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Digimon Adventure Tri: The Movie Part 1 UK Anime DVD Review

11 min read

Digimon Adventure Tri UK Volume 1 CoverNostalgia hits big time with the cast, the movie definitely is a step in a hopefully awesome direction…

What They Say:
It’s been six years since that summer adventure when Taichi Yagami and the rest of the DigiDestined crossed over to the Digital World. And nearly three years have passed since the final battle between Hikari Yagami’s group and BelialVamdemon. As the peaceful days passed by, at some point the gate to the Digital World closed. Not even the DigiDestined know what caused this, and time alone continues to pass.

The Review:
The audio has a 5.1 release in English and a 2.0 in Japanese for the series and the two movies (surprised as movie releases tend to be 5.1 in both) –because of the nostalgia fac-tor I did watch it in English with its 5.1 option (I also turned the subtitles on to see how it compares as the original Digimon series did quite a few changes translation wise – happy to say this doesn’t especially as it is a tad darker than the original series) but this is the first Digimon release I recall with a Japanese audio track so definitely welcomed. The track is perfect, with me having to adjust it to a lower standard as was too loud, and no problems in sync with the lip flaps either in English or Japanese (to test out) or transition with the video quality.

Similar with the audio, the video is set in full-screen format via NTSC transfer to PAL format with the show combining animation and colour in a more traditional sense, with no real problems with the subtitles, the sound synching in either language, no pause lag or in general, it is a quality release, and with the new way how it has been updated (the Digivolving sequences are now vastly different and definitely look more ‘up to date’ if you will) – it definitely feels like Digimon Adventure got an overhaul with the animation but still kept to the spirit of the original series (it is hard to notice the computer graphics because is blending it well and not that obvious), whilst no slowdown or broken pausing makes it work as a good release even on DVD.

There was no packing for this test release.

The menu has clips of each of the characters of the original Digidestined to the left and right of a pic of them revolving on a grey screen with the Digimon Adventure Tri insignia on top right – the menu below (Play Feature, Scene Selection, Set Up, Bonus) is easily accessible and whichever you select it fades out into a digivolution like sequence before the new menu comes up so a little slow but still efficient. You can return to the main menu easily via the movie as well but as a DVD release no pop-up menu.

The first extra is a real nostalgic boon combined with more modernization (like the movie itself) as it is an interview with several members of the English cast. A lot of the original dub cast actually did return to work on this movie whilst some were recast, and we get a mix of both – of the original cast, we get Kate Higgins (Gatomon/Meikomon), Joshua Seth (Tai) and Laura Summer (Patamon), whilst of the newer cast we get Cristina Vee (Meiko), Cherami Leigh (Biyomon/Himekawa) and Robbie Daymond (Joe). They talk about the original series and the time passing, old cast and new cast, Joshua talking about Tai as has the most experience (Joshua semi-retired from voice acting but was always happy to do Tai), how Kate works with two characters (some behind the scenes) – how Cherami does it (very different voices) – Cristina jokes about the character’s looks are similar to another characters she’s voiced (coughs Homura coughs), how Joshua learned about it, con experiences, it is a 21 minute interview but you feel like the newer cast (especially Cristina) were fans of the original series and are happy to work on it, whilst the older cast (especially Joshua) are happy to return to it and feels like a welcome home to them.

The second extra is a look at the reunion premiere where the movie was actually aired in a private theatre in Hollywood, where Digimon fans came to meet some of the people involved both from Japan and the US – sadly it is very short (2 minutes) and just shots of people in the crowds and involved with no clue who they are so a bit disappointing considering how many people were surprisingly there.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Digimon Adventure was perhaps the first series that came after Pokémon (partly due to Pokémon’s popularity) in terms of mainstream anime releases in the UK in the early 2000s. I have reviewed both seasons fairly recently and the general consensus is that the first season is still a nostalgic classic but the second falls a bit shorter due to a few problems. Well, the new movie actually almost seems to recognize that at the get go when something happens (which ironically brings a new set of problems) and sets it perhaps with a bit of Tamers mentality in terms of a bit darker? Combined with more modern technology but also a lot of old-school stuff (especially in the dub), they definitely add a few things more now that the kids are older, but is it something for older fans, newer ones, both or neither?

