This Digimon Adventure tri. review contains spoilers.
Digimon Adventure tri. Movie Three
Oh thank god this didn’t suck. I mean really, after the shockingly bad Digimon Adventure tri. Determination and the lukewarm dub effort for Reunion, I was coming into this movie with a lot of apprehension. Maybe Digimon just wasn’t for me anymore. Maybe the modern anime industry had grabbed it by the throat and forced it to become some fanservice pandering slice of life show.
Confession, delightedly, is a welcome return to form. Sure parts of it make no sense and continue to raise questions, but it’s Digimon. Everything I love about Digimon (minus the dub’s frequent jokes) is there. Once again, I’ll be focusing on the overall plot and less on the individual characters. I’ll also be using the dub names because I’m that guy.
So the plot of this movie is really kinda bonkers so I’m going to try and sum it up as quickly as I can. Basically, it’s not just Meicoomoon who’s infected but all the Digimon. TK is the first to notice this (after Patamon tries to bite into him like a vampire) but doesn’t reveal it to the team because of course. The infection spreads and soon everyone is infected. Izzy desperately tries to find a cure with no luck, while Himekawa acts shady as hell. Kari gets possessed by the god of the Digi World (no, seriously) and gives a massive info dump. It wouldn’t be Digimon without a ten minute info dump, would it?
Basically the internet (NOT MA INTERTUBES!) created a splinter in reality that maybe caused the virus and if it’s allowed to spread the Digital World will be destroyed and all electricity on Earth will be gone? I don’t know, that info dump made less than a David Lynch movie. The long and short of it is the only way to save Earth and every other world is for the Digi World and the Digimon to get rebooted. By doing this, it should remove the virus. The only catch? None of the Digimon will remember their human partners.
So we are then treated to the most tear jerking Digimon scene perhaps ever animated (aided by an amazing score). The Digimon, aware this could be their final moments with their partners, just hang around and spend time together. It’s heartwarming and more than makes up for the exposition overload that had to get them to this point. It also serves as a nice mirror to the end of season one. It was tear jerking then, but tri. takes it to the next level. They up the emotional stakes.
Digimon cannot top itself at this point with huge smack down battles. There’s no way to raise the action stakes, so by focusing on the emotional stakes we don’t have to come up with some crazy new evolution of plot device. It’s all based on characters. It’s like the writers remembered that we care about our main cast and don’t care about some new girl that’s only there for pandering fanservice crap. I will never be over that crap they pulled in Determination.
So the Digimon desperetly try to stop Meicoomon to possibly avoid the reboot but the infection quickly takes them all over. Even a last ditch effort by Izzy to back up their data fails. It’s up the one, the only, the greatest Digimon of them all to save the day.
That’s right, my boy Tentomon is the hero of this movie. Forget Patamon and his, admittingly touching, desire to die. My main man Tentomon goes all out and mega digivolves to Hercules Kabuterimon. He gives Izzy some bomb ass advice, “knowing nothing is just a chance to learn new things.” Yes! He even does it with some minor flashbacks to young Izzy! Yes! This is what I showed up to Digimon for!
HerculesKabuterimon manages to get them all into the reboot but they missed their chance to get backed up. The Digimon are gone. Everyone is depressed for half an episode until they remember they’ve got more movies to make and head into the Digital World without a whiney Meiko. Yeah, no love for Meiko.
Once there, they find Alphamon and a new Digimon, Jesmon. The reboot was supposed to reset the world, so why did they evolve so quickly? This is quickly forgotten when the team hears a whistle. The team rushes to find… Tokomon. Who’s ability continues to be… being Tokomon. He’s jacked Nyaromon’s whistle and the kids are overwhelmed. The Digimon don’t remember them, but at least they’re alive.
Then we get the best cliffhanger of all. Himekawa is in the digital world where she meets up with the Digimon Emperor… Only for him to reveal he’s actually a young Gennai in a darker outfit! Or one of the many Gennai’s anyway.
Phew. That was a lot. But it was great! We got TK wanting to protect Patamon from harm! Jeez, that kid still isn’t over Angemon getting blown apart by Devimon, is he? He’s now wracked with guilt again, wondering if he had brought up the infection sooner could the Digimon’s memories been saved? PROBABLY NOT, but of course TK will shoulder that guilt because he’s TK. Ah, consistency. I love it!
