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'Blade Runner' anime coming from 'Cowboy Bebop' director

Director Shinichiro Watanabe will helm the anime short, "Blade Runner Black Out 2022," to be released online by Sony Pictures Japan later this month.

Replicants aren't always to be trusted, as fans know all too well from Ridley Scott's original 1982 film "Blade Runner" and teasers of the upcoming sequel "Blade Runner: 2049." 

It seems Replicants are at the center of controversy again in a new animated short called "Blade Runner Black Out 2022." It will tell a new story taking place between "Blade Runner" and "Blade Runner: 2049."

"Blade Runner Black Out 2022," directed by Shinichiro Watanabe -- best known for his work on "Cowboy Bebop," "Animatrix" and "Samurai Champloo" -- occurs in 2022, three years after the original film. 

The story unfolds during a power outage, dubbed the Great Blackout of 2022. According to the official "Blade Runner" timeline, the blackout happens somewhere on the West Coast. 

Not only are US cities shut down for weeks, but important electronic data is corrupted or destroyed. Money markets crash and food supplies become scarce. Rumors spread that Replicants are the cause of the massive blackout, though nothing can be proven. 

video posted Thursday by Sony Pictures Japan shows a closer look at the animation and concept art from "Blade Runner Black Out 2022," as well as glimpses at the final film.

Shukou Murase ("Halo Legends") serves as the short film's character designer and animation director. Flying Lotus is on board to compose the musical score.

"Blade Runner Black Out 2022" will be released via the Sony Pictures Japan YouTube channel on Sept. 26. "Blade Runner 2049" is set to debut in theaters in Australia on Oct. 5, and in the US and UK on Oct. 6.

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