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Western Animation / Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles

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Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles is a 2022 Netflix All-CGI Cartoon based on Stan Sakai's comic series Usagi Yojimbo. Rather than being an adaptation of the comic, however, it takes place several centuries later and centers around Yuichi Usagi, a distant descendant of the original Miyamoto Usagi, who has grown up hearing tales of his famous samurai ancestor, and dreams of one day becoming a great samurai warrior too. Season 2 was released on September 1, 2022.

Together with his pet tokage lizard Spot, Usagi leaves his aunt's farm for the big city of Neo Edo in order to become a big hero, protect the innocent and fight evil wherever he finds it — but he quickly finds that things aren't as easy as all that. In Neo Edo, Miyamoto Usagi is remembered as a villain and a ruthless murderer, to the point where his name is synonymous with "traitor," and any descendants of his are viewed with deep suspicion. It doesn't help that Usagi has a tendency to rush in and attack before actually finding out what's going on, which quickly lands him in trouble with both the law and the local organized crime gangs.

When he accidentally releases a whole slew of entrapped yokai on the city, leading to a lot of chaos and destruction. Usagi's got a lot to learn if he, together with the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits he befriends, is going to clean up the mess he made, clear the name Miyamoto Usagi, and learn to become a real samurai warrior.

This show should not be confused with Space Usagi, a comic miniseries and proposed cartoon that would also have focused on a futuristic descendant of the original Usagi.


