What players are saying:
- "Sobbing frantically. No words can express how happy I am that Usagi finally got a game." - Unknown Tumblr User
- "As a long time Usagi fan (20+ years) I’m loving the game. Keep up the good work." - Allan
- "Here's my two daughters's (age 11 & 13) brief review: I like how they had ryo to earn better attacks, defense or life points. I like how they have a specific goal to accomplish. I like the monkey guys, the woodcutters. And they are really realistic looking (like the comic book) I like destroying monsters. Thanks for bringing Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo to the game world! Great job! " - Michael
- Samurai! Visit Museum of Fine Arts Boston to unlock special Samurai armor for Usagi
- Samurai Saturdays at Museum of Fine Arts Boston
- Usagi Yojimbo: Way of the Ronin now available on iOS, coming soon to Android and PC
- Usagi Yojimbo gets a new game and collection
- Fight As The Legendary Samurai Bunny in Usagi Yojimbo: Way of the Ronin
- Usagi Yojimbo slashes his way through his own samurai side-scrolling mobile game
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, partners with HappyGiant on Usagi Yojimbo video game
Players Who Visit MFA Exhibition Samurai! Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection Will Receive Passcode to Unlock Bonus Levels of Game Featuring the Samurai Warrior Rabbit
BOSTON, MA (May 6, 2013)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has partnered with comic book creator Stan Sakai and video game company HappyGiant (in association with Dark Horse Comics) to develop in-game content for a special free version of its new video game based on the comic book Usagi Yojimbo: Way of the Ronin. It is the first video game in 25 years featuring characters from the award-winning Usagi Yojimbo (“Rabbit Bodyguard”) comic book series, an epic saga about a masterless samurai (ronin) rabbit living at the turn of 17th-century Japan. The popular series, which debuted nearly 30 years ago, has been lauded for its creative achievements, educational value, and strong grounding in modern culture—the Usagi character even guest starred in episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Through this unique video game collaboration, players who visit the MFA’s exhibition, Samurai! Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection (April 14–August 4, 2013; MFA Member preview days April 9–13), will gain access to a special passcode that will allow them to unlock a special level of the game.
“Usagi Yojimbo gives us a fun way to engage young people and attract families to the MFA’s exciting new exhibition,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “The carefully researched game offers a window into feudal Japan and playfully showcases the impressive armor on view in Samurai!”
In the MFA edition of HappyGiant’s new release, now available for download at www.mfa.org/play, gamers (“tweens” and older) will be able to work their way through different levels of the 2D side-scrolling video game as Usagi fights anthropomorphic animals representing ninjas, demonic samurai, evil spirits, and monsters through a variety of levels set in ancient Japan and its spirit world. Once the exhibition opens on April 14 (or April 9–13 for Members), the Museum will have special signage adjacent to the gallery’s exit with information about the game, which visitors can download for free on the spot using a QR (quick response) code, after which they can enter the passcode designed for iOS and Android devices. The passcode unlocks a bonus level that showcases the power of Usagi’s full suit of samurai armor, which is similar to the extraordinary Mogamido Tosei Gusoku armor, helmet, and mask on view in the exhibition. This special armor, when worn in the game, increases Usagi’s defenses, making him more resistant to enemy blows and more capable in battle against bosses. In addition to downloading the game at www.mfa.org/play and outside of the gallery, players can access it using QR codes found in select MFA advertising, which will link to the free version of this game, facilitate users sharing it via Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, and encourage people to visit the Museum in order to unlock the secret.
The video game is one of several opportunities for engagement that the MFA is offering this spring to enhance the appreciation of Samurai! The Museum is hosting “Samurai Saturdays” every weekend in May featuring special programming geared toward children and families. Included will be a lecture by Stan Sakai (May 11), a performance by Taiko drummers The Genki Spark (May 18), demonstrations about calligraphy (May 4) and samurai swords (May 11), and art-making activities. For more information, please visit http://www.mfa.org/saturday. Additionally, during the run of the exhibition, the MFA will offer a course about Japan, samurai-related films, and gallery talks.
Video game highlights
Usagi Yojimbo: Way of the Ronin is the first Usagi video game in nearly 25 years. In late March 2013, it launched for iOS (iPhones, and iPads) and Android devices in two versions—paid and free. Both versions of the game feature a free, MFA level of the game with expanded content featuring the Samurai! armor.
Usagi is outfitted in armor that gives him special defensive powers. A bonus level of the video game will showcase this armor, available only after the player enters the passcode revealed in the Museum’s exhibition. The MFA level features Usagi wearing the armor and engaging in a challenging and dramatic boss battle, with all the mini-bosses and final boss of the game. Usagi’s protective clothing is inspired by a Mogamido Tosei Gusoku suit of armor, helmet, and mask, on view in Samurai!
Video-game creator HappyGiant, a Massachusetts-based company, was founded by veterans of the George Lucas Companies, Pileated Pictures, and Atari. HappyGiant projects include high-profile work for Hasbro, Jay-Z, and its own app Dolphin Paradise: Wild Friends.
About the comic book/Stan Sakai
Stan Sakai was born in Japan and, after spending much of his life in Hawaii, is currently based in Pasadena, California. In 1984, he created the saga of Usagi Yojimbo, a comic book inspired by the life of the famous 17th-century samurai, Miyamoto Musashi. While sketching one day he drew a rabbit, tied up his ears into a chonmage (traditional Japanese men’s hairstyle), and Miyamoto Usagi was born.
