Stan Sakai Gets His Wish With ‘Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles’

We speak with the cartoonist and the creative team tasked with adapting the legendary comic book series, “Usagi Yojimbo.”

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                    <span class="sf-entry-flag sf-entry-flag-creditline">Netflix</span>

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        Written by Brad Gullikson · Published May 14, 2022 
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    <em>you welcome in <strong>Saturday morning cartoon</strong>, our ongoing column as we continue the animation-centric ritual of yesteryear.  We may no longer plan our lives around small screen programming, but that doesn't mean we should forget the necessary haven of Saturday cartoon.  In this entry, we talk with the Samurai Rabbit creative team about bringing the legendary comic book world of Stan Sakai to TV.</em>

Love makes you stupid. After years – no, decades of begging, pleading and praying, we finally have an animated series based on Stan Sakai‘s Usagi Yojimbo Characters book. However, it does not look or act as we imagined. The creative adaptation causes concern and confusion in old fans, but if they take some time to breathe and release their preconceptions, they will discover a show full of imagination and fascination with the source material.

samurai rabbit: Usagi records Jump into the future of the comic book. Showrunners Candy Langdale And Doug Langdale Wander through the legacy of Usagi in an all-ages arena with fewer corpses than feudal Japan Miyamoto Usagi but not completely absent of corpses either. The Netflix show follows the story of Ronin’s lone ancestor, Yuichi (Darren Barnett) struggles to honor his family’s history. Where Miyamoto was wise, kind, and flexible, Yuichi was ignorant, reckless, and reckless. He rushes into danger confidently but inexperienced. The first ten episodes offer a difficult and necessary lesson in mindfulness.

Miyamoto Usagi first appeared in anthropomorphic albedo Anthology in 1984 before finding a temporary home and solo title with Fantagraphics. The character resided for a long time at Dark Horse Comics before landing in his current home with IDW Publishing. Of course, you might have first encountered Osagi through his frequent guest appearances on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fees. He often crossed swords with Leonardo and was forever immortalized in plastic as a character in Playmates.

Usagi . space, another far-flung animated version that nearly hit the small screen in the early ’90s. Unfortunately, ratings failed Bucky OHare and Toad Wars cross out the possibility. Comic book fans have been eagerly waiting for the character to receive proper cartoon acceptance ever since. It took longer than everyone would have liked, including Stan Sakai, but The World of Miyamoto is finally starting to stream on Netflix.

Art Director Kang Lu Help translate characters and concepts from page to screen. He is tasked with placing a sci-fi veil on top of feudal Japan while introducing the well-known modern animation aesthetic in the style of Stan Sakai. The result is something skewed but not entirely uncommon.

Stan Sakai says, “Taking the focus away from my Miyamoto Usagi, and to the descendant, I thought it was a great move. I was a bit hesitant, but it was Khang’s designs that really convinced me, ‘Oh, this is going to work.'” This is the first drawing he drew for Neo Edo, I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s cool. It’s going to look great. And what Doug and Candy did to my character is just genius.’

Everything you need to get back to work Usagi Yojimbo inside samurai rabbit He was in the comics and in Sakai’s favorite samurai movies. He read and watched as much as he could. Lu then smashed those designs into contemporary reality. The juxtaposition generated a fully animated atmosphere.

Lee explains: “You have a very traditional element, from feudal Japan combined with something very modern. For example, skyscrapers and vending machines which are very popular in Japan, especially if you are walking around Tokyo. In every two steps you can find a machine Sale. We have a lot of signage, but it’s a good balance with the kind of architecture you usually see in samurai movies. We have this whole universe of Yuichi Usagi, and that’s kind of like a mirror of what we’re doing now as well. Stan is Miyamoto, we’re Yuichi.”

Filmmakers have a lot to live up to, and that comes with anxiety. Like Yuichi to Miyamoto, Doug and Candy Langdale are in awe of Stan Sakai. They were thrilled to get the assignment, and entered the world of Sakai to TV, but were also worried about being tampered with.

