Yep, That Rick and Morty Samurai Treat Was Indeed a Direct Homage to Lone Wolf and Cub

Aw jeez!
Aw jeez!
Image: Adult Swim

Even in the best of times, any scrap of new Rick and Morty content is cause for celebration, and yes that includes that one Pringles commercial. But over the weekend, an unexpected delight appeared: a gory samurai short starring the iconic duo! Now the guy who dreamed up the short is sharing how it came together.

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Turns out we have Adult Swim exec Jason DeMarco to thank for “Samurai & Shogun (Rick and Morty).” Speaking to the Observer, he said it was his idea to create an anime-style network ID for the popular series—a little slice of pop culture joy paying homage to the films of Akira Kurosawa but also giving major props (Morty’s weaponized baby cart!) to Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s popular manga, anime, and live-action film series Lone Wolf and Cub.

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Veteran Japanese animation outfit Studio Deen, whose deep catalog includes Patlabor, Ranma 1/2, and Netflix’s Neo Yokio, came aboard to partner with Adult Swim to craft the spot, with Kaichi Sato (“a massive Rick and Morty fan, according to DeMarco), signing on to direct. With Rick and Morty creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon giving their blessing from afar—they weren’t otherwise involved in the creation of the short—DeMarco told the Observer that once the team decided on the Lone Wolf and Cub concept, the piece came together beautifully.

“This short uses the music from those films, as well as an homage to their score with the Rick and Morty theme song re-recorded in that style,” he told them. “The voices of Rick and Morty are played by the Japanese actors who play Rick and Morty in the Japanese version of the show, as well...Sato loves Lone Wolf and Cub and so do I, so I was really excited when he brought us the concept.”

My dude, we were all excited too. When will we see more new Rick and Morty episodes on Adult Swim? Whenever the second half of season four hits the airwaves, which wasn’t going to be for months anyway, and may now be much, much longer than that.

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DISCUSSION

The multiple direct references didn’t make it obvious? I’m actually wondering what else was referenced, actually. It wasn’t all Lone Wolf and Cub.