Complaint Department – Further thoughts on Digimon Adventure tri. 2: Ketsui (Determination)

Today we’re filing a complaint to the complaint department about Digimon Adventure tri. 2: Ketsui (Determination).

1

If you read how I prime reacted to that here:
https://theredhoodreviews.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/prime-reactions-digimon-adventure-tri-2-ketsui-determination/

And just because, the link to the first one as well:
https://theredhoodreviews.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/prime-reactions-digimon-adventure-tri-1-saikai/

I seriously did not care for it. I had a lot of fun writing about it, but it was disappointing on so many levels. Let’s break it down with some observations that won’t be making me any friends.

I’m well aware that the series isn’t done yet, but with eight episodes, there’s still a lot to talk about the nothing that happened.

– Still no concrete details about the 02 kids

The fact that they aren’t acknowledged at this point is simply bad writing. Ken appears, but like every other villain in the tri. series, he does not talk. We don’t know what he’s up to, why he’s like that, or how he got there. The 02 kids feel like a plot hole because there is absolutely no excuse for excluding them this long. They go to the same school as TK and Kari who go to the school festival, but didn’t ask the other 02ers to go? And why is it that they weren’t notified of the new threat? Perhaps then we can establish what happened to them or at the very least that they’re missing. When Joe asks why it’s his duty to be Digidestined and why he must fight, did he forget that there was a perfectly qualified and younger team to do this work?

– The new characters are lousy

I kept referring to them as “agent(s)” or “lady agent” because while I know their names, I don’t care about them. Why should I? They’re not likable or memorable in design, character, or mannerisms. I don’t know anything about them as characters. They’re intrusive and they’re taking screentime away from the real main characters. If you wanted an “army” or a human element to fight the Digimon, that’s fine, but not at the expense of plot or the main characters.

We also have Meiko, a generic shy girl who thanks to Mimi broke out of her shell a little. Okay, but what’s her backstory? When did she become a Digidestined? She doesn’t have a D-3, so pretty far back? There’s Digidestined all over the world that are conveniently ignored. A ninth member isn’t anything special, guys. And if you are going to add a new character to an established cast, do something with her! Her shyness subplot is old hat. You’re going to find that in any high school anime. There’s plenty of time to do something with this character, but as of now, who cares?

– Mistaken priorities

I’ve gone on and on about the bathhouse and school festival nonsense and in Reunion, I complained about the “importance” of Tai’s soccer game and school scenes. While those weren’t as bad, the slice of life element is a complete waste of time. It doesn’t add anything to the series nor are they doing something new with it. It’s also not funny or clever which if you’re going to shove those scenes in my face, you need at least that. I’m convinced that this is some weird passion of the writer(s) and/or director(s) and they shoved these scenes in because THEY wanted to see them on the screen, not because we have to. Objectively, these have no place here when there are important questions to be answered.

It’s obvious that there’s no drive to make every scene count. I don’t feel like tri.’s under any pressure to pander to a certain crowd nor do they have people looking over their shoulder, so why is this stuff here? Maybe tri. needed a focus group of Digimon fans to keep the writer(s)/director on track.

If they’ve even seen the original Adventure, the kids were very proactive and the plot moved often despite skippable moments, but those are few within 54 episodes. tri. in its entirety is about 24 episodes. We’ve seen eight which is a third of the way in. There’s barely enough going on for me to talk about. Contrast that to a third of Adventure which was 18 episodes. Yes, 18 > 8, but think about how much happened in those 18. There was world-building through the mystery of the digital world. Gennai and Digimon allies that return are introduced. Plenty of bonding between Digidestined and Digimon alike. They destroyed Devimon, their first major enemy. They collected the Crests along with character development. They’re wrapping up the Etemon arc too. How much has happened in a third of tri.? Not even close to half of that. No major victories. No world-building. No explanations. At best some weakly resolved character stuff that’s applied to only some of the cast and the introduction of bad characters.

– It’s not Digimon

This does not look or feel like Digimon. If you watch any of the first five shows (Can’t speak for Xros Wars and beyond as I haven’t seen them) regardless of quality, this just seems so foreign. The Digimon are barely in it. When I recall that this was made for the anime’s 15th anniversary and to sell toys from better days, I thought the purpose was to celebrate the franchise. Not to simply continue it, but really make something special. Look at Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. Did that not earn its title as an anniversary season?

I won’t be making friends with this statement, but… Power Rangers Super Megaforce was a better Power Rangers series compared to Digimon Adventure tri. as a Digimon series. I really hated Super Megaforce. I wrote a ranty complaint about it. However, you cannot deny that it’s still Power Rangers. The formula’s all there. Monster of the week, Morphing, fighting, Zords. It may be awful, poorly executed, and lazily put together, but there’s no doubt it’s Power Rangers.

If this were a proper Digimon series, we’d have monster of the week along with character/plot development, evolution sequences, good-looking stock attacks, and Digimon fights. Also, the bond between Digimon and kid was a heavy focus in any of the shows. While there’s inklings of those elements in tri., there isn’t enough to meet the quota we usually expect. In tri., the Digidestined barely interact with their Digimon which is unacceptable especially when the first movie’s called “Reunion”. There’s no time for that because we really needed to see all the slice of life stuff.

