Netflix’s new animated series Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles has a long history that includes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.
It’s an exciting Thursday for fans of animated content on Netflix, with the launch of Parkour-anime movie Bubble and the family series Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles.
With countless parents sitting down with their kids to watch the new Samurai Rabbit series, many are starting to feel a little nostalgic about the show – despite the series only now making its debut.
This is because the Usagi Chronicles has a long history within wider comic book history, with the new Samurai Rabbit series having played a major part in the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.
Netflix launches Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles
Today, April 28th, Netflix released a brand new family-adventure animated series worldwide, Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles.
The 10-episode series focuses on Yuichi, a descendent of Miyamoto Usagi; a legendary anthropomorphised samurai rabbit from the original series, see below.
“Usagi is a young rabbit who doesn’t want much from life – just to be history’s greatest Samurai. When he comes to the futuristic city of Neo Edo to seek his destiny, he accidentally unleashes dozens of the bizarre, ancient monsters known as Yokai.” – Preview synopsis, via Gaumont Animation.
Usagi, along with his new set of friends and accomplices called Chizu, Gen and Kitsune, he must set out to “clean up the mess he’s made. But the situation is far stranger than they could have imagined.”
The series is produced by Gaumont Animation (Noddy, post-2013 and F is for Family season 3), in association with Netflix Animation, Atomic Monster, Dark Horse Entertainment and 88 Pictures.
Miyamoto Usagi frequented the TMNT universe
The new Netflix series is based on a descendant of Miyamoto Usagi, the main protagonist of the original series ‘Usagi Yojimbo’, which began serialisation as a comic book back in 1984!
Interestingly, the character is loosely based on the famous Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi; with many of the series’ characters being anthropomorphised versions of real humans from the Edo period in Japanese history.
However, fans outside of the original Usagi Yojimbo series were first introduced to the character as part of several crossovers into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe.
In addition to the comic series, Usagi featured in the 32nd and 34th episode of the 1987 TMNT animated show, returning in episodes 23-26 in the 2003 reboot and then various episodes from future seasons.
These included turning up at the TMNT Christmas party in season 3, the “Samurai Tourist” episode from season 4 and even attending the wedding of April O’Neil and Case Jones in season 7.
The iconic Samurai Rabbit would then appear again in the TMNT universe as part of the 2012 CGI series. In season 5, the Turtles travel to another dimension where Usagi aids our reptilian heroes in the fight across three episodes, “Yojimbo”, “Osoroshi no Tabi”, and “Kagayake Kintaro.”
Recognise any of the voice actors from Samurai Rabbit?
The four main characters in Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles are voiced by Darren Barnet as Usagi, Shelby Rabara as Kitsune, Aleks Le as Gen and Mallory Low as Chizu.
Darren Barnet is a Japanese-American actor who is best-known for playing Paxton-Hall Yoshida in the Netflix series Never Have I Ever and Grant from American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules.
The 31-year-old has also featured in This Is Us, Criminal Minds, S.W.A.T. and Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D; but will also voice a main character in the upcoming Blue Eye Samurai series.
Shelby Rabara is an American actress and dancer who is best-known for voicing Peridot in the Steven Universe series. She also has roles in Cold Case, House M.D., Community, Glee, 2 Broke Girls and Goliath.
Aleks Le is arguably the most animated-focused cast member from Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, with his best performance being as Zenitsu from Demon Slayer. Le also has voice roles for Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon, Shaman King, Rent-A-Girlfriend, Dorohedoro and Scarlet Nexus.
Finally, Mallory Low is a singer, songwriter, actress, director and performer from California. She is also a veteran of the acting and voice acting industry, with notable roles including FreakAngels, DC Super Hero Girls, Versus, Lincoln Heights and the popular Netflix series, The Chair.
By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]