Preview: Cyberpunk Expendables brings superb animation and great references

We’re almost two years away from the release of Cyberpunk 2077, and since then, we’ve been on the promise of an anime that would complement and enrich the dystopian capitalist universe of Night City. Some time ago, we learned that the renowned Studio Trigger, responsible for the animated adaptation of the excellent Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia, would be the creator of the project.

Voxel watched the first two episodes of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (or Cyberpunk: Mercenários, official name in Brazil) and the prognosis is promising, as the combination of the game’s rich story stage with Trigger’s animation expertise resulted in an anime very interesting for fans of the universe and enthusiasts of the genre.

Below, you can check out our impressions of the beginning of the series without spoilers!

THESource: Cyberpunk

A very high quality anime

There’s no way to be apathetic to any new Studio Trigger project, as the company’s works are visual delights for any anime fan. And when this project is based on Cyberpunk, the stakes for something flashy are even higher. Whether you like the game or not, it’s undeniable that both the CD Projekt Red IP and the cyberpunk style are visually stunning products.

The dystopian, neon-light-filled aesthetic à la Neo Tokyo has been explored quite successfully in the past in works like Akira and Ghost in the Shell (and countless others throughout history), and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners would be no different. The difference is that, unlike the conventional style, the anime bets on brighter colors and an even more impressive panorama to portray the outskirts of Night City without appealing to the decadent cliché of a gray and homogeneous city.

If you’ve seen some trailers, you know what I’m talking about and you can already imagine a little bit of what to expect aesthetically from the new production, the result of a collaboration between Netflix, CD Projekt Red and Studio Trigger.

Of course, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is still an episodic anime and, as much as the quality is compared to current works, it’s still an animated series and doesn’t have the production value of a feature. However, that doesn’t make all the fluid action on the screen any less impressive, which is filled with Night City landscapes, violence and brutality in very well-animated combat scenes.

Of course, the look is not what matters most in an anime, but it is certainly one of the foundations when the theme is cyberpunk and Studio Trigger is responsible. After all, as one of the RPG paths, for some the phrase: “style over substance” is essential.

Good for newbies, even better for fans

The plot of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners deviates a little from the more serious and mature plot of Cyberpunk 2077. This time, the plot follows the life of David Martinez, a young resident of the outskirts of Santo Domingo, the same place where V, the game’s protagonist , has its main apartment.

Therefore, this background alone is a good indication that the panorama is a little different, since we follow the line of a more shounen script, with a young character, who gains “powers”, has his life changed abruptly and enters into conflict. a new circle of people that your life will depend on.

As you might guess from the title, Expendables is a teenager’s entry into a world of guns for hire to try to survive, but with the cliché twist (in a good way and we like it) of Japanese works in presenting someone out of the loop and special for some reason. I’ll avoid more details to preserve the experience and avoid spoilers, but the classic trope shows up here: something unique in the universe and with a character trying to understand its limits with new powers.

In other words, it’s a more classic anime formula based on the Cyberpunk 2077 universe. And, oddly enough, it seems that the mix works here, taking the best of both worlds, promising a good story for anyone who is an otaku of duty and a great development for fans of the game.

In the first few episodes, there is nothing there to indicate that it is necessary to have played Cyberpunk 2077 to understand what is going on, with a main story of its own and that fits perfectly within the events, world and plots of the game.

Meanwhile, fans of the game will have a keener perception of certain elements that appear in the plot, such as the neurodance chips, a better understanding of neural and physical enhancements, a greater context of the locations, characters and corporations, etc.

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Cyberpunk: Edgerunners got off to a very good start and is certainly a work to complement the game’s universe (which is inspired by the tabletop RPG, but here is built on the pillars of CD Projekt Red’s interpretation). However, my only downside is that for those who aren’t a connoisseur, some things can go over the top and it wouldn’t be too bad a development, whether it’s a quick quote or explanation, of certain elements for a first-time audience.

8 more episodes ahead (and with the crowd for quality)

There is no doubt that the first 2 episodes of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (or Cyberpunk: Expendables in Brazil) start in the right way to get excited in a journey of 10 chapters. Lots of action, high quality animation, faithful representation of the game’s plot universe and a lot of appeal to the public that doesn’t follow the original work closely.

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Another nice detail to reinforce is that the dubbing is very similar to the game, whether in tone or in the slang of the streets of Night City. The Brazilian cast is very good at acting, with famous voices playing the main roles, swearing without fear of restrictions, using terms from the official translation and much more. And, of course, the Japanese voices are always very well done.

Certainly Cyberpunk: Expendables brings an excellent combination of amazing visuals and a captivating plot, now it remains to be seen if this will continue throughout the season. The anime premieres September 13 on Netflix and we’re looking forward to more!

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