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I take back every single thing I ever said about Zero Two and Frontier, for this season manages to be so bad, but so horrifyingly, painfully bad that it makes Frontier and Zero Two seem like masterpieces in comparison.
Zero Two and Frontier at least had redeeming qualities, like good soundtracks and a horribly slow-paced plot-holey story... but at least it did have a story, and an actual source of conflict. Xros Wars The Ultra Long Title I Don't Care About is just plain awful in every single aspect.
Here's the entire season summed up: Some new digital dimension was born for no reason, some new characters who totally were friends with Taiki and Shoutmon before show up as the new protags, Evil Digimons cause trouble, so the human "Hunters" have to capture them and they suddenly lose their evilness. THAT'S IT!! That's what happens every single episode.
Forget all Character Development Digimon is known for, add in tons of Character Derailment, create a million plot holes and have a complete disrespect for the previous established canon, nerf every single character who showed up before to favor your extremely unlikable protags and you have this weird Pokémon knockoff.
I have to ask myself if this show was somebody's fanfic turned to life, because there is no excuse to how painfully awful watching this season was. Frontier and Zero Two were bad, but they were watchable, and that's something I can't even give this season.
Xros Wars was mediocre but enjoyable. Hunters was mostly awful
To wrap it all up: it might have a few good moments, but Hunters isn't a good sequel to Xros Wars. It isn't even a good story
Xros Wars ultimately had a rather satisfactory ending. All the character arcs were wrapped up outside of Yuu never seeing Damemon again, Bagramon was beaten, Shoutmon was crowned the King, and the Digital World was saved. So then, why was Young Hunters made?
Young Hunters is, if you can even call it one, the shortest season of Digimon, only having about 20 episodes. While unanimously considered the worst season of Digimon, I decided to take a look at it again and see if the hate was warranted or overblown.
As a season on its own, it is bad, but as individual episodes, they're perfectly alright. Confusing? Well, that ties into one of the bigger issues Young Hunters has: most of the episodes are simply Monster of the Week. Typically, even when other Digimon series followed this formula, there was always this bigger narrative or enemy being teased in the background, like Yamaki in Tamers, or Merukimon in Savers. Young Hunters however didn't really have that. You could reasonably just sit down and put a random episode on before the final few and watch it as a standalone and you wouldn't miss anything. The actual "plot" of the season doesn't even get anywhere until the season is almost over. So while it fails as a season, it does fine as just plain episodes. Personally, I liked the ones that reintroduced Kiriha and Nene as well as the introduction to Mizuki.
Now what of the main plot itself? Well, its honestly nothing to write home about. The antagonist is a Generic Doomsday Villain and his plan is confusing as hell. The Clockmaker is also confusing, especially with the reveal he's Bagramon somehow reincarnated, and no explanation is given as to what Clockmon is then. And the main draw of the anniversary, the previous Goggle Heads (and Masaru) returning to kick ass, while cool looking, is just pointless fanservice. Doesn't help that their entire purpose is largely to be a powerup for Tagiru. And while at times there seems to be hints of something bigger going on like Gumdramon's backstory and the Kinkoji on his tail, its never followed up on.
Speaking of, lets talk characters. Really, there are only 7 major new characters: our new lead Tagiru, the rival squad of Ryoma, Airu, and Ren, and the secondary allies of Mizuki, Hideaki, and Kiichi.
Okay, Hunters is being labeled by many as the weakest season Digimon ever had. After watching it I can't deny said statement, it is so empty it hurts.
It had a good start bringing a new setting and new concepts, but then the following episodes failed to exploit it. The show got stuck in a boring repetitive formula, featuring no lasting plot-key elements (barring episode 14), no significant character development for the main character and no changes to the status quo until the very end. After some weeks you eventually catch the formula and start watching it with indifference because you alrealy know there's nothing to expect.
The other problem is having a generic static character as the main lead. I'm not asking Tagiru to be the last survivor of a royal lineage of protectors of the galaxy or anything like that, it is okay for a character to have no fancy background or direct connections to the bigger plot. Takato and Takuya didn't have one either. But he still needs something to make him worth watching, Tagiru has no interesting character traits and never got any significant character development, he is a dull character thrown in a Mo TW based season and it makes him stick like a sore thumb.
To add insult to the injury he is the main lead and many of the already boring enough episodes are focused on him. It resulted in many of the other characters getting Demoted To Extra, some of the new ones like Ren never got an actual chance to shine.
But why it happened? Because Hunters was most likely not in the original plans. If I remember correctly Xros Wars was originally supposed to run for 52 episodes, then modified into 54. I don't know why they suddely decided to stuff more 25 episodes in the continuity, but it is said Toei was needing more time to fill the timeslot until Seiya was ready and demanded more episodes. Or So I Heard.
You just don't make a good sequel from scratch in a few weeks, it recquires planning and they had no time to do so. The final result was that, a succession of one-off stories with no depth, featuring a void character as a protagonist and the return of characters from previous seasons as a cheap gimmick to hold the audience.
After the last season bucked trends with a mostly serious atmosphere and a lead who wasn't an idiot, Digimon Xros Wars goes back to a generic Shonen idiot, the kind of who can rush into something blindly and with minimal thought then pull through of Shonen idiot power or something. Ok sometimes he has to use some basic Shonen Hero cunning, often he can simply rush and beat the bad guy in a couple of seconds, even say a demon powered up from a bunch of brainwashed kids.
Most of the series is composed of generic and bland filler which is pretty much just a kid with a simple personal problem like needing to make friends, build a robot or win at children's card games, the victim of the weak will feel hes unable to do this on his own or can't be bothered, a Digimon of the week will offer to do it for him, but oh no! Hes evil and just using the kid! Generic idiot hero will blunder around for a bit, make an attempt on capturing the evil digimon and fail, tell the victim of the week he needs to work for what ever it is rather than letting a digimon solve all his problems (space whale Aesop away!), then after some wandering around will beat up the evil digimon in a fight that will probably last less than 30 seconds. Yes not only has the story been cut down, but the fights are (with a few notable exceptions like the card game ep) also extremely short and anticlimatic. And don't think the weak plot and weak action scenes means more time for characterisation, Tagiru is as bland and generic a Shonen hero as you could hope for, only having the obligatory "be slightly less of an idiot who rushes in and save teh world." character development. A few of the other characters do get the odd episode devoted to their development, and those tend to be the shining gems in an otherwise extremely forgettable show.
The "plot" eventually shows itself, and just amounts to defeating a big bad even more generic and dull than the last one (who doesn't do much beyond sending out minions and ripping a hole in reality) and has 0 personality and screen time. And.. thats about it.
The Finale is quite honestly complete crap. Preceding it is some mildly enjoyable but pointless fanservice (the non sexual kind), then two idiotic Shocking Swerves. Then the idiot hero wins easily. The end.
Overall it... watchable, in a junk food fashion. Just don't expect much from it
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