Digimon Adventure: (2020): Ending

In this episode, we wrap up a reboot with so much style and so little substance, then talk about the future because, unlike the Adventure: children, we are mortal beings.


As doing so during a currently running series defeated the intention of allowing us a breather, we’ve been slacking off on the catch-up posts that used to happen around every ending change. There wasn’t much to say anyway. By the time the second ending theme ran its course, we’d sniffed out the fatal flaws of the Adventure reboot. A lack of quality wasn’t the issue. Digimon has had plenty of subpar material over the course of twenty-plus years. You can even argue there’s plenty of quality in Adventure:, just invested in places we’re not used to in Digimon, ones that don’t add much besides another shiny, empty thing to gaze at for a few seconds. But as we gaze one more time, we realize the real killer was the lack of anything compelling to think about. Which is a real problem since that’s primarily what we do here.

Back in episode four, even as we were enjoying the hell out of Action Girl Sora’s rebirth, her instant rapport with Piyomon stood in such stark contrast with original Sora’s early reticence that we wondered where the angst was going to come from. It was the first clue that the mother issues that defined her character twenty years ago would be scrubbed and abandoned, leaving… well, Action Girl Sora and nothing else of consequence. Other signs, like the way too early debut of Omegamon and the minimal development involved with the first couple rounds of evolution foretold a show that was going to be light on the one thing Digimon Adventure excelled at: endearing characters working through genuine problems making them seem like real people. The longer the series went, the more that concept felt abandoned, and the harder it was to root for these cardboard cutouts of the Adventure kids.

The result is a series chock full of exciting action sequences, a serviceable enough plot, and not a lot of thought behind it. It spends most of the first half as an intense, relentless, exhausting escalation of battles… then takes its foot off the gas in the second half to meander its way through two arcs where nothing of consequence happens outside the climactic fights. You’re likely to get smoother pacing watching every episode on shuffle. Worse, within these two extremes is a shocking dearth of meaningful message to discuss. Digimon isn’t worth all this blog space because it stands above other shows like it, but rather because its depths give us so much to talk about regarding childhood, technology, relationships, evil, loss… nothing of the sort gets any thought here. A few interesting concepts sneak in through Patamon, Tailmon, and even Negamon towards the end, but nothing explored to its full potential. We’re left with precious little to sift through except pondering how empty the series feels compared to everything else Digimon has offered us.

The next series, Digimon Ghost Game, already shows signs of promise. In just their introductory bios, the three leads offer up more character, family background, and flaws than the entire Adventure: octet gave us in sixty-seven episodes. Given the ratings the reboot pulled, it was easy to fear that the future of Digimon would be the same hollow action fests. So far Ghost Game appears to be resisting the temptation, and deserves discussion. Unfortunately, for several reasons, it won’t be here. The window between Saturday night episodes and Monday morning posts is becoming too much of a burden, especially with a five year old that actually likes to do things on weekends. I’ll still post my thoughts on Twitter and maybe even quick reactions on Tumblr the way I did for Appmon’s initial run. Like Appmon, I may even come back for full retrospective Ghost Game posts. The blog was always meant to be retrospective after all.

So for now, we close up shop after a hell of a ten years. Our mission of writing something for the six seasons of Digimon kept getting extended as the franchise reinvigorated itself and kept on going, a testament to the endearing nature of the show that made us write about it in the first place. Thanks to everyone who helped out through Patreon, Ko-Fi, or Amazon, or even for leaving a comment, especially in the early days when Digimon was still on the verge of regaining its momentum. You can still catch me on Twitter and Tumblr, along with the With the Will podcast (I’ll also be discussing the final episode on Podigious in a few days!). And Nexusworld is all finished now so you have two novel-length adventures of multi-season madness! Twitter will be the best place to catch news of any future endeavors, whether Digimon or not. Until then, enjoy Ghost Game!

