It looks like everyone’s favorite samurai rabbit may be heading to the small screen. Earlier today, new reports confirmed Usagi Yojimbo has been optioned by Gaumont for an animated television series.
The comic, which debuted nearly thirty years ago, comes from the creative mind of Stan Sakai. The creator will act as a co-producer on the animated series alongside Gaumont, James Wan’s Atomic Monster with Rob Hackett overseeing for the company, and two executives from Dark Horse Entertainment. Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg will also serve as executive producers while Chris Tongue acts as a co-executive producer.
When the announcement went live, Gaumont’s President of Animation commented on the highly sought-after acquisition.
Yes, Usagi has been optioned for a TV series by Gaumont, the oldest film company in the world. Also involved is James Wan who created the Saw franchise and is director of the upcoming Aquaman movie.— Stan Sakai (@usagiguy) February 7, 2018
“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,” Nicolas Atlan said.
“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.”
Sakai also shared his personal thoughts about Usagi Yojimbo’s move to television. The artist said he gets fan-mail frequently asking if his comic will get its own TV series, and Sakai thinks the creative talent working on this show is top notch.
If you are not familiar with Usagi Yojimbo, it is set in a fantastical world that re-imagines 17th century Japan using an array of anthropomorphic characters. The series follows a ronin rabbit named Miyamoto Usagi as he explores his country’s outer limits and goes on episodic journeys.
The series has been praised for its immersive worldbuilding and use of traditional Japanese folktales. Its titular hero often ranks as a top comic book protagonist, and Usagi has even guested in various TV programs in the past. In fact, the character has appeared in all three of the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle series with his first outing dating back to 1987.