As someone who grew up watching the original Digimon series on morning Tv before school, when I heard that those same characters and their Digimon were coming back for a new series of films, I was pretty excited.
Digimon Adventure Tri’s first of six films, Reunion, is set 6 years after the original Digidestined met their Digimon in the digital world for the first time (3 years after the 02 series for anyone familiar with the Digimon timeline). The original cast are growing up, dealing with real life issue’s and holding onto the memories of the days spent with their Digi pals after the portal to the digital world was closed 3 years prior.
The opening of the film, in a similar fashion to the old series follows Tai. Now in high school and dealing with the fact that many of his friends are growing up, drifting apart and starting their own adult lives. This leaves him pretty disheartened and you can see that he has been trying his best in the gap since we last saw them to keep the gang together as often, and as best he could.
He still loves his soccer though. Those that remember the original series’ will remember there was no shortage of soccer scenes. Just before one of his matches Tai notices a Digimon (Kuwagamon) causing havok in the real world. It seems that a rift between the worlds is allowing Digimon to transport from the digital world into the real world and a new virus is plaguing these Digimon and causing them to become hostile.
Tai takes of to track the Kuwagamon and before long is in a situation he can’t get out of. This leads to a moment we all knew was coming, but was still amazing to see play out. Agumon appears from the Digital world to come to the rescue, which kicks off the main plot of the film.
The Digidestined eventually regroup, and make it their mission to find out what is happening to cause this rift between the real world and who is behind the virus causing these Digimon to go insane and attack the real world. For the sake of spoilers that’s as far as this review is going to go plot wise.
The first thing you may realise when looking at the film is that it has a brand new, modern anime art style. This new design is by Atsuya Uki, best known for his design and animation work on Cencoroll and Tsuritama. I loved these new, more mature designs as they fit well with the more mature story the Tri film’s seem to be telling and thought the overall clean presentation of the art style and the world was outstanding.
The Bluray release I watched was extremely sharp and the vibrant colours of the world and the Digimon popped on the screen.
It was so great to see the original Digidestined cast back together for another adventure with their Digimon and to see that almost all of the voice cast came back after 15 years to reprise their roles was icing on the nostalgic cake.
While it was great to get another adventure with these characters, the film does take a while to get going. Almost the first half of the movie is spent reintroducing the characters, showing what they are up to now and reestablishing their character traits. Matt is still overly stubborn, Izzy is still a tech nerd and Joe is still more interested in studying than going outside.
I suppose this could have to do with it being 15 years since the original series and they were trying to bring people who may not have seen the original series up to speed. But I felt it went on too long and may have been more effective presented in another way. Understandably this is the first film in a six part series so they had to do this at some point but it did slow the pacing in the first half by having it as the kickoff point for Tri.
Overall, Digimon Adventure Tri’s first movie, Reunion, although starting off quite slow did keep me interested throughout the whole film. As a fan of the original Digimon series, it was great to see the old characters back together again with their accompanying Digimon and to see that the theme’s of the series have grown up with the cast. The new character designs are welcomed and has given the film a more traditional anime look over the original ‘cartoony’ presentation of the 90’s series.
Reunion, even if it did take a while to kick into gear, was a good appetiser and reintroduction to the characters I loved growing up. It definitely has me excited for what’s to come in the future 5 films.
The Madman home release disc comes with some nifty extra’s that are worth watching after completing the film. There is a lengthy interview with the English cast and a look at the premiere event for Reunion.
A Bluray review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment for the purpose of this review.
All images ©Akiyoshi Hongo, Toei Animation ©2015 Toei Animation Co., Ltd.