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New animated Usagi series?

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New animated Usagi series?

Postby Steve Hubbell » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:32 +0000

http://kidscreen.com/2018/02/06/unleashing-usagi/



Unleashing Usagi

Popular comic series Usagi Yojimbo is finally making the leap to the small screen, thanks to Gaumont, Dark Horse Comics and Atomic Monster.


By Alexandra Whyte

February 6, 2018



Miyamoto Usagi, an anthropomorphic samurai rabbit, has spent more than 30 years trekking across the pages of Usagi Yojimbo comic books, battling various adversaries and solving mysteries. And now, the cast of fictional comic characters created by Stan Sakai is getting its own TV series, courtesy of France-based Gaumont, which acquired the property in October 2017 from Sakai.

The untitled upcoming action-comedy series targeting six- to 11-year-olds is produced by Gaumont’s US TV division alongside Dark Horse Comics, Sakai and Atomic Monster Productions. The series follows Usagi and his pet dinosaur as the embark on adventures in 17th-century Japan.

“It’s a universe comprised of animals, which is a little bit different from other comic worlds,” says Terry Kalagian, VP of creative for animation at Gaumont. “And that appeals to kids, especially when a lot of other superhero IPs focus on grownups. Every child can see themselves as a hero like these animals.”

Kalagian says the CGI series will begin production in 2018, and Gaumont is currently seeking a broadcaster that will lend creative input to the toon’s development process. “Our goal is to take the brand global,” says Kalagian. To date, the Usagi character has been featured in more than 230 of Sakai’s comic books (which are published almost monthly in 21 countries), and has made cameos in Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But the brand has never had a TV series or movie of its own.

“This is something that I’ve had in the back of my mind for years. I’ve always wanted to have Usagi animated, but my concentration has always been on the comic books,” says Sakai, adding that his comics are most popular in the US, France, Spain and Poland.

On the consumer products front, Hong Kong-based Playmates currently works with Sakai on a line of toys based on the Usagi comics. For example, Playmates’ boxed collectible action figure of Usagi, featuring three interchangeable heads, sold out at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con within minutes. The toy was then put online for a short while, but Sakai eventually took it off the market because he couldn’t keep up with the demand. To that end, Gaumont is currently looking for a toy partner for the upcoming TV series that will be able to capture the feel of the brand and keep fan momentum alive.
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby Maka » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:39 +0000

Awesome news. Thanks Steve! Peace, maka
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby Stan Sakai » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:44 +0000

Yes, Usagi is optioned for a TV series by Gaumont, the oldest film studio in the world.

BTW, Atomic Monster is James Wan's company. James is the creator of the Saw franchise, directed the latest Fast and the Furious movie, and is finishing up Aquaman.
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby go » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:49 +0000

Congratulations Sensei Sakai!
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby jabba359 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:35 +0000

Congrats! I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.
-Kyle
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby Trevis Woods » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:41 +0000

Congratulations Stan!!! Very excited to see what the future holds for this show as well as any related merchandise!
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby maichan » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:51 +0000

This is exciting news! Congratulations Sensei! I am looking forward to see what the future holds for Usagi and friends! :D
Michael, a.k.a., Maichan

My Usagi Collection
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby Eltanin » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:15 +0000

Wonderful news! I'm looking forward to it!
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby coolray85 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 14:08 +0000

Wow, how incredible!! Congratulations sensei!!!! I am looking forward
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby Lobster Johnson » Tue Feb 06, 2018 14:15 +0000

Congratulations! This is exciting news.

The possibility of new Usagi toys is cool too - I would love some figures of the supporting cast.
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby jabba359 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 14:20 +0000

Lobster Johnson wrote:The possibility of new Usagi toys is cool too - I would love some figures of the supporting cast.


This. I'll take a Gen, Jei, and Tomoe for starters.
-Kyle
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby Angilasman » Tue Feb 06, 2018 17:32 +0000

Holy moly! This is incredible news!

Stan, I know you've been wanting this to happen for years and I'm so happy it finally has. Congrats!
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby Kaimuki » Tue Feb 06, 2018 20:21 +0000

Holy Cow!!! This news is soooooooo freakin' awesome!!!!
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby Mayhem » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:06 +0000

Utterly great news... hopefully no counting of chickens, and it actually happens... a little disappointed the targetted age range is 6-11, but hopefully it's still "mature" enough in themes (and I don't mean violence here) to appeal to adults too.
With a breeze comes a storm, but then you'll all be washed away...
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Re: New animated Usagi series?

Postby Eshbaal » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:27 +0000

This is excellent news. Been crossing my fingers for this since the recent Nickelodeon cameo arc made such a splash.

Mayhem wrote:Utterly great news... hopefully no counting of chickens, and it actually happens... a little disappointed the targetted age range is 6-11, but hopefully it's still "mature" enough in themes (and I don't mean violence here) to appeal to adults too.

You know what else is also technically in the 6-11 range?
Avatar: The Last Airbender, original Samurai Jack and the 2012 TMNT series Usagi recently cameo'd in. All of them have managed to cover similar themes to Usagi well and respectfully, with things like honor, PTSD, war casualties and other things taking center stage, and featured awesome action choreography. Heck, 2012 TMNT has Leonardo BEHEADING Shredder when the entire Turltes family went on an all-out revenge rampage against him in the Season 4 finale. This is MORE than doable. And if this company is run by James Wan, there's a fairly decent chance it's going to be fought for to keep it in the right tone. While a lot of things still get changed wildly when something is adapted to a cartoon show, things now are a far cry from the "in name only" standard of the eighties in general.

Yeah, potentially, some things might be slightly toned down, like some of Jei's Massacres, but honestly, that likely just means "less blood splatter on screen", which isn't that big a deal.
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