If you thought the futuristically awesome Blade Runner prequel shorts couldn’t get any better after the first two, this anime iteration by Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop director Shinchiro Watanabe will mesmerize you even more than holograms and flying cars.
“I was asked to create a story that connects the original Blade Runner with the sequel,” said Watanabe in an interview with Crunchyroll. “I was careful about two things when creating this anime piece. The first was to pay the greatest respect to the original Blade Runner. The second was to make this anime true to the world [of Blade Runner] but not an imitation. This anime sets up the story of Blade Runner 2049.”
With all three shorts giving a glimpse into events that transpired between Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, this one unravels a Replicant rebellion that surged before the advent of glassy-eyed Jared Leto’s Wallace Corp., in unreal Japanimation.
The official synopsis appears line by line between gloomy scenes of a future L.A. after dark:
“While the Replicant Nexus 6 expired in inventory, Tyrell Corp. pushed the series 8 into the local and Off-world market. The NEXUS series 8 were purpose-built with a natural lifespan. Soon the human supremacy movements began. These angry masses used the Replicant Registration database to identify and kill Replicants.”
Battle scenes and riots are purposely done in a haze of black and gray, as if they were a rain-smudged memory. Replicants shudder amid panicked cries of “They’re not human!” Even more chilling are the thugs in what look like World War II-era gas masks surrounding doll-like Replicant girl Trixie (who was apparently made for “fun,” as her authentication reveals) in the shadows. If you’re not creeped out by these vagrants trying to grope her and telling her this is what she was made for, then you’re not human.
Whoever the hero in the odd glasses is, he’s right on in saying this is what he was made for when he punches one of those creeps in the gas mask. Is he human? Replicant? The mystery of the original Blade Runner shrouds this character, whose name we later find out is Iggy, though there is talk of Nexus-8 soldiers in the database that have since escaped.
Watch on if you want to know what becomes of this rogue after he makes a run for it.