riddler13: (Default)
[personal profile] riddler13 posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Ninjas are a constant feature in Usagi Yojimbo's universe. They are pretty much the go-to cannon fodder baddies, along with "brigands", and the three factions we see (Mole - Kagura, Bat - Komori and Cat - Neko) attack Usagi and his allies on a consistent basis.

They have, however, their own internal and external wars, which lead to some interesting stories. All of them are vying Lord Hikiji's favour, who uses them to his advantage, pitting them against each other and making them compete for his approval.

The clan currently on top is the Neko ninja. They were some of Usagi's first adversaries, appearing in his second story, but became temporary allies under the leadership of Shingen during Book 4: "The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy". After that, Shingen is replaced by his sister, Chizu, but her position was challenged from the very start, seeing as she is a female ninja (kunoichi). Even so, she is capable of holding her own and carrying out several errands for Lord Hikiji. But, after her first meeting with Usagi, in "Shades of Green" (a crossover with the TMNT), she develops a soft spot for the rabbit, which makes it a bit more difficult to accomplish her work.

She is eventually expelled from the Neko ninja and becomes a fugitive. This is the story of her fall from grace.

Chizu has been summoned by Lord Hebi, Hikiji's second-in-command. Once there, she is left waiting for a long time, and a maid brings her some tea.

Hebi says he has had some concerns lately over Chizu's loyalty. And we get a nice recap of some of Chizu's plots. In all of them, she acted so she would give the Neko ninja some leverage over Hikiji. That backfired when Kagemaru, who had always wanted to become the head of the cat ninjas, informed Hebi of her treacherous acts.

He accuses Chizu of either being in league with Usagi or being fooled by him.

You know what? As much as Chizu is the character we'd probably root for, I think Kagemaru's actually right in this case.

The ninjas were listening and waiting to strike. Obeying Kagemaru, they turn against their leader, who makes her escape from Hijiki's castle.

Yayé, a very ambitious upstart, attacks Chizu with glee. Our protagonist seems to have died after the fight.

Chizu did not get her position just by being Shingen's sister, you know.

Kimi, her protegé, finds her, but she displays the same flaw her master does: she still has a heart.

This story was collected in Book 16: The Shrouded Moon and Usagi Yojimbo Saga vol. 3.

Barring (possibly) Chizu, Usagi constantly expresses his hatred towards ninjas all through the series. Which is funny, given he has starred in all three TMNT cartoon incarnations, has crossed over with them in at least three canon stories and considers Leo one of his best friends.

A running gag is that Chizu always departs leaving Usagi with a kiss, "a way foreigners use to show affection". Maybe that is why he tolerates her.

Next, the most skilled fighter in Usagi's universe: Inazuma, the lightning!

Date: 2017-09-08 04:02 pm (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
I'm not sure if he thinks of the TMNT as ninja, or just warriors

Date: 2017-09-09 02:56 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tcampbell1000
Yeah, they don't exactly exist within the strict definition of ninjadom. Though at least they're more authentically ninjaish than Naruto.

Date: 2017-09-09 03:42 am (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
Naruto nin get a bad rap, The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya is about a colorful ninja with frog magic who fights a ninja with snake magic, and it's one of the most famous of ninja legends from over 200 years ago. In Japan, magic ninja are definitely a thing and just as authentic as the dress in black and poison people brigade. Heck, one of the RL ninja tricks was try and convince people they had magic.

The TMNT don't fit within Usagi Yojimbo's down to Earth ninja mostly in that they're too conventionally heroic and of course have the key difference of not serving as the hands of corrupt lords who use them for dishonorable skullduggery. Sure, the Turtles can sneak and use some tricks, but Leo's more samurai than ninja in a lot of of ways, he'd rather take an honorable foe head on.

Date: 2017-09-10 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tcampbell1000
I get you, but it seems like Sakai's Usagi wouldn't really recognize Naruto as a ninja either, for mostly the same reason-- Sakai seems a lot more interested in historical accuracy than most other portrayers of ninjas, really, and that's distinct from ninja mythology.

Date: 2017-09-10 08:44 am (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
Not Naruto himself, no, but I think he's recognize Kakashi as one, if a good one like Chizu.

Date: 2017-09-09 12:30 am (UTC)
dragontail: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dragontail
Barring (possibly) Chizu, Usagi constantly expresses his hatred towards ninjas all through the series. Which is funny, given he has starred in all three TMNT cartoon incarnations, has crossed over with them in at least three canon stories and considers Leo one of his best friends.

I didn't know that (he says, stating the obvious, as these superlative scans are his first true exposure to Usagi's tale) but, given Leo is my favourite Turtle, that only increases my anticipation for picking up this series :-)

Would it be too much to ask for either issue numbers wherein I can see the Leo/Usagi friendship, or even a tiny scan or three? Please? And I'm assuming we're talking original canon Mirage!Leo here, not any of his Turtleverse variants. Or are we...?

Date: 2017-09-10 01:02 am (UTC)
dragontail: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dragontail
I am in your debt. Thank you so much, yet again!

Date: 2017-09-09 01:31 am (UTC)
candyangelo: (big Russ [Gorillaz])
From: [personal profile] candyangelo
One of the things I find hilarious about the Chizu/Usagi kissing gag is that she'll kiss him in front of anyone, my favorite particularly with Kitsune and Kiyoko present at the time. That woman may be honorable, but she has no shame.
Edited (Clarity.) Date: 2017-09-09 01:56 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-09-09 10:43 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tripodeca113
Ah Chizu, another good character. Shame that her story-line seems to have stalled. Issue 115 was her last main appearance for a while, showed that a number of Nekko Ninja's had remained loyal to her and she needed something to rally the rest to her side. And then she didn't appear and the next four volumes worth of stories mostly involve Usagi fighting gangs and bandits. Good stories yes, but still no closer to being resolved.

Date: 2017-09-09 10:54 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tripodeca113
Oh good.


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