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This page assumes you have played Cyberpunk 2077, so the tropes below may contain unmarked spoilers for the game. You have been warned.

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"Don't make a name for yourself as a cyberpunk by how you live… Make a name by how you die."note 

"You either lose your mind, or die. No in-between."
Doc
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Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is a 2022 anime co-produced by Studio TRIGGER and CD Projekt RED set in the universe of Cyberpunk 2077 (which itself is based on the tabletop RPG, Cyberpunk). The anime is directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi and written by Yoshiki Usa and Masahiko Ôtsuka, with character designs by Yoh Yoshinari.

The anime is a 10-episode standalone story revolving around a street kid by the name of David Martinez trying to survive in the futuristic dystopian world of Night City. However, when tragedy strikes, he chooses to become an Edgerunner (aka, a cyberpunk) and to have a powerful implant installed into him, propelling him into the city's underworld and leading him to join a group of mercenaries, among them a netrunner known as Lucy, who sees the city as a prison and wants to escape to the moon.

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The anime's first episode had its world premiere during Trigger's Anime Expo panel on July 2nd, 2022 and the show was released on Netflix worldwide on September 13th, 2022.

    Pre-Release Material 

    Post-Release Material 


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Three... Two... One... Tropetime:

  • Action Prologue: The series opens with a cyberpsycho's violent rampage at City Center, starting with a one-sided scrap against Night City police and escalating into an encounter with MaxTac.
  • Adaptational Badass: Unbound by gameplay constraints, combat is significantly more lethal and more sudden than the game it's set in the universe of. As such, everyone looks more like a badass in this show. Naturally, this includes Smasher, a notorious Anti-Climax Boss in the game, here living up to his status in full.
    • As far as implants go, the Sandevistan (itself admittedly established in the series as being a military-grade model and thus cream of the crop in terms of function) is much more powerful here than it was in the game. While in the game, it slows down time to a great degree, it doesn't reach the level of power David has with it where he essentially becomes the Flash and can move faster than even speeding cars and explosions.
  • Aerith and Bob: On one hand, you have David, Lucy, and Rebecca; on the other, you have Maine, Kiwi, and Dorio. Pilar is an uncommon name in most English-speaking countries but is a fairly normal Hispanic name... though an exclusively feminine one, and here Pilar is a man.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Rebecca clearly has a thing for David, but he only has eyes for Lucy.
  • An Aesop:
    • Communicate with your partner and be open about what's troubling you. Keeping secrets will only strain your relationship with your partner, and it can create misunderstandings that may lead to unwanted outcomes.
    • Even in a hopeless place, build bonds with others (romantic or platonic). Those bonds will give you something worth fighting for and the impact they leave on others will be felt long after you're gone.
    • There's no shame in knowing your limits. Pushing yourself beyond what you can handle may cause you to alienate yourself from others, and it will only lead you on a path to self-destruction.
    • Just because you are legitimately special and better than others doesn’t make you invincible. Everyone has limits and even though yours are higher you still have them.
    • When it comes to dealing with personal tragedy, abusing substances or cybernetics is not the answer. Reach out to those closest to you and take the time to debrief the moments that traumatize you with them.
  • Anyone Can Die: By the end, Lucy and Falco are the only surviving members of the crew, and Falco was lucky only to lose his cybernetic arm.
  • Arm Cannon: One of Maine's main cyberware is a Projectile Launch System— a specialized rocket launcher built into his left forearm. After Maine dies, David eventually ends up installing Maine's PLS into his own arm and uses it for the rest of the series. The PLS is actually the most widespread forearm cyberware in the show, being wielded by more characters than all the users of Mantis Blades, Gorilla Arms and Monowires combined. This strongly contrasts the game where the Player Character V is the only person in Night City capable of using a PLS.
  • Artificial Limbs: As was the case in the game the anime is based off of, many of the characters are modified and implemented with cyberware, some of which gives them special abilities.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Having a cybernetic implant that gives you super reflexes still won't make a car faster or more maneuverable - it's still a big block of inertia that's not going to suddenly start to Flash Step just because its driver can. To a slightly smaller extent, this also applies to a spinal implant granting Super Speed at all.
  • Award-Bait Song: "I Really Want to Stay at Your House" fit much of the criteria for award bait before the anime really elevates the song to this given the context in which it's played.
  • Awful Truth: Episode 6 reveals that Tanaka Sr. offered to reinstate David into Arasaka Academy because of his high tolerance to cybernetics. As the director of the cyberskeleton project, Tanaka planned to use David to serve as his test subject. Lucy deliberately deletes all of the information related to the project when she discovers this and, after the Time Skip, she actively hunts down any Arasaka netrunner looking to retrieve data related to David or the cyberskeleton.