Digimon Adventure: Ending 5: Dreamers

Figure I slack off on talking about the ending themes in the season with the best ones (that third one is so cute!). This one’s a little generic, but it’s boppy and fits Digimon so well. The endings are nice in that they’re a little less Taichi-centric than the opening or the show itself, and only the first one tries to elevate a character the series doesn’t justify elevating. Dreamers is one those songs that makes me realize I should listen to K-Pop more.

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7 comments:

  1. Hopefully your statement on the ghist game cast won't age poorly, but honestly even if it does turn out to be a mess I have a feeling it'll wind up being, at least, a more interesting talking point.

    I did *try* to just enjoy this as a simple action show but after going several weeks of Tai and Matt having back to back battles while chasing down TK, I became thoroughly exhausted and tapped out. I only popped in whenever I heard a particularly wacky episode happened but even then that was just a small novelty rather than something to get me back into the show proper. If this season was what we had to get to get more (and hopefully better) digimon shows later down the line then I will at least be thankful of it for that.

    Here's hoping.

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  2. I've read an interesting essay on this Reboot on Tumblr, explaining why this season felt so lacking. Essentially it boils down to having an even younger target audience than the previous Digimon series. It's not meant for people our age who expect a little more depth.

    Personally, I'm okay with it. It had good ratings and if it allowed a new generation of kids to get into Digimon I'm happy.

    I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I enjoyed the second half of the season a little more than the first. It allowed the cast to bond a little more properly with the Digital World and gave them better motivation to fight for it. Also, it gave us a few enjoyable episodes, even if it got tiresome after a while.

    I look forward to Ghost Game now. I'll miss your blog posts, but I completely understand your reasons for putting it on hold for now. Like the previous comment said, here's to hoping.

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    1. If you don't mind me asking, are you Sofia Almeida and Tumblr's Adventure Hearts?

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    2. I'm Sofia Almeida, yes. I'm not Adventure Hearts, that's another portuguese fan, but I think she has taken a step back from the fandom.

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  3. I've already poured much heart into multiple rantings. But the animation, simplistic story. And well our characters running into obstacles and being Mary sues are a nice feeling. (For a brief moment). I'll definitely look out for your next set of posts. I promise they won't be anger inducing. Ghost Game will be cool to check. October 3rd right ?
    I swear they must have said this before production.
    "Remember the Creepy Kairi episode?"
    "Yeah"
    "Let's make that a thing."

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  4. I'd give this series a far lower grade point average, especially compared with the original. It's just embarrassing to compare the two.

    The thing about the original Adventure is that its first quarter is mostly bland and slow, but the series rewarded patience, kicked it up a notch, and hit its peak during the Myotismon arc. It did this by making you care about its characters, by making its villains actual personalities with discernible motives, and by becoming increasingly unwilling to pull its punches and dig deep in the process. It even had a discernible sense of escalation, with occasional breathers. That makes up for a lot of repetitive stock footage and low-budget fight scenes.

    Whereas the neo-Adventure: is pretty much just flashy visuals and next to nothing else. This series doesn't reward patience at all. It was blatantly written on the fly, and written under a clear "who cares so long as we throw in a new cool Digimon?" outlook. Its characters have no character, all including its finale villains have less personality than a random RPG encounter, and by refusing to do anything with genuine consequences, it robs the fights of all but the most banal "save the world because that's what we do" meaning. Even Patamon and Gatomon don't get anywhere near the development teased here and there.

    The fact is: it HAS to lean on the nostalgia of its predecessor to get any real credit. There is no way in hell the Digimon series would have taken off if THIS had been the way to start it all.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say: I think even Frontier was better than this. It tried more actual storytelling, like Koji and Koichi, the Celestial lore, the spirit-against-spirit scrambles, some feints at character development for its main cast, villains with actual personalities and motives. And while it's not good at depth either, at least its meaningless repetitive fights against boring villains were largely confined to the Royal Knights arc.

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  5. I have seen nothing thus far that would compel me to watch Adventure 2020 and I'm sorry you had to sit through it for all of our sakes. I just hope your enjoy your break and I thank you for your time in doing so many wonderful reviews for us!

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