Udagawa Gosuke is a low-ranking samurai in Japan's Edo period. Upon his marriage to Shino, Gosuke is inspired to create his own dojo that will accept anybody who wants to learn the way of the sword.
In so doing, he gathers disciples but also attracts the attention of the Kobukan Dojo, a dojo that enforces the strict codes of bushido and punishes those samurai who disobey or break them.
Samurai Usagi by Teppei Fukushima chronicles Gosuke's adventures as he tries to build the Usagi Dojo into a dojo that rivals the Kobukan itself, while also trying to get the hang of married life with Shino.
Among the dojo's disciples are Shino's brother Settsu Masayuki; a peasant priest, Chiyokichi; a strange little man named Maro; hot-blooded Kazama Hanzou; and mysterious Honami Tasuke.
Also, unlike most Shonen manga, the hero and heroine are actually married.
Not to be confused with Usagi Yojimbo.
- Animal Theme Naming: The Ronins:
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: As awkward as Gosuke can be when it comes to his marriage to Shino, there is never any doubt that he adores her.
- Bishōnen: Ootori the ronin's face is so pretty it clashes with his tattoos and coarse way of speaking.
- Compelling Voice: Semi-example: Maro has no magic powers but he is the eldest son of the local lord so everyone "followed whatever he said as if it were an order" to such an extreme that he stopped speaking and ran away from home.
- Cry Cute: Shino, and later Suzume.
- Defector from Decadence: Honami was previously a member of the Kobukan dojo, but left in favor of the Usagi Dojo.
- All five of the samurai-hating ronin come from samurai families and were rejected for various reasons.
- Eyes Always Shut: Honami Tasuke and his father Hikozaemon.
- The Fighting Narcissist / More Hero Than Thou / Glory Hound: What the ronins believe samurai are like vs. who they're actually fighting.
- Five-Man Band: The ronins.
- Full Potential Upgrade: While the Usagi Dojo's members were already formidable, the katana personally forged for them by Kiyohito, and the training received while waiting for those weapons, make them even more so.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Chiyokichi's sister.
- Gonk: The Hulk-like ronin Uzura has jet-black eyes and apparently no nose, which is probably why he was rejected by his samurai family. Actually he's a skinny dude in a fat suit.
- High-HeelFace Turn: Suzume. When Maro says something in your defense you can't help but try to see things differently.
- Improbable Weapon User: Things used as weapons other than swords: Ootori's umbrella, Chiyokichi's hoe, and Suzume's butcher knife nun-chucks.
- Knight Templar: The Kobukan Dojo, their leader especially. At least one member is just itching to administer justice.
- Things that are punishable by death: dressing too richly, dressing too poorly, partying too much and neglecting your family; partying too little and being constrained by your family; improper toothpick presentation. Being a Samurai and having your wife buy her own groceries or actually doing the cooking in your own kitchen! Even if your household is too poor to afford servants for any reason, no exception is made if said reason is that higher-level samurai killed off the rest of your family for imagined slights! Heck, just buying snacks in the local square is often enough reason to be attacked. The leader fails to comprehend why the samurai he trains come to the conclusion that it's a samurai's job to trample everyone else.
- Little Miss Badass: Suzume the ronin. Her weapon of choice are a pair of butcher knife nun-chucks.
- Mask Power: Asuka the masked street performer who apparently befriended the ronins, starting with Ootori. The mask hides the fact that he's blind.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Chiyokichi's "nana herbs". They're not much more than weeds, but Chiyokichi's enthusiasm makes them powerful anti-inflamatory drugs.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Combined with Aborted Arc. Between chapters 67 and 68 was a 15 year time-skip, or more, and right before the time-skip, the Usagi Dojo beats the Kobukan, destroying the "Samurai tradition" and the Kobukan's leader was grateful for it, up to and including getting himself a wife and their having a lovely baby girl that they doted on.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Gosuke and Shino, arranged by Settsu.
- The Quiet One: Maro, as noted in Compelling Voice. The reason he's called Maro at all is because that's all anybody heard of his name when he introduced himself, his full name being Honma Rozan.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The ronins.
- Sickening Sweethearts: The leader of the Yamaneko Dojo and his girlfriend.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In order for the ronins to compete against real samurai they kill an entire dojo save its leader.
- Tragic Keepsake: Ootori's go stones. Asuka would give him candy if he could guess how many stones were white. Ootori took advantage of this after running away from home, only to learn Asuka was blind and "let him win" because he trusted him. They're clearly important so Ootori is confused why Settsu doesn't go for them in their match.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Ootori the ronin as a kid. Already on notice for being a less-than-stellar swordsman, his "friend" switched his sword for an umbrella, forfeiting an important match and humiliating his father. His dad gave him a knife and told him to redeem himself by committing seppuku.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Mozuku wants a world without arrogant samurai, and what better way to do that then to Kill 'Em All?
- The leader of the Kobukan dojo wants to keep the streets safe and protect the life of the Emperor. So what does he do? He organizes "patrols" with his disciples to scour the streets, punishing any deviation, real or imagined, no matter how slight, from what he perceives as bushido with death, and when he hears his disciples come to the logical conclusion that a samurai's duties involve trampling everyone else down (because this is the inevitable result), he draws his sword and tries to kill them too, and even when the Emperor himself points out how ultimately counter-productive his mindset is, he utterly refuses to acknowledge how he could be wrong.