A Name in the Making: “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” Review

A review about the new anime “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners”

by Lucas Matsuda, Reporter

Based on one of the biggest letdowns in gaming history, “Cyberpunk: 2077,” becomes a new ten-episode anime “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” animated by Studio Trigger, famous for their animation work on other shows such as “Kill la Kill,” “Little Witch Academia” and “BNA: Brand New Animal.” On Aug 30, 2022, Netflix released the official trailer to a wary audience confirming the series’ arrival to the platform on Sept 13, 2022.  The trailer was received quite well, though long-time “Cyberpunk” fans have already learned their lesson with trailers not being representative of the actual product.  Now, this raises the question, does the anime live up to the hype or does it fall short like the game?

“Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” takes place in Night City, a highly technologically advanced but very corrupt society in the year 2076.  The series follows street kid David Martinez as the mercenary outlaw lifestyle is forced onto him after he loses his mother who was caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting.  David starts his new life as an Edgerunner with his newly-found crew of Cyberpunks and their journey to become one of Night Cities’ greatest legends.  With each and every episode we see David continue to grow as a person and a Cyberpunk along with the relationships with parts of his crew, mainly focusing on his main love interest, Lucy. Though the plot may seem basic, one of the best things the anime does is its animation.  Studio Trigger perfectly encapsulated Night City in “Edgerunners” with neon lights and billboards illuminating the concrete jungle.  Each fight scene is bloody, gory and over the top which really shines in Studio Triggers’ animation style which makes for some of the best fight scenes in anime this year.   Amazing visuals accompanied by one of the best soundtracks in anime this year.  Every episode was accompanied by an excellent song choice that perfectly fits the scene.  

I feel that the weakest aspect of this anime was the plot.  While it wasn’t bad, the plot tells a classic story of those who ignore the warnings and choose to continue down a dangerous lifestyle.  Unfortunately, living your life as an edgerunner means that you risk your life each day, and we see throughout each episode different dangers of being an outlaw.  The ending was very predictable, though it doesn’t make it any less bittersweet. 

I really enjoyed this anime and I look forward to more adaptations of video games into animated shows.  While this was nowhere near as big as something as Arcane, it’s a huge step in the right direction for more shows like these and getting anime to become a more mainstream title. I feel like any anime fan will love this although it might go under people’s radar because of the video game title.  As someone who has played through “Cyberpunk,” being a fan does make the show better but isn’t required to watch it.  Overall, I give it an 8.5/10.