Big Hero 6 — Is This Cyberpunk?

Big Hero 6: A Cyberpunk Entry? Let’s Find Out

Note: This is part of my ongoing series Is This Cyberpunk? where I look at different media in the Cyberpunk grey area, to help come to that ever-elusive definition of what Cyberpunk really is. In today’s post, I will consider if Big Hero 6 counts as a Cyberpunk movie, or not.

Big Hero 6 (2)

What is Big Hero 6 Anyways?

Big Hero 6 is a 3D computer animated Disney film that came out in 2014. It’s loosely based on the Marvel comic book series of the same name and tells the story of Hiro Hamada, a young prodigy in robotics who creates a technology that becomes stolen by a masked villain. With the help of the medical robot Baymax, Hiro founds a team of superheros to help fight the masked villain and reclaim his stolen tech.

Baymax - Portrait du Personnage Disney des Nouveaux Héros

Baymax, the Robot of Big Hero 6

Very early on we meet Baymax, a lovable inflatable medical robot that dispenses both physical and emotional assessments and treatments on any human within distance. He also learns and adapts pretty quickly to his environment, including how to fist bump.

“I will add ‘fist-bump’ to my care-giving matrix” –Baymax

He’s clearly a very advanced android.

The Other Characters

A very important character you meet early on is Hiro’s older brother, Tadashi. At the beginning of the movie we find Hiro lost, unmotivated, and participating in illegal robot  battles in his free time. In order to set him back on the right track, Tadashi introduces brings Hiro to his University’s lab, where he shows Hiro Baymax.

Big Hero 6 Tadashi Hiro Baymax - Movie Fanatic

This is the first important acquaintance that Hiro makes early on in the movie. Tadashi will also significantly impact Hiro’s motivations throughout the rest of the movie. But when Tadashi brings Hiro to his lab, he also introduces him to the rest of his friends: Go Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred. These four will later become the rest of the Big Hero 6 team members.

Things only adults notice in Big Hero 6

The Story

Hiro becomes motivated to develop a new technology and present it in a conference meant to impress the judges enough to make them offer him an invitation into their prestigious university. During the conference, however, there is an incident that sets into motion the plot for the rest of the film. Hiro’s tech is lost, or so he thinks, before he finds it again years later in the hands of a mysterious figure wearing a kabuto mask. In order to solve the mystery of who this masked man is and reclaim his tech, Hiro teams up with the four friends and Baymax to form the Big Hero 6 team.

An Interesting Setting: San Fransokyo

One of the first things that really springs out to any proper Cyberpunk fan is the very Cyberpunk-like aesthetic in this film, in particular in this film’s setting. The movie takes place in a fictional city called San Fransokyo, a rather obvious mix between San Francisco and Tokyo. It would appear to be modern-day San Francisco, but if the city had been taken over by Japanese inhabitants. This city kept the Golden Gate Bridge, but added Japanese architectural flourishes to it.

It turns out that there’s a reason for why San Fransokyo seems like a mix of the two cities. According to the city’s Fandom wikipedia page, San Francisco experienced a major earthquake in 1906 caused by the collapse of an energy amplifier created by the artist Lenore Shimamoto. The reconstruction of the city led to its rebirth, as Japanese immigrants combined the San Francisco and Tokyo-style architecture in order to mitigate the effects of any future massive earthquakes.

Cyberpunk Visuals

As a result of the massive metropolis that is San Francisco, combined with the neon lights at night time and a more tech-focused slant of the city, this movie seems to have taken very clear inspirations from Blade Runner. Take a look:

San Fransokyo at Night

San Fransokyo | Disney Wiki | Fandom

Unlike many Cyberpunk films, however, they show both the night and daytime. San Fransokyo in the daytime looks like this:

San Fransokyo during the day

The Creation of San Fransokyo | Wendel Rosen LLP - JDSupra

Throughout the city are floating blimp-kite things with fans. They look like Energy kites that provide wind power to whatever the kite is tethered too. That’s just a guess, however, as the movie never explains what they are. In an incredible stroke of good luck (for me, at least) the viewer is treated to a closer look at the city from the air as halfway through the movie, Hiro creates a suit of armor for Baymax that includes a jet pack. Hiro then rides Baymax up in the sky, eventually landing on one of these energy kite blimp things to enjoy a beautiful sunset. It looks like a lot of fun.

