If you are a cyberpunk genre fan and Blade Runner: Black Lotus and Ghost in the Shell impressed you, give Cyberpunk 2077: Edgerunners a try.
From Cyberpunk 2077: Edgerunners, everyone can learn how to make a superb tie-in. There is enough for newcomers to take in, and there is also enough to let franchise devotees nod
sagely along to the show feeling very clever as it ticks off all the cool things they’ve seen in-game — now that’s fan service. The action is grounded in the Cyberpunk 2077 universe, complemented by awesome animation and key aesthetic twinkles.
If Making an Adaptation of Something Cherished by the Fanbaseis Challenging,
Wouldn’t Adapting Something With a Dubious Reputation Be Much More of a Challenge?
Despite its virtues, Cyberpunk 2077 was released in an awful state on all platforms, overpromised and underdelivered, and consequentially paid the price. Some parents even
questioned their kids about its removal from PlayStation after hearing about it on the mainstream morning news.
CD Projekt RED has been gradually regaining the goodwill it once had, whether by
improving the game’s performance and feel on consoles and PC so you can enjoy the great quests without experiencing any technical difficulties or by building on the best aspects of the game with lore-deepening graphic novels and, most recently, a high-budget anime tie-in.
A colorful setting and unique aesthetic that perfectly match the tone and pulpy sensibilities of the techno-dystopian genre as a whole are two things that Cyberpunk 2077 has never lacked. So there is a solid groundwork for further success built right into it already.
While watching Edgerunners, we cannot help but be reminded of two other recent cyberpunk animes released: Blade Runner: Black Lotus and Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2045. Unfortunately, due to shoddy CGI animation, both are terrible and completely undo the otherwise excellent job that the authors, animators, and world-builders delivered.
Studio TRIGGER Can Do No Wrong, Right?
Black Lotus had an intriguing story with a scenario reminiscent of The Most Dangerous
Game, but it wasn’t easy to care about the characters when everyone was animated like bendy posable action figures. It felt like watching a show because of the name alone, and the lifeless and uninteresting worlds they were serving up didn’t do them any justice as well. Edgerunners overcomes this by employing superior animation as well as by being so
closely entwined with Night City and everything you can find in Cyberpunk 2077. It’s like
watching the most recent adaptation of any Star Wars story and seeing characters walk into Empire Slots Casino.
First, there is technology. You can get everything from Maine’s arm cannon and Lucy’s monowire to the series-defining Sandevistan from V in the neighborhood ripperdoc. Then there is the setting itself; whether it’s the Afterlife pub, Jacked and Coke, or any of the Night City’s other well-known hangouts, the action often takes place in a world setting that you might have already seen, rather than simply a vague “somewhere.”
Then there are the minor details, such as the phone call sound from the game or the Breach Protocol mini-game that appears when characters hack objects.
The important point isn’t simply that these items are on the menu; it’s that there are new and fascinating things happening with them, which helps to portray them as useful objects that
people use on a daily basis or busy centers of a bustling metropolis rather than as set pieces or stage props. If you’ve played the game, you’ll recognize many of the anime items. It was the disappointing part about the other projects we mentioned. It felt more like a collection of cool things in a vacuum that served no real purpose but to make the plot happen. And it’s
not only exclusive to the subgenre or this particular medium. When you see something in
any piece of fiction, ask yourself:
- does it make sense in this universe?
- is it useful?
- is it practical?
- is there anything already existing that does its function better?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes, ” it is likely just lazy writing.
As an anime, Cyberpunk 2077: Edgerunners obviously has the standard and inevitable cliches. The main character is somewhere between 16 and 25. Given the adult situations
in the movie, some other adult scenes like gore and nudity are expected. Unless you enjoy explaining why someone is nude or exploded into millions of pieces, it’s not one for the family evening on a huge screen in the living room.
But hey, that’s nothing new for the genre, with Akira, Dredd, Bladerunner, and Robocop guilty of it. In any case, Cyberpunk 2077: Edgerunners is among the finest series
we’ve recently watched, tie-in or not, and it sets the bar for the kinds of shows we want to watch in the future.