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A live-action Pokémon show premieres this fall — but it won’t look like the games at all

The new series follows a young woman impacted by the power of Game Boy

A woman wearing a white shirt looks down at a yellow Game Boy. Image: Tokyo TV
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

The world of Pokémon media is expanding. A new, live-action Pokémon drama premiering this fall will focus on the impact of the game on a former fan’s life — not on the Pokémon themselves. The show will air in October in Japan, according to a tweet from Japanese TV company Tokyo TV, translated by Pokémon website Serebii.

The drama will star Japanese actress Nanase Nishino, who plays a new college grad named Madoka Akagi, who struggles to click into a new job and new city. Her mother sends her a care package that includes a Game Boy and Pokémon Red, and that’s where her new adventure begins as she reunites with a game she hasn’t played since childhood. The show is produced by both The Pokémon Company and Tokyo TV. It’s not clear if we’ll see any actual Pokémon in the show, or if it’s squarely set in reality. Either way, it sounds like this is less of a Detective Pikachu and more of a reality-based drama.

It’s unlikely to get released outside of Japan, but English-speaking Pokémon fans may be eventually get their own live-action show, too. Variety reported in 2021 that Lucifer co-showrunner Joe Henderson was working on a pilot of a live-action Pokémon show for Netflix. Details were slim, but Variety said it’ll be akin to Detective Pikachu. This is in addition to Netflix’s stop-motion series Pokémon Concierge and its Pokémon anime offerings.

It’s clearly a new era for Pokémon media as Ash Ketchum, the longtime star of the anime series, recently ended his 25-year run as a Pokémon trainer. Ketchum stepped away from the role after winning the world championship, letting a duo of characters set out on a new adventure as part of a new anime.

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