Anime Review I: Digimon Adventure

Hello! If you’ve just stumbled upon this blog, I’d like to welcome you to the Traditional Catholic Weeb, a blog dedicated to entries about anime and the occasional article or two about traditional Roman Catholic issues.

Today I’m presenting the first review in my Anime Review series – a periodical blog post dedicated to a review about an anime that I’ve watched previously. Basically, I’m going to analyze the anime from the viewpoint of its storyline, characters, music, and its other elements, and provide my personal opinion on the show itself. Note that, for each anime, I’m going to address the show as it was presented in the subbed, and not dubbed version, since the former is the original and the one that I’m most accustomed to since my rapid rise to being a Catholic weeaboo since 2016.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the Anime Review!

DIGIMON ADVENTURE

Digimon Adventure, which ran 54 episodes from 1999 to 2000, centered around the story of eight children who, in the middle of August were sucked into a parallel universe known as the Digital World, where, paired with a particular Digimon partner of their own, joined forces to defeat the evil forces that threatened the stability of the world they had just stumbled upon. It was the first anime that I have watched (in the subbed and dubbed versions, nonetheless), so I believe it fitting that I should use this anime as the first one I will review in today’s Anime Review. Though underrated by many today, I can say confidently that this is one of the few shows that have left a lasting positive impression on me – and for various reasons.

STORY

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During summer camp, eight children – Taichi “Tai” Kamiya, Yamato “Matt” Ishida, Sora Takenouchi, Koushiro “Izzy” Izumi, Joe Kido, Mimi Tachikawa, Takeru “TK” Takashi, and Hikari “Kari” Yagami (who later joins them following the defeat of Myotismon) are taken to the Digital World, where they are paired up with digital creatures known as Digital Monsters (more boringly known as Digimon). These Digimon – respective to their owners – Agumon, Gabumon, Biyomon, Tentomon, Gomamon, Palmon, Patamon and Tailmon – accompany the eight children, known as the Digidestined on a quest to restore order and harmony in the Digital World.

The story of Digimon Adventure is divided into four arcs – the File Island Arc, which chronicles the Digidestined’s arrival on the Digital World, and their fight against Devimon and his army of Black Gears; the Dark Network Arc, where the Digidestined learn to further master their Digimon’s powers and stronger forms to fight the egotistical, wannabe rockstar Etemon; the Eighth Child Arc, which sees the Digidestined’s battle taken to the streets of Tokyo, in an attempt to stop vampire Digimon Vamdemon from locating, and disposing of the eighth child (which happens to be, as mentioned before, Taichi’s younger sister Hikari); and finally, the Dark Masters Arc, which sees the Digidestined’s final crusade against their most difficult villains yet – the quadrio known as the Dark Masters (Puppetmon, Piedmon, Machinedramon, and MetalSeadramon), and then finally Apocalymon, who seeks to erase the Digital World from existence.

Though there were four arcs throughout the entire storyline, there was no kind of discontinuity between the arcs, and they rather connected well with each other to make one giant, consistent volume chronicling the Digidestined’s adventure. Further to add to the point, was that of the story’s progression, which was steady and followed well relative to the storyline. Each episode was equally as important as the last, and they managed to present the plot and advance it further without any lingering cliffhangers or plot holes. While watching the series, I did not feel at any point that the series was being rushed for the sake of progressing the storyline, sacrificing important plot points and saving time; nor did I ever feel like asking myself, “What was the point of that whole episode?” only to get a resounding “Absolutely nothing!”. Rather, the story was straight to the point and presented in a clear manner that allowed the viewer to take in everything in the story without consulting other sources as if to ask, “What just happened?”.

Moreover, the themes of the story were just beautifully presented as much as the plot, with prevailing themes of the importance of friendship and perseverance / believing in a good outcome displayed all throughout. Heck, even the main characters’ crests are based on positive themes – if that’s not an obvious enough indicator to the plot’s themes. The overall theme of the show was a positive one, and each episode knew just how to connect with feelings of joy when the Digidestined defeat an enemy, or mixed emotions whenever a costly battle or a particular character’s backstory was revealed.

In fact, the story’s messages and themes are ones that still stick with me to this day, and is part of the reason why this show has a profound effect on me to this day. When I first watched the Digimon Adventure series in its original, subbed version, I was in the second year of university at the time – and I was going through quite a bit of problems of my own, between trying to find a software developer summer internship and juggling a very difficult semester workload. Some nights though, I was able to secure time to watch the series, and if there’s one message that I got from the series, is that no matter what one is going through, eventually – through the help of friends, and those around them, they will find a way to face those problems head-on, and prevail over them. Coupled with the fact that I did manage to find a software-themed summer internship, and that I managed to survive my semester (though not with a few cuts and bruises along the way), I give credit to God and, in some part, this show, for helping me prevail through one of the most difficult moments of my life.