Baymax and Hiro atop an energy blimp thing.

Big Hero 6 Gif - ID: 12475 - Gif Abyss

But it’s not just the city itself that looks Cyberpunk as hell. Hiro himself could be counted as a little Cyber Punk, as he starts off the movie in illegal Black Market Robot battles that strongly reminded me of that short film Sonnie’s Edge from Love, Death & Robots.

Robot Battle In the Ring

Big Hero 6 - Robot Fight HD - YouTube

This was really interesting, fun, enjoyable, and different from what I was expecting. It was the Punk aspect that I had been looking for. But the movie goes well beyond just Punk. There’s a lot of high-tech nods that were really fun to see featured in subtle ways throughout the film. For instance, Hiro uses a virtual keyboard, and then later on designs Baymax’s armor in the air like Tony Stark modeling his Iron Man armor.

Designing Virtually

Hiro designing Big Hero 6

In the same frame, he alternates between an Apple standard physical keyboard, and a virtual keyboard projected onto his table using a little blue projector. The blue colors and green virtual screen also felt very Cyberpunk.

Projected Keyboards

Hiro VR keyboard Big Hero 6

Then, in what clearly felt like a nod to the Matrix Trilogy, Hiro programs Baymax to fight using Kung-Fu movies! He uses a program to capture the movements shown in the action scene, then maps them out into moves that Baymax can mimic. Baymax literally has his own “I know Kung-Fu” moment!

Baymax knows Kung-Fu

Baymax learns Kung Fu

If that’s not Cyberpunk then I don’t know what is. The final thing I noticed in the film was Hiro’s use of 3D printers, technology we already have today, in order to create Baymax’s armor.

Final Verdict and Review: A fun family movie, it’s a Superhero Movie first, but definitely Cyberpunk second.

So yes, it’s cyberpunk, but it’s more of a Superhero movie with a Cyberpunk style. It just barely passes the sniff test to count as Cyberpunk, but it passes the hurdle nonetheless. With good pacing and a plot that’s not too predictable, Big Hero 6 shines in the development of its main character but loses a bit with the amount of characters it has (all 4 sidekicks are quite forgettable). With a solid soundtrack, incredible visuals, and a good amount of humor and fun, this is the perfect Cyberpunk animated Disney movie.

The Final Word?

So that’s how I feel about the movie. But what do you think? Have you seen it? Do you agree with my verdict? Why/why not? Feel free to have the final word in the comments below.

Interview with Bradley B, Founder of

Interviewing the Cyberpunk Community

There are multiple Cyberpunk blogs on the ‘net, each with its own distinct focus and flavor. Here at Cyberpunk Matrix, your one stop shop for everything Cyberpunk, you’ll notice that the focus is on Cyberpunk media, with a lighter look at how this media affects the world around it, while keeping up to date on everything new that is Cyberpunk. For a deep dive into the philosophy of Cyberpunk, you could try Neon Dystopia. For a community focus with a more interactive feel, try out The Cyberpunk Hive. But for a deeper and wider look at a commentary on “real life” and how it is already Cyberpunk, you can do no better than

Its founder, Bradley B., agreed to an interview with me so I could get to know a little more about his website, his team, and his thoughts on the current state of our Cyberpunk World. Check out my exclusive interview below.

1. What got you into Cyberpunk?

I think, aside from a early, yet cursory, understanding of Robocop (“he shoots bad guys!”), the earliest memory I have of cyberpunk media is watching Brainscan as a kid.  I was 11 or so, and it gave me nightmares!  That said, I watched it several times before I had to return the rental.  After that, I think I got into high fantasy more so than Sci-Fi.  It wasn’t until I saw The Matrix and Akira in my early twenties that I knew this was a special genre.  From there, I picked up a thrift copy of Neuromancer and did the deep dive.

2. What made you decide to start

It may have been the psychedelics? Maybe I touched the gestalt? We probably just got lucky the domain was for sale (time will tell!).  We have big love for cyberpunk, and it was obvious that the normalization of the genre was occurring, with CD Projekt Red intending to ship tens of millions of copies of Cyberpunk 2077.  We saw that a new wave of cyberpunk fans would soon be born.

