The world is not as it seems.
- Episodes : Action, Game, Sci-Fi, Mystery
- Genre : October 2018
- Airing Date : 11
- Producers : Craftar Studios
Ingress the Animation Introduction and Story
Exotic Matter, commonly abbreviated as “XM”, permeates the world, subtly impacting the minds of everyone exposed to it. Within it lies the key to unprecedented growth, both technological and personal, but also the risk of powerful actors turning it towards less than honorable ends. Two factions vie for control over XM, The Enlightened, who want to spread it freely for humanity’s advancement, and The Resistance, who see XM as a danger to be carefully contained and monitored.
The story is told through the perspective of three protagonists: Jack Norman, Makoto Midorikawa, and Sarah Coppola, each of them is a “Sensitive”, people who harbor supernatural talents strengthened by XM. Jack is an agent of The Resistance with considerable military skills and a partner to the disappeared scientist Christopher Brandt. Makoto, a freshly inducted member of The Enlightened, was previously unaware of XM despite using his abilities for detective work before he’s urged by an unknown source to rescue Sarah Coppola, an amnesiac XM researcher taken captive by the vile organization, Hulong.
After a brief scuffle, Jack and Makoto discover that they are united in their opposition of Hulong despite belonging to different factions. With Sarah’s returning memories and unique ability to interact with XM, the trio uncovers the truth behind Christopher’s disappearance and Hulong’s existence as just a cog in a greater threat to humanity’s free will.
Initially released in Japanese late last year, Ingress the Animation is a fast-paced, CGI animated title with themes that focus on connections between ostracized people as well as the nature of humanity’s collective consciousness and the ethics of attempting to steer it. Don’t be daunted though, the overarching plot is kept simple: stop the conspiracy, save the world.
1. For Long-Time Agents, an Expansion. For Newcomers, an Introduction.
In part, Ingress the Animation is a marketing tool meant to advertise Niantic’s mobile game of the same title, but it does do its level best to present itself as an enjoyable story that can provide a gateway into the basic conflicts and lore.
Players of Ingress, or rather, “agents” may be pleased to see representatives of both factions in the form of ADA and Hank Johnson, members of The Resistance and The Enlightened whose characters stay true to the source material and make major contributions to the plot.
2. A self-contained Story
The anime is surprisingly outsider-friendly, giving viewers all of the details they need to fully understand the major plot points. There are a few self-indulgent references to be found, but none that detract severely from the story’s ability to stand by itself.
3. Modern Supernatural Action
With current trends geared towards the second wave of deconstructive works, isekai, and feel-good slice of life titles, Ingress the Animation is a blip on the radar for a currently underrepresented genre. It shamelessly plays to the strengths of its detective/black suit image and doesn’t think about subverting your expectations or masquerading as high art. Going through the constant vehicle chases and plots within plots is almost like taking a trip back to the early 2000s. What you see is what you get.
1. A Moment to Think, If You Please!
While Ingress the Animation does a good job of not assuming that viewers already have all of the relevant background information, it delivers its exposition hard and fast. The anime is restricted to 11 episodes in which it has to introduce three main characters, multiple organizations, locations, and an easily foreseen but decent plot twist, there’s very little time to retrace its steps. It might give off the feeling of a title that’s too stuffed for its skin.
2. Aggressive Product Placement
The start of every episode bids the viewer to log in to Ingress, addressing them as if they were an agent. The call to action, however, is tangential to the plot and fails to provide viewers with a real connection. It might sound cool the first time but by the eighth, the gimmick can feel like the app is being pushed on people. The product placement continues through the sometimes bumpy direct integration of game elements into the story. Sometimes, the effort that one has to devote to divorcing Ingress the Animation’s role as a long-form advertisement makes the otherwise decent plotline suffer.
3. Divisive Animation Style
We won’t beat around the bush, CGI has its crowd of vocal detractors, and their arguments do hold a degree of merit. Technical limitations can get in the way of smooth movement and living backgrounds, not to mention the facial expressions of the characters. Models moving at speeds under “breakneck” might give off a wooden impression to those who haven’t already gotten used to the animation style through titles like Aijin or Knights of Sidonia.
Whether Ingress the Animation ends up feeling like a well-produced, legitimate piece of work or an annoyance hinges largely on a viewer’s tolerance for its nature as a marketing tool and liberal use of the rule of cool to drive its plot. In either case, we at Honey’s Anime believe that it’s worth at least a cursory look.