USAGI YOJIMBO gets a successful pitch for a feature film
by Patch O'Furr
The indie comic by Furry favorite artist Stan Sakai is a “funny animal series set in 17th century feudal Japan”. The rabbit samurai has never appeared in animation, except for brief appearance in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV cartoon. (A TV show pilot from 1995, Space Usagi, never aired because of lack of toy company backing and bad business involving the Bucky O-Hare comic; “anything with a rabbit in space was considered off limits”.)
Now, Usagi is in a short film that was made to present to Stan Sakai, the TMNT-affiliated creator who’s been guest of honor at a number of Furry cons. It earned his approval for feature film rights.
… And it’s intended to be stop-motion animation!
Lintika Film Studio made the pitch video. They’re a shoestring-budget collaboration of local San Francisco Bay Area animators. Executive production is from Fon Davis. Fon gave me a tour of his local studio (Fonco), and showed me the original, iconic spiral hill from Nightmare Before Christmas that he animated. He’s an incredibly generous supporter of indie productions, known for hosting panels at San Diego Comic Con. Lead animator on the pitch is Justin Kohn, known for working on all of Henry Selick’s features and supporting the Bay Area animation community.
The short’s director from Lintika says:
It’s still a work-in-progress and about 90% complete. We’re currently working on the sound mix and refining the film for the DVD release which will include behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, deleted scenes, and interesting details regarding the making of the featurette.