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Shinichiro 'Cowboy Bebop' Watanabe Directs 'Blade Runner 2022' Short

Later this year we will be getting a sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 Sci-Fi classic Blade Runner. Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 will take place (unsurprisingly) in the year 2049. But what has happened in the time since the original film (set in the far flung year of 2019)? An animated short has been commissioned to help fill in the gap.

Shinichiro Watanabe, the creator of the classic Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo is writing and directing a short called Blade Runner Blackout 2022. We'll give you one guess when it's set.. That's right.. 2022! The story will concern a massive blackout on the West coast of the US. The animation is being produced by Cygames Pictures.

Watanabe is a creator who is perhaps more lauded outside Japan than at home. Cowboy Bebop, in particular, is a series that is much more popular internationally than it is in Japan. This lead him to be involved in writing and directing a segment in The Animatrix, The Wachowski's 2003 anime anthology tie-in to the Matrix Trilogy. 

An anime based in the Blade Runner universe is actually a natural fit, considering how heavily the original leaned on Japanese Culture- and the '82 film, in turn, became a major influence on anime that came after it.

It will apparently be released on Youtube on September 26, although it is not clear if this will be only in Japan (though we would be surprised if this wasn't released internationally). Blade Runner 2049 itself will be released in the US and UK on October 5, 2017.

UPDATE: The short will be available via Crunchyroll everywhere outside Asia on September 26th

You can get sneak peek by checking out the video below.