However, at this time, most cyberpunk media had been bastardized and re(mis?)-appropriated while the larger communities had devolved into arguments over neon cities in rain & the emergent synthwave/retrowave aesthetics.  While any genre will (d)evolve over time, it was obvious that lots of folk had lost touch of the thread that led us back to Gibson, Sterling & the Mirrorshades Group.  Requests for book recommendations stopped at “Neuromancer” and “Snow Crash,” and there were only a few die-hards that could name more than five pieces of cyberpunk media.

Established cyberpunk sites, such as Neon Dystopia or The Cyberpunk Database provided great resources in the form of deep indices going back to the origins of cyberpunk, however, there was very little media to distinguish one work from the other. Why should someone go back and read John Shirley’s “City Come A’ Walking”  or Bruce Sterling’s “Schismatrix”?  We decided to dig in and try to tell that story.

And that’s just the literary genre. If you want, we could talk about how “Cyberpunk is Now” while moving away from the more puritanical subjects (best Blade Runner cut, anyone?). This, I think, was the real kicker for us. The notion that we’re living in a surveillance state, while consuming yellow journalism (fake news) and seeking truth in a (largely-online) society filled with sock puppets, phone farms, affiliate ads (guilty), astro-turfing, deepfakes, spam and cat videos.  In our opinion, the open-source and maker movements may be seen as the flies in the ointment, so to speak, allowing a freedom of speech through invention and creativity that may serve to spark a technical Renaissance, and not one housed in the walled gardens of Silicon Valley.

We also began to develop a feel for the ephemerality of publishing on the web, which we felt overlaid nicely with the retrospective nature of our project and how it applied to our beloved subgenre of speculative-fiction. As this new (fourth?) wave of cyberpunk approaches, we couldn’t help but notice the opportunity to play within this paradoxical arena — one in which we look back at those looking forward in hopes that we ourselves can look forward more clearly.

Frankly, this is a big question with a big, sweeping answer.  It’s something like a rite of passage, but I’m currently trying to distill our own version of “What is Cyberpunk?” for the website.  Keep checking in, and maybe we can actually define this quicksilver term (with a little help from our friends).

Plus, there’s supposed to be a video game coming out soon, in case you haven’t heard.

3. Is Cyberpunks a solo venture, or do you have a team behind you? If you have a team, who is in your team?

Hah, definitely not a solo venture.  By my count, we’ve had about thirty different authors submit work so far.  There’s a lot that goes into the making of the sausage.  I spend a lot of time pushing buttons and looking for cool projects on the web. Anyone who has story ideas or an article in hand is welcome to email us at

4. How do you choose what goes on your website and what doesn’t? In other words, what’s your editorial/curating process?

We ask for pitches and approve what interests us. News and Current Events happen, and sometimes it makes sense to wade in.  We’re not afraid of the political, and we’re comfortable with opinion as well, so we’re willing to run the gamut.

As far as process, we’ve got several readers and editors who fact-check and tighten up a submission (if needed), and then we’ll lay this out in a “desktop-first” approach.  We’re seeing a lot of sites being lazy about their layouts, just dumping pictures into a stack of words.  While I think that works fine if you’re targeting phone users, this allows us to pay fan-service to our cyberpunk friends with six monitors.  We look good on mobile too!

5. What are your top three Cyberpunk works, and why?

Desert Island choices, eh?  Is this my personal island or the official cyberpunk canon island?  Permission to be obtuse?

Choice 1: How about the full Transmetropolitan series for eyecandy and ingenuity?

Choice 2: I’m going to go out on a limb and say Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.  This one’s still out of my reach, and I haven’t finished the read. I love the challenge of fordboding, eldritch tomes like Finnegan’s Wake and Gravity’s Rainbow. This one’s super-relevant now as much as ever.  It should keep me busy on the desert island.

Choice 3: Maybe “The Unix Programming Environment” or “Introduction to C Programming”?   Both were written by researchers at Bell Labs and meant for AT&T’s industrial and business purposes, which at the time was a focus on the nationwide networking of computers via telephones.  Pretty incredible systems were implemented to manage that, and we use them in our computing paradigms still to this day. Point being, and I’m as guilty as anyone — we’ve gotten farther away from the source material. The internet has become abstracted away from user interactivity and moved toward user consumption.  It’s a cyberpunk’s job to keep it weird and break things.  Isn’t it? Anyhow — This is the start of the path to l33t skills.

