Phil Rynda has joined The Pokémon Company International as the organization’s new director of original animation.
Rynda announced his appointment on Linkedin, where he explained that his remit will cover original Pokémon tv series, films, and short-form content. Whatever he does at Pokémon, he’ll likely be doing without the franchise’s long-time human protagonist Ash, who featured in his last episode in December of last year. In March, the official Pokémon Youtube channel shared a teaser for an upcoming animated series, the first of the post-Ash era.
Rynda, who is based in Los Angeles, was previously at Netflix, where he served as director of creative leadership and development for original animation. The streamer has a fruitful relationship with The Pokémon Company and hosts several animated films and series. Netflix will also stream the upcoming stop-motion series Pokémon Concierge, which the streamer says is coming soon.
Last year, after a disastrous Q1 earnings call, Rynda and several of his staff were let go by Netflix in a series of significant cuts made by the streamer.
Before transitioning into management, Rynda started out as an artist and won a Primetime Emmy for his work on Billy & Mandy’s Big Boogey Adventure. He filled key creative roles on several of the biggest animated series of the last several decades including Gravity Falls and Adventure Time, and was a character designer on Chowder, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, The Venture Bros., and The Lego Movie.
As an executive, Rynda worked as vice president of development at Nickelodeon, where he was heavily involved with the network’s Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As creative director of Cartoon Network’s comedy shorts/pilots program, he helped develop projects that included Steven Universe, Clarence, Over the Garden Wall, We Bare Bears, and OK K.O.!
Watch Cartoon Brew’s interview with Rynda about his shift from being an industry artist to working in management:
Pictured at top: Promotional art from an upcoming Pokémon animated series, Phil Rynda at View Conference in 2019