Netflix Announces Animated Series Based On Stan Sakai’s ‘Usagi Yojimbo’
by Erik Amaya
It may have taken decades to happen, but Stan Sakai‘s Usagi Yojimbo is finally going to be an animated series … well, sort of anyway.
Deadline reports Netflix has committed to Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, which will tell the tale of Yuichi, a descendant of the comic book’s Miyamoto Usagi, as he trains to become a true samurai. Alongside a group of misfit, which will reportedly include “a roguish bounty hunter, a cunning ninja, an acrobatic pickpocket, and a faithful pet lizard,” he battle various threats and “monsters from another dimension.” The premise may be somewhat familiar to readers of Sakai’s Space Usagi series, which also focused on a descendant of the original character.
Sakai began his Usagi Yojimbo comic book in 1984 as an episodic series heavily inspired by Japanese cinema and centered on Usagi’s journeys through Edo Period Japan. It has been published by various companies including Fantagraphics, IDW, and Dark Horse. The latter’s entertainment division is onboard as an executive producer of Samurai Rabbit alongside Sakai, James Wan, and Gaumont. Candie and Doug Langdale will serve as showrunners.
And though the characters will be all new for the series, this will not be the first time Miyamoto Usagi has appeared in a cartoon. The character has been featured in every iteration of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — he even received an action figure in the original Playmates TMNT toy line and some of the subsequent ranges as well. But for Sakai, who has been at this for as long as some of his fans have lived, this represents the first time his ideas will take root in a show of their own. That’s pretty exciting.
It is unclear when the series will debut, though. But considering the amazing turnaround times Netflix seems to have for its animated originals, this could debut in late 2021 or early 2022.