Let’s take a walk down memory lane: The 1980s were a crazy time for anime, with films such as Akira, Demon City Shinjuku, MD Geist, Vampire Hunter D, and wicked city being just a few examples of movies that delved into animated worlds brimming with violence and nudity. Cyberpunk: Edge Runners feels like the spiritual successor to those properties, showcasing a world of technological advancement that’s also mired in decadence, and in embracing that landscape takes the top spot for Netflix’s original anime properties.
For starters, this series is based on CD Projekt’s controversial video game, Cyberpunk 2077. Luckily, you don’t need to know the game universe to dive straight into it. edge runners. The anime follows a young man named David, who has quite powerful technology but pays a heavy price for its acquisition. David might not break the mold when it comes to your typical anime protagonist, but he works well as an avatar for viewers, who could easily see themselves in his shoes, even though those shoes usually move at the speed of the light thanks to the new spine. implanted in his back.
The series isn’t afraid to explore dark territory, but what works so well in David’s story is the light-hearted family he eventually finds in a gang of “Cyberpunks”, aka mercenaries. who use their advanced technologies as firearms, with the series giving us brief segments exploring each crew member’s character and how the protagonist fits into their world. edge runners manages to deftly balance humor and nihilistic story beats incredibly well, while allowing you to root for David along the way.
Another key part of David’s story is that he also happens to be a high school dropout who finds himself in a criminal underworld in which he is wrong…a lot. The power teenager’s learning curve works well to show that David might be in another league with his technology, but he’s still a fish out of water in more ways than one. The father/son relationship David has with gang leader Maine is laid back and builds the fun and chemistry of this underworld gang.
Studio TRIGGER, which might be best known for its work on the likes of Promare, kill the kill, and Little Witch Academyshoot all the engines here and edge runners feels like their best work yet. There are some truly stunning visuals along the way and TRIGGER can capture them with ease. Series like cowboy bebop and outlaw star were able to surround their characters with amazing technology while making their protagonists relatable and making their technology seem mundane at the same time. Edgerunners excels at this, making the extraordinary feel down to earth. The animation here is as energetic and exciting as needed for a story involving androids leaving behind light-frame versions of themselves while holding a gun bigger than their own arm, and it reminded me of the classic animated film visuals Red line seeing some of the battles featured here.
As previously mentioned, edge runners is a series that is not afraid of its ultra-violence, and although some of the stars will meet horrible ends, TRIGGER was able to help make these scenes even more difficult when they inevitably come to a member of the crew that we came to know over the ten episodes. TRIGGER uses a smooth, energetic and power-chilling style of animation along the way, helping you keep your eyes glued to the screen lest you miss an animation cell along the way.
I would be in awe if I didn’t mention Akira Tamaoka’s incredible soundtrack here, which uses a combination of synth and contemporary melodies to give edge runners a different feel than many other shows in the anime realm. It sounds risky but works exceptionally well to help push the world of David and his unorthodox new family. It’s a rock soundtrack that goes exceptionally well with the visuals and the story.
Cyberpunk: Edge Runners is by far a Netflix anime original that cries out for your attention and is easily one of the best productions the streaming service has featured. Fan of the games or not, edge runners well worth your time.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Cyberpunk: Edge Runners is now streaming on Netflix.