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Digimon Adventure Tri Reunion Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

Digimon Adventure Tri Reunion CoverIt’s time to bring the gang back together!

What They Say:
In Digimon Adventure Tri: Reunion, it’s been six years since that summer adventure when Tai and the rest of the DigiDestined crossed over to the Digital World, and nearly three years since the final battle between Kari’s second generation DigiDestined and MaloMyotismon. And, at some point, the gate to the Digital World mysteriously closed. With the gate closed, the days continue to pass, until the adventure “digi-volves” once again.

The Review:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language in stereo while the English language adaptation gets a 5.1 bump. Both tracks are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec and definitely help to raise the impact of the presentation with some good bass at times, especially in the English language track. The show is one that’s focused on a lot of dialogue with everything going on but the action sequences have some good directionality to it as it plays out with placement and depth as well. The movement of the action sequences across the soundstage gives it a good bit of impact, though the stereo Japanese track is one that holds up well in comparison overall. Both tracks come across with a clean and clear mix that are problem free with no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally released in 2015, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. Animated by Toei Animation, the feature has plenty of space to work with here and a solid variable bit rate that lets the quality of the source material shine through. There’s a very clean look to the colors with solid character animation as well that really gives it a slick and appealing feeling. The vibrant colors and transformation sequences stand out particularly well while the backgrounds and all their detail definitely holds up without any problems such as noise or breakup amid it all. There’s definitely a solid theatrical quality to much of this and the end result is a film that looks fantastic and really pops on the screen, especially a larger setup.

The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs against the interior walls. With an o-card for the first pressing that replicates the cover artwork but with a bit more color definition to it, it’s an appealing and eye-catching release. The front cover works the key visual for the Reunion film in a good way with lots of detail that against the grey background lets it stand out very well. The orange banner works in the releases favor while the logo with the blue and white along the bottom ties it all together. The back cover works the grey background so that we get an easy to read summary of the premise, a good breakdown of the discs extras, and some cute and large sized images from the show that give you an idea of what to expect. There’s no direct technical grid but everything is kept together in an easy to read place with everything clean and clear while also being accurate. There are no show related inserts with this release but we do get an insert with the digital code and how to claim it. The reverse side has a close-up of Tai’s face while the lower left breaks out the English cast and some of the Japanese production side of things.

The menu design for this release works things in a simple but fun way with various clips playing throughout the bulk of the screen, including some of the transformation sequences. This keeps it bright and colorful as it moves through with pieces that catch the eye and set the mood. The navigation along the bottom works the colors from the cover with the blue and white with orange that makes for an easy to navigate piece (with no wraparound, which felt weird). Submenus load quickly and without problem and it looks great both as the main menu and as the pop-up menu during playback.

There may be only two extras for this release but they’ll certainly please fans. The first is a twenty-two minute video piece that has interview sessions with the English cast. It’s a fun piece that lets them talk about the show and their connection to it with their character and the franchise as a whole. The other is too short for my tastes as we get a two minute sizzle reel showing off the Los Angeles theatrical premiere of the film with the fans in attendance. It’s fun fluff but the kind of fluff that you want more of with the introductions that are done and the guest appearances.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I’ve dabbled in most franchise over the years to some degree, Digimon is the rare one that I just never got involved with. With the TV material from years ago being in its edited dub form only and a whole lot of material out there, it just wasn’t something that I got drawn into. With this new series of films, there are six that are in various stages of release in japan that take this particular part of the franchise in a new direction. One thing that I find myself drawn to with anime films is that a number of them do some interesting things either in full on re-imaginings or advancing events to a new level so that it feels fresh and not a retreated. This one is the latter and it definitely makes out well for it, though I suspect that long time fans invested in the characters will get a lot more out of it than I did.

Taking place several years after the last main series that involved this group, the kids have grown up and are in high school, going on about their lives. The first act here essentially takes us through a good part of this with Tai as our lead, seeing how he’s dealing with the friend drift that happens as people get more involved in their passions. Some are pursuing their music side more, others with sports, and some surprising ones have even ended up in relationships. It has that whole end of high school kind of feeling about it to some degree and a nice kind of somberness that sets the mood well as Tai grapples with this and his own business. It serves to give us a decent bit of time to reconnect with the characters for long time fans and it even works well enough to introduce the cast without leaning on who they were in the previous adventures.

While this sets the stage it doesn’t take long before an event occurs with a Kuwagamon appearing and wreaking havoc over the area. This ties into a number of Tai’s friends all coming together, even one from overseas, and we get a pretty good reunion of the DigiDestined here and even the government side ensuring that they can work to deal with the threat at hand. It’s a pretty good sequence that shows some of what this property can look like with a high quality approach and theatrical animation so that it feels more mature and engaging. The action flows better, the detail and quality of how the fight play out come across as more engaging, and it showcases a first blush look at what will surely be expanded upon in the coming films. All of this leads into some reunion fun with everyone together and the reconnect with their Digimon as well, which is cute enough since everyone has drifted apart on all counts and the kids have grown up – which makes the Digimon look even smaller to them now, an amusing moment to be sure.

With the film working to setup what’s to come and leaning fairly hard on the whole reunion side as you’d expect, it’s a more laid back opening film than one might expect. It does hit the expected action quota you’d think it would have but that’s not the primary driver right now, making it almost incidental. Part of what slowed things down for me is what slows down a lot of shows of this nature and that’s the transformation sequences, which you have the feeling that they were just getting several of them done early on for future use more than anything else. While there is a by the numbers approach to this installment because of what it’s trying to do and basically playing a longer game here, it hits the right notes and eases us back into things and introduces a lot of the basics pretty well while still leaving a whole lot that can be explored in visiting the original works.

In Summary:
Kicking off a franchise in a new direction that’s being released over a few years with six films, Digimon Adventure Tri captured a lot of attention with its original release and quick streaming around the world. It feels very much like a big love song for the fans of the original series with the kids growing up and dealing with new things done in a really high quality format. Shout Factory put together a great release here that delivers what movie fans want with both formats and an easy to access digital side while also bringing the show about in a clean and appealing way. It’s easy to imagine fans of this incarnation will be all over it and it’s pretty accessible to new fans as well, making for a double win.

Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Interviews with Members of the English Voice Cast, A Look at the Reunion Premiere

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

Released By: Shout Factory
Release Date: May 16th, 2017
MSRP: $24.97
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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