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Continuing with my ongoing series of Usagi Yojimbo character profiles (Usagi and Tomoe so far), we now turn to another essential character in the series: Jotaro.

He is a young samurai-in-training who hails from the same village as Usagi, and is being trained by our rabbit ronin's former teacher, Katsuichi. Jotaro has met his "Uncle Usagi" several times, whenever Long Ears went to visit his birthplace. After Katsuichi-sensei is challenged to a duel by an old adversary and has to leave the mountains (I really want to post this storyline in the future) with his students Shunji and Jotaro, the young rabbit meets Usagi and gets to spend some time with our main character.

But there's more to Jotaro than meets the eye. And that is what Tomoe will find out in the story "Kill the Geishu Lord".





Usagi and Jotaro reach a pass at a mountain where a landslide has happened. A bit later, they reach a very inhospitable village, where no-one wants to shelter them. They continue on their way. Jotaro points to some crows that are behaving weirdly, and Usagi goes to check.



So now we know where the true villagers are. Usagi and Jotaro go back to check out who's actually in the village. Meanwhile, a procession is entering the village, led by Tomoe herself. Lord Noriyuki is on his way to a temple and his delegation stops for the night.



Usagi calls out to Tomoe and warns her it's a trap. The ninjas abandon their peasant disguises and attack the delegation.




Lord ("Tono") Noriyuki is hit by an arrow.



The ninjas are scattered. But the Geishu lord is dead. Or is he...?



And now comes the big revelation (for Tomoe. If you've been reading Usagi you already know this).




Jotaro catches up with Tomoe and Usagi. The boy is impressed with the "girl samurai", and she calls him "adorable" ("Hey!"). Usagi adds that Jotaro is very brave ("That's better"). And they will continue together on another road.

So, backtracking a bit now: before Usagi left Mariko to serve Lord Mifune, they had a picnic together. And then things... happened.




(Usagi Yojimbo v.1 #29 - Circles pt.2/1991).

He left without knowing what happened. Mariko did tell Kenichi, but he didn't care and took her with Jotaro. But she eventually tells Usagi.




(Usagi Yojimbo v.1 #31 - Circles pt.4/1991).

"How?", Usagi? See, when a bunny loves another bunny, they... actually, I'm quite surprised it was just one.

And I really like Mariko's attitude. She will protect her family, even against the love of her life.

But the funniest part of it? Mariko not only told Kenichi and Usagi, she also told Jotaro! Can that girl ever keep a secret? At least Jotaro can.




And alone he goes...

That's it for Jotaro. Stay tuned for the next profile; my favourite character by far. The persimmon-loving, money-grabbing, dirty cheating rhino bounty hunter with a heart of gold: Gen!
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