Posted on 8 March 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




The first season of Digimon has a lot of sentimental value for me. I discovered it back in high school, when I was about 13 years old, and after Pokemon, it was the series that made me aware of what anime was, and how different it was from all the other cartoons that aired on television. And on top of that it had a great and very enjoyable cast of characters.

The second season, though… was a different story. Looking back, I have very little positive to say about it. It’s not really the ending that bugged me, aside from the epilogue, the final episodes were actually some of the few parts that did catch my attention, but overall it just covered boring and repetitive stories, while completely abandoning the few interesting subplots it introduced completely. The characters were nowhere as interesting as the ones from the first season, who were demoted into side-characters for very shallow reasons. It was overall just one big letdown, so originally I wasn’t planning on watching any more of the movies beyond the first two. Until I found out that Shigeyasu Yamauchi (the director of Casshern Sins and Yumekui Merry) directed the third movie.

And I’m glad I did. I mean, seriously: this movie is absolutely not what you’d expect from a movie targeted at kids. The direction of this movie is just unique for such a movie: it’s both adventurous, has gorgeous action and yet has many quiet and down to earth parts that make the characters wonderfully believable. This movie is without a doubt the best part of the second season.

The bad guy in this movie actually isn’t someone who is just out to destroy the world, or wreak havoc for the sake of wreaking havoc. His personality is simple, but he has a great backstory. The second part that makes this completely unlike most other adventure movies is the build-up in the first half. It’s nearly entirely dedicated to just showing the characters slowly travel from place A to place B, taking its time to bring them to life. There is none of the cheesy dialogue that you usually see in adventure movies, but instead the characters talk with each other believably, both verbally and non-verbally.

Now, the budget of this movie isn’t stellar, but still very impressive. The result is smooth animation during the quiet parts that really brings the cast to life. And as for the action scenes: they’re completely gorgeous. Shigeyasu Yamauchi knows like no other how to direct compelling action sequences, and this movie is another excellent example of this.

The flaws in this movie are in the details. Te most glaring is the one that has the characters hitchhike from New York to Denver. Now, I’m no American or anything, but is that even possible? Not to mention that the movie takes place in America, yet everyone talks Engrish. The cutting overall is a bit erratic. Sometimes this works great, but at others it feels like entire scenes are cut off. You especially need to watch the second half twice in order to really get what’s going on.

Despite these flaws though, I praise this movie for trying to be different from the original, its solid storytelling, its imagination and the way that it doesn’t try to spoon-feed itself to its audience. This movie has the mindset that I really wish more franchise-based movies would do nowadays, instead of just making movies for the sake of making movies. Yes, Toei, I’m looking at you.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Wonderfully told for a kids’ movie; great pacing, excellent climax.
Characters: 8/10 – The characters never really caught my attention in the TV-series. It says something for this movie when it actually made me care about them.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Shigeyasu Yamauchi excels in both the action and quiet scenes.
Setting: 8/10 – Dares to be different from the TV-series, though it does have a bit of a bad portrayal of America.

Suggestions:
Digimon Movie 1
Yumekui Merry
Casshern Sins

10 Responses

  1. Chan says:

    I really do think that you should give the third season a try the story was written by Chiaki J. Konaka (creator of Serial Experiments LAIN) after all. Besides that it reminds me of Dennou Coil.

  2. Tan-Tan says:

    If you definitely liked the darker theme of this movie then as the commenter said above, give the third season a try.

  3. Hitchhiking from NYC to Denver? Well, my dad once hitchhiked from Yellowstone to DC in a couple of days so it’s probably possible, but he was an adult at that point so it’s certainly not advisable.

  4. Firechick says:

    I LOVED this movie! Glad you reviewed it! This one’s my personal favorite out of all the Digimon movies.

  5. tuko says:

    Yeah! I love this movie! the music is specially effective for me, also the messy art style and the way that the characters behave, which is full of energy when required, and slowness when also required.
    I consider it to be a road-movie, a genre in cinema that I love.

  6. Ian says:

    If you enjoyed this movie, then please, if you haven’t seen it, try to stay away from “Digimon: The Movie.” The American one. I mean…good lord.

    In case you’re not familiar with it (I really can’t say for sure from this stance), the American movie tries to roll the first three movies into one. By doing so, they cut out scenes and completely change the context of the movies to make one singular overarching plot. It’s still relatively dark compared to the series, but I’ll be damned if it weren’t less comprehensible than the originals.

  7. ama-ri says:

    I’m glad you liked this movie, because I did so, too. Even though I’m not much of a fan of the second season as well. My overall favorite was the first season. The others just couldn’t compare. However, the third season wasn’t bad at all. It just had a few annoying characters.

    About the movie I have to say, that there was one thing that bugged me: The Soundtrack. I don’t often remember soundtracks if they don’t stand out in their excellence. However, this one stood out in its repetitiveness. It felt like there was only one track. And this track was repeated ad nauseam. And it wasn’t even a good track. It was actually a really boring track, that was placed sometimes really poorly.

    Anyway, that didn’t make this movie a bad one. At least the characters from the first season had a bit more screen time than in the actual second season lol. As far as I remember at least (it’s been 3 years or so since I’ve seen that movie the last time…)

  8. Hoshia says:

    The art director of this movie is the one who did Casshern Sins and HeartCatch Precure. There is no doubt that the art style is so unique and appealing.

  9. Kara says:

    Like everyone else, I’m really glad you reviewed this movie. I have it on home in VHS format and adore it, even after watching it again as a young adult. I have the English dub, and the voice actors are actually pretty good, so I didn’t have any of the Engrish issues you mentioned.

  10. johntoreno07 says:

    Wonderfully told for a kids’ movie; great pacing, excellent climax ?? REALLY ??

    Tch.. i respect your opinion but EVERYONE Knows that Our war game is better then this and should not rate it higher then it.. just sayin

    i didn’t really dig the freaking ‘go back to the past’ bullscrap Our war greymon final-fight was way more awesome

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  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:11 AM)
    @Emma I’m kind of surprised that you prefer one over the other. You strike me as the type of person who appreciates all forms of fiction.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:08 AM)
    @Realist: Also alot of anime/manga are going to be series rather than a single volume or a movie. There is more to cover when writing about a series and find to write about, takes a bit longer too.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:07 AM)
    @Realist: Ah, that would be because I have more practice writing about films than anime/manga and am more familiar with writing that type of review. Ontop of preferring American/European films to anime/manga.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:02 AM)
    @Emma Why do you think films are easier to write about it? Just because people have less constrained expectations of what films are supposed to be and don’t expect you to treat the material a certain way? I feel like some people are (unjustly) put off when you try to write about anime/manga as if it was any other form of literary fiction.
  • Mikey
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:01 AM)
    Mahouka 3: Well, “that” scene wasn’t subtle at all.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:00 AM)
    I mean @Emma lol
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 11:59 PM)
    @Realist Sounds interesting, although the lack of german accents definitely sounds like something that will irk me. It’s not a dealbreaker but I don’t like when fiction just ignores the language realities of their setting.
  • Aires
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 11:57 PM)
    Also reminder that orphan black season2 starts tonight if there are any fans here :)
  • Aires
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 11:57 PM)
    oh okay thanks guys for the warning.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 11:54 PM)
    @Realist: Films are considerably easier to write about than anime/manga =< =3

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