  • Ambiguous Time Period: A guard refers to Miyamoto Usagi being "like, a thousand years ago" which would set the series in the 27th century if true, yet Neo-Edo seems like a mashup of Edo period Japan and Cyberpunk.
  • Ancestral Weapon:
    • Yuichi Usagi's aunt gives him a sword his great-grandfather made, with a crystal that belonged to Miyamoto Usagi on the hilt.
    • In season 2 Yuichi and friends go looking for Willow Branch, Miyamoto Usagi's sword which chipped the Keystone.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: A bunch of tsukumogami appear in a cultural museum, described as spirits that possess old neglected objects. Then Gen's old family hover car becomes a baby yokai.
  • Artificial Limbs: Auntie has a mechanical leg and a hinged wooden ear.
  • Art Shift: Flashbacks and Imagine Spots are presented in a watercolor-style limited 2D animation.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Gen's new war clubs in season 2 fuse into one big club when he bangs them together.
  • Casting Gag: In the Japanese dub, this is not the first time Kengo Takanashi (Yuichi) had voiced a brave swordsman, except the last two times, it was in a fantasy quasi-medieval setting, rather than a fantastic Japanese one.
  • Catchphrase: Chikabuma has "Chikabuma!"
  • Cats Are Mean: The current head of the Neko Ninja clan is ruthless in her ambitions, and borders on being a slave driver.
  • Challenging the Chief:
    • The Neko Ninja Crew determine leadership in unarmed duels. In S2:E3 Chizu defeats Lady Fuwa but lets her leave, along with a few ninja who remain loyal to her.
    • To recruit the Mole Crew to fight the coming interdimensional invasion, Usagi has to beat Chikabuma in a staring contest, where their followers are allowed to try to distract their opponent. It gets interrupted by a spider yokai attack.
  • Clear Their Name: A variant of the trope. While the original Miyamoto Usagi is no longer around by the time of this show, his aftermath is that of a murderous traitor. Usagi, who has grown up with tales of his heroic ancestor, is determined to prove that he was a hero and restore his good name.
  • Combat Hand Fan: Kitsune wields a pair of them, which she uses in her street shows.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Along with Light Is Not Good. The black-armored Karasu-Tengu is pitied against the white and gold Gashadokuro, trying to buy the heroes time from the evil bone youkai.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Miyamoto Usagi’s face adorns all dartboards in Neo Edo.
  • Enemy Mine: The first season finale involves Usagi and friends teaming up with Lord Kagehito to prevent a race of Multiversal Conquerors from bringing about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Establishing Character Moment: We get one for Gen, introduced as a big and tough bounty hunter who, when Usagi's misjudgment tells him to assess the situation before attacking.
  • Extended Disarming: Chizu and Lady Fuwa remove their sizable ninja arsenals, Fuwa finding a twenty year-old shuriken in her hair. And she still keeps a knife.
  • Expy: Despite seemingly being a sequel to the original comic series, the main characters names and designs are lifted directly from it. Chizu, Kitsune and Gen (Murakami Gennosuke) all appear in the original series but their characterisations are somewhat different from the original media. Gen in particular is a more noble character than his comic counterpart.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Despite firearms existing in Usagi Yojimbo (albeit, in the hands of foreigners), not a single gun is present despite the show taking centuries in its future. In an odd parallel to the comics, the warbottos from a foreign dimension do possess guns in the form of Arm Cannons.
  • Female Gaze: In Episode 5 of Season 1, Chizu checks out on Usagi, without Usagi noticing. And then the second time when she walks with Usagi, Kitsune, Gen, and Spot in Neo Edo.
  • Finger-Snapping Street Gang: In the sewers under Neo-Edo, Usagi and friends run into a gang of moles who start snapping their fingers at them, as a build-up to a sonic attack.
  • Gashadokuro: First appearing in flashbacks, and in the form of Kitsune's puppet, but later showing up in person after hiding underground to prevent Usagi and friends from sealing him back in the keystone.
  • Gentle Giant: Gen, while he has a bit of a temper, is much more of an out and out Nice Guy than the Jerk with a Heart of Gold we know from the comics.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Karasu-Tengu tasks Usagi with sealing three urban yokai of Destruction, Distraction, and Deception back in the keystone before she agrees to train him. After sealing the first two he discovers that the third has reformed and decides not to seal her. Only for her to reveal herself to be Karasu-Tengu in disguise.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: In "Belly of the Beast", Lady Fuwa points out how terrible Chizu is at whispering, calling her the "loudest ninja ever".
  • Hooking the Keys: Subverted when Usagi is in jail, after figuring out his yo-yo is magnetized he tries using it to steal the guard's keys, only to discover that his cell's lock doesn't have a keyhole and he stole the guard's apartment keys.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: The mole, cat and bat ninja clan were feared while they served under lord Hikiji but now they are street thugs (moles) or loan sharks (bats) while the cats are far from their former glory. Arguably, with more visible hierarchy (purple scarves for lieutenants, red for Lady Fuwa), the Neko crew plays up their scariness as ninja much more than the other crews.
  • Hypochondria: Gen is... rather prone to overreacting and insist to go to the hospital for the slightest injury or disease, perceived or real.
  • I Am the Noun: When Lady Fuwa is impressed by Auntie's fighting skills, she asks if she fought in the wars. Auntie's response: "Honey, I was the wars."
  • Identical Grandson: Unlike Space Usagi, this series almost completely averts the trope. Usagi certainly has a strong family resemblance to his famous ancestor, but they're by no means identical, neither in looks nor in personality. It's never stated whether Gen and Kitsune are also descendants of the original Gen and Kitsune, but they're both pretty unlike their counterparts from the original. Ironically, many of the older yokai/characters mistake him for his ancestor.
  • Inexplicably Tailless: The characters themselves. A particular example, Kitsune has a ponytail resembling a fox's tail in lieu of an actual tail. Averted for Spot, who is the Team Pet and more animalistic compared to the rest.
  • Killer Yo-Yo: Usagi impulsively grabs a yo-yo from the wall of sacred weapons, only realizing afterwards that he only gets one choice. It later turns out to be magnetized and pretty useful. Like all sacred weapons, it can also capture Yokai in spirit form
  • The Kingslayer: Miyamoto Usagi is accused of killing a shogun which drives Yuichi to try to clear his name. He really did it, though the shogun was possessed by a yokai at the time.This character later turns out to be an alien with a secret plan, so the original Usagi essentially sacrificed his own legacy to save Edo.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Usagi to a T. He's the sort to barge in without a plan or even a clear idea of what he's charging into — or charge ahead before the others are done explaining the plan.
