‘Cyberpunk: Edgerunners’ Review: Studio Trigger Brings Night City to Life Once Again
Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the most anticipated pieces of media ever created. CDProjekt RED, the Polish studio behind the fantastic The Witcher series of games, had big ambitions for Cyberpunk 2077 and the universe where the game takes place. It seemed like Cyberpunk 2077 could not fail, and so many projects and collaborations were made before the release of the game. One of these collaborations was made with the legendary studio Trigger and Netflix to create an anime series based on the game. Let’s review it and see how it turned out.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is an anime series produced by CD Projekt RED, animated by Studio Trigger, and available on Netflix. The series tells the story of David, a young 17-year-old man living in Night City, the huge cyberpunk metropolis where both video games and tabletop games take place. David will face a tragedy that will send him on the road to making it big in the city. However, to do that, he will have to get his hands dirty, as there is no one he can trust in this cyberpunk dystopia.
Cyberpunk 2077 might have been one of the most anticipated pieces of media ever produced, but it also ended up being one of the most disastrous launches of any piece of media ever. The situation escalated quickly as users started to realize that the game they were promised didn’t exist. Cyberpunk 2077 was launched in an incomplete state, and it was also filled with bugs, glitches, and countless performance issues on the console, especially those of the previous generation.
So, after the launch of the game was such a disaster, CD Projekt Red, the company that owns the IP, had a hard time afterward. The company was very successful, but then the stock price went down, their PR was a nightmare, and they were basically running against the clock to finish the game they had already released. Before the game was even launched, they announced the release of an anime series in collaboration with Studio Trigger. At that moment, the announcement was met with excitement, but now years later, when the anime is finally here, many people are not very interested.
This is a shame because while the game was a disaster, CD Projekt Red has been working hard to fix the game and take it to a playable state. It might never be the game we imagined, but the state of the game is a lot better now. So, Edgerunners arrives at a time when the brand is healing, slowly, but healing anyway. The anime series will only help to improve that healing because what Trigger has done in this series is remarkable, as it is everything they do.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners consists of 10 episodes telling the story of David, a young man trying to raise to the top in Night City. While the story is standalone, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the story of the game. Members of the audience who have played the game will extract so much more from the series, as the anime uses plenty of the game’s lore, concepts, and locals. You can really feel that both studios were really working together to make this series part of the universe and not just an unrelated spin-off that has the name tag on it.
The main protagonist in the series is Studio Trigger itself. The studio is now legendary thanks to its amazing animation style. No one does anime in the same way that Trigger does. Trigger’s sense for designing action sequences and creating over-the-top characters is unrivaled. Here, the studio keeps flexing those animation chops in every single scene and sequence. The action is stunning and explosive, the characters are unique and sexy, and the city itself, which is one of the main protagonists in the game, also feels like a living entity here in the anime.
The story of David is one that we have seen before. The creators of the anime have even accepted that Martin Scorsese and his films have been a real inspiration for the story they are telling her. The first film that comes to mind is, of course, “Goodfellas”. Like Henry in that movie, David begins like a standard kid with ambition, but then he starts hanging out with the wrong crowd, and then his descent into Night City’s criminal underground becomes just the normal progression of events. It all feels very familiar, but Trigger knows how to use the cyberpunk universe to add spice to this familiar story.
As the season progresses, Trigger also knows how to spice up the story itself. Yes, David and Lucy, our femme fatale, go through familiar story beats in the first episode, but it is very soon when things go off the rails. The story really starts to take advantage of the universe midway through the season and uses details that are unique to the setting to create some truly exciting and terrifying events. David and Lucy might not be the deepest characters ever put into an anime series, but they are fun, easy to root for, and nice to look at, especially during the most frenetic action sequences.
Cyberpunk 2077 might still be healing from what was a very disastrous launch that almost killed the company. However, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners starts on a good foot right away. The series might even bring a new audience to the game, which would be awesome because it is now, and not when it launched, that people should pick the game and give it a chance. Netflix has been killing it by delivering these kick-ass video game adaptations. It definitely seems like animation is the way when it comes to bringing these franchises to the screen.