Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon (Dejimon adobenchâ 02 - Diaboromon no gyakushû) (2001)
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Critic Reviews for Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon (Dejimon adobenchâ 02 - Diaboromon no gyakushû)
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Audience Reviews for Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon (Dejimon adobenchâ 02 - Diaboromon no gyakushû)
(Note: this essay refers to the series that this "movie" is based upon, as that series does not have its own page) In television, sequels are infamous. They are an arduous undertaking that requires extraordinary attention to detail and diligence, explaining why relatively few are ever attempted, and even fewer manage to strike a chord. Compounding the problem is that even on the off-chance that a successful one manages to be seen through production, it will rarely garner the same recognition as its predecessor. "Digimon 02", one of only two sequel series in the Digimon franchise, is one of those successive stories that manage to work in spite of their hindrances, actually outclassing the original in several notable ways. All things considered, Digimon 02 boasts the strongest story in the franchise. Individuals who revile this series due to the contrary notion have become increasingly confident in making themselves known, quite ironic considering the less than exemplary storytelling of the original Digimon series. Much more poignancy and depth is to be found in the succeeding storyline, which goes beyond a journey to defeat evil and save the world, and even though that element is still present this does not come across as a simple case of "how do we destroy the bad guy". Rather this is a tale of redemption, forgiveness and even obsession, all founded upon the most interesting and sinister villainous plot the franchise has yet seen. It is quite involving, more so than the original, containing a greater number of details and developments that one can really appreciate looking back on after the story concludes. Now, what exactly is the reason for this? Plainly, this season contains the story of Ken Ichijouji. While such a creative decision has been appropriately lauded, the manner in which it elevates the narrative to levels that have remained unmatched in this franchise has been largely unnoticed: it is the heart. The details surrounding Ken's fall and redemption provide riveting preceding events, and repercussions that extend to the rest of the series, granting an emotional center that the original series never saw. The manner in which this all plays out is not too shabby. Following the first act, the details of the grand villainous scheme are gradually unraveled, with key revelations made at different points instead of being all unloaded in one or two episodes. This creates a better sense of mystery and leads to a suitably grim final story arc that keeps the audience in suspense until the final battle and manages to resolve things commendably. By the time the final act is well underway, one can see how the previous ones have resonated in that several of their more personal elements (Ken's evil persona, the control spires, the origins of Arukenimon and Mummymon) play a part in the rising action. Compare this to Tamers, where the only things from the first act that resurface in the final one are the Juggernaut program and Shibumi's algorithm, both of which play no organic part in anyone's personal journey. Of course, engaging as it is, the narrative is hardly perfect. Many of the missteps fall under the category of infamous unresolved plot points, such as with the World of Darkness, which pose some unfortunate lost opportunities, such as with Kari and Ken's connection to that place. There are also some developments that slow the narrative, an oft cited example being the World Tour, but this did not bug me too much because a.) it was not random and was part of the final villain's plot and b.) it was fun to watch. This is a type of problem evidently more prominent here than in the other volumes, but given the breadth of this series and the fact that the subplots, unresolved as some are, complement the main storyline instead of obstruct it, the overall experience is not hampered significantly. Even in weakness, I am surprised by how much I find to appreciate. The initial arc, which could have easily been truncated to avoid some of the irritating meandering that plagues all of the seasons, boasts the best introduction in the form of the first two episodes. Beyond this, I think one might note that '02 contains some rather unique elements. How many other seasons in this franchise show the heroes during Christmas activities or actually travelling the globe to deal with a world-wide threat? As redundant as it is to say, the characters of season 2 are not as memorable or endearing as most of those of season 1, but honestly that does not make them bad. The new ones themselves are actually rather likeable, except maybe for Yolie, who is comparatively shallow (and that's a heavily emphasized "maybe" because she does make some notable contributions). I liked how there is an establishment of the relationship between the new kids and the old, and also how the new ones share some traits with the old, but more than anything are like themselves. Davis, for example, is NOT a clone of Tai. He may also like soccer and tries to be confident, but he is also initially insecure, more prone to mistakes and even envious, developing different virtues than Tai during the run of the series. He is often played for laughs, having an amusing running string of bad luck that provides some of the funniest lines in the series, but is also a main driving force in the story, making him significantly different from such characters as Kazu and Kenta. Even Cody is inarguably more substantial as the youngest member of the group than T.K. ever was. What I like most about the new group, though, is that specific relationships build amongst them, resulting in an overall better effort to have the kids understand each other and facilitate