Edgerunners is Sword Art Online like a capitalist nightmare

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners has all the immersion of Sword Art Online’s isekai adventure, set in Night City, a futuristic capitalist dystopia.

On the surface, Netflix Cyberpunk: Edge Runners and the classic isekai adventure Sword Art Online may not have much in common. However, the basic premise of both shows is more than a little similar.

While Sword Art Online transports its main cast into virtual reality to create an immersive death game experience, edge runners doesn’t have to go to such lengths. Based on Cyberpunk 2077 video game, its story takes place in the futuristic Night City; a capitalist dystopia where wealth ultimately decides who lives and who dies.

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Similarities and differences between Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and SAO

Lucy uses the Breach Protocol in Trigger's Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

Even though Sword Art Online players were trapped in the game without their consent, their fates in the game were left entirely to them. Those who have chosen to live a relaxed life in virtual reality. In-game spouses and families were common, along with players opting for roles traditionally reserved for NPCs such as blacksmiths, shopkeepers, cooks, and more. Of course, there were also players who dedicated themselves entirely to cleaning. Sword Art Online. This elite group was known as the Frontliners.

cyberpunkis the closest equivalent to Sword Art OnlineThe Frontliners are said to be the Edgerunners, the collective name given to a group of mercenaries who operate exclusively in Night City. Like the Frontliners, the Edgerunners live in constant danger, but for a different reason. In the latter’s fast-paced world, the distinctions between friend and foe are as changeable as the weather. To aid their survival in these brutal circumstances, the Edgerunners opted for high-tech body modifications that transformed them into battle-ready cyborgs. Battles between Edgerunners were often decided by the bionic prosthetics that were superior, so essentially those body enhancements are the show’s power system.

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Contrary to Sword Art OnlineIn the realm of VR, Night City isn’t a virtual escape for the Edgerunners, but their lived reality, and that’s pretty tough. Every aspect of their life – from washing clothes to accessing one’s own home – is dictated by the number of Eurodollars one has. In one particularly horrifying scene, the main character’s mother, Gloria Martinez, is abandoned by the life-saving emergency services known as Trauma Team after a horrific car accident simply because she didn’t subscribe to their plan. of care. Unsurprisingly, the bionic upgrades coveted by Edgerunners are incredibly expensive to own and maintain. It takes a steady stream of income just to survive Night City.

The prosthetic upgrades Edgerunners rely on are some of Night City’s most expensive luxuries. They are also accompanied by the risk of rejection of the implant or, for example, Edgerunners with multiple modifications, cyberpsychosis. They take immunosuppressants to alleviate these problems, but of course the drug is not cheap either. To support their dangerous lifestyle, the Edgerunners offer a variety of expensive services to anyone who can afford them. Their whole existence is one long paying campaign, unlike the Frontliners of Sword Art Online who gain strength, new spells, and experience through playing the game. From simple bodyguard duties to corporate espionage, they take on tasks no one else in Night City can handle.

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How Cyberpunk Edgerunners’ Night City Is A Capitalist Dystopia

Katsuo looks angry at David in Cyberpunk Edgerunners

As powerful as the Edgerunners may seem, the real rulers of Night City are the mega-corporations that fund them. Like all other entities in Night City, these conglomerates often resort to illegal activities to sabotage or gain advantage over their competitors. In order to keep their hands clean, these unethical activities are entrusted to Edgerunners who are generously rewarded for their trouble. The relationship between Edgerunners and companies is mutually beneficial and only serves to make Night City an even more living hell for the average citizens who love it.

One of the defining characteristics of a capitalist system is that law enforcement should always belong to the state. night city does it have a police force, but even if they weren’t corrupted, they would be powerless against the cybernetically enhanced Edgerunners. The average Edgerunner operates with impunity from the law, and those who hire them bank on their anarchy to get results they couldn’t get elsewhere.

While that may not have been the original mind behind the institution of the Edgerunners, the realities of Night City forced them into what is essentially a private security force. Combined with the city’s already unstable political scene, their existence has become another symptom of the city slowly dying. Anyone who can afford the Edgerunners may be seen to be above the law, which makes Cyberpunk: Edge Runners‘ creating a capitalist hellscape that allows those with the most money to do what they want – while extracting every Eurodollar they can from citizens.

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