One of my favorite franchises without a doubt has to be Digimon. I just have so many memories of it during my childhood. From watching Digimon Adventure to playing Digimon World on the original PlayStation, there wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t thinking about Digimon. Unlike Dragon Ball, which the series was done when Dragon Ball GT ended, Digimon has always been active with constantly bringing new series such as Savers and both seasons of Xross War, being the most recent. Though Digimon as a franchise is around 10 years younger than Dragon Ball, just like when Dragon Ball Super got announced, we got the same feeling when a continuation of the Adventure series got announced.
It was 2014, during Digimon’s 15th anniversary, when Digimon Adventure Tri got announced. While all we got as a teaser of Tai being in high school alongside Koromon, the announcement itself was pretty hype. By then we all thought it was going to be a new series until we found out it was going to be a series of six movies released in different periods, like Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, and the like. Though that was a bit disappointing to hear, it didn’t kill the hype for me, even if it meant waiting a lot of time for each release. Personally, the wait for the first movie first like forever, but in November of 2015, the first movie finally came out on Crunchyroll, simultaneously with the theatrical release in Japan.
Right from that start, things get interesting. Though nothing was shown about the Adventure 02 kids before the movie came out, which was very concerning; we finally got to see them—though they were defeated by an unknown enemy in the digital world. After the sequence, we get to see our favorite fearless leader Taichi Yagami, oversleeping as always and heading to his soccer practice. During the opening sequence, we get to hear a beautifully made version of Butterfly made by the now late Koji Wada, or if you watch the English dub, a bad rap song repeating the word Digimon indefinitely.
The movie starts off a bit slow, we the gang just chilling at school with typical High School student predicaments, where everyone is doing their own thing and it’s hard to hang out as much. With Yamato a performance, and Taichi having a soccer game, Sora doesn’t know what to do as she wants to attend both but she’s racing against time. During that time, however, the Digimon, like previous times, could enter the human world, but this time they appear to be infected and causing destruction So far, it’s nothing we haven’t previously seen before, but it was still enjoyable.
The action in the movie is pretty good, which starts with a throwback from the first episode from the first series Greymon Vs KuwagamonGreymon Vs Kuwagamon. Due to the infection, it seems that Kugawamon can make portals so during their fight they change locations a lot. Afterward, two more Kuwagamon show up, which all gang up on Greymon until the rest of the gang show up, in which we get to see all the Digimon in their Champion (or Adult in the Japanese version) forms back in action. I’m not too fond of the new Shinka/Evolution sequence, but it doesn’t bother me since Brave Heart was still part of it, albeit a new version just like Butterfly. We don’t see much action afterward until we get to the final battle between Omegamon and Alphamon, which was epic.
Something that really bothered me was Taichi’s new interpretation as a character. As a Digimon trope, each leader, excluding Takato from Tamers, were always knuckleheads that went head on without thinking but with a lot of heart, which kept the team going. It’s understandable that Taichi is more conscious of his actions as he’s a second year High School student, but it still felt out of character. In fact, this cautiousness feels more like Yamato’s character, though it doesn’t mean that he was out of character either. Him wanting to fight to protect his friends is very much his character.
The rest of the characters are okay so far; they act like we remember them. Hikari is the same lovely girl, Mimi is as fabulous as ever, and Koushiro is the same tech guy. Takeru, understandably, has changed as he's more interested in girls now. As for Jo, my gripe with him starts to evolve more so in the second movie than this one, so let’s save it for that review. My annoyance with how they handled his character does start from this movie, so it was worth noting.
This movie also introduces a few new characters, such as Meiko Mochizuki, a transfer student from Tottori whose is partnered with Meicoomon, who is a Champion/Adult Digimon just like Tailmon. So far Meiko doesn't add much to the story aside from being Meicoomon's partner, who was being attacked by Alphamon for unknown reasons. If anything, she's just the cliche shy girl with glasses so far. We're also introduced to Daigo Nishijima and Maki Himekawa, who are members of Incorporated Administrative Agency, who aid the Chosen Children. They haven't gotten much character development yet.
While Digimon Adventure Tri is still being animated by Toei Animation like all previous Digimon series and movies, the artstyle has drastically changed. Instead of Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru, who handled the original series, Digimon Adventure Tri’s artstyle is by Atsuya Uki who is known for 2012’s Tsuritama. Personally, while I would have preferred that Nakatsuru stayed on board, Uki’s design never bothered me and grew on me quickly. They are far from bad designs, but Nakatsuru’s design would have made this nostalgia ride better.
I grew up with the Spanish dub when watching Digimon, since I was still in Peru when the first four series aired, but I still experienced the English dub and it grew on me, so I was bummed out when a lot of the original cast didn’t reprise their role. Luckily, Joshua Seth returned to reprise his role as Taichi Yagami. I try to be open about English dubs, but I personally didn’t like this one too much, particularly the newcomers. While there was some I liked, like Daigos’s. As much as I love Vic Mignogna’s performances, I didn’t like his as Yamato. There were parts, to me, that he sounded younger than he should. For the most part, all the returning cast did pretty good as their roles.
To some, if may not be important, but it always bothered me how in some anime releases, they only include English subs for the original Japanese track and not the English dub. It’s often different from there’s always a few changes in dialogue. Luckily with this Blu-ray set, it includes subtitles for both the Japanese audio track and the English dub. It’s just lazy not to do both and much credit to Shout for taking the time to do so. Additionally, this set includes interviews with the English cast and director, as well as a look at the Los Angeles theatrical premiere of the movie.
If you didn’t get the chance to watch Digimon Adventure Tri: Reunion in theaters for that one special day that they showed the movie, and want to see some of the old cast from the original two series back in action, then definitely get this Blu-ray set. If you can overlook the awful rap song that repeats “Digimon” over a hundred times, like the option to watch the movie in both languages and like special features including behind the scenes, then you won’t regret this purchase.
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Digimon Adventure tri. reviewed by: Christian Chiok
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. I like it. I don't want to be with it forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested, and I'll be revisiting it to relive the fun sometime down the line.