I should start this anime review by pointing out that I wasn’t a huge Digimon fan when I was younger. I was a die-hard Pokemon fan and in my mind you could only be one or the other, although I would secretly glimpse episodes of Digimon then deny it.
Digimon was a staple series for a lot of children (and teenagers) back in the day. So it was to some excitement that it was announced that a film would be released in Japan 2015 to mark the series’ 15th anniversary. That film was Digimon Adventure Tri: Part 1 and it’s available now from MangaUK.
It’s worth noting that Digimon Adventure Tri: Part 1 is the first film in not three, as you might expect, but six. This will be great news for hardcore/childhood fans of the series but a challenge for those who aren’t as fussed. Currently, only four of the films are out in Japan, so it will be some time before you can watch all of these films.
Digimon Adventure Tri: Part 1 takes place six years after the original two series. Our human leads (the Digidestined) have resumed their normal lives and are now in high school, following their adventures with their Digimon partners in the Digital World. The link between the two worlds has been closed for years, but as mysterious events begin to occur old friends are united and new enemies surface.
The main draw of this film is its nostalgia appeal. The pacing doesn’t feel too slow or rushed, it’s fun to see how those characters you watched in your childhood have developed as teenagers and there’s a decent amount of fights to keep you entertained. That said, the main role of this film is really to set up for the story that will evolve over the other five chapters. We get a general idea of the threat facing the human world but almost no information about what’s at stake or the villains, which arguably makes sense when you have to spread the story across a total of six films.
Obviously, as I haven’t seen the other five films, I can’t say whether the story could be condensed into three. This would make sense with a film title with the word ‘tri’ in it. The first film does end very abruptly, so in some way it feels like a very long episode. If you’re a long-standing fan who’s delighted that there will be more Digimon in your DVD library, this can only be good news.
As someone who was never a hardcore fan of the series, this film is enjoyable to watch but I wasn’t necessarily invested enough to dedicate myself to five more films when they’re eventually released. I’ll probably give the second film a chance, to see if I can be proven wrong and if the pay-off’s worth it!