‘Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning’ Review: A Satisfying Character-Driven End To The Series
With the 25th anniversary of Digimon right around the corner comes Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning. The film brings back the original cast of characters and acts as a series finale. While made for fans of the original Digimon series, it’s also a relatively easy watch for those with a basic understanding of the franchise.
The film reunites director Tomohisa Taguchi, writer Akatsuki Yamatoya, and Toei Animation, the team that helmed 2020’s Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna. Set two years after the events of Kizuna Davis Motomiya, Ken Ichijouji, Yolei Inoue, Cody Hida, T.K. Takaishi, and Kari Kamiya meet Lui Ohwada, a young boy claiming to be the first DigiDestined. At the same time, a giant DigiEgg appears over Tokyo Tower, holding Lui’s old Digimon partner, Ukkomon, who wants to bring every person in the world their own Digimon partner.
What’s interesting about this film is that despite the significant threat the DigiDestined faces, the story still feels relatively small-scale and more focused on character. Rather than the story being driven by various action sequences, the movie is very dialogue-heavy, with that being the main driver of the plot. Davis and the other characters spend the majority of the film just talking to Lui about what happened between him and Ukkomon, which makes the movie feel more personal as we spend a lot of time with the characters.
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And speaking of characters, Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning throws us right back into the lives of the second group of DigiDestined, who took on a secondary role in Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna. Seeing these characters grow up and develop has been one of the most satisfying aspects of the recent entries in the Digimon Adventure franchise. And that trend continues with this film as the team maintains many of their usual dynamics while showing they’ve matured. For instance, Davis is still the stubborn and bullish leader of the group, but now he has grown up enough to consider the larger conflict facing them.
But the DigiDestined and their partners aren’t the only focus of the film. Introducing what can seem like a one-off character for movies like this can often feel boring or unnecessary, but that isn’t how the inclusion of Lui felt. While at first, it seems he could be somewhat one-dimensional, the movie quickly establishes his backstory and makes the audience care for him and Ukkomon. If anything, he could be described as the primary protagonist of the story, with most of his actions moving the plot along.
In addition to the character element of the film, I also want to highlight the overall look of the movie and the animation. The film has a similar art style to Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna, and personally, I think this is the best Digimon has ever looked. The art feels so clean, and the animation is smooth throughout the movie. While there aren’t a lot of large-scale fight sequences like in previous films in this franchise, when they do happen, they look fantastic.
As mentioned previously, this film serves as the series finale for Digimon Adventure 02. It is a great follow-up to Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna, which was the finale of the original Digimon Adventure. Much like the prior film, it shakes up what fans think they know about Digimon and asks them to reconsider a lot of the previously established lore of the franchise. But it does so naturally and ultimately improves upon what has come before.
Digimon Adventure has been a franchise that was always unafraid to grow up with its audiences. Fans have been able to watch these characters grow up alongside them, so it was only natural that, at some point, their story would come to an end. And thankfully, the story Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning tells is one worth watching. Seeing how far the characters have come and how strong their bonds have become over all these years is so satisfying to see, and it makes you appreciate the series as a whole. So, while this may be the end of these characters’ adventures, fans can rest assured they went out with a bang.– Jacob Campbell
Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning will screen in US theaters on November 8-9.