Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Final Thoughts

by: Gen/Esis

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is a 10-episode anime adaptation of the highly anticipated game Cyberpunk 2077. With the rough release of the game two years ago, many were doubtful the anime would be any better. The only ray of light was Studio Trigger, the studio behind the adaptation. With hit series like Kill La Kill, BNA, and Promare under their belt, there was a chance of this series being something great.

And great it was.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners proves to be one of Studio Trigger’s best works to date. It would be an understatement to call this anime a success, having also brought an increase in popularity to the game whose player base had diminished significantly.

From the get-go, Edgerunners tosses you into the cruelty of Night City, a dystopian society where companies run every aspect of people’s lives. The story follows David Martinez, a kid that toes the line between corporate society and regular people.

Through amazing visuals and beautiful music, the anime perfectly portrays the twisted and cruel city the anime will spend its entire runtime in.

If you’ve played the game, many of the things this series shows will be familiar. Locations, characters, and terms are reused from the game which only makes sense since they take place in the same universe but just a year-ish apart. But even if you didn’t play the game, the anime perfectly conveys everything so even a newcomer to the series won’t be lost.

Worldbuilding is important for any story, but with a series with the name Cyberpunk, certain expectations need to be met. In this regard, Studio Trigger goes above and beyond with the concept of cyberpunk, giving the viewers ample worldbuilding through even simple tasks as walking to school.

A masterful display of the show don’t tell mindset.

Action is another highlight of this series. It’s bloody, brutal, and entirely uncensored. It puts into action much of the equipment present in the game and shows it off perfectly in the amazingly animated fight scenes.

It’s extremely gory which might be a problem for some people, and there’s a bit of nudity spread throughout as well, but I appreciate that Studio Trigger didn’t hold back from portraying the adult aspects of Cyberpunk 2077.

The series’ two main characters, David and Lucy, are by far the most well-developed in the story. Their relationship is cute, as cute as it can be in a dystopian future, and their chemistry works well, making that relationship believable as well.

Each one has their motivations presented in their unique way. Lucy gets a showier display of it compared to David whose motivation comes from the goals of others. Either way, it makes both characters likable in their own regard and make great protagonists in this story.

A fan favorite character, and one who’s been at the forefront of many a controversy, is Rebecca. While her character isn’t as fleshed out, her personality makes up for a large chunk of that. This trigger-happy girl is one of the more rambunctious people in the main cast and too many has stolen the best girl title from the main girl Lucy.

But for as much praise as I can give this show, it also has its negatives.

Going along with the characters, and like I briefly mentioned before, every other character apart from the main two isn’t anywhere near as developed. The only thing that makes them stand out is their personalities, which to be fair is done pretty well, but overall the characters are pretty hollow.

The conclusion to almost everyone who isn’t the main two feels rushed and you leave the series not caring about half of them, if not more.

With its short ten-episode run, the show attempts too much that it just doesn’t have the time to fully accomplish. This leaves plenty of scenes feeling stiff or rushed as it tries to convey certain things quickly so it can move on to the next plot point.

Many connections between characters are left to mostly a line or two of dialogue stating it to be true but we never get to explore half of them enough for them to seem believable. Someone who’s supposed to be a mentor feels more like a casual friend, if that, making any sort of tension between them weak as a result. And that goes for many others.

This might not be a deal breaker to many, me included, but the weak characterization does knock it down a few points.

Overall, the story is pretty good and certain characters are great while others not so much. The worldbuilding and action are standout aspects of the series and entirely makes up for most issues the show has. The issues aren’t enough to make this show bad in any aspect and still leaves it as one of my favorite shows of 2022.

Overall Score: 8/10

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