Alcon Television Group has partnered with Adult Swim and Crunchyroll to produce and distribute a new anime series inspired by ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ according to Variety.
‘Blade Runner-Black Lotus,’ as it will be called, will consist of 13 half-hour episodes. Details of the plot are being kept under wraps, but it is known that the story will take place in 2032 and will include some established characters from the ‘Blade Runner’ universe.
“I first saw ‘Blade Runner’ in 1982, at age 11,” said Jason DeMarco, SVP and creative director of Adult Swim on-air. “It has remained one of the defining films of my life. To be able to explore more of this universe, with the incredible talent we have on board, is a dream come true.”
The series will be produced by animation studio Sola Digital Arts. Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama 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 will serve as creative producer.
Watanabe previously wrote and directed the anime short film ‘Blade Runner Black Out 2022,’ which served as one of three anime short prequels to ‘Blade Runner 2049.’ Aramaki also worked on ‘Black Out 2022’ in the art department.
Alcon’s Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Laura Lancaster, Al-Francis Cuenca, and Sola Digital Art’s Joseph Chou will act as executive producers. Alcon’s Ben Roberts will serve as co-executive producer. Production IG’s Mitsuhisa Ishikawa is participating as production adviser.
“’Blade Runner’ is a seminal work, and its influence permeates the genre,” said Sae Whan Song, head of business development for Crunchyroll. “Adult Swim shares our excitement to bring this new series to fans, and we’re looking forward to building on this franchise together.”
Adult Swim will have the worldwide rights to distribute the English dubbed versions of the series excluding Asia, and will air the English dubbed episodes of the series on its anime programming block, Toonami. Crunchyroll will handle worldwide streaming for its community of more than 45 million registered users and 2 million subscribers.
“The ‘Blade Runner’ universe is an incredibly deep well for story and character with its world and mythology that audiences have been debating and talking about since inception,” said Kosove and Johnson. “We are excited to continue exploring that world via this anime series.”
Don’t forget the series of events that transpired between the original ‘Blade Runner’ set in 2019 and the sequel, set 30 years later.
2018 – After a bloody mutiny by a Nexus 6 combat team in an Off-world colony, Replicants are declared illegal on Earth, under penalty of death.
2019 – A prototype Replicant, Rachael, and Officer Rick Deckard, a Blade runner, escape Los Angeles together.
2020 – After the death of founder Eldon Tyrell, the Tyrell Corporation rushes a new line of Nexus 8 Replicants onto the market for use Off-world. Unlike previous Nexus models, built with 4-year lifespans, the Nexus 8s have open-ended lifespans, as well as ocular implants for easy identification
2022 – The Blackout. An EMP of unknown origin detonates somewhere in the West Coast. Cities are shut down for weeks. Electronic data is corrupted or destroyed over most of the United States. Finance and trade markets crash worldwide. Food supplies become dire. Theories spread as to the cause of the Blackout; none are proven. The most popular blame Replicants.
2023 – Replicant Prohibition. The governing authorities legislate an indefinite “prohibition” on replicant production. Nexus 6 models are now all decommissioned due to their programmed 4-year lifespans. Surviving Nexus 8 models are to be retired. Those that can, go into hiding.
2025 – Idealistic scientist Niander Wallace pioneers advancements in genetically modified food and shares his patents for free, marking an end to a global crisis. His company, Wallace Corporation, E&C, expands across the globe and into the Off-world colonies.
2028 – Niander Wallace acquires the remains of the bankrupt Tyrell Corporation.
2030s – Niander Wallace improves upon Tyrells’ genetic engineering and memory implantation methods to make replicants obedient and controllable.
2036 – Prohibition is repealed. Wallace reintroduces a new line of “perfected” Replicants, The Nexus 9.
Early 2040s…The LAPD commits additional resources to bolster its existing Blade Runner unit, tasked with locating illegal Replicants and retiring them.
2049 – When we return to Los Angeles, 30 years after the original movie, climate change has caused the sea level to rise dramatically. A massive Sea Wall has been built along the Sepulveda Pass to protect the Los Angeles basin. Los Aneles is even more uninhabitable than before and filled with poverty and sickness. Humans, who were not well enough to leave for the off-world colonies are left behind. There is no fresh food, and inhabitants survive on Wallace’s genetically modified food products sold from vending machines at street markets.
Maybe it will look something like Dmitry Grozov’s work. Also known as Ahriman, you may remember he took some classic scenes and reimagined them as classic, old-style anime.
Scott Snowden is MyM’s US Editor. Follow him on Twitter.
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