The kids are in high school now, however you get initially through very obvious imagery that something has happened to the kids from the 02 era bar T.K and Kari. We are not sure at this point what has happened but they seem to have vanished…

We cut to Tai, who is trying to connect with the old gang but feels as they are growing up, they are slipping away as he invites them to a soccer game and everyone is busy – Matt is in his new band, Izzy is with a meal with his parents, Mimi is in America, Joe is studying, T.K is helping Matt (Kari his sister is more an energy boost for his teammates) – whilst ironically Sora, the one person he thought would definitely not (keeping the ending from 02 where she and Matt were a couple) is the one who is struggling with seeing if she can go to the game and Matt’s band. However, whilst high school problems are happening, there seems to be a weird bug going through digital devices all through Odiaba…

So when a retread from their very first Digimon fight in Kuwagamon suddenly appears and causes collateral damage, you know something is up…

Whilst Tai worries about what is going, two teachers seem to know more than what they appear to be and is looking for the original Digidestined – whereas at the same time, Agumon somehow appears in the real world whilst Tai is cornered so a sweet reunion happens before knowing business has to be taken care of. Agumon digivolves to Greymon to take out Kuwagamon but then is transported to Odiaba airport where one of the teachers, his substitute teacher Nishijima gives him a ride to the other Digidestined who have appeared bar Joe and Mimi to take out more Kuwagamon – Mimi, however, does appear as she was going to be transferred back to Odiaba whilst on her father’s work, whilst Joe feels regret he is never there to help out (which leads to a sweet moment where Gomamon finds him, the two escape, and eventually reunite with everyone).

We learn of Nishijima’s involvement, as these digimon that are breaking the boundaries are infected Digimon and he along with his partner Himekawa have been monitoring them for some time. This leads to another staple of the original season – the Tai/Matt conflict as Tai worries that he is causing damage to the real world whilst Matt is trying to see the side that he is still saving people from stopping the infected Digimon. This is all intermixed with the other Digidestined trying to getting involved with fun moments (Mimi is AWESOME – not only does she see Sora’s now potentially liking Tai and Matt, but of all people, IZZY is clearly in love with Mimi as T.K and Tentomon point out Izzy is figuring out fashion and you wonder who he is trying to do it for – and the hilarious moment when Joe says he has a girlfriend…)…

But from those Digidestined, there is focus on a new character – a girl named Meiko – who has transferred at the same time as Mimi. She also is Tai’s new neighbour (coincidence?) but seems to be closer around the Digidestined, usually looking for something to quote her ‘is kind of like a cat’. The girls quickly become friends with her despite her being quite shy, whilst Izzy continues to remind people why he is the best character in terms of creating portals, working in an office (did we mention he speaks English and French as well much to the confusion of Sora at one point) making sure their partner Digimon can have access to the real world…whilst also being awkwardly nerdy in a different way whenever Mimi is around…

However, amidst trying to get Matt and Tai to see eye to eye (trapping them on a ferris wheel works), a mysterious Digimon called Alphamon appears in the city, (whose shots seem similar to what happened to the 02 Digidestined) who is searching for a cat like Digimon named Meicoomon (hmm….), this is where Matt and Tai realise they have to be in unison otherwise both of their ideologies will be literally killed off – which leads them to fully evolve both Agumon and Gabumon, and then DNA Digivolve into Omnimon (not seen since the second movie way back in the day) – this saves the day (Alphamon though escapes) and Meiko as she reveals she is a Digidestined, but there are more problems looking on the way as the mysterious teachers worry…

This is the first of a long movie series (I believe there is up to 4 currently released in Japan) so this is clearly the start of something big, and the set up is there. I will admit that it isn’t the best explained in the Digimon side in terms of how they got into the world bar the fact that Himekawa and Nishijima have been keeping an eye on them, alongside with Alphamon’s motives because all we know is that it wants to find Meicoomon, but to be fair, this can be further explained in the future movies especially as now Meiko is part of the cast, there is plenty to go on.

