Netflix’s Cyberpunk: Edgerunners anime is taking the world by storm and is setting an amazing example to anyone trying to bring video games to the small screen. Use anime.
Netflix has seen great success with their video game adaptations that they release in the form of anime, like Castlevania, DOTA: Dragon’s Blood, and most recently, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. All three have been extremely well received and reached critical acclaim.
Anime studios usually have the freedom to tell an original story, while still obviously drawing on the game for inspiration. This has proven a really great combination for these anime series, and they have not only adapted the video games but also improved on them.
Netflix’s Cyberpunk: Edgerunners has been described as everything that the game should have been. Quickly reaching Netflix’s top 10 after its release, the series is far more in tune with the elements that define the cyberpunk genre, and really takes its time to flesh out the story.
Speaking of story, the series follows an all-new protagonist, David Martinez, who lives in a rundown part of Night City and has a mother that is trying to do her best to support him. In a crazy series of events, he loses his mother, gets kicked out of his school, and has a piece of stolen military-grade cybernetics implanted in his spine, all in the first two episodes.
Although his new cybernetic enhancement gives him superhuman speed and reflexes, the skills come at a cost, constantly having to inject himself with medicine to stabilize himself, and the risk of falling into cyberpsychosis, something dreaded in both the game and the series.
Hopefully Netflix will see the trend, and other studios will learn from their example. Anime is an awesome way to adapt a video game to the small screen, and this is how it’s meant to be done. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is a perfect example of this.
Cyberpunk 2077 is the game that inspired Netflix’s Edgerunners but isn’t nearly as loved as the series is. The video game was released on the 10th of December 2020 after the development company, CD Projekt RED, hyped up the game’s development and release. Upon release, players were extremely disappointed.
The game was full of bugs and wasn’t nearly as detailed as it had originally been advertised, barely scratching the surface. William Gibson, author of Neuromancer (the novel that served as the basis for the creation of the cyberpunk genre) criticised the game in a tweet saying that it felt like “GTA skinned-over with a generic ‘80s retro-future.”
While the game maybe didn’t accomplish everything that it set out to initially, it still laid the basis for the series, creating mega corporations that oversee everything, incorporating a sick idea of capitalism and how only the rich truly make it in the world. There are also hackers, the full use of the digital world as a training ground and reliving someone’s memories digitally called “Brain Dances”. Oh, and of course, the darker side of the risks involved with cybernetic enhancements.
Despite the bad reception of the game, the new Netflix series has done nothing but help it, as the number of players has seen a huge explosion since the debut of the Cyberpunk: Edgerunners series. This is also helped by the new Phantom Liberty DLC, but it seems the anime has inspired some new players to join the game, and even some older players to pick it up again.