You Can Watch Shinichirō Watanabe's 'Blade Runner 2049' Anime Prequel Right Now

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 - 11:35AM
Blade Runner
Blade Runner 2049
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 - 11:35AM
You Can Watch Shinichirō Watanabe's 'Blade Runner 2049' Anime Prequel Right Now
Image credit: Crunchroll, Warner Bros.
Who do you call when you want to mix the dreamy aesthetic of Blade Runner with the balls-to-the-wall action of a well-done anime feature? Legendary director Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo), that's who. Today is the release of Blade Runner Black Out 2022, a 15-minute prequel film that fills in some of the narrative gaps between the original 1982 film and the upcoming sequel, Blade Runner 2049.

In Black Out, an EMP has knocked out the power to cities around the world, and both replicants and humans are fighting to survive. The short is available to watch now in its entirety on the anime streaming service Crunchyroll (higher quality if you sign up for the free trial), but you can check out the preview trailer right here, right now.



While some animated filmmakers try to use the medium in a way that hides its cartoonish nature, Watanabe embraces the fact that he is not working in live-action, shifting between animation styles while also perfectly mimicking the lighting and cinematography of the films. Denis Villeneuve says that he reached out to Watanabe to create one of the four prequel films because he admired his work, and when you watch the short, you'll understand why. Blade Runner Black Out 2022's only crime is that it's just not long enough. 

I can't wait to watch all of these shorts together with the film when the Blu-ray releases, but that may be jumping too far ahead of myself.

Blade Runner 2049 hits US theaters on October 6th.
Science Fiction
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Blade Runner
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