Posted by psgels 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.

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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:23 AM)
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: yeah, even tho it was his highest grossing movie it managed to brought his career to a stand-still. His next film Gods of Egypt looks like it could be fun, albeit it’s just as much as a CGIfest as I, Robot. Egyptian stuff is admittedly rather intriguing, I remember a 2004 French film Immortel ad vitam that blended that with modern themes that became popular for a while.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:50 AM)
    *remove second and
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:50 AM)
    @Bam: Regarding dark city, such a shame the director of that followed up dark city and the crow and with Irobot.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:41 AM)
    @Kaiser: oh The Celebration- I actually seen that as well, great movie. Didn’t know it was the same director, but thinking back now I can see the similar touches despite the difference in tone.

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