Blade Runner Getting Adapted into a New Anime Series, Produced by Cowboy Bebop Animator Shinichiro Watanabe

You may remem­ber, in the run-up to the the­atri­cal release of Blade Run­ner 2049 last Octo­ber, that three short pre­quels appeared on the inter­net. Black Out 2022 (above), the most dis­cussed install­ment of that minia­ture tril­o­gy, stood out both aes­thet­i­cal­ly and cul­tur­al­ly: direct­ed by famed Japan­ese ani­ma­tor Shinichi­ro Watan­abe, it expand­ed the real­i­ty of Blade Run­ner through a form that has drawn so much from that uni­verse over the pre­vi­ous 35 years. “I just want an ani­mat­ed bladerun­ner series now,” says the cur­rent top-rat­ed com­ment below that video, “this was mag­i­cal.” And so, a year lat­er, the answer to the prayer of that com­menter (and clear­ly many oth­er view­ers besides) has appeared on the hori­zon: a Japan­ese ani­mat­ed series called Blade Run­ner — Black Lotus.

Over­seen by Watan­abe in the pro­duc­er role and direct­ed by Ken­ji Kamiya­ma and Shin­ji Ara­ma­ki, the lat­ter of whom worked in the art depart­ment on Black Out 2022, the new series will take place in 2032, between the events of the short and those of Blade Run­ner 2049.

“It will also include some ‘estab­lished char­ac­ters’ from the Blade Run­ner uni­verse, but that could mean all sorts of things,” writes The A.V. Club’s Sam Barsan­ti. “Har­ri­son Ford’s Rick Deckard would already be in hid­ing at that point after father­ing the mir­a­cle repli­cant baby, so it could be about him going off on some cool guy adven­tures, but Deckard doesn’t exact­ly seem like a guy who goes on cool guy adven­tures. Ryan Gosling’s K prob­a­bly wasn’t ‘born’ yet, since he’s a Nexus‑9 repli­cant and those weren’t cre­at­ed until lat­er in the 2030s, but we don’t know for sure.”

Per­haps sup­port­ing char­ac­ters from both movies, “like Edward James Olmos’ Gaff (he might still be an LAPD cop) or Jared Leto’s Nian­der Wal­lace (he’s def­i­nite­ly hang­ing around, being an evil rich guy),” will show up. What­ev­er hap­pens, the thir­teen episodes of Blade Run­ner — Black Lotus will cer­tain­ly have no small amount of both famil­iar­i­ty and sur­prise in store for fans of Blade Run­ner, as well as those of Watan­abe’s oth­er work. That goes espe­cial­ly for his philo­soph­i­cal space boun­ty-hunter series Cow­boy Bebop, itself the source mate­r­i­al for a new live-action tele­vi­sion series on Adult Swim, who will air Blade Run­ner — Black Lotus at the same time as it’s streamed on ani­me site No release date has thus far been announced, but odds are the show’s debut will hap­pen some time in 2019 — the per­fect year for it, as every­one thrilling to the prospect of more Blade Run­ner already knows.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Three New Pre­quels Get You Ready to Watch Blade Run­ner 2049

Watch the New Ani­me Pre­quel to Blade Run­ner 2049, by Famed Japan­ese Ani­ma­tor Shinichi­ro Watan­abe

How Rid­ley Scott’s Blade Run­ner Illu­mi­nates the Cen­tral Prob­lem of Moder­ni­ty

The Exis­ten­tial Phi­los­o­phy of Cow­boy Bebop, the Cult Japan­ese Ani­me Series, Explored in a Thought­ful Video Essay

“The Long Tomor­row”: Dis­cov­er Mœbius’ Hard-Boiled Detec­tive Com­ic That Inspired Blade Run­ner (1975)

When Japan’s Top Ani­ma­tors Made a Thrilling Cyber­punk Com­mer­cial for Irish Beer: Watch Last Orders (1997)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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  • Jose Vallejo says:

    This is awe­some, I was just telling my son that they should come with a Ani­me series. There is some­thing more about this. It feels kin­da like if you’re one of the char­ac­ters espe­cial­ly the music and visu­al effects atmos­phere of it’s time.

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