Why I will keep watching digimon adventure 2020 the reboot
A new beginning in the hopes that I can protect my written material a bit better this time.
A new beginning indeed
This is not the original digimon. I spent the first episode being sour about how everything is different from the original. Now that’s not fair is it? I spent the entire duration of that episode sulking. Why is the opening song different? Why aren’t all the characters friends already? Why is everything focussed on Taichi and Yamato? Why do Koushiro’s eyes not have the characteristic white bubble in them? Why is Hikari still so adorable after 20 years? Why is the ending song different?
I was ready to rant on how the show is just a typical shounen rehash of the original. That, I thought the creators were solely going to focus on Taichi and Yamato like they had wished ever since Digimon Tri.
Well, I am not sure why I was mad. They were always sort of at the center of things in the original show too.
But then came episode 2 and I warmed up to the show. We got more action and were introduced to Yamato and Gabumon and then Garurumon. The digimon this time around do seem to have more personality than just showing concern for the kids. But the episode was more focussed on the fight between the digimons and less on their social traits. The fights this time around are more than just Pokemon-like special attacks. The digimon seem to rely on their physical attributes just as much. The action is choreographed in a fun way with lots of scratching and biting and tail whipping. The digidestined kids themselves take a more active role in the fight. But then we got a big whopper of a cameo at the end of episode 2 and any one even remotely interested in the series just groaned.
Then, episode 3 aired and well, all I can say without giving away anything, is that……..the show is actually pretty good now. It is building its characters and world slowly. Episode 3 really did away with most concerns I had with the show. I have even warmed up to the opening and ending songs now. After all what matters is the creators please ‘me’ right? The god of anime?
There are some changes that really stood out to me this season. There is no evolution animation. Nor an evolution song. Which I suppose works for this show since it is more focussed on action so far. And having an entire clip of the digimon slowly evolving in some sort of digital nethersphere does take you out of the moment. The action flows a lot better too. It’s more engaging and seems to involve the digidestined in a greater capacity. The character focus is also different from last time. Where we got an entire team straight away, this series is introducing them one by one. It would be interesting to see individual kids and their relationship with their digimon explored without the episode feeling like it’s ignoring the other characters. Yamato and Sora got a fashion update. Might be nothing to some people, but I care.
The major aspect of the show brought back from the original series is the character designs. Both humans and the digimon have had no changes done to their appearance. And I love it. Growing up, I had a period of time where I was sick of anime. It happened around 2012-13, where 90% of all anime characters across the board had started looking like they were something out of K ON!. For someone who grew up with Cowboy Bebop, Hellsing, Flame of Recca, Yu Yu Hakusho, every anime regardless of its genre, looking like a Mahou Shoujo show was extremely off putting. In fact it also ruined those shows for me that benefit from a refined, cuter style of character design. At least in that way, seeing those mickey mouse hands and large bobble heads with tiny necks is a breath of fresh air. And it works. The fights are animated beautifully and work in harmony with the character design. One thing that made me like Digimon more than Pokemon, as a kid, was how the digimons were not cute. These are scraggly monsters with jagged teeth and bat-like wings and claws. They are not pretty, well at least most of them aren’t. And when they evolve, they look dangerous. Something not common in shows aimed at the 6-12 age group.
It also helps that the show is set in 2020. Period anime set in a world where the internet was already present is tricky and could lead to a lot of goof ups plot wise. It was smart to set this in the present day. One thing that’s bad for immersion is a show breaking its rules with technology, so you do away with that by giving them today’s rules. I thought the smartphone digivice would carry on from the Digimon The last evolution movie. But I don’t mind the original digivice at all.
The show is paced differently from the original. So far the writers have done an amazing job at keeping me hooked to its new story. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of using cheap nostalgia shots for a reboot show like this. But the plot is new and fresh and over time I feel like we will be introduced to some new digimon too.
This week I realised that Digimon Adventure 2020 is actually the only show I really look forward to each week. So far I have not come across any airing show with the scale of things as big as Digimon. I mean the very first fight is a big one involving two countries. While the original will always have a special place in my heart, this new show seems to have found its own spot. And who knows, we might get sequels to this one leading into the digidestined adulthood that are better than whatever digimon adventure tri was.
Edit: This show is currently on an indefinite hiatus due to the worldwide pandemic.