Usagi Yojimbo & TMNT

As previously stated on my TMNT Fanpage, Usagi Yojimbo and TMNT have had multiple crossovers over the years; spanning comics, shows, and games.


Usagi Yojimbo's first and major crossover(s) began during its time being published at Mirage Studios!

pictured: Shades of Green pt 2, the TMNT are summoned to Usagi's world

The first crossover was Turtle Soup and Rabbit Stew, which was Published in 1987; Leonardo is transported to Usagi's world and briefly interacts with Usagi before being sent back to New York. Leonardo would appear in Usagi's world in a few more comics, and then Usagi Yojimbo was moved to Mirage Studios and Sakai would publish a multi-part story called Shades of Green. All the turtles are summoned to Usagi's world to help Usagi and co. with the Neko Ninjas and Kakera.

In 2023 there would be another crossover between UY and TMNT called Wherewhen, although Wherewhen is non-canon (?) as opposed to the other crossovers due to it taking place somewhere in the future in the UY universe similar to Senso.

TV and Animated Series

almost every TV series has their own version of Usagi to go along w/ it!

pictured: TMNT 87 episodes Usagi Yojimbo and Usagi come Home

The TV shows is when Usagi comes to the turtles' world, with his first crossover being in the '87 TMNT TV Series, where he is incorrectly called "Usagi Yojimbo" as if it were his name. Here, Usagi is transported to New York by accident and tricked by Shredder to oppose the TMNT.

pictured: TMNT 2003 Season 2 episode 23 (49 overall) The Big Brawl part 1, Leonardo and Miyamoto Usagi first meet

For the 2003 TMNT TV Series, Usagi appears during the Battle Nexus Arc in Season 2. Him and Leonardo have a friendly competition during the Arc although their match is cut short due to Leonardo being poisoned which Usagi stays by his side and even gives him herbs, although Donatello is initially suspicious of him being so close to his brother. It is revealed that at a previous Battle Nexus a young Miyamoto Usagi assisted Splinter when he was attacked by assassins.

Miyamoto Usagi, Gennosuke, and other characters from the Usagi Yojimbo universe would appear in later episodes throughout 2003's runtime. Another special appearance of Usagi has him and Leonardo gifting each other swords for Christmas.

pictured: TMNT 2003 Season 4 intro, Leonardo is bowing to a silhouette of Miyamoto Usagi

Usagi also appears in 2012's TMNT TV Series in a 3 episode special alongside UY antagonist Jei. (I haven't watched 2012 TMNT so I don't have much to say abt this special) 2012 TMNT would be the last animated TMNT/UY crossover due to Rise being cancelled early.

Video Games

From boss character, to playable character in DLC

pictured: Usagi as he appears in Shredder's Revenge, giving Leonardo a cheer up!

(To be expanded)

Usagi also appears in a few TMNT games; he appears in the game TMNT 2: Battle Nexus as a Bonus Boss in the Battle Nexus mode, is a playable character in the mobile game TMNT Legends, and is playable in Shredder's Revenge in the Dimension Shellshock DLC.

Reading/Collecting Usagi Yojimbo (in order)

UY has changed publishers a few times during it's run, starting with Fantagraphics, to Mirage, to Dark Horse, to IDW, and then finally back to Dark Horse where it's currently being published. Understandably, there are a few questions about reading order and collecting order, basically "where do I start"? Thankfully UY is one continuous story regardless of publisher; but even better is that many stories are self contained, and your starting point with Usagi Yojimbo can be anywhere. It may seem daunting but Usagi Yojimbo is very accessible to get in to with its multiple collections that have been published over the years.

Another important note; Usagi Yojimbo is seperated into "volumes" in two different contexts; for example "volume 1" could refer to either the first collected and printed Trade Paperback, or it could refer to issues 1-38 of the Fantagraphics run released between July 1987-March 1993. I will not refer to UY in the later context, when I am listing volume numbers I am referring to the collected TPBs (Trade Paperbacks).

For example, here are the "volumes" of Usagi Yojimbo referring to my former explanation.

Volume 1; Fantagraphics issues 1-38
Volume 2; Mirage issues 1-16
Volume 3; Dark Horse issues 1-172**
Volume 4; IDW issues 1-31
Volume 5; Dark Horse/Dogu issues 1~ onward

** Beginning in 2018, Dark Horse and Stan Sakai decided to change the numbering scheme for UY, as such a large number of issues could dissuade new readers; so they began moving forward with a mini-series numbering scheme, however you'll have the overall series number still listed alongside the mini-issue number.

** For Issue 110 (Dark Horse) the series number is 169, IDW's Issue 1 the series number is 239 for further context.

Dark Horse comics has published on their blog a reading guide that briefly explains the order in which UY has been published and where to get those collections, Dark Horse is also the main and current publisher for UY aside from a few collections that I will explain below.

The Beginning, Albedo, Critters, and Fantagraphics

volumes 1-7, available in B&W with some stories in colour

The beginning of UY has been published in a few different ways for you to collect depending on your preference; first, you'll have the single print issues, these are probably the most difficult to find due to them being decades old and not being re-printed in any capacity.

Next, you'll have the collected TPBs (Trade Paperbacks), these were released in the 90's and collect a few issues into one book, there 7 volumes in total both available physically (Fantagraphics) and digitally (Dark Horse). These books, like the comics, are in Black & White. Each TPB volume usually has a Introduction written by someone else talking about UY and it's stories.

Lastly, Fantagraphics released the Usagi Yojimbo Special Edition Collection, which is a 2 large hardcover books in a single slipcase that collect all the Fantagraphics issues in the order they were published. These books also include the Sumemr Special and ???. This book is also in Black & White.

