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Friends For Life

January 24, 2010

     One of my favorite anime from when I was a kid was the original Digimon Adventure, which jump-started the Digimon franchise.  Feeling nostalgic, I decided to watch it again.  Basically, seven seemingly normal Japanese kids, while at summer camp, get sucked into a portal from our world to the Digital World, a world made up of digital information coalesced into living organisms.  There, they meet mysterious little Digimon, said living organisms, who claim to have been waiting for those seven children all their lives.  Each little Digimon pairs itself up with one of the children, and thus begins their great adventure in the Digital World.  These seven kids, Tai Kamiya, Matt Ishida, Sora Takenouchi, Izzy Izumi, Mimi Tachikawa, Joe Kido, and T.K. Takaishi, and their seven Digimon, Agumon, Gabumon, Biyomon, Tentomon, Palmon, Gomamon, and Patamon, soon discover the great destinies they have in store for them and fight off various evil Digimon to save both the real world and the Digital World.  All the while, they learn about themselves and grow both as people and as friends to each other.

     Yes, if you know anything about Digimon, you’ll notice that I used the English dub names.  Why?  Because I actually tried to watch the Japanese version, but I couldn’t get into it.  Probably because of the nostalgia of the English dub.  At any rate, that’s what I’m reviewing here.  I just got frustrated with all those male characters being played by women (in the English dub, it’s just Patamon and Izzy) and sounding… like women trying to be men.  Anyway, even though this is obviously a kids’ show, it’s actually a very good story.  The characters are all quite likable, and they grow as a part of their trials in the Digital World.  Some of that growth can be rather silly-sounding, as exemplified in their crests, but unlike the show to which Digimon is most often compared, Pokémon, these kids actually do develop and learn from their experiences.  The Digimon themselves are really quite cool, and in being self-aware and able to speak, they’re almost more interesting than Pokémon.  They are as integral to the show as their partners.

     The show also has great and surprisingly chilling villains, like Devimon, Myotismon, and Piedmon, and more humorous ones, like Etemon and Puppetmon.  Characters actually do die (though they can come back do to a little plot device), so there’s some really emotional moments (i.e. Wizardmon, Leomon).  Plus, there’s an eighth member of the group, Kari Kamiya, Tai’s little sister, whose partner is a very emotionally distant Digimon named Gatomon.  That adds for another interesting dimension to the story.  The animation is decent, if not particularly great, but at least the Digimon themselves look awesome.  Admittedly, the characters’ outfits look pretty ridiculous (Tai most of all), but its their personalities that are most interesting and important.  I actually really like both the English dub and the English music, as the people who do the dub (most of the time) really put emotion into their acting (Tai, Mimi, Gomamon, Myotismon, etc.), and the orchestral pieces combined with the techno for the Digivolution gives a very epic feel to the action.  And yes, I actually do like the English opening song, thank you very much.  So, for some people, the original subs may be better.  The English dub does add a lot of humor and extra lines that some people may think is inappropriate.  But both keep the emotional depth and interesting characters that make this show a cut above a lot of kids’ anime.  It just depends on your preference, especially depending on which you watched when you were younger.  It just makes me wonder sometimes why other kids’ anime and cartoons aren’t so… smart, even with their silly monsters and whatnot.

Story: 9.2      Animation: 8.8      Soundtrack: 9.0      Acting: 8.8      Overall: 9.0

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