Tag Archives: Digimon

Digimon Tri: Reunion is an Amazing Start to the new Digimon Show

The biggest disappointment about Digimon Tri: Reunion is that the next installment won’t be until March, 2016.

Other than that though this was a fantastic sequel and it really hit all the right notes well and hard.  There are a few things I have some issue with but they’re kind of minor in all honesty.  There’s so much I want to talk about so let’s dive right in.

First, the bad.  I think the primary thing that annoyed me (and certainly Mary) was Tai’s constant flashbacks to the collateral damage in the Kuwagamon fight.  It’s fine to have some arc development for our lead character and it’s also fine for Tai to finally realize how destructive Digimon can be but this was a bit too much.    The flashbacks were overdone and Tai’s weariness seemed out of character.  Fortunately, many of the other digidestined were trying to snap him out of his funk especially Matt.  Reunion has taken a more mature look at Matt/Tai’s relationship and had them actually resolve their fights without throwing a single punch which was nice.  The two struggled to understand the other’s position and this culminated nicely into the triumphant return of Omegamon/Omnimon.

Although the animation is many times over superior to the original season of Digimon, I still have a couple of issues with it. The first one is that some of the Digimon, particularly Agumon, look kind of weird in this style but thankfully, I’ve gotten somewhat over that.  The second issue I had was the several longer-than-need-to-be shots of people that are just standing there doing nothing.  There’s a great shot of a girl looking at her bike for several seconds like, “Yep!  I have a nice bike!” and doing nothing else, haha.  Hopefully, this will be toned down in the following sequel.

Finally, I’m kind of disturbed why none of the main cast has talked about the season 2 characters yet; Davis, Yolei, Ken, and Cody.  In the beginning of Reunion we see them being…taken down I guess…by some unforeseen force.  I was even super ecstatic when I saw them because this confirmed season 2 being canon.  However, we don’t see them again (except for a brief screenshot with their names on a computer) for the rest of the episode and nobody mentions them at all which made me more and more uneasy.  Like, geez guys, aren’t you wondering where the hell they are?  Nobody even attempted to contact them when Digimon started to appear again.  Hm, it’s probably not a big deal but I wish at least somebody mentioned them…

That’s really it for my complaints, let’s take a look at what made me happy!

Digimon Tri, Backstage, Matt, TK

Some of the backgrounds in the anime were very nice and not lazy like in season 1. I especially loved the backstage here at the music venue Matt was playing at. The graffiti was a nice touch.

First off, I like how it’s implied how the group was slowly drifting apart, like they’re still good friends but they don’t hang out as much as they used to.  Podigious first pointed that out to me how season 2 made it seem like the original Digidestined weren’t as together as they were back in season 1.  But now with the culminated events in Reunion, the gang has an excuse to come back together again.  You also get the feeling that the Digigdestined, and in particular, Tai, seem somewhat lost without the influence of Digimon like they don’t really know what to do with their life after going on a great adventure seven years ago or so.  But now that the Digimon threat is back they find new meaning in their life and jump right into it.

I think Joe needs a special mention for this as it’s becoming obvious he really doesn’t like his life.  He’s struggling on his exams and he just seems depressed in general.  Mary pointed out to me that Joe, as well as Mimi, had the most natural reaction to seeing their partners again as they were so happy to be reunited with them.  I think Gomamon will have a very positive effect on Joe’s life and possibly force him to reevaluate his life’s decisions.

Character interactions are spot on and great.  The characters are more fleshed out and are given a variety of opportunities to bounce off each other.  A lot of them seem like a natural progression from what we saw back in season 1.  I should also talk about Mimi cause god damn was she the best character in Reunion.  I think one of the reasons why I like her so much is that she’s very different from her English-dub personality of a selfish ditz.  Her annoying attitude is gone and it’s replaced by a confident and very funny attitude.  I like how Mimi knows she loves girly things and is proud of it.  Her and Palmon were really the highlight of Reunion.

One of the most hilarious scenes in Reunion was when the gang gets back together and Izzy lectures about the recent, weird events.  After awhile, the kids get bored and start talking to each other while Izzy is still prattling on, oblivious that they are no longer listening to him.  That was great.  In fact, a lot of the humor on this show was well written and executed.  Gabumon lighten the tenser moments when he made fun of Matt’s brooding nature.

And in no particular order, here’s a general list of the things I liked

-A lot of the animation was gorgeous despite my previous complaints.  The fights were great, the facial expressions were lively and the digital distortion effects on Kuwagamon were well done.

-Mimi/Izzy supposed blossoming of a relationship?  I approve

-Izzy’s wardrobe program

-The secret government agency

-Matt’s new band name, Knife of Day and Tai making fun of it

-Gatomon kicking ass!  I love it!  She got so nerfed after she became good in season 1 but after that fight with Kuwagamon I was like DAMN!  Also, her voice actress is just perfect.

