If you missed your chance to catch Black Lotus-the recent anime installment in the Blade Runner franchise, you are in luck. HBO Max recently announced every new movie and TV series landing on the streaming service this March, and the new cyberpunk anime was included. The news might come as a delightful surprise to fans, as the first season’s finale recently aired on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim a few weeks ago. Black Lotus will begin streaming on HBO Max starting March 14th.
Blade Runner: Black Lotus is a Japanese-American anime series based on the neo-noir science fiction franchise. The series was first announced back in November 2018. Shinichiro Watanabe, who helmed the 2049 anime companion short Blade Runner Black Out 2022, served as the creative producer, while Shinji Aramaki (Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045) and Kenji Kamiyama ( Star Wars: Visions) directed all of the 13 episodes in the premiere season. Debuting this past November, the series aired on Adult Swim’s Toonami programming block in the United States, while Crunchyroll served as the streamer for its Japanese distributions.
Blade Runner: Black Lotus serves as a spinoff anime in the beloved Blade Runner franchise. Known to many as the grandfather of the now popular cyberpunk genre, the franchise spawned from Phillip K Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The novel has been adapted through several media outlets, with the most notable being Ridley Scott’s 1982 film, Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford. While the movie underperformed in theaters, it has become a cult classic over time and led to a film sequel, Blade Runner 2049 with Ryan Gosling in 2017.
As the newest entry into the Blade Runner, Black Lotus centered on a whole new aspect in the lucrative franchise. Featuring a brand new protagonist, Black Lotus was set in Los Angeles 2032. As Elle awakens with no memories, she quickly realizes she possesses deadly skills. To unravel her mysterious past, she must put together pieces from a locked data device and a tattoo of a black lotus as she sets out on her journey to hunt down the people responsible for her bloody past. An ensemble cast lent their voices for the English dubs, including Jessica Henwick as Elle, Will Yun Lee as Joseph, Samira Wiley as Alani Davis, Brian Cox as Niander Wallace Sr., Wes Bentley as Niander Wallace Jr., Josh Duhamel as Marlowe, Peyton List as Josephine Grant, Stephen Root as Earl Grant, Barkhad Abdi as Doc Badger, Gregg Henry as Senator Bannister, Henry Czerny as Doctor M., and Jason Spisak as Hooper.
On Rotten Tomatoes, Blade Runner: Black Lotus currently holds a 67% average critic score, with a 61% fan rating. Polygon’s official consensus on the animated series stated that Black Lotus wasn’t necessarily the anime fans of the cyberpunk imagined when it was first announced in 2018, but “nonetheless” proved itself “worthy of the distinction.” However, it still remains unclear if the anime will be picked up for another season as fans await official word on the decision. Possibly, the streaming success on HBO might play a role in the series future.