NECA Acquires Toy Rights to Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo

NECA‘s made so many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures lately, one could easily assume they just had the rights to everything under that umbrella. But not so fast. Even though he made popular appearances on the classic cartoon and in the toy line, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo always existed a license that reverted back to the creator. So the samurai rabbit receives no guaranteed entry into any new TMNT toy line until Sakai agrees. And as of this week, he has. From the official press release:

“NECA is thrilled to announce an incredible addition to its bestselling line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures! In partnership with award-winning creator Stan Sakai, NECA has licensed world-famous comic book series Usagi Yojimbo, starring Miyamoto Usagi, who appeared many times in the classic and modern TMNT cartoon series as well as the comic books.”

Concept sculpt for NECA’s Usagi Yojimbo TMNT action figure

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“Set in Edo-era Japan, Sakai’s continuing story of the rabbit rōnin (masterless samurai) has drawn praise for its faithful reflection of many aspects of traditional Japanese culture. Since its beginning in 1984,  Sakai has won numerous awards for the series, including the National Cartoonists Society Award, the Parents’ Choice Award, the Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist and over ten Eisner Awards in addition to being inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame in 2020.”

Knowing NECA, we’d expect more than one figure to come out of this deal. With Usagi soon to get a Netflix show, and of course with a long history in comics, many variants exist that could become figures. The prototype above appears based on his TV cartoon appearance. But note that the press release says NECA licensed the comic book series.

What form of Usagi would you like to see? Let us know in comments.

Recommended Reading: Usagi Yojimbo: Bunraku and Other Stories

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