And so it ends...
The finale for Digimon Adventure is unlike any of the other finales in that there's very little story involved. Usually, most of the time is spent wrapping up the final battle, with minimal time left to cover the falling action. This series ends with a victory lap, then a chance to say goodbye to each character in turn. It's appreciated.
After some cute nonsense at Primary Village, the kids and their Digimon find themselves by the lake where episode three took place. Able to relax for once, they start doing some math and thinking about how long they can stick around until summer's over. Somehow they're excited at the prospect of staying 110 years, despite not being able to see their families or friends in that time (and having to immediately head back to school... talk about forgetting stuff over summer break). Gennai appears out of nowhere to deliver the bad news: time in each world is now synchronized and in two hours the gateway home will close forever.
I'll ignore the fact that they never explain why time is now synchronized, or why they need to rely on that gateway when they can just use those keycards once that part of the world regenerates. Point is, the kids suddenly realize that they have to say goodbye to their Digimon. Given how long they've been together, two hours doesn't seem like a lot of time.
What's beautiful about the way this ends is how everybody gets their own moment to say goodbye in their own way. Sora talks about how having a partner to take care of helps her understand her mother more (a much better reflection than the one we got last episode). Joe and Gomamon share a couple laughs and settle on a firm handshake. Izzy stuns Tentomon by actually being emotional for once. TK and Patamon have a good cry until they realize it's not achieving anything (Patamon insists they'll meet again anyway). Matt and Gabumon pretty much got all their feelings out in the cave and don't have much to say. Gabumon just wants to hear the harmonica again... which gets Tai all pissed because it's making him all weepy when he just wants to goof around with Agumon one more time. Kari gives Gatomon her whistle, a sign that she's a little less helpless now. She's even more confident than Patamon that there will be a next time... which kinda gets into Creepy Kari territory again.
As for Mimi, Palmon is nowhere to be found. It's a sad final note for her, and strangely appropriate. Palmon has always been the most patient and least intrusive, not really commenting on Mimi's choices even when she disagrees. It's easy to see her so firmly attached to Mimi that she just can't let go. Breaks Mimi's heart, and everyone else's as they plead for more time to give her a proper goodbye. No dice. She's too distraught to look out the window as the trolley takes off.
Palmon, of course, comes around and her voice draws Mimi to the window. They say goodbye from a distance, Mimi's hat flying off and fluttering around, one last reminder of their presence in the world. The whole sequence is one of the best in the series, particularly in that it doesn't show the kids returning home. It doesn't need to. All we see is the crossing gates from episode 12 flash, then raise. The train has passed. All is clear.
My Grade: A-
- It's amusing the lengths the animators go to be able to re-use stock footage of Lillymon and Garudamon attacking, despite them carrying Mimi and Sora. Sora has to hitch a ride with MegaKabuterimon. Lillymon flings Mimi into the air, fires her attack and then catches her.
- If the Digital World needs to be completely rebuilt after being corrupted into Spiral Mountain, where exactly were Andromon, Ogremon, Centarumon and Gennai after the mountain was deleted?
- The first Japanese ending, I Wish, shows the seven kids and their partners against a city skyline, despite the first half of the show taking place entirely in the Digital World. That skyline animation appears to be reused here when showing Digimon leaving the real world after Apocalymon's defeat.
- Agumon points out a spot by the lake where he first used his Pepper Breath attack. Um... wouldn't that have been on the cliff during that first fight against Kuwagamon?
- While “Hey Digimon” has always been a questionable choice for action sequence music, it's absolutely appropriate and almost perfect for the parting shot of the kids waving goodbye. You know what's even more perfect? Butterfly!