In this movie, Meiko’s challenges become as clear as ever, while trying to figure out what’s actually happening to the world and Tai’s reactions to them challenge us almost as much.
Loss and Coexistence have some of the more transparent writing issues in tri. Loss reaches far to set up the main character conflict and doesn’t get the most out of its second half. Coexistence returns to the same melancholy note for much of the movie and saves all of the intensity for the final act. The dub of Loss used some extra lines to fill in many of its problems. Coexistence has so much talking to begin with it doesn’t have as much room to hide. All a dub can do is convey what’s happening in these conversations as concisely and with as much emotional impact as it can. While it has some successes, it’s far less successful at its job, and in some cases blurs the picture even more.
It has some highlights to be sure. Anything involving background mumbles and whispers comes across much better in English. The partners are shouting out their charges in the stills of them fighting hostile Digimon in the Digital World. We hear the audible concerns of people seeing the partner Digimon in the real world. The whispers about Matt’s fear of ghost stories is slightly perceptible and doubly funny (as is most of the scene, save for Meiko sometimes rushing through what should be drawn out small-town horror).
One massive improvement in the dub is in the way it better connects Meiko’s grief, the lessons she hears from the other digidestined, and her mistakes in the final fight. It’s easy to confuse her actions with not hearing the lessons the others are trying to impart on her. Now it’s clear that she heard all of it... only to apply it wrong. She hears about the notion of partnership and, in particular, Kari’s key line “becoming your partner’s best hope” and takes that to mean she’s solely responsible for bearing the burden, the pain, and the blame Meicoomon is suffering through at this point. Meiko wants to put it all on her own shoulders to relieve her partner, rather than sharing the load equally. It’s no wonder Meicoomon isn’t having that, but Meiko continues to persist, to the point where she doesn’t want to live if her partner truly has to die.
Other performance highlights are in Daigo, who’s on fire as he seethes over being passed over again and refuses to let the current digidestined meet the same fate. His and Maki’s situations are especially crushing knowing now how their final acts go. And Kari has an MVP performance as she has to go all over the place, flexible in her hushed fear of the Digital World hating them to the passionate support of Meiko to her ferocious rejection of Homeostasis to the monotone way she summons Ordinemon.
The problem comes in when some of the translated lines add even more confusion to the mix. While the Digimon around the world are portrayed to be motionless and simply in position to attack, their snarling during cutaways suggest they are not dormant and multiple characters suggest the attack has already begun. This creates a truly chaotic situation the digidestined would have no defense for (especially since Tai shuts down a second world tour). It also undermines Ordinemon’s role as the switch to activate the carnage (or suggests that the switch had already flipped).
Worse yet, when Meiko makes her dramatic final decision, Tai’s initial dramatic agreement becomes muddied by a long speech where he seems to go back and forth between supporting Meiko’s decision and demanding everyone stay together. One second he’s not letting Homeostasis have the final say, the next he wants Omnimon to pull away so Jesmon can kill Meicoomon, then he’s talking about protecting their own. He’ll get a chance to reflect on this decision (or indecision) in the underworld, but in a movie that’s already a challenge to process, talking out of both sides of his mouth doesn’t help anyone.
My Grade: B+
- In a rare case of sub censorship that goes away in the dub, the bloodstains during Meiko’s flashback are red again, where the episodic release changes it to black. This is a striking difference!
- The dub rolls with the same credits every movie, despite confirmation that other actors have been participating. The communications officer watching the invasion sounds an awful lot like Jamieson Price, which means the communication officer is basically Commander Sampson.
- Hackmon does not explicitly mention Apocalymon in the dub, an interesting omission since, similar to King Drasil, it’s a namedrop that fills in a lot of blanks without having to dive in to much. Maybe dub Apocalymon was too much of a joke to be responsible for all this.
- Nobody should be surprised that Meiko got a light southern accent to represent her Tottori roots, although it’s a bit inconsistent in the relevant scene. The real silly dub moment comes earlier when she’s referred to as being from “down south,” which in Japan would put her somewhere in the ocean.
- Gennai celebrating Jesmon’s appearance seems to be voiced by someone other than Jeff Nimoy. Either this is a preview of him going even further into madness in the next movie or they forgot to dub a line while Nimoy was in studio.
- Remember that precision-dropped “prodigious” in movie 1? Izzy saying it when Ophanimon Falldown Mode shows up is the opposite of that.