In this episode, a bunch of In-Training level Digimon attempt to make a good first impression, in hopes of never being seen in that form again.
Season one starts with a pretty bad-ass opening scene. The world is in turmoil! Floods! Tidal waves! Snow in August! Aurora Borealis localized entirely within your campground! And it pulls seven random children through the void into another world, kicking off the start of Digimon Adventure.
It's a leap of faith to assume that there was a rhyme or reason behind all this. For anyone watching this episode with no advance knowledge of Digimon, there's no indication that fate intended for those specific seven to be there. Or that everything that happened in the first act was far more calculated than it appeared to be. It's generally presumed in respectable anime that nothing is as random as it first appears... but remember that this is the first episode. Digimon hasn't established itself as respectable yet. The first episode, which features little handheld devices crashing from the sky and several ready-made plushie creatures, isn't going to instill optimism.
The episode starts out fine. Brief character snippets of the seven kids, nice “pulled through spacetime” effects, Tai and Izzy face mortal peril... good stuff. We're establishing that Koromon is brave, Motimon is smart and this more or less matches with their partners. Then we get Sora and Yokomon... still all right. TK and Tokomon... starting to get irritating. Matt and Tsunomon... was Tsunomon's blushing supposed to be a character note? Joe and... his Digimon... are we supposed to remember all their names?
Things start to go downhill like a boulder, careening down faster and faster as the In-Training Digimon channel the Digital World Visitors Bureau and explain what and where they are, all the while explaining neither what nor where they are. Yes Tokomon, you're adorable. Now why the hell are we here? Before they can give a proper answer, Kuwagamon shows up and tries to kill them all over again.
Throughout the battle, the primary concern seems to be more focused on drilling in the names of all these Digimon as they agree to stand and fight against the wishes of their partners. Not that there's an option as they're all pressed up against a cliff. The children show enough concern for their partners to prompt all seven to digivolve to Rookie. These are the forms that will be featured through the rest of the series... thus negating all the hard work spent learning all of the In-Training names. Seriously, all that trouble to teach those names and the only times we ever see In-Training forms are when something is horribly wrong. The names of the Rookies, meanwhile, are tossed casually as if they're not important.
The boulder finds a ramp and shoots back up at the end when Kuwagamon's not quite dead and sends the gang off the cliff. Thus, the episode ends, quite literally, as a cliffhanger. Much better.
Note that no other season attempts to introduce every primary Digimon in the first episode. Good.
My Grade: C-
- Tai's reaction to Koromon might be the only time the Japanese meaning of a Digimon's name is explained in the dub. Given how awkward the dialogue is written, it's easy to see why.
- Do we ever see those hollow trees again? Those were pretty cool. Although how did Sora know Tai and Izzy were in there?
- Why does Kuwagamon sound so much like Godzilla? It completely throws the whole debacle into the land of silly.