Many of us will remember the time when monster series Pokémon and Digimon were incredibly popular in the UK. In the end, Pokémon has remained more popular here than Digimon, but the latter certainly still has a place in many people’s hearts and now the series has returned in the form of six movies. Today I’m here to review the first movie, Digimon Adventure tri. Reunion.
Digimon Adventure tri. takes place three years after the events of the Digimon Adventure 02 series and centres around the original eight DigiDestined from Digimon Adventure: Tai, Matt, Sora, Izzy, Mimi, Joe, T.K and Kari. Our heroes are going about their lives peacefully, until one day the gate to the Digital World reopens and a Kuwagamon appears and begins causing chaos in Japan. Tai chases the Digimon through town, until eventually he realises that the monster is after him. Eventually Tai is reunited with his partner, Agumon and together, they and the other DigiDestined and Digimon take down the threat of Kuwagamon. However, with the Digital World seemingly accessible again and evil Digimon finding their way to the real world, just what evil are our heroes about to face?
What Digimon tri. succeeds in doing quite well is making it feel like the characters have grown up with us. Most of these kids are now in High School (or in Joe’s case, studying for college entrance exams) and although myself and I’m sure many of our readers will still be older than the cast, it’s just nice that Tai and his friends aren’t children. The fact the cast are older also imposes some interesting story elements, such as Joe not feeling as though he has time to be a DigiDestined while studying for college, or Tai who faces the dilemma of whether fighting is really the right thing to be doing.
Unfortunately, being older does not always mean wiser and Tai’s new-found fears of the damage the Digimon battles cause to Japan lead him and Matt to have multiple arguments – so many in fact that I just want to take the two and bang their heads together. Tai and Matt have never had a stable relationship and have always been rivals of sorts, but Digimon Adventure tri. really does bring this to an annoying new level. I can only hope this settles down for later entries.
Away from Tai and Matt, the rest of the DigiDestined make a much more welcome return and it’s especially nice that the majority of the English voice actors returned to their roles. Joe, T.K, Matt, Kari and a few of the Digimon have been recast but otherwise the team is intact and it really helps draw you into the movie. What’s interesting to note is that Matt is now voiced by Vic Mignogna (Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist) and for once Mignogna manages not to sound like a simple version of Edward and is instead quite natural as Matt. All of the English VAs do a remarkable job and in the case of those returning, it feels like they never left.
Where animation is concerned, Toei Animation have overall done a good job. The characters have been slightly redesigned since their Adventure days but they still look like themselves and the whole movie is very smooth when in motion. There are a couple of shots that are still frames and would have been better served with some simple movement added in, but considering the budget on this does seem to be pretty high otherwise I’m not complaining. The Digimon and world are brightly coloured and look fantastic when battling, so I’m really happy so far.
Music also fares well in so far as the dub actually kept all the Japanese tracks, composed by Sakabe Tsuyoshi. The dub even kept the opening theme “Butterfly”, although it does shorten it to add in a new English theme afterwards whereas the sub track just uses an extended “Butterfly” for its run. All of the music blends in well and fits the tone that Digimon Tri is trying to set.
This release comes to the UK thanks to Manga Entertainment in both a Blu-ray collector’s edition and on standard DVD. The Collector’s Edition includes a slip cover, reversible sleeve, mini-poster and a set of artcards. This release includes the movie with both its Japanese audio and the English dub.
Overall Digimon Tri is a welcome return to the Digital World for a long-time fan, however even if you’re new to the series there is a lot to like here with the high budget and colourful animation. We may still have another five movies to go, but as it stands I’m excited to see where this story is going. Highly recommended.
Title: Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 1: Reunion
Production: Toei Animation
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
Platform(s): DVD, Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Version Reviewed: DVD
Released: 22nd May 2017
Disclosure: A copy of Digimon Adventure tri. was supplied by Manga Entertainment, the distributor, for the purposes of this review.