Reviews: Digimon Adventure 02
Spoilers While I know most people don't enjoy this season, I highly recommend it. It has it's fair share of problems to be sure. Plot threads that came and got dropped rather suddenly (especially Dagomon, the Daemon core, and the Destiny Stones arc) and some rather bad retconning, badass decay set in a great deal for some (Magnaangemon can't beat Skullsatamon?), along with questionable villain motivations were the biggest problems IMO. But, despite all this, 02 is thoroughly enjoyable. The new characters are fairly fun, with a good amount of comedy (Yolei, Davis, mostly) and drama (Cody, and especially Ken, this season's poster child for character development) carried by each. In addition, the old cast gets several moments to shine (e.g. Joe getting to be "old reliable", to Mimi taking a level in badass, to TK and Kairi showing the toll past battles have taken on them). This season retains the series' trademark humor, while also having plenty of action, imagination, and a surprising amount of well-done drama (especially with Ken, Oikawa, and Cody's backstories). Even their families get to contribute a substantial amount to the story (especially Cody's grandad). Many of the villains even expressed a human side, reminding one that the world is not as black and white as one would like. In the process, the series handles some very adult themes if you think about it (e.g. dealing with the death of a loved one, knowing you can't always have things your way, accepting past mistakes, having to kill even if you don't like it) that I think we all could stand to learn from. And all of this leads to (IMO) a very satisfying and large scale finale. (How many shows can you name where pretty much every kid teams up against the big bad?) Overall, it's a fun, optimistic ride that more than makes up for its' flaws and appeals to the Saturday morning cartoon-loving kid in all of us. Give it a shot.
It's widely accepted that 02 became worse as it went on. They did the Kaiser arc then shoehorned in a million villians and subplots that never amounted to anything substantial. The Dark Ocean was wasted, the kids' character development (aka what made the first season so good) was choppy or non-existent, and the epilogue was a huge slap in the face. Just to throw in my two cents, here are a couple problems that are pointed out less frequently: 1. For being a Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World season, it doesn't put a lot of focus on the kids everyday lives. Last season the families were featured for a whopping 8 episodes and they still played a bigger part in the story. I want to see a Yolei who's stressed out from the Digital World fighting with her siblings or a Davis who's so tired he can't even make it through soccer practice. These kids sacrifice nothing in order to be Chosen Children and one has to wonder how high the stakes really are. 2. DNA digivolving. Cool in theory but it segregated the kids into tag teams when their team dynamic and friendships as a whole already sucked. 3. Yolei never fulfilling her role as the teamís Smart Guy. Kick Izzy out and let Yolei be the new computer whiz. As it stands she was dead weight, and her character development episodes were choppy little epiphanies after she tried to be an Action Girl. Let her be the Smart Guy. 4. The Dream World was so cool. Why was it only in the finale? They could've made this whole season about world hopping, and it would've been great. Kaiser arc, Dark Ocean arc, Dream World arc, done. Despite all that, I love 02. The premise is wonderful: The Big Bad is human, they have to deal with the Real World as well as the Digital World, the Dark Ocean exists. It's just that the execution sucks. Sure, there were moments where the heart of the first season appears (Ken reuniting with Wormmon, TK giving up his seat in the car to Ken) but most of it is nonsensical plots to waste time and sell toys.
The strange case of Daisuke/Davis
This review is a bit out of ordinary, since it mainly concerns one character, but I believe that his unique characterization (or rather the lack of it) reveals a lot about the series. In short, I believe that Davis is the only case of a main character that shines in media other that the one he stars in. In V-Tamer, for example he doesn't know why he should help his so called "friends". In his perspective, all they ever do is hurt him by dismissing his ideas, and it takes a while for him to realize that they were actually keeping him from danger. While Davis would be described by most as a simple minded dumb jock that doesn't think at all, I think that he was supposed to be a immature kid that simply has trouble focusing for long periods (i.e., only thinks for a short while before making a decision) and above all, he is someone who While aware of his buttmonkey status is unable to avoid it (since he has trouble thinking ahead). What does this mean? The most obvious effect is that he can't stand people that have it easier than him. This is why he butts heads with TK and dislikes the digimon emperor (which would also allow him to easily empathize with the spore children). It is also a possible reason why he wants to be with Kari (him being with someone who he thinks of as perfect would definitely raise his self-esteem), but most of all is the reason why he accepts Ken so quickly. After all, he can see that the world screwed Ken over far more than it did him, and (perhaps instinctively) knows that if Ken overcame his problems, then so could he. The above would explains why Davis took so long to accept Willis and why he could only relate to him when he understood what a hard decision Willis had to make. It would also explain why he is particularly competitive (i.e. desires to upstage everyone). And its this perspective that prevents him from confronting his friends (since to him that would be the same as hurting them), which would make his problem with attacking agumon understandable. As such, his final development would consist in his heart knowing that to get anything, he would need to work for it, and thus could not accept have what he wanted given to him in the illusion. But as any fan knows all of these potential ideas were scrapped for a nonsensical series of events, and that highlights just how bad 02's writing really was.
