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Digimon: Digital Monsters Season 2 UK Anime DVD Review

14 min read

Digimon SEason 2 UK DVDNostalgia goggles on part 2? Well….

What They Say:
Four years after Tai, Mimi and the rest of the Digidestined brought peace to the digital world and found their way back home, the Digimon Emperor – a new villain – threatens the world and its Digital Monsters. With some the original kids off to junior high, a new generation is chosen to defend and save the world from evil.

Davis, Yolei, Cody, and Ken join T.K and Kari to form the new Digidestined team. Together they journey back to the Digital World to battle the Digimon Emperor and free all the Digital Monsters from his control.

The Review:
Audio:
Pretty much identical set up to the first season, season 2 is set in 2.0 in English only, in terms of sound quality on the whole there is nothing majorly wrong with it –, the audio is more than acceptable for the majority, and doesn’t seem to suffer than some of the other Manga recently releases of the classic TV shows like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh in terms of sound disappearing after changing scenes which seem to have been the case with a few releases. Again though like Season 1 they have the original Jap opening and ending are on the extras but no Japanese release would have been great to have however the dub of Digimon is along with shows like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh what got a lot of people into anime so it is enjoyable for the nostalgia and cheese factor considering some of the dialogue, and certainly isn’t problematic in adjusting the sound.

Video:
The conversion of older series is still working as there were no issues in terms of video to audio on a 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio though set NTSC style with top/bottom wide screen, no problem on the whole with the animation (CGI is still there with the Exveemon/Stingmon DNA Digivolve and the Pailedramon evolution but aside from that is classic Digimon animation) – unfortunately, the same problem that hit the Yu-Gi-Oh releases has hit Digimon as well as when you pause, the animation kind of fades and scratches out, making it look blurry – but outside of this the actual show free flowing has no issues I could make out.

Packaging:
There was no packaging for this test release.

Menu:
8 discs which each have the same menu on – a menu with the Digimon logo at the top, a Digivice in the center on a blue background, with Play All on the left and Episodes on the right, the only difference being on the final disc where there is an extra selection. Pretty much the same as Season 1 with some colour swaps (especially as Season 2 had different digivices for the new kids, they still kept the same digivices for the menus of S1 suggesting a bit of laziness) means this is very basic but does get the jobs done.

Extras:
Like Season 1 (sensing a theme here), the only extra is something that is in most anime releases – the clean Japanese opening and ending – what is strange though is that the show is all just the dub and yet the Japanese op/ed are included – just feels a bit strange and wishing to see the original Japanese…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second Digimon series was released quite shortly after the 1st season, and to this date is the only direct sequel to a Digimon franchise (the Tri movies not withstanding) as after this season, all the other seasons were stand alone. This led to two camps – those loving the original Adventure characters disappointed of the decision…or those who felt that it had become less interesting and the stand alone seasons were different (though with the possible exception of the 3rd season, most of those weren’t seen as good as the 1st season at least). A lot say that this season may have been the cause of that as it wasn’t as well received as the 1st one for a variety of reasons. I remember watching it and liking it back when I was younger, but even I had a few niggles about it…rewatching it now though, there maybe a few more niggles outside of the Davis/Kari/T.K love triangle…

Like the 1st season, there are several arcs to Digimon 02. Unlike the 1st season though, perhaps the best arc IMO is in fact the first one, the Digimon Emperor arc. All the kids from Season 1 have grown up and all but T.K and Kari are now in high school – T.K has moved closer to the Digidestined kids and in his new apartment meets up with two neighbours, Yolei – a bespectacled high energy girl, and Cody her younger but more serious and studious neighbour. Later, he meets a boy named Davis, a younger friend of Tai who is into soccer…and Tai’s younger sister Kari. So when T.K gets in their class and is sat by her and the two reminisce, he immediately gets jealous and sets up shippers for one of the early love triangle wars of the fandom outside of Tai/Matt/Sora (oh boy that ship is a fun one…) – but the Digital world has definitely changed since then…

A boy named the Digimon Emperor is in the Digital World and enslaving Digimon with black rings – Gatomon and Patomon have escaped (with Tai somehow in the Digital World, one of the many plotholes which this series seems to not explain well) and with help from Izzy (who knows Yolei) three beams of energy somehow make their way from the Digital World and hit Davis, Yolei and Cody whilst ‘upgrading’ T.K and Kari’s digivices – Davis receives one and joins the two in the Digital World where they find a Digiegg with the crest of Courage – Davis manages to pick it up and gets his own Digimon, a blue hyper dino named Veemon. However, the Black Rings stops the Digimon digivolving so when they get attacked, Davis uses his courage to save Kari and allows Veemon to Armor Digivolve via the egg into Flamedramon. After he wins, Tai passes his goggles over as a passing of the torch moment (and something that would be a trademark for all future ‘leaders’ in the Digimon seasons) and thus our adventure begins.

