In the year 2077, as depicted in “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners,” the world has an extreme gap between the rich and the poor. Getting into a top school to stand in society has become almost unreachable unless the parents are the staff or rich. Most of the lower classes have turned to drugs and nefarious work to make a living. Arasaka is the company that rules this world, while Millitech, the rival company, tries to hijack the stronghold of Arasaka. They employ fixers like Faraday to get their hands on the secret data each company had made to gain the upper hand and be more technologically advanced than the other one. This is where the Edgerunners come into the plot. The Edgerunners are the misfits of this society who have taken to body modification as a means to steal data from the microchips slotted into the bodies of each person. They use the term eddies, short for EuroDollars, which is an in-game slang for the money they make.
Classism is at an all-time high in this world. It shows an exaggerated, if not edited, the truth of today’s society. The rich look down on the poor to the extent that they simply outcast whomever they think is a misfit according to their financial standards. Insuring has become a thing for only the rich due to the insane rates. A direct reference to countries with terrible medical insurance, the trauma team, would just ignore a patient who could be saved if not insured. Body modification is almost a norm in this society. Every citizen of the Night City has been embedded with a micro-chip that works as an identification chip and is also used to store money and data. The chip has to be regularly upgraded so as to fit with the constantly upgrading society. This chip allows people to embed certain abilities, which could be impossible without practice and training. It is also used for communication, where people communicate through their inner voices, so they don’t have to talk physically. The slots for the chips also allow access to upload oneself online and experience in real-time the thoughts and experiences of other people. It is fitted near the neck, which makes it easier for the Edgerunners to simply swipe it. Each group has a tank that also serves as the leader, a long-range attacker, a close combatant, a person in charge of staking out, a swiper, and a deep net diver. Each person in the team has a designated job that they perform without fail. They have their teammates back until they double-cross them. They talk to their clients and, accordingly, set a price on their task depending on how challenging the task would be.
The deep divers have a specific task: they can dive into the psyche of the targets to access data from their Core Systems. They are hackers who are connected with the psyche of the system as well as interconnected citizens and have body implants that help them gain control and also immediately immobilize a subject. Deep diving hackers usually dive into the subconscious while another team member keeps a watch on them so that they can be quickly pulled out when they perceive danger. The Arasaka had invested in these deep net divers to get their hands on the Old System, which had been brought down and destroyed by another diver. Arasaka wanted to be the first one to get their hands on the innumerable data that Old System seemed to have, and they employed Orphans to get their experiments going.
The implants, on the other hand, were like prosthetic limbs induced with power, which modified the normal human into a superhuman. These implants were mainly made for the military employed by Arasaka and Millitech. With these implants in place, the person goes through a cyber psychosis, which leads the psyche of that person through a merry chase and corrupts them so that they are no longer in control of their brain. They go berserk and are then declared a threat to society. This cyber psychosis is usually prevented by immunoblockers. These were designed to prevent the brain from going crazy for a short period of time. The immunoblockers are usually given in small doses. However, humans with more than one implant tend to need more so as to keep themselves from going psychotic. The implants are valued highly, with most of them being protected by maximum security. The color palettes used to describe the psychosis as well as the entire series lean more toward graffiti with bold and popping colors. These colors define life on the streets, the deeper, darker part of society that is usually and easily overlooked. The bold colors bring out the very essence of these parts and add a quintessential experience of “life in the hood.” They simply take matters into their own hands to bridge the huge gap between the rich and the poor, and if edgerunning will give them the freedom to get over that gap, then they can easily give up their life for it.
The Characters Of ‘Cyberpunk: Edgerunners’ Season 1 – Explained
The character of David is at first a boy trying to get through his life, while his mother over-exerts herself to make ends meet. Due to their financial condition, David experiences bullying and develops a hard exterior. After he loses his mother, David drops out of school after taking his revenge. His character battles with a lot of traumas, but he still manages to stay strong. His trauma does not allow him to shoot. However, he becomes numb to shooting, and after killing a bystander who reminds him of his mother, this affects his psyche as well. He displays a leadership quality and loyalty that he uses to lead his team after Maine dies. David’s strong will helps him control the implants. However, his psyche gets affected badly. He tries to keep a hold, but his psyche gets damaged beyond repair. His character is the epitome of strong will, and his hold over his psyche is something to be admired. But Lucy becomes the person to return his psyche back to him, but the continuous use of his implants pushes him off the peak, but he still retains his senses till he gets killed by Adam Smasher.
Lucy is first introduced as support to David’s character, but she quickly gains a separate position as a protagonist with her own dreams. She is introduced as a love interest, but she becomes the person to hold David’s psyche together. She was first kidnapped to be a test subject for the Arasaka, where she learned how to deep dive into the net. With this knowledge, she escaped their torture and established her new life in the Night City. Lucy’s will to live for herself helped her survive the inhuman torture. Her loyalty and love for David made her constantly deep dive into the net to kill the officials set on capturing him. She was the best counterpart for David, and her dreams made her more than just a counterpart. At the end of “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” Season 1, she becomes the protagonist, while David becomes her supporter and helps her reach for the moon. Lucy did finally get to live her dream. She went to the moon to also keep her word to David and not let his sacrifice go to waste.
Maine and Dorio’s characters are complementary to each other and complete each other in every way. Dorio was ready to sacrifice her life to bring Maine’s psyche back, and she did bring him back for a moment, only to lose him to his psychosis. She then loses her life while trying to bring him back. Dorio was the second in command of the team that kept Maine intact. Maine’s leadership qualities helped keep the team afloat and also introduced new capable members to help the team grow. Maine appoints David as the leader before pushing him away from the battle. Maine always made sure David didn’t have to shoot unless he could because he knew of his trauma. He was the ideal leader who did not push his team to do anything they didn’t want.
Faraday and Kiwi are antagonistic characters who have more dimensions to themselves. Kiwi was a good comrade to the team, but she double-crossed them by selling Lucy to Faraday. At the end of her life, however, she wanted to settle things, and she double-crossed Faraday. Lucy did want to skip town and had second thoughts about being stuck like a lot of people in society, but even then, her character was a lot more relatable than the second thoughts that we all have at some point. Faraday’s character was the one who climbed up the ladder by latching on to the right shoe. At some point, his character just coincided with the characteristics that politicians display when trying to find what is more agreeable to them.