Miyamoto Usagi is the titular character (inspired by Miyamoto Musashi) and an anthropomorphic rabbit (Usagi is Japanese for rabbit) and a ronin now walking the musha shugyo (the warrior's journey).
Katsuichi is a supporting character, Usagi's sensei and one of the most formidable swordsmen in the series. His name is said by Stan Sakai to be a combination of Katsu (to win) and ichi (one) or, "One who wins". He is an anthropomorphic lion samurai sensei who rejected the orthodox fighting styles to create a distinctive new technique. However, he soon abandoned his school due to his dissatisfaction with the poor quality students available.
Murakami Gennosuke (or Gen) is an anthropomorphic Indian rhinoceros who makes a living as a rather disreputable bounty hunter. Originally, he was the son of an important samurai of a prominent lady until she was betrayed by a villainous subordinate. Disgraced, she took her entire entourage, including Gen's family, on a quest for vengeance only to gradually slide into utter poverty. Gen's family shared the same fate with his mother forced to prostitute herself for her family to survive. Eventually she died leaving father and son alone in the endless vendetta. As Gen matured, his father trained him in the ways of the samurai and despite his resentment to his father, Gen excelled in the instruction, becoming a formidable warrior. Upon reaching adulthood, Gen abandoned his father, wanting nothing to do with his vendetta. Carrying a daisho but with little chance for employment, Gen's prospects looked bleak. However, things improved when he encountered a young man and an attractive woman claiming to need medical attention on the road. Tempted by her beauty, he stopped to examine her injury only to find nothing and suddenly realized that the man was about to backstab him. Gen immediately struck him down and subdued his female accomplice. A pair of woodcutters witnessed the incident and, recognizing the defeated criminals, told Gen that there was a bounty on them. Gen claimed the bounty and suddenly had enough money to eat better than he had in years. With that experience, Gen became a professional bounty hunter who disdained bushido in favor of a cynical mercenary attitude determined never to be poor again. Gen appears in the 2003 TMNT series along with Usagi. In the episode "Samurai Tourist", Gen, puts on human clothing that makes him look almost identical to Rocksteady, the mutant rhinoceros from the 1987 TMNT cartoon series (a homage to the characters Bebop and Rocksteady). Also in that episode, Gen is chased by Kojima, an assassin who happens to be a humanoid warthog (a homage to Rocksteady's partner Bebop).
Tomoe Ame is an anthropomorphic cat who is loosely based on the famous female samurai, Tomoe Gozen. (Tomoe Ame is also a brand of Japanese candy.) She is a samurai of the Geishu clan and serves as Lord Noriyuki's personal bodyguard and closest adviser. She also happens to be a very close friend of Miyamoto Usagi, whom she and Lord Noriyuki first met in the story "Lone Rabbit And Child" (from "Book #1: The Ronin"), as they were being pursued by assassins that Lord Hikiji hired to kill the young lord. Usagi was able to help protect Lord Noriyuki as they made their way back to the Geishu manor, even when Tomoe almost died from drowning in a fast-moving river after being attacked by an assassin disguised as a ferryman. After recovering, she has become very grateful to Usagi, and the two have helped each other out many times since. In the events of "Book #4: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy", Tomoe was captured by a villainous lord after discovering his scheme to assassinate the Shogun, and it was up to Usagi to rescue her. Even though Usagi and Tomoe have been very good friends as well as partners in combat, it is believed that the two have deep feelings for each other that go beyond mere friendship, as seen in the story "Chanoyu" ("Book #22: Tomoe's Story"). However, recently, Lord Noriyuki is preparing to form an arranged marriage between her with another lord. An animated version of Tomoe Ame appears in an episode of the 2003 TMNT animated series "The Real World - Part 1".\
Yagi is an anthropomorphic goat and is a highly skilled assassin. His most recognizable trait, is that he carries his son, Gorogoro, with him in a baby carriage. He was once an honorable samurai, and despite his dark path, Yagi still considers himself an honorable warrior, and will not accept jobs that target innocent or honest people, although he charges a high fee for his services. He was once a high-ranking samurai who served Lord Hirone, but a corrupt councillor, Lord Wakame framed him for treason; instead of committing seppuku (ritualistic suicide) to preserve his honor, Yagi left, taking his son, Gorogoro, with him. He is now a hired assassin, carrying his son in a carriage, and they are often referred to as the Lone Goat and Kid; Yagi is a skilled swordsman, while Gorogoro aids his father by attacking enemies with various weapons concealed in the cart. To signal one's intent to hire them, a person posts a picture of a baby carriage.
