“Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” sets the bar for TV series based on video games


Photo courtesy of Netflix Geeked

The new anime show “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners”, inspired by the 2020 video game “Cyberpunk: 2077” is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

On Sept. 13, Netflix released a new anime show titled “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” by CD Projekt Red and Studio Trigger. It is a 10-episode series that is set in the universe of the 2020 video game “Cyberpunk: 2077”, also by CD Projekt Red.

The story centers around the adventures of David Martinez, a high school dropout from Arasaka Academy who becomes an “edgerunner”. Edgerunners are your basic criminals and hitmen who take on illegal jobs for money. The show follows Davey’s journey through the underground of Night City as he goes from being a rookie runner to being a leader of his own crew, all while slowly losing himself due to some major events in the story.

“Cyberpunk: 2077” was one of the most hyped-up games in recent memory, but the game failed to live up to expectations. The game on release was a “buggy disaster” and its hype died out quickly. But the show’s story is a prequel to “Cyberpunk: 2077” and uses a lot of details from the game to build on the universe. Phrases, locations, and the designs of characters are all inspired by the game. But the show and game’s stories are separated from each other. So if you wanted to watch the show and not play the game, you can.

There is a stigma that shows based on video games are typically terrible since most aren’t well-made or don’t use any of the source material from the game. But the story and the writing of “Cyberpunk: 2077” are fantastic. Every character has agency, as well as an actual personality, in the show and they’re not all there to babysit Davey, outside of one episode. The plot is well-written and takes some unexpected turns to show the grimness and darkness of Night City, whether you are a criminal or a corporate employee.

The animation is the bread and butter of this show. CD Projekt Red selected Studio Trigger as the animation studio based on their top-tier animation and art design from their previous anime series, like “Kill la Kill”, “Darling in the Franxx” and “Gurren Lagann”. The animation starts strong in episode one and gets better or stays at a high level throughout the whole show.

Shows that are based on games typically don’t have the same art direction or don’t take all the inspiration from their source material. But Studio Trigger used every resource from the game from how the city looks, to how the people of Night City act and even the weapons used. Paul Tassi from Forbes said he’s “just never seen anything like this before, and it shows the power of transmedia ands how you can connect two wildly different formats.”

The music also is no slouch. The opening credits music by Franz Ferdinand was perfect and the soundtrack worked perfectly with the art style and with what was happening in the show.

The only issue with the show, and it really isn’t even an issue with how great it is, is the length. Typically, when you have a one-season anime it has 25 episodes. But with Edgerunners, it only has 10 episodes so if you wanted to sit down for five or six hours you could watch the show in one sitting.

Overall, “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” is a fantastic show that has top-tier animation, great storytelling and stays faithful to the source material. The art direction of the show looks great with the cyberpunk aesthetic that Studio Trigger had to work with. The last time we saw an animated show based on a game that was really good was the “Castlevania” series and that wasn’t getting this kind of acclaim.

To rate the show on a scale of 1-10, it would be a 9.5 only because of how short it is. I would recommend this to just about anyone, that is how good it is. You don’t have to be a video game fan or an anime fan to enjoy the ride that is “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners”.