Niantic’s Ingress is a Video Game-Anime Fusion That Works

Niantic's Ingress is a Video Game-Anime Fusion That Works
credit// Netflix

The Netflix Anime Series Ingress is a CG-animated series developed in collaboration with Fuji TV and Craftar Studios in Japan, and is based on Niantic’s augmented-reality mobile game of the same name. The show is dropping tomorrow on Netflix, and we got to preview the first three episodes. Even from the first few minutes of the pilot, its obviously that Ingress is its own world, and not just a video game marketing tool, though the show does use the Ingress app almost exactly the same as players do.

The difference, of course, is that the anime is entirely in-universe, where people without the Ingress app can use XM abilities and don’t need to have a faction alignment. There are also way more gun fights. The result is a show that takes its cues from a video game without having to stick to the same plot, which saves it from some of the usual problems game adaptations tend to have, like dealing with a stilted progression system or overly complicated mechanics. Ingress does use the same basic mechanics as the game, but they’re simplified even in the game, which makes them translate to the screen a bit more smoothly. And because the AR mechanics are rather ubiquitous, the anime doesn’t need to work too hard on explaining them.

In fact, the heaviest lifting the anime needs to do is explain XM and its abilities. However, thanks to protagonist Makoto’s relative inexperience in dealing with XM, and anime’s use of mystery and detective tropes, even that is easy enough to get behind. Which allows the show to avoid the biggest pitfall of anime: endlessly long exposition episodes.

Since the show starts with an explosion and then, almost immediately, develops into a multi-episode chase, the stakes are set early on, and the character building is done in media res. Which makes Ingress Netflix’s best anime to date.

You can check out a brand new trailer for Ingress below.

About Madeline Ricchiuto

Madeline Ricchiuto is a gamer, comics enthusiast, bad horror movie connoisseur, writer and generally sarcastic human. She also really likes cats and is now Head Games Writer at Bleeding Cool.

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