3 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (vol. 1) #47
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai
    original graphic novel

The Usagi Yojimbo Saga: The Omnibus collection

Dark Horse also collected those books in “The Usagi Yojimbo Saga,” a collection of omnibuses:

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 4

The current publisher IDW Publishing – with the change came Volume 4. Now, the adventures of the rabbit ronin Miyamoto Usagi are in full-colors:

Usagi Yojimbo: The Art Books

Through the years, Dark Horse published multiple books dedicated to the art of Usagi Yojimbo (some are hard to find now):

Last Updated on February 23, 2023.