OP: 「未確認飛行船」 (Mikakunin Hikousen) by Takayoshi Tanimoto
「東京デジタルクライシス」 (Toukyou dejitarukuraishisu)
“Tokyo Digital Crisis”
If you told me after the conclusion of Digimon Universe and Adventure tri that the Digimon franchise would see not just a reboot but a whole reimagining I would’ve called you crazy. Digimon has never really seen that great a history following the airing of Digimon Tamers, seeing lots of new ideas, new casts, and increasingly diverse Digimon, but little of the magic which helped define it as one of the 2000s children staples. While such thoughts are admittedly biased by the ravages of nostalgia (I watched the first three seasons every Saturday when in elementary school), there’s no denying attempts like Adventure tri to revitalize the franchise and keep fans interested haven’t really succeeded the way Toei probably hoped. So when we get something like this out of the blue it’s difficult keeping an open mind, but thankfully it seems like such thought is misplaced—because oh boy are the right notes being hit thus far.
If somehow unfamiliar with Digimon for whatever reason, it’s pretty much your typical kids adventure show. A group of elementary-aged kids smack dab in the middle of Tokyo one day find themselves endowed with some serious power in the form of digital monsters (aptly named Digimon) and a mission to help save their world—and their new digital friends’ world—from various threats inhabiting both. It’s effectively a crossbreed between Tron and Pokemon, although unlike the latter Digimon takes a more conventional (and serious) focus; there are more serious goals these kids are working towards, and many of the story elements are distinctively mature and heavy in nature. Not to the same degree as adult series mind you, but certainly more so than your usual episodic series.
As for where this reboot is going, well, not entirely in the same direction as the original Digimon Adventure. Right off the bat we already have a different introduction with Tai (Sanpei Yuuko; I’ll be using the English names given my better familiarity with them) encountering Agumon via rapid transport to the Digiworld while Izzy stays in the real world for his characteristic tech support. That’s right, there’s no summer camp start in this one. If anything we’re looking at something akin to the second season, where the main (Digidestined) cast are slowly introduced over several episodes while they jump between worlds to tackle various problems. I don’t expect this episodic approach to last the entire time (there will be a major threat such as Myotismon or Etamon to deal with eventually), but it’s clear Toei wants a more levelled introduction before really delving into the Digiworld and all the fun of the various Digivolutions (that Greymon evolution? Beautiful). Personally I don’t have a problem with this; given how critical the main cast and their personal/Digimon relationships are to the overall story, more time to build them up and showcase their personalities won’t be a bad thing. Need look no further than the Tai-Matt headbutting already being teased by the OP/ED.
While way too early to tell how this Digimon Adventure will fare compared to the original, I’m definitely optimistic we’re in for something amazing. Plenty could go wrong, things could fall apart, but with Toei seemingly pulling out all the production stops and the artwork wonderfully in sync alongside a cast being treated in the correct manner (so far) there’s little to really complain about. I’m not sure if I’ll wind up continuing blogging Digimon (stacked Saturday and all), but without a doubt I’m watching this one through to the end.
It’s kind of weird having no evolution scene, but I expect they’ll feature before too long. Considering all evolutions (Champion, Ultimate, and Mega, including Omnimon) have been teased they’ll be needed before too long—this is Toei after all.
Love the featuring of the Digidestined crests early on as it’ll help better tie in the Ultimate evolutions and their overall importance compared to the original. Unless of course the later stage evolution requirements are different here (*looks at Skullgreymon*).
ED: 「悔しさは種」 (Kuyashisa wa Tane) by Chiai Fujikawa