-KABUTERIMON’S SPIRIT BOMB/ELECTRO SHOCKER!!

-The characters had an actual wardrobe and changed their clothes every day.  Also, Mimi’s outfit in episode 4 was adorable.

Digimon, Digimon Tri, Mimi, Sora, Izzy, Digimon Clothes

Now, I am really looking forward to the future of Digimon Tri.  I have to wonder what will happen and if the show will actually address where the season 2 kids are at.  On a different note, one theory that I have seen going around is that the other Digidestined will get their Mega evolutions which would be AMAZING and I would love the crap out of that.  Some people have even gone as far as to suggest that Joe will come through in the end and realize that his friends really need him.  Thus, his Crest of Reliability will activate once again and Gomamon will be the first to digivolve into Mega.  If that was true then I would be all over that.  It also begs the question if the other kids would also DNA Digivolve as well.  Perhaps Kari and TK will DNA Digivolve as well as Izzy and Mimi.  Or maybe, there’s a brand new evolution sequence that the show will introduce which I can also believe.

Regardless, Digimon Tri is off to a great start and I can’t wait to see the next five parts!

Battle for the Saturday Morning Cartoon Supreme Leader Channel

Saturday morning cartoons had been a staple for many people’s childhood.  Their prominence from the 60s up until last year is something that many people growing up in America remember.  And it’s easy to see why!  It’s Saturday morning, you are one of the few people up in your household, there’s no school going on and your favorite cartoons are on.  Just sit in front of the boob tube and boom, watch some awesome cartoons.

While doing research for this article (i.e., looking through Wikipedia), I read that Saturday morning cartoons began to decline in the 1990s and 2000s and finally ended in 2014.  Could have fooled me!  The cartoons I watched in the late 90s and early 2000s were great.  True, this wasn’t the era of the late 80s and early 90s where you had classics like He-Man, Tiny Toons, Transformers, and so forth, but we had our fair share of cartoons that we can be proud to say we watched.

And these great Saturday morning cartoons were not limited to just one channel.  They were spread out through the local channels and reaching those who did not have cable.  Now, cable channels are credited for the disappearance of Saturday morning cartoons but the ironic part is that I never really watched cartoons on either Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network.  Nickelodeon had cartoons on weekday nights while Cartoon Network went all in on Friday nights.  They were relatively tame on Saturday mornings.

As such, I turned to channels that I would otherwise not visit.  ABC, The WB, and Fox.  These three channels battled to be the Saturday Morning Cartoon Supreme Leader Channel.  They had a unique line up of cartoons that were enjoyable to watch.  Whether it be old reruns or new cartoons, they had the ammo to satisfy your cartoony desires.

But who was the best one??  Who was the Saturday Morning Cartoon Supreme Leader Channel????  Let’s take a look!

Now before I go on, I have to say that I’m only looking at cartoons that I watched during that period.  As such, this list is going to be very subjective.  You have been warned…

First up, let’s go ABC with their One Saturday Morning Block!  Ah yes, this block had the best opening (see below video).  That intro just made you get SO PUMPED UP.  I’M SUPER EXCITED.  I loved the hell out of that song and its animation.  One day, I got the bright idea to record the Saturday morning block and save it for a day when my parents wouldn’t intervene.  Sure enough, they invited some friends over one night for bridge and that’s when I whipped it out and played it.  Anyway, I would crank up the volume and listen to that song again and again and again (which probably irked my parents but whatever).  Hell, you still can’t help but jam to the music.  Even the snapshot above brings back nostalgia for me with its colorfully bouncy imagery.

So what do we have for our line up?  Well, the cartoons that I watched were Pepper Ann, Recess, and Disney’s Doug.  Other cartoons on the same channel that I watch if nothing else was on were Teacher’s Pet, Buzz Lightyear, and the Weekenders.  Okay, so want to hear something ironic?  I believe I read this on the Wikipedia page but many of the cartoons I just listed mainly take place in a school environment.  This is funny because the intro song (the one I just talked about) boasted how One Saturday Morning was “five hours of summer” and this is pretty funny considering we’re watching cartoons that take place in school…

Irony beside the point, Pepper Ann, Recess, and Disney’s Doug were considered pretty good in my book.  Even though these cartoons took place at school, the characters, humor, and animation made them unique enough that you didn’t really notice it.  Plus, they still had fun adventures (especially, ESPECIALLY Recess) even if they were at school.  They also kind of took on heavy issues, especially for Disney programs, ever noticed that??  Disney’s Doug had an episode of anorexia once and Pepper Ann had one on training bras.  I don’t recall Recess having a heavy episode though it did have those typical children moral tropes that you see.  Anyway, if you didn’t notice by now, Recess was my favorite so I’m calling that one as the best cartoon on ABC.

