This is the sixth Digimon season and its fourth spin-off. Most of its elements have remained the same so please read my review on the earlier seasons before reading this one. I will only be mentioning the differences amongst them.
Despite the franchise’s attempts to be more mature with Savers, the sales were still not that good. People had simply gotten over the whole fad by now and thus there was very little interest in it. Yet 4 years later they make another one in hopes of rekindling the interest of the newer generation. And boy, did they mess up badly. It’s not like there ever were too in-depth stories in the franchise (although the third season was really close to that) but at least they were giving you the feeling of progress, and there was always some sort of plot twist along the way. This time they didn’t even bother to make it at least a bit mysterious and went for a completely simplistic and repetitive plot. I liked the Digimon franchise for trying a lot harder than Pokemon to offer an on-going plot, so in this case I was greatly disappointed to see IT IS POKEMON!
The production values are good in terms of artwork, but compared to the year it came out, it seems to have crude animation and unimpressive music themes. There is way too much emphasis given to energy attacks instead of body motions, and most of the lead Digimon’s transformations look bulky and ugly.
There is no innovation or much of a story to write anything about. Some kids are taken to the Digiworld, where one of them is immediately identified as the prophesized savior. He is teamed up with a snotty Digimon who wants to be the king of the world by trashing the current evil empire that has control. And this is where all the story stops since all you see later on is episodic missions. They go to one area, beat the local villain, secure some sort of code that is needed to unlock the final boss mission, and move on. And it keeps up like this FOR THREE SEASONS OF REPETITIVENESS! Completely boring in a few episodes.
What is even worse is how they took out all the importance of secondary characters. The previous seasons had several kids with their own role in the story, and every Digimon had its own style and character. You can forget all than in this season because besides Taiki the destined hero, and Shoutmon his megalomaniac Digimon, all the others are mooks! Seriously, only Taiki has the device that allows his Digimon to fuse with others and fight the evil monsters. And only Shoutmon has a goal in the show. All the others are just cheerleaders or useless mute cameos from earlier seasons. Hell man, even the enemy Digimons are now mostly mass produced goons without a voice and a personality or one-dimensional megalomaniac villains. And geez, they defeat an entire army of them in almost every episode, thus further lowering their importance. And how is it possible to do all that since episode 1 you may wonder? Simple, THERE IS NO LEVELING UP ANYMORE! Instead of having a gradual upscale in powers and moving from, you know, basic, to warrior, to super, to mega, here all they do is fusing Shoutmon with any Digimon they have handy at the moment to go beat hordes of mook monsters with little effort. It’s like he can turn from basic to mega right away and already from the pilot episode. WHERE IS THE INTEREST IN THAT?
The crapiness doesn’t end here, since even these crummy details are further ruined by even more ridiculous handling. Imagine a Digimon, whose only role in the show is to be a cute mascot. It is called Cutemon! For Pete’s sake! There was Palumon in the third season looking all cute and such, but it eventually had a very important role later on and its name was never iamherejustasamoemascotmon. And it also seems they have run out of names because all they are doing is adding a prefix to an already existing name. Do you remember Leomon? Here comes MadLeomon, just because he is evil. As for Shoutmon, he is a very irritating critter from playing it all bossy and pushy and keeps screaming how he will rule the world. As for the way he fights, even that is lame. He can fuse with any other Digimon to turn into a ridiculous looking mecha. And plays hard rock, as if that makes him badass in our eyes. Well no, he is very obnoxious and immature and I hate him! As for his name, it changes when fused to the most innovating Shoutmon V2 and then Shoutmon V3. Pure genius. And as for the hero of the story, he is named Taiki. Which again is a rehash of the first season’s Tai, with an extra ki in the end. Other than that, THEY ARE IDENTICAL!
This crappiness continues for THREE SEASONS and then the rather charismatic hero is replaced by a complete idiot successor, who runs off to bring in cameos of earlier characters and Digimons, just for the sake of having something to fill in this shitty show. Did they forget how the second Digimon show was bad for placing too much importance on cameos instead of fleshing out the setting and the characters? This thing is nothing but a hollow cameo parade of stunts and episodic Pokemon missions!
This is by far the worst setting of the franchise. A complete and utter disaster! Keep away at all costs!
Since I am following the franchise from their birth till now, I see they are almost deliberately making one good season, followed by a mediocre to bad season, before returning with something quite different and exciting. What I mean is:
- The first season, as basic as it was in overall plot, was also very good for its time (especially for proving to the anime fans what a crap the Pokemon anime is).
- The second season was nothing but a lighter version of the first, and felt too much like a tired rehash full of cameos that didn’t manage to get you equally excited.
- The third season was WAY too different that the other two, with a far more complicated and darker story. I really liked that one for boosting the sci-fi elements, and even becoming thriller at times.
