Usagi Yojimbo, Rabbit Samurai, Optioned for Cartoon

Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai

The incredibly long-running Usagi Yojimbo comic — most recent issue was #165 in December, and it’s all been written and drawn by one guy, Stan Sakai, with colors by Tom Luth — has been optioned for an animated TV series by the French company Gaumont. Co-producers will include Sakai, Dark Horse Entertainment’s Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg, and James Wan’s Atomic Monster (which is best known for horror movies and the MacGyver relaunch).

Gaumont’s President of Animation, Nicolas Atlan, said

Usagi Yojimbo has been much sought after for many years, and we are honored to work with Stan Sakai to translate his multi-generational stories into the first ever TV series. Usagi Yojimbo’s blend of history and mythology, clever balance between action and comedy, and real-world touchpoints combined with the supernatural, together with the passionate fan base that Stan has already amassed, makes this an incredibly exciting property to develop with our partners Atomic Monster and Dark Horse Entertainment.”

Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai

In case you’ve never had the pleasure of reading an issue, here’s the premise, set in 17th century Japan.

Miyamoto Usagi, otherwise known as Usagi Yojimbo, is a ronin warrior with the heart of a hero. A skilled swordsrabbit, and one-time bodyguard for a Japanese War Lord, he’s now masterless and explores his world of immense castles and humble villages, encountering dinosaurs, yokai (ghosts/monsters), cats, bats, bounty hunters, giant snakes, and even aliens, facing exciting adventures at every turn, always ready to help.

My favorite stories, though, are the ones where he takes down corrupt local officials and the mysteries.

You’ve probably seen this news elsewhere, and I’ve not much to add, except to say congratulations to Eisner and Harvey Award winner Sakai, who’s managed to keep his comic running since 1984 without going bonkers.

One comment

  • “Much sought after for many years” indeed. I have to figure the reason it took this long for Sakai to agree to an adaptation is that it took this long for him to get an offer that met his standards. That gives me some hope that they’ll do it right.

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