By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
It’s hard to believe Digimon ended. In retrospect, the game created in 1997 spawned more than just an anime series. It followed Tai and Agumon’s relationship, and their journey to become heroes.
Movies soon followed and Digimon: Last Evolution – Kizuna (デジモンアドベンチャー 絆) wraps up the original Digimon Adventure story. This film was set for Japanese theatrical release February 21, 2020 with the dub to follow in North America on March 25, but a pandemic shut that plan down. The fanfare this saga deserves for its finale needs to be bigger.
Knowing the last arc, the six-part Digimon Adventure Tri, helps to keep fans updated on what’s happened recently. Tai and Matt have all grown up and this film chronicles how they still don’t know what to do with their lives despite graduating from high school. The DigiDestined are all the wiser. They soon learn their digital companions are to return to that realm and they don’t have to come back. Shades of another saga (How to Train Your Dragon) can be seen and I suspect this finale is not closing the doors just yet.
These movies are certainly high quality cinematic experiences. It’s a shame those who fully followed the series won’t see this finale as intended, on a big screen. But to know the producers had an ending says something about ensuring a legacy instead of stretching a franchise out past its prime.
The featurette with the English dub performers reveal how much they enjoyed their time in bringing this anime to a wider audience. What’s particularly nice is with how connected they are to the roles. This piece is short and sweet, because I doubt everyone can say they were introduced to the Japanese iteration first.
This film written by Akatsuki Yamatoya and directed by Tomohisa Taguchi is careful in examining how to show entering adulthood is tough. It comes with its own unique set of challenges. Tai is struggling to accept his best buddy, Agumon, will no longer be around. The drama is something younger viewers may want to discuss, and in between having doubts and preparing to let go, I see this film hitting all the right notes than being abrupt with ending a saga.
Thankfully, these heroes have the belief that their digital companions will one day return, and there are other ways to keep this franchise going. Everyone knows how Star Trek continues. Could we have a Next Generation with this anime?