Review of anime produced by Netflix. How good is this project?
On September 13, the Netflix streaming service (Netflix) premiered the first season (and maybe the only one) of an anime based on the Cyberpunk universe (Cyberpunk), authored by Mike Pondsmith. This title was created by Trigger and was subtitled Edgerunners (Edzhrunners / running along the edge). This anime was made possible by the success (which is success) of Cyberpunk 2077, and the anime itself is partly tied to it. I watched this title almost in one gulp, and I have something to tell you.
The plot of the title tells about David Martinez. The guy lives with his mother and studies at the Arasaki School, one of the richest and most influential mega-corporations. To give her son a ticket to life, David’s mother works day and night and not only. But one day an accident occurs and she dies. David is left all alone, mired in debt. He has no choice but to go astray and join one of Night City’s gangs.
This is Night City
Speaking of the city. He’s big and powerful and he… stinks. If you have played Cyberpunk 2077, then despite the difference in art between the anime and the game, you will recognize this city without any problems. Familiar streets, familiar buildings and even familiar faces. A lot of locations will pierce the nostalgia of those who have already plunged into Night City. And what frankly pleases, the anime did not spoil the essence of this place. This is a city that was supposed to be a paradise, but turned into a complete hell.
In fact, the anime even captures the atmosphere of the city a little better. And all thanks to the rating of the project. Here we are shown everything. And nudity and bloodbath. But you know, as one youtuber said, I’m not a fan of all this in a vacuum. Such things should work for the plot and atmosphere, and not vice versa. And that’s exactly what it is in Edge Runners. Scenes like this here only enhance the immersion in this world and serve as additional proof of what a dirty city it is. And that’s exactly how they should be used.
The main theme of the plot of this anime is Cyberpsychosis. A similar phenomenon, although it took place in the game, was revealed in a very basic way. There we were offered only to fight with a certain number of such psychopaths. Here, the creators decided to delve into the topic of Cybepsychosis, revealing its essence (and even lore) more closely and fully.
The name (Edge Runners) is also related to this. In one of the episodes, we are told about this in plain text. Throughout the story, the protagonist goes from the very first augmentation to the full set. And all this is staged in such a way that it is very easy for the viewer to empathize with him. And some episodes even grab you by the soul.
Musical accompaniment also contributes to this immersion. All compositions are excellent. They complement and develop the emotional background of the work in various aspects. In general, speaking about everything in the franchise (both the game and the anime), both the music was top-notch here and there. When I played 2077 (and I went through it twice), I never skipped music in cars and enjoyed it in different game moments. And anime also works well with the audio component. The only pity is that there are no Johnny Silverhand tracks in the anime, which were recorded by the Refused group specifically for the game.
Visually, this anime is … typical anime, though not quite. Studio Trigger has chosen a very interesting style. Personally, while watching it, it constantly seemed to me that this drawing, even if it is the purest anime, but no, no, yes, it gives off notes of Western animation. Or so it just seemed to me. But if so, then this combination is just as great for this project for two reasons. Firstly, this anime is directed for the most part to a Western audience. Secondly, the Cyberpunk genre itself (including this franchise), although it is most often built on Western society, it also has a lot from Japanese culture. In any case, I think this combination is extremely successful.
Personal impression and pace
If we talk about my personal impressions, they are strictly positive. In the first series, I was in the same shock as the main character, because in this particular case, it was easy for me personally to understand him. But not all series are like that. I would say that there are about a third of really shocking episodes here (even though 10 by 3 is not divisible), while the rest, although good, are clearly lower in intensity. And that describes the series just as well, because it not only ups the ante, but also gives the viewer a break, skillfully playing with the pace of the story.
Bottom line: anime is cooler than games?
I saw one interesting idea on the net. Many agree that this anime turned out even better than the game itself. Indeed, the Edge Runners reveal the city better, better reveal the theme of augmentations and better show the mood of this world. However, the game should not be discounted either. It deepens the lore of the universe and focuses more on legendary characters like Johnny Silverhand. Anime is a completely ordinary story from this world. It definitely deserves your attention. If you’ve played the game, watching the anime will immerse you in Night City even more. If you have not played, then the anime absolutely does not require you to know the mat part. In any case, everyone can watch it. I am more than sure that most people will like it.