You Can Now Watch the Blade Runner 2049 Prequel Anime From the Director of Cowboy Bebop

Image: Crunchyroll
Image: Crunchyroll

Shinichirō Watanabe is one of the most iconic anime directors in the business, thanks to his work on the beloved Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop. But his latest work is an intriguing sidestep: a 15-minute short film set in the world of Blade Runner.


The third and final prequel movie set between the events of Blade Runner and the upcoming sequel, 2049, Watanabe’s Blade Runner Black Out 2022 covers a period hinted at in the previous two shorts. It’s the year when a gigantic EMP blast knocks out power to the cities across the world, leading to a rise in anti-Replicant sentiment and eventually a complete prohibition of Replicant creation—one lifted in the years before Blade Runner 2049 through the actions of the movie’s new villain, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto).

You can watch the full thing over at Crunchyroll at the link below for free in lower resolutions, but if you want it in full quality you’ll have to sign up for the anime service.


James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!


Wait a minute are these short films ads for Blade Runner 2049 or Crunchyroll? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? In order to see this short in HD I need to sign up. Fuck off WB. Some marketing slackwad said “synergy” and a Assistant Executive for Fuckery came in his pants. Or her pants. #notallpants THIS KIND OF SHIT is just over the goddamn top. Like when dumbfuck movies have the trailer on YouTube but there’s a fucking ad on it. I’m not signing up for ANOTHER GODDAMN STREAMING SERVICE. /rantover

Now, go sell crazy somewhere else, we’re all stocked up here. And get off my damn lawn.