Entertainment15 July 2020
- New Series from Gaumont will be the first animated TV adaptation inspired by the comic book series --
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Netflix and Gaumont announce new comedy-action CGI animated series Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles based on the globally successful 35-year-old comic book, Usagi Yojimbo, from award-winning creator 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!
The series is produced in partnership with Stan Sakai, the legendary creator, writer and illustrator of the comic-book series who will serve as Executive Producer, along with Gaumont (Executive Producers Nicolas Atlan, Terry Kalagian, Sidonie Dumas and Christophe Riandee), Dark Horse Entertainment (Executive Producers Mike Richardson, Keith Goldberg and Chris Tongue), and Atomic Monster (Executive Producers James Wan, Michael Clear and Rob Hackett). Candie and Doug Langdale (Maya and the Three, The Book of Life, The Adventures of Puss in Boots, Niko and the Sword of Light, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness) are attached as executive producers and showrunners. Ben Jones (Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teen Titans, Iron Giant) is Supervising Producer while Khang Le (Big Hero 6, Little Big Awesome) will serve as Art Director on the series.
Mumbai-based 88 Pictures (Trollhunters, 3Below: Tales of Arcadia, Fast & Furious Spy Racers) has been appointed as the CGI animation studio.
The acclaimed comic series has received 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. Usagi Yojimbo has also been named on Empire Magazine’s Top 50 comic-book characters of all time, IGN’s Top 100 comic-book characters of all time and Rolling Stone’s Top 50 non-superhero graphic novels. Sakai is a six-time Eisner Award winner, the recipient of multiple Haxtur Awards, and won the Best Cartoonist Harvey Award in 2016.
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.”
About Stan Sakai
Stan Sakai was born in Kyoto, Japan, and grew up in Hawaii. He began his comic book career by lettering Sergio Aragonés' Groo the Wanderer. He also worked with Stan Lee, lettering the Spider-Man Sunday newspaper strips for 25 years. Sakai is most famous for his original creation, Usagi Yojimbo, an epic graphic novel saga that began in 1984 and now spans more than 34 volumes. It features Miyamoto Usagi, a samurai rabbit living in early-seventeenth-century Japan. Usagi has been published in sixteen languages and Sakai has been honored with a number of awards, including six Eisner Awards, two Harvey Awards including one for Best Cartoonist, the Japanese American National Museum's Cultural Ambassador Award, Parent's Choice Award, and an American Library Association Award. Skillful weaving of history, folklore, and Japanese culture into his work has made Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo a favorite among educators as a curriculum tool. Usagi has also been a part of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in their TV series, comic book crossovers, and toy lines. Stan is married to artist Julie Fujii Sakai with whom he collaborates on Chibi Usagi and other projects.
Formed in France in 1895, Gaumont is the first film company in the world, celebrating 125 years of history and innovation. With offices in Paris, Los Angeles, London, and Berlin, Gaumont remains an industry leader, producing and distributing high-quality TV programming and films. Specializing in producing local stories with global appeal, Gaumont’s current slate includes talent-driven, diverse, and distinctive titles across multiple languages for the world’s leading global streaming platforms and channels. In the U.S., the Netflix flagship series Narcos in its 5th season, F is for Family in its 4th season, and for Amazon Prime Video, the Latin American production co-created by Armando Bo and Pablo Larraín, El Presidente, based on the 2015 “FIFA Gate” corruption scandal. For Netflix Germany, The Barbarians, a period epic tracing the battle between the Roman Empire and Germanic Warriors in the first century A.D. In France, Arsène Lupin, directed by Louis Leterrier and starring Omar Sy for Netflix, and the action thriller Operations Totems, for Amazon Prime Video and in the UK, Tin Star, starring Tim Roth, in its 3rd season for Sky and Amazon Prime. Amongst the many Gaumont Animation & Family, projects currently in production are; Do Re & Mi with Kristen Bell for Amazon Prime Video; and for Netflix, High in the Clouds, an animated feature developed together with Paul McCartney. Gaumont co-produces and distributes around ten films a year in theaters. The film library encompasses over 1400 titles from prestigious directors such as Louis Malle, Jean-Luc Godard, and more recently, Toledano and Nakache for The Intouchables, the highest-grossing French-language movie to date with over $450 million in revenue to date.
Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 183 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.