Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Review: An Amazing Videogame Anime Adaptation.

Like many people, I was highly anticipating Cyberpunk 2077 before it was released.
I think it is fair to say that it was one of the most anticipated video games of all time, what with how hyped up the marketing was.
This made it all the more crushing when the game released practically broken at launch, especially on consoles.
I reviewed Cyberpunk 2077 shortly after release and I gave it a positive review, despite admitting that it caused my PlayStation to crash five times on my first play through.
Looking back, I think I was too lenient.
However, at the same time, I can also see why I gave the game a positive review because of how much the story, characters and world building gripped me.
Such features made me excited when it was announced that Studio Trigger would be releasing their own anime set in the Cyberpunk 2077 universe, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. 

Despite the game’s many many faults, the anime had the chance to be something special.

You may have heard the buzz surrounding this anime as one of the best of the year and, after watching all ten episodes, I can add my voice to this buzz.
Directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is set in Night City, a corporation-run hell hole, where the only way to make a name for yourself is to cybernetically enhance your body, often to the point of cyberpsychosis.
It is this bleak city where we meet our main character David Martinez (Kenn) who, after a tragic turn of events, decides to have a military grade piece of technology, known as the Sandevistan, implanted into his body.
This leads to David meeting a netrunner named Lucy (Aoi Yuki), introducing him to the world of Edgerunners, which he excels in, due to his new implant.
The growing bond between David and Lucy is great to see play out as they have such excellent chemistry. 

David and Lucy work well togethor right from the start.

It is not only them, though, because the other wacky characters among the Edgerunners are also very compelling.
There is the tough as nails leader Maine (Hiroki Toshi), his also tough as nails girlfriend Dorio (Michiki Kaiden), experienced netrunner Kiwi (Takako Honda), getaway driver Falco (Yasuyuki Kase), and, of course, Rebecca (Tomoyo Kurosawa).
I saved Rebecca for last because she was definitely my favourite character in the show.
She is crazy and wild but also extremely loyal to those she cares for, creating a complex character who was entertaining to watch.

Every scene with Rebecca is a blast.

With so many great characters, it is made all the more tragic when some of them bite the dust.
This is Night City, after all, where happy endings are rare and bloody endings are all too common.
Speaking of blood, wow, was this show gory.
Studio Trigger really committed to the violence of the game. 

People explode into bloody messes a lot in this anime.

Along with this, the animation for the action scenes and the soundtrack in these moments are stellar.
Such features all come together to create a spectacular anime that has convinced many people to replay Cyberpunk 2077, or play it for the first time.
For these new players, they will see a few familiar faces from Edgerunners, as some characters from the game are incorporated here, mostly as cameos.
However, there is one character from the game who has a big role.
I will not spoil who it is but, in my opinion, this character was portrayed much better in Edgerunners than in Cyberpunk 2077.          
I would be open to see more characters from the game pop up in the Cyberpunk Universe, if Studio Trigger wants to continue this series, maybe as an anthology where we focus on different Night City characters each season. 

We can see how new characters from Night City are “remembered” if this show continues.

This is how much I enjoyed this anime.
I liked it so much that I am now wishing for a second season that we probably will not get.
If Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is a one time thing, however, then it is certainly worth it.
Studio Trigger delivered a fantastic anime here.
Along with other amazing video game adaptations, like Arcane, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners makes it seem like animated series are the way to go for such adaptations. 

Akudama Drive Review: You Done Good Studio Pierrot.

4 and a half stars
If I’m honest, before watching
Akudama Drive, I didn’t have the best opinion of Studio Pierrot.
I only knew of them through watching their adaptation of Tokyo Ghoul, which, if you’ve seen my review of each season, you’ll know I thought was atrociously adapted in the last few seasons.
However, now having watched Akudama Drive based off recommendations, I can say that I need to give this studio more credit because, while they have made mistakes in the past, as seen with Tokyo Ghoul, they can make truly fantastic work.
Akudama Drive is one such anime, with its fast-paced, energetic action and great cast of characters. 

All of the main characters in Akudama Drive are memorable and a lot of fun.

Directed by Tomohisa Taguchi, Akudama Drive is set in a Cyberpunk Japan where the Kansai Region has been taken over by the Kantō region, and high ranking criminals, known as Akudamas, are hunted by Executioners.
Our main character is an Ordinary Person (Tomoyo Kurosawa) who, due to a set of extreme situations, has to become the Swindler and join a powerful group of Akudama, who are then hired to rob the deified Shinkansen.
Although, some backstory was sorely needed for many of these Akudama, I came to like, or love to hate in some instances, all of them.
There’s the always business focused Courier (Yūichirō Umehara), the fighting obsessed Brawler (Shunsuke Takeuchi), the big-talk, suck up Hoodlum (Sabaru Kimaru), the power hungry Doctor (Megumi Ogata), the psychopathic Cutthroat (Takahiro Sakurai), and the technologically genius Hacker (Shun Horie).
Out of all of these Akudama, I would say that my favourites of the bunch are Swindler, Courier, and Hoodlum.
Swinder and Hoodlum were both characters with fantastic character development that really made me care for them and their arcs.

Watching Swindler and Hoodlum go from newbie Akudamas to big time criminals was a blast to watch.

Courier was more of an interesting case because I was mainly indifferent to him for most of the anime, until the last three or four episodes really got me on board with his character.
It’s not just the Akudama that are great characters, though, because the Executioners are also a lot of fun, with Master (Akio Ōtsuka) and Pupil (Yumiri Hanamori) being standouts.
However, this is where my one big criticism of the show comes into play.
All of the Akudama are given fantastic endings to their character arcs, however, many of the Executioners get no ending at all.
It honestly feels like they had something big planned for some of their characters but it got cut for time in the final episode.
Now, it was recently revealed that five minutes of cut footage from the final episode would appear in the Blu-ray so hopefully this footage is the missing conclusion to many of the Executioner’s arcs. 

Even if their story isn’t concluded well though, I still found the Executioners’ role in the story fitting.

It would also be nice if a lot of the gore could be uncensored in the Blu-ray because the censorship did get a bit distracting, especially in Episode Nine.
Although, this censorship thankfully didn’t stop the action from being adrenaline pumping with a lot of hype moments, helped by excellent animation, especially in the first few episodes and the last one.
The score also helped these scenes, with it being fun to listen to. 
This also extends to the OP and ED, with the OP, STEAL! by SPARK!!SOUND!!SHOW!!, being an absolute banger that I have listened to for days on end on Spotify.  
Overall, Akudama Drive is a fantastic anime that mixes cyberpunk with anime incredibly well.
Some characters may be missing conclusions to their arcs but, if this is fixed in the Blu-ray, then this could be an all time great anime.