On September 15th, American cinemas will be treated to the first part (Saikai) of the six-part Digimon Tri movie series. The series has already released two parts in Japan, the second being Ketsui and will see its third release in September. I expect once shown in the cinema, an English dub will be available online.
Digimon Tri takes place six years after the original series and follows on from Digimon Adventure 02. The absence of the second Digi-destined is not really addressed, but there are hints they are in the Digital World. Unlike Digimon Adventure, this series doesn’t treat the Digi-destined kindly with attention to school, teenage life and the issues of growing up. Along with a new art style, the series is a modern anime with festivals, romance and spa trips instead of the earlier seasons’ Digital World focus. It appears at first that the characters are becoming more destined as they grow up, but that all changes once there’s an unexpected disturbance.
The show presents a better idea of the destruction caused by Digimon fighting instead of a Power Rangers approach where a city is destroyed and is fine the next day. It’s a show that has taken what the originals did, but has been inspired from other anime genres such as slice of life.
It appears that their could be a separate timeline seeing as Kari and TK have the second generation digivices, Tai still has his goggles and as aforementioned no second digi-destined. You may not get much out of Saikai in terms of Digimon battles, however what we do see is a nice throw back to the original series. What you will find is character development as the movie is split into six parts. Tai and Matt feud again, but this time whether Digimon should fight as Tai is unsure where he stands anymore. Joe cowardly tackles responsibilities such as education which makes his character more frustrating than ever. Mimi questions her flamboyant nature. They take what was familiar in the first season and make it more realistic and relatable for their fans who have grown up.
I previously spoke with Coleen O’Shaughnessey and Jeff Nimoy who played the roles of Sora and Tentamon in the original series. They said if asked they would reprise their roles they would definitely take the opportunity and so it will be interesting to see if they will be featured.
New characters and Digimon have also been introduced into the series. It seems like this series has taken an influence from Digimon Tamers. The reason for this idea is that there are more people who know about the Digimon’s existence and have been working undercover. New characters include Daigo Nishijima and Maki Himekawa who have been monitoring the digi-destined. Another influence from Tamers is the focus on Digimon being data. Like computer data, Digimon are manipulated to become evil through a virus and turn into data when defeated. Looking like data and glitching out is different, but the interception of digital/electronic devices from the movie are still a major part. The Digital World itself envisions a more computer-like aspect than the originals and reminisces the movie with empty space surrounded by code.
The series is full of nostalgia for fans of the originals who have grown up and lost touch with other series’ down the line. There’s plenty of new content, humour and Digimon but, still the same feeling of these characters we watched on TV.
I highly recommend checking out the Japanese versions already available. There’s also a pretty sweet intro theme as well.