Saturday, March 26, 2016

'Digimon Adventure tri.' Slightly Picks Up in 'Ketsui'

Ketsui (“Determination” in English), the second installment of the six-part Digimon Adventure tri. movie series, is unfortunately still as dawdling as Saikai (“Reunion”), the first movie.  However, it’s still an improvement – mostly thanks to its final ten minutes.

The movie starts with the clichéd “trip to the hot spring bath house” sequence, which is an obligatory element in almost every anime I’ve seen.  And from this, I immediately realized that it will have the same direction as the previous movie.  Later on, another tiresome cliché came in the form of a school festival.  So, aside from the expected heavy exposition, Ketsui is further made dense and dull by predictable and trivial subplots.

Ketsui also features unrewarding drama.  The DigiDestined still haven’t recovered the synergy they used to have as kids.  Newcomers Meiko and Meicoomon are seemingly out of place in the group.  There’s still some lingering tension between Taichi and Yamato.  Mimi wrestles with the realization that she’s being a jikochu – having a selfish, bossy personality.  And Joe prioritizes his studies over his duty as a DigiDestined, which causes a rift between him and Gomamon.  I wanted all these issues to be resolved quickly so that the movie could finally proceed to kicking butt.  But the slow narrative really took its time.  Now, I acknowledge that these are probably there to add depth to the movie – to be a “character piece” and all that – but I’ve seen this kind of character arcs countless times already that I didn’t really cared for them.

Good thing Leomon – along with his rival, Ogremon, which has been corrupted with the same mysterious infection introduced in Saikai  – is in this movie.  Leomon was one of my favorite Digimon in the original series, so seeing him here was a treat.  I was particularly amused with his interaction with the DigiDestined’s Digimon.

However, I was mostly bored for most of Ketsui.  Leomon’s presence wasn’t enough to keep my interest at a high point.

Then the final ten minutes came, and it made me optimistic where Digimon Adventure tri. is going.  It showed some new stuff – specifically, a new kind of Digimon evolution.  And then it shifted to a darker tone, which reminded me how the original series was superior to the Pokemon anime: its willingness to be more mature in its storytelling.

In the end, I like Ketsui better than Saikai.  But only slightly.  Though I love the last ten minutes, the majority of the movie is still bad.  But thanks to that final exciting moments, my interest for the next installment, Kohohaku (“Confession” in English), coming in September is boosted.

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