Overall, the story was presented excellently, and with little to no room for errors throughout the entire thing.

CHARACTERS 

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Regarding the characters, there’s quite a bit of things that could be said about them.

Let’s start with the main characters – in particular, the eight Digidestined and their respective Digimon partners. They say that characters will tend to make or break the show – and in the case of Digimon Adventure, I can confidently say that they make the show as lively as be. One of the things I like about the characters is their utter personalities; ranging from Taichi and Yamato’s fearless leadership and willingness to overcome difficulties however they may be, Sora’s tomboyishness (but a good Team Mom), Koushiro’s leet computer hacker skills, Joe’s epic nerdiness, Mimi’s “I don’t take your crap” attitude and Takeru / Hikari’s childish innocence. The amount of depth each character is given with respect to their personalities and backstories is so high, that in some cases I found myself relating to them in one way or another.

For example, in my case, it was Joe Kido for me. I saw a little bit of myself in this character; he was careful, always tasked himself with responsibilities and rather studious. He even says it himself during the show – that the one thing he missed about Earth was ‘studying’ and ‘doing homework’, to the confused looks of the rest of the Digidestined. It especially hit home for me, because I was in university at this point and knew how important upholding a good GPA, and keeping up with the latest trends in software development was if one wanted to be considered a successful developer in this day and age.

Even the Digimon themselves are no exception to this trope: they were a dynamic, funny and downright adorable cast of characters to focus on. In particular, what stood out for them in the context of this whole anime was the depiction of their progressive relationship with the human characters. Unlike most animes of this genre, it wasn’t depicted as primarily a ‘master-slave’ kind of relationship; rather, the best way I could describe their relationship was that of a best-friend type; one between two people who enjoyed each other’s company and did not hesitate to share life stories / secrets among each other. That pretty much summarizes the Digimon for me as characters, and you could see this being emphasized several times in the series. For example:

  • Agumon’s always inspiring Taichi to become a better person – and this becomes evident after the attempted evolution of Greymon (aka Agumon’s Champion form) goes haywire. Agumon’s firm resolve helps Taichi to realize that leadership isn’t about how strong you appear to be in front of those you know, but rather how much you can inspire them to accomplish a common goal. The bond between the two becomes stronger as they begin to realize this.
  • During one episode where Yamato goes out searching for his younger brother, he manages to catch a cold. After he and Gabumon find shelter in a cave, Gabumon uses his fur coat as a blanket to warm Yamato up, even though he knows he’s going to be defenseless against the cold. This shows that he’s willing to go great lengths to protect his human partner. In another instance, Gabumon helps Yamato realize that he’s not a failure, even though the latter has succumbed to depression in the Dark Cave.
  • Takeru and Patamon’s entire relationship is based on this. After episode 13, both of them show a commitment to protect each other, and routinely share stories with each other without reservation. If that’s not friendship, I don’t know what is.
  • The ending. OH SWEET SAINT PIUS THE TENTH, THE ENDING. Faced with the risk of being locked in the Digital World forever, separating the Digidestined from their partners, what do they do? Spend as much time as they can – in some cases such as Takeru and Mimi’s, tearfully – with their partners, not wanting to let go of them or consider the fact that they’d be separated from them for possibly, forever (NOTE: They don’t. They’ll see them permanently :D). Cue the infamous traincar scene, add “Butterfly” in the background, and you’ve got yourself my seal of approval for “BEST ENDING EVER”.

The villains aren’t really that well-characterized compared to the protagonist, but nonetheless being that it’s a show intended for children (and thus, have a straightforward plot) I’m willing to let it slide for now. Nonetheless, it’s clear that the character development, and overall presentation of the human and Digimon characters are evident, and strongly emphasized throughout the progression of the series, leading to a series that is enjoyable, likeable and makes you want to root for them each time they take charge in an episode.

MUSIC

What more can I say about the music of Digimon Adventure, except YES. I’m not going to go out and say that the soundtrack of Digimon Adventure was the best; but I will give it its due credit and say that the OST of this show is quite nicely composed, with a few pieces here and there that are able to stir the mood to an episode. However, none of the soundtrack is more amazingly built, and stands out more, than the opening theme itself, titled “Butterfly” and sung by the late Wada Kouji (RIP).