Next we have Fox which had Fox Kids.  Okay, so truth be told, Fox Kids was kind of weak in cartoons early on and didn’t really have anything good until we got to the tail end of the 90s.  Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was the only major thing it had going for a while…

…then came Fall 1999.

With it came two cartoons that I watched which were Monster Rancher but more importantly Digimon.  Digimon was what roped me into Fox Kids.  I didn’t discover Digimon, and by proxy Fox Kids, until Christmas 1999 when I was waiting for my family to unwrap presents.  As I waited patiently in the basement, I turned on the TV and discovered Digimon.  The episode that was on was the one where the kids were fighting Andromon.  That episode had me hooked and I watched every episode I could find from there on.

Power Rangers: Time Force later joined Fox Kids and it remains one of the few Power Rangers (much less live action) shows I watched.  I don’t know why I watched that one but I guess this show evolved from a “I guess I’ll watch it” to a “hey this isn’t too bad.”  Monster Rancher was nice but God help me if you ask me what it was about cause I don’t remember a damn thing (something with a boy and a wolf, a stone golem, and Mike from Monsters Inc??).  Rusty and Big Guy was also an interesting cartoon if I remember correctly, I should check it out again to see if it still holds up.  Beast Wars was also good but, surprisingly, I didn’t watch much of that show.  A lot of shows, in general, didn’t last very long, sometimes just a season, if that, mainly because they were just not that good or interesting.  Remember Angela Anaconda?  That was a weird show…

Fox Kids was pretty nice and you have to love those promo commercials.  Those commercials were so cheesily edited that you just have to adore it.  You also have to give a nod to those commercial break jokes/facts.  One fact started with “what food would never spoil?” after a few commercials the break would end and it answered “sugar never spoils unless you have water on it.”  And of course after I heard that I put water in my family’s sugar container to see what would happen…my parents weren’t probably thrilled with that…

Ending this trio channel battle we have The WB via Kids WB.  When you think of your typical Saturday morning cartoon lineup, Kids WB probably matches it the best.  You have superhero cartoons, Looney Toons-esque cartoons, celebrity cartoons, and anime.  These programs were also not subpar and had a nice level of quality to them (well…at least most of them did…).

Okay, so you have Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain going off of the Looney Toons-styled cartoons.  You also have the New Adventures of Batman and Superman which was later followed by X-Men: Evolution, Static Shock, Batman Beyond, and the Xeta Project.  Of course, you also had Pokemon and Yugioh (which the latter came on as my interest in Saturday morning cartoons began to wane).  Perhaps the oddball of the bunch was Jackie Chan Adventures whose basis sounds so…weird…that you would think it was destined to fail but it defied our expectations and was actually good!

The Batman and Superman cartoons were so awesome.  I was actually more of a Superman fan when I was a kid so I liked watching his show more than Batman’s.  I remember Kids WB had a contest where you had to write in a letter saying which superhero “kicked more booty” and I recalled that my brother and I said Superman while my sister said Batman (fyi, I now think it’s Batman).  The string of superhero cartoons that followed were good but I liked the Batman and Superman cartoons better.

Pokemon was a definite show to watch but since Pokemon was shown on morning and afternoon weekdays, the pull for it wasn’t as strong as it could have been.  However, they would premiere special episodes (e.g., Indigo League Championship) only on Saturdays and that was a very good reason to watch them.  Yugioh’s more mature (I guess that’s the right word for it) anime appealed to my preteen persona so I would stick around to watch that show before I finally stopped watching cartoons.

I already wrote an article on Jackie Chan Adventures but I should at least give it a mention.  This show should have, by all rights, failed and I’m glad it didn’t.  The premise of the show sounds almost like a direct parody of other celebrity cartoons similar to Mike Tyson Mysteries.  But the show was great as it established a mystical world setting, humorous characters, and Jackie Chan-styled fights.  After the Batman and Superman show ended, I would go to Kids WB mainly for this show.  That’s how appealing it was.

Alright, so, in the end, which channel can claim to be the Saturday Morning Cartoon Supreme Leader Channel???  After carefully reviewing the three channels I’m giving it to Kids WB!  Unlike FoxKids, which mainly had Digimon, and One Saturday Morning, which had a rather narrow focus of show settings, Kids WB had a diverse selection of shows that appealed to a wide range of audiences.  These shows were great and the channel offered a variety of characters, settings, and animation styles that really made it hard to best.  And, let’s be honest here, Kids WB arsenal was Batman, Superman, Animaniacs, and Pokémon.  That’s entertainment gold.

So, what do you guys think?  I know I didn’t hit all of the cartoons for each block but there’s just way too many to list!  Which channel did you watch the most of while growing up and what were your favorite Saturday Morning cartoons?  I would love to hear your opinions!

