If Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 or Blade Runner: Black Lotus has left a bad taste in your mouth, you can chew on Cyberpunk 2077 Edgerunners for a while.
Cyberpunk 2077 Edgerunners illustrates how a fantastic anime tie-in is done. With amazing animation and crucial aesthetic twinkles that anchor the action within Cyberpunk’s Cyberpunk Universe, the show has plenty for the newcomers to get a taste as well as let fans look at the show and feel very smart as it reminisces many cool things they’ve seen on the game and in-game. Now that’s fan service.
If adapting something you love isn’t easy, then adapting something with a poor reputation will be more difficult.
In spite of its positives, Cyberpunk 2077 was overpromised, launched in an unacceptable state on consoles, and was a hefty price. My mother even was concerned about it being taken off PlayStation after hearing about it on the main morning news.
Slowly but surely, CD Projekt RED has been rebuilding the strong will it has lost, either through tuning the game on both consoles and PCs to run more smoothly and feel better to allow you to experience the epic quests beneath without any technical issues or by building upon the best aspects of the game with rich graphics novels and a massive-budget anime tie-in.
What Cyberpunk 2077 has never had is a vibrant and distinct style that matches the tone and nature of the genre in general.
While watching Edgerunners, I am reminded of two other big cyberpunk name series that have been released recently: Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 and Blade Runner: Black Lotus. Both are terrible, absolutely terrible, thanks to the shoddy CGI animation that is a hindrance to any great story work the animators, writers, and world-builders would otherwise have done.
The Most Dangerous Game’s style of the plot of Black Lotus was definitely interesting. However, it was difficult to remain engaged because the characters all looked like posable bendy action figures.
It was like two shows you only watched due to the names that were above the door and not the plastic and flat reality they were serving to you.
Edgerunners prevents this from happening and does so not just by having more effective animation but also due to being so tightly linked with Night City and everything you can discover within Cyberpunk 2077.
Then there’s the technology. From the series’ most iconic Sandevistan to Lucy’s arm cannon and Maine’s monowire, there’s a lot you can buy for V through their local Ripperdoc. There are also the places, regardless of whether they’re the Afterlife Bar, Jacked and Coke, or one of Night City’s most famous spots, where the action is taking place in a tangible location that you can visit and not just some vague somewhere. There are also those little details that pop up, such as the phone call chime that comes from the game and that Breach Protocol mini-game appearing when players hack into things – tiny features that can transform your ordinary UI into a world-building.
However, the most important thing isn’t that they appear in the show but that there are some original and fascinating things happening with them. They’re expanding the concept of them as devices that people utilize in bustling hubs within an urban environment, not elaborate set dressing or other nefarious devices.
This is where other shows fell apart for me. They were simply things with no cohesive world to them. Edgerunners is, unmistakably, Night City.
It’s obvious that Cyberpunk 2077 Edgerunners will always be an animated series, which means there is the standard (seemingly impossible to avoid) conventions. Its main protagonist is around 16 but is approximately 25, with an unclear timeline due to certain adult-oriented situations that take place. There’s a lot of blood and no explanation for sexuality, which means this isn’t a show to watch on watching on the big screen in your living room unless you enjoy answering the question, “why’s this woman naked?”
However, there’s plenty of blood and nakedness in the game, too as well on Altered Carbon and Akira and Dredd and Neuromancer and Total Recall and Count Zero and Robocop and pretty much every show or book about cyberpunk that’s ever been made (those are only the those I’ve seen or read recently) So, I suppose you could say that’s the kind of thing they were aiming for.
Whatever the case, Cyberpunk 2077: Edgerunners is among the top series I’ve seen in a long time, whether tie-in or not – and sets the bar for what I’d like to be able to see more of moving forward.