Adult Swim is headed back to the future in the all-new animated series Blade Runner - Black Lotus, which will continue to explore the world created by Ridley Scott and expanded upon by Denis Villeneuve. The world of Blade Runner has proven itself a deep one worth returning to again and again, and an animated project may well be one of the best ways to do so. And considering it will air on the network’s Toonami block of anime, it stands a chance of attracting an entirely new and much larger audience.
The blend of sci-fi and film noir made the first Blade Runner film a cult classic, and the influence of the film’s visual aesthetic is still seen today. Viewers would be hard-pressed to see a film or television series set in the near future that didn’t showcase a digital cityscape reminiscent of Scott’s dystopian vision of Los Angeles. Everything from Netflix’s Altered Carbon to YouTube Premium’s recently released Origin have hints of Blade Runner in their DNA, and considering Villeneuve’s gorgeous sequel, Blade Runner 2049, netted cinematographer Roger Deakins his long overdue Academy Award, it’s safe to say the series’ influence will be around for a while longer.
Translating the look and feel of Blade Runner to an animated project has already been done remarkably well, as demonstrated by Shinichiro Watanabe’s animated Blade Runner prologue, 2022: Black Out. Not surprisingly, then, Watanabe is on board to help bring Black Lotus to life. Adult Swim made the announcement official in the statement below:
“BLADE RUNNER – BLACK LOTUS will feature thirteen 30-minute episodes produced by animation studio Sola Digital Arts (Ultraman). Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed) and Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) will direct all episodes of the premiere season, which will follow their current directorial work on the upcoming Ghost in the Shell series reboot. Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo) is a creative producer. While the series plot is being kept under wraps, producers have confirmed the story will take place in 2032 and will include some familiar characters from the BLADE RUNNER universe.”
The timeframe of the series is intriguing as it will fit nicely between the first and second movies, and offer a better look at the world that was hinted at in Watanabe’s anime short and the other prologues that were part of the sequel’s marketing. There’s a rich world there and a lot of story to be unearthed, especially as it pertains to the plot details of the second film and how certain characters came to be. As more details break, it will be interesting to see how the series will be positioned in the franchise’s canon and which characters will be featured in this upcoming story.
Blade Runner - Black Lotus does not currently have premiere date.