Prime Reactions Review – Digimon Adventure tri. 1: Saikai (Reunion)

It’s here!

All of the above happens in the movie, right?

Crunchyroll announced Digimon Adventure tri. was going up the following day. Needless to say I was really excited. I didn’t think I’d be seeing it already. As an aside, are they seriously still using that poster…?

Didn’t get much sleep because I slept late watching something better but I woke up just to watch this. And… it wasn’t that great. If you’ve seen my previous posts on tri., there wasn’t anything I saw from the teasers that raised my expectations and I skipped out on the last piece of video news because of spoilers. The only reason this was a big deal to me is because Digimon is awesome. So really, I had no huge demands. I just wanted it to not be awful.

I’ll admit that lot of my complaints are nitpicky. But hey, it’s what I do.

I’ll start by saying too many things didn’t make sense. I know this is just the first installment so I’m sure some of this will be addressed.

We see the new 02 kids getting defeated. Never brought up. I suppose from our standpoint, it explains why they aren’t in this movie. The problem is that not once does the cast contact them. This is a horrible way to write them out to keep the focus on the old cast. At least make it apparent to the cast that something might’ve happened to them. Maybe next movie…

I really don’t know what’s so important about Tai’s soccer game that he needs everybody to come watch. He plays soccer all the time, right? No mention about it being a big match or some tournament finals. I don’t see him asking his mom to come. He also conveniently doesn’t summon the 02 kids. I suppose it’s to establish that everyone’s hard to reach, but it was just bad timing. If it wasn’t Izzy’s parents’ anniversary, he would’ve gone. I think Joe being absent hit the “growing apart” mark if that’s what they were going for.

Okay, so I know they’re just Kuwagamon, but NOBODY bothered Digivolving above Champion? Tai was SO concerned about the damage done to the city. Too bad they didn’t Digivolve to finish the fight faster… I wasn’t given a reason to believe they couldn’t. Disregarding that, it took way too much effort for 5-6 experienced Champions to take down the Kuwagamon. Yeah, they’re infected or something, but all the more reason to Digivolve further… It’s not like Metalgreymon and Weregarurumon got Digivolution sequences so it’s not a matter of monies. There is no excuse to leave them as Champions ESPECIALLY against Alphamon who tanked the first combo attack before knocking everybody out. Beyond that, there seems to be a huge effort to not go past Champion in both the opening and ending. Conspiracy?

And did Greymon really fight Kuwagamon from around 2-3 PM until night time?

It’s a staple at this point, but of course Agumon just comes out of nowhere thanks to the Digivice. As always, the Digivice does whatever the plot needs it to. I think later on it’s explained that Digimon have been coming through “distortions”, but Agumon showed up out of thin air, not some portal. Don’t even know how the rest got there.

Not sure when Malomyotismon was defeated, but I doubt the men in black guys were active during either Adventure show. Regardless, Digimon are very much public knowledge. There’s no way the original Myotismon attacks and the Oikawa kidnappings were unknown to the world. If they somehow got covered up, these guys are better than those who covered up the Transformers in the first Michael Bay movie and that universe has smart phones. Also, how would these guys even handle Digimon? Gennai gave them some info, but how have they been keeping Digimon at bay without the Digidestined. And why would Gennai inform random humans over the Digidestined? Concerns for later I suppose. We also have people thinking all “monsters” are bad, but where are the ones who think some were defenders? You know they’re out there. Excluded for more drama.

Major nitpick, but potentially valid. Alphamon does not talk. I’ll attribute this to runtime and them forcing him in instead of having his appearance make sense. He’s targeting new girl’s Digimon with no qualms about collateral damage. Pure speculation, but watch. It turns out he’s a good guy with reasons for his actions but only reveals that when the cat thing goes bad. Too bad he didn’t do so earlier. I could see that happening.

Thank goodness they aired four of these. They’re supposed to be one movie, but I would’ve been so disappointed with the first “episode” if they left it there. No episode previews either. I question the need to break it up. If they were going to stream it anyway, why not leave it in one piece? This isn’t television.

The tone of the movie is clearly more serious and slow which I didn’t care for. In the grand scheme of things, not much happened. Lots of exposition and setup for future movies. I might have to sit through this again, but I don’t feel like I got much out of it.

The new characters… nothing to say. I just wish they had some personality or quirks to them because as they are, they aren’t memorable or interesting at all. Take cues from Yamaki, guys.