6. With the advent of drones, robots, the Hong Kong protests and now the Coronavirus, some people think life as we know it is more Cyberpunk than ever. What are your thoughts on the current condition of Cyberpunk in everyday life?

I mean, I touched on it earlier, but it’s pretty obvious. People hate when you point out the obvious. The collected knowledge of the world can be displayed from a device that fits in your hand. You’re probably reading this interview right now with a smartphone in your hand and Apple/Google/Facebook/Verizon are looking over your shoulder.  We all know the story already.

Here.   I’ll prove it.

  • Mention a product explicitly within earshot of your phone — What happens?
  • Name two reasons why you would want to have multiple social media profiles on a single platform.
  • Tell the truth — Do you ever look at your webcam with a brief flash of paranoia?  How often?
  • What’s the capital of Pennsylvania?

7. What are your thoughts of the future of Cyberpunk media? Are there any titles in particular you’re looking forward to?

William Gibson’s gonna finish his latest trilogy.  Cory Doctorow will too.  Lots of emergent voices are in this genre genre now, so I’m hoping I can find more time to read them and give them a fair shake.  Cyberpunk 2077, of course, could be a clarion call or another death knell for the genre.  I’m hopeful, as it’s not the first time I’ve heard it said that cyberpunk is dead.

We’ve talked before about how we’re really missing out by not focusing our attention on the non-fiction side of cyberpunk:

Skill up, kids. The DIY movement is a not-so-new opportunity for cyberpunk media, IMO. This is the true Hacker paradigm: Open Source, GitHub, Hackaday, Stack Exchange, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Adafruit, MAKE (R.I.P), Prusa Printing — These are the new battlegrounds of cyberpunk, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The future is becoming more evenly distributed. I’m just getting my feet wet.  How about you?

8. Finally, what does the word “Cyberpunk” mean to you?

See above.   If you think that stuff’s weird — You should see our website.



Interviewing the Cyberpunk Community: an ongoing series

Did you like what you read? Then check out the rest of our interview series!

Review: Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 (First Episode)

Ghost in the Shell Netflix Series Gets a Trailer and Art Ahead of ...

Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045: A new GitS Series on Netflix

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex SAC_2045 is the latest Cyberpunk addition to Netflix. Based on the 1980s classic manga series Ghost in the Shell (which has produced several movies, tv series, and a live action film), this series is a Netflix exclusive in 3D CG format. The series is slated to have 2 seasons of 12 episodes each, the first season of which just released Thursday.

Netflix dévoile le trailer final de Ghost in the Shell ...

Familiar Ghost in the Shell Characters

Major Motoko is back, of course, along with lens-eyed Batou, Chief Aramaki, and detective Togusa. We also have a new character, nicknamed “clown”. It’s good to see them again.

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 | Netflix Official Site

A New Setting: A Dystopian Future

In order to quickly settle any questions about this new world, which is different enough from previous Ghost in the Shell entries but also for newcomers, Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045 does what many shows seem to do to help its viewers: provide intro text to set the scene and answer questions preemptively. Which is a shame, because I really love figuring things like this out on my own, and have always felt that when shows or movies explain away things for the viewers right off the bat it detracts from the viewing experience. Anyways, here is what they say:

“2042: The Great 4 (American Empire, China, Russia, and EU) sought economic stability for its members. Using AI code 1A84, the American Empire initiated war as an industry. The world dubbed it “sustainable war”. However, each nation put its own economic interests first, and the world soon found itself in dire straits.”

It goes on:

“AD 2044: The Global Simultaneous Default cause financial firms to halt all transactions. Paper currency became worthless, and all virtual currency  and e-money vanished from the net. This triggered a rapid escalation in war as an industry. Even advanced nations suffered riots, terrorism, separatist movements, and civil war. Sustainable war slowly but surely began to spread, threatening the human race with extinction.” –Ghost in the Shell SAC 2045 Intro.

This explaining still leaves me with a lot of questions. How does sustainable war make any sense? War against whom? and why would transactions be halted universally and all forms of currency be wiped out? And what did the world replace it with, a barter economy?