So this movie does feel just the start of something big – which means there are a lot of questions. Aside from the above with Meiko and Meicoomon, the big thing is why were the 02 Digidestined seemingly disappearing via Alphamon, and why so far has none of the original Digidestined kids commented on it? This does seem to be a big thing (especially for TK and Kari as you’d think they’d know if they were missing) – again, could be explained in the future but it almost feels like the movie was being purposely mean to them considering they weren’t as popular as the 01 Digidestined.

So it is hard to rate knowing there is going to be more and it feels I should review it all once all the movies come out. However as not possible, how do I see this movie?

Quite frankly, it’s a fun bit of updated nostalgia. This is especially when you watch it in English, because a lot of the old cast come back – Joshua Seth (Tai) was actually retired from voice acting but said he would back as Tai, and other fan favourites also came back – Jeff Nimoy (Tentomon, Philece Sampler (Mimi), Mona Marshall (Izzy), Colleen O’Shaughnessey (Sora), Tom Fahn (Agumon), R. Martin Klein (Gomamon), Kate Higgins (Gatomon), Laura Summer (Patamon) all voiced the characters in the original series (15 years ago remember) and don’t seem out of touch at all – and a lot of the new voices are also good, as whilst Vic Mignogna’s distinct voice may feel off-putting as Matt considering all the roles he has done over the year, Cristina Vee as Meiko is near perfect.

This also helps with a lot of the moments in the movie – the animation is superb, the updates to Digivolving make it stand out, as well as seeing the mentalities of the kids now they are older. Tai, for example, is not so much a hot-headed Leeroy Jenkins style of leader, he now shows concerns about everything happening in the real world which naturally clashes with Matt of course but brought back the old rivalry from the first season – I absolutely LOVE Izzy who was pretty much my favourite character in the original series along with Joe, but Mimi has really improved (even back in 01 she was underrated, 02 got better, here she is a standout character) and the fact that Izzy clearly has a crush on her someone makes him even dorkier and adorable (plus lampshaded by T.K and Tentomon when we see him looking for new clothes) – the only downside is that at the moment quite a few characters don’t get much spotlight (Sora, T.K, Kari and Joe – though Joe at least has a reason leading to one of the funniest moments in the movie when he reveals he has a girlfriend – even Izzy reacts to that one…) and with the new girl Meiko now part of the group, we’ve still got a lot to learn about her as well…

It is definitely a step in the right direction in terms of new fans and old fans can get on board – I’d say though you would need to know about Adventure before watching this because of the establishment of many of the characters – because without that, in reality very little actually happens in this movie so you could get confused due to its initial slow pacing. However, for fans they can get on board and look forward to the next movie wondering how everything is going to play out…

In Summary:
Digimon Adveture ~tri~ is a good opening act for an established brand trying to get into the modern age. Great music and animation (the original singer of the opening theme in Japanese actually died shortly after but managed to do this) – whilst knowledge of the series is paramount and a lot of questions need to be answered, there are more movies to come and establishment is happening with the Digimon connecting through both worlds, the mysterious teachers, the return of all the Digidestined and the introduction of Meiko. There is plenty to continue from here which hopefully will go, the opening act, however, is one giant fun bit of nostalgia for the most part (especially in English) with some great character moments, flashbacks to the original series, and some great battles. Plenty to look forward to.

Interviews with the US Cast, Digimon in Hollywood

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

Released By: Anime Limited
Release Date: May 22nd, 2017
MSRP: £15.99
Running Time: 96 minutes
Video Encoding: PAL
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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