First Look: Digimon Adventure Tri

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Alternative titles: Digimon 3
Anime Original by Toei Animation
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

It’s been a few years since Tai, Matt, Sora, Joe, Izzy, Mimi, TK, and Kari last saved the Digital World and parted ways with their Digimon partners. Now in high school, most of the DigiDestined have drifted apart. However, when a new danger threatens the physical world, their reunion becomes a lot more exciting than they’d planned…

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Aqua’s verdict: Digimon Are The Champions

While Pokémon has always had a much bigger impact on my life than its most infamous competitor, I have always preferred the more endearing characters and nostalgic vibe of the Digimon anime. No amount of (the expected) phoning it in from Toei’s part could prevent Digimon Adventure Tri from having solid fundamentals to build upon, and the result is a surprisingly understated and distinctly un-cinematic welcome back. Tri is far from the action spectacle you’d expect the resurrection of a late 90s kids’ show to be, but then again Digimon is not like most late 90s kids’ shows. It was always more occupied with characters and their relationships, and the joy of exploring a completely different world. Tri follows up on this warmer, frankly more mature style of shounen storytelling, and at times feels like an adorable, fuzzy blanket on a cold winter’s day. It may be a bit uneventful, the plot isn’t exactly engaging and the production values are mediocre at best, but the character interactions — both between the now believably grown-up DigiDestined and between them and their still-as-adorable Digimon partners — and the overall feel are so strong they can even turn the uninitiated into fans. Just ask Zigg.

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Iro’s verdict: Nostalgia Trip

Digimon Adventure Tri is perhaps the most blatant nostalgia grab I’ve seen since Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F, but I am totally okay with that. I loved Digimon as a child, making a point to watch it every single day after school, so watching this was like being a little kid again. All of the characters act exactly like I’d expect them to as teenagers (except maybe Joe), and having them all hang out with their Digimon partners and each other is just plain heartwarming. And there’s hugging! You don’t see too much hugging in anime nowadays, so every time any of the DigiDestined hug we just couldn’t help but go “awwwww”. On the downside, the action was pretty standard and unimpressive, but considering it’s Toei that’s basically what I expected. I’m looking forward to the next batch of episodes come March.
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Zigg’s verdict: Teenage Kicks

I’ve got absolutely no attachment to the Digimon franchise and I’ve never seen a second of the original Adventure beyond the famously bad (Iro’s Note: famously great) English opening, so I went into this about as close to cold as anyone on the team can be. That didn’t really impinge my enjoyment of it though, as this first block was an enjoyable combination of human drama and surprisingly big and bruising monster battles that made for an entertaining mix. There’s some real nice characterisation in the opening sketches of people who were very close but then grew up and drifted apart a little, and the interaction between the various members of the gang remains a highlight throughout. The battles are surprisingly visceral and destructive and paced well within the narrative of this first ‘movie’. My biggest complaint is, predictably, the animation, which is basic at best and sloppy at worst, and doesn’t live up to the great character and monster design. Still I had a lot of fun with this installment and I eagerly await more.

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