cyberpunk edgerunners review

When we dive into the side stories of Cyberpunk 2077, our only escapade from the tangible hold of reality lies in the form of the central storyline and the lore. But what truly hones our bones are the side quests. Cyberpunk Edgerunners does exactly this. It feels like a tangible story told of Night city, as a side quest of the primary Cyberpunk 2077 game. We bring to you our best attempt at a spoiler-free Cyberpunk Edgerunners review.

One of the sales of the CD Projekt Red developed Cyberpunk 2077 was the expanse of the lore it entailed to the user. There’s a certain pull to stories that have the nuclear pull to it, the Fallout franchise has proven that. Reimagining a Fallout story that had an alternate development may have felt tingly at first. Yet we are given a world of cybernetics, biomechanics modification called cyberware, and modified hybrid humans that have a chip attached to their being.

cyberpunk edgerunners review
courtesy of the Youtube Trailer by Official Channel of Studio Trigger

Cyberpunk Edgerunners Review

Well, that all feels like a perfect reimagination of a paradoxical technological dystopia. Paradoxical because the Cyberpunk in fiction is a technological utopia in its own right. Until of course, we come to the point that cyberpunk fictions are awash with the barren sights of crime, distorted human modifications, machine-enhanced prosthetics, and a life full of nightcrawlers. 

cyberpunk edgerunners review
courtesy of the Youtube Trailer by Official Channel of Studio Trigger

Cyberpunk Edgerunners stays true to its source adaptation. The tabletop RPG by Mike Pondsmith feels grounded hold in this Studio Trigger animated and Rafal Jaki-written story. The story is not a reincarnation of 2077. Meaning, that it does not initiate us into V or Rockstar Johnny. While it is always a sight to witness Keanu’s haunted consciousness throughout the internet, Cyberpunk Edgerunners has a new protagonist to tell the story of – David Martinez.

What’s Anime About Cyberpunk Edgerunners

Anyone can create animated series, right? I mean, of course not. It takes a hell ton of production work, animating studios, voice acting, distributing, blah blah. But mostly if it’s a prime exclusive or done by western animating studios, you usually say it’s an animated series. We have Rick and Morty, The Invincibles, Avatar The Last Air Bender, multiple MCU Animated works, and DC’s Justice League and Batman to name a very minor few.

So what’s exactly Anime about Cyberpunk Edgerunners? everything. Putting aside that there are multiple dubs that one can find the show on in Netflix, it is primarily a Japanese animated show. And we have a pretty solid Japanese voice-acting cast.

The Voice Acting in Cyberpunk Edgerunners

cyberpunk edgerunners review
courtesy of the Youtube Trailer by Official Channel of Studio Trigger
  • Yuuki Aoi joins as Lucy while David is voiced by Kenn. They aren’t the industry’s leading vocal artists, but they’re pretty good. Kenn captures David’s cocky but emotionally distant attitude quite well, whereas one can have faith in Aoi chan to play Lucy’s enigmatic persona without making us cringe.

The thing about Edgerunners is that despite having a mid-tier voice-acting cast, the series doesn’t disappoint. Although there are certain parts where the Japanese dubs feel pale, or in some sense, lacking. This may have to do with the pacing of the story as well because the anime has done its best to give the hip-hop, rock smashed cyberpunk feel.

The Music Score

  • One of the things Cyberpunk Edgerunners have done right with the cyberpunk genre is the music. The genre really doesn’t vibrate well with Metal, although it wouldn’t be completely off-put for it to do so. But what really sets the mood is the music score that sweeps in through the sweet rhythm of the night.
  • Cyberpunk is anyways representative of the night-time underdog hood culture but with advanced technology and flying cars. Biomechanically modified humans with cyberware, a world filled with the internet in every being’s consciousness feels justifiable when we listen to the beat drop in Edgerunners.

Cyberpunk Edgerunners Review : The World Building 

  • The world-building in Cyberpunk Edgerunners feels like a close ally of 2077. While 2077 took a few cutscenes to initiate us into V’s journey up, this anime takes its sweet robotic time to build the protagonist up.
  • Based on the world of Cyberpunk 2077, the anime explores David Martinez who lives in Night City. The city is not kind to those hurdled with problems in the finance department, and the criminal culture in a world that has only rebuilt itself after the Third Corporate War is dangerous. 

Night City

cyberpunk edgerunners review
courtesy of the Youtube Trailer by Official Channel of Studio Trigger
  • It really leaves off after the 2077 story. Cyberpunk Edgerunners hint at a gentle load of the original lore. Night City is flourishing once again after the nuke that went kaboom there in the past. Thanks to the greed of corporations wishing to rise up there again. What’s there about a rundown city decimated in nuclear fallout? well, it’s prestige and legacy.
  • This legacy is the reason why investors pulled the radiation out of the ground anyway. And this legacy is what we have been needing to invest into. While Cyberpunk 2077 is a whole open world explore it-all RPG, nothing feels as comfy as backing down by my seat and watching Night City be animated into its purple and naval bluish hue and colors, atypical of a cybernetically enhanced world.

