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Anime / Ingress

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"The world around you is not what it seems."
From left to right: Makoto Midorikawa, Sarah Coppola and Jack Norman

Since he was little, Makoto had a strange power which enabled him to read the memories of objects he touched. Hiding his uncontrollable power, he works as a special agent in the police force. One day, while investigating an explosion at a laboratory that researches a unknown substance called “XM”, he sees a mysterious memory.

The memory was from Sarah’s ring, who was the sole survivor of the accident. It was a sight of a person being swallowed into a red light and disappearing. Makoto becomes embroiled in a massive conspiracy. The battle for “XM”, a material that could affect human mind, starts now.

Ingress The Animation is the Animated Adaptation of the mobile phone game of the same name produced by Studio Crafter under the direction of Yuhei Sakuragi and with character designs by Takeshi Honda. The anime aired in Japan in October 2018 with worldwide streaming from Netflix as an Original on April 30, 2019.

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  • Affably Evil: Brandt genuinely cares for Jack as their friend, their plot is ultimately built on altruism taken to extremes and it notably doesn't put them at the helm of the new order they want, but rather the intention was always to make Sarah the one at the very top, citing their capacity for kindness and empathy as the most important factor alongside the inherent ability to do it. That said, Brandt is not above manipulating said friend, the altruistic goal they envision is an abhorrent violation of free will on a global scale and when Sarah proves completely unwilling to cooperate, Brandt decides to cut their losses and either brainwash Sarah into compliance or kill them Deader than Dead and take Sarah's powers to do it themselves.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: As with the game, ADA may or may not fall under this. Subverted. She is the one assisting and co-operating with Makoto and Jack during their journey in an effort to stop the Collaborators' plans. Said Collaborators had feared this would be the case for her and had made a concentrated effort to find and destroy her across the net.
  • Amplifier Artifact: XM amplifies the abilities of Sensitives, especially when inside an allied Control Field. Conversely, their abilities are weakened or entirely negated near enemy portals and Control Fields.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The series ends with Makoto and Hank travelling as Nomads with Makoto intent to find Sarah and Jack out there in the world.
  • The Anime of the Game: As made clear with the "The Animation" subtitle.
  • Arc Number: Like the game, 1331.
  • Assimilation Plot: Brandt wants to use the Dark XM to upload the souls of everyone on Earth into the substrate, then use Sarah's power to guide them toward a singular purpose.
  • Badass Abnormal: Jack's powers let him see briefly into the future and react accordingly, but it doesn't give him any superior physical abilities—that's entirely on him.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: "Zion" is an extremely quirky (and heavily implied to be a shut-in) old friend of Makoto's who would prioritize going around in his car to set up Portals and fields for his (what he thinks is a game) faction over his social anxiety, but he's also an extremely proficient hacker who can set up Makoto and Jack with passports and detailed instructions on how to get past customs with them. He's also instrumental in Makoto's plan to get the Resistance and Enlightened factions cooperating and organized so they can globally support Sarah's efforts to defeat Brandt in the XM Substrate.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: As evidenced in the above picture, the two leads Makoto and Jack fall under the factions Enlightened (Green) and Resistance (Blue). Though Sarah is inbetween, signifying that she has not chosen either. Dark XM is an ominous orange-red. Brandt's XM being red at the start is actually a clever piece of foreshadowing to his true intentions and abilities.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Jack's ability lets him see the near-future and react accordingly, letting him dodge bullets among other things. Liu also has a form of this through Telepathy, and is able to piggyback on Jack's power while fighting him.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The ending theme features a montage showcasing the profiles of various real life Ingress players as well as live action footage of the game in action.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Jack's Combat Clairvoyance ability allows him to do this.
  • Evolving Credits: For the opening, the reflections in the eyes of Makoto, Jack and Sarah show different locations relevant to the story every few episodes. For instance, the opening during episodes 1 through 4 show the Hulong Lab, Kyoto Lab and Kansai International Airport.
    • As well, the image of the globe that appears at the start is covered in Dark XM for the final episode, representing the state of the world.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride and Greed for the Collaborators. All they see is the profit to be gained from exploiting XM for their own ends, and their machinations and status has made them exceedingly arrogant, thinking they cannot be stopped by the time the anime starts. Makoto, Jack and Sarah prove that they're not as invincible as they thought they were, and Brandt seals it with bullets to the head.
  • Foreign Language Theme: The opening and ending sequences use alt-J's "Tessellate" and "In Cold Blood".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    "Dude, this is the Player Frontend."
    • The finale features a shot of Sarah's ring containing glyphs on it. On the front when flipped over is 'You - Mind - Human - Destiny - Lead". Inside is "Data" superimposed with "All".
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Jack has a pair of shades which act as a scanner. Hulong mooks have similar technology built into their helmets and their plainclothes operatives have contact lenses which do the same. Jack swipes a pair and gives them to Makoto. The Collaborators's plot involves a mass-marketed version of these goggles designed to insert subliminal messages into the minds of the wearers.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Sarah's power includes, but is not limited to: see the normally-invisible XM, see how XM Portals are connected even over long physical distances, send messages through XM Portals as Glyphs (which is the crux of both the Collaborators' and Brandt's plans to subliminally Mind Control the global populous), exist as a fully cognizant spiritual being in the XM Substrate, see and hear what's happening around XM Portals, create XM Barriers that can block Dark XM, disrupt Dark XM (which causes it to explode), attack using XM in the Substrate (and if you get destroyed there it renders you Deader than Dead), outright force the alignments of XM Portals in the real world to shift, and eventually globally reset the Portals. In a setting like this one, it turns out this girl won the lottery!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Two major ones in fact. First Jack uses his out of time simulacrum body to blow up Brandt's real body, allowing Sarah to fully defeat him and then Sarah rids the world of the Dark XM that's been spreading, seemingly vanishing away afterwards.
