Is it possible to fall headfirst for a setting, a city and a timeframe, but absolutely despise the theme of a story? That’s kind of my relationship with Los Angeles 2032 and Blade Hunter: Black Lotus.
As a futuristic and very dangerous place, I want to take the chance to witness something awe-inspiring firsthand and make a visit… but I don’t want to wade through the whole replicant vs. human debate for the third time, now, which feels mighty old after watching the original Blade Runner (I loved the Director’s Cut!), Blade Runner: 2049 and now a 13-episode anime that’s a co-production of Crunchyroll and Adult Swim.
While that question doesn’t get asked every few minutes, its answer is constantly hovering around our main character, Elle, who’s suffering from amnesia and slow to remember her place in this world. Who is she? And why does it matter? It feels like I really should care more about her as the main character than I actually do after watching — and rewatching — four episodes.
The slow-burn storyline doesn’t help very much, which is very moody. Sad, gloomy, atmospheric music feeds the great looking dystopian world. There’s more spinners (the technology reminds me of Tron: Legacy in a good way) and the computer-generated graphics seem to look sharper in the dark than when the city is lit up. But I’m more interested in seeing where Elle goes, rather than what she does.
The greatest element of the two Blade Runner feature films (and the aspirations here) is the world building, which is directly pulled from author Philip K. Dick. While I haven’t read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I have read books about the author and watched more than a handful of big-screen adaptations based on his works. Black Lotus definitely feels like it’s based inside the world which I’ve already seen a couple of times, but it feels a little too familiar.
The animation is OK. The voice acting is good. And by the time “The Doll Hunt” has concluded, the series has seemingly become a revenge fantasy (which I’m good with). The action has picked up as Elle becomes a female antihero, I just hope the show aims for something more than just personal insight.
With the assistance of an unusual piece of technology, her suppressed memories are becoming a thing of the past, but were they blurred by amnesia or were they erased by a memory wipe?
There’s no crossover characters so far, and I really want to know how this show will connect to 2049. I just kinda wish the story felt different that the others…
In the past, we looked forward to returning to the franchise (Blade Runner Returns to the Big Screen Not a Moment Too Soon and Anime Series Aims to Bring New Life to Blade Runner), but I’m secretly looking forward to a behind-the-scenes book, The Art of Blade Runner: Black Lotus, most of all, which will be released on March 12, 2022.
That is one medium which seems to be perfect for exploring the Blade Runner Universe. And it’s one where I wouldn’t have to worry whether I’m a genetically engineered replicant or not.