riddler13: (gennosuke)
[personal profile] riddler13 posting in [community profile] scans_daily
And now I'll focus on my favourite Usagi Yojimbo character: Murakami Gennosuke, a.k.a. Gen, the rhino bounty hunter!

Gen is a gruff, cantankerous mercenary who will always put money before honour. He has a penchant for shortcuts that always get him, or whoever is foolish enough to take his advice (usually Usagi) in trouble. He is a glutton who enjoys his saké. But he is also a very competent swordsman and, (not so) deep down, someone with a very generous heart and loyal to his friends. And, no matter what Usagi might say, he is Long Ears' best friend, with most of the "buddy comedy" angle of the series stemming from their interactions.

When Usagi met him, he did not have the best first (or second, or third, for that matter) impression of Gen.

Especially after the job was done.

(Both excerpts are from Critters #1, July 1986, and collected in Fantagraphics' Usagi Yojimbo Book 1: Ronin).

Stan told us the rhino's backstory in issues #34-36 of vol. 1, called "Gen", and collected in Fantagraphics' Usagi Yojimbo Book 7: Gen’s Story. In this story, a beggar shows up at an inn in which Usagi and Gen were staying. She is actually Lady Asano, widow of Lord Asano, who was killed by his traitorous councilor Oda. Vowing revenge, she wanders through the land with a dwindling retinue until she finds her loyal General Murakami's son - Gen - and asks him to join their cause. Gen storms off leaving Lady Asano in tears. Usagi catches up to him.

(Look at him go "wheee" as he's hit by his dad. Kid Gen was actually cute).

(Usagi Yojimbo vol. 1 #34, 1992)

He ends up helping Lady Asano because he is actually a decent person, but of course, he also cheats Usagi (he said he'd refund all of Usagi's expenses at the inn provided the bunny gave him the receipts but knew he wouldn't have them after being captured by Oda's men).

Oh, wondering what became of Gen's dad? Well, after they found Oda and stormed his palace Gen picks up a pair of swords to replace his lost ones. Then he realizes something.

(Usagi Yojimbo vol. 1 #36, 1992)

Stan noticed that the rhino bounty hunter's lack of morals made a good foil to Usagi's more serious and honourable personality, so Gen came back several times since then (although he hasn't shown up lately).

Also, his horn was cut off in a fight with Zato-Ino the blind swordspig, who I plan to profile someday. The complete horn he sports while telling his origin story is a ceramic prosthetic which is broken in the course of the story.

To end: Gen's inspiration is Toshiro Mifune in the film "Yojimbo"

Next: Kitsuné, the flirty fox thief!
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