I actually have a lot to catch up on in anime. I’m currently in the middle of Megalo Box on Netflix and plan to hopefully watch the latest season of Baki, as well as BNA provided I get the time to, and it’s still good to know that Netflix isn’t running out of content anytime soon.
As the streamer announced on Wednesday, they’re teaming up with Gaumont for the production of Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, a new comedy-action CGI animated series inspired by the globally successful 35-year-old award-winning comic book, Usagi Yojimbo, from auteur, six-time Eisner award winner, Haxter award recipient and 2016’s Best Cartoonist Harvey Award winner, Stan Sakai.
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!
Sakai himself is exec producing with Nicolas Atlan, Terry Kalagian, Sidonie Dumas and Christophe Riandee of Gaumont, Mike Richardson, Keith Goldberg and Chris Tongue of Dark Horse Entertainment, and Atomic Monster’s James Wan, Michael Clear and Rob Hackett. They are further joined by showrunners Candie and Doug Langdale (Maya and the Three, The Book of Life, Puss in Boots, Niko and the Sword of Life, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness) who will also exec produce, with Ben Jones (Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teen Titans, Iron Giant) as supervising producer, and Khang Le (Big Hero 6, Little Big Awesome) as art director. Production is being housed at Mumbai-based 88 Pictures (Trollhunters, 3Below: Tales of Arcadia, Fast & Furious Spy Racers).
Usagi Yojimbo began its run in 1984, receiving a number of awards over the last three decades, including Parents’ Choice Award, an American Library Association Award, and the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Award. As Netflix elucidates, the comic is also listed as one of Empire Magazine’s Top 50 comic-book characters of all time, as well as IGN’s Top 100 comic-book characters of all time and Rolling Stone’s Top 50 non-superhero graphic novels.
Nicolas Atlan, President, Gaumont U.S.: “All of us at Gaumont were honored when Stan trusted us to develop his iconic property into an animated series. This is a first for Usagi Yojimbo. We are thrilled to have Netflix on board as our creative partner so we can together, with the combined artistic talent of Stan Sakai, Dark Horse Entertainment and Atomic Monster take this iconic brand to the next level.”
Stan Sakai, legendary creator, writer and illustrator of the comic-book series: “It is a pleasure working with Gaumont and Netflix. I am involved in each step of the production and am enthusiastic with the direction we are going into. 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.”