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Anime Review - Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners S1 Poster en

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners S1 Poster en

Sigh. I have finished watching Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, the 10-episodes-anime on Netflix. And... here I am, a Cyberpunk super-fan who obsessed over the game when it was popular to hate it... and yet, when it is popular to love the anime, I am... a bit unsatisfied.

And I think there is a strong relation between my two opinions. I think Edgerunners is an excellent introduction to the vast and deep lore of the Cyberpunk tabletop game and the CP2077 video game. And the show has more than served its true purpose - which is: at the end of the day, advertising the video game. Thanks to the show and CDPR's astonishing marketing, now suddenly the game is having a redemption story all over the internet. But... I didn't need that. And after reading two books, and one graphic novel, and playing the game two times, the anime barely added anything to my overall Cyberpunk experience.

Praise where its due: I think Edgerunners did two things really well. One, it illustrated cyberpsychosis in new heights. In the game you learn plenty about cyberpsychosis, but in the anime it's much more up-close and personal. And two, the show has a large cast who are all multilayered, and each having their own justified motivations, unique complexities, and interesting arcs. In just 10 episodes that must have been very hard to pull off, and I greatly commend it.

However, I think the show relies too heavily on the game, holding it back from being its own thing. Example, if you pause the anime in any shot of a room, I can roughly tell you where that room is in the game. So yeah, the art design is a copy paste. But also, the show portrays being an edgerunner for 4ish hours, which is... what you do in the game for hundred+ hours. I think I would have appreciated it if the show picked up something untold. For example, the graphic novel has a protagonist from the Trauma Team. The highs and lows of that feels unfamiliar.

I heard somewhere that if a story cannot be summarized in three sentences, then it's a weak story. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners can be summarized in one sentence. "A boy who has nothing to lose, emerges into a one-way dark path". It's not a spoiler because you see this in the first episode. But the thing is, in the next nine episodes this summary still applies. So yeah, while being a one sentence story is not essentially a weakness, it still leaves more to be asked.

In anyway, I am very happy that the show is bending the public opinion and bringing more people to enjoy something that I love. If you are loving the show and transitioning into the game, I recommend that at some point try to get your hands on a book called The World of Cyberpunk 2077. The book does a great job at summarizing and gluing the tabletop game's lore with the video game.

© 2022 Vashkor Zia

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