Episode 6: The Targeted Kingdom! - 711/2020
Mimi is here! Mimi is my favorite of the original Chosen Children. I could write a whole post about how much I loved her development from slightly-bratty-but-means-well to using-her-empathy-and-friendlyness-to-befriend-and-defend-Digimon-that-used-to-frighten-her (tm).
In all seriousness, I was pleased to see that this iteration of Mimi has retained her desire to befriend the Digimon. Her introduction places her as the queen of a small "kingdom" of Tanemon. The only thing I miss is that this episode does not display any of the initial whinieness that Mimi once had. Like Sora, it seems that Mimi will be slightly recharacterized. However, it's too to tell for either of them.
This episode also expertly establishes the time difference between the human world and Digital world thanks to some deductive work from Koushiro. I'm glad that will remain in tact, as it will mean the children have more time to explore the Digital World. It's interesting that they will begin this journey as proactive heroes rather than simply kids trying to find their way home.
Episode 5: The Holy Digimon! - 7/4/2020
I have to say, I was very impressed with this episode. The Holy Digimon serves as a lore building episode, giving exposition to the three present Chosen Children (Taichi, Sora, and Koushiro). In this continuity, there is a long standing war between the Holy Digimon and Demon Digimon. It is hinted that the Chosen Children's partners were once mighty warriors fighting alongside the Holy Digimon at their ultimate levels. I think it's great! It gives background to the main cast of Digimon, and why they would need human partners. It also explains why Tailmon and Patamon have always felt sort of "set apart".
The only thing I'm really sad about is that Tailmon's Ultimate has been more or less confirmed as Ophanimon. I understand why, but I've always preferred Holydramon. She's a pink, fluffy, dragon - how could I not? Additionally, the evolution sequence is only given to Agumon again, even though Kabuterimon debuts. Hopefully all of the Digimon get their own moment to shine.
Despite these minor nitpicks I'm very optimistic.
Episode 4: Birdramon Soars! - 6/27/2020
Finally back after a COVID-19 indused hiatus! Episode 4 is a return to original Digimon Adventure form, but with its own unique ideas to keep things interesting. First, I love that the digital world is its own universe, connected by the manmade network. It makes sense that that's why the two worlds would interact with each other. It also allows for the fantastical Digital World to exist alongside of the more grounded cyber space that movies like Children's War Game took advantage of.
Character wise, we are finally formally introduced to Sora and Piyomon. Piyomon is portrayed as a somewhat fearful Digimon whom Sora openly defends and befriends. It's a much different dynamic compared to the original Digimon Adventure, wherein Piyomon was overly affectionate and Sora was more reserved due to her strained relationship with her mother. It makes me wonder if this Sora will have a different background.
Finally, evolution sequences are HERE! Well, at least for Agumon. Despite being Birdramon's debut episode, Agumon is the only one allowed a formal transformation. Even so, I'm happy to see it. It looks GREAT!
Episode 3: And to the Digital World - 4/18/2020
I really don’t have much to say about this episode other than it cultivated a lot of optimism. The episode opens as expected with Omegamon preventing the missile crisis as he did in the original War Game. There were a few neat action shots (again, beautiful animation), but I found my mind drifting during the network fight.
After that, Yamato and Taichi are sent back to the human world. The episode takes a slower pace, centering around Taichi and Koushiro speculating about the implications of a Digimon attack, and the existence of such grand creatures. It’s a slow burn. This episode did formally introduce Sora, which was a welcome sight.
The episode ends with another digital infection, however this time the children are finally thrust into the Digital World. Taichi wakes to find Agumon, and the glorious narnia-looking Digital World I was craving. We only get a few seconds to enjoy it, but it’s beautiful. It’s the right combination of nature meeting cyberspace and I’m here for it.
The next episode teased Sora and Piyomon. I believe the show is moving into introducing each character slowly, which is fine. I am interested to see what the conflict is moving forward, but it does seem Adventure is gaining its footing.
Episode 2: War Game - 4/11/2020
Holy smokes. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. To make this more coherent, I’m going to separate my feelings into ‘Likes’ and ‘Dislikes’. I might continue to do this going forward for ease of reading.
-Garurumon and Greymon seem to have a history, or at least know each other? Either way their quips were cute.
-On that subject, it was awesome to see the Digimon in their adult forms the entire episode!
-I was nervous about Yamato, but he was perfectly fine. A little cold, but not an edgy jerk. He just seemed stressed out, and uneasy.
-Animation, animation, animation. It’s beautiful!
-Takeru and Hikari have some mysterious foreshadowing with angel feathers and crest activations!
-A little apprehensive that the plot is moving rapidly. War Game seems to have been recreated as the inciting incident, rather than the climax. This isn’t a bad thing but-
-The high stakes action take away from getting to know these characters early on. It’s hard to connect to saving the world, but much easier to connect to the feeling of “wanting to go home” present in the original. The “world saving” worked later because I was invested in the characters.
-Omegamon has already made an appearance. Yamato and Taichi hardly know each other, and Omegamon is here. Now, this isn’t a show breaker. My theory is, that Omegamon is going to save the day, and then not appear again for a long, long time. The trope of “show off all the power in the beginning, then get it back”, is not my favorite, but I can live with it. It’s been over twenty years, Omegamon isn’t a surprise anymore.
Overall, I’m still very invested and excited. I’m thrilled about the presence of Omegamon, but it doesn’t make me “hate” the show. The next episode is called “To The Digital World”. I’m hoping this will be a return to a more Narnia-esque Digital World, as well as introduction to the other character. I just don’t want this new anime to be the “Taichi-Yamato” show.