An unworthy sequel
Being a fan of Digimon, and having enjoyed the first season, I was quite eager to see a continuation of it, and this series seemed to hit the spot, at least for a while. he Digimon Emperor made for an interesting villain, and the new kids were well-developed and likable, not to mention there being the Older And Wiser T.K. and Kari... so, at first, this new season was fun and refreshing. It had a Lighter And Softer feel than the previous, but that's not necessarily a bad thing... But then... the series completely lost its track and turned into a trainwreck. It started with the introduction of BlackWarGreymon and the Destiny Stones, then developed into pointless filler (World Tour arc, I'm looking at you), nonsensical pairings who hook up out of nowhere, plot points which serve no real purpouse during the series (Daemon, anyone?), and ending with a final battle so anticlimatic and ridiculous that it boggles the mind how anyone could think of it as a satisfying way to end a series... and with the most idiotic and saccharine-filled Distant Finale ever, nonsensical jobs and pairings, and a big "Screw you!" to all the fandom. All the freshness and novelty of the first episodes, up until the episode about Ken's past, were cast away and substituted with a dull series which only drags forward towards its inevitable end, also making it clear that the writers didn't know what they were doing and were just making things up as they went (for example, Arukenimon and Mummymon's motives change randomly from "wanting to destroy the Digital World" to "wanting to allow Oikawa in") Final word: Avoid this series, and go read a fanfiction. This horror deserves to burn in Hell. 2 out of 10, and I'm being generous.
Ep. 1-21 The Digimon Emperor (English Dub)
The most well-known of the 02 arcs is well-known with good reason: it takes up nearly half the season. This arc introduced the new Digidestined, the Control Spires, the concept of Armor Digivolving, and the first human villain of the Digimon tv show. While Armor Digivolving was an interesting concept, it often felt like it could've been taken further. Making the villain a human was a smart choice, as it forced the characters to actually think about how they could fight another Digidestined, instead of a standard Big Bad Digimon. Unfortunatly, the characters this season really suffered. While the original Digidestined do bring a welcome prescence when they appear, the current generation is pretty meh. Davis, the apparent 'leader', is a hotheaded idiot, and extremely annoying. He undergoes no character development, and the pitiful attempt at it when he had to unlock the Digiegg of Friendship made no sense whatsoever. Yolei was a mixed bag, sometimes bringing a welcome intelligence, and sometimes being an annoying sugar queen. Cody brings a welcome addition to the group, being wise beyond his years, but still having to cope with his limitations. Kari remains the bland, selfless girl she was in Adventure, but at least now she's a bit more engaging than in the previous season. T.K. seems to have undergone a massive character shift, but it makes sense that he would be a much stronger person four years after the events of Adventure. He can be bland sometimes, but he often fills the Matt role of giving good advice on keeping the team safe. The Digimon tend to come off like their partners. Veemon is annoying, Hawkmon is meh, Armadillomon is charming, and Patomon is his adorable self. However, Gatomon seems to have gone through a massive shift, now acting like a housecat much more. It's a bit annoying. Ken is decent as a villain, never boring or stupid, but sometimes a bit cliche. Wormmon is by far the best Digimon, and everytime he was onscreen, I couldn't help but fell bad for the little guy. The begininning of the arc was intriguing, and the end was exciting, but it was the middle, while they were searching for more Digieggs and knocking down control spires, where it got boring and repetitive. Yolei and Davis got no character development, and Ken's plan was strecthed out way too long. Overall, this was a mixed bag, but engaging.