each other's growth. This is encouraged by the concept of DNA digivolution, giving us possibly the most well introduced ultimate level monsters in the franchise; it is a fine example of how the action can complement the story and the characterization. Combine this with the question of trust between the team and Ken and their efforts to help him forgive himself and you get a group dynamic not present in any other season. The only real complaint I have in this area is that some of the relationships, such as the Davis/T.K./Kari matter, are not really capitalized on past a certain point, and it's remarkable that the Ishida family's situation is never expanded upon. Even so, the successes clearly outweigh the shortcomings. Much of this is a testament that Digimon 02 was intended to be its own thing instead of retreading the path of its predecessor. Consider the developments and intentions of the group itself. While the original group generally suffered disunity and a lack of confidence, the new one becomes unified early on and primarily deals with the qualms from difficult situations. Perhaps even more impressive than the heroes are the villains, who inarguably have more substance than before. I love how they all have an interconnected history that provides many of the motivating questions and secrets that make the plot so interesting. There is much mystery surrounding their introductions, giving the impression that their inclusion is significant. Take Arukenimon, for example, who gradually reveals herself after the first act. She clearly had a hand in the events preceding the series and plays a part in the central conflict for the rest of the story. Such an involvement that runs the majority of the series enables the audience to become better invested in them and properly explore their intentions and concerns. This is not the usual "attack and conquer" fare seen in much of this genre. The motivations run deeper than that and the enmity with the heroes feels more personal. Watch the scene where Myotismon berates Gatomon, then watch Ken's conversation with Arukenimon through the computer and consider the difference. Furthermore, this is quite a versatile lot. They can be menacing, creepy, sympathetic and even a little vulnerable at times. Even the tools utilized by the villains are more interesting, a great example of which being the oft disregarded control spires. Yes, they are used by the villains for most of the story, but they are used differently as the series progresses. Unlike with the throwaway idea of the black gears, of which we learn nothing, the writers here were diligent enough to gradually reveal the history and purposes of the control spires in such a way that by the final act, in both a figurative and very literal sense, the ubiquitous spires become characters themselves. It is a good amendment to this franchise that I bet most people don't think about. The writing is also notable because not only is it good, it is superior to that of any other, except Tamers. Granted, the presence of silly jokes, puns and even logical inconsistencies remains, but on average it is very clear that it was written with more effort. In its own line this is a more thoughtful show with a decent balance of whimsical energy and appropriately serious exchanges, and a thematic strength that is yet to be equaled. Indeed, recognizing the dominant themes is essential to becoming involved in this series because those who do not will miss the point, regardless of how well they know the story. Consider the case of Cody, who learns the importance of understanding others and being open to people's rehabilitation. What about Yolie and Kari, who have different ways of dealing with fear of personal infirmities, and help each other to build self-confidence? That trust is difficult to build is evidently not lost upon this anime. It is things like this that make for a narrative that can teach the target audience some rather good lessons, a great advantage for any television series. There are times when the silliness is pushed a bit far, such as with some of Yolie's antics, Azulongmon's weird lines and the final episode of the world tour, as well as some plot devices that seriously begged an explanation, but I feel that these do not severely detract from the overall viewing experience. The humor and action are also more effective compared to most of the other seasons. Sure, it is not up to par with the most popular sitcoms or the best summer blockbusters, but it still works quite well for this genre. The humor is more subtle and reliant on character interactions, while the action, abundant as it may be, does a better job of complementing the story, with less "random skirmishes of the day", more confrontations with the main villains and battles that are noticeably more kinetic. In all honesty, I find it a shame that, among fans, this series is not as recognized as its predecessor or successor because it certainly has its merits, yet for some probably not too cryptic reasons comparatively few seem to acknowledge that. It is not brilliant, but considerably better than the vast majority of its genre and balanced to the point that anyone could enjoy it for what it is. I enjoyed the first season, but I enjoyed the second even more, for it is one of only two seasons in this franchise bold enough to try something quite different and aspires to an emotional level not reached by anything else in Digimon. Bottom line, anyone may have their own reasons for regarding any of the seasons as the best, but for me this one stands the tallest.
This movie is better than I expected it to be. The animation on Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon is mostly good and true to the show, and the voice talents on the whole were dynamic and expressive and aided by some good dialogue. The characters are likable, even the villains were adequate. The movie was also very funny. Whenever something bad was going to happen a character would make a joke. Fans of Digimon, especially the Japanese digimon series, must watch this movie.
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