In one of the more odd team-ups in the entertainment world, Pokémon Go developer Niantic is partnering with Netflix to make a show. Before anyone gets their hopes up, the show will have nothing to do with Pokémon. Anyone looking for that will have to stick with Ash's adventures. This series is based on Niantic's other mobile game, Ingress.
Ingress suggests that portals are opening up in the world, and that players are part of an organization sent to contain the threat. It plays a lot like Pokémon Go, having players walk around the real world to find portals tied to actual locations. In fact, PokéStop locations are even frequently borrowed from Ingress portal locations. Screenrant reports that the Netflix series will be an anime that expands on the portals' effects.
Called Ingress: The Animation, it will tell the story of two people who get powers from energy that leaks out of the portals. Makoto and Sarah get the ability to see an object's history by touching it and peer into time and space, respectively. This makes them the target of a shady government-looking type named Jack. The three will eventually get caught up in the battle between the Enlightened and the Resistance, the two factions players can join in the Ingress game. The tie-ins should run deep, as the anime is planned to run alongside the upcoming game sequel Ingress Prime.
"The anime peers into the ‘Ingress’ universe and allows viewers to see a part of that universe that is uniquely expressed," said John Hanke, founder of Niantic. To expand on that, Ingress: The Animation takes place in a parallel universe from the games. This smart move allows it to expand on the lore without making it required viewing for players.
Ingress: The Animation is being produced by Crafter and features direction and character designs by anime veterans. Director Yuhei Sakuragi helmed Neon Genesis: Impact. Character designer Takeshi Honda is best known for designing the characters for Neon Genesis Evangelion. Japanese television network Fuji TV is partnered with Netflix for distribution, with the series scheduled to release in October alongside Ingress Prime.
Overall it seems like the series has potential. It features some tested anime names tackling an interesting premise. The fact that it's telling a story somewhat removed from the games means it has a chance of drawing in more casual fans. Of course, the best outcome would have been an anime that ties into Pokémon Go instead. Ash really needs a break, and we need a break from him.