Given the thoroughness with which Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner cribbed from the signs and signifiers of Japanese culture to create its Los Angeles dystopia—and how thoroughly that aesthetic has filtered back into art created on both sides of the Pacific in the intervening decades—it was probably inevitable that we’d get a Blade Runner anime at some point. And so it has arrived at last, with Adult Swim taking advantage of its time at Comic-Con@Home this year to debut the first trailer for Black Lotus, an animated TV series set in the ever-rainy Blade Runner universe.
(Also, let us take a minute to acknowledge that this is actually the second Blade Runner anime, technically. Warner Bros. produced a 2D animated short film, Black Out 2022, as part of the lead up to Blade Runner 2049.)
As will become immediately obvious from the trailer, Black Lotus is one of those newfangled CGI anime series, rather than a more traditionally animated 2D production. Still, it does look recognizably Blade Runner, what with all the rain, grime, and giant signs advertising your good friends at the Coca-Cola corporation. The premise seems pretty familiar, too, centered as it is on A Mysterious Girl with amnesia and A Dark Secret who inexplicably is Very Good With Swords.
Still, the fight scenes themselves look pretty cool, and woe betide us for suggesting we don’t want a Blade Runner anime movie where Brian Cox and Stephen Root are running around shouting at people. (Cox is playing the father of Jared Leto’s character from 2049, presumably getting ready to Succession the shit out of his lousy kid, cyberpunk style.)
Blade Runner: Black Lotus (set to premiere this fall) was one of several projects that got focus at Adult Swim’s panel/set of YouTube videos (the phrases are indistinguishable in 2021) today; there were also conversations surrounding existing hits Tuca & Bertie and Rick And Morty, as well as a panel based around Alissa Nutting and Alyson Levy’s upcoming Teenage Euthanasia. (If you’ve ever wanted to watch Tim Heidecker try semi-successfully to modulate his natural energy to fade into the background to moderate a panel, here’s your chance. Also, the show itself sounds wonderfully strange.)