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Saturday, 12 March 2016

Digimon Adventure Tri: Determination.


Digimon Adventure Tri:
Determination.


Spoiler warning for Digimon Adventure Tri: Determination.


So, I think I've come to the conclusion that the wait between these films is a shade too long. In this case, it was about three and a half months, and I found myself entirely fed up and wanting to just see the accursed film already by late January or so, about two months in. Part of that is that I'm impatient, but part of that is how Toei's set up their marketing, providing a constant dripfeed of information that seems meant to sustain constant hype and interest over a long period. It's an effective marketing strategy, perhaps, but it's not an especially fun one.

(It looks like they're going to be using the same strategy for the next film, too, as less than a day after Determination was released, we have a blurry poster for Confession, showing Koushiro and Takeru.)

Determination picks up some weeks or months after the end of Reunion, with the Chosen Children visiting a local onsen in Odaiba. The situation with the Infected Digimon swiftly goes from bad to worse, however, as Ogremon emerges from a distortion, prompting Mimi to fight him with Togemon - with disastrous results. As the school festival looms, Mimi feels increasingly alienated from her peers. Meanwhile, Jyou, increasingly stressed about his future, and torn between studying and helping his friends, clashes with Gomamon, leading to Gomamon running away. Meanwhile, in the Digital World, a familiar face appears - Ken Ichijouji, seemingly the Digimon Kaiser again, who has his sights set on Meiko's partner, Meicoomon.

Fig. a

In most technical aspects, this film is just as good as the previous one: The animation is consistently gorgeous (the one big problem is that whoever's animating Rosemon has apparently decided that she has water balloons strapped to her chest, resulting in some of the most horrific body horror jiggle physics I've ever seen), the soundtrack is amazing, the voice-acting strong. The animation shines most especially during the final battle scene, which sees Vikemon, Rosemon, and Leomon teaming up against Imperialdramon.

They've also made the evolution sequences a little more visually interesting, with writing on the evolve-y rings and a 'shedding numbers' effect. The super evolution and mega evolution effects also actually look great, especially the super evolution effects, which involve luminescent crest symbols.

In terms of plot, this film is a lot more laser-focused than the previous one. While the previous film was nominally focused on Taichi and Yamato, but set up conflicts for each of the characters, and arguably gave a fair amount of focus to Jyou and Mimi, this film is very much about Jyou, Mimi, and Meiko, with the other characters almost barely getting a look in. They're still present throughout the film, but they don't really get any scenes to themselves, with the exception of one scene where Yamato interrogates Taichi on why Omegamon's fusion was broken - instead, they are predominantly the supporting cast for those three.

Also these two get a scene in a sauna together. And riding a scooter together.

Which is fine, to be honest - I don't think anybody was expecting that this film wouldn't be primarily focused on those two, and they make for compelling protagonists, especially Mimi, whose character, oft-neglected in previous Digimon Adventure series, gets some great development here.

(Mimi is, unfortunately, also the source of some of the weirder parts of the film, like the 'Daters' cafe that is an obvious riff off 'Hooters.' While it serves a story purpose in that it highlights that Mimi's views and values are different from those around her, to an audience who actually knows what Hooters is and how horrible it is, it shows her character in a somewhat bad light. The blow is softened slightly by 'Daters' being, apparently, a softer and less overtly sexualised version of the real-life restaurant chain, but not by much.)

You know, if you have Rosemon fight against Rosemon Burst Mode, you effectively
have the whole Lancaster-Tudor conflict.

This film also ups the slice-of-life elements, with the school festival and preparations for it being a major part of the storyline. The supernatural drama elements take a back seat for much of the film, but there's definite movement on them, such as the reveal that the Shady Government Organisation has developed anti-Digimon weapons, the reveal of Ken (or a copy of him - he shows the ability to teleport around the place, can freely travel through distortions that seem to repel the other humans, and at the end vanishes into data, giving the impression that this isn't really Ken, just something pretending to be him) and, finally, Meicoomon's sudden turn to evil (with strong suggestions of a split personality at play), murdering Leomon and vanishing into a distortion.

Distant sound of Butter-fly ballad.

I was apprehensive about this film, since the second film out of six is arguably the most difficult of the bunch to do, but it didn't disappoint. Hopefully soon we'll get a release date (Edit: It's apparently scheduled for September) for Confession, which will apparently be about Koushiro and Takeru, which sucks for me because I was hoping for an adorable brothers-doing-stuff film with Yamato and Takeru, but never mind. 

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