- May 26, 2014
Has anyone seen this? I finally caught up with the latest episode (at the time of writing, Episode 8) and it has started growing on me. I'll be honest, the only thing that kept me watching after episode 3 was my love for the universe of Blade Runner, plus a craving for stories set in a cyberpunk universe. I dislike CGI cartoons immensely: The textures are always too clean, too smooth, which is practically the antithesis of what you'd expect from a Blade Runner cartoon, and the animation always hits that nasty spot of being too realistic for its cartoonish visuals yet too twitchy and clumsy to look real. So it took some time to ease myself into this version of the Blade Runner world and its character design. I think bingeing the episodes helped, and watching a single 22-minute long episode every week would have made it much harder.
I cannot say that the main plot is anything to write home about (
Roughly halfway between the first and second films, new replicants are created and tested as part of a "doll hunt" - rich and influent people hunt them down in the desert to satisfy their sadistic urges - but one girl, Elle, survives and makes her way to the city where she endeavours to identify and take revenge on those who organized the hunt
I do have questions when it comes to what the show reveals about the world and how it functions (how and why replicants are made, how their memories work), and even more questions about how the show fits within the chronology of the franchise, since it's set after the great blackout of 2022 yet does not reference it nor how the world has changed after that event. In fact it seems much closer to the thriving, neon-lit megacity of 2019 (in Blade Runner lore, the year the first movie was set in) than the post-blackout, storm-swept and desolate world of 2049 (the year the sequel was set in).
The last peeve I'll mention is the soundtrack. The episodes themselves offer an immersive if unimpressive soundscape of drones and synthesizer sounds, which is great. But the opening and closing titles inevitably get on my nerves with their insufferable, languid pop songs that fail both at representing the world of the story and keeping my ears entertained. A real shame because the images of the opening title on the other hand are simply breathtaking and the best visual rendition of the Blade Runner mood and atmosphere since the original movie came out in 1982.
I cannot say I recommend it to everyone because I don't, but fans of the Blade Runner universe might want to give it a try.