  • Ax-Crazy: So many examples, the most prominent being the numerous cyberpsychos once they hit their breaking point and go on a rampage. Then there's Pilar and Rebecca, the brother-sister duo on Maine's and David's crew that just loves blowing shit up. Gangbangers and other mercs are also portrayed this way, most notably the Tyger Claws, all of which seem to be slavering animals barely capable of rudimentary tactics or even coherent thoughts other than mindless slaughter. And last but not least, Night City's most (in)famous mass-murdering sociopath: Adam Smasher himself.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Adam Smasher easily defeats and kills David without suffering so much as a scratch. Arasaka and Militech, despite losing hundreds of troops, face no serious repercussions for their role in David's Cyberskeleton rampage. Pretty much the only victory the good guys can claim is that Lucy was able to survive and escape Arasaka's clutches. However, both Arasaka and Smasher's days are numbered since in all 2077 endings, Arasaka's leadership and security get fried by Alt Cunningham (barring "The Devil") and Smasher gets killed by V. And if that fails, Yorinobu's plan to goad the world into destroying Arasaka has already started.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Netrunners who dive into the Net are represented as nude without nipples or genitals. Averted outside the Net, anatomy is much more explicitly depicted.
  • Black Comedy: New meat Julio starts his first job with David's crew full of confidence and boasting about how ready he is. He then spends the majority of the job cowering in fear as the rest of the crew actually handles the combat. After all of the enemies are dead, he suddenly regains his confidence long enough to run straight into a landmine, getting completely atomized into a giant blood stain. The absolute suddenness of it with the situation surrounding it is just as likely to be hilarious as horrifying. In the aftermath, Julio's own family ridicules his death, not surprised in the least that his own foolishness got him killed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The series ends with David and most of the crew dead, but David's efforts allow Falco and Lucy to escape with a bounty of eddies and Lucy herself achieving her dream of going to the moon and getting far away from Arasaka's clutches, while Arasaka and Adam Smasher will eventually get their comeuppance in 2077. This borders on being a Downer Ending for Lucy however, as the final shot shows that achieving her dream may not have been worth it for what it cost her.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Several people wielding Mantis Blades can be seen. David also uses one during a braindance-induced torture session by JK.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Easily the goriest series that Trigger has ever produced, with numerous violent deaths (including of major characters) in every single episode if not every action scene. Even Kill la Kill, which never shied away from High-Pressure Blood, is easily outdone by a cyberpsycho graphically slaughtering NCPD cops in the opening scene of the series.
  • Body Horror: Cybernetic augmentation gets creepy. It's particularly horrific the first few times David is modified, where he isn't even given anesthesia while the doctor carves his body open to install implants.
  • Book Ends:
    • The series opens up on a shot descending into the carnage below within Night City, and after David's Heroic Sacrifice, the epilogue begins with the same shot in reverse panning out towards space instead.
    • The first time David tries to pick a fight he is overwhelmed by the disparity between his gear and his opposition. The last fight has David getting overwhelmed by the power of Adam Smasher. Sent up in that the upgrade that allowed David to triumph before is referred to by Adam as "A rudimentary implant."
  • Boom, Headshot!: Quite a few heads end up getting blown apart in the trailers alone.
  • Brain/Computer Interface: Much like the game, people are able to access cybernetic brain augments, and netrunners can connect themselves into cyberspace via sockets or cables for wired connections. Lucy connects to cyberspace via her deep-dive neural port, one which Arasaka installed into her when she was a child.
  • Bullet Time: Courtesy of David's Sandevistan implant.
  • Call-Back: In "Just a Boy" after David uses the Sandevistan eight times in one day, suffers a nosebleed, then faints, Doc warns him that he should only use it two maybe three times a day or else suffer the consequences. Adam Smasher during his "fight" with David uses his Sandevistan a total of three times and remains perfectly fine whereas David has used his way more than eight just trying to get to Arasaka Tower and has been using the cyberskeleton.
  • The Cameo: Several of the 2077 cast make cameos.
    • Emmerick Bronson, Rogue Amendiares, and Claire Russell appear at the Afterlife.
    • Delamain transports Tanaka for a meetup.
    • Wakako Okada hires David for a job and is one of the fixers in an Arasaka list along with Regina Jones and Dakota Smith.
    • Cormac, a fixer from the 2077 comics also appears in the Arasaka list.
    • Doc mentions Adam Smasher to David while they discuss cyberware, and the final episode has Smasher appear in person as the series' Final Boss.
    • Not a person, but David's megablock apartment has exactly the same layout as V's from the game.
  • Canon Foreigner: David and Lucy are characters exclusive to the anime and don't originate from the games or the tabletop RPG.
  • Child Soldiers: Lucy is revealed to have been one of an unknown number of children who were born in a clandestine Arasaka facility to be groomed as highly-skilled Netrunners that can traverse the perilous parts of Cyberspace. Dozens of children died to hostile encounters with AI behind the Blackwall until they rebelled against their handlers and staged a breakout, in which Lucy was the Sole Survivor.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Unsurprisingly, Edgerunners contains boatloads of strong language, much like the game it's based on.