Podigious! A satisfying, critically thoughtful podcast about Digimon

Disclaimer: Podigious! briefly referenced my blog on one of their episodes which was awesome.  In critically reviewing this podcast, I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible.

Review Summary: Podigious! is a Digimon podcast which critically reviews the entire animated series, arc by arc, and analyzes various aspects of the show.  The hosts’ great chemistry and contrasting personalities liven a podcast that would otherwise be bogged down by its own geeky fandom.  Unfortunately, the fan feedback and Digimon news update that accompanies the beginning of each episode can drag on but luckily, you can easily skip that section and jump into the episode’s stronger portions of engaging debate.  If you cannot deal with people both positively and negatively critiquing Digimon then you should move on.  But if you can realize that not everything in our childhood was perfect then you’ll have a pleasant time listening to this “interesting” podcast.

Full Summary: I’ve listened to Podigious! for more than a year now but it wasn’t until the past few months that I have been able to (mostly) catch up to its latest episode.  I mainly listen to podcasts in the car and since I have done a lot of driving this summer and fall, I was able to burn through episodes rather quickly.  In doing so, I have become rather familiar to the show as if the hosts, Jeff, Ashley, Asher, and Andrew, were right there in the car with me, talking about Digimon while I silently listen to them.

Podigious! is everything I wanted in a nerdy podcast.  The hosts, particularly Jeff, the ringleader of the podcast, are very earnest in their love for Digimon and want to talk about Digimon simply because they can!  I like that.  What’s more, the episode-by-episode discussion of the Digimon anime series is great as you can jump into any podcast episode you want and listen to certain arcs without missing a beat.  I personally did this when I skipped the Devimon Arc and jumped right into the Etemon Arc and it worked just fine.

Of course, a good podcast needs good hosts and luckily, Podigious has them.

Three of the four hosts are very close to my age and in fact, they went to high school the same year I did as well (and the only reason why I know this is that they talked about when Harry Potter 7 came out in one of their episodes).  Because of their age, I highly, highly, identify them as they have the same Digimon nostalgia factor that affected me as well for these past 15 years.  And that actually plays into a big part of their show as they are critically evaluating the show and trying their best not to have nostalgia cloud their reviewing senses.  Sometimes, they’ll even mention how a particular scene has stuck with them for all these years and their reaction to that same scene may now be different due to a more adult perspective on it.

And it basically works.  The hosts point out certain inconsistencies or problems with the show and offer suggestions on how they could have improved the scene and the plot.  A few that stood out to me was the use of prophecies in season 1, how Yolei should have gotten the Digiegg of Knowledge and Cody should have gotten the Digiegg of Love (mind blown btw), and why in God’s name did Tai give Davis’ his goggles and not Kari or T.K.?  These inconsistencies are great as they point out what could have been on a show that surprisingly stuck to certain tropes passionately.

I don’t know what Jeff looks like so here’s Donald Duck from Kingdom Hearts. Image from http://kingdomhearts.wikia.com/wiki/Gallery:Donald_Duck

Of the four hosts, Jeff is probably the one I identify with most and represents the hardcore nerd in a fandom. Jeff is the like the heart of the show as he edits the episodes, he’s in charge of the discussion topics, and he talks, a lot.  Which is unfortunate as he dominates the conversations, especially in the podcast’s early episodes.  Sometimes, he would go on and on for a particular topic, such as, and especially, real life geography, and the other hosts would only respond minimally.  Luckily, the other hosts have found their voice and have been participating more and more in the episodes which is great.  Jeff has certainly relaxed as the series progressed as he used to be a little more uptight but now he’s kind of taking it more easy for the discussion topics and the “Follow Up” portions of the show.  Also, he should get a Word of the Day calendar.

Again, I don’t know what Ashley looks like so here’s Riley from Inside Out. Image from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3suT-csNs9U

Ashley represents the casual fan of a franchise and let me say, it’s nice to hear her be so verbally confused about certain aspects of Digimon as it sometimes takes a sane person to point out the rather weird and contrived world of Digimon.  She’s definitely been more vocal as the series progressed and it’s nice as she points out the gender B.S. that Digimon portrays.  It’s also funny how she can be just so fed up with Digimon at times, especially towards Kari.  Her playful frustrations towards Jeff also add a light touch to a show that can be bogged down at times by its own geekery.

