Anime Television

Digimon Adventure (1999) Review: What Went Wrong With Digimon 2020

Those who grew up in the 1990s or earlier 2000s may remember a little anime called Digimon Adventures dubbed by 4kids. There was a reboot made of the cartoon recently. However, I prefer the original series, and, after having watched the reboot, I still stand on the opinion that the original is better. Though part of my stance may be nostalgia, I’d like to compare the two series to give evidence to my opinion. The main points that come to mind are characterization, pacing, and world-building.

  1. Characterization

The biggest part of the original series that I remember to this day is the characters. I can still name all of the digi-destand it what their character arcs were in the series. Of course, some were more prominent than others, but they were all distinct and memorable. There is even a whole arc in the original series where the characters spend time in the human world, and therefore time with their parents, where, as the viewer, we get to know them even better. Unfortunately, we don’t get this in the reboot. We DO see some of the parents and siblings for a bit, but the time in the Human World is minimal and, for the most part, not memorable. Nothing unique happens that couldn’t have happened in the Digital World. It seems to me that characters were separated just to make the team temporarily weaker instead of actually doing anything with it.

This also doesn’t make it any easier to get to know the characters. We know very little about their families, or the dynamics thereof, with a few exceptions, such as the divorce of Yamato and Takeru’s parents. However, even this isn’t as well-used as it was in the original series. In that show, Yamato, or Matt as I knew him, went through a whole series-long arc of learning to let Takeru, or TK, do things on his own without his brother. It seemed this arc for Yamato was only an episode or two long when Takeru first showed up in the Digital World. After Devimon was defeated, he seemed to have gotten over his fear. Not that he wouldn’t worry for his brother, but it wasn’t as clear to me whether this was just general worry, or specifically related to his feelings, or towards Takeru’s capabilities. It also surprised me how much Takeru could do on his own off the bat. It’s shown in the original how capable he is for an eight-year-old, providing food for the group and stopping a conflict between Patemon and another Digimon, but, in my opinion, in the new show, I didn’t feel that Takeru reacted as an average child would to being thrust into a new world and having to fight giant creatures, which took me out of the moment a bit. The other aspect I felt took away from the characterization was the pacing.

  1. The Pacing.

Every episode has a fight scene and a long one at that. I know that the original show was an ad for toys, but I feel that it had much more time to breathe than the 2020 series. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the way the fights LOOKED, but, eventually, I was bored of them. I wanted more moments for the show to slow down. I want a camping scene! Also, I don’t feel the characters had enough time to interact outside of battle. For instance, in the Human World, there is a small moment where, I believe Sora, asks Koshuro about his parents, to which he goes quiet and doesn’t answer. This was such a GOOD moment. It was slow, it gave us mystery, but it didn’t end up going anywhere. Those of us who’ve seen the original KNOW that Koshuro, or Izzy, was adopted, but this is never stated in the 2020 series to my memory. This shows that the very few slow moments the show has aren’t used to their full extent. This is very disappointing because if we cared more for the characters, the fight scenes would have more punch impact. The fight scenes look cool, but that’s pretty much all they are after a while.

  1. World Building

The pacing is wack. It starts out fine, introducing a hand full of characters giving us a few fights, but then it slows down after Devimon is defeated. Also, unlike the first series, which had the slow world-building stuff at the start, we get it over 20 episodes in, in the 2020 series. This is unfortunate because it was cool seeing all these new Digimon that didn’t exist back in the day. However, due to the pacing and how this slow section of the show is, I grew bored and eventually wanted it to speed up again.

Even so, world-building is one of the things that, without the pacing and placement issues, I would have had very few problems with. I liked the lore addition, I enjoyed that Angemon and Angew were made special, and I liked that different Digimon lived everywhere in the world, but I couldn’t get past the placement and length of it all.

This is not to say that, outside of the world-building, there was nothing I liked about the reboot. There just wasn’t enough to make me REALLY like it. I wish there were more character development and more downtime for the characters. Also, though I didn’t mention it in the character section, I wish they hadn’t been separated as much. It didn’t seem to have a point or add anything to the character interactions or anything to what we knew about them. I thought the animation was better, of course, but with there being so many fight scenes, it stopped being fun.

In summary, if you’re looking for a Digimon series with better-developed characters, better pacing, and world-building that, although it has less Digimon in it, is more entertaining because of what surrounds it and where it’s placed in the series, I’d watch the original. Unfortunately, the animation isn’t as good, so if you want to watch more of a visual spectacle instead, the 2020 series may be more your style.

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