Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo has been optioned by Gaumont to be turned into an animated television series.
“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,” said Nicolas Atlan, president of animation at Gaumont. “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’s Usagi Yojimbo takes place amidst a rich fantasy setting in 17th century Japan and features a diverse world of anthropomorphic characters. 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.
The award-winning Usagi Yojimbo has been around since 1984, and it still surprises me when comic fans say they have never heard of the character. If you are a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Usagi Yojimbo has appeared in all three of the animated series, most recently last summer in a three-arc episode.
There is no word on where Gaumont will distribute the Usagi Yojimbo series, but with Nickelodeon currently running with TMNT series, that might be a good place to start.