In a dystopian not-too-distant future in Japan, Hiro lives with his father on an island populated by androids, where they eke out a meager existence while trying to keep out of sight. But when they run afoul of a troop of high-tech military thugs, Hiro’s dad sacrifices himself to save his son, turning Hiro’s already-bleak world upside-down. He is rescued by a samurai robot called a “Yojimbot,” and together they seek to avenge his father’s death and make contact with a mysterious associate known only as the “rights holder,” before the soldiers and their drones close in.
Yojimbot by Sylvain Repos is set in a future dystopia full of robots, remnants of industrial Japan. Repos’ art incorporates hard lines for the characters and environments with vibrant colors that change hues. It creates a beautiful world and characters without explanation. The clear definitive line work makes the world easy to understand. Sylvian uses full-page spreads with limited words to show you the world. The colors shift between highlighting a mood and reinforcing the environment. The former is best with excellent shading and gradual hue shifts. The action is so smooth that it’s hard to not go back and read those sections again. Sylvian does action brutally. The colors shift from earthly shades to shades of red, blue, and purple. The contrast from the earth tones to these colors says danger.
The story itself, up to volume 3 is very simple. A traveling samurai robot is helping a young boy. It’s as awesomely simple as that. The first 2 volumes introduce the reader to the world and characters. Repos exchanges constant plot development for constant character development. Hiro and Sheru ( Yojimbot ) move the story forward. but who are they that move the story forward? The young boy, Hiro, follows in his dads footsteps. Trudging forward with the trauma of his fathers’ death and clinging to Sheru as his only comfort and safety.
The silent protector, Sheru, watches over Hiro as he moves forward in his father’s footsteps. Sheru doesn’t talk. Sheru’s lack of speech creates the image of a stoic ronin its actions speak for it. Literally and figuratively as sheru talks with their hands. There is clearly something bigger happening beyond Hiro and Sheru, but the narrative follows Hiro so it unfolds according to the boy’s journey.
In conclusion, Sylvian Repos wears his influences on his sleeve within these volumes paying tribute to Usagi Yojimbo, aspects of Japanese culture, and post-apocalyptical. This is a title that anyone can enjoy, but if you are a fan of the post-apocalypse genre AND! samurai than this is a perfect get. I highly recommend these volumes as you won’t be disappointed with such great storytelling.