  • Lighter and Softer: The target demographic for this show skews a little younger than the original comic, and a lot of the darker aspects of the comic have been toned down here. The Art Shifted flashbacks are an exception; they have pretty much the same tone and feel as the comic.
  • Losing Your Head: Having his skull knocked off barely inconveniences Gashadokuro. When Usagi and friends defeat him he's reduced to a talking skull as his body is sealed.
  • Male Gaze: In season 2, episode 1: After Chizu gives Usagi her magical bow and arrows, Usagi shortly checks her out.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: In the third episode, Gen gets a cut on his pinky that is so small it might as well be invisible. Despite this, he is very distressed over it and insists on going to the hospital.
  • Mook Maker: Warbottos are made by 3d printers out of a protein-based polymer, which have to be destroyed to stop them coming.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Usagi is as friendly and accepting as the original Usagi, but he's much more flawed, with his main flaw being his reckless impulsiveness and tendency to judge people and situations too quickly. He keeps making unfair assumptions about people, and he's always barging into situations without thinking ahead, unfailingly landing himself and his friends into a lot of trouble. The first season is largely dedicated to him having to overcome this flaw.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Chizu's short-lived leadership of the Neko ninjas, and loss of said leadership to the old guard rejecting her reforms, parallels the broad stokes of her arc in the comics.
    • This Kitsune also gets an adoptive little sister named Kiyone, only in this series she's a giant biomech instead of a cat.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Usagi first meets Gen when the latter is threatening a pig. Usagi assumes that the pig is an innocent being terrorized by a thug and chooses to interfere, only to discover way too late that Gen is a bounty hunter and the pig he helped escape is a wanted criminal.
    • Later on he sees a crystal that his ancestor sealed a horde of yokai in, and can't resist touching it.Later Subverted, when it is revealed in season 2 that if he hadn't, the crystal would've exploded and released the Yokai anyway.
  • Not Worth Killing: A yokai described Usagi as 'unworthy' to fight him as he is only a descendant of Miyamoto Usagi and not him.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • In the first episode Tetsujin's waveform is rotated through a higher dimension, rendering him incorporeal for the most part. He insists he's not a ghost but for all intents and purposes he is one.
    • In season two the group encounter some more traditional restless spirits on a cursed battlefield, kaikishi weapons pass right through them but can be used to block their weapons, and Tetsujin is able to punch them or grab them and fly high above the battlefield.
  • Plant Aliens: Lord Kagehito describes himself as a colony organism of spirit and mycelium, meaning he's a fungus from another dimension.
  • Puppy Love: Usagi and Chizu.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Where the original Usagi was a lone wanderer, his descendant finds himself on a team consisting of these — a wannabe samurai rabbit, a hypocondriac bounty hunter rhino, a thieving street performer fox, a defecting kunoichi cat, and a mentor bear who's a ghost in everything but name.
  • Retractable Weapon: Chizu wields a naginata with a collapsing shaft. Chikabuma has a collapsible sword. In season 2 Chizu gets a magic bow with limbs that retract into the grip, while Kitsune's new fans disappear altogether.
  • Schizo Tech: Some of the tech looks like Edo-flavoured Steampunk, some looks pretty modern or slightly futuristic, although powered by chi (via the crystal) rather than electricity.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The big glowy crystal that powers Neo-Edo was also used by Miyamoto Usagi to seal an entire horde of yokai, which his descendant breaks open of course!
  • Sequel Hook: The first season ends with a pair of warbottos managing to escape the final battle and retreat underground, despite Gen's belief that the heroes destroyed all of them.
  • Shout-Out: Chikabuma and his gang have a greaser aesthetic along with fighting using dance moves and finger-snapping. This is most likely a nod to gang-related musicals such as West Side Story and Grease.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Averted for the yokai, as a few of them refuse to fight Yuichi for being a descendant of Miyamoto Usagi, but most of the people of Neo Tokyo see Yuichi Usagi in a bad light because of his ancestor.
  • Sleazy Politician: The shogun Lord Kogane, who's apparently elected now, arrests Usagi in order to appear tough on crime, and doesn't care about the Yokai unless they directly threaten him or his ego. He also frequently takes credit for the heroes' actions.
  • Spot the Imposter: When fighting a Youkai that can shapeshift, Usagi finds Gen outside with a Lookalike. Usagi tries the Something Only They Would Say ploy, only for Gen to point out they don't know each other long enough for that, which is exactly what Usagi was looking for. But Gen stops Usagi before he can attack, because the "double" is actually his sister.
  • Sticky Fingers: Kitsune's street performances have a few "hidden fees," much like her comic counterpart.
  • Tengu: Karasu-Tengu has aspects of the tengu, namely being a crow-like yokai master swordswoman, who eventually agrees to train Usagi. Though she has a bit more of a focus on defending nature than usual.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The description for the series on Netflix mentions that the heroes will fight "evil aliens", giving away a late, major plot twist for Season 1.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: The shogun wears a new hat every day, this leads to him getting possessed by a hat tsukumogami who resents his casual discarding of them.
  • Verbal Backspace: When Usagi tells Karasu-Tengu that he chose the yo-yo by accident, she says there are no accidents. He says he once got a grape stuck up his nose, and she acknowledges that there are some accidents.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Usagi's frequently on the receiving end of these. Usually it's because he's charged ahead without thinking an messed everything up.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Usagi spends two seasons on the Sacred Mountain training with Karasu-Tengu, but only about a day passes outside.
  • Yōkai: Several different varieties, some emerging fully formed from the crystal where they were sealed and others as glowing orbs that possess items.
  • Younger and Hipper: Usagi is a teenager here, and his friends seem to be similarly in their teens or early twenties at most. The original series had the main characters as established adults.