Welcome Choombas! If you arrived here, you want to know how that fancy nova-looking Cyberpunk 2077 anime from Studio Trigger is!
CD Projekt Red and Studio Trigger really built something special with an all-star cast of voice actors, like Zach Aguilar (Demon Slayer), Giancarlo Esposito (Mandalorian, Breaking Bad, Far Cry 6), Bryce Papenbrook (Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer, Sword Art Online), Matthew Mercer (Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 6, Attack on Titan) and many more extremely talented actors.
If you played Cyberpunk 2077, you already know that behind Night City’s neon lights, advertisements, fancy cars, and busy streets lies something far more sinister. Edgerunners is no different, with many of the same themes and plenty of Easter eggs from the game. What this anime absolutely drives home throughout its visceral art and macabre storytelling is that we are going to a place of lies and brutality. Night City may advertise itself as a place of dreams, but, truly, it is a place where no one can be trusted, the lower class will always be taken advantage of, anything can happen, and anyone can get zeroed.
The premise of the series follows our protagonist, David Martinez, trying to live and survive in Night City. It develops him in his journey to adulthood while exploring his relationships and Night City on a very personable level. Studio Triggers builds David up in such a strong manner, diving into his aspirations, while Aguilar is extremely talented at bringing emotion, strength, and hope into his voice. This really gives David a strong foundation for a character and makes him very memorable.
Many of the characters in this anime have gimmicky appearances (common in anime) and often have a slow build in their character development, but where the actors truly shine is in the personal dialogue between gnarly fight scenes. Much like other animes that are all the rage right now, Edgerunners makes it entertaining and interesting when they introduce another character. By the end of the show, I can’t say I had any questions as to how these characters fit into the story, and, much like a master puzzle, everyone has a purpose in the grand scheme of the plot.
Since Edgerunners has a leg up in world-building due to Cyberpunk 2077, it really gives them the time and focus to connect to you as the viewer. When you see certain places in the anime, it’s very easy to go “I know where that is!” if you’ve played the game, which is something I found to be deeply enriching to the experience because I didn’t have to ask the questions that a viewer new to the franchise might need to ask. In that same breath, I don’t think playing the game is a requirement to really understand these areas or nods to the games. Studio Trigger’s storytelling ends up fleshing out concepts or activities that may seem confusing, and it even makes some of Cyberpunks’ choice jargon understandable for someone who is watching this for the first time.
Although the entirety of Edgerunners makes sense front to back, I will say that, in terms of plot and story development, the build up towards the end could have used a little bit more to flesh out the antagonist’s actions and make the ending more meaningful to the viewer. To continue in criticism, the halfway point in the show did have some confusing plot points for even the seasoned Cyberpunk player to pick up on.
Overall, Studio Trigger does a really nova job at telling a great story filled with the character building and themes that made the game, and CD Projekt Red, so popular.
Edgerunners’ animation compliments Cyberpunk in a visceral way. Studio Trigger captures its landscapes, brutality, uniqueness, and gruesome-ness very well. Facial expressions were excellent and could convey emotion confidently. I never found myself watching characters’ mouths, so syncing of what I was seeing and hearing was perfection.
Where the animation truly shines is in its combat sequences and environments. Some of my favorite aspects of the animation are how they utilized different cybernetic upgrades; when time was moving slow, Edgerunners tastefully paints this on your screen. Edgerunners is not afraid to show full nudity and gore, and, thankfully, melding these two things especially complements the world Edgerunners takes place in, giving it a feeling of culture.
Much like the game, gore plays a big part in Cyberpunks’ world. The way you see blood spray across the environments and gore exploding from bodies really sends home how unforgiving Night City is. Its use of vibrant colors in these sequences can really enforce just how violent its world can be.
Edgerunners blends animation, excessive gore, character building, and storytelling in a way that’s unforgettable. Its characters and story, although trivial to Cyberpunk 2077’s journey, left an insatiable taste for more that complements the game very well. I can’t help but want more and hope for more. Although its story can be hard to follow at times, its ending, even if a little rushed, delivers a ride that will leave chooms satisfied everywhere and Corpos afraid to leave their offices. With that being said, if you enjoyed Cyberpunk 2077, Edgerunners is a ride you’d be a gonk to miss!