It pretty much then becomes similar to Season 1 as the new Digidestined soon start to help – the good news is a lot of old faces help out as they accompany the new blood – Sora and Izzy join them for their second adventure, and help Yolei and Cody respectively when they find their Digieggs of Love and Knowledge, and get their partner Digimon in Hawkmon, a stuffy British sounding bird, and Armadillomon, a southern sounding er…armadillo. T.K and Kari also get in the action as they find Digieggs of Hope and Light and able to join in the fightings with their Armor Digivolving. And the other eggs also come out as we do get all the other Digidestined helping out – Mimi in particular cements her status as most improved character with her growing maturity but still being a lot of fun, (a fantasy with Yolei suggests very Utena-esque moments ^^) and Joe has grown up well as not so panicky and being quite the mentor to Cody. The goal is to destroy the control spires which nullify the power of the Dark Rings (one time Patamon is able to digivolve into Angemon) as well as defeating the Digimon Emperor.

The Emperor is discovered quite early on as a genius kid named Ken Ichijouji, who after being discovered, runs away from home and resides in the Digital World, with plans and also abusing his poor likeable Digimon Wormon. Ken is actually one of the most fascinating characters of the franchise as a lot of his past, how he became the Emperor, and how his darkness descends is actually quite compelling and remains throughout the whole series as unsurprisingly, he does eventually turn good and joins the team. For the time being though, he manages to do things like turn MetalGreymon evil and eventually create a chimera of digimon (literally called Chimeramon), whilst the Digidestined get their eggs of Sincerity and Reliability, giving some character development to Yolei and Cody, and 2 top episodes where fan favourite Wizardmon returns in ghost form to warn Gatomon of the true evils outside of the Emperor and one where T.K of all people shows how much he has grown up and become quite the badass (plothole number 6 at this point – why wasn’t T.K leader?) when he faces off against Ken directly. However it culminates with Veemon finding a Golden digiegg thanks to Wormon turnings on Ken to snap him out of it, Ken realising his actions cause the death of innocent Digimon and that it isn’t a game, especially when Wormon also dies – he gains the crest of kindness, and thus the second arc starts as Ken begins to find Wormon back at Primary Village whilst trying to get his actions back on the good guys side…

This is where the series takes a little nosedive – the Ken arc was surprisingly dark, introduced the characters well and their development, gave us cameos from the old crew (the summer camp arc was hilarious as Davis sister Jun has a huge crush on Matt and gives us a lot of funny moments) and begins Ken on the road to redemption. However Ken gets a strange visitor in his room who knows of his past and how he became infected with the darkness. This leads to all the Digimon clearing Ken’s mess, able to Digivolve normally (and Ken giving the assists when he came with a returning Wormon, now in his champion form Stingmon) whilst this mysterious woman is able to change control spires into Digimon to cause destruction. The series basically goes into woman causes trouble, the Digimon get to Champion and defeat the fake Digimon, woman creates stronger Digimon, this leads into the Digidestined using DNA Digivolving (used in the Digimon movie if you remember) to get stronger, and in Davis/Ken’s case, evolve into an equivalent of a Mega in Pailidramon who has flight and attack modes. However, the woman is actually a Digimon named Arukenimon, and with her sidekick Mummymon, begin to look to cause more trouble.

The two things that come out of this are really just Ken trying to fit in (Cody in particular really doesn’t like the idea of working with Ken) and the one character most people tend to remember from this series, the creation of BlackWargreymon. I….tend to disagree personally. BlackWargreymon’s role is simply to be someone who the Digidestined can’t beat and is looking for a purpose in life…whilst mostly crushing it in his wake. He has moments of doubt but is seeking to destroy the Destiny Stones, believing it will bring upon someone who is a worthwhile foe. It does bring forth a Digimon god of sorts in Azulongmon who does do decent exposition, but aside from that BlackWargreymon’s purpose is very weak – his popularity seems to stem upon a very good performance in the dub by veteran VA Steve Blum, but when people put him in the same category as good side characters in Digimon like Wizardmon, I tend to be in the minority and disagree.

The third arc is perhaps the most confusing one – when Digimon appear in the real world. It does bring back Jinnai (in his younger form) and also allows the kids to find Digidestined all around the world (loophole number #36 – so why was Yolei/Davis unsure what Digimon were when they later explained they saw the battle with Myotismon and everyone in the world should technically know about Digimon?) – it does have some fun moments as they travel around the world (highlights include Wormon not getting along with the Mexican digidestined, the Hong Kong brothers falling for Kari, and T.K/Tai falling for a beautiful French digidestined aided by T.K’s grandfather) it’s main existence is to bring the character of Oikawa into the fray – he was the one who originally sent the e-mail which infects Ken with the dark spores, and actually used his own DNA to become digitalized – creating Arukenimon and Mummymon. He also has a history with Cody’s late father, and becomes the catalyst of the true villain of this arc, the returning Myotismon as MaloMyotismon – with a lot of confusing subplots in the middle (like when a mega level Digimon named Daemon comes about that sets to be the true villain, he is quickly exited – similar to an early plot of the Dark Ocean involving Kari back in the first arc quickly gets subsided), it leads to the digidestined around the world having to seal Myotismon whilst stopping Oikawa trying to get into the Digital World using the Dark Spores infecting several kids to become new Digimon Emperors so to speak.