  • Combat Medic: Much like how they were presented in the game, the Trauma Team is a paramedic unit that doubles as a heavily armed paramilitary unit. The medics are fully armed and arrive in reinforced vehicles when dispatched. This is justified since Night City is plagued with crime and their service area covers all of Night City, including gang hideouts and corporate sites.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Despite all of the power David has accumulated throughout the series, including the Cyberskeleton that effectively makes him a One-Man Army, he can't even put a dent in Adam Smasher who casually rips his Cyberskeleton apart with his bare hands.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Much like in the tabletop game, there is only so much cyberware a person can implant themselves with before overtaxing their body's physical and psychological limits via cyberpsychosis (which is here depicted as a neurodegenerative disorder not unlike Alzheimer's Disease, eating away at a victim's memories, motor reflexes, perception of reality, and even personality). Both Maine and David inevitably learn this the hard way, as they both inevitably suffer psychotic episodes that results in them endangering their teammates and murdering innocents. Even Rebecca, the team's resident Heroic Comedic Sociopath, is incredibly concerned about David over-chroming and demands that he lay off on using his Sandevistan.
    • The only exception to losing themselves in their cyberware is, of-course, Adam Smasher, who thinks so being human is so overrated that his sanity is frighteningly intact, which is absolutely not a good thing for anyone on the wrong side of him.
    • With David, we actually see his humanity drop slowly over the series. Just as an example, his initial reluctance to use a gun and shock at the first person he has to kill to his utter nonchalance at the death of Julio as symptoms of his vanishing empathy as he decends to the point of Cyberpsychosis.
  • Cyberpunk: It's right there in the title.
  • Disaster Dominoes: A seemingly straightforward gig for Faraday very quickly spirals out of control when Tanaka's driver receives an unexpected phone call from his boss. The following car hijacking, which the team is forced to do, results in the failure of the original objective, because Tanaka changes his driving routes, what forces Faraday to contract another gig with Maine's team. Which of course gets out of control vary fast. This sets in motion a sequence of events leading to a complete disaster: the fiasco of the entire contract, the deaths of two edgerunners and Faraday becoming the target of Arasaka's assassination attempts, which then leads in a straight line to tragedy at the end of the series.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Fittingly for the setting, chroming is treated similarly to a drug addiction. You start off small, but eventually feel the need to keep adding more and more, even as your body can tolerate it less and less. And it'll eventually destroy your mind. And not helping things is David's insistence that he's different from everyone else, that he can handle it (rather similar to what a "functional" addict might say). And while David indeed does have a higher than normal tolerance for augmentation, "tolerance" is the key word; eventually his heavy modding of his body catches up to him and he begins to go cyberpyscho like everyone else. For his part, Mike Pondsmith (the creator of the setting) has compared Cyberpsychosis to roid rage.
    • Also, the virtual reality date Lucy and David have in episode 2, complete with a shot of them laying together on a bed with a small square opened wrapper between them.
  • Darker and Edgier: The game itself was already quite dark, but Edgerunners goes various steps further. Also counts as one for Hiroyuki Imaishi as this is his darkest and most serious work yet.
  • Doomed by Canon: Cyberpunk 2077s 1.5 update dropped in February 2022 allowed you to buy a drink named "The David Martinez" at The Afterlife (a local edgerunner hangout frequently visited by main character V). In Cyberpunk's canon, you're only allowed to have a drink named after you if you die mid-gig in spectacular fashion, meaning it's highly likely David is already deceased by the events of 2077s canon. The 1.6 Update which introduced even more Edgerunner-related content and a questline specifically dedicated to referencing the anime outright spells out that David Martinez is Killed Off for Real by the events of the game.
    "You don't make a name as a cyberpunk by how you live. You're remembered by how you die."
  • The Dreaded: MaxTac and Trauma Team are particularly feared due to them being elite paramilitary units that are better off avoided. MaxTac in particular are specifically tasked with taking down cyberpsychos and rogue cyborgs. Edgerunners are also wary of taking jobs against the megacorps like Arasaka and Militech, since they have the money and resources to easily retaliate against edgerunners if they prove to be a large enough nuisance.
    • Then there's Adam Smasher, who's referred to explicitly as a boogeyman to all cyberpunks everywhere, and fills graveyards with incredible ease. No points on guessing he'd make an actual appearance in the finale to do just that.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Night City is an unforgiving place, so it's inevitable a few characters get unceremoniously offed:
    • Pillar gets his head blown off by a cyberpsycho just as he and Maine's crew were returning from a bar.
    • Julio foolishly runs into a booby-trapped room and triggers a trip mine that instantly turns him into ketchup. David briefly mentions his death while sharing his day with Lucy, but no other mention regarding his death is made thereafter.
    • Adam Smasher leaps off of Arasaka Tower and lands on Rebecca, crushing her to death without warning.
  • Dwindling Party: More and more of the crew die as the series progresses. By the final episode, the only survivors are Lucy and Falco.
  • Education Mama: Gloria pushes David to focus on his schoolwork as she sees Arasaka Academy as his best and maybe only chance to escape the near poverty they currently live in.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Lucy and Falco are the only crew members still alive by the end of the series.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The completely amoral Arasaka counter-intel agents cannot fathom a "rational" explanation for why Lucy is killing their Netrunners, not being able to understand her desire to protect David. Later on, they are baffled that David is beelining straight for Arasaka HQ, since he shouldn't know about their involvement in the betrayal to test the cyber-skeleton. They don't get that he's coming to rescue Lucy, rather than out of revenge.
