I cannot start this review without mentioning how deeply rooted my love for Digimon is. Digimon Adventure (known as Digimon: Digital Monsters in the US) was one of the first anime I ever watched. I thought I was Kari and wanted my own Gatomon. Back then, I made my parents rent The Digimon Movie from the video store repeatedly. I was obsessed!
So to say I’ve been a lifelong fan is no exaggeration. I watched both Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02 as they were airing in the States. I feel such a connection to the OG crew because I was around the same age as them. All this to say, my heart is tied to these characters.
Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning was produced by Toei Animation and directed by Tomohisa Taguchi. Taguchi also directed Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna and The Tunnel of Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes. The movie debuted in Japan on October 27 and is screening in select US theaters on November 8 and 9.
To prepare myself for this new movie, I first caught up with the previous movie, Last Evolution Kizuna. While The Beginning is a direct sequel to Last Evolution Kizuna, I realized it was not necessary to watch before this as no major plot points from that movie carry over.
About Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning
The movie centers on the Digimon Adventure 02 characters 10 years after the season ended. It is the year 2012 and most of the crew is in their 20s. A giant Digimon egg, or Digitama, has appeared above Tokyo Tower, and a new character, Lui, is involved. Lui claims to be the first DigiDestined and the reason there are “Chosen Ones.” The movie focuses on the crew trying to piece together Lui’s involvement and what they can do to stop the Digimon.
A Departure from the Children
I haven’t caught up on Digimon Adventure tri so Last Evolution Kizuna and The Beginning are my first foray into the grown-up version of these kids. What captured my attention though, is how much the story has grown up too. The movie perfectly captures the essence of what I loved about Digimon Adventure 02. The fun and playful banter between Daisuke (Davis in the US dubs) and the rest of the team, the deep connections between the kids and their Digimon, and the cool evolutions. Yet the plot of this movie does a fantastic job of aging up the story, keeping it fresh and relevant for older audiences.
At times the darker themes in this movie were jarring. It’s not that the original anime didn’t tackle difficult themes, but the way it is done in the movie feels like it caters to a more grown-up audience. Often I find that franchises can lose people when they reboot or age up characters, but it’s clear the Digimon team knows their audience. The main lesson of the movie is one that I think anyone can resonate with. At first glance that lesson may seem simplistic but it allows for audiences to dive deeper.
To The Digital World
Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning serves as a blueprint for taking a childhood classic and expanding on the story in a way faithful to the original while adding a new exciting layer. The movie is a great follow-up for fans of the original anime but can also serve as an introduction to someone who isn’t familiar with the franchise.
I’ve stated before that I want to do a Digimon Adventure rewatch from the beginning and this movie has motivated me to do that soon. I had goosebumps watching the group I felt I was a part of, growing up and implementing the lessons they learned from 10 years ago. I was proud of them for coming this far and I also want more.
Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning is playing now in select theaters. You can get tickets here.