  • The Heavy: Even though the Collaborators are the ones pulling his strings, the one carrying most of the villainous plot is Liu. Even when his bosses take the reigns, they get swiftly dispatched by Brandt's scheme, and Liu ends up being the last known Collaborator villain to die in the end.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The Ingress game is linked to a hacked XM scanner, and whoever did this passed the app off as a game so people would unwittingly join the fight.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Hank Johnson looks exactly like his English voice actor Christopher Corey Smith. It's a deliberate case as he was designed after him due to the fact that Hank originated from the live action story videos made in tandem for the game where Chris first portrayed him.
  • Kryptonite Factor: XM fields and Portals impair or outright cancel the abilities of opposite-aligned Sensitives (ej, Jack of the Resistance cannot use his future-sight power while inside an Enlightened field). In some cases it may even prove debilitating/mentally taxing to Sensitives, although this is never shown in the anime. Now consider that XM is literally everywhere and that anyone with the Ingress app can do something about the fields and Portals near them...
    • On the other end, Dark XM is harmful to everyone, except possibly Dark XM Simulacrums. On the "lighter" end of the spectrum its effects can cause unbearable physical and mental pain to whoever comes in contact with it, and it can and will kill if exposed to it for long enough. Even Simulacrums are not safe because their bodies will eventually break down in 1331 days and violently explode.
  • La Résistance: Like the game, the Resistance faction, which Jack is a member of. In practice, Makoto, Jack and Sarah wind up forming one against the Collaborators, with some allies of their own along the way, including an actual armed Resistance at one point.
  • Mind Control: Using Sarah's power to decode the glyphs, combined with goggles that transmit images directly into the brain, the Collaborators want to influence every mind on the planet into following their agenda.
  • Mythology Gag: The Collaborators being a third faction hostile to both the Resistance and Enlightened, with plans on world domination, heavily reflect the N'zeer, aliens who opposed the Shapers and destroyed instead of created.
  • Never Found the Body: We never see Hank's corpse, just the implication that they died in an explosive car crash. The ending reveals he lived and is travelling with Makoto.
    • Similar circumstances apply to ADA, though it's considerably less ambiguous. The ending also confirms she lives...perhaps in more ways than were expected.
    • This is part of the reason why Jack is initially mistrustful of Sarah, as he has no idea what has become of Brandt and finds it hard to believe he literally exploded. That was actually just Brandt's Simulacrum; his real corpse is safely stored in one of his bases.
    • And finally, this is Makoto's reasoning for his Walking the Earth ending. He has seen neither Sarah nor Jack's corpses, and Sarah's parting words to him imply that at least they will meet again one day, so he travels the world in hopes it will come true. Jury's out on both, as Brandt makes it clear that you don't actually need your corpse to create a new Simulacrum, so even Jack, whom we viewers watched explode, has hope of coming back.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Much of the conflict between Jack, Makoto, and Sarah in the first few episodes would have been avoided if Jack didn't open every conversation with a chokehold on Makoto.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Whilst inside the XM Substrate, Sarah gains a pair colored Blue and Green, as they are made up of the links to the Resistance and Enlightened portals that she has united to defeat Brandt.
  • Power Incontinence: Makoto wears a glove on his right hand at all times because his ability activates whenever he touches an object with his bare skin, regardless of whether or not he wants it to. His power is Psychometry, described down below. Suffice to say, this has caused him a lot of grief over the years, including his own mother being terrified of him for it.
  • Private Military Contractors: Some of the many organizations working under the flag of the Collaborators. Hulong Mooks hound our protagonist nearly the entire anime, and they also cross paths with a different (but still enemy) force when they have to travel abroad.
  • Psychometry: Makoto's special ability, which he has used as part of the police force to solve several cases. Makoto finds very practical uses for it during the anime, such as hacking into restricted terminals (by viewing the terminal's memory of whoever accessed it recently) or viewing an airplane control's memory of its deceased pilots to learn how to steer it into an emergency landing.
  • Shout-Out: Jack passes the time in the manga cafe with Makoto by reading several volumes of the Golgo 13 manga, with him clearly getting invested enough to read a whole stack of them.
  • The Stinger: The final episode has one showing ADA in a different location than the one she was seemingly blown up at (with 'ADA-L13' adorned on a wall), typing on a computer screen "Ingress Completed" and welcoming back the coma patient she was possessing who has woken up.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: When Dark XM becomes heavily destabilized, it can react in this manner. In particular, "Violent Recursion" is what happens when a Dark XM Simulacrum has this happen to them, whether involuntarily (by reaching the degradation deadline of 1331 days) or voluntarily (as both Brandt and Jack demonstrate).
  • Telepathy: Liu's power is to read minds.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Chaotic Matter, or Dark XM, can give a Sensitive an extreme power boost, but is harmful to the body.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Christopher Brandt lets himself be captured in the first episode, because he knows he'll be taken to Sarah. When that happens, he uses Dark XM to blow up himself and everyone else but her, facilitating her escape.
  • True Sight: Sarah's power allows her to naturally see XM. Hulong wants her because this ability is important to their research into Mind Control.
  • Wetware Body: ADA was rumoured to be capable of possessing human bodies. Which she can very much do (but it heavily depends on the host body and their willingness to submit to her) and had been in hiding by possessing the body of a comatose woman who Brandt was treating and provided to ADA.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Sarah's. (She thinks) Her Sensitive power is to see XM, which seemingly was limited only to helping her research be more convenient. Of course, it soon becomes apparent to the main characters and to the viewer that it's way more than just that.