  • Evil vs. Evil: As usual, the horrible corrupt megacorps of Arasaka and Militech are at each other's throats, with our protagonists caught in the crossfire. In this case, it's a struggle for control of a new Arasaka prototype cyberware Mini-Mecha, plus a 'pilot' biologically resilient enough to survive being implanted in it.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Rebecca is shown to have completely red eyes with green irises.
  • Expy: Both David and Lucy bear a lot of visual similarities to Galo and Lio from Promare, another Trigger work.
  • Extra Eyes: multiple examples
    • A fixer named Faraday has an implant that gives him three eyes on the right side of his face.
    • Cyberpsychosis episodes are signified by afflicted characters' eyes seemingly momentarily having multiple eyes at once, flickering about like a visual glitch.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Smasher beats David to a bloody pulp and gives him a chance of living on as a construct but David rejects the offer and smiles as the final blow is dealt, satisfied that Lucy got away.
  • Filming for Easy Dub: Multiple techniques on display. Focusing on the background, shots of the characters' backs, closeups of the character's faces so their mouths aren't visible, multiple characters don't have mouths, and Electronic Telepathy similar to Ghost in the Shell.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When Pilar gets his head blown off, we get a Repeat Cut of it to see it multiple times from multiple angles. In the final episode, when Adam Smasher comes crashing down on a defiant Rebecca (who incidentally is Pilar's sister), we see the explosion of their clash three times in a row from a variety of angles as well. This is a hint that things won't be looking so good for Rebecca, and indeed after the smoke clears we see that she is very clearly dead.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • The fact that there's a drink named the David Martinez at the Afterlife more or less cements David being Doomed by Canon. However, it's mentioned that only the most legendary of edgerunners posthumously have a drink named after them, and how David attains this status is shown. In 2077, V with a Corpo background can mention that they have heard of his name during their time in Arasaka Counterintel.
    • David and his Mother are noted to live in Megabuilding H4, which, come the time of the games, is quarantined.
    • As Smasher is a major character in 2077, it is guaranteed that David and the crew can't kill him in the finale.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are at least two instances in the opening credits where David looks like he's getting shot in the head. When you realize that there's a drink named after him at the Afterlife in 2077 (which Night City's legends only get when they have a Dying Moment of Awesome), then David's death becomes an inevitability.
    • In the second episode, Lucy laughs and calls David a psycho after learning he takes no medicine to protect himself from the unwanted side effects of using the Sandevistan. Guess what happens to him at the end of the series.
    • Katsuo Tanaka repeatedly taunts David by insinuating that his mother is doing "something shameful" to pay for a low-class kid like him to attend Arasaka Academy, though it's pretty clear from context that he's just implying she's a whore. Turns out Gloria was indeed doing something pretty dubious to pay for David's schooling, just not what Katsuo had in mind - she's supplementing her day job as an EMT by secretly swiping valuable cyber-organs from the accidents she's called in to deal with and selling them to mercenaries like Maine and his crew.]]
    • In Episode 4, Lucy is shown grasping the back of her head when David asks why they are worlds apart. This foreshadows the deep-dive neural port Arasaka installed into her brain stem when they exploited her as a child.
    • In Episode 7, we see David and Rebecca taking on characteristics of Maine and Pilar - David is now the mountain-sized leader packing a massive amount of cyberware, some of which is even Maine's. Rebecca, meanwhile, is rampaging through goons just like Pilar and doing party tricks with cyberhands at their same hangout. In addition, Julio seems to have taken David's place as an overeager newbie in over his head. He dies. This signifies that they've taken on some of the same characteristics and flaws, and they're about to come to similar ends.
    • Rebecca's tattoos are in the design of exposed musculature and bones. When Adam Smasher kills her, Rebecca's ribs and organs can be seen.
    • Kiwi's line "Although, some Edgerunners die in more shame than they started with." sounds pretty ironic after she ends up dying the lonely death of a traitor, despised by her former teammates.
  • Gorn: There's a lot of ways to end up flatlined in Night City, and almost none of the ways shown in this series are pretty. In the opening scene alone, a cyberpsycho turns several NCPD officers into bloody messes.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Usually averted in graphic detail per the above trope, but played straight in the final episode when David being executed by Adam Smasher is shown from a respectful distance to highlight the drama of the moment above the gore.
  • Hope Spot:
    • After David and Gloria get into a car crash, Gloria is left lying on the street badly wounded. Trauma Team arrive on the scene within minutes and check on Gloria, with David briefly believing they will rescue her. However, because she doesn't have Platinum insurance, the Trauma Team ignore her for their actual client and leave her for the "meat wagon".
    • Once David rescues Lucy from Arasaka, it looks like he and his friends will be able to get away scot free and his cyberpsychosis . And then Adam Smasher drops in.
  • A House Divided: With all the foes they face, the crew themselves play a large part in their own downfall. Maine's extensive augmentations lead him down the road of cyberpsychosis, which results in a wedge between him, Dorio, and Kiwi as he grows more abusive and temperamental. This eventually results in his and Dorio's deaths, which then results in David taking his place. Lucy prioritizes protecting David to such an extent that she holds his life ultimately above the rest of the crew and gains Arasaka's attention. Rather than roughing it out with the remainders of the group, Kiwi decides to doublecross them for money and a ticket out of Night City. Finally, in a mirror of Maine and Dorio's relationship, David decides to keep his chrome, despite his lover's pleas for him to wean off the addiction before it's too late.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Like the game, every episode is named after a song.
