This article contains spoilers for Cyberpunk: Edgerunners season 1, episode 10, and the Cyberpunk: Edgerunners ending.
Somewhat unexpectedly, Studio Trigger in collaboration with CD Projekt Red have released the best anime of the year in the form of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, a spin-off from the Polish studio’s calamitously launched open-world RPG. Rich with lore and manic with style and action, the ten-part series is a complicated endeavour, so let’s unpack the overall sweep of the series and its ending.
The protagonist is David Martinez, a young man living in Night City under the thumb of megacorporations that commodified every aspect of private and public life. David wants to make something of himself, but the Arasaka Academy where his long-suffering first-responder mother Gloria has managed to enrol him is suited to the wealthiest citizens above all, especially those augmented with cybernetic modifications. We’re given a sense of what that looks like in the opening scene, which depicts a hulking man having gone “cyberpsycho” from too many implants and slaughtered many people before a specialist team was able to take him down.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners ending explained
Nevertheless, after Gloria is killed in a highway shootout and the cold medical system has little sympathy for David, he installs a mod he finds in his home that gives him a kind of bullet-time super-speed and eventually hooks up with a netrunner (read: hacker) named Lucy. Together, they begin pulling off jobs and making money, attracting the wrong kind of attention due to their relatively special abilities – David has an unusually high tolerance for augmentations, while Lucy is on the run from a special Arasaka breeding program for specialized netrunners.
Throughout the course of the season David and Lucy become romantically entangled, while David ascends to the top of his gang after the initial leader, Maine, goes too far with his modifications and goes psycho. This functions as something of a cautionary tale since a little later, once Lucy falls into the captivity of a Night City fixer named Faraday, David dons an experimental prototype exoskeleton that might well test his tolerance for augments and push him over the edge.
Towards the end of the season, which is packed with action, David begins to retreat into his own mind, imagining his many murders as fulfilling the expectations of his late mother, and imagining himself happy with Lucy, in a more idyllic life away from all this chaos and suffering. There are some bold choices taken here, especially the decision to have Adam Smasher – recognisable for franchise fans – kill David, and Falco escape with Lucy. It’s a fittingly morbid ending for a story set in this deeply cynical world. However, there’s plenty of mileage left in the setting for many more stories just like it.
You can stream Cyberpunk: Edgerunners season 1, episode 10 exclusively on Netflix. Do you have any thoughts on the Cyberpunk: Edgerunners ending? Let us know in the comments.