BLAME!, the bestselling manga has been adapted into an animated film and has today (as of May 20th) been released as a Netflix Original on the streaming network. Created by Tsutomu Nihei, the series had it’s original incarnation as a 10 volume manga which was published between 1998 and today. Directed by Hiroyuki Seshita and written by Nihei and Sadayuki Murai, the film was animated by Polygon Pictures and character designs were created by Yuki Moriyama.
I haven’t read the original manga, so I can’t compare it’s content or tone with the original. It opens with an elegantly simple establishing voiceover “Nobody knows when they world became this way.” So often future films go overboard with exposition, but BLAME! at least opens with a deft shorthand. We know it’s the far distant future, and we shouldn’t hold our breaths for getting the how we got to this point. It’s about the characters trying to deal with just living through to tomorrow. The nostalgic “how’d we get here” will have to wait for another time. The most we come to understand is that humanity’s automated systems long ago stopped listening to their creators and are now continually expanding the city and see the remaining humans as an infection needing to be eliminated.
That’s when a stranger names Killy appears who seems to have some control over the city’s systems, he says he’s searching for any humans left alive who have a Net Terminal gene which would allow them to control the city as well. With the city’s Safeguard systems (rather like the geisha spider-bots from Ghost in the Shell) hot on their tail, the humans race to keep one step ahead.
Even if you’re not an anime fan, give this one a try. For something to check out this weekend, it’s easily a more satisfying watch than Alien: Covenant.
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