Information: Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning launches in select theaters in the US on November 8th, 2023. This review is based on an early copy with Japanese voices and English subtitles. There is no age rating as of publication of this article.
Digimon is back, but this time with more of a focus on the younger generation of Digidestined.
Kari, TK, Davis, Yolei, Ken, and Cody are slowly becoming adults–each with their own lives, complete with careers and responsibilities. That’s not to say they’ve changed much, though. The six Digidestined still have their partners and are still in the business of saving the world. So when a Digiegg appears floating above Tokyo Tower and sends out a message to all electronic devices that it wishes for everyone in the world to have a Digimon partner, they know they’ll have to act sooner or later.
After saving a strange young man from falling off the tower when he attempts to scale the antenna to reach the egg, the gang is shocked to hear him claim to be the very first human to partner with a Digimon. Thus begins the next adventure for these young adults and their Digimon partners.
After seven movies focusing on the original eight Digidestined, it was a blast to see season 2’s cast be the focus of this newest entry to the Digimon universe. The story gets rolling pretty quickly in this hour and a half long film, after showcasing the absolutely gigantic Digiegg hovering over Tokyo Tower and introducing viewers to Rui Owada. From there, the action doesn’t stop.
The movie does so much in the way of lore building, referencing things all the way back to the beginning when Tai, Kari, and the others witnessed the fight between Parrotmon and Greymon as young children. The subtle and not-so-subtle nods to these events was a blast of nostalgia and made the movie even more exciting for me.
The voice acting was great, and the characters felt just as alive and energetic as I remember, with a few VA’s reprising their roles. I was more than a little excited when Rui first spoke, immediately recognizing it as Megumi Ogata (Danganronpa 2, Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun, Neon Genesis Evangelion), whom I absolutely adore! She did such a great job with Rui’s character, and I would like him to be a recurring character for no other reason than to see how Megumi portrays the role.
Throughout the entire movie, the animation blew me away. The art style is similar to the previous movie (Digimon Adventure: The Last Evolution), but the handful of CGI bits felt much more fluid in this newest entry to the Digimon world than its predecessor. The art made the world feel so lived in and full. It was nice seeing such detail in each scene, even when the characters were only there for a short amount of time. Colors and effects really popped throughout the entire movie, showcasing the visuals for the more dramatic and important moments. It’s obvious a lot of time went into making the film as beautiful as possible, and in this aspect, it succeeded brilliantly.
Though I enjoyed many aspects of the film, at the end of the day, it’s my least favorite of the eight movies.
While the movie does feature the six main characters from the second season of the show, they’re all shoved to the side in favor of Rui, who is very much the main character for this film. While his story is interesting and emotional, he doesn’t elicit the nostalgia like the others do, and it was disappointing to have Kari, TK, and the others be nothing more than props for Rui’s story. In fact, if the second generation of Digidestined were completely removed from the film, hardly any of the plot would change. Other than being there to give Rui a ride, the group didn’t do much but sit around and give the occasional peptalk.
The Beginning felt fairly disconnected from the previous film, which made me question the continuity of the story. Though a few years have passed since The Last Evolution and Kari, TK and the rest are now adults with jobs and such, there is no talk of them losing their bonds with their partners like Tai and Matt, which made me feel like I was missing something. I mean, Tai and Matt were in college when their potential ran out, so how can Davis run his own business and Kari be a kindergarten teacher in this movie, yet neither of them have a countdown yet, not to mention the other four? Maybe this will be addressed in another movie, or maybe I missed something somewhere. But after binging all seven films in preparation to see this one, something felt off for me throughout the entire thing.
Content Warnings (minor spoilers ahead)Show Spoiler It is revealed early into the movie that Rui was heavily abused by his mother. A flashback scene from the day he met his Digipartner shows the four-year-old emaciated and covered in bruises. After wetting himself on the couch, his mother strips him down to only a tanktop and forces him outside onto the balcony in freezing temperatures. While it’s unknown how long he was out there, another scene shows that his toes turned red from the cold and an inch or more of snow accumulated on the railing of the balcony.
Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning was a visually stunning movie with a lackluster story. If you’re looking to reminisce about the second season of the show with your favorite characters, you’re not going to get that here. You will, however, get quite a bit of interesting lore for the Digi-universe. Though it’s nowhere near the top of my list of favorite Digimon movies, it’s still worth watching if you’re a fan of the series for no other reason than the foreshadowing it gives for potential sequels.
You can watch Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning in US Theaters on November 9th & 9th, 2023! You can purchase your tickets on Fandango!
For those who do find themselves heading to the theater on November 8th, make sure to stay in your seats when the credits roll for an important after-credits scene!
A special thank you to Toei Animation for allowing us the opportunity to screen this film in advance. Receiving access to this film has in no way altered the opinions expressed in this article.
- Animation and visuals are great.
- New lore added to the Digi-universe.
- Megumi Ogata voices the new character.
- Feels disconnected from the previous movie.
- Plot holes and confusion arise from the new content.
- Gen 2 Digidestined felt like props for Rui rather than them being integral to the story.
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