‘Blade Runner 2049’ Anime Reveals Why Replicants Became Illegal

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In the history of the Blade Runner series, replicant prohibition began in 2023 following a global EMP blackout blamed on replicants in 2022. Both of these events were revealed at San Diego Comic-Con in July, and it seemed likely that they were connected. Now, a new anime short for the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 confirms that that’s the case, while depicting the events that preceded the blackout, and of course, the blackout itself.

On Tuesday, the anime and manga platform Crunchyroll posted the short, Blackout 2022, which can only be watched on the site, or on VRV.

The short was created by Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo director Shinichiro Watanabe, and takes place in 2022. As human supremacy movements rise up after the rollout of the new Nexus 8 replicants, replicants are being hunted down using the Replicant Registration database. Determined to allow replicants, who now have natural lifespans, to actually live, two replicants and a human work together to take out the database with an EMP, as well as destroy any back-ups of the data.

As expected from the pairing of Watanabe and Blade Runner, the short features excellent action and some great, contemplative scenes. Notably, when the human, Ren, offers an explanation for why he’s helping the replicants, he says, “humans are selfish, stupid liars. But replicants are different — so pure, so perfect. Never betrays…More human than human.” “More human than human” may not completely be true of replicants, but it’s still an awesome way of raising questions on what being human really means.

With any luck, we get that same balance from the film the short is promoting.

Replicants Iggy and Trixie on their way to "the Opera House'.

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Iggy explains why he wants to destroy the Replicant Registration database with this flashback scene.

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An example of the disastrous effects of the EMP.

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Blade Runner 2049 opens on October 6 in the U.S.

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