Digimon Adventure’s formula and content was made to sell toys, but the show turned out to be better than your average toy-selling commercial. Digimon Adventure tri.’s content is not meant to sell toys even if its existence is selling toys, but you know what? I think that’s the missing element that made this fail. The toy commercial element. There’s a clear lack of action, character, plot, and progression all of which were present in the Digimon shows. I don’t see this standing the test of time. How many will look back on tri. with the fondness people today look back on the Digimon they started with? I can easily sit through the original Adventure and I appreciate it more now than when it aired. How many times am I going to sit through tri.?

I’ve heard that this is supposed to be more adult for all the kids who grew up with the series and are now older. Yeah… those people who would tune in for this probably still watch tons of kiddy shows and play with toys. They wouldn’t complain if it was just a well-done or even average Digimon show expanding on Adventure/02. When this was announced, I couldn’t tell you how excited I was. More Digimon! A return to the original cast and Megas for everybody! I wasn’t expecting poorly executed teen angst, terrible pacing, and boring slice of life. I don’t watch Digimon for that. Who does?

Finally, I’m even more sure now that tri. was meant to be a television series. It just doesn’t work as movies. Things were probably altered so it can “pass” as a movie even if it doesn’t. Major plot points don’t get resolved which in a show, can be spread out and feel less badly executed. Here, tons of questions. No progression towards answers. They have to put an action climax at the end of each just because, not necessarily because there needed to be. Neither Alphamon nor Ken/Imperialdramon was the main problem in their respective movies. The Marvel movies usually stand alone. There’s still a resolution/villain defeat despite a bigger story still unfolding. What got resolved in tri.? Joe’s thing? That was terribly done. Mimi’s thing? Was that even resolved? If Meiko was the answer, that’s terrible. She hasn’t even faced her class and made amends there. Ogremon left unresolved. Ken’s appearance unexplained. Hackmon unexplained. Alphamon unexplained. Becoming Mega unexplained. 02 kids unexplained. What a joke.

Oh, my Yggdrasil! I think I’ve stumbled upon something important.

– Digimon Adventure tri. is like Michael Bay’s Transformers.

Think about it.

The humans are the main focus when the series is called “Digimon”. Just like how “Transformers” doesn’t star the Transformers. Yes, the Digimon shows focus on the humans more, but the Digimon are always right there with them. There’s a good balance of screentime. In tri., it’s all humans all the time minus fights or bad comedy which is the philosophy of Bay’s Transformers. It’s as though the existence of Digimon/Transformers are a nuisance to the people working on these and become afterthoughts. When the Digimon/Transformers are on screen, but not fighting, they’re reduced to bad comedy for babies. Those wascally Digimon are wandering around the bathhouse getting into some hijinks. Those little troublemakers! The Autobots are stepping all over Shia LeBeouf’s garden. Bumblebee’s peeing. And everyone’s talking with their stereotypical accents. Comedic genius!

While both movies may borrow elements from their respective series, these elements come up so seldomly that the general person can’t tell they’re movies from either franchise unless the Transformers or Digimon are on screen. I have to see the Digidestined go to school, a bathhouse, and the school festival doing stuff nobody cares about. I have to watch Shia LeBeouf go to school, college, and get a job all of which nobody cares about.

The military in Transformers is about as effective as you’d expect even if they have weapons that work. The agency in Digimon tickled Ogremon with their guns. Yay? Still took Leomon to remove him just as the Autobots usually win the day. And I care about the agents’ characters as much as I care about that soldier guy getting home to his wife and baby in the first Transformers.

Too many things don’t make sense or simply aren’t explained. If the Kuwagamon were so tough, where were the Ultimates in Reunion? I don’t know. Where are the 02 kids? I don’t know. Why can only a Prime defeat The Fallen? I don’t know. Why does Jetfire randomly teleport everyone including himself to Egypt when he’s a jet? I don’t know. How did the government cover up a giant robot war in Chicago in the first Transformers? I don’t know. Why can’t Japan remember the Digimon-related events of Adventure and 02? I don’t know.

Characters you’re supposed to care about die, but you don’t really care. Granted, it’s just Leomon so far, but did you really care about him in tri.? You’re supposed to care about the ton of unnamed and even named Transformers that die, but don’t because you’re following Shia LaBeouf instead of the Transformers or the Digidestined instead of the Digimon. Why did so many kids care when the original Optimus Prime died? His character resonated with them and seeing your hero die hurts. Why did I care when the original Leomon died? I know that guy. I spent time with him. He helped defeat Metaletemon and his death motivated our heroes. What came out of Leomon’s death here? Cheap shock value.

Ultimate Reflections:
What more can I say? If you liked it, good for you. I’m glad you did. I concede that maybe this just isn’t for me. Put it side by side other Digimon series and the difference is clear. The original Digimon was able to weave the character stuff into the plot which is an element tri. needed. The priorities are all out of whack in tri.. I think the Transformers comparison is fair. I don’t care about a majority of the characters. Things go unexplained solely because of bad writing. Everything’s rushed BECAUSE the irrelevant scenes take up so much time. If those weren’t there, don’t you think we’d have more answers than questions? You bet! I’m going to keep watching hoping they get their act together. Hoping that’s why the next one’s in six months.

Follow me on Twitter @there_d_hood for random musings and updates.
Or check out my Tumblr http://there-d-hood.tumblr.com/ for random pictures and updates.

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