Love it or hate it
Just a good overview. I think this series gets a little too much flack, but at the same time it does indeed have its flaws. Pros: -It has Ken, possibly one of the staple characters of the series, who has gained exalted status as The Woobie and a character with a (extremely well-made and developed) Heel Face Turn. -Character Development for Hikari and Takeru, who were minor little-kid characters in Adventure. -The new cast of characters varies very significantly from Adventure's model, making things new and interesting. -Even more expansion on the Character Development for the Adventure characters, which one would normally think impossible. Cons: -Daisuke. There is nothing wrong with the character himself, but the character has a lot of wasted potential - it's like They Wasted A Perfectly Good Character Development. Daisuke changes almost none in the entire scope of the series (except maybe in the Drama CD and Hurricane Touchdown), and let's face it - some inner development would have been nice. -Filler episodes are common in order to fill out 50 episodes. -The infamous Deus Ex Machina ending, reusing an enemy from Adventure and finishing it off with a rather lame Aesop. There's nothing wrong with "using your feelings" to end the bad guy (since that was done in Adventure), but the direct manner of using that on Belial Vamdemon was indeed...rather idiotic. (The Where Are They Now Epilogue - I find nothing wrong with this one, since it fits their personalities to a certain extent - especially in the Japanese epilogue, where certain hints are excised - it gets most of the flack from the Fan Dumb and the shippers. Make of that what you will.) Definitely an entertaining season - while there are a few Ass Pulls in regards to minor plot points, the overall season has a good amount of coherency and characterization. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it over something else, say, but it's at least worth watching.
02's rollercoaster of doom
02 is one of the most extreme rollercoaster rides you will ever see in the digimon franchise. When it is good, it is really good. But when it's bad, its really, really, REALLY bad. Dagomon and the dark ocean, Owikawa's backstory, the digimon kaiser and many other parts of the story stand out as great ideas. But what connected all these great ideas, the actual episodes, ranged from mediocre to insultingly awful. The plot holes and inconsisties are obscenely abundant (even more-so in the original japanese). Character growth and interaction, the bread and butter of the original adventure, has all been abandoned in favor of a one hero per episode attitude. The amount of seemingly-important elements that got introduced only to be forgotten (like the four gods, blackwargreymon's sealing the barriers, dagomon and the daemon core) is simply ridiculous. This would also be one of the few anime where I'd recommend the english dub over the original japanese version, mostly because it fixes quite a few plot holes and because it doesn't ask the viewer to take it seriously. The japanese version does have the best music in the entire digimon franchise though. In the end, would I recommend this series? I'm not sure. If you've seen the original digimon long ago and don't have much connection to it, this series may be worth a watch for the few good moments. In all other cases, I'd recommend against it.
The Filler Season
Digimon Adventure 02 is a Sequel. Its a sequel to Digimon Adventure; to Our War Game ; And its a sequel to the digimon Wonder Swan games. If you did not know this, don't worry, as the show will bring the plot to a grinding halt to remind you. Often. The characters are all very cliche, which would have been fine if the characters were allowed to be developed. Sadly Status Quo Is God so the end of one episode feels so much like the end of another. Out of all the characters only Ken, Oikawa and maybe Iori develop into anything meaningful way, contrary to the fact that the series that is known for its character development. The new chosen children don't really have an affinity for the digimon of the digital world as you can tell as they picnic while digimon are suffering under the Kaiser's rule. Which makes sense at the start, but then the new chosen children volunteer to fix the digital world after the Kaiser was defeated, making me wonder if it was the digital world they care about not the digimon themselves. The Digimon Kaiser ark is considered to be the best part despite 50% being filler. It's clear that the writers were buying time to try to scrap together a plot. But what follows after the Kaiser ark? Ep.22 Chosen children doing community service~Filler. Ep.23 Ken's back story. Ep.24~37 Arukenimon tries to destroy the digital world, aka filler, as Arukenimon's goal is to get Oikawa into the digital world; World tour~filler; Daemon Corp~filler. The premise of the show is that the younger chosen children to make there own way, away from the shadow of there older counterparts. Letting slide that Takeru already did that, and the new chosen children have no relatable past, it still fails. The younger children don't make there own way, rather the older children are forced out of the plot. The new chosen children never fell like they accomplish anything by themselves. The ending has even more reminders that Digimon Adventure 02 is a sequel; Shunning newer baddies to reuse older baddies. The level of Ass Pull in the ending leaves the feeling that anyone could have been the hero and that the writers were grasping at straws. All in all, if you felt that Digimon Adventure needed to be 50 episodes longer, just rewatch Digimon Adventure.