- Then the fourth follows, which is a complete disappointment; nothing but a boring adventure to go save the world with far less substance and perplexity than even the first basic season.
- Then came the fifth season, where again it is a lot different than the rest by changing the artwork to a far more shounen style, and offering the characters a sort of profession instead of being aloof. Heck, even their Digimons where talking in a more mature way.
- And now we get the sixth season, which according to tradition needed to be mediocre to bad. Once more it feels like nothing but a rehash, heavily based on cameos and with little to no substance and perplexity.
- And if they follow the pattern, the next season will come out 5 years later (2015) and it will be a good one.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 7/10
General Artwork 1/2 (average production values)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (lots of explosions)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (average)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 0/2 (episodic)
Complexity 2/2 (collector’s urge)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 1/10
Presence 0/2 (annoying)
Personality 1/2 (cameos)
Backdrop 0/2 (almost non-existent)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (none)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 2/3 (very famous franchise)
Rewatchability 0/3 (never again)
Memorability 0/4 (try to forget it exists)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 0/1 (looks uninteresting)
Sound 0/2 (sounds boring)
Story 0/3 (there is no plot at all)
Characters 1/4 (I liked the cameos but that is all)
So, the Nth season of Digimon has actually combined all it's previous features, and in a well done tribute, it has made them work. Combining old characters and cameos from old generations with some new, more metallic digimon and some new characters, has added a new twist to the old series and I really surprisingly enjoyed it, despite what I thought it would be like.
So, the story of Digimon Xros Wars is about how this kid Taiki hears a voice calling for help in his head, and he goes to save it and finds a digimon named Shoutmon badly wounded. From then, a Xros Loader appears and Taiki is able to save (Yeah, I watched this in the Japanese dub, so all I know are the japanese names) Shoutmon. From then on, he is launched into the digimon world with his friends and Shoutmon in order to fight the evil Bagura? empire and free the world.
And, while that description sounds as generic as the rest of the series, here is why it works.
The story starts off with a great start with Shoutmon, the introduction of such characters as Nene (her name sounds stupid at first, but she is pretty boss) and Kiriha (who is also pretty boss). And then, you follow Taiki's adventures as he fights through the world of the Digimon and defeats the Bagura's bosses level after level, gaining a new crystal in order to complete the Digimon Crown and change the world.
And with the whole point being to defeat the Bagura Empire, I thought this would take a startling break from the age old defeat the realm boss but it didn't. It, instead, focused on that and took you through each stage, and it kinda flattened out. Sure, I was still entertained as the back stories of Kiriha, Nene, Taiki, and Akari all worked together to bring a surprisingly entertaining and absorbing sub plots that also managed to eventually tie into the mainplot. This series isn't so much centered around the main character Taiki, and actually some of the best characters and moments can be derived from those around him. Yet, without these characters, Taiki would have a hard time progressing as far as he does and it would be a true struggle to win.
And then there is a substantial plot twist, with Taiki being blasted back to the real world and everything changing.
From there, this story gets a lot more interesting as you see new sides to everything and anything within this world. That said, this story still has its fair share of problems as it kinda pans out with still the Boss of the Week feel, but it manages to swipe that aside by providing some truly good character development, story, and some actually interesting if not new villains.
This drawing style wasn't great, and it had some serious problems with regards to character design, but overall it was very well done. The battle scenes were well animated, and I found it sometimes a little gritty but it was still pretty cool. Most of the time it was fluid and smooth, without any hiccups.
The sound is decent, not really great and not really bad. THe soundtrack is rather bland, not really anything sticking out except the first opening in my opinion, Never give up! by Sonar Pocket. I found that the voice acting is actually quite well done, though, and is really good.
The characters in Digimon Xros Wars were really well done, exhibiting back story, actual sense, and how they reacted was very good. From Nene and her brother to Kiriha, from Taiki's naive optimism to Akari's sweet personality, I found all of these characters particularly memorable.
And the fact was, unlike a lot of the digimon series, they actually had character development: you would actually see them react in horror something, and they each had their own unique style and had their own goals for wanting the Digi Crown, particularly Taiki, Kiriha, and Nene. It's not like all the characters were mere bolt ons to Nene and Kiriha, as they were actually working towards their own goal and couldn't simply be swayed by the power of friendship.
For example, SPOILER ALERT Nene when her brother is being controlled she doesn't just believe in Taiki because he says WE're friends, right? No, instead, she starts to trust in him when he attempts to save her brother, and even then it's not like she turns into a useless heroine. She still tries her best to save her little brother, even though it might not be the best way.
This series is quite good, and I would recommend for anyone to watch it. It combine some classic retro battling with new character twists and actual plot lines and character development that make for an interesting setting and story. Sure, the pacing is not the best and in fact it can get quite laggy, but it is still well worth the watch.
So, if you have nothing better to do, give Digimon Xros Wars a spin.