And probably from this, you see the problem I have with the series.

There is clearly a lot going on, and it is also clear there were a lot of plots that seemed to be planned but never went anywhere – the dark ocean arc which also suggested they were planning a T.K/Kari romance? Quickly gone and only revisted briefly during the World Tour arc. The World Tour arc suggests it is going to put Oikawa and Daemon together but again, gets majorly rushed. The return of Myotismon is rather good but it is told very confusingly that it gets lost and you get Myotismon who was easily the most memorable villain of the first series reduced to a rushed big bad. There are plenty of other problems – most memorably the incredibly rushed epilogue which also never seemed to answer the shipping wars – there is an infamous moment where Sora for example, appears to pick Matt over Tai – yet there is very VERY little interaction between the two, even back in the first series and just comes out of nowhere – and of course no real conclusion over the T.K/Davis/Kari triangle – the ending even suggests two other characters do get together and outside of a few brief moments there is little hintage of that. And so many minor loopholes that put together does make you question things as much as Izzy does (other examples not mentioned already is why the older kids can’t use their crests, why Angemon who was an overpowered Champion is suddenly weak to dark digimon which was never indicated before, BlackWargreymon’s return in the later arc, and why Davis isn’t affected by MaloMyotismon’s illusion spell).

The other issue is also rather obvious is that the new characters are simply not that interesting outside of Ken. Davis is the new Tai but whilst Tai was likeable and able to learn, Davis seems to stick with the same personality which manages to somehow stop the above loophole with MaloMyotismon but it seems like he is more unlikeable – granted, this maybe partly the dub’s fault but apparently there wasn’t too much difference in character in the Japanese version. Yolei nor Cody are that interesting either – Cody does get a few choice moments as his character is likened to a samurai (and his interacting with his grandfather are far more funny/rewarding than most of the cast aside from Davis’ sister Jun) and especially when Oikawa learns of who Cody’s dad is but despite the length of the series they don’t get as developed as much outside of their initial characteristics – Davis does seem to improve a bit after he becomes friends with Ken, but a lot of people still preferred the original Digidestined even if their roles are more subdued. Kari and T.K don’t suffer as much because of this though why T.K never was the leader is still a mystery and you wonder if Kari is so oblivious to the guys’ feelings or she is stringing them along…

Outside of Ken and also Oikawa (who does have an intriguing past and is at least a credible villain for the last arc – maybe anti-villain would be better when the end happens) though, a lot of the cast are not that memorable or interesting. Arukenimon and Mummymon quickly turn to comic relief, whilst the one character most people remember (BlackWargreymon) isn’t really that important a factor in the series and is just there to make the kids try and beat something too powerful before he suddenly appears in the real world and does something to stop Oikawa…which Oikawa still does anyway so it was pointless. So nostalgia finally broken and is this just a poor sequel?

Not exactly – there are still some good moments in it. For example, the comedy moments are actually quite good (rewatching the series I remember not liking Jun much back in the day but here she is easily the most fun side character with her crush on Matt and how she nearly screws up the camp lie so the kids can beat Ken) – the moments when the older Digidestined are welcome, the world tour arc also has some great fun moments before it goes to weird (What did Rose call Wormon in Spanish? Ken: Fishbait. Gabumon: Better not tell him that. Wormon: At least insult me in a language I can understand) and the Emperor arc has a lot of dark and also awesome moments (Wizardmon, the T.K/Ken fist fight) – despite what I said about Davis, he does improve a bit and his friendship and trying to get the others to like Ken is good (the Xmas episode is nice and sweet despite upsetting many a Tai/Sora fan) – the action sequences are still great and it doesn’t fall as much into the trap as the original dub with the out of place songs.

That said, it definitely is weaker than Adventure – the development isn’t as good outside of Ken, there is no truly memorable villain arc, and whilst there are some dark moments in all of the arcs, it just doesn’t feel as gritty as the Myotismon or the Dark Masters arcs of the first season. If only there was a season of Digimon that had that dark nature but also kept the show entertaining and not shy away from things and somehow create something that was pure awesome…

*gets Season3 in the mail*

In Summary:
Whilst Digimon 02 isn’t a terrible sequel to the original, it suffers from many writing problems – ranging from dropped arcs, to sub character development, to many plotholes. There is still a lot of fun to be had and there are a lot of tense moments, and it certainly isn’t as bad as some of the future Digimon series – the nostalgia goggles however are off a bit with this one, and it becomes a lot more noticeable the nit picks in this season. That said, I’d still recommend watching it if you’re a fan of the 1st season just to see your favourite characters grow up and interaction with the younger generation. You may wanna skip the last 5 minutes though…

Features:
Japanese 02 opening and ending

Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B-
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C-

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: November 14th, 2016
MSRP: £29.99
Running Time: 1095 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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