Quick heads up, if you’re a fan of the original Blade Runner and haven’t seen 2049 yet, I’d recommend giving this a watch first! You can also check out my review for both movies here!
In 2022, an EMP detonation has caused a global blackout that has massive, destructive implications all over the world. Directed by Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo’s Shinichiro Watanabe, Blade Runner Black Out 2022 is a new and highly-anticipated animated short which serves as a prologue for the upcoming feature film Blade Runner 2049 – Crunchyroll
So I was a little surprised to find this anime short film on Crunchyroll just moments ago, and even more surprised to see that it was written and directed by the legend Shinichiro Watanabe! That said, it was in some ways lackluster while in other ways thought provoking. About half of the animation is crude and stylistic while the other half is beautiful. There are allusions to slavery and racism in the US, but so little to offer someone unfamiliar with the Blade Runner franchise.
However perhaps the best thing to say about this short film is how much story they manage to fit in such a short amount of time. Our main protagonist Iggy (voiced by Jovan Jackson of Log Horizon) is a NEXUS 8 who abandoned his post in the military after realizing they were fighting other NEXUS. It seems at one point they were exposed to a small EMP blast or perhaps just an explosion which inspired their plot to detonate an EMP bomb over LA. This is somewhat expanded upon in Blade Runner 2049, but this short film does a great job of setting the scene for the movie.
Few thoughts came to mind while watching.
- Race and racism are a heavily implied plot point in the Blade Runner franchise. This is never more clear than in Black Out. I sometimes wonder though if the people who really need the message pick up on the subtle allusions such as hanging Replicants.
- Why are female NEXUS almost always so damn gymnastic?
- I no longer want a flying car.
- Iggy tearing out his right eye (how people can distinguish between humans and Replicants) after the blast is symbolic of his will to live equally.
- Jovan Jackson should really receive more work. Voice is on point.
Blade Runner Black Out 2022 receives a
Docking 1 point for the cruder animation of the flashbacks. Reminded me too much of those Halo films and honestly seemed a little lazy. Similar effects for the people in the good animation. Background animation was amazing, but looking at the poorly drawn people distracted from it. Would’ve actually been 3.5, but considering how much plot they managed to cram in it wouldn’t be fair.