‘Cyberpunk: Edgerunners?’ More like edge of your seat 

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For those who aren’t aware, “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” was released on Netflix yesterday. If you are one for gritty, dystopian science fiction told through incredibly vibrant animation, then this anime may be the one for you. The story follows a street-wise kid with an unwavering loyalty to his overworked mother, who simply just wants the best for her son. 

As someone who had previously played the highly customizable and unique video game “Cyberpunk 2077,” I found this series to be just as enjoyable. David’s story seems to take place within the same era as the game, so there is a lot of overlap with societal dynamics, especially between the violently hostile Edgerunners and the abusively arrogant Corpos (no mention of the Nomads yet). I was a person who did not choose the street kid lifestyle in the game, so it was refreshing to be immersed in the criminal underbelly of the shared setting of Night City.

Our protagonist, David, is a high school-aged student who doesn’t fit in with his other classmates at the academy. The classroom environment is reminiscent of George Orwell’s “1984,” particularly how it is depicted in the famous Apple Super Bowl advertisement, with a large projection of the teacher lecturing over what appears to be mind-controlled students.  

Once a virus is introduced to the class mainframe through David’s street antics, it causes the whole system to become severely damaged and shut down. This results in David’s mother being called in and the principal adding even more financial difficulty onto the struggling family’s plate, not to mention bullying from his preppy classmates. 

The notable voices lending their talents to the English localization of this show are Zach Aguilar as David, who is no stranger to working in the anime and video game industries, as well as the highly-esteemed Giancarlo Esposito as the secondary character Faraday. That being said, the series is viewable in the original Japanese as well.  

One thing to be noted is that “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” is based off of quite a violent and sexually explicit video game. This is apparent from the first few minutes of the first episode. Despite that, the series is still capable of telling a satisfying story, but this isn’t something I would sit down and watch with my mother. 

The release seems to be a particularly bold move by Netflix following their loss of one million subscribers in the second fiscal quarter of this year and their stock taking a bit of a dive back in May. The risk seems quite notable given the niche group of “Cyberpunk 2077” fans who may already be familiar with the futuristic universe. Hopefully, Netflix’s platform grants an opportunity for both them and CD Projekt RED to thrive with this new endeavor.  

Overall, “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” looks like it will be one of the better Netflix originals released this year, but I’m not sure if it will get the attention it is expecting. Admittedly, I will miss the occasional wisecracks from Keanu Reeves’ performance as Johnny Silverhand that were abundant in the video game, but this series seems to have some legs of its own. A compelling story coupled with incredible action, all told through flashy animation — it seems there is little for anyone to find unenjoyable about this new series and I implore anyone to watch it.  

Rating: 4/5  

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