In this episode, we look back on Digimon Fusion and marvel at how a story so choppy and a dub so shaky will go down as one of the more consistent seasons.
It's not hard to have a strong opinion on Digimon Fusion. It has a fresh concept, bringing a new spin on evolution that fans either love or hate. It changes the rules around, refusing to make all of the humans allies at first. Two of the humans are endearing but pretty much spare weight to be jettisoned halfway through. The second half is a series of short arcs, each bound to have its share of champions and critics. It feels like a series that people will either rally behind or dismiss without a second thought, and many have. That's why it's surprising that one of the most impressive things about its second half is its overall consistency.
Except for maybe Data Squad, no other season can say this. Triumphant as Adventure's second half is, there are still a few lazy efforts. Zero Two has plenty of memorable moments that don't hold up against critical scrutiny. And while Tamers is the strongest season and Frontier the weakest, the former has its stumbles and the latter has plenty of high points. True emotional apexes are at a premium in Fusion; only Underworld gave us truly outstanding episodes. Likewise, it's never poor, with even the most flawed spots bringing a lot to the table.
Much of that has to do with the overall increase in production quality. The animation is generally better and the dub, while it has its flaws, continues to have smooth performances and occasionally clever writing. It's a far cry from some of the work in the first two seasons. While the second half didn't use its position on expanded cable to give us quite as much blood as we had hoped, it didn't shy away from the truth when it mattered. There may have been code words and the occasional deleted frame, but it got the point across. We might even be grateful at some changes, as we speculate on the psychological ramifications of Christopher's mother surviving or actually paying attention to Mervamon's character instead than her chest.
This may be the end of the line for the dub, however. Unlike the end of the first half, when “season two” of Fusion was announced before season one ended, we've heard nothing about Hunters. Given how detached it is from the first two halves of Xros Wars and the fact that it's mostly crap, it's understandable that it be given a pass. But not here! When we say we're doing every episode, we're doing every damn episode, even if we have to switch over to the Japanese version. Trying to give full attention to every episode of Hunters may be an exercise in torture, but we got through the Royal Knights arc and we can get through this. Plus if all goes according to schedule, it times out nicely to wrap up as the first tri. movie comes out.
My thoughts on tri. haven't changed much, even after it's been announced as a series of movies. It does put a timely and accurate translation in jeopardy, but we'll deal with that when we get there. Fact is, six movies will give us the equivalent of a twentysomething-episode series, which is all I really wanted anyway. It's also now a virtual certainty that Zero Two is still canon, even if the actual events and individual characters from it may not matter so much. That's all probably the way it should be.
So even though we're plowing ahead into Hunters, I'll still do the usual thank yous to everybody for sticking with the site through the interminable network delays. As always, please use the Amazon marketplace link to support the site (you can purchase anything with it). Also, if you haven't seen it yet, I wasn't lying when I said I got back into the fanfic game. The first six episodes of Neverworld are now online and I hope you take the time to read it. It's pretty simple: everybody from every season is locked into the Digital World six years after their original adventure. A bunch of teenagers with strong personalities living on their own... you can imagine the kind of stuff that's going to happen. Check it out!