The Plot

  • The plot follows David Martinez. David feels like a rundown genius who has to keep his masculine side a tad higher than the caring feminine. His mother works tiringly as a paramedic, but how much can that fetch you?
  • David has to leave off his prestigious Arasaka Academy because he fails to pay for the new headgear licensed upgrade that costs like a kidney and two livers (Yeah it’s a liver joke).
  • Martinez finds a solution as Lucy appears in his life, promising him the life of a nightcrawler. David goes on to become an edgerunner – biomechanically modified individuals called Cyberpunks (duh!).

The Pacing

cyberpunk edgerunners review
courtesy of the Youtube Trailer by Official Channel of Studio Trigger
  • What keeps you engaged is the amazing pacing of the story. Studio Trigger takes their sweet time animating the nightlife of, well, Night City. What pulls you, again and again, is the very well-paced animation that ends right where it should and begins right where it should.
  • The stories are connected by the frames that are animated, and only hardly if ever feels inconsistent. By frames I mean the continuity of what is being shown. For example, we can’t jump from a fight scene to a bathing scene (we can 😉 by leaving the fight scene off completely never to show it again. That’s a very basic example but it sets you in the right track. Such continuity is maintained in the pacing of the plot.

While David isn’t particularly the greatest protagonist, Lucy does quite well in being interesting. The plot really takes up by Episode 6 however. Til Ep 5, it’s kinda still world-building. From Episode 6 it’s very hot, hot enough to burn steel.

Cyberpunk Edgerunners Review : Animation

Cyberpunk Edgerunners Review
via cyberpunk.net
  • Studio Trigger is no novice in the department when it comes to animating a good show. With previous accolades that include Kill la Kill and Darlin In The Fraanx, Studio Trigger delivers what its name promises – trigger.

The Mature Content

cyberpunk edgerunners review
courtesy of the Youtube Trailer by Official Channel of Studio Trigger
  • Although one may be disgruntled by the bloodshot, people are being decimated in half, and prosthetics are being pulled out of the human body without care for the aftermath. One may also find themselves uncomfortable at the sight of modified humans having animated sex while the voice actors go all hentai. Cyberpunk Edgerunners animates a truly Rated R series.

Cyberpunk Edgerunners Review : The Illustrations

What really pulls the guns of any animated show is how well the illustrations are done. Now that’s difficult to judge. Unless we have something like this –

bad dragonball art
Via Pinterest

Usually, there is a difference between illustrations and animation. Illustrations are stills and put many together and you have at your hand an animation. The stills are exceptionally good. There is something about the color scheme of Studio Trigger that feels sublime and elite. They aren’t excessively shiny, or reflective, and do not come out like the Shader FX used in GTA San Andreas by modders. The colors instead feel papery, soft, and touching. The contrasts are less, and the colors feel more natural and watery than they feel fierce.

Suzume no Mori
Contrasting and sharp visuals in Suzume no  Tojimari, via @AnimeTv in Twitter

The above is an example of sharp colors, with reflections that feel out of the world. It isn’t too sharp, but the color contrast is just perfect. What I am showing you is the key visual of Suzume no Tojimari, Makoto Shinkai’s next big work. Against that, Edgerunner would pale. Heck, even any major Anime series may fail. Movies have a different reason, they have a story to tell and an audience to engage, all in some 2 hours maximum. But, I would say the art of Edgerunner fares better than its animation.

The Animation is by no means bad. It’s quite good honestly. But it depends upon compared to what? For a show of its budget, it’s quite good. But if I were to compare it with the likes of Demon Slayer, well sh*t.

Concluding

Cyberpunk Edgerunner is not a mainstream anime. It is unlikely that it will become as astonishing as other non manga-adapted stories. Although Cyberpunk fans in Japan aren’t limited, I have not yet seen a Japanese anime based on the source of the western world, or anywhere else for that matter, flourishing amongst the fans.

I am not even talking about Japanese fans, but worldwide as a whole. There seems to be some sort of huge boundary in which the community (and the community consists of anime fans from the entire world) puts in defining what’s anime and what’s not. Whether Avatar, for example, is one or not, is hugely debated. Although we have yet to see the end of such debate, Cyberpunk Edgerunner review by us should tell you – it shouldn’t be it. 

At best, Cyberpunk is good. It’s not world-defyingly good. At best, it’s a side story expansion DLC to Cyberpunk 2077, choom.

RATING: 8.2/10


Also Read : Attack on Titan Wasn’t Meant To Be Published Until This Happened

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Review
8.2
cyberpunk-edgerunners-reviewWhen we dive into the side stories of Cyberpunk 2077, our only escapade from the tangible hold of reality lies in the form of the central storyline and the lore. But what truly hones our bones are the side quests. Cyberpunk Edgerunners does exactly...