BLACKOUT 2022

Flying Lotus + Shinichiro Watanabe for Blade Runner via Forbes

The anime short Blade Runner Black Out 2022 is finally out and it as good as I knew it would be.

Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, of Cowboy Bebop fame, the short deals with events three years after the original Blade Runner were Nexus replicants are hunted down and murdered by humans.

A massive online database facilitates this and catalogs who the replicants are, allowing for regular humans to hunt them down and kill them.

A group of replicants organizes the titular “black out” that not only detonates a nuclear warhead in low orbit above Los Angeles, generating a huge EMP that knocks out all electrical devices in the region, but also destroys all the backup records on the ground.

Much like in the original Blade Runner, Black Out 2022 also touches on what it means to be human and how replicants can be free of their human masters. No doubt, these topics will be a key part of Blade Runner 2049.

As a piece of anime though, Black Out 2022 is expertly done and I only wished we had more of it. It combines much of the elements from Cowboy Bebop but also some of the bleakness from anime such as Armor Hunter Mellowlink, which Watanabe also worked on.

What’s more, in addition to Watanabe’s involvement it seems that Shinji Aramaki also contributed to this anime short by contributing new designs for the famous Spinner flying car.

Blade Runner 2049 is released in the U.S. on October 6 but you can already watch Blade Runner Black Out 2022 over at Crunchyroll.