You get the drill, how about Joe and Gomamon? Image from http://hero.wikia.com/wiki/File:JOE_Kido_%26_Gomamon_(ADVENTURE_51).jpg

Asher represents the shipping fan of a franchise and he is just like Ashley in that he points out Digimon’s gender B.S.  Asher also found his voice fairly early on and, again, like Ashley, talked more as the podcast progressed.  It’s always nice to hear Asher tear down Jeff’s nostalgia-filled world and make Jeff verbally uncomfortable with the stark, and let’s face it, unfair, reality Digimon has towards boys vs. girls.  From what I heard, Asher is the favorite host of the four and I believe it (he’s my favorite too).  Asher’s grounded, and sometimes apathetic, nature, contrasts nicely with Jeff’s enthusiastic and almost intense personality.  Jeff would have notes upon notes detailing certain aspects of an episode and then he would ask Asher what he thought about the episode/topic and Asher would respond that he didn’t write anything down (lol).  His shipping knowledge is very humorous as he would gush over scenes involving Davis/Ken or Matt/Tai.  I know appreciate Davis/Ken pairing more thanks to him.

Gundam! Okay, I’m done. Image from https://sddude.wordpress.com/tag/sd-gundam/page/3/

Unfortunately, Andrew, Asher’s brother, is the weakest of the four hosts.  Briefly mentioned in the podcast’s season 1, he became a part-time host in season 2 and unfortunately, he does not add a lot to the other hosts’ great chemistry.  It seems to me that Andrew barely mentions anything, even when compared to Ashley and Asher’s initially reserved nature, and does not fully pay attention to the conversation at hand.  I wouldn’t mind it as much if he had anything worthwhile to say but a lot of times he would just react awkwardly to the other hosts’ sometimes personal interactions or he would mildly insult Jeff and his nerdy nature.  He is kind of…stiff I want to say?  It doesn’t bode well with the more playful side of this show.  I shouldn’t be too hard on him though as a lot of times, he can contribute to the conversation by incorporating his Japanese and anime knowledge.  His status as a hardcore nerd can match Jeff’s knowledge which is nice that it’s not just Jeff talking in-depth about some esoteric thing about Digimon.

The weakest portion of the show is by far the aforementioned “Follow Up” which is Jeff and Ashely responding to reviewer feedback and questions, talking about Digimon news, and revealing who won the Ridiculous Dialogue Draft (RDD).  This section is at the beginning of almost every episode and man does it drag ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon.  This is the part of the episode that I usually let my mind wander.  And, truth be told, the Digimon news update kind of hurts the “timelessness” of the show as the main portion of the podcast episodes focuses on things that happened 15 years ago while the news update tells us things that we already know by now.  Sometimes, this scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail would play in my head during the Follow Up:

I shouldn’t be too hard on the Follow Up though as you can skip it easily.  It kind of begs the question why I even listen to it in the first place.  Good Question.

I have no reasonable answer.  Maybe I just like hearing Ashley and Jeff talk (it does get lonely in the car at times when you’ve been driving 4+ hours by yourself).  Although, I have to say that it’s nice to hear Jeff and Ashley go out of their way to respond to reviewer feedback and respond to questions viewers may have about the previous episode’s content.

If the Follow Up is the weakest portion then by far the strongest is the RDD that is at the end of every episode and I love it.  God, listening to how…ridiculous…the DUB could be is amazing although I wish they threw in the occasional “touching” line since there can be a few in the show.  Maybe they’ll throw some in when they get into the heart of season 3 cause man, that season is an emotional roller coaster.  Anyway, I appreciate Jeff editing in the original lines of the show and give us the full (no) context it deserves.

The gender studies portion of the show is perhaps the most (in)famous section of the podcast.  Here, emotions can run a little high as the hosts break down Digimon’s less appealing gender aspects.  Ashley, and in particular Asher, go at the show strongly and tear it apart while at the same time offering constructive criticism on how the show could have made it better.  Although the hosts dominantly talk about the role women have on the show, they do occasionally focus on the guys and the show’s conservative take on what it means to be a man.  I admit, I was at first frustrated at listening to Asher and Ashley criticize one of my favorite childhood animated shows but I soon could not help admit that a lot of Digimon’s take on gender is indeed, Bullshit.  It definitely makes the podcast not just a simple fan gushing and instead, treats it like an actual show that has its flaws.  In general, I just love how Asher is so unapologetic about her opinions and it sharply contrasts Jeff’s desire to try and offend the least amount of people as possible.

Also, and on a side note, the hosts sometimes talk about the Legend of Korra and other cartoon shows during the gender segment which is nice as Korra is particularly strong when it comes to gender representation.  One show that they have surprisingly left out of the conversation is Steven Universe and it got to the point that I finally tweeted them and asked if they had seen the show.  I am relieved that they have (that show is great in all aspects of animation, plot, and, of course, gender representation).

This is actually a nice segue to my last point about the podcast in that the hosts are very responsive (well, Jeff is at least, Asher just doesn’t give a shit) to fan feedback.  It actually makes up a large portion of the Follow Up.  Jeff and Ashley respond to feedback whether it’s on twitter, reddit, or itunes.  I like how they bring up critical feedback and admit when they are wrong.  It’s nice for creators, of any kind, to respond to both negative and positive feedback and it shows they are not afraid to change things up and try to constantly improve the show.