An anthropomorphic pig that was blind since birth and is a skilled swordsman. Though born blind, he learned to get by using his superior sense of smell; limited by his blindness, he became a zato or "blind masseur", hence the name "Zato-Ino". He was often ridiculed because of his disability, so he learned how to use a sword, thinking that he could be more menacing and keep people from putting him down; but things only got worse. Although he gained the ability to defend himself, he eventually had to kill another in self-defense, and was branded a murderer. Since then, he's been looking for a quiet out-of-the-way place where he can live in peace, but is constantly dogged by the bounty on his head. One day, he encounters Usagi, and things start friendly at first, but Ino is soon accosted by a pair of bounty hunters after the reward. Ino kills them, but Usagi now knows who he is; Usagi feels sorry for Ino, but insists that Ino must be stopped. Zato-Ino refuses and duels Usagi. With one stroke, Usagi ends the duel by cutting off Ino's nose, leaving Ino completely "blind"; Usagi believes that Ino is now harmless, but the pig promises revenge on Usagi. He eventually gets a wood carver to make him a new nose out of wood, and Ino's sense of smell is restored, aside from everything now having a strange pine scent. Ino reappears in "Book #4: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy", wherein he is pursued by Gen for his bounty. He and Gen duel, but they set aside their feud to aid Usagi and the Neko ninja attack the nearby fortress. Ino commits to the job for the promise of a home in the Geishu province, while Gen simply wants no one to kill Ino other than himself. However, Ino saves Gen's life by taking a bullet for him, and the bounty hunter is shocked by the sacrifice. In exchange, he pretends Ino has died. Ino eventually escapes the ruins and finds a secluded village. After protecting it from thieves, Ino decides that the seclusion and self-sufficiency of the village is just what he needs to finally settle down. He reappeared in book 7 (Gen's Story), unconscious and suffering from arrow wounds from a bandit attack. Usagi and Gen found him and his wife and helped save his life. Zato-Ino is based on Zatoichi, a fictional Japanese blind masseuse swordsman from a popular film and TV series.
Inazuma is an anthropomorphic cat. She is the widow of a samurai, and is one of the fiercest swordswomen in the series, easily matching or besting many of the other characters in fighting skill; unlike other characters, Inazuma's skill with a sword is almost all natural talent, as opposed to years of training. Her name (稲妻 in kanji) means "lightning."
A bounty hunter who is notorious for his ruthlessness and his surly mistrust of others, especially samurai. However, he secretly is a beloved benefactor of an orphanage, and his apparent greediness is partially based on his desire to raise funds for its cause.
A member of the Neko Ninja and the sister of Shingen. Upon her brother's death she briefly succeeded him as the clan's leader, but internal power struggles eventually drove her into exile. She has met Usagi several times and even has developed a crush on him, but their respective senses of duty prevent them from traveling together.
Chizu appears in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series' episode "The Real World, Part I" as a field leader of the Neko Ninja.
He was kashira (leader) of the neko ninja and was a master of his craft. He first appeared in Vol.1 #12 where he was on a mission to steal a Muramasa sword from Lord Noriyuki. His skill was so refined that when he was speared in his hiding place by Tomoe Ame who sensed an intruder, he still escaped detection by refraining from crying out in pain at the wound and wiping the spearhead clean as Tomoe withdrew to remove evidence. However, after getting the sword, he was found by Miyamoto Usagi, who followed him and tricked the ninja out of the sword. In the "Dragon Bellow Conspiracy" storyline, Shingen and the Neko Ninja join forces with Usagi to stop the powerhungry Lord Tamakuro from usurping the shogun's position. Shingen is mortally wounded in the struggle, but manages to eradicate Tamakuro as well when he blows up the lord's gunpowder and teppo supplies in his presence.
Noriyuki is the current daimyo of the Geishu Clan's province. Although still a young panda cub, he has proven extraordinarily capable in his position for his age for the intricate task of rule while still keeping his innocent spirit. This includes some developing physical skills such as being able to sense an intruder in his chambers even when asleep and to wake up quickly and yet subtly enough to launch an attack. His closest advisor is Tomoe Ame, a female feline samurai with extraordinary skill which she demonstrated when she saved him and his mother from a ninja assassination attempt. For that spectacular display of skill, Noriyuki's mother appointed Tomoe as her son's personal bodyguard, a position she still holds today. His personal appeal has also been a factor in reducing internal schisms in his clan such as when he inadvertently met the hiding rebel, General Ikeda, and reconciled with him for his role in an earlier insurrection. This extended to Ikeda protecting the lord from assassins and Noriyuki offered to reinstate him to his former rank. Ikeda declined and offered the compromise of his son, Motokazu, joining Noriyuki's court when he came of age after his father trained him. Although Ikeda later died in battle, Noriyuki was better than his word in bringing Motokazu into his household early to eventually become his personal page and later promoted the valiant cub to samurai. Unfortunately, Noriyuki has proven as gullible about mistreating Tomoe as his mother. A villainous adviser, wishing to get the female warrior (who learned of his treacherous nature in a dream) out of the way, has advised that she be married. The young panda accepted that advice without asking Tomoe if she desired it, making the marriage an unwanted imposition. Whether or not Noriyuki will realize that he is being unfair and be able to release her is unknown for now.
