This week we will see another trip down memory lane and these days it seems they have built a high-speed mag-lev train so people can escape the modern day. This trip takes us back to Digimon and we follow the old cast from the original Digimon kids who in the last 20 years have grown up about 5 years. This is the first in a serialization of 5 Digimon Tri movies called Reunion that sets the groundwork for what will come with a few more movies of build up.
Now I was never the biggest Digimon fan back in the day but I know they have a very loyal and hardcore fan base. For that small group, these movies are for them but for me, personally, it was more morbid curiosity. Sure I watched the series and cheered the DigiDestined as they battled foes in order to save the human and digital worlds, so it was interesting to see how time had changed them all. I was unfortunately left disappointed. The main reason was they chose to pick the story up in a high school setting. I wanted them to of aged with us and 20 years see how the characters got on with being midlife cogs in society but anime, being what it is, choose to stay in the safe zone of high school so we got to see how moody angst filled teens adjusted to life like every anime in the history of ever. They really missed a trick as after 20 years they could have added a rich character development with the angle of looking at the toll taken on this group of kids took on a world ending threat at a very young age; you’d expect some kind of mental or physical trauma, but no, these kids are fine and dandy and haven’t bragged about it.
The movie is exactly what it says on the tin this is the reunion and for that reason, it feels really drawn out. The plot itself is a very slow build up laying the foundations of what will be more action packed movies. You get to see familiar faces and hear familiar voices which can give those on a nostalgia kick a warm and safe feeling. And along with that same vein, the movie has kept in some of the old stuff along with the old formula of 1/2 of the movie is Digivolving cut scenes and the other half filler.
There are some positives for those who aren’t Digifans, the animation is cleaner than the past and character designs are good. Another positive is they have the majority of the original voice cast back and they’ve still got it. This worked really well and on this DVD you get extra of seeing the old VA’s work on this and it’s amazing most of them have aged themselves but they can still nail the voice no sweat. The only thing I’d change was to keep Michael Reisz as Matt, replacing him with Vic is a glaringly noticeable change as his voice is distinctive in any show and it kind of takes away from bringing the old cast back together.
Personally, the movie wasn’t my cup of digi-tea. After 20 years it felt forced in places to drag these characters back into any kind of situation. They all had basic humdrum lives and were ticking over and you almost feel bad for them being thrown back into another Digimon shenanigan-fest. If you could you’d apologize for the inconvenience. I don’t feel as if they needed to bring back the DigiDestined kids and even though they have they kept everything pretty much the same. While it didn’t entirely win over this non-fan will you be giving it a digi-tri?
You can get the first movie Digimon Tri from Manga Entertainment
You can hear more on the movie in an upcoming episode of the Keyframe Podcast.