Episode 1: Tokyo Digital Crisis - 4/4/2020
It's here! The first episode of a new Digimon Adventure Reboot.
Immediately, I was struck by a new opening theme. As much as I love Butterfly, I'm glad they've chosen to move away from the song. Tri relied on it far too much, and by the end it had lost all reverence to me. (Sorry Tri). The score is also different, and quite beautiful. The background music is orchestral, and very grand for Digimon. I love it, and hope clean versions release ASAP.
The animation quality is beautiful, and a huge departure from the previously stilted movement of the original Digimon Adventure. It's oddly satisfying to see the old character designs intact, but moving so fluidly. Agumon and Greymon are no longer confined to the same reused shots of "Baby Flame" and "Mega Flame". Instead, their action is dynamic, moving with the flow of battle.
The story itself also seems to be a large departure from the original show. The setting appears to be 2020 instead of the early 2000's (a point cutely illustrated by the dial-up internet screen morphing into an app menu). In fact, Koshiro now carries a tablet-laptop hybrid in place of his clunky ethernet-confined laptop. The plot introduces Taichi straight away, and Koshiro soon after. Taichi quickly meets Agumon in a high-stakes digital brawl involving subways crashing into one another. Taichi and Agumon's acquaintance is only shortly made, as they are pulled into the fray of virus type monsters. These new adversarial Digimon remind me a lot of the D-Reaper designs. The scenario of Taichi and Agumon fighting together in the Internet under Koshiro's coaching is very reminiscent of Children's War Game.(More than likely done on purpose, seeing as the teaser for the next episode is literally called "Children's War".)
It's much too soon to form an opinion. I am cautiously optimistic, but a few things have not settled quite right. The moment Agumon evolves into the grand Greymon was treated as apart of the battle rather than a cutaway sequence. Perhaps transformation sequences have gone out of style (I can understand why people don't like them), but the lack of J-Rock and cutaway really threw me off. It's one of my favorite parts of Digimon, and I hope it returns in some capacity. Furthermore, I worry about how Taichi-Agumon centric the opening and first episode was. The digital world seems to be a network more akin to Cyber Sleuth or War Game, and I do hope it's not like that the entire show. It's a cool setting, but I yearn for the fantastical mesh of technology and nature that is the Digital World.
My last note, and concern, is Yamato's presence. By the end of the episode he is seen alone with his Garurumon. The ending sequence is dedicated just to him, and shows him to be embodying his "lone wolf" stereotype. I hope Yamato isn't written as an edgy asshole type character. True, he could be standoffish and at odds with Taichi, but it never felt like it came from a place of teen angst. It was always backed up by fear for Takeru, or insecurity resulting from his parent's divorce. Again, too soon to tell, but I really hope the whole first arc isn't Taichi and Yamato having a petty rivalry through the Digital World.
Prelude: Thoughts Leading Up and Background
It's no secret. I'm a Digimon freak. The first three seasons are absolute nostalgia fuel for me. I first encountered these shows at the impressionable age of seven. Digimon captivated me- it looked so similar to Pokemon, yet it was so much more. The stories were full of stakes, emotional connections, and over the top monster transformation goodness. I rewatched the first three seasons as a pre-teen, teenager, and adult. While I have mixed feelings on 02, Adventure and Tamers remain some of my favorite anime of all time. The show, the movies, the cards, the games, the websites; that era of Digimon is special to me.
I stopped watching the anime after Savers severely disappointed me. (I still need to finish Frontier. Xros Wars and Applimon do not interest me the way the old Digimon did.) By the late 2000's Digimon had changed. It had to. I was content to continue being a fan and continue casually keeping up with new developments in the franchise. While the anime largely uninterested me, the games got progressively better, the community was alive, and FDD content was incredible. I thought that Digimon was set on a course to change for a new generation, one that didn't include me, and I made my peace with that.
Then Tri happened. I couldn't believe it. After almost a decade, the original Adventure squad was back, and aged up. The animation was beautiful, and new evolutions were on the horizon.
But then... well it was split into six movies with no fixed release schedule. It came out sporadically, and while showing initial promise, lost itself by the end. There are a lot of things I love, but like 02, I felt it had not captured what made Adventure special. Instead, it was mopey and overly pretentious. Dialogue was unnatural, and by the end the Chosen Children felt like bland charactertures. I didn't hate it, there is a lot to love, but it didn't hit the same notch.
However, it did rejuvenate interest in Digimon Adventure. For the first time in years, merchandise was released again. Old fans reveled in seeing their old favorites, and finally seeing Digimon that looked closer to what they remembered. Bandai and Toei, perhaps riding on this success, decided to continue work on the long finished Digimon Adventure. Just this year, Digimon Adventure Last Evolution was released in Japan, with the cast once again aged up for a "final adventure". I have not been able to see this flick due to COVID-19, so will reserve judgment. Still, it felt a bit odd to see more Digimon Adventure so shortly after Tri had concluded.
Then, a new bombshell hit. Digimon Adventure was to be rebooted. The Chosen Children are once again, well, children. They are now in modern Japan, and the lore of Digimon will be changed. I'm apprehensive about this. I love Digimon Adventure, but similar to Sonic Green Hill zone fatigue, I'm a bit worried about Toei's overreliance on the original show. With how Tri was written, I am unsure if current writers even understand why the original show was so beloved. Still, I'm a hardcore fan, and will of course be tuning in for the ride. I know it can never live up to my nostalgia, but I love Digimon, and I'm here to have fun.
So with all of this in mind, here is my time capsule. My weekly reactions to the new Digimon show. I hope I can keep up with this!