Pokemon Sword and Shield have been out for a while now, but as per usual it takes a while for the Pokemon anime to catch up to the games here in the States. When it does in June, viewers won't be watching Pokemon Journeys on Disney XD as they have been for the past few years. Instead, it's moving over to Netflix.
The Hollywood Reporter ran the announcement from Netflix this morning. Instead of airing new episodes weekly, Pokemon Journeys will also be adopting something of a streaming service binge schedule on Netflix. On June 12, the first 12 episodes of Pokemon Journeys will be released all at once. New episodes will then be added on a quarterly basis.
This is a big deal for The Pokemon Company and Netflix, surely, but it's also not too shocking. Previously, the two struck a deal to release a CG remake of the first Pokemon movie as a Netflix exclusive earlier this year.
Since late 2016, the Pokemon anime's been airing new episodes in the U.S. on Disney XD, the animation-oriented cable channel that's also home to Disney's DuckTales reboot. Prior to that, Pokemon series' long-time U.S. home was Cartoon Network, where it moved after first breaking out on the now-defunct Kids' WB block.
Journeys will see the anime series catching up with Pokemon Sword and Shield, meaning new Pokemon like Scorbunny (the Pikachu to Ash's new sidekick, Goh) and the Galar region will appear in the show. But, as the name suggests, it looks like we'll be seeing places and Pokemon from across the history of the games as Ash sets off to be a "research fellow" for a newly-introduced Pokemon professor.
The animated shorts of Pokemon: Twilight Wings have been giving fans more Galar-centric stories than the mainline anime will offer. It's also been pretty good at offering memorable laughs and at tugging on viewers' heartstrings.
Pokemon is a big get for Netflix, but animated series and video game-related properties aren't new territory for the streaming giant at this point. The Witcher series based on Andrej Sapkowski's original novels became a huge hit for Netflix in December, and the animated Castlevania series is still going strong in its third season. Bringing Pokemon into the fold also bolsters Netflix's considerable kids' television line-up, which was recently strengthened by a multi-year deal with Nickelodeon.