As for the future of the show, I’ll definitely continue listen to them for their Tri and Tamers segments but after that, it’s hard to say as I really don’t like Digimon Season 4.  Regardless, Tamers is, and will be, fun to listen to as it’s Jeff’s favorite season and it has a super crazy plot that is neatly combined with its more mature vibe.  I’m hoping for more endless driving so I can become reacquainted with them once again.

Oh yeah, and I’m looking forward to this scene.

Summer Wars and Digimon: Our War Game are Both Great Films

Stop me if you’ve heard this one; an anime movie with a distinct visual style directed by Mamoru Hosoda stars a young adult cast who have to battle a growing threat on the internet before it kills them in real life.  Okay, you know what I’m getting at here.  Digimon: Our War Game and Summer Wars are so similar to each other that it’s no wonder people compare these two films.

I heard about the comparison between these two films so much that I knew I had to check Summer Wars out.  I finally got to do that, appropriately enough, this Summer.

What I find interesting is how akin these two films are.  Did Hosoda like the concept so much he just had to remake the film again but in his own image?  And it’s not just a remake of the idea.  Certain scenes and images are so alike it really makes you stop and wonder.  Hell, if Digimon came after Summer Wars then something weird would be going on.  But that’s not the case, Our War Game came out nine years before Summer Wars.

I’m not going to talk about how similar they are to each other.  Many other people have already done that and this article does a good job of it.  Check it out.  Instead, I want to talk about other aspects between these two films.

There are also some neat side-by-side comparisons between the two films at the listed article

There are also some neat side-by-side comparisons between the two films at the listed article

For instance, Digimon embraces the notion of an online battle very nicely.  Though Season 1 played around with the internet in hacking terms, never did the kids and their partners actually visit the internet.  It was either the digital world or the real world.  As such, the internet could act as a gateway between these two worlds as demonstrated by the kids and their partners in the movie.

With strict ground rules never established in Season 1, the movie could take certain liberties with the franchise that wouldn’t seem farfetched or noncanon.  The internet battle was one of them and the DNA digivolution was another.

Though the kids in Summer Wars never got to visit the internet, they had the next best thing which was their avatars.  The avatars were very like Our War Game’s partner digimon with the exception that the humans were in full control of them.  Much of the film’s visual appeal and art stems from the weird avatars and their fight sequences.

The main antagonists have probably the strongest similarities between the two films.  Their actions and subsequent consequences may slightly differ but it’s their origins that are the most contrasting.  Love Machine was created as a virus by the American government and Diaboromon was…actually…we don’t know!  We have no idea how he came to be!  To me, that’s kind of scary.  Where on earth did this internet destroying, data eating, powerhouse of a digimon come from?  The fact that he still did not die and actually come back in the fourth movie speaks volumes on how hard he is to kill.  His bug-like nature fits him pretty well for a foe that just would not die.  To me, he’s the stronger antagonist compared to the game-adoring bad guy in Summer Wars.

The overall theme of people coming together to stop a foe works the best in Summer Wars.  And I mainly bring this up because our main protagonist, Kenji, doesn’t really save the day until the very end of the movie.  The Jinnouchi family helps him out throughout the entire film.  They bring equipment for him, the grandma gives them hope, the uncle advises him how to defeat Love Machine, Kazuma fights Love Machine with King Kazma, and Natsuki defeats Love Machine in Koi-Koi.  There’s a definite sense of we’re all in this together and this blossoms in the triumphant Koi-Koi battle against Love Machine.  I love it.

But…

I liked how Our War Game did it as well.  Unlike Kenji, Tai was having sooo muuuuch trooooouble trying to get his team together.  Dropped phone calls, people on vacations, uneasy relationships, etc.  Instead of “we’re in this together” it was more like “this is all we got.”  The music, which I mentioned before I liked so much, even seems to make fun of Tai as he tries desperately to scramble his team together, it’s hilarious.  And in the end it’s like his troubles were rewarded with not his team coming through but the whole world instead.  That kind of switch plays into Our War Game better than Summer Wars.

Truth be told, I find Summer Wars’ ending easier to swallow than Our War Game.  Our War Game came out in what, 2000?  Though the internet was just taking off by then, not many people were using it, especially in less developed countries.  By 2009, we see a dramatic usage increase throughout the entire globe.  This dramatic increase combined with Summer Wars’ OZ makes the ending more believable to me because everyone is using the internet and as such, the ending has more weight behind it.

Internet users per 100 inhabitants. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Internet_usage (Sorry if the image did not load, the image loads when I edit the article but not when viewing the article itself)

Oh and you have to love how already dated Our War Game is.  Seeing them scramble to try to retain their internet connection is humorous.  And oh God Izzy, that computer is huge.  Probably a decade from now Summer Wars will be just as dated.

