We are taught from a young age to never judge a book by its cover. But it is, nevertheless, an easy thing to do. This is especially true where animation is concerned. So much of the discourse revolves around the gorgeous visuals of series like Demon Slayer or Arcane that it can be easy to write off something that doesn’t instantly catch our eyes with its visual design. When a series like Blade Runner: Black Lotus, whose weakest element is its visuals, comes along, it can simply be forgotten. But, despite the character designs feeling largely generic, the series offers a lot of compelling reasons to check it out. And now that all 13 episodes are up, let me give you my five biggest reasons to check out Blade Runner: Black Lotus.
5. The Music
From the opening beats of “Feel You Now” that begins each episode, to the unique closing song that wraps up each entry, Blade Runner: Black Lotus delivers some great tunes. The show manages to embrace a number of styles, while never failing to pick a piece that feels appropriate to its place in the show. I find myself relistening to the soundtrack regularly, as each piece takes me back to one of the show’s great moments.
4. The Plot
When the audience meets up with the series protagonist Elle, she is waking up in the back of an auto-driving truck with nothing but the clothes on her back and some form of recording device she cannot access. From here, the audience goes on a journey with Elle as she learns about who she is, what has been done to her, and how she looks to make things right. As the story unfolds, Elle is swept up into a conspiracy with far larger implications than just herself. Despite the growing scope of the situation, the show never stops feeling like a truly personal story for its protagonist. This personnel journey manages to fit in numerous reveals and twists to its story without ever becoming convoluted. The new elements that the story brings are well-paced, allowing a solid amount of time to process revelations and twists before more is thrown at them.
Next to Elle, the series most central character is an enigmatic junk dealer who is known only as J. From the word go, it is clear that there is more to this character than meets the eye. Despite the story rarely losing its focus on Elle, J has a surprisingly deep character arc that brings a significant amount of nuance. Even when you think you know all there is to know about him, the series reveals one last truth that makes you feel for the lonely junk dealer.
2. The Action
While the character designs did not wow me when I saw them, the fight animations sure did. Sola Digital Arts does a tremendous job of delivering eye-catching fight sequences, that utilize several different styles throughout the series. The highlight of the fight choreography, however, is Elle herself.
Whenever the series protagonist is forced to throwdown you can be sure for a spectacle. Whether armed with her trademark katana or not, Elle is always equal parts grace, skill, motion, and effectiveness. No movement is wasted and no blows land without a feeling of impactfulness.
As previously mentioned, Elle is the singular star of Blade Runner: Black Lotus. But her character is far more than her previously mentioned mastery of combat. Though that is part of what makes her so special.
Due to the particular nature of Elle and how she came to be so skillful in combat, the writers can allow Elle to be a veritable goddess of death while retaining an innocence about her that is hard to afford to one who comes to have so much blood on her hands. But it is that innocence that makes Elle someone you never stop rooting for. She is someone that has been pushed to this point. And even as she struggles to overcome both the pains of her past, as well as the threats the present sets before her, she never stops ultimately being the victim. She doesn’t want this situation. But since she has been forced into it, she will not let others manipulate, control, or snuff her out. She will settle things on her own terms.
And there you have it. My top five reasons why you all should check out Blade Runner: Black Lotus. I hope these reasons have sparked your interest. It is a great show and I would love to get another season in the future.