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Cowboy Bebop‘s Shinichiro Watanabe to Direct Blade Runner 2049 Anime Prequel Short

We certainly have some mixed feelings around here about the upcoming Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049. Well now, Japanese Blade Runner fans have one more thing to add to the “pro” column for this film. They’ll be getting an anime prequel short film ahead of its Japanese release, directed by one of anime’s best!

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Shinichiro Watanabe, whom you probably know from his work on Cowboy Bebop, will be directing the short, which is titled “Blade Runner: Black Out 2022.” As of right now, there’s no word as to whether the short will be available in the United States. However, it will be released in Japan ahead of their October 27th release of Blade Runner 2049.

Here’s a translation, courtesy of, of the Japanese release about the project:

“Director Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo) is directing an animated short tie-in to the Blade Runner 2049 film, which opens in Japan on October 27. The short is titled “Blade Runner Black Out 2022.”

The anime will take place in the year 2022, between the original Blade Runner film, which takes place in 2019, and its sequel Blade Runner 2049. The story will involve a large power outage on the west coast of the United States.

Watanabe is writing the script in addition to directing. Cygames Pictures, the anime studio subsidiary smartphone game publisher Cygames established last year, is producing the animation. Shukou Murase (Halo Legends, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing) is serving as character designer and animation director, and Flying Lotus is composing the music.

The cast includes Kenichirou Matsuda as Iggy, Ichigo Aoba as Trixie, and Makoto Furukawa as Ren.”

Cygames Pictures also released a really cool video showing samples of some of the artwork and previews of the animation for the film. Unfortunately, it’s in Japanese, and I don’t speak Japanese, so I can’t tell you what the video says. What I can tell you is that the film looks really cool, and I can ask that if there are any Japanese speakers out there who would like to help other fans by translating the video in the comments below, I’d love you forever:

*sigh* Japan gets everything that’s cool. Here’s hoping we somehow get to see this anime prequel Stateside. In any case, we get Blade Runner 2049 first here in the States, so that’s something! It arrives in theaters October 6th.

(via, image: screencap)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.

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