As an anime blogger, it’s not often that I say good things about a “Netflix anime.” Usually, I’m taking the company to task for giving us low-effort CGI crap or complaining how the “Netflix Jail” and binge-watch systems kill whatever excitement a new show could have generated with fans worldwide. Now the new Cyberpunk Edgerunners series, animated by Trigger and based on the world of the Cyberpunk 2077 game by Polish company CD Projekt Red, prove that Netflix is trying to change its ways. Let’s take a look at this amazing cyberpunk anime!
Why Cyberpunk Edgerunners Saves Netflix Anime
The show positively exploded onto the Internet when it dropped earlier this month, instantly winning a MAL score of 8.77 and a 100% rating on Rottentomatoes. With its amazing animation and action, fantastic characters, and story that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, it goes a long way to restoring the halo Netflix won for itself by funding Violet Evergarden.
It’s also the best cyberpunk anime since the two Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series. That excellent work set the bar for the genre so high I assumed that no animation studio would ever try their hand at cyberpunk again… but Trigger was up to the task.
The original story follows David Martinez, a teenager who isn’t getting along with his peers at the prestigious Arasaka Academy. One thing leads to another, and he ends up with illegal military-grade combat hardware installed in his body. This allows him to become an “edgerunner,” or a high-tech black-market criminal, also called a “cyberpunk.” He encounters the beautiful Lucy and a host of other cybercriminals, eventually finding his place in the world.
While I think Lucy is a Zero Two-tier waifu, fans have apparently decided that the insane loli Rebecca is their favorite character. Which I am totally down with.
We’ve got Cyberpunk 2077 figures and more on the site. Browse here!
You Don’t Need to Have Played the Game to Enjoy Cyberpunk Edgerunners
I happened to already be a fan of the Cyberpunk 2077 game and have spent a few hundred hours running around the futuristic world of Night City, stealing cars and doing battle with police, and generally taking in the amazing sci-fi dystopia that the game shows us. While it’s amazing to play, knowledge of the game isn’t required to enjoy the Cyberpunk Edgerunners anime. The anime takes place inside the world of the video game, but other than terminology like “eddies” for money or “braindance” for a sensory recording of someone’s memories you can experience, the anime and the game are separate and complementary.
That said, a recent patch for the game adds a ton of Easter eggs from the anime, including locations you can visit. I can’t wait to explore them all!
The Perfect Blending of East and West
I believe that cooperation between great Japanese companies and Western ones yields the best results when bringing creative works from Japan to the wider world. No matter how wonderful a company like Nitroplus might be, it was the combination of that company’s creative works with the translation project management skills and knowledge of the Western game market that JAST USA provided, that allowed us to bring their amazing visual novels to everyone.
And the same is true of Cyberpunk Edgerunners. The characters and core story are by Cyberpunk 2077 creator Mike Pondsmith, who made the legendary Cyberpunk paper-and-dice RPG released by R. Talsorian Games back in the day. The anime is directed by Trigger co-founder Hiroyuki Imaishi of FLCL, Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill fame, with many talented Japanese staff members involved. It’s the perfect meeting of East and West.
And while the show is based on the rich world developed by CD Projekt Red, in the end, it’s a proper anime, filled with all the violence, nudity, and themes that we love anime for. When the Western staff got uncomfortable having a “loli” in the show, Trigger went to bat for all of us, insisting that Rebecca be kept as-is. Thanks for being awesome, guys!
Advice for the Future of Netflix Anime
It’s great to once again feel that Netflix, one of the most important companies around, can once again be seen as a positive force in the anime industry. In case any Netflix executives are J-List fans, I’d like to offer some advice:
- DO back up truckloads of money to Japan’s best animation studios and let them do amazing work.
- DO NOT think you can make anime yourself. Anime is made in Japan or Asia with talented Japanese creators. None of the on-the-cheap “Netflix original” works you created will be remembered fondly by any fan.
- DO continue to find a proper solution to the “Netflix Jail” system, the delaying of a series for 15 weeks to make the dubs. A two-week delay for the dub is reasonable, but not a whole season.
Thanks for reading this post about the Cyberpunk Edgerunners Netflix anime. Are you excited about the show? Tell us in the comments below, or reply to us on Twitter!
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