In fact, Yuichi offered them freedom that would not have come with Miyamoto. A teenage samurai is a whole new creature, and he and his world can make him and his world bend to their will. Their story can also reflect their uneasiness, inclined to Yuichi’s desperate desire to honor his predecessor.

“Our Usagi are almost the opposite of conspiracy theories,” says Doug Langdale. “He comes to this new place and discovers that anyone’s belief in history does not match his own. Yoichi turns out to be right and proves [his ancestor’s nobility] To everyone, but he came to this place with a lonely voice saying, ‘No, history is not what you think. This man you deem to be a villain was a great hero.”

early in the samurai rabbitWhen Yuichi arrives in Neo Edo, he discovers that most people think Miyamoto Usagi is the great traitor. Their textbooks taught them that Miyamoto had turned against the government and massacred the shogun in cold blood. The possibility shatters Yuichi’s cult, sending the young hero into crisis.

“Yuichi is a lot like young Miyamoto Usagi,” says Sakai. “He is impulsive, like all people of this age; they know everything, they can do everything, but then he finds that his confidence is not where it should be. His abilities are not right with what he thinks. This was a huge discovery for him. Hey, at first I didn’t think I needed a feel. Now I want a sensei, and I want the best. And he’s found one. It changes throughout the entire series; you can see its development. I think it’s cool. This is a very character show. The artwork is great But the focus is on the characters.”

Doug and Kandi Langdale vividly remember approaching Sakai regarding historical distortion samurai rabbit Places in Miyamoto Usagi. They understood that it was a huge request, but they also knew that Sakai was a pretty sweet game when it came to juggling this particular timeline. Once again, their setting allowed them to run a bit.

Candy Langdale says, “That was a good day, and I humbly go to Stan, excuse me sir. Can we do something please? Can we sully your character a little?” He was so generous with us. But there is this chapter. These are not Stan characters. They are grandchildren. So he gave us some leeway. He protects his property, but is not overprotective. We kept Miyamoto safe, but here, we can have fun with him as well.”

samurai rabbit Represents Stan Sakai’s largest creative partnership. He was thrilled with the experience and deeply appreciated the presenters who came to him with many modifications and suggestions. And we’re not just talking about modifying character design; We’re talking about every tiny little element that’s on your screen. Stan Sakai got his word.

“This is my biggest ever collaboration,” says Sakai. “We had a whole team of writers and artists and designers. I would get approval notices for everything like broccoli or rocks; I had to agree to things like that. Other things were those huge flying ships, and I thought at first, ‘Oh my God, I loved them’. I’d like to have a game out of that or a playgroup. I’d like to go beyond just the animated series and make games and comic books and everything.”

In the nearly forty years since then Usagi YojimboHis creation, very few people were involved in Stan Sakai’s world. Almost every number showing his character was drawn, written by, and written by him. You would think that with such a strong attachment to the character, Stan Sakai wouldn’t be interested in seeing others play Miyamoto Usagi. This is simply not true, and his delightful experience continues samurai rabbit He may have removed something.

“I’ve always enjoyed seeing other artists’ interpretations of my osage,” says Sakai. In fact, at one time, I suggested a series called Usagi Yojimbo: KagemushaAnd Shadow Warriors, where other creators write and draw Usagi stories, perhaps an anthology series, five or six issues. This is something I still love to do.”

Hearing Stan Sakai’s voice renewed after this project is incredible. He acts like a young creator with a shiny new object in front of the audience, rather than an icon who regularly posts pointless monthly comics that are never repeated. samurai rabbit The next stage in his already great career could be, as he attracts more fans into his world.

The 10 episodes currently streaming on Netflix are just the beginning. The next 10 Samurai Rabbit episodes are almost over and on their way. Be like Stan. Getting overrated.


samurai rabbit: Usagi records Streaming now on Netflix. If you’d like to hear our conversation with the creative force driving the series, head over to the Comic Book Couples Guidance Podcast.

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Brad Gullikson is a weekly columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Coordinator in One Perfect Take. When he’s not hanging around in the movies here, he’s hanging around the comics as co-host of Comic Book Couples Counselling. Follow him on Twitter: Tweet embed. (he/he)

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