First Impressions – Digimon Adventures tri

Digimon Tri - 01 -9 Digimon Tri - 01 -20 Digimon Tri - 01 -21

Retro, throwback – whatever adjectives you got, I don’t think they do the experience justice.

What’s this – a First Impressions post in November?  And for Digimon, yet?  Yes, it’s odd, but here we are.  This Digimon revival has been in development since forever, and the announcement that it would be a series of movies rather than a TV series was met with an audible groan from most of the massive fandom.  But Crunchyroll has ridden in to the rescue of the Western fan base, deciding to release those movies in episodic form.  And so we jump into the wayback machine.

As the movies are being released one at a time, CR is releasing “episodes” four at a time (this post covers the first one only), with the next batch due early next year.  I think any post I do on Digimon needs to be prefaced with a few disclaimers – the most important of which being that I’m no expert on the franchise.  I did like Digimon – better than Pokemon, certainly – but never watched it religiously.  To be honest I had a hard time remembering who everyone was – who’d been in the original series (and it’s much-loathed sequel, which is apparently still canon) and who hadn’t.  And the fact that in my memory they were all 11 year-olds didn’t exactly help in that effort.

There was some real talent involved in the Digimon franchise back in the day – no less than Hosoda Mamoru worked on the original TV series and directed the first movie.  I remember it being surprisingly smart, and the relationships among the kiddie cast more complicated than you’d expect.  A lot of anime has flowed under my bridge since then and I have no idea how much of that perception was my lack of exposure to anime, and how much genuinely came from the material itself.  But I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the first ep of Tri, too.

Again, I remember so few details that I can’t really place most of what happened in this episode in context.  It’s six years later and everyone is in high school, scattered far and wide and consumed with teenage pursuits like sports clubs and rock bands.  Most of the focus in the premiere is on Taichi (now played by Hanae Natsuki), who in my mind’s eye was kind of the archetypal impetuous ringleader. His sister Hikari is still around obviously, and a few old friends.  But a bunch of the other principals seem to have dispersed (to as far away as America) and of the principal Digimon themselves there’s almost no sign.

What we have here, it seems to me, is something like a high school slice of life episode with a slight nod to potential shipping.  The character designs by Uki Atsuya (Tsuritama, Cencoroll) are what really stand out – the director is the reliable and experienced Motonaga Keitarou.  The Digimon do get involved, and a Kuwagoman (I’d never have remembered that) causes some trouble in Odaiba, causing power blackouts before divebombing Tai at his soccer game.  Obviouly there’s going to be a Digi-themed plot, but my sense is that this is going to be a pretty character-driven take on the mythology – and there’s enough in the first episode to make me think it might be an interesting one.  I probably won’t blog it, but I’ll catch up to the remaining three released episodes and if they really grab me, who knows?

Digimon Tri - 01 -6 Digimon Tri - 01 -7 Digimon Tri - 01 -8
Digimon Tri - 01 -10 Digimon Tri - 01 -11 Digimon Tri - 01 -12
Digimon Tri - 01 -13 Digimon Tri - 01 -14 Digimon Tri - 01 -15
Digimon Tri - 01 -16 Digimon Tri - 01 -17 Digimon Tri - 01 -18
Digimon Tri - 01 -19 Digimon Tri - 01 -22 Digimon Tri - 01 -23


  1. e

    this was good start and i understand where taichi come from. when he was little he didn't got all the demage that can be around him but now that he grown up he understand the world better and get what happening

  2. s

    holy crap a digimon post on Lia; this oddly put a smile on my face, dont know why…it's just a huge nostalgia bomb man and you can never take shelter for those. You are right about one thing enzo: this is a more character driven season (then again digimon was arguably always character driven)

  3. B

    You know, just delete my earlier comment…

  4. e

    😀 aren't you fast.
    Not sure you've watched the other three episodes of the first movie already so… hopefully safe comment follows.
    My recollection of the original series is rather fuzzy plot- and finest mechanics/nomenclature-wise (party because of how long ago it was, partly because my RL schedule and Digimon changing TV schedule didn't really mesh well. After most of s1 I only ever managed to catch glimpses of Digimon 02 and of s3 on Italian channels ) but the s1 characters stuck to my memory rather strongly it turns out. And hey the imaginary friends/plushie bait (would still buy if any! take my money!)—err the digicreatures in their lower level&huggable forms are still so kyooooot :,D
    From the promo poster alone I found was quite easy to pinpoint and match who's who and the core characters traits. Their older selves are still rather consistent with those.
    My main headscratcher concerning this first movie stems just from a characterization oddity… there is one of the guys who takes a 180° personality turn and while the reasons for it make sense on principle the execution was rather clumsy. Especially in episode #3 and #4 / second half of the movie it felt forced to pop at very inopportune moments because plot demanded it.
    Overall and so far most of the banter and interaction is pretty enjoyable though. In the first epusode must say the 'Knife Of Day' piece of dialogue had me giggling. Ah, bands drama and cool names.
    Plot clues-wise in episode #1 I missed on the identity of the attacked kids we glimpse at the beginning – the red and black split second frames – . There are more hints later on but it's the first bit for me where previous knowledge of the franchise felt like it would be a plus. As it is… missing some significance there.
    Mandatory henshin (hmmm evolution) sequences… regardless of nostalgia I'm not a fan but at least they were short.
    As my personal fav bonus detail, hat kiddo Takeru is still rocking hats as a teen. And a purple trilby no less. That's my little baby :,) – and his Digimon is still one the cutecoolest of the bunch I remember in my book along with Kari's, uhuh :p -.

    P.S.: Enzo if you ever wish for s1 characters bg's memory jolt they have put out a Why We Still Love Digimon article on ANN.

  5. p

    Lots of people think that the attacked kids are the 02 kids. It's silhouttes of Daisuke, Ken, Iori and Yolie being attacked and falling.

  6. e

    why the execution of his behavior was clumsy exactly?

  7. e

    @pitchan: thanks. I chanced upon of a couple of 02 episodes back then but that was it.

    @elior: angsting on causing collateral damage and possibly people casualties is all fine and good. But in the series context you have creatures wrecking the place on repeat and you can handle the only valid countermeasure. '[Now that I'm older] I see more and understand less'. Ok. Because violence is bad and there is fallout and you've matured enough since you earlier digiadventures to fully grasp that and it sucks balls etc etc. Just don't do it in BSOD fashion in the middle of a battle while those same people – your fighters friends included – are being injuried literally 2 steps away from you . Damned if you do damned if you don't conundrum starts to feel moot in the aforementioned situation: it's still a matter of action being the lesser evil during emergency when you have the tools and experience.
    Stop more damage from happening first – -. Angst before (he does). Or later (ditto). Just do not do it then and there in that way…

  8. T

    These 4 episodes made me teary eyed. I loved how much these characters have grown up and yet there are some aspects of their personalities that stayed the same <3 While I love that Taichi is now more aware of the destruction caused around him (not that he didnt as a kid, but now that he is older mostly likely lives were lost when the digimon battles occurred in the human world). Equipped with this new understanding I'm interested to see where it will go now that its clear instead of Taichi, Yamato needs to be the one who makes the big decisions. Granted I do agree he should not have frozen like that in battle especially when the lives of his friends were in peril.

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