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Digimon Adventure Tri. Chapter 2: Determination – A Digi-Paradox (Guest Review)

In 2015, longtime fans of Digimon (“Digital Monsters”) rejoiced with the 15th anniversary of Akiyoshi Hongo’s franchise with the start of Digimon Adventure Tri; a six-part series that serves as direct sequel to the first two television series, Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02. Now, continuing the adventures of Digimon Adventure Tri, comes the second installment of this six-part anime series with Digimon Adventure Tri. Chapter 2: Determination. Is this next Digimon adventure feature worth seeing or does it fail to ignite that reminiscent to the original “DigiDestined” team?

Synopsis: The DigiDestined go to a nearby hot springs theme park and everyone has a good time, but Joe doesn’t show up because he wants to study for his exams. Another infected Digimon, Ogremon, attacks Odaiba. Gomamon runs away from home while Mimi faces problems with the other DigiDestined and her classmates because of her selfish ideas. Would Joe accept his responsibilities as a DigiDestined before it’s too late? (IMDB)

Starring: Joshua Seth, Colleen Villard, and Mona Marshall

Writer: Akiyoshi Hongo (creator)

Director: Keitaro Motonaga

Rating: G (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 88mins

Trailer: 

Determination was a step backwards in comparison to Reunion. It was still fun to catch up with the DigiDestined gang (and their Digimon), but Determination just feels like a “filler” entry in this six-part feature film series. Like before, Determination is directed by Keitaro Motonaga, who previous anime series include Quiz Magic Academy and Yumeria. Much like Reunion, Montonaga still continues to do a good job in reestablishing the original DigiDestined kids, who are now in the High school and dealing with more “teenage” issues as well still continuing to deal with the new “infected” Digimon threat.

Of course, the movie gives each of the DigiDestined their moment in the spotlight, but Determination gives several big and important moments to both the characters of Joe and Mimi. This decision is interesting as both Joe and Mimi never really got their “moment” over the course of the show. Tai and Matt are always prominent characters (being the leaders of the team), Izzy is always the talented intellect, and even T.K. and Kari were important players in the television series. First, Mimi has always been the out-spoken and self-centered one of the group and its neat that she realized this. As for Joe, his narrative arc in Determination is probably the most compelling and intriguing. Basically, Joe is too busy studying and getting ready for school to hang out with the rest of his DigiDestined friends. This reflects upon his outlook of life, looking to the future as an adult (beyond Digimon and being a DigiDestined).

The Digimon characters themselves are a delight to see once again, especially in their cute “rookie” level. However, one of the greatest things that happens in Determination is to see Gomamon and Palmon (that’s Joe and Mimi’s Digimon) reach the mega level digievolution of Vikemon and Rosemon. This is big as only Agumon (as WarGreymon) and Gabumon (as MetalGarurumon) were the only two Digimon that were able to reach the mega evolution. So, it was cool to see this as all the rest of the Digimon to the DigiDestined team will surely reach the mega level in the coming entries. Lastly, it was cool that Determination still uses the song “brave heart~tri.Version” by Ayumi Miyazaki that was first appeared in Reunion.

While Reunion did have its fair share of problems (but ultimately proved to be a welcomed introduction for Digimon Adventure Tri.), Determination falls below it predecessor in several areas. For starters (and this looks like it’s going to be a reoccurring trend throughout the entire series), the animation is still a somewhat of a mixed bag. The overall animation looks okay, but there are still plenty of moments (i.e. faraway shots and a few close-up shots) that either look shoddy or bad (much like in Digimon: The Movie). The Digimon look better, especially when they Digi-evolve and / or partaking in battle, but since Determination doesn’t have much of battles / action, it’s quite noticeable for most of the feature.