The movie also had a few other references to the past, including the whole idea of their being multiple worlds out there. Did anyone else think we’d get a Dark Ocean reference when Kari was possessed? There’s a mention of Agumon turning into Skull Greymon!
Growing up continues to be a recurring theme throughout the movies, with Kari commenting on how much TK has grown up, Matt worrying about forgetting what it was like in the Digi World, and Himekawa just wanting the team to forget everything about the Digimon. But of course, in true Digimon fashion, the bonds of friendship will keep this team together. I want to guess that the overall ‘lesson’ for this movie series will be that even if you grow up, you never forget the memories you’ve made with those you love. You can’t go back in time, but you can hold onto them in the future.
“We’re always connected,” as Sora mentions at one point.
That seems a bit at odds with Reunion’s take that perhaps Tai needed to move on from the Digimon, but we’ll see how that all comes together by the end of the series.
Speaking of, we very briefly touch on the Matt/Tai conflict again. I can’t quite decide if this is still going to be a recurring thing, because they made it such a big deal in Reunion but it was barely touched on in Determination. Here, Matt mentions that since other Digimon can mega evolve, they won’t need Omnimon anymore, hinting that Tai won’t have as much of a strain put on him. Is this confirming Tai is still uncomfortable with all the destruction the Digimon cause?
Unlike last time, this movie was actually about the two characters all over the marketing materials. TK I’ve already touched on, but Izzy. Oh man, Izzy. This guy does not give himself a break in this movie, working himself to exhaustion. Feeling useless he rails, “I’m ignorant! I can’t do anything!” Of course Tentomon is there to throw it back at him,
“Is not knowing something that shameful?”
This is a fascinating look at Izzy. He’s always been the smartest one in the group. The one who always had the answer. But when he can’t be that, what is he? He tries to push everyone away; yelling at Mimi and refusing the Digimon leave his office. Joe tries to cheer him up but it doesn’t do much. Izzy is defined by his intelligence but it is limiting. He’s after pure knowledge and answers but in doing so has lost sight of what makes learning and discovering things fun. Tentomon reminds him of this just before he gets rebooted with the other Digimon. It’s powerful stuff and a great Digimon style lesson.
I still can’t quite get my head around Himekawa’s side of the plot here. So she’s somehow involved with the Digimon Emperor/Gennai and also covering up that the season two kids are missing. Why don’t Tai and the others go check on them? They do check on Ken, but that’s only because of the sighting of the Digimon Emperor. Someone call Davis! Check the local noodle cart! I mean, I can understand no one calling that stick in the mud Cody, but no Yolei?
That’s my problem with Himekawa. She represents the main flaw with Digimon Adventure tri. so far, too many mysteries without enough answers. For the first two movies this was okay, but by now we should be getting something a little more concrete. Ten minutes of info dump about the infection was not enough. At least the Gennai reveal, while being another mystery, is at least a really good one. But come on, start answering some questions!
Oh yeah, and all that stuff with Meiko and the virus. Is she the virus? Is Meicoomon the virus? Her father works for the government monitoring Digimon? Whaaaaaa? You know, I think with some rewriting you could take Meiko out of this movie series. Make one of the main Digimon the carrier of the virus! We actually care about them! Imagine if Gatomon had a leftover virus from Myotismon? That would be dope!
The only other flaw I could find in this movie was the somewhat fanservicey shots of Angewoman, but after last time? This seems tame and is more of a nitpick.
The movie also has a few welcome lighter moments, like TK assuming Matt got into an argument with someone on the team, Gomamon giving Joe shit about his girlfriend, and Daskin Robbins.
Yeah, Daskin Robbins. Put that in your Digimon pop up shop, Japan!
The fights in the movie were executed perfectly. They really took their time building up to the climax. Once the emotional stakes were in place, every second of that fight felt like it mattered. It’s no Omnimon fight in Digimon: The Movie, but damn it was still great.
And hey, we’re back in the Digi World! When Reunion came out, I remember people complaining they didn’t go back there. At the time I didn’t really care, but now I can kind of see why. It put such a big smile on my face seeing them there again. These are where the real adventures happened! It took me back to seeing my very first episode of the series, episode three, where Gabumon digivolves for the first time.
Digimon is finally home. Let’s hope it says that way.
Shamus Kelley can’t wait for Jeff Nimoy to be the star of this dub. Follow him on Twitter!