When Digimon Adventure tri. was first announced, I shared the news with any friend of mine who bothered to listen. After all, most people I know grew up watching the Digimon anime series on TV every week, played the video games on the Game Boy and PlayStation and even owned 'Digivices', which were essentially glorified pedometers. The Digimon Adventure tri. anime movie series was created to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the franchise and was slated to air in 6 parts.
The sequel to Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02 features teenage versions of the Digidestined we all know and love taking on new threats and challenges. Amping up the nostalgia factor are new versions of the iconic opening and ending theme songs. Music to any Digimon fan's ears, no pun intended.
Unfortunately nostalgia does not guarantee quality and I was close to giving up on the anime after sitting through the first and second installments. Poor production value, draggy slice-of-life sequences and questionable writing meant that I was only watching Kokuhaku for old times' sake. Bad art is the biggest sin that Digimon Adventure tri. could commit due to the significance of the project and the fact that the series was scheduled to be released as a set of films and not an episodic anime that aired weekly. The only sliver of hope was the final sequence of events in Ketsui (the second installment) and I was curious to see the plot develop beyond that.
Fortunately, Kokuhaku's pacing and plot development improved from the previous films, cutting out unnecessarily lengthy slice-of-life sequences the Digidestined had. The emotional impact and sense of urgency was apparent too, as Koshiro (or Izzy, for old-timers) fought against the clock to determine the source of Meicoomon's infection at the end of Ketsui. Lo and behold, said Meicoomon would conveniently re-appear, causing the gang to have a battle on two fronts.
Another plus point for the movie would be its focus on the Digimon themselves and their bond with the Digidestined. Through the course of the first two films, they felt more like pets appearing for the sake of comic relief, spectacular evolution sequences and battles that ensued.
In this installment, their role is emphasized due to the threat that they face. It could potentially wipe precious years of memories they've had with their partners. Their desperation showed as they tried to hang out and have fun with their partners for what might be the last time before they part ways.
Digimon Adventure tri. is picking up the pace and I'm actually looking forward to the fourth movie premiering in late-February next year. The cast from 02 has yet to make a full appearance and the amount of loose ends left at the end of Kokuhaku warrants a viewing of the fourth film, at least in my eyes.
Written by ET