Usagi lives without a master during an age of unrest and political intrigue, wandering the land on a musha shugyo (warrior’s pilgrimage) and occasionally selling his services as a bodyguard. His stories include many references to Japanese history and folklore, and the architecture, clothes, weapons, and other objects are faithfully drawn to Edo period (1603–1867) style.
Usagi Yojimbo is heavily influenced by Japanese cinema and has included references to the work of Akira Kurosawa (the title of the series is derived from Kurosawa's 1960 film Yojimbo) and to icons of popular Japanese cinema such as Lone Wolf and Cub, Zatoichi, and Godzilla.
The Usagi Yojimbo series is produced by Dark Horse Comics, based in Oregon, the nation’s third-largest comics publisher in the US and known for such titles as Star Wars, Buffy, and Hellboy. Usagi Yojimbo is one of the longest running independent comics currently in print. In addition to releasing the video game, Dark Horse Comics has announced the first new Usagi Yojimbo collection, beginning with Usagi Yojimbo: a Town Called Hell, to debut July 17.
Usagi Yojimbo has earned four Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, a National Cartoonists Society Award, an American Library Association Award, and a Parent’s Choice Award.
Samurai! Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection
The exhibition debuts for MFA Members April 9–13; it opens to the public on April 14, 2013, and closes August 4, 2013.
The exhibition highlights the artistry and weaponry used by samurai—the military elite led by shoguns (or warlords) of Japan from the 12th through 19th centuries. Samurai! is presented with supporting sponsorship from Highland Street Foundation. It is organized by The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas, in collaboration with the MFA, Boston.
The Barbier-Mueller Samurai Collection, based in Dallas, Texas, is one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world. More than 140 objects from the collection will be on view, including helmets of lacquered metal, full suits of armor, weapons, armor for horses, and accoutrements used for both battle and ceremonies. A highlight of the show will be an imposing display of three horses in armor carrying combat-ready samurai in full regalia.
The MFA will be the first US venue for Samurai!, which was also on view at the musée du quai Branly in Paris and at the Musée de la civilisation in Québec City. After its presentation at the MFA, the exhibition will travel to other venues in the United States before being housed in The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection in Dallas.
Dark Horse Comics & HappyGiant Announce Usagi Yojimbo Game
Award Winning Comic Brought To Life for Mobile, Tablets, Desktop
New York, NY, February 22, 2013 - HappyGiant, in association with Dark Horse Comics, announce “Usagi Yojimbo: Way of The Ronin”, a game now available for iPhones & iPads, and coming soon to Android devices and desktop PC’s (www.usagiyojimbogame.com).
In conjunction with the release of the game, Dark Horse Comics is announcing the first new Usagi Yojimbo collection after a year hiatus working on 47 Ronin. The first new book will be Usagi Yojimbo: A Town Called Hell, which will see release on July 17.
Usagi Yojimbo is the beloved character and world created by award winning author and illustrator Stan Sakai, following the tales of a ronin (masterless samurai), set in feudal Japan. This is the first videogame based on the property in over 25 years and will introduce the epic series to a new generation of fans.
“It’s been far too long since the last Usagi game, and I am so excited to be working with HappyGiant to bring Usagi and his friends back to these new platforms,” said Stan Sakai, “The game turned out great!”
“Happy Giant is thrilled to be working with Stan Sakai and Dark Horse to bring Usagi Yojimbo to the mobile and gaming worlds”, said Michael Levine, CEO of HappyGiant. “This is one of the most treasured properties in the comics world, and we are proud to be adapting it as a game for fans, and for a new generation of fans who will discover it for the first time. This is a real labor of love.”
The title is a “2D side-scrolling hack-and-slash game”, done in the comic’s art style, and in the vein of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade game, to which Usagi is often linked, as the characters have appeared in each other’s comics and TV series over the years. The game features over 60 different enemies, over 13 boss monsters and several of Usagi’s friends who fight along his side as companions.
Founded by veterans of LucasArts and Pileated Pictures (Pileated.com), HappyGiant develops and publishes games for mobile, tablets and emerging platforms.
About Dark Horse Comics
Founded in1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Felicia Day, Guillermo Del Toro and comics legends such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties such as The Mask, Ghost, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Its successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Emily the Strange, Tim Burton’s Tragic Toys for Girls and Boys, Serenity, Game of Thrones and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics material.
About Usagi Yojimbo
Usagi Yojimbo is a comic book series created by Stan Sakai in 1987. In 2011 IGN ranked Miyamoto Usagi in the top 100 comic books heroes of all time. Set primarily at the beginning of Edo period of Japan (early 17th century), with anthropomorphic animals replacing humans, the series features a rabbit ronin, Miyamoto Usagi, whom Stan Sakai based partially on the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Usagi wanders the land on a musha shugyo (warrior's pilgrimage) occasionally selling his services as a bodyguard. Usagi Yojimbo is heavily influenced by Japanese cinema and has included references to the work of Akira Kurosawa (the title of the series is derived from Kurosawa's 1960 film Yojimbo) and to icons of popular Japanese cinema such as Lone Wolf and Cub, Zatoichi, and Godzilla. The series is also influenced somewhat by Groo the Wanderer by Sergio Aragonés (Sakai is the letterer for that series), but the overall tone of Usagi Yojimbo is more serious and reflective.