  • It Gets Easier: David initially passes on guns and his first kill is hindered by his own inner conflict in transitioning from his old life with Gloria to his new life as an edgerunner, but by the end of the series, he guns down targets without hesitation and even admits to Lucy that he already lost track of the accumulated body count.
  • Karma Houdini: The two Arasaka Counterintelligence agents who arranged David's "test run" with the cyberskeleton both survive the series, if now having to deal with the aftermath of the disastrous rampage with the female agent fully stating no intention of herself taking the fall.
    • However, considering the fact that the female agent's office appears to be that of Jenkins' from V's Corpo lifepath, it's safe to assume her plan didn't work out so well.
  • Lost in Translation: It's inverted as the original Japanese script lacks much of the setting's language conventions that are included in the English dub. Slang like "choom," "nova," and "preem" are not present and "edgerunners" are directly referred to as the synonymous "cyberpunks."
  • Love Theme: "I Really Want to Stay at Your House", a song that previously appeared in the game's Body Heat 98.7 radio station, is effectively repurposed to serve as this for David and Lucy's romance. Though if you pay attention to the lyrics, the song is actually about a failing relationship that the singer is desperately trying to save at a cost to her own wellbeing before giving up. Depressingly, that still fits the vibe of the series at large even if it doesn't perfectly fit David and Lucy's relationship.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: A not insignificant amount of people on the receiving end of some serious punishment are reduced to a pile of unrecognizable mixes of metal and flesh... When they aren't just turned into red mist.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The final stretch of the series comes down to a four-way conflict between David and the crew vs. Militech vs. Arasaka vs. Faraday.
  • Mickey Mousing: The NSFW Trailer is filled with this, all set to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy".
    • In a rather morbid example, the blood dripping onto the camera lens is to the notes.
    • Several characters fire their weapons to the beat, or to the actual notes.
    • Two characters pummel another with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs, each punch corresponding to a drum in the song.
  • Mini-Mecha: Arasaka's prototype 'Cyberskeleton' is a piece of incredibly advanced cyberware that essentially turns a human being into one of these, with the downside that it overtaxes the host/pilot's nervous system so severely that they almost immediately go cyberpsycho. Even David's incredible resilience can only take him so far when he installs himself into it.
  • Mood Whiplash: The NSFW Trailer starts with a somber, quiet moment between two characters before going balls-to-the-wall insane with blood, guts, action, guns, and nudity on full display... Before going back to a quiet moment between the two characters... Then going balls-out one more time.
  • Mook Horror Show: Suffice to say, you do not want to be a regular NCPD officer, megacorp grunt, or generic criminal gang member, as you'll be nothing more than speedbumps against cyberpsychos and edgerunners.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Edgerunners name is a reference to Edgerunners Inc. sourcebook for Cyberpunk 2020 game books.
    • The lines David's shaved into his undercut are very reminiscent of the look female!V has in the Cyberpunk 2077 Gameplay trailer from 2018.
    • All the English episode titles are named after songs, similar to how all the story and side missions in Cyberpunk 2077 from Act 2 onwards are named after songs.
    • The HUD that is shown for multiple characters is typically ripped straight from the game. Phone calls, the GPS screen, eddie transactions, and security camera footage in particular are almost 1-to-1 recreations of similar situations in the game.
    • Lucy's hacking is represented by the Breach Protocol minigame that one would need to perform in the video game.
    • During a shootout with the NCPD, Maine comments that they seem to appear out of thin air. This Self-Deprecation references how the game has an infamous tendency for cops to literally appear out of thin air in a firefight.
  • No-Sell:
    • A MaxTac officer takes a stream of gunfire at close-range without even flinching.
    • Smasher effortlessly shuts down Lucy's attempts at hacking him.
  • Official Couple: The blossoming relationship between Lucy and David serves as the emotional core of the series, and the actions they take to stay together directly influence the series' plot especially after the Time Skip.
  • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Lucy and David post-Time Skip. Oh boy. Their relationship becomes strained due to David's increased obsession with chroming up at the expense of his tolerance to cybernetics and Lucy's unwillingness to share her efforts in eliminating Arasaka netrunners pursuing data related to David's tolerance of cybernetics. Lucy eventually gets kidnapped by Faraday with plans to send her back to Arasaka, and he uses Lucy's voice to provoke David into installing the cyberskeleton. Once David realizes Lucy was being held hostage, his Roaring Rampage of Revenge ends with him rescuing Lucy... and also ending up in a hopeless fight against Adam Smasher. He only has time to get Lucy to safety (with Falco's help) before ultimately being outmatched and killed by Smasher.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: Cyberpsychosis is visualized as a character's eyes sporadically glitching out and duplicating. In the early stages, only the irises are affected. In the final battles, David, suffering both cyberpsychosis and Unstoppable Rage, is freaking out so hard his entire head is shown vibrating and duplicating.