You might be concerned this all takes place in the sand and desert but no worries, you’re taken to good ol’ downtown Tokyo 12 minutes into the episode.

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 (Anime) - TV Tropes


The first episode finds our favorite characters from Section 9 packing some Budweisers (no, I’m not kidding) as they begin an assignment to find and pacify a group of “Nomads” (read “bandits”) and find out what they’re up to. What was supposed to be a simple op becomes more complicated as the nomads are in possession of more advanced military weaponry than expected. Meanwhile, the one member not on the team, Detective Togusa, is solving a case of a currency hacker when he gets contacted by the Chief. Turns out the Chief wants Togusa to help get Section 9 back together, which had somewhat disbanded after the world turned to “Sustainable War”. The end of the episode introduces who might become a villain in the series called “The Good One-Percenter” which is a hilarious but interesting name for a mysterious character. I’m excited to see what comes next.

GitS SAC_2045

A New Intro Sequence…

For both the Live Action and Anime movies, the intro sequence is beloved by fans. The artistic process of the android body being coated in white and then skin, while suspended in the air to an ethereal music sequence, is iconic. The SAC series kept the ethereal while introducing an electronic fast and exciting rhythm to it, and once again was excellent.

As for the intro for Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2045, the artistic android body coating is still there, but… die-hard fans may be shocked upon hearing the new sequence.

The song is called Fly With Me by Millenium Parade. On paper, Millenium Parade looks like they would be great to write the score for this series. Check out their bio below:

“Millennium parade is a group of energetic digital creators organized by Daiki Tsuneta, a producer and songwriter based in Tokyo, Japan. The group is composed of artists from various creative fields including musicians, a film director, visual effects artist, designer, illustrator and so on. Their sound is electronic-leaning, featuring synths and pop-inspired melodies, overlaying chaotic beats.

Millennium parade’s concept is inspired by ”Hyakki Yakō” – “The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons”, deriving from centuries old Japanese folklore and tales of mysterious supernatural creatures. The ‘night parade’ saw ghosts and monsters roam the streets causing utter pandemonium throughout Japan. This chaos and mystery underlies the group’s collective vision to present Tokyo’s new values to the rest of the world.

In May 2019, millennium parade held their project launch party show using 3D technology and tickets sold out immediately. Subsequent live shows in Tokyo and Osaka were also in high demand. They have already collaborated with DIOR and written the main theme song for the world famous Japanese animation ‘Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045’.” –Millenium Parade’s Bio on Spotify

Unfortunately, their single Fly with Me…

millennium parade – Fly with me 歌詞 | iLyricsBuzz

…Fails to Live up to Expectations

It’s like they got the wrong music downloaded for the intro sequence. 

It’s…hip hop? Or something. Maybe they wanted to try to be new and edgy? But dear god, something must have gone wrong. The song’s lyrics start with “money make the world go round.” In a world which supposedly has no money.


I can’t make this up. This is seriously what they chose was best. I try to give the media I consume a wide berth and a benefit of the doubt, I try to be generous, but this…honestly, the music is just terrible. Thank god Netflix has a skip intro feature.

New and Old Ghost in the Shell Tech

The series brings back communicating via Neuro-link, which I always greatly appreciated in both the Ghost in the Shell films and the Stand Alone Complex series. Also returning is active camouflage, and the Tachikomas are back too from the Stand Alone Complex series.

Revoltech Yamaguchi NO.126EX Tachikoma anime Ver. Ghost in the ...

Tachikomas are way too excited to kick ass. Don’t you love ’em?

Final Verdict: 8/10

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 is a fun, exciting new series with your typical too-cool Japanese anime characters. The action, once it starts, is fast-paced, exciting and surprising. The characters are interesting and believable, the pacing is good, and there are even some comical Japanese-style moments of levity as well. It’s definitely worth your time if you can get past the 3D CG video-game style animation, which takes some getting used to at the beginning. The feeling of the first episode, despite the fast-paced action, is one of devil-may-care. Missing to give it a complete 10 is something truly mind-blowing or any deep concepts or ideas. None came up in this first episode, but the series still has time with 12 episodes, and perhaps is in no hurry as it kicks off.

