Short Assignment 1: The Cyber Death

The death of Maine scene is the most stunning anime clip I’ve watched for the year. The following will focus on the context of the this cut scene (Cyberpunk Edgerunners – Maine End (Spoilers)) to find out what makes it so infectious and impressive.

Firstly, the context of the real world. The cut scene comes from an anime TV series, this medium is technically video, but by implementing layouts, color schemes, motions, and light and shadow that are barely impossible in real shots, it has more room for authors to visually realize their imaginary world thus to convey the emotion and story more effectively. For example, in the dialogue part, the shadows are all thick and colored in red, building up an atmosphere of depression, emergency, and danger; while in the final explosion cut, the colors all shift to green, conveying a totally different mood of grief and pain.

On the other hand, being TV series, it must show dramatic conflict to promote the plot as well as to demonstrate the characters’ arc, just like any other fiction. Before analyzing the exact conflict in the text, there’s an in-story context to go through. The TV series share a world setting with the same-named game and novel, which described a highly developed capitalism city fully controlled by megacorporations and nearly all of the people there replace their organisms with cyberwares, partly or fully, to suite with the high-tech-low-life society. The big guy who died in the end (Maine), is the leader and – to some extent – the mentor of the protagonist (David). Maine formed a team fed by working for underground agents, and he never stopped installing more powerful cyberware implants to make more competitiveness. These cyberware overloaded his brain and eventually turned him into a dangerous “Cyberpsycho”, resulting in him being eliminated by specialized police. Maine’s death here, as a tragic trauma for David, is essential for the whole story to develop, since if not, David would always remain being the guided one, and there’d be not enough emotional impact to base his possible transformation. Besides, as the plot is of seemingly the natural progress, the audiences will be more likely to empathize with the characters.

The lines are also worth discussing. A very fundamental context of the script is that living in such a disordered and cruel city, everyone defaulted that one can die anytime, anywhere. David, however, as a rookie hadn’t rooted that default yet, urgingly wished to save Maine by fighting together and believed that they “can get through this together” (Hiroyuki Imaishi 01:12-01:16). While Maine - by saying “This is the end of line for me, but not for you.” (Hiroyuki Imaishi 02:09-02:13) - frankly accepted his coming death. This contrast deepens audiences’ impression of the story’s vibe and strengthens the characteristic of Maine, making the audience empathize more with his death.

Hiroyuki Imaishi. “Cyberpunk Edgerunners - Maine End (Spoilers).” YouTube, 14 Sept. 2022,