Gosh, after writing this article, I’ve come to realize how good these two films are.  I honestly can’t say if a non-Digimon fan would like Our War Game.

Wait.

Hang on, I’ll go ask Mary, she saw the film with me and she doesn’t know anything about Digimon.

She said she liked it but she couldn’t fully enjoy it because she had no idea who any of the characters were.  That’s almost exactly what this guy was talking about.  Here’s the passage:

“The biggest difference between them is the large cast both hold. Digimon uses pre-established characters that people can not automatically jump in and understand. Summer Wars on the other hand, introduces a complete new cast of characters, all being developed in front of the viewers eyes. Digimon, having 50+ anime episodes that allowed the character development needed does not accomplish what Summer Wars establishes in a 90 minute film.”

And there you go.  People who are a fan of Digimon will love both films but if you are unfamiliar to Digimon you should probably see season 1 before seeing this Our War Game.  But if you don’t want to spend all your time doing that, Summer Wars is just as good and is a great thrill ride.  Check both out, while Summer is still here.

Digimon Our War Game: Sub vs. Dub

I didn’t realize this at first while I was writing this article but apparently we’re at the 15th anniversary of Digimon!  I can’t believe it, that’s about 3/5th of my life!  It’s certainly interesting to think about.  Digimon was one of those fast fads that only lasted a year or two.  Apparently, the creators knew that as well.  A little more than a year after it premiered in America, the Digimon movie came out and we went fucking bananas.  It was almost the same hype as the Pokemon movie.  I really wanted to see it in theaters but my parents didn’t take me much to my chagrin.

When I finally saw it on VHS about a year later, I realized that this was not a very good movie!

The movie wasn’t good because the American producers wanted to tie three independent movies together to make a coherent plot and this failed miiiiserably.  Each of the three parts seem so distant from each other that no amount of forced cohesion could make it work.  Even the three parts of the movie varied in how good they were.  The first two parts were great but the third part was just baaaaaad.

Digimon Movie Chart

Even so, the second part of the movie (whose original title was “Our War Game”) was definitely the best.  Talk to any Digimon fan about this movie and they can agree that the second part was amazing.  Hell, if the producers had cut out the third part and just leave the first two parts in, the Digimon movie would have been many times better.

As such, is the Dub as good if not better than the Sub?  Well, no, but it is certainly close.

For one thing both the Dub and the Sub had stellar voice acting.  By now, the voice actors know their characters so well that emotional and comical moments are top notch.  Mona Marshall, who voices English Izzy, is fantastic and really nails her character.  Izzy always works best as Tai’s wingman and the chemistry between these two buds has never been this tight.

And I have to give credit to the Dub for really highlighting the heroes’ difficult task of defeating Diaboromon.  He’s strong, he’s unforgiving and to top it off, Wargreymon and Metalgarurumon are becoming more and more sluggish thanks to the constant emails.

Digimon Adventure Our War Game (XviD DVD-Raw) [5FF8BEE1]

So where does the Dub go wrong?

Well, besides the forced plot cohesion, many small things add up that would have otherwise been trivial.  Kari’s unnecessary narration is like…ugh…just shut uuuuup.  We don’t need exposition for every god damn scene that has no dialogue!  The forced plot cohesion mentioned earlier is uncomfortably wedged in and really sets the film back.  Besides that, the Sub’s comical moments are tighter and feel more natural.

The primary source I would point to is the Dub’s music which is kind of inappropriate.  The pop music can distract the viewer’s attention when it should be focused on the plot.  The Sub’s soundtrack, on the other hand, includes not just the original theme but symphonic songs as well.  In particular, Ravel’s Bolero, one of my favorite classical pieces, is used extremely well in this movie.

Ravel’s Bolero starts slow and builds and builds and builds and builds upon itself!  It starts with a slow drumbeat and ends with blaring trumpets and a crashing beat!  And this is exactly what Our War Game is about.  A threat whose strength increases slowly and slowly until it becomes and almost unstoppable threat.  Great use of that song.

“When Johnny Comes Marching Home” is another song that is used inexplicably well during the lighter and more comical moments of the film.  It really gets you going as you watch these preteens try their damndest to stop Diaboromon even when half of their team is out of commission.

Izzy, Bathroom, Our War Game, Digimon

I still can’t believe this scene was in the movie

 

And this brings me to my overall point.  The Sub doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Like a clown trying to balance on a tight rope, you know you need to be worried but you also know everything’s going to be alright in the end.  The Dub on the other hand is too confused on what it wants to be.  It wants to be serious but the corny jokes oversaturate the movie and end up confusing it.

As a final note, as much as I criticize the Dub’s soundtrack, there is one part in the Dub where the music worked to its advantage incredibly well.