Over here in France, Netflix has the audio as available only in its original Japanese, with subtitles available in multiple languages. If the voice actors are good I usually prefer dubs to subs so I don’t have to watch the bottom of the screen all the time, but it’s nice to watch it in its original language at the same time.

Controversial “Ghost in the Shell” Trailer – The State Times

What did you think of Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045?

But these are just my impressions. What did you think about Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045? Did you notice something I didn’t? Do you agree or disagree with my first impressions? Let me know in the comments below!




The Wolverine–Is This Cyberpunk?

The Wolverine: A Cyberpunk Entry? Let’s Find Out

Note: This is part of my ongoing series Is This Cyberpunk? where I look at different media in the Cyberpunk grey area, to help come to that ever-elusive definition of what Cyberpunk really is. In today’s post, I will consider if The Wolverine counts as a Cyberpunk movie, or not.

Logan / Wolverine | Wiki X-Men | Fandom

He’s certainly dark and broody enough…

Logan / Wolverine (the character)

The Wolverine is one of many Marvel X-Men movies, and one of several movies that focus specifically on Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. Although Wolverine has claws and super-healing, he was enhanced using advanced technology to give him an adamantium skeleton augmenting his body.

The Wolverine (film) - Wikipedia

The Wolverine (the movie)

The Wolverine was a movie that came out in 2013 from 20th Century Fox and is both the sixth film in the X-Men film series and a sequel to the trilogy of stand-alone films focused on Logan / Wolverine’s character. It’s also a direct sequel to the 2006 X-Men film The Last Stand. Of all the X-Men and Wolverine movies, I took a particular notice of this movie because of its setting in Japan. The story follows Logan as he flies to Tokyo to meet an old acquaintance, which leads to him getting embroiled in a family power struggle involving ninjas, samurai, and a loss of his super-healing powers. 

Ichirō Yashida | Marvel Movies | Fandom

A Familiar Adage

One of the interesting things that struck me when watching this was an early line in the movie: “Yashida is old fashioned: one eye on the past, and the other on the future”. This reflects a lot of the Yakuza-style Cyberpunk that we’ve seen, including in such works as Altered Carbon, Neuromancer, and Snowcrash. Traditions and honor can last generations, while technology continues to develop and innovate at the same time.

The Wolverine — François Audouy

Some High-Tech

We get our first glimpse at high-tech with the cutting-edge sick bed that the company executive, Yashida, is using. Wolverine then glances at screens as Yashida takes some tea from his aide, and the viewers can see tiny robots repairing what appear to be X-rays of Yashida’s failing organs. “Yashida industries can do anything” Yashida proclaims, as he offers Logan the bait: an end to his eternity, to his both blessing and curse of super-healing.

Will Yun Lee as Harada (ninja) in the Wolverine | Movie ...

A Familiar Face

As the movie progresses, I suddenly recognized a familiar face I hadn’t recognized before: Will Yun Lee! Also known as one of several Takeshi Kovacs from Altered Carbon! And dressed in black as a modern ninja of sorts, he looks awesome!

Cyberpunk Elements

wolverine-yakuza - GWW

Sunglasses, leather jackets, tattoos, Yakuza, ninjas, and Taiko drums leading a parkour-style chase through Tokyo all make for compelling Cyberpunk action scenes and visuals.

The first movie of the movie "Wolverine: SAMURAI" trailer, the ...

There is even a fast-paced fight on top of a Shinkansen (bullet-train)!

47 minutes in, Logan decides to hide Mariko in a pod hotel that looks very cyberpunk indeed.

Love Hotel | X-Men Movies Wiki | Fandom

It turns out to be a love hotel! Between the three options of a nurse’s room, a dungeon, and a mission to mars: they choose the latter.

The Wolverine — François Audouy

The rooms ends up having even more cyberpunk lighting, and reminds me of the many Cyberpunk stories that do indeed feature the red planet. Examples include several stories from Philip K Dick, the original Total Recall film, and finally the Broken Angels novel and Altered Carbon Season 2. I wonder if it was at all inspired by these works or simply a coincidence!

The Cyberpunk-like movie shots are really piling up at this point. There are two dark rain-set scenes already, with somewhat neon lights–just like the iconic “tears in the rain” scene reminds us of from Blade Runner.