  • One-Man Army: The series doesn't pull its punches showing just how insanely powerful cyberpsychos chromed up with military grade implants are. It's not uncommon for cyberpsycho rampages to end with bodycounts in the dozens before they're put down by MaxTac. In particular:
    • The original owner of the Sandevistan goes on a killing spree in the opening scene, mowing his way through dozens of NCPD officers as he has enough armor to No-Sell their guns when his own weapons are plenty lethal to them. And this doesn't include him utilizing the Sandevistan to annihilate entire squads of officers at once.
    • In a feat that would make the Doom Slayer himself blush, Maine rips and tears through an entire squad of Trauma Team soldiers and dozens of their NCPD reinforcements during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge over the death of Dorio. The situation gets so dire for the opposition that they have no choice but to call in MaxTac just to have a fighting chance at bringing Maine down.
    • David himself when he dons the Cyberskeleton, which thanks to its gravity manipulation technology allows him to singlehandedly destroy entire armies of Militech and Arasaka troops, as well as multiple MaxTac teams. His only limitation is his remaining organic parts rapidly failing.
    • A rare non-cyberpsycho example in Adam Smasher, who easily curbstomps David despite him wielding the Cyberskeleton, which goes to show how insanely powerful Adam Smasher is.
  • One True Love: As the series progresses, it becomes clear that David and Lucy are soulmates who have searched for meaning in their lives—and found it in each other. While David is initially upset with Lucy for her Manic Pixie Dream Girl act, he never resents her and joins Maine's crew partially to get close to her. It soon becomes clear how far both are willing to protect one another, and David's willingness to help others wins over Lucy's heart. Once they become an Official Couple, Lucy trusts David to the point of revealing her traumatic childhood at Arasaka as well as her deep-dive neural port, and both come to value the other's life over their own. While their relationship does become strained from David's slippage to cyberpsychosis and Lucy's unwillingness to share the truth of Arasaka's plans for David, both David and Lucy remain committed to one another when push comes to shove. Their love is so strong, Lucy's True Love's Kiss helps David recover from his cyberpsychosis... which sadly ends with David sacrificing himself to help Lucy escape Arasaka Tower.
  • Power Fist: Dorio, as well as a Corpo student at Arasaka academy, are seen using Gorilla Arms.
  • Prequel: Doubles as both a Prequel and Spin-Off of Cyberpunk 2077, taking place roughly one year before the events of the game.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Hah! Yeah, no. Even for sympathetic characters such as the Arasaka employee who just wanted to go to her son's graduation, a shot to the head means you don't have a head anymore. The sole exception to this is Dorio, whose head remains intact even after getting shot from behind, with a small exit wound.
  • Rags to Riches: After the Time Skip, the David's apartment makes it very clear that he is living large.
  • Razor Floss: Lucy has two Monowires in her wrists.
  • Really Dead Montage: The finale has a montage showing key scenes from previous episodes and to the tune of "I Really Want to Stay at Your House" mixed into the climax as David is killed by Smasher.
  • Redshirt Army: Any armed organization in Night City only exists to get slaughtered in droves by the protagonists or similarly dangerous chrome junkies. The NCPD, Trauma Team, MaxTac, even Arasaka's and Militech's corporate armies are nothing but cannon fodder whenever they put in an appearance.
  • Repeat Cut: When Pilar gets his head blown off by a homeless cyberpsycho, we get to see it in all it's gory glory repeatedly from multiple angles. In the final episode, his sister Rebecca receives the same treatment when Adam Smasher crash lands on her, with the camera repeatedly cutting to show their clash from multiple angles before showing her horribly mangled body after the smoke clears.
  • Riches to Rags: David's bio notes that he used to be enrolled in Arasaka Academy before a personal tragedy caused him to become an edgerunner. Subverted in that David clarifies to Lucy that he and his mother were never really that well off, but his fall from corporate private school student to streetkid merc is still a very significant one and one that leaves him strapped for cash.
  • R-Rated Opening: The very first thing we see when the series opens, once we get past the Night City lights and the short conversation between NCPD cops, is a cyberpsycho viciously and gorily slaughtering the lot of them before MaxTac swoops in, shuts him down with netrunner hacks, and then puts him down.
  • Running Gag: Characters keep offering David carbonated drinks despite his insistence that he doesn't like them, inevitably leading to a Spit Take on his part. Amusingly enough, the drink that's named after him in The Afterlife is 50% vodka... and 50% cola, aka a carbonated drink. David just can't catch a break, can he?
  • Sanity Slippage: A strong theme of the series is demonstrating what kind of horrific effects cyberpsychosis has on the human mind:
    • The heavily chromed Maine's violently erratic behaviour plays a sizeable part in turning the Tanaka kidnapping into a profound clusterfuck.
    • David's natural resistance that allows him to get considerable cyberware without mental degradation is shown to have its own limits, starting to experience truly disturbing hallucinations by episode 8 (not helped by a good helping of PTSD and guilt), his ultimate merging with the cyberskeleton sending him down a road of trippy madness by the finale that powerful immunosuppressants can only barely stave off.
  • Scenery Porn: Oh yeah. A lot of work went into making the backgrounds of Night City as impressive as possible, and it really pays off.