Another problem with this movie is the lack of action. While Reunion had the task of reintroducing us to the original eight DigiDestined characters and their Digimon, the movie still had enough time to feature roughly three cool battles throughout its runtime. Determination, however, only really has one or one and a half. To be truthful, most of Determination’s runtime is delegated to either character building (i.e. Joe, Mimi, and Meiko) or a bit of comical relief (especially with the Digimon). That means that the movie doesn’t have a lot of time for action or battles. Sure, the battle with Imperialdramon is kind of cool with Gomamon digievolving into Vikemon and Palmon digievolving into Rosemon, but that’s towards the end, forcing us to sit through some pretty boring stuff like when the DigiDestined team goes to a Hot Spring to relax. Thus, those expecting to see a lot of Digimon battles in Determination are going to be disappointed. In addition, the movie does little to advance the overall narrative arc of Digimon Adventure Tri. (i.e. the distortions and the infected Digimon that are coming through). There’s a couple of new insights here and there, but Determination merely presents new questions rather than answering old ones.

This includes the appearance of Ken Ichijouji (a protagonist / antagonist character in Digimon Adventure 02) who seems to have slip back into his evil Digimon Emperor appearance / persona. However, is it really Ken? Or is it someone else pretending to be him? Unfortunately, this was unclear as Determination doesn’t give much to time to explain his appearance (he doesn’t even speak in the movie). The sudden appearance of Ken will probably be explained in the upcoming installments, but it just seems a bit out of place. Speaking of Ken and of Digimon Adventure 02, where is the rest of DigiDestined team from Digimon Adventure 02 (i.e. Davis, Cody, and Yolei)? Where are they? This further adds to the confusion when Imperialdramon appears, which was the mega level evolution to Davis’s partner Digimon Veemon. Where’s Davis? This didn’t make sense!

Just like in Reunion, Determination continues to use some of the original English Dub voice actors from TV series, including veteran voice actors like Joshua Seth as Tai Kamiya, Colleen Villard as Sora Takenouchi, Mona Marshall as Izzy Izumi, and Philece Sampler as Mimi Tachikawa. Even some of the voice actors for the Digimon come back, including Tom Fahn as Agumon, Kirk Thornton as Gabumon, Jeff Nimoy as Tentomon, and Robert Martin Klein as Gomamon were a welcome sight, bringing a sense of familiarity and maybe a bit of Digi-nostalgia within their performances. The other non-Digimon veteran voiceover work, included Robbie Daymond as Joe Kiddo, Vic Mignogna as Matt Ishida, Tara Sands as Kari Kamiya, and Johnny Yong Bosch as T.K. Takaishi, are good in their roles, but it would’ve been cool to hear their original voices once again as the “new” voices don’t quite compare to the ones from the first two Digimon seasons.

Making an appearance at the end of Reunion, Meiko Mochizuki, voiced by Cristina Vee, and her partner Digimon Meicoomon, voiced by Kate Higgins, join the DigiDestined team as the newest members. Additionally, characters like Daigo Nishijima, voiced by Doug Erholtz and Maki Himekawa, voiced by Cherami Leigh, continue to solid voice work in their respective roles, lingering in the background and trying to keep tabs on the DigiDestined kids. Lastly, with the exception of the appearance of Leomon, who is voiced by Paul St. Peter (the original English voice for Leomon), Determination really doesn’t have any new characters that appear besides Ogremon and Ken Ichijouji (both of whom don’t speak in the film).

The DigiDestined continue look for answer about the mysterious distortions of late and about the infected Digimon in the new movie Digimon Adventure Tri. Chapter 2: Determination. Director Keitaro Motonaga’s second installment in this six-part series continues to expand the narrative of the original set of DigiDestined characters (and their Digimon) as well as introducing the newest team members (Meiko and Meicoomon), while adding an interesting twist ending. Unfortunately, with the lack of action scenes, the film features a surplus filler time that doesn’t advance the plot and a drop in animation quality. Determination can’t overcome what Reunion was able to achieve. Personally, it was somewhere between good and okay. It was interesting to see Joe and Mimi get their moment in the spotlight (and to see Digimon reach “mega” level evolution), but it was a bit lackluster. Still, if you’re a fan of Digimon (both the original TV show and of Digimon Adventure Tri.), Determination, despite its flaws, is still a more than adequate feature film to watch. With Chapter 3 (Confession) already out in Japan as well as Chapter 4 (Loss) still on the way, it will be still interesting to see where this new anime feature film series will go from here. Hopefully, Confession is better than Determination.

3.2 Out of 5 (Recommended / Iffy Choice)

If interested, check out my movie blog @ Jason’s Movie Blog for my reviews of current movies

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