A rabbit rōnin is coming to the small screen! Netflix has announced that it will be turning Stan Sakai’s iconic comic-book series Usagi Yojimbo into a “comedy-action CGI animated series” entitled Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles.
According to the press release, the six-time Eisner Award winning creator/writer/illustrator will be executive producing the series.
“I am involved in each step of the production and am enthusiastic with the direction we are going into,” Sakai said in a statement. “It is wonderful to expand the Usagi universe by collaborating with so many talented people. I am working with an awesome team and I’m looking forward to finally seeing an Usagi series on the screen! I thank my wonderful fans, friends and family for their support and encouragement over the last 35+ years.”
While the series is billed as “the first animated TV adaptation” inspired by the comic book series, it appears to be a sequel, rather than a direct adaptation. The original comics follow Miyamoto Usagi, a leporid take on real-life swordsman and samurai Miyamoto Musashi, as he embarks on a warrior’s pilgrimage during Edo Japan, but the Netflix series will center on his descendant Yuichi in the far future.
Here’s the official synopsis, from Netflix:
The series takes place in the far future, set in a world that mixes modern high-tech images with classic Japanese references. It follows the teenage Rabbit Samurai Yuichi, descendent of the great warrior Miyamoto Usagi, on his epic quest to become a true samurai. But he isn’t alone! He leads a ragtag team of misfit heroes – including a roguish bounty hunter, a cunning ninja, an acrobatic pickpocket and a faithful pet lizard – as he battles depth-charging moles, metal-tipped winged bats, and monsters from another dimension, all in the pursuit to become the best samurai Usagi!
There’s no word yet on a release date or cast details. According to the press release, the full list of executive producers includes James Wan and his Atomic Monster production company’s Michael Clear and Rob Hackett; Dark Horse Entertainment’s Mike Richardson, Keith Goldberg, and Chris Tongue; and Gaumont’s Nicolas Atlan, Terry Kalagian, Sidonie Dumas, and Christophe Riandee. 88 pictures (Trollhunters) will take on the CGI animation, with Ben Jones (Teen Titans, Iron Giant) as supervising producer and Khang Le (Big Hero 6) as art director. Meanwhile, Puss in Boots’ Candie and Doug Langdale will serve as showrunners and executive produce as well.
This isn’t the first time Usagi Yojimbo has appeared in non-comic book form. Usagi (Miyamoto, that is) has appeared regularly in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, and there are also two role-playing games and two video-games based on his adventures.