  • Sci-Fi Bob Haircut: Both Kiwi and Lucy have some form of bob haircut and coincidentally are the two netrunners of the crew.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: During Maine's cyberpsycho rampage, the Trauma Team decide to pull out after Tanaka is confirmed dead, as they no longer have any reason to stick around with their client dead, and they realize that they are way out of their depth.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: A combination of this and Poor Communication Kills as Lucy's attempts to save David's life while keeping him in the dark about Arasaka's interest in using him as a guinea pig for the Cyberskeleton eventually lead to creating a situation that necessitates David to step into it voluntarily and die in the process of saving her which causes her a considerable amount of grief long after she's able to escape to the Moon.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Every girl on Maine's crew is this to some extent. Dorio is an Amazonian Beauty who only wears nipple pasties under her jacket. Both Kiwi and her protégé Lucy don't bother wearing cooling suits while doing intensive netrunning and instead prefer to submerge themselves in ice baths instead, with the former choosing to sit down with Maine and David to talk about a job while totally naked after unplugging. And when David makes a trip to drop off Pilar's new cybernetic hands, his sister Rebecca answers the door while wearing nothing but her Black Bra and Panties.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Maine's weapon of choice is a Militech Crusher shotgun. Rebecca is also shown to dual wield shotguns.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Rebecca uses a pink and green shotgun named Guts.
    • Lucy's outfit looks similar to Motoko Kusanagi's.note 
    • The tattoo on Rebecca's right leg reads PK DICK, and the tattoo on her stomach looks like the iconic ram-skull from the original versions of the Shadowrun logo.
  • Sibling Team: Rebecca and Pilar are siblings both working as a part of Maine's crew. Both are also Ax-Crazy, with Pilar being a Mad Bomber and Rebecca being a Gun Nut.
  • Something Else Also Rises: A very tasteful example that's also incredibly beautiful both visually and symbolically - a rocket takes off in the background, representing Lucy's desire to escape Night City to the moon, right before her and David's very emotionally-and-sexually-charged first kiss.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Pilar abruptly getting his head blown apart with zero warning firmly establishes that even major characters aren't safe from the violence of Night City and serves as almost the precise moment when the overall comedy starts draining out of the whole show and the tone takes a serious turn for the worse.
  • Speed Echoes: The show depicts David (and other users of Sandevistan, like Adam Smasher) as gaining after images when using Super Speed ability.
  • Spin-Off: Of Cyberpunk 2077. It takes place in the same city as the game, but tells its own unique standalone story separated from that of the game.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening credits show David getting shot through the head by an unknown individual. Come the finale, this is how he's killed by Smasher.
  • Starter Villain: The bully at the Arasaka school that David has to contend with in the first episode. He's a smug, classist asshole with some fancy though ultimately impractical plug ins (indeed, all David would have needed to do to avoid getting the shit beaten out of him would have been to take a step back). After David install Sandevistan and breaks the bully's nose, he never appears in the story again. Though his father does.
  • Super Speed: David's Sandevistan spinal implant makes him capable of running at incredibly fast speeds as well as granting him the necessary reflexes to handle the speed. This military-grade implant gives him an edge in Night City as he's practically uncatcheable by the rest of the Edgerunners. However, Adam Smasher also has a Sandevistan, and even calls it a "rudimentary implant", allowing him to match and easily beat David.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: This trope comes into play in the scenes when David has to fight someone else with a reflex boosting implant. The most blatant example is in the 7th episode after the Time Skip, when David fights the leader of a Maelstrom gang:
    Maelstrom Boss: (walking toward David) Did you never learn to fly?
    (David activates his Sandevistan, and charges to uppercut the boss — who activates his own reflex booster implants and looks at David)
    Maelstrom Boss: (Starts swinging his giant hammer) Time for me to teach you!!
    (David activates his leg implants and leaps over the boss just before the hammer hits.)
    David: (Aiming Arm Cannon) No thanks, choom. I know how to fly just fine. (Boom, Headshot!.)
    (Cut to a replay of the entire fight in real time. It lasts less than a second from start to finish.)
  • Their First Time: David loses his virginity to Lucy just shortly after joining her crew, something that Maine picks up on with just a glance.
  • There Are No Therapists: Almost literally. Any therapists in Night City are far too expensive for anyone not a corpo exec to afford. This exacerbates the psychological troubles that lead to cyberpsychosis.
  • Time Skip: Episode 7 takes place sometime after the crew's kidnapping fiasco, with David now even more cybernetically enhanced and renowned enough to get fans.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A new recruit who joins David's team, Julio, ignores David's advice to stick close to him and rushes ahead to rescue some prisoners Maelstrom was holding. He fails to see a booby trap and gets himself blown up.
  • Tragedy: Ultimately, it's David and Lucy's own choices that lead to their downfalls: David refuses to believe that he's succumbing to cyberpsychosis and ignores all the warnings he receives in favor of the idea that he's special for having a high tolerance while Lucy tries to solve things on her own and refuses to trust anyone else with the truth of what she's actually doing.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • David's yellow jacket originally belonged to his late mother Gloria, a Night City EMT who was caught in the crossfire of a drive-by hitjob while driving home with her son.
