A new anime series called Ingress will be premiering on Netflix April 30th. The series will be based on a game called Ingress Prime created by Niantic back in 2014 and serve as a sort of backstory to the game.
Although the series is based on the game’s backstory, the narrative is not in direct alignment with the game, itself. The narrative was formulated in tandem with the players and shows a storyline within the world of the game, but is not necessarily what users will experience.
Niantic also created the popular Pokemon Go! Game, and both feature similar aspects, such as the ARG (Alternate Reality Game) component, where players must physically move to different locations. In the game Ingress, these locations are called Portals, which are what players must capture in order for their team to win. There are two teams, or factions: the Enlightened and the Resistance. One is for the use of Exotic Matter (XM) and the other is against it.
Along with other journalists, mxdwn was granted access to a special early look at the first episode of the series. This included a deeper look into the world that sets the stage for the game and for the anime. Event goers entered a room using special headphones to enhance the experience and were met with auras of light that resembled XM. The room was filled with a large map portraying real-time data of what portals players of the game had captured as well as other data filling the walls that detailed more of the backstory to the game.
In the anime series, it starts out when a company called CERN discovered an important matter known as eXotic Matter (XM) that contains metaphysical properties. This XM has been under research with a company called the Hulong Group. Under the guise of research, Hulong secretly has been investigating how to control XM which will, in turn, control humans as a whole.
The series centers around one researcher, named Sarah Coppola, who attempts to escape but is caught in the act. After being recaptured, she loses her memory. However, a freelance psychic investigator named Makoto Midorikawa is called to investigate the crime scene of Sarah’s attackers, who mysteriously are killed. Sarah is found comatose, and when Makoto, who has the ability to see the past through objects, touches her ring, he sees how everything went down and is able to inform Sarah about her forgotten memories. Makoto is a quirky character, but viewers get an insight into his own backstory when he touches an object of his own that brings back memories of his past. This garners sympathy for his character, as well as shows his good intentions for Sarah, who is seemingly lost and helpless amidst a plot of destruction.
The look of the first episode was what one might expect from an anime series, but with a darker feel, akin to Ghost in the Shell. The graphic elements followed aspects of the game, such as the portrayal of XM as particles of light, as well as a darker atmosphere, seemingly taking place during the night. The characters moved in almost puppet-like fashion, possibly referencing the idea of gamers moving the characters like puppets. For players of the game, the series will fit right into the world of Ingress.
Although the game Ingress Prime was created in San Francisco, the TV series Ingress was first created for the Japanese market with dialog entirely in Japanese, airing October 2018 on Fuji TV. The characters were designed by none other than Takeshi Honda, art director of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
The version that will be made available on Netflix will contain 11 episodes and will include English dubbing. Voice actress Michelle Ruff will play Sarah’s voice. Additionally, a new soundtrack was created for the international version of the show for a more global appeal. The title song will feature alt-j’s “Tessellate” as well as a custom made soundtrack to evoke a more intimate “Ingress” feel to the series, according to Niantic Global Product Marketing Manager Andrew Macintosh.
For those who are interested in the game and other aspects of Ingress, you can find live roleplaying events on their website. A web series called Dunraven also builds on the story to give players a more realistic feel to the game. This web series, like the anime, also shows other possible storylines that can follow from players of the game, but may not be what users of the game have experienced.You can watch a compiled version of Dunraven episodes 1-11 at the following link. As is often repeated in the Ingress world, “Ingress is not a game.”
View the trailer below: