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The Power of Wishful Thinking

January 24, 2010

     After the rather surprising success of Digimon Adventure, Toei Animation decided to come up with a sequel.  The result was Digimon Adventure 02.  Set a few years after the end of the first series, a mysterious human named the Digimon Emperor has started taking over the Digital World by use of control mechanisms called Dark Rings and massive obelisks called Control Spires.  Every so often, the old DigiDestined are able to visit the Digital World, and it is one of these times that Tai Kamiya heads there to help Agumon, who is being chased by one of the Digimon Emperor’s minions.  Tai finds a mysterious egg with the Crest of Courage, and upon touching it, releases three new Digivices, which go to three young new Digidestined, Davis Motomiya, Yolei Inoue, and Cody Hida.  They, along with the now older T.K. Takaishi and Kari Kamiya, discover the egg’s ability to let Digimon Armor Digivolve, which bypasses the Emperor’s Dark Digivice’s ability to inhibit Digivolution.  Along with their new partners, Veemon, Hawkmon, and Armadillomon, the fivesome manage to defeat the Digimon Emperor, whose true identity is corrupted DigiDestined Ken Ichijouji, convince him to join them, and face off against a host of new evils, including Arukenimon and Mummymon, BlackWarGreymon, Daemon, and the returned Myotismon.

     Unfortunately, this season doesn’t really live up to the quality of its predecessor.  Why?  For one, the characters are less likable.  Davis is just an even more stubborn and headstrong Tai, Yolei is just loud and obnoxious, and Cody is very distrustful and occassionally arrogant to the point of obnoxiousness.  Both T.K. and Kari have grown up a tad strangely, with T.K. now some sort of anti-darkness crazy person (not all that is dark is evil), and Kari suddenly revealing deep-seated emotional issues that she never had before.  The more interesting older DigiDestined take a back seat to their newer counterparts, along with a host of international DigiDestined that just make all of them seem less unique.  For the most part, it’s the more morally ambiguous characters, like Ken, his partner Wormmon, BlackWarGreymon, and Yukio Oikawa, the human host of Myotismon, that give this show an interesting tone that the previous one lacked.  All are more gray characters that are far more interesting to watch than Davis spout ridiculous truths for the millionth time.  Unfortunately, this is juxatposed by the bizarre unwillingness of the newer DigiDestined to kill a Digimon, which the originals did… rather often.

     The English dub is also worse in this season, particularly with new characters like Davis and Cody, the latter of whom sounds like he smoked too much.  Paul St. Peter as Wormmon, Derek Stephen Prince as Veemon and Ken, Mari Devon as Arukenimon, and Jamieson Price as Oikawa all do a good job, but others, like the ones I mentioned, are weaker.  In favor of the recognizable victory song from the previous season, we also get a series of rather forgettable rock songs that just aren’t as satisfying.  The rest of the soundtrack is the same, so it’s not a total loss.  Then, there’s the ludicrous cop-out ending of defeating the threat of MaloMyotismon with the power of your hopes and dreams.  The previous show, although being rather cutesy at times, had a far more satisfying and tear-jerking ending than that.  It’s still a fun show with lots of references to the previous season that will make fans very happy.  But don’t go into it expecting a perfect continuation of the story.

Story: 7.5      Animation: 8.8      Soundtrack: 8.6      Acting: 8.8      Overall: 8.2

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