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Cyberpunk: Edgerunners has no right to be as good as it is. Taking inspiration from Cyberpunk 2077, Edgerunners expands on the lore and ideas seen in Night City and fleshes them out into a high-octane, pulsating 10 episode anime. With plenty of violence, gore and deep characterisation, Edgerunners is a blast from start to finish.
The first couple of episodes work to set the scene, introducing us to a street kid called David. His mum Gloria is overworked and unfortunately ends up passing away after a car accident. Grief-stricken and beaten by bullies, David decides to get implants to enhance his body. However, those implants belong to a psychotic man named James Norris and there are concerns that David could adopt some of his psychotic traits.
Before any of this transpires though, David meets Lucy and her gang. They want the implant inside of David but he compromises with them, deciding to work one gig at a time to pay them back instead. With monstrous Maine watching over the group, the show moves into a more episodic structure as David learns the ropes, is trained by Lucy and gets to know the rest of the group group, taking out targets along the way. Everything is then brought together nicely during one last mission, stretched across a couple of bombastic, high-action eps to close the show out on a high.
Aesthetically, Edgerunners looks fantastic, leaning into the influences from the game and bringing locales seen in 2077 into the anime. Night City is a living, breathing, cyberpunk metropolis here and unlike the game, which felt empty and hollow at times, everything here has been meticulously crafted from the ground up. Streets have a familiar tinge of neon to them too, streets are populated by a myriad of different characters while the seedy underbelly of this place is shown in its violent, sexual and bloody glory.
Whether you’ve played Cyberpunk 2077 or not, there’s enough to like here regardless of your experience with Night City. The characters in particular are nicely defined and there’s a distinct lack of plot armour too, which helps to heighten the tension. Characters are regularly killed off while both David and Lucy have a good deal of history and depth about them, which is explored nicely across the run-time. If there’s one big gripe with this though, it’s that the show is too short and could have benefited from an extra 3 or 4 episode to help everything breathe, as well as get to know the rest of the gang.
Although we do learn more about players like Becca, Falco, Maine and others, a lot of this also feels like it plays second fiddle to David and Lucy, who eat up the lion’s share of the run-time. Thankfully, David’s journey is emotionally charged and easy to get behind, making it a wild ride despite its lack of depth for the supporting players.
The soundtrack is going to be much more of an acquired taste though, with a heady blend of pop and sci-fi soundscapes mixed in together. It works quite well in the context of the show but the final track in episode 10 feels a little ill-fitting, especially given the lyrics.
Despite all that though, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is a well-written anime adaptation, and a bloody good time. This series continues Netflix’s surprisingly good work with animated videogame adaptations, hitting a homerun for the streamers.
Read More: Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Ending Explained
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Verdict - 8/10