The birth of Omnimon is done quite differently between the Sub and Dub and whereas normally the Sub would be better, here they’re on near equal footing.

Have a look.  Here’s the Dub

 

Alright, now here’s the Sub

 

Whereas the Dub’s music is uplifting and suits that of a hero being born, the Sub’s music is intense and seems more like the birth of Jesusmon (which he basically is).  Nonetheless, with such different interpretations of Omnimon the end results work out incredibly well and fits nicely for both movies (however, the Dub is once again ruined by pop music so boooooo).

So in the end, the Sub won out.  But the comparison is not done yet!  There’s a movie out there that is so strikingly similar to Digimon: Our War Game that many articles have been written about it.  I aim to throw my hat in as well when next week I compare Our War Game to Summer Wars.

The Best and Worst Thing About Digimon Season One

Digimon was a staple of my late childhood ever since I first found out about it near the end of 1999.  Though the series was already near half way done, FoxKids would continuously show previous episodes on the weekdays which allowed me time to catch up and become familiar with this great show and its characters.  Though I can write all day about Digimon and my childhood, I want to focus on the best thing and the worst thing about Digimon Season 1.

The Best Thing:

This was hard to pinpoint what exactly the best thing about Digimon Season 1 was.  It could have easily been the music, Izzy and Tentomon, or the digivolutions.  However, after thinking about it, I have to say it was probably the Myotismon Arc.  This was a series of episodes that really took the show to a whole new level.

The arc starts off strong with the kids trying to reunite again eventually culminating to them returning to the real world.  Once they’re back, they have to deal with Myotismon and his henchmen while trying to keep a low profile.  The arc builds and builds and peaks in the finale with Gatomon and Kari reunited and defeating Myotismon with an all-powerful Celestial Arrow.  However, Myotismon, in true vampire fashion, rises from the grave and reaches his Mega form which brought about the mega evolutions in Agumon and Gabumon.

There are a lot of things that make this arc great.  For instance, one-by-one the digidestined’s digimon digivolves (say that three times fast…) to their Ultimate form, taking on any foes that stand in their way.  This brings about new digimon foes that can challenge the kids and push them to become even greater.

The real world element is also used very well.  The kids have to guard their secret and make sure no one knows about their partners.  Also, we see what kind of effects the digimon have on the real world, something that season 3would later expand upon.  Electronic devices don’t work and most of the time, destruction happens.  But probably best of all is that we see the kids in their homes, interacting with their parents.  It is relaxing to watch them get a break after being chased by monsters for many episodes.

The best part comes near the end of the arc as episodes build to the climatic showdown.  Everything important happens in one day.  As such, the usual standalone episode format is cast aside and embraces a more connecting narrative.  Partners who have digivolved in the previous episode stay digivolved in the next one.  The digidestined, once scattered, slowly find their way to the television station where everyone, save Angemon, has digivolved to the Ultimate form to face Myotismon.

And then, death!  Wizardmon dies saving Kari and we see one of the first, real emotional blows in Digimon that struck us hard.  A kind character, who was Gatomon’s only friend, was dead and his passing catalyzed Gatomon into digivolving to her final form, Angewomon.  Then, everyone lends her their power and she strikes down Myotismon in one blow.

As such, one of the real disappointments in the series is when we found out Myotismon is not dead but still alive and in his Mega form meaning Wizardmon’s death was (almost) for nothing.  The arc should have ended there but they continued it on for two more episodes and those two episodes brought down the importance of finding the 8th child.  Speaking of arcs…

The Worst Thing:

Many shows usually have a rough start in trying to find themselves and who they really are.  Poor writing, actors unsure of their character motivations, and untested people can really stagger a new show.  Digimon Season 1is no exception to this.

When I got my Digimon Season 1 DVD Boxset more than a year ago, the first thing I watched was the Etemon Arc and I just went from there.  I skipped the entire Devimon Arc because I just don’t like it!  There are a host of reasons why I just don’t like this part of Digimon.

The first 14 episodes or so are slow, awkward, and formulaic.  The usual one or two digivolutions per episode means that the fights don’t happen often and when they do they are pretty short.

Also, with seven protagonists a lot of character establishment had to be developed, something that the later seasons’ far fewer main characters didn’t worry about.  As such, episodes two through seven were focused on a particular protagonist and that can be a chore to get through.

To be fair though, when File Island split up and we had a lot more personal time with the characters, their mini-adventures were amusing, especially seeing their now established personas bounce off of each other.

But at this point, the characters are still too annoying and the voice acting is…ehhhh.  That’s why the Etemon Arc, and especially the Myotismon Arc, was a hit as we don’t have to go through character establishment and we can have good action and story development.  Plus, you’re not really missing anything from skipping the first arc except for an angel dying or whatever.

Herculeskabuterimon

Also the worst thing was that Herculeskabuterimon wasn’t in it, I am sad.