Reviews: Digimon Adventure Tri

The DC Extended Universe of anime?

First of all, I'm writing this review based on the four movies already released, so my opinion is might change once the rest of the films come out.

Tri. is divisive, to say the least. It's one of those Love It or Hate It series. It had a promising start, with familiar characters and the feeling of nostalgia added with a new original, even darker story fit for the modern age.

As time goes by, however, it seems Tri. doesn't really know which direction it's going. The first and second movies establish that humans now have mixed reactions toward the Digimons despite all the heroics they performed in the past, and the Digidestineds now also have to balance between their personal lives and saving the world. The third movie dropped all that in exchange for the Reboot plot and the prospect of the Digimons losing all their memories of everything they've done. The latest movie dropped that as well to dwell deep into the Digimon lore that some casual Digimon fans might have a hard time catching on, as the Digimons apparently bonded with their partners again, even Sora and Biyomon who have the most issue over it. The story keeps introducing more and more plotlines without resolving the ones before them in a satisfying manner (or sometimes dropped completely). The story as a whole seems rushed and focused more on fanservice and building the universe than resolving the plot arc at the moment. When it was good, however, it works. Joe and Mimi's subplots in Determination is realistic and relatable, and the dramatic scenes in Confession is very well-done. Most of the action scenes are also entertaining enough, and I loved the remixed soundtracks from the original series.

That is why I called it the 'DCEU' of anime: it is by no means a bad series, it is just messy. It can't decide whether to focus on Meiko and Meicoomon's story, each Digidestined's personal arcs, Maki and Daigo's 'Precursor Heroes' subplot, the Digital World lore, the mysterious disappearance of the 02 kids, etc. As a result, none of this ever reaches its full potential and just turned out subpar. For example, Meiko and Meicoomon could've turned out to be interesting new characters and a perfect Audience Surrogate had they been handled better, and so they wouldn't be so hated by fans. Personally, I believe if Tri. had been a full TV series instead of just a six-part film series, more time could be spend developing all these plotlines equally.

With two movies left to go, I've been left worried by this series' uncertain future. It reminds me of when Eureka Seven AO was aired. A continuation of a beloved classic series that turned out mediocre because of its messy plot that goes all over the place and ended up tanked the series. I hoped that the people at Toei get their acts together and take their time to make the last two films a worthy conclusion to the Adventure series or an introduction to a larger, brighter Digimon universe.

I was wrong - A promising starting

When I learned that Tri was going to be released, my first reaction was the standard one / why do they want to exhumate this corpse again? They were not satiated after 02? (hold on account that I am not a 02 hater - it was just when I myself became a writer and troper that I saw what a script disaster it was, but I had always been quite a fan) so I naturally freaked out when I saw the vast amount of changes and the announcement of films and not a series. So I asked myself: can this be any good? Can it do good for a mistreated but mythical saga?

I thought not. But yes, it could.

The changes of art style in Saikai were deep, to the point I almost did not recognized it. Those grownup boys didnt looked very much like the old Digidestined. But when Agumon and company entered the match, I knew - it was them. The spirit did not fly away. And this time perhaps a new story will can advance, and not a shady remnant of a past arc. Even with the chants of potentially spot-stealing, Mary Sue, etc for Meiko and depowered, out-of-nowhere for Alphamon which surely will rise up, the development is promising enough to make a difference.

Rock the remixed songs and put aside the prejudices, because not caring how it will turn out eventually, Digimon Adventure Tri has passed its baptism of fire. It's soon to say nothing, but this cynic guy Cieloazul is gonna give out an opportunity. Lets wait to March to see the next installment and judge.
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