This song was the very first anime opening I heard in Japanese, and is still to this day, one of my all-time favorites. For years, this song was my go-to song on my iPod (and still is to this day), and was the first song that I memorized in Japanese (for the purposes of auditioning for Anime North Idol 2016; didn’t make it, but more on that later); and though it’s been recently supplanted by some other anime songs since my rapid consumption of anime post-2016, nonetheless anytime I hear it, it still manages to leave a happy feeling inside me. I mean, the whole song is just happy, upbeat, and downright catchy enough to listen to. Especially outstanding about the song is the chorus; undoubtedly my favorite part of the song – where the song is at its most powerful, and most catchiest to follow along with.

If you’d like to see the opening theme for yourself, check it out here:
Digimon Adventure Opening

FAVORITE FACTS

Favorite episode: Episodes 37-39. The one where everyone gets together to face Vamdemon in a final showdown in Tokyo. It was a brilliant set of episodes to end a brilliant arc in the Digimon Adventure series.

Favorite character: Joe Kido / Gomamon. Though Koushiro / Tentomon and Sora / Biyomon come REALLY close.

Favorite couple: If Digimon shippings were a religion, no doubt in my mind that the Tai/Sora pairing would be the Catholic ship – even though Matt/Sora is the official canon ship.

Favorite moment: The episode where Takeru ends up being held hostage by Puppetmon, and engages in A FREAKIN’ GUN FIGHT against him. Fortunately,  he manages to outsmart the villain by trolling him to the max, leading to Takeru’s escape and Puppetmon’s eventual death at the hands of MetalGarurumon. That’s pretty badass right there, and I consider that as Takeru’s establishing moment of awesome.

Favorite villain: Vamdemon. Creepy, sinister and just straight up malicious to the core.

FINAL THOUGHTS

While most of my generation would label, and connect Pokemon as the show they remember the most about, if I were asked the question, I would undoubtedly go out of the limb and proudly claim Digimon Adventure as top dog in that category. Everything about this show was wonderfully presented, and nothing about it disappointed me. I loved the story of Digimon Adventure, because of the simplistic, idyllic and optimistic nature of it, which always manages to leave a soft spot in my heart. I loved the characters of Digimon Adventure because of their personalities and on how the show represented them. The music is also a positive point in my book, and many of its tunes I still listen to, even today whenever I need a little boost in my life. Ultimately, all of these things combined together are the main reason why Digimon Adventure still remains an anime that is close to my heart, and probably will stand the test of time – at least to me.

And yes, if I see a cosplayer portraying a character from Digimon Adventure, you know I’ll drop everything I have, lose it and go into fanboy mode πŸ˜‰ That’s how much of an impact the show has had on me.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

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12 thoughts on “Anime Review I: Digimon Adventure

  1. Another anime with nostalgic vibe. I loved Digimon since I was a kid but loss track of time and interest watching the next generation (I stopped at 02) due to studies and eventually, work. By the way, this is a good review. Keep it up.

    P.S
    Hopefully, you can also make a review or feature Pokemon, Flint the Time Detective or Monster Rancher soon. These animes have one thing in common with Digimon: badass monsters. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you again Warfheim! Glad to hear you’re liking my reviews so far 😊

      I feel you! A friend of mine has recommended me to try Tamers and Frontier, but somehow I keep getting sidetracked with other commitments (work, family, friends, cosplay plans, other anime series on my backlog, etc) to start them. However, I recently found out that there will be a Digimon Adventure reboot set in 2020 (instead of 1999) so who knows, that might end up taking precedence.

      I haven’t seen Flint The Time Detective or Monster Rancher, but I’ll definitely consider them! Thank you for the suggestion! πŸ˜πŸ‘

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That was a great review. I definitely liked Digimon when I was a kid. I watched Adventure all the way up to Tamers when it was on Fox Kids. Sure, I liked Pokemon and Digimon during my youth, but when I stopped with Pokemon, I kept going with Digimon. In hindsight, Digimon had a much better plot, way more interesting characters, had greater stakes involved, and at least most of the monsters could talk instead of just saying their name. My first experience was seeing those battling virtual pets since this was from the creator of Tamagotchi. That was before the anime got licensed.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! I wasn’t familiar with the Japanese songs and listened to “Butterfly” yesterday. That’s a great song. What do you think about them making a remake involving the original Digidestined?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I only watched the American dub as it arrived over here, but I do remember years ago finding the Japanese opening tracks online and a few videos of the transformations with battle music. Butterfly was an excellent track! I fell off after Tamers, but enjoyed it while I watched it. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome Maximillian! πŸ™‚

      Happy to hear my post could help re-spark some of those memories. I couldn’t agree any more with your sentiments on Butter-Fly; since I discovered it in middle school it’s remained one of my favorite anime tracks!

      Liked by 1 person

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