If there’s going to be one big contention for this movie, it’s Tai’s character. I very much disliked how they handled him. Yes, it’s sad knowing how much damage Kuwagamon did. No, it is not correct to sit there and do nothing in response when you’re one of the few who can and has before. Where was this doubt when Venom/Myotismon leveled the city? Matt at least chimed in with what we were all thinking so both arguments are represented. I just feel like the writers forced this nonsensical drama onto Tai. He was a very strong character in the original show. He learned what it meant to be a leader and while he jumped into things early on, he usually did right by his team. In a lot of ways, he is the hero we deserve. Here? Short of him riding after Kuwagamon, this Tai shows none of the qualities I knew him for. Sure, he came to his senses at the end, but there was neither an awesome revelation or epiphany. Tai really needed Matt to tell him that if he doesn’t fight, the city and people will be destroyed? He simply did the right thing because the plot required him to instead of naturally coming to that conclusion himself. Old Tai would need no convincing. Bleh… and seriously, how many times do I have to see that broken cell phone?

There it is again!

After seeing this, I must conclude that I’m just not going to like the Digidestined designs. Matt looks awful. I don’t even know what the 02 kids look like. Izzy’s parents look pretty close to what I remember though!

I love how they put the glare over these photos. Can’t have us seeing what they used to look like. That would make the new designs look silly in comparison.

3 4

Even in this flashback we don’t see their faces… 15th anniversary, you guys!


As for the animation/art, I sort of expected better. It’s definitely a step up from what I’d expect if this were a generic kid’s tv anime but it’s definitely not a full-blown movie budget. There are some pretty poor shots. Look at static Palmon here.


I guess even the higher budget still can’t keep our mains out of “that seat”.


The fights looked pretty good. Gotta love the age-old tactic of fighting physically first instead of simply using signature moves. The most insulting was Angemon not using Hand of Fate. If you didn’t want it to work against the bad guys. Just make it not work. Excluding it for no reason is just silly. Kabuterimon and Birdramon’s attacks looked really good though.

The opening reuses character shots from the show and signature moves from the Kuwagamon fight. Granted, the actual movie didn’t have this so an all-new opening sequence would’ve cost monies. The ending sequence was disappointing. I really wish the pixel art didn’t look, you know, awful. Beyond the in-trainings, what am I looking at? What’s with the scale/size? And the lack of the Adventure-age kids has to be on purpose at this point.

I did not think Omnimon fighting Alphamon would reuse so much from the teaser. They just replaced the background. I know this fight wasn’t meant to conclude, but it’s lame that half of the fight is old footage. Granted, movie trailer content is for the most part in the movie, but that seemed like a final fight instead of a mere “artifical high note” for the first movie to end on.

Jesus pose!

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One of the biggest insults is the lack of Digivolution sequences. Everybody but Gomamon got one for obvious reasons. I’m guessing the lack of Ultimates is because of cost. There’s no in-story reason for not Digivolving further and of course Angemon’s stupid and/or weakened. Otherwise he’d one-shot the Kuwagamon. Even when we do get Metalgreymon and Weregarurumon, there’s no sequence. I thought “Okay, at least we’re going to get a Warp Digivolve, right?” But no! I’d rather they lift the sequences from the original over bad writing/penny-pinching to keep the sequences out. While repetitive, they were unforgettable staples of the franchise. 15th anniversary, guys!

As for the Champion sequences, I don’t care for them much. I don’t understand the significance of the egg/sphere and the CG models used look straight out of a video game. Made really apparent in the final few milliseconds where they awkwardly “float” in place. I wish they were static because that’s really off-putting. Give me the CG from 1999-2000.

Finally, considering this was called “Reunion”, that aspect was sorely missing. As contrived as the non-reason given was, we’re supposed to think the cast hasn’t seen their Digimon in a long time. Okay, but they didn’t capitalize on it. Tai and Agumon hug. Palmon jumps onto Mimi. The rest of them just show up with their Digimon. Forget the fact that they don’t explain why the gate was closed for a year or why they haven’t seen their Digimon in so long. Forget the fact that when the 02 kids “died”, they were clearly in their Digital World garb. Wait, I can’t forget those… Just sell the title you gave the movie, guys. Or call it part 1.

Ultimate Reflections:
I didn’t like this. It’s painfully average at best and in some ways insulting as a way to honor the original show. The school sequences had nothing you wouldn’t see anywhere else. Of course there’s a transfer student! Overall, this didn’t feel like Digimon. Nobody really learned anything. The characters were flat for the most part. Too many scenes lacked logic.

I acknowledge that this is the first movie. I’m only talking about this movie at face value. I’m still looking forward to the remaining installments. With the exposition and setup out of the way, maybe we can move on with the plot and actual character growth.

I’m not going to defend the original Adventure as one of our greats. I can pick at it just as much as this. Still, it was one of the best “selling toys” shows I’ve seen. I actually rewatched it recently so with it semi-fresh in my mind, tri. was all the more disappointing. I actually respect Adventure more now than ever for what it did right. I’d take the first few episodes of that over this.

I’ll have to give this a

10    out of    11

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch Our War Game to get this bad taste out of my eyes.

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