Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe has a new project out today: an anime prequel to the upcoming movie Blade Runner 2049. The 15-minute short, Blade Runner Black Out 2022, can be watched in its entirety on Crunchyroll.
Black Out 2022 is the third of three prequel shorts that connect the original film with its upcoming sequel. It takes place three years after the original movie, when replicants are blamed for an electricity failure that throws cities into chaos. Watanabe is known for blending genres to create worlds with distinct flavor, like Cowboy Bebop’s jazz / Western mashup, or Samurai Champloo’s mix of hip-hop and Japan’s Edo period. Black Out 2022 remains faithful to the world of Blade Runner, with a distinctive, futuristic soundtrack provided by Flying Lotus.
Cowboy Bebop is perhaps the best-known anime of all time, and Watanabe has said previously that the original Blade Runner heavily influenced his work as a director. “I was careful about two things when creating this anime piece,” Watanabe says in a teaser for the short. “The first was to pay the greatest respect to the original Blade Runner. The second was to make this anime true to the world, but not an imitation.”
Blade Runner 2049 arrives in theaters on October 6th.