Many characters of earlier books are in this arc....Gennosuke (Usagi's self-proclaimed Best Friend), Tomoe (Lord Noriyuki's Chief Samurai), Shingen (the ninja), & Zato-Ino (the blind swordspig)....drawn together by outside circumstances into an uneasy alliance against the treacherous Lord Tamakuro. Will these proud and headstrong warriors resolve their differences with one another and help Usagi defeat Lord Tamakuro?
Written and drawn by Stan Sakai; who in an epic fashion resembling the Asian classic The Seven Samurai, creates a dramatic, funny, and heart-wrenching tale of the life and times of our brave and lonesome Samurai rabbit.....Usagi Yojimbo.
Tamakuro; in an attempt to hide his plans from Lord Hikiji and others, orders Tomoe (who found his stockpile of rifles earlier) imprisoned, and the base-of-operations of spying ninjas destroyed. Meanwhile, Gen happens upon several dead bounty hunters, who fell at the hands of the infamous Zato-Ino.....who is bathing in a mountain pool, accompanied by a couple of beautiful females....
Usagi is welcomed into service for Lord Tamakuro, but gets an uneasy feeling after speaking to his Captain, Torame. Usagi finds and frees Tomoe, and the two attempt escape....but only Usagi makes it out of the fortress. Just as Usagi looks to be defeated by Tamakuro's forces, help arrives from Shingen the ninja!
Shingen; having learned the truth of who was behind the destruction of the Ninja Village, forms an alliance with Usagi and takes him to meet with the other Neko Ninja to prepare to assault the castle fortress of Lord Tamakuro.
Lord Noriyuki thanks Usagi for his service to the realm, and then He and Gen take their leave. In The Fate of the Blind Swordspig, we learn that Zato-Ino & Spot had not died as Usagi and others were led to believe! Injured and close to death, he and Spot are rescued by mountain villagers. In his gratitude, Zato-Ino helps them fight off some bandits, and he decides to stay......having only sought peace and quiet, this is his dream come true.
A really great story arc with wonderful plots, fights, intrigue, conspiracy, and tragedy to have you reading this volume over and over! Citizen's Grade: Impressive.