Netflix’s new anime Blame! is an introduction to a dark scie…

In the second season of Netflix’s science-fiction anime Knights of Sidonia, there’s a scene where the main characters gather around a television to watch another sci-fi anime. In it, a man named Killy, clad entirely in black, uses an obscenely powerful gun to destroy a strange, masked robot. One of the viewers, a human / alien hybrid named Tsumugi, becomes visibly distressed. “What happens to Killy after this?” she worries. “It all depends on our support,” one of her friends answers.

For many viewers, it was a charming but not especially important scene. But for fans of Tsutomu Nihei — the creator of the manga Knights of Sidonia is based on — it was thrilling. Killy is actually the star of Nihei’s first published work, the dark and gritty manga Blame!. His appearance in Sidonia lasts less than two minutes, but it made a strong impression. “People were talking about this piece so much that we decided ‘Why don’t we do a movie?’” explains director Hiroyuki Seshita.

That film, called simply Blame!, releases on Netflix and in Japanese theaters on May 20th, 2017. For the most part, it’s being created by the same team, including Seshita, who returned to direct, and Nihei, who was involved with the movie from its earliest stages. The Blame! manga debuted 20 years ago, and it’s a story that has been updated and changed in many ways to better suit the new medium. “It’s a body of work that [Nihei] restructured and redesigned and reconceptualized,” says Seshita.