Stop motion animated Usagi Yojimbo short film "The Last Request"

Lintika Films has released at an updated preview of its stop motion animated short film Usagi Yojimbo The Last Request, which debuted at Comic-Con San Diego 2014. The proof of concept short secured them the film rights from series creator Stan Sakai.

It opens with deary establishing shots typical in samurai films. Usagi has a flashback, in which he encounters a dying samurai and vows to honor his last request to deliver a message. Back at the inn, the stoic samurai meets the talkative bodyguard Murakami Gennosuke, who aids him during an ambushed by the Neko Ninja Clan. It ends by introducing Usagi’s love interest Chizu and the young lord Noriyuki. After the credits, several other characters appear to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Usagi Yojimbo.

“It’s a still a work-in-progress and about 90% complete,” reads the clip description. “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.”

Usagi Yojimbo (Rabbit Bodyguard) is set in a version of 17th century Japan populated by anthropomorphic animals but the rabbit samurai, Miyamoto Usagi, has made cameos in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. He was referenced in the latest TMNT film. The co-creator of the turtles, Eric Sacks (William Fichtner), comments “We almost used a rabbit.”