In this episode, we play the second ending and compare and contrast the two Adventure series.
We've reached the first turning point in the franchise. The move to shed the original characters and introduce a new group in a new setting was a big deal, yet would be repeated three more times. As Hunters doesn't integrate the story and characters from Xros Wars as well as Zero Two draws from Adventure, when it comes to pure sequels, this was it.
It's also a turning point in that the switch turned off many viewers. It's not as dramatic as the lengthy time gap that kept people from Data Squad and Xros Wars, but the resistance to a new story was startling. Not that people fearing change should come as a shock: Tamers has a very different setting, a very different mood and a very different theme. The thing is, in these regards, Zero Two is as different a series from Adventure as Tamers is.
Just as Tamers marks a darker turn in the franchise, Zero Two is far lighter than Adventure. While Adventure was marked by heavy-hitting angst as each of the characters searched deep within themselves to figure out who they were, Zero Two presented each of the characters in the context of their relations with their friends. Rather than giving Davis angsty flashbacks or a cave of darkness, his story unfolded through his interactions with Veemon, Ken and the other digidestined. It makes it harder to pinpoint each character as a result, but it results in a smoother presentation. With character interaction trumping character development, it also allows for better comedy, particularly between Davis and Yolei or Matt and Jun. It's no wonder that Zero Two stands as the funniest of the seasons, which should be viewed as a credit even if Digimon is not considered a comedy series.
Yes, this focus also means romance is addressed. While the final couples that emerge were hasty afterthoughts, Davis's crush on Kari and Yolei's crush on everything add color to the series. The show did, however, miss a golden opportunity to capitalize on this. The series would have been better with some sort of serious development and resolution, such as showing Kari gaining affection for either Davis, TK or even Ken, and building up this relationship until a proper romance begins. This would have made up for the spontaneous Matt/Sora and Ken/Yolei pairings towards the end.
The biggest flaw of the series comes in trying to juggle too much plot and too much information. The many players behind the scenes makes understanding the complete scenario impossible using the series alone, and the way forces appear, disappear or stumble over each other is clumsy. Gennai should have appeared sooner, Dragomon should have stayed longer and Daemon needed his own arc rather than barging in on Oikawa. The show did a poor job inventing a reason to nerf the older kids, made more egregious when it came time to temporarily return them to prominence via the World Tour arc. And nothing says 'too much information' like that damned epilogue.
The ride is less bumpy than Adventure, but also less exciting. There are just as many outstanding episodes and less crap, but Zero Two fails to hit that run of consistent quality the way Adventure does during the Myotismon and Dark Masters arc. Also, the in-and-out nature of Digital World travel means the season is more episodic, with more episodes that can be skipped without missing anything. Such a thing is a rarity in season one. Averaging the grades for each episode over a season, Zero Two finishes a notch below Adventure, which feels about right.
Once again, thank you for reading, and a special thank you for commenting. The lines are open for feedback and discussion for each episode, and I'm always pleased to see different opinions, new perspectives and additional theories popping up. The fun continues with Tamers, which will start as soon as we get that second Diaboromon movie out of the way.
This one's pretty bland compared to the first ending. Structurally, it's better than Keep On but not as interesting. There's a bit of depth and intensity involved here that makes it appropriate to end the second half of a series, but Tamers and Frontier do that even better. Animation's still lazy.