So for today’s post, I’m going to backtrack to what I wrote about last time. I was very iffy about the new Digimon Adventure, thinking it to be a pointless reboot for reboot’s sake. I wanted it to be something more. I wanted it to show us a reason for existing past just retelling the same story. So I watched the first episode, and I must say that my first impression was…surprisingly pleased. Already, the first episode has given me hope that this reboot will, in fact, build upon the original Digimon and elevate it to new heights.
So what did the new Digimon do to convince me? Well, we’ll get into that in a second, but first I wanted to take a moment to talk about the things that made me sad: namely, the theme song. Now, I understand Koji Wada couldn’t perform the opening piece (may he rest in peace), but I still actually expected it to open with Butter-Fly. Unfortunately, I was sadly mistaken and the franchise had ditched the nostalgic song for a whole new opening. Which, yes the opening was good, but it didn’t immediately feel like Digimon Adventure without it. But in a way, that almost worked for it. I had been saying that I didn’t understand the reboot as they’d been creating more and more follow-ups with original Digimon Adventure (Tri, and most recently Last Evolution Kizuna), but these follow-ups always incorporated Butter-fly as their theme. And you know what? Every time I heard that sweet tune I got nostalgic and teared up. When I heard the new theme and watched the new opening…I started tearing up for a whole new reason. Because more than ever, it truly seemed like it was paving its own path apart from all of the Digimon Adventure content that had come before, yet it’s animation still drew from the old opening. It was like it was establishing itself as a different entity through the use of the theme song. And that? That made me pretty sad actually.
In terms of actual content, after watching this first episode, it is very clear that this story will not be the same as that of the original. The first Digimon sees the DigiDestined at summer camp in the first episode, but this season starts with Taichi (Tai) only just getting prepped to go to summer camp. During which, he and Koushirou (Izzy) suddenly become aware of cyber attacks that are happening all over the world and causing traffic accidents. This becomes of immediate concern as Taichi’s mother and sister Hikari (Kari) are currently on the train. The idea of cyber attacks is not new to the Digimon franchise, but the real world danger they pose certainly is. Back in old Digimon Adventure movies, a cyber attack would do nothing more than shut down communication or hack everyone’s computer. But immediately, Psi established that there were real world ramifications for these cyber attacks that posed a serious threat not just to society but also for Taichi. The new consequences of cyber attacks not just aligns with the fears of cyber attacks that we see today, it also brings something to Digimon that I’ve always wanted: danger.
Digimon has always been able to kind of get away with never truly putting it’s characters in any kind of real danger (the exception being Frontier where Kouichi almost DIED). In the Digital World, the kids would get a little scuffed up but otherwise it was their digimon who were taking the real hits and providing some of the most emotional moments (again. One word: Patamon). In a way, that made the danger feel very far away from the Digidestined. And again, even when the digital world bled into the real world, the danger never felt all that pressing. This new series has already shown that the danger is very real. And in just the first episode has managed to tie danger from the real world and the digital world into one. I’m guessing this is going to raise the emotional stakes for some of the series as a whole. Especially if the chosen children continue to move back and forth between the digital and real world.
Of course, as happy as I am that the reboot seems to be making good on the term “Reboot” and elevating the source material, I still wonder just how far this reboot will go. Aside from the main characters and the mention of “summer camp”, the first episode doesn’t really have a lot to call back to the original so far. With the new dangers and the new ability to travel back and forth, I wonder if the story itself will take off in an entirely new direction. So while it has certainly passed with flying colors on building the original more and bringing in new and exciting ideas, it still has to prove that it’s rooted in the original material. I want to see this digimon being refreshed with these new ideas. After all, if it’s too far away from the original then why not simply make it a new story with a new set of characters?
Anyway, this is all to say that the iffy feeling I had about the reboot has definitely gone away by now. The first episode was highly promising in terms of what I expected this reboot to do, and even though I will still watch it with a grain of salt, I’m starting to believe I’m going to enjoy this more than I thought. Anyway, what do you all think of the first episode? Or the new theme song??? Let me know in the comments below! Til next time.