With one of its main premises being based around the possibility of limitless alternate universes, Adult Swim’s popular sci-fi animated sitcom Rick and Morty has continuously pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in a TV show.

Throughout the show’s four seasons (and counting), the titular grandfather-grandson pair of Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith have found themselves in unimaginable planets, universes, and even in quirky alternate versions of our very own planet Earth. In all of the show’s episodes however, the mismatched sci-fi duo never found themselves in the sometimes-just-as-quirky country of Japan.

Enter the Rick and Morty animated shorts. These shorts are featured on Adult Swim’s official Youtube channel, but they often aren’t made by the show’s own animation team. Instead, they’re created by external production teams, which allows for more bending of elements and exploration of dimensions that haven’t been seen on the show.

One short from March 2020 brings the duo to a historical period of Japan with samurais and ninjas, where a samurai version of Rick uses exceptional sword fighting skills against his enemies. (Warning for the faint of heart: the 5-minute clip gets very bloody.)

The latest addition released by Adult Swim finds Rick and Morty back in Japan, but this time, they’re in modern Tokyo for the very first time. You can watch the full animated short below.

Titled “Rick and Morty vs. Genocider”, the 8-minute animated short starts off with Morty speaking face-to-face with an entity that fans of the show know all too well, the Citadel of Ricks. A quick scene change shows a glimpse of Mt. Fuji looming over Tokyo, dropping a hint on where the story is about to take place.

After an explanation from a couple of Ricks about an upcoming danger, Morty finds himself flying to Japan on a plane that’s comically full of stereotypical Japanese characters, such as a geisha, a karate-ka, schoolgirls and a Japanese salaryman.

In a way, “Rick and Morty vs. Genocider” almost feels like an unconventional tourism ad for Tokyo. It manages to capture the essence of the Japanese capital to a T, from Asakusa’s Kaminarimon, to the colorful signs and electronic billboards of Shibuya, and to some extent, even the chaos of Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district.

It also finds a way to explain things in detail while keeping some things ambiguous, a trait it shares with the show. The short was also obviously created by people who have a love for the show, since aside from a few noticeable differences--like Rick and Morty’s uncharacteristically sentimental relationship--it tackles plot points and fan theories only someone who’s dedicated to the show would know.

“Rick and Morty vs. Genocider” was directed by Takashi Sano, director of the anime adaptation of “Tower of God”, a popular Korean web comic. It was animated at Telecom Animation Film, part of the animation studio responsible for titles like Detective Conan and Lupin the 3rd. The original voice actors for Rick and Morty’s Japanese dubs also reprise their roles as Rick, Morty, and Jerry.

By - Jen Santelices.