Japanese Cinema Inspired Usagi Yojimbo Comics Gets Animated On Netflix

Netflix seems to be on a roll these days as they have just announced yet another new animated series. Titled Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, the new animated series will be based on the award-winning 35-year-old comic book series, Usagi Yojimbo.

Written by Stan Sakai, the Usagi Yojimbo chronicles follows then adventures of a rabbit ronin, Miyamoto Usagi, who is on a musha shugyō (warrior’s pilgrimage). The comic series draws inspiration from Japanese cinema and many Japanese folklore. Most notably, the series is influenced by legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, and the title of the comic series even derives its name from Kurosawa’s 1960 film Yojimbo.

Having gathered numerous accolades, Usagi Yojimbo is a 6 time Eisner Award-winning series that has spanned over 34 volumes. Sakai’s work has transcended the pages of this comic book, and its influence can be seen in the likes of video games such as Ghost of Tsushima.

Surprisingly, instead of following the original Edo-period adventures of Miyamoto Usagi, the Netflix series itself will take place far off in the future of the Usagi-verse. The series will follow the adventures of teenage Rabbit Samurai Yuichi, a descendant of the aforementioned rabbit ronin.

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!”

Stan Sakai himself will be the show’s executive producer. Also teaming up with him will be French studio Gaumont as well as Dark Horse Entertainment and Atomic Monster.  Ben Jones (Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teen Titans) will be the supervising producer, with Khang Le (Big hero 6) serving as art director on the series. Candie and Doug Langdale (The Book of Life, Puss in Boots) are attached as executive producers and showrunners. The CGI animation studio for the series will be 88 Pictures.

We look forward to seeing more updates about the animated series soon!