Meta Runner is an Australian computer-animated cyberpunk web series created by Kevin and Luke Lerdwichagul of SMG4 fame. It is produced by Glitch Productions, funded by Screen Australia, financed with support from Crunchyroll and AMD, and financed in association with Epic Games. It premiered on SMG4's YouTube channel on July 25, 2019, with season 2 premiering on the channel GLITCH on October 16, 2020. A third and final season premiered on July 22, 2022.
The series takes place in a futuristic society where entertainment and lifestyle are based on video games and esports. This society has led to people who have replaced their limbs with cybernetic arms called "Meta Runners" to boost their gameplay performance. The series focuses on an amnesiac cyborg girl named Tari, who discovers that she has the ability to warp inside video games, and comes across and helps an undercover group called MD-5 in their mission to expose the corrupt company TASCorp.
Set in a futuristic world centred around video games, the series follows Tari, a cyborg girl as she is being pursued by Lucks, the head of TAS Corp. organization and his Meta-Runner, Belle who want to use her newfound ability to warp into any video game to benefit the organization. The show’s title refers to the fictional group of gamers in the show who replaced their biological limbs with cybernetic prosthetics to boost up their gaming performance.
Why It's Always Running
- Splendid realistic CGI animation, along with lots of well-designed character models like Tari, Sofia, & Masa for example.
- Speaking of which, Season 2 was a step up to the show with upgrading character designs (e.g Sofia), adding more to the show and creating new story plots that were a lot more engaging and adventurous than in Season 1.
- The concept is rather interesting as it speaks for itself.
- An incredibly well written, consistent & well-executed plot with its story.
- The settings are well done and amazingly consistent.
- The voice acting is performed quite well, especially from the voice of Tari, Celeste Notley-Smith (who also voices Tari in SMG4's comedy web series).
- A lot of great characters were given a lot of character development throughout the series and were very well written, including Tari, Theo, Lamar, Sofia, Masa & Belle as examples.
- This is one of the few times Epic Games has helped with a web animated show in Season 1.
- All of the opening and closing theme songs in this show go from sounding cool to really catchy.
- The music compositions are executed very well.
- Like F is for Family, the series oftentimes leads up to a story arc. Most specifically Season 1 as it all started.
- Wonderful action, drama, sense of adventure, pacing and timing (comedically or not).
- In which, the cliffhangers in Season 2 were rather intriguing & exciting than before.
- This is one of those shows created by the guys behind the SMG4 channel, Luke and Kevin Lerdwichagul. In fact, this is their first animated show out of other projects they were experimenting on creating new concepts for web shows, and this series shows how they've pulled off one of their concepts for a series quite well.
- Speaking of SMG4, there are some easter eggs hidden about them in the backgrounds in some scenes (e.g Episode 1 of Season 1 in some camera shots being a prime example).
- Some shorts that feature Meta Runner in them (ones focusing on Tari, her crossovers or the announcer Bow as examples) are quite interesting and pretty enjoyable to watch.
- Theo (while a thoroughly sympathetic character) can be annoying & unfunny at times.
- Evelyn is an extremely unbearable character. Even though she was intentionally made to be unlikeable (even more so than Lucks will ever be) and was thought out to be a "love-to-hate" kind of character in the Making of Meta Runner video, this still doesn't excuse the fact that she is just the clichéd alpha-bitch character whose only apparent purpose, up until the episode "Friendly Fire", is to be a complete & utter bitch to Tari, for little to no reason except to make the audience hate her in the cheapest way possible and root for her defeat to be set alongside with Lucks and there were "love-to-hate" kinds of characters done more better than Evelyn ever was.
- Not to mention that her motive for hating Tari for getting all the attention is the exact trait that has been done with every "mean girl" character ever.
- Season 1 had some occasionally awkward or very intense moments (it's also a drama driven series after all, but still).
- Along with the occasional not so expressive animation in Season 1 as well (Episode 1 when Tari was in her frozen posture was a prime example).
- Minor product placements in the first episode of Season 1.
- Some cliffhangers from Season 1 in particular, can be a bit provocative.
- This may seem somewhat nitpicky but a lot of the main character models in Season 2 have a somewhat inconsistent and bizarre-looking upgrade to their appearances (especially Tari, Belle , Belle [looking even more strange] with Lucinia [who's face almost looks very similar to Evelyn] & Lamar); while not crappy looking at all, but definitely strange looking compared to their original designs. Plus some of the character designs seem like they've had a bit of a downgrade from the first season [Theo (when in scenes of the TAS Corp cell + some beginning episodes of Season 2 before they were improved) & Lucks himself both being obvious, prime examples of this].
- While being a solid, creativity-driven show, there are some minor clichés like the big-bad, cooperate Lucks for example.
Meta Runner is met with overwhelming positive fan reception. It currently has a 8.4/10 on IMDb and receive a 98% on Google.
- The series itself is produced with the help of Screen Australia, AMD, and Crunchyroll.
- Tari is one of the first SMG4 characters to get a spin-off series along with Meggy with Sunset Paradise.
- A pilot for a spin-off show titled Ultra Jump Mania, based on the fictional video game of the same name in the show, was released on September 4, 2020.
The Official Series