Link to Fantagraphics' Usagi Yojimbo collection here.

IDW has also been publishing Usagi Yojimbo Origins which are collected volumes of IDW's Colour Classics, these are early selected chapters of Usagi Yojimbo fully coloured. The stories within Origins are not in published order however, and are rearranged so most of the early flashback stories are all together.

Currently there are 4 TBP's released and there are plans for a 5th to be released at some point. If you absolutely must read UY in colour this is your best option, but very limiting in the amount of stories available.

Moving Publishers, Mirage to Dark Horse to IDW

volumes 8-33, available in B&W | volumes 34-38, available in colour

Like the Fantagraphics single issues, the Mirage single issues are also quite difficult to collect. However Dark Horse has the publishing rights for these issues so they've been collected both in the first volume of Dark Horse's Usagi Yojimbo Saga, the second half of volume one for Saga continues with the Dark Horse run of UY and is a total of 9 volumes, with the final volume being Legends; Legends collects self contained stories that aren't relevant to the main story, but still take place in the UY Universe (?) such as Space Usagi, Yokai, and Senso.

Dark Horse has also published the Mirage stories in single TPBs.

All these stories are published in Black & White, including the Mirage stories due to the original files being lost. However at the end of the Saga books there are coloured pages showing off the various covers of both the smaller collected TPBs and the individual issues.

For the Omnibuses there are 2 editions of the Softcover, both have different covers; and 1 Limited Edition in Hardcover.

Each volume of Saga contains historical notes from Stan Sakai himself, which give extra context to the background and foreground of stories. For the Love of Comics on Youtube has a video explaining these and even showing off the Limited Hardcover Editions of Saga.

For IDW UY was published for 31 issues in total, this is also when UY started being published in colour again (the previous time being the Mirage run, as stated before), the TPBs are also published in colour. Stan Sakai said in an interview (source) that "in order for the comics to do well, they need to be published in colour" meaning all future stories onward will also be in colour.

These books are available as both TPBs and Hardcover editions and list what issues they collect on the back of the book. These books are in the following order; Bunraku (34, Homecoming (35), Tengu War! (36), Crossroads (37), and Green Dragon(38). As far as I know these issues are not being republished by Dark Horse in any format.

Dark Horse (Again) and onward...

volume 39~, available in colour

Currently, Ice and Snow is the only story completely published by Dark Horse new era of Usagi Yojimbo which will be collected as a TPB and released in September 2024. As of writing this in April 2024 the first issue of the story The Crow has been published.

Other TPBs and Examples of Collections

Despite my best efforts to explain the different versions the reading and collecting order for UY, I understand it's difficult to visualize, there are also smaller TPBs that have been published since the Fantagraphics run and continued by Dark Horse which is where the volume numbers "1-38" come from, the individual TPBs can be viewed here on the Usagi Yojimbo fandom page, this page also details the extra content such as art books.

For the smaller TPBs there are a total of 34 of them as I can find, with IDW obviously changing the format and publishing their own volumes, though the numbering is continued. Stan Sakai explains in a Facebook post about the book sizing.

When Usagi was first published in book collections, comics were not being published as graphic novels. To get into bookstores, Fantagraphics adapted the "trade paperback" format which was very popular in the '80's and early 90's. As time went on, graphic novels and the GN format became the mainstay it is today. That is why IDW chose to use that format, to better fit in comic book store shelves and to be more in line with the expectations of current readers. The more you know!

- Stan Sakai, June 25, 2020

Here are a few examples I found online of these smaller TPBs and the Saga omnibuses, to give you a better visual example of the different ways to collect Usagi Yojimbo. If you're just starting out collecting, the Special Editions and Omnibuses are the best way and most accessible way to collect UY.

Reddit user lemmedemonstr8's collection shared on r/comicbookshelves

This collection shows off the Fantagraphics Special Edition, and Dark Horse's Saga Hardcover Omnibuses

Twitter user ZackDavisson's collection

This collection shows off the Fantagraphics Special Edition, Dark Horse's TPB Omnibuses, and some side story TPBs

Corvus Darc's collection on Facebook

This collection is all TPBs, both Fantagraphics' and Dark Horse's


(please consider this section under construction)

Miyamoto Usagi

our tititular main character and a Ronin, a wandering Samurai with no master.

Yamamoto Yukichi

a young Samurai and former student of the Itsuki School of Swordsmanship, he is also revealed to be Usagi's cousin.

Murakami Gennosuke

Bounty Hunter, and an aquaintence of Usagi's.

Tomoe Ame

bodyguard of Lord Noriyuki.


Samurai who believes he was chosen by the Gods to smite evil, Usagi's arch-nemesis.


Hermit and Master Swordsman living in the mountains, Usagi's Sensei who trained him from a young age.


son of Kenichi and Mariko, training under Katsuichi in the way of the Samurai, although it is revealed that he is actually the son of Usagi, who was born while he was gone to serve Lord Mifune.

Inspector Ishida

Police Detective.


Usagi's childhood friend and rival, and current Magistrate of their home village.


wife of Kenichi and mother of Jotaro, Usagi's childhood friend and first love.


street performer and thief.


former Kashira of the Neko Ninja Clan.


master Swordsman who saught revenge on local gamblers, on the run she crosses paths with Jei and is taken over by something similar to him.

Lord Noriyuki

current Daimyo of the Geishu Clan's Province.

Lord Mifune

original Daimyo of the Northern Province and Usagi's previous Master before his passing.

Lord Hikiji

ruler of the Matsu Province who aspires to be Shogun, main antagonist of UY who operates behind the scenes.