    • The Projectile Launch System David implants himself with after the Time Skip originally belonged to Maine, who died horrifically in a firefight with the NCPD and Trauma Team while suffering a severe Cyberpsychosis episode.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Both David and Lucy experience all sorts of hardships throughout the series:
    • David is bullied in Arasaka academy and loses his mother to a car accident in the first episode. As the series progresses, he witnesses his friends getting flatlined one after another and he eventually begins to succumb to cyberpsychosis after he accidentally kills an innocent woman working for Arasaka. Finally, he sees his girlfriend Lucy betrayed by Kiwi and kidnapped by Faraday, creating a scenario when he has to install the cyberskeleton to rescue her. His conga line ends in heartbreaking fashion, as he only has enough time to help Lucy escape before meeting a brutal end at the hands of the notorious Hero Killer Adam Smasher.
    • Lucy as a child is enslaved by Arasaka to explore the Old Net, a task that kills many children from her group. She ends up being the Sole Survivor from her group's escape attempt, and the death of her captors makes her a fugitive within the corporation. Then, years afterwards, her friends from Maine's crew die one-by-one in a span of few months before she gets tricked by Faraday and double-crossed by Kiwi while trying to protect David, the person she loves the most, from the company that exploited her as a child. The finale caps this awful conga line off when she loses David, who ends up sacrificing himself to buy her time to escape from Arasaka Tower.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: At one point, we're treated to a shot of Lucy and David racing down a highway on a hospital gurney that David's still strapped to.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Lucy's tendency to become this for David serves as a deconstructed example. Lucy deliberately botches the job with Tanaka Sr. once she finds information concerning Arasaka's plans for David to become their lab rat, which unfortunately leads to a Trauma Team being called to the gang's hideout and directly leads to Maine and Dorio's deaths. Consequently, David has to step up as leader of the group unbeknownst to him about her hand in it, all while she goes on a whole murderous rampage through any Arasaka's netrunners who try to decipher the info she deliberately destroyed. This crusade gets the full attention of Arasaka, leading to her being captured by Faraday. Her behavior ultimately spells the death she was trying to avoid all along as David ends up installing the cyberskeleton and ultimately sacrificing himself to save Lucy from Arasaka's clutches.
  • We Can Rule Together: After he is captured, Tanaka begs David to abandon his team and take him back to Arasaka. With his unusual cyberware tolerance, he would be a valued asset and enjoy the future his mother would have wanted for him. Also gives a mild "The Reason You Suck" Speech about his team: Even the most skilled edgerunner is still just an expendable mercenary who ends up serving the interests of one corp or another.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's unknown if Kate and Douglas (the two Arasaka intelligence agents behind the cyber-skeleton operation) suffered any repercussions from the upper management as a result of David's rampage, considering that, so far, haven't made any appearances on Cyberpunk 2077 itself. It's unclear if they survive the events of 2077, considering the massive slaughter of Arasaka personnel in the storyline. The only possible clue to Kate's whereabouts is the fact that her office is now occupied by Jenkins', V's boss from the Corpo lifepath, implying she is either dead or was even promoted.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • James Norris is introduced as a cyberpsycho with powerful cyberware that let him easily overwhelm Night City's beat cops, but MaxTac takes him down within a minute of their arrival to illustrate the city's pecking order.
    • MaxTac themselves end up on the receiving end when they're unable to keep up with David in the cyberskeleton.
    • The Basilisk Hovertank in 2077 was the Aldecado's trump card against Militech in the Forward to Death story mission, where they use it to cutdown waves of heavily armed Militech soldiers and combat drones in order to help V access the lower levels of Arasaka Tower. But in the anime, David effortlessly destroys one sent against him while using the cyberskeleton's Gravity Master capabilities.
    • After the series establishes Lucy as a magnificent netrunner, the climax has her hacking attempts on Adam Smasher be completely ineffective to showcase the utter hopelessness of the situation.
    • Once Adam Smasher takes charge as the Final Boss, the bodies really start piling up by end, especially by his hand as he effortlessly bodies pretty much everyone that crosses him. Including Rebecca and David.
  • Worthy Opponent: How Adam Smasher sees David as. He gives him a quick death because of this.
  • Wretched Hive: Naturally, Night City. It's plagued with crime, violence, and corruption on all levels of society. Case in point, David and his mother are caught in a shootout in the middle of a road while going back from school. David is even warned by his fellow edgerunners that he cannot trust anybody in the city.

"Whatever, choom. Like I give a shit."

'Cause I really wanna stay at your house
And I hope this works out
But you know how much you broke me apart
I'm done with you, I'm ignoring you
I don't wanna know...
 
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Lucy saves David

Just as David finds Lucy in Arasaka Tower, he begins to succumb to cyberpsychosis. He had already exhausted all of his immunosuppressants by this point, and his mind begins to shut down as he uses his Sandevistan once more. Lucy awakens to find David on the brink of death and she gives him a kiss in a last-ditch effort for him to come back to her. This kiss snaps him out of cyberpsychosis and it helps him recover his sanity long enough to help Lucy escape Arasaka Tower.

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