Before gaining fame with Knights of Sidonia, Tsutomu Nihei created Blame!, a dark cyberpunk manga set in the distant future where Earth has been swallowed up by a massive artificial construct and the few remnants of humanity exist in highly altered, transhuman states. The manga’s main character is Killy, a loner wandering the construct in search of “Net Terminal Genes” that will protect humanity and help control the construct’s spread.
Blame! was briefly referenced in the most recent (and, let’s face it, not so good) season of Knights of Sidonia as a show within a show. Before that, in 2003, Blame! was adapted into an “Original Net Animation” that was more focused on visualizing Blame!’s bizarre world than delivering anything resembling much of a story. But now Netflix — who also produced the Knights of Sidonia anime — has announced that they’ll be releasing Blame! as an original animated film in 2017. The Japanese Blame! site has the synopsis:
In the distant technological future, civilization has reached its ultimate Net-based form. An “infection” in the past caused the automated systems to spiral out of order, resulting in a multi-leveled city structure that replicates itself infinitely in all directions. Now humanity has lost access to the city’s controls, and is hunted down and purged by the defense system known as the Safeguard. In a tiny corner of the city, a little enclave known as the Electro-Fishers is facing eventual extinction, trapped between the threat of the Safeguard and dwindling food supplies. A girl named Zuru goes on a journey to find food for her village, only to inadvertently cause doom when an observation tower senses her and summons a Safeguard pack to eliminate the threat. With her companions dead and all escape routes blocked, the only thing that can save her now is the sudden arrival of Killy the Wanderer, on his quest for the Net Terminal Genes, the key to restoring order to the world.
Overall, I’m really excited about this. Blame! has always fascinated me, due in large part to the strange, ominous future that Nihei conjures up with his intense artwork. It’ll be interesting, though, to see how Polygon Pictures handles the artwork and animation. One issue I had with Knights of Sidonia was how stiff and “plastic” its heavily CGI’d animation felt; I don’t know how well that will fit for Blame!, where the setting is a lot darker, edgier, and decrepit. The trailer below is very promising, though.
In related news, Vertical Comics will be reissuing the Blame! manga in a “Master Edition” that features a larger format and new artwork from Nihei. Volume one goes on sale September 13 (preview, preorder) with volume two following in December (preview, preorder).