A ruthless daimyo loyal to Lord Hikiji, often directs Hikiji's plots. He is a large snake, several times the size of any other character in the series, and despite not having any arms or legs, he is an awesome fighter, using his size and large teeth to his advantage. Lord Hebi appeared in the 2003 TMNT cartoon, in episodes "The Real World, Part 1" and "Samurai Tourist", voiced by Michael Sinterniklaas.
Never before has there been such a wicked, cynical, conspiring Daimyo as the power-hungry Lord Hikiji. Stan Sakai based him on the notorious Daimyo Date Masamune, who lived from 1566-1636 A.D., and aspired to become Shogun, the military ruler of Feudal Japan. Hikiji is the lord of the Mutsu Province, which takes up the entire northeast portion of the main island of Honshu, and includes Adachigahara Plain, the city of Sendai (mentioned in "Lone Rabbit and Child"), and Usagi's village. Like the original Date Masamune, Lord Hikiji seeks the Shogun's position. The Shogun reigning at that time was Tokugawa Ieyasu, under whom unification of Feudal Japan was beginning. In order to complete this unification, the Tokugawa Shogunate isolated Japan from all other influences, which is why there have been no stories with foreigners in Usagi Yojimbo. Tokugawa, though ambitious in his goal of unification, rose to power after a bloody civil war which left Japan's societal structure highly unstable, and those who yearned for power reached for it. An assassination attempt on Usagi's Lord Mifune by Hikiji's agents proved the bloodlust of the tirant. The attempt to murder Mifune in his sleep failed. However, not before it claimed the lives of Mifune's beloved wife and son.
Usagi's Lord until his death in the Battle of Achi Plain. His character is named for the great Samurai actor, Toshiro Mifune. Lord Mifune was a Tiger of mercy and honor such as when he was presented with Usagi as a kitten, wrongly accused of looting the war dead. Mifune believed the child's firm honest denial of the charge and allowed him to leave unharmed. He later saw Usagi as a young adult winning at a tournament, bestowed a daisho as a prize and hired the rabbit as a retainer. When Mifune family was assassinated by ninja sent on Lord Hikiji's orders, he made war and was only defeated when a subordinate commander betrayed him to Hikiji on Adachi Plain. However, even death could not silence his spirit completely such as what happened to Usagi after the samurai fled the lost battle with his lord's head and buried it in secret to prevent it being desecrated. After that act of honor, Usagi fell into the clutches of a supernatural entity and was saved only when spirit of Mifune appeared and slew the entity for his loyal retainer.
A childhood friend of Usagi and his great love. However, she married Kenichi after Usagi left to become a samurai with Lord Mifune, but not before Usagi and she had an impulsive tryst that produced a son, Jotaro. Kenichi married her with full knowledge of her illegitimate pregnancy while Usagi was not informed of the situation as to avoid him abandoning his post for her. Eventually, Mariko told Usagi about Jotaro and insisted he leave the village when he returned to stay, although brief future visits were permitted. Later on, she told Jotaro about his biological father, but for some reason did not mention that Usagi knew the truth himself. Despite the fact she still harbors feelings for Usagi, she realizes her place is with Kenichi.
A childhood rival of Usagi and now magistrate of their village. He has had a spiteful mutual enmity against Usagi since childhood which led to blows more than once. However, in the face of common enemies, the pair has gotten along well on a professional basis.
Sasuké is an anthropomorphic fox, a demon hunter and skilled swordsman and archer who practices maho (sorcery). He has devoted his life to hunting demons (hence the title of Demon Queller). Sasuké has no known friends; he makes allegiances whenever he must, but is quite willing to do things alone if necessary. He is excessively professional, and many consider him cold and heartless as a result; Miyamoto Usagi prefers not to associate with him beyond the occasions when they happen to face a common enemy, partially due to the fact that Usagi often feels outclassed against Sasuké's enemies, who are supernatural in nature. However, Usagi's respect for his dedication has risen upon their latest encounter which ended with the mage temporarily aged and drained after a hard battle, but still didn't hesitate to continue when ordered to confront his next menace. In the graphic novel "Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai", Sasuké reveals that he is several hundred years old, despite looking around the same age as Usagi.
Sanshobo is a supporting character. He is a former samurai monk who has lost none of his courage or fighting skill.
Jotaro is the son of the titular character Miyamoto Usagi, but they do not acknowledge it due to circumstances. They treat each other as uncle and nephew, and neither is aware that the other knows the truth. Jotaro is currently training to be a samurai and has displayed formidable skill for his age; he has defeated adult opponents with his bokken in single combat, despite his still small stature.
Tokages are dinosaur-like lizards that roam about freely in Usagi's world. They are omnivorous, scavenging on any plant or animal matter. Some live in groups while others live alone. While most of them are wild, some were kept as pets. Usagi once had a tokage he named Spot who accompanied him on part of his journey and later joined with Zato-Ino. He later died while trying to protect Zato-Ino. Jotaro also kept one just like his father and gave his the same name as well. A tokage appeared in 2003Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "The Real World, Part I" right in front of Leonardo when he wakes up.