The wolverine Jean Grey Rain

Logan keeps on having hallucinations of Jean Grey. She visits him in the Love hotel as well, as an apparition in the rain illuminated by neon lights outside his window. It’s beautiful.

Cultural Commentary as a Sub-Theme

The Wolverine is also a beautiful movie at times because it’s both a subtle and not-so-subtle commentary on the differences in tradition between Japan and the United States, which is similar to many movies where one of the characters travel to a foreign land with different customs and has to acclimate himself or herself to the new culture and customs. Moments where Logan has to be told to bow, or to not stick his chopsticks in his bowl, are more obvious than other moments where a subtle sense of tradition and proper order permeates everything the Japanese do.

Wolverine chopsticks it's culture :) - YouTube

Some Bio-Gore

The movie then settles down, before turning to a bit of bio-gore as Logan has to heal himself in an undeniably gruesome way. I won’t spoil that part with any pictures.

THE WOLVERINE - Concept Art for the Silver Samurai | Silver ...

Concept Art


The giant electro-mechanical Samurai robot is somewhat reminiscent of the Terminator. It’s a giant, fearful thing, both Japanese and Cyberpunk in vibe.

Non-Cyberpunk Elements

Ultimedia : Premium Videos by Digiteka - We match premium videos ...

Mutants with various abilities, like being able to see the moment of someone’s death or having viper-like abilities, add a dose of fantasy that is decidedly not Cyberpunk. Also, on the whole the film is not very futuristic or high-tech at all. There is also no mention of a dystopian world, it’s rather centered on the present day. This is probably one of its biggest detractors from being a considered a Cyberpunk film.

Final Verdict and Review: Great Movie, Many Cyberpunk Visuals, but not Cyberpunk

This is not a Cyberpunk movie. The high-tech elements are too few and far between, there is very little punk about this, and there is no hacking or virtual or online internet elements at all. Despite one giant corporation appearing in the film, the conflict is completely self-contained within the company itself–it has no social commentary or dystopian society–and is thus ultimately just another Wolverine adventure.

The Final Word?

So that’s how I feel about the movie. But what do you think? Have you seen it? Do you agree with my verdict? Why/why not? Feel free to have the final word in the comments below.

Is This Cyberpunk? A New Series at Cyberpunk Matrix


In the Pursuit of Defining Cyberpunk


Here at Cyberpunk Matrix, I talk about Cyberpunk a whole lot. To do so, it’s important that I keep in mind my ability to recognize what Cyberpunk is, and what it’s not.

Finding Clear Boundaries

Sometimes it’s very easy to recognize what is and isn’t. For instance, when I see Blade Runner, I think, yup, Cyberpunk!

Blade Runner [Director's Cut] [Import USA Zone 1]: Ford ...

Yea, definitely Cyberpunk.

Then other days I come across a movie like Maid in Manhattan, and I think to myself, ah, now that’s definitely NOT cyberpunk.

Maid in Manhattan - Wikipedia

Bet you never thought you’d see a movie like that mentioned in a website like this, huh? Life’s full of surprises.

When one is so invested in a genre, it’s natural to walk around the world wearing mirrorshades and seeing everything in hues of Cyberpunk or not.

Finding the Grey Area

But sometimes, it’s not that easy.

I find a lot of great content online that looks close to being Cyberpunk, but not quite. It resides a sort of grey area. So naturally, I wonder: Does it pass the smell test of being Cyberpunk?

The Terminator - Wikipedia
Some, for instance, think The Terminator isn’t “Cyberpunk” enough a movie to qualify. I beg to differ.

In order to celebrate this ambiguity, I will be doing a new series called “Is This Cyberpunk?” So feel free to debate these pieces of media with me. It will mostly be movies in the series, but may be a TV series as well, or the occasional book or video game. Of course, in order to successfully debate whether something is Cyberpunk or not, we need to have a really solid understanding of what Cyberpunk is. For my interpretation of what Cyberpunk is, check out the page defining it here.

Petition · Do not end The Man in the High Castle. ·

While being dystopian and having origins from one of Philip K Dick’s most popular stories, The Man in the High Castle is Alternate History, and decidedly NOT cyberpunk. It’s still cool though.

Also, if you know of anything that sits squarely in the grey area and can’t figure it out, post it in the comments below and let’s analyze it together!

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