Blade Runner – Black Out 2022 or The Blade Runner Anime We Needed

The third and final short film, which is available on Crunchyroll, sets the stage for the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 movie is out and already has the cyberpunk community buzzing.

Done as an anime by director Shinichiro Watanabe, the legendary director of Cowboy Bebop, this fun jaunt used stunning visuals that invoke the Animatrix: Second Renaissance, the original Blade Runner film, and Cowboy Bebop which is what has excited many fans as news broke earlier this month about its release.

As described, this short takes place in 2022 during the blackout where a group of replicants carries out the plot to detonate a missile that created an EMP effect while concurrently shut down all registries of replicant history, allowing them, in essence, to start anew.

Here is a full rundown of the timeline compliments of IGN and updated by Neon Dystopia:

  • 2019: Deckard escapes.
  • 2020: A new Replicant model.
  • 2022: A blackout on the west coast of the US as seen in Blade Runner: Black Out 2022.
  • 2023: Replicant Prohibition begins. Those who can go into hiding.
  • 2025: The rise of Wallace Corp, helps solve food shortage.
  • 2036: Prohibition repealed with help from Wallace.
  • 2048: Sapper goes into hiding.
  • 2049: Society divided between two classes, Replicant, and human.

There are glimpses early on that are almost taken directly from the Animatrix: Second Renaissance, as we see visuals of mankind destroying replicants in scenes that are meant to remind us of the violent history of mankind throughout the centuries. The visuals are as amazing as one would expect and clearly defines everything we are about to witness going forward.

The story is simple and fun to watch with three main characters, two replicants and one human. The human, Ren, is helping the renegade group of replicants because of his empathy and almost naive sense of idealism that humans are terrible creatures while replicants are, “more human than human.” It’s a semi-interesting view, while flawed in the small amount we’re given, but almost enough to justify his helping wipe out any record of replicants so that they may roam the planet freely.

We are also given a motivation for the main replicant, who saw battle taking place on another planet, Calantha, and realized that it was replicant versus replicant with no actual human casualties. Once again, the replicants are the slaves to the human race and are used like dolls instead of human beings, actually being forced to undertake the consequences of human whims.

Overall it was an enjoyable watch, with tons of references to the original Blade Runner including familiar neon, scenery, and even the return of Gaff. It provides more context for the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 hitting theatres on October 6th. I’m looking forward to the movie and with content like this to tide us over while we wait, I think it will be interesting to see how movie fans react to the film itself. Hopefully, we do not have another Ghost in the Shell on our hands.

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Written by Chris GST
Doing whatever it is I do. Generally involves tech or politics. Sometimes I blog or podcast about men in spandex and cyberpunk shorts and films. Follow on twitter at
  1. I think the production did a great job diverting the audience’s attention away from the movie with these shorts, they gave them something to talk about while keeping the promotional material for the main movie basically the same over months. As for Watanabe’s effort, I think he did the best he could with the time he had: the plot is good for a short and needs no further characters’ motivation than what was expressed here. It provides interesting context for the movie, and the good animation style Watanabe is known for (mixed up with rougher scenes to better distinguish flashbacks, nice idea). Overall, this short made me more interested in the movie and I can’t wait to see it next week.

    • I agree. These shorts have given a glimpse into the evolving world of Blade Runner, and I have to say I am excited.

  2. This was very good. It’s given me a hunger for a Netflix series that takes place on off world colonies or other places on earth. Even more Blade Runner anime would be welcome.

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