Anime Television

Digimon Frontier (Season 4) Review

Sadly, Digimon Frontier, or Season 4, is the season that has the most lost potential out of the four seasons I watched growing up. I don’t know what happened behind the scenes and don’t care. All I know is that, as someone who loves stories, I see a lot of lost opportunities with this show. It could have been very interesting, but instead, although there are good concepts, and moments, it’s definitely the weakest of the four.

First off, the characters. I wish that the spirits that the characters hold were also characters. They don’t have to be there all the time, but it would’ve added a nice way to have background on the world, and some older more wiser people for the frontier gang to interact with. As we see in the final episode, we are shown that they can communicate with them, but I wish that this had been done more. On the opposite end, we get too little background on the five (later six) of the main cast, excluding two of them, in my opinion. We get the basic information and little more. Unlike previous groups (especially the Adventure gang), there is only basic family conflict. For example, Koshiro was adopted, and Takeru and Yamato’s parents were divorced. This lead to the former having issues connecting with people, and the brothers being overprotective or wanting to prove themselves. These are very interesting and complex backgrounds for characters. They also grow throughout the series, whereas the issues the Frontier group has to combat are rehashed multiple times. The most egregious of these is Tommy, who, similar to Takeru, needs to prove himself and become braver. However, he learns this lesson MULTIPLE times. It gets old pretty fast.

The exceptions to this are the twins Koji and Koichi. They are twins who, unbeknownst to them, were seperated early on in life by their parents divorce, and not told about each other. Koji was even told his mother died, rather then that his father had divorced his mother. Along with this, there is tension between his father and him about his new stepmother. Koji isn’t read to accept her, not wanting so spend time with her or call her mom. This could have been something new to discuss in the Digimon franchise. Koichi on the other hand, only has his mother and very ill grandmother. They live in a small apartment, and his mother is clearly overworked. They are clearly not as well off as koji and his family.

It was Koichi who, on his grandmother’s deathbed, learned that he had a brother. However, after finding him, he was too scared to interact with him, and break the, on the outside, perfect family his brother had. One day, Koichi saw Koji getting on a train, but missed the elevator. He tried to catch up to him by rushing down some stairs, but tripped and fell into a coma. This lead to Koichi’s spirit being sent to the Digital World and, in part do to his anger at his father and jealousy for his brother’s life, is corrupted by one of the big bads of the series, forgetting that he was ever even human.

It is my opinion that THIS should have been the central human conflict in the series; Koji finding his brother, saving him, and them growing as siblings. Koji should have been the perspective character, or at least more important than the rest to set up this being the biggest relationship in the show. They also should have introduced and saved Koichi earlier. In the series, they don’t give enough time for the brothers to REALLY bond. There are nice scenes between them, but not enough in my opinion. There is even a nice scene between Koji and Takuya about how sometimes siblings get on your nerves, but you still love each other, that would have hit a lot harder if they had given more time to the twins bonding.

There is also the fact that Koichi isn’t in the Digital World physically. This could have been much more interesting than it was. I picture a scene where everyone is eating a nice meal, and Koji says something along the lines of, “it’ll be nice to eat as a family once we get home,” and Koichi hesitates to respond because he KNOWS he’s DEAD and won’t be able to (as far as he knows) meet Koji in the real world. I think it was very emotional and much better than the show did. I also want Koji to find out about his brother’s physical condition. In the series he doesn’t until the VERY last episode (as far as we know) and that’s a mist opportunity if you ask me. This could have added a lot of drama and tension to their interactions. They didn’t emphasize this aspect of Koichi’s story enough, and, though I liked the ending, I wish it was set up better.

All in all, I wish, though I know it’ll never happen, that this story would get a reboot, I feel they would do a much better job with the story this time around. It needs better character development, less rehashing of said development, and more time spent with the characters that are ACTUALLY interesting. I still recommend the show to Digimon fans, but it’s still important to recognize how it could be improved.

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