Wednesday, December 12, 2012
25 Days of Anime - #14: Digimon Adventure
I watched Digimon through the first three seasons, and most of my favorite memories with it stem from the first two, as they were directly tied to one another. It's been said by many fans of Digimon that, though Pokémon generally has better video games, Digimon has arguably the better anime adaptation. Honestly, I could not agree more. Though Pokémon does have a single continuous story, the writers seem to hit a reset button with each season, leading viewers to more or less forget about the Pokémon Ash caught in the previous region. Also, the episodes of Pokémon (with perhaps the exception of the tournament battles and such) can more or less be viewed in any order without much being lost in translation.
It is interesting to me that, while both Pokémon and Digimon were aimed at a similar demographic of young viewers, that they would take such drastically different approaches to storytelling. In Digimon, there is a definite order to the plot progression, as well as a definitive endgame in mind each season. There are certain episodes that throw in silly subplots, which is in part a result of the weird and irregular nature of the digital realm from which the Digimon hail. But from the Black Gears to the final battle against Piedmon and his forces, there is a fairly consistent progression and amping up of the intense situations the DigiDestined face.
Though I am partial to the cast from the first season, the second season of Digimon Adventure did well to revisit familiar faces and introduce new ones. The theme of a torch being passed on to a new generation of DigiDestined - aided in no small part by the film that bridged the gap between the two seasons - allows the series to gradually head in a new direction while still retaining its roots. Similarly, the use of eggs and multiple Digivolved forms for each of the lead Digimon was a fun and creative spin on the previously established formula. And to add one further twist to the second season, the DigiDestined were pitted against the Digimon Emperor - a fellow human who had invaded the Digital World following the events of the first season and taken control.
There have been many franchises since the days of Digimon and Pokémon that have tried to reach the same degree of fame and recognition, but the only one that has really come close to becoming so appealing to a young demographic is that of Yu-Gi-Oh!, which followed not long after. Digimon is a fun series from start to finish, and though it is clearly written for younger viewers, it still one of my favorite anime of all time. It's one of the first anime I ever watched, and I consider it to be one of the most inspiring toward my own personal creative works.