Cyberpunk: Edgerunners | Love, Death, and Cyberpunk
A Personal Review on the Surprise Breakout Netflix Anime of the Year
I’m usually the last to admit that I’m picky when it comes to anime, but here I am, ready to confess my anime sins.
Compared to where the industry was some ten years ago, Japanese animation has become a worldwide mainstream topic for people from all walks of life. Back in the day, anime felt more niche, like a dirty secret that you had to keep hidden otherwise you’d be bullied for it at school. Many more shows then flew under the radar and coming across good ones felt like you had uncovered a hidden gem.
Now, it’s hard to imagine mainstream media without anime. Try and navigate any social media without seeing some hyped-up anime show or movie getting shoved in your face, and I’d give you a medal. [ Just look at Chainsaw Man for a perfect example of this! ]
It’s for this reason that when Cyberpunk: Edgerunners appeared on my timeline, I initially ignored it. I was happier for CD Projekt Red, the gaming company behind the similarly titled game: Cyberpunk 2077, since the publicity from this show’s release surely meant a healthy influx of new players.
Even when my boyfriend began watching the show and singing its praises, I still kept my distance. Not to throw shade at my anime-watching partner, but his tastes can be questionable at times. [ He gave me a well-deserved glare while typing this. ]
But, when he came to me after finishing the show, he said: “Amanda, this is an anime you would like. You should watch it.”
And, well, one thing I cannot deny is that my boyfriend indeed does know my anime tastes down to the letter. So, I sat down one morning, opened up the Netflix app, and began watching Edgerunners.
I felt like such a fool.
I am STILL getting teary-eyed and chills every time “I Really Want to Stay at Your House” by Rosa Walton and Hallie Coggins plays during a TikTok or comes up in my Spotify playlist. Like, EXCUSE ME? I was having a great day until you had to remind me of this emotional rollercoaster of an anime.
It’s so hard to put into words too because this show hits so many high, action-packed scenes while also cruising along with these quiet, contemplative, and somber moments…and never does it feel contradictive or jarring. HOW? My brain is spinning just thinking about the plot beats and outrageous action.
One moment, you're watching a drugged-up cyber-man tear into an entire squadron of elite cops, the next you’re on cloud nine and deep in your feelings as two young characters kiss for the first time.
And the themes and ideas expressed throughout the show get surprisingly deep and all too reflective of our own worldly issues on multiple occasions. Take this article’s image which was taken directly from the show: an honest conversation about how these hardcore cyberpunks believe the only way they will be remembered is by dying in a gruesome or glorious way.
But maybe you want to hear about the animation, because that is what turns good anime into great anime, and I can assure you that this animation is nothing to sleep on.
Coming from the talent that brought you the over-the-top and controversial anime Darling in the Franx and Kill La Kill, Studio Trigger is a well-known and respected animation studio. If you’ve been keeping up with all the new Star Wars shows and spin-offs, you might have seen them listed in the studios featured in the Star Wars: Visions mini-series.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is the perfect landing strip for any new viewer of Studio Trigger’s work, and is easily some of their best yet. Explosive, colorful, dynamic, and masterfully animated, you never get dropped out of the world, the characters, or the story by some janky or sub-par animation. In fact, I argue that the animation style adds a whole layer to this show that brings it to a higher tier of immersion than other shows of the same caliber.
I really could gush about this show for another 1,000 words, but I think I’ve made my point without spoiling the fun ( and sadness ) for you all. If ever there was a cyberpunk anime series to check out or try for the first time, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is it.
If you enjoyed my thoughts on this show and think it might interest you, go watch it for yourself on Netflix! And if you wish to see more from me ( or if you just want to support me and be that really nice person ) you can go to my newly re-designed author website: amandastarks.com, and subscribe to my FREE email newsletter that’s released every two weeks!
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About the author
Book hoarder, fantasy author, gaming goblin. I love all things fantasy and have a lot of thoughts on today's stories in anime, books, tv, and games. Subscribe to my free newsletter at amandastarks.com for monthly updates!