//Cowboy Bebop Director’s New Blade Runner Anime Is Killer

Cowboy Bebop Director’s New Blade Runner Anime Is Killer

Blade Runner Blackout 2022

It was obvious that an anime reimagining of Blade Runner by the director of Cowboy Bebop would be killer, but it surpassed my high expectations. The recent anime short Blade Runner Blackout 2022 is 15 beating kick drum minutes of stoical one-liners, waltzing fight scenes and, because it’s still Blade Runner, philosophical riffs on the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Blade Runner Blackout 2022

Viewable on CrunchyRoll, the anime is set three years after the original film but a few dozen years before the upcoming sequel. Blade Runner Black Out 2022 follows two replicants—androids—on their mission to black out 2022 Los Angeles. It’s a world where the masses have released a database that helps them find and kill replicants. A highly-coordinated plan, which the viewer only groks when it finally unfolds, has the two replicant protagonists taking down a sprawling data center with a stolen truck of gas and very deft gunplay. That way, there would be no back-up files for the records destroyed by a great EMP blast they orchestrate.

Blade Runner Blackout 2022

The brevity does a lot of work in some instances. A human close to Trixie ends up helping the replicants pull off their heist. Unlike others, he’s sympathetic to the androids, and even a little self-conscious about being human himself. “Humans are selfish, stupid liars,” he says, about to betray his race. “But replicants are different, so pure, so perfect. Never betrays. More human than human.” Even in such a short animation, the payoff for these exchanges is big. When his role in the plan is revealed, I went back to that small scene to savor it again.

Blade Runner Blackout 2022

Blade Runner Blackout 2022

Watanabe’s motions toward fan service are small and tasteful. A lit up, cyber-geisha Shinjuku look-a-like appears in his 2022 Los Angeles. Slow-paced visual pans of the city, dotted with spaceships and electronic billboards, are a more subtle nod to Blade Runner director Ridley Scott’s direction. There isn’t much else. Blade Runner Black Out 2022 is outstanding, one of the most lively iterations of the cyberpunk genre I’ve seen in ages.

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