First reported by Variety on June 26, 2021.
Back in 1996, Nintendo released the first of many Pokémon games for the Game Boy handheld console.
Nintendo was already a powerhouse company in the video game industry with the Mario, Legend Of Zelda, Kirby, and Metroid franchises (just to name a handful) garnering international respect, and most importantly, sales.
Little did they know that Pokémon would grow to become one of the most recognizable and successful franchises in the world. In the future to come.
It’s no surprise that since then Pokémon has been a massive phenomenon in both the Video Game and Anime industries.
To date, there are a whopping total of 122 different Pokémon Games, 7 different sequential television series(totaling a whopping 1,156 episodes), 23 theatrical movies, and 3 film-length special episodes. And the catalog is only going to continue to grow, with Netflix announcing a Live-Action adaption of the beloved franchise.
What do we know?
As of now, we know close to nothing. It’s only been a day since the announcement so information is sparse.
What we do know is that it’s being produced and written by Joe Henderson, who is most notably known for being showrunner and executive producer on Lucifer, which originally aired on Fox for it’s first 3 seasons until it was cancelled and then subsequently picked up by Netflix after fans cried out for a proper ending to the show. Netflix will be airing the 6th and Final season of Lucifer on September 10th.
Where did this come from?
If you’ve been paying close attention to Netflix in the past few years, then it should be a fair assessment to say that there is no way you couldn’t have seen this coming. Netflix added the first season of the original Pokémon series: Pokémon Indigo League way back in the Summer of 2014. Since then they have added Pokémon: Journeys and have added, and taken off Pokémon XY, which can now be watched on Hulu.
Netflix has taken a massive interest in the Anime market by streaming classic hits including but not limited to: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Naruto, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood(the more well received remake of the orignal series Fullmetal Alchemist).
They have also seen success with their own Animated shows(Anime is strictly used to refer to animations of Japanese origin) such as Castlevania and Dota: Dragon’s Blood.
Netflix has also worked with Japanese studios in the past to develop Animes. Some of these include hits such as Devilman Crybaby, Violet Evergarden, and BEASTARS. Netflix consistently adds new Animes to it’s catalog as well as developing it’s own.
It seems Netflix understands that there are many of us here in the U.S. who grew up watching Anime, and as it grows from being a niche market to being the most demanded foreign content, Netflix is leading the charge in bringing Japanese content to American Audiences.
Should we be excited?
In my opinion, yes. Of course, it’s too early to form a full opinion with there being so little information being out about what there is to come. But with the success of Detective Pikachu back in 2019, it is clear that audiences both young and old are interested in seeing more of the beloved franchise, even in a live action format.
That being said, it’s fair to remain skeptical about Netflix with it’s track record of problems when it comes to adapting Animes and Animated shows. The Live action remake of the beloved Mystery/Thriller Manga Death Note seemed doomed from the beginning.
In 2020, the original creators of the beloved Nickolodeon Animated show Avatar:The Last Airbender left the highly anticipated Netflix Live-action adaption citing “irreparable creative differences” leading many fans-including myself- to lose faith in that project entirely.
Either way, I look forward to learning more about this project as time progresses.