This is the third Digimon season and its first 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.
The production values improved a lot. The new Digimons look way more detailed and interesting, there are a lot more special attacks and visual effects and even the 3D models no longer feel crude. Voice acting feels more mature because of the darker story and the music themes are good and dynamic.
The scriptwriters decided to have alternative universes hereon, since they realized how they had nothing to add with direct sequels. So the story has an entirely new cast and the events of the previous seasons are presented as the story of a video/card game. Even the Digimons in this season are truly presented to be just a game. The kids play card games and videogames with them, as if they are just a normal marketing franchise. So one day they literally start to pop out of the virtual world into our own and the heroes need to defend their town from the untamed monsters by using their own tamed ones. Later on they go to the Digiworld, where they confront the major powers that rule it and a mysterious force that destroys life and plans to expand its reach to their world as well.
At first, I thought the producers debunked the series to a lame card game advertising series, like Yu-Gi-Oh! or Duel Masters. You know, another scam to brainwash kids into buying the game. But later on it becomes far darker and complicated than it lets you believe at first. First, the tamed Digimons need the kids for using cards that boost their capabilities in battles and absorb their enemies to grow stronger, like leveling-up creatures in videogames. But later, they no longer stick to that premise and act differently, depending on circumstances. There are also some really good plot twists in here, like secret organizations, mega-corporations and hacker experts, all trying to gain and recover from a canceled videogame project. What more to ask?
Also, this season does not repeat the mistake of the second and focuses on its characters, fleshing them out considerably. Finally, we have backdrop stories; both the kids and several Digimons have a clear and distinguished past and identity. Even the Digimons acquire separate personalities instead of feeling like vague extensions of their masters. They also mature as the story progresses; not too much but enough to tell the difference. And adding several adults as secret agents and hackers gave the entire cast more variety and realism. It’s no longer about a bunch of kids saving the world, it is now about every age group trying to do their best in this crisis. Being character-centered along with more mysterious, way scarier, with bearable teen drama and perplexing plot it becomes very good in overall. I also didn’t find any plot holes in it, so it even feels plausible and not convenient.
In all, it is not just a marketing trick, nor one of the same as before. It is better on every section than the previous two seasons and I recommend it as a very good children’s adventure.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (looks good)
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 (flashy)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 8/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 1/2 (mostly formulaic but does have its plot twists)
Complexity 2/2 (collector’s urge)
Plausibility 2/2 (they did a fine job)
Conclusion 2/2 (satisfactory)
CHARACTER SECTION: 9/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well established)
Backdrop 2/2 (they all have a past)
Development 2/2 (most develop a lot)
Catharsis 2/2 (satisfactory)
VALUE SECTION: 8/10
Historical Value 2/3 (very famous franchise)
Rewatchability 2/3 (high if you liked its turn around)
Memorability 4/4 (amongst the most memorable of its kind)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 8/10
Art 1/1 (looks good)
Sound 1/2 (sounds ok)
Story 3/3 (they did a fine job with what they had)
Characters 3/4 (I liked them for being more than caricatures)
Best Digimon season of them all.