The Digimon franchise used to be a big thing in the early 2000s. Although on surface level it was just a proxy battle show that was only aiming to sell videogames to kids, it was also the perfect isekai. Despite being a trapped in a videogame story it didn’t have the bullshit of the 2010 isekai. It had a complete story, it wasn’t rushed, it was allocating screentime to all its main characters, and it wasn’t about forming a harem in a fantasy realm since the characters wanted to return home. They weren’t killed and removed from their world, just so they could permanently be having a jolly time while playing videogames, as is the trend nowadays.
The second season lost a lot of the charm of the first since it had basically turned into another power fantasy. The kids were now chosen ones who were coming in and out of the videogame whenever they felt like it, they were having fun in it, and their monsters were at max level. The tension of the first season just wasn’t there anymore. And as it turns out the reboot of the franchise suffers from the exact same issues.
A lot of things have changed in those 20 years it took for the reboot to happen. The demand for better animation has skyrocketed, which is why we longer get those awful CGI transformations of the original. Along with it the need for instant gratification also skyrocketed, as people of today lose their interest a lot easier if they don’t get a dopamine fix every few minutes. That means nowadays the pacing has to be a lot faster and there has to be a lot more spectacle in every episode. Something that becomes a huge detriment to characterization and power escalation.
The original show was spending a big portion of every episode in showing one of the kids facing a problem in a coming of age way. The ending was reserved for a battle with an enemy monster where you would get a couple of transformations and a few minutes of spectacle. The plot structure was simple, but it was functional in giving you the time to like what is going on. The new version doesn’t do that as it’s rushing to have as much action as possible; meaning it doesn’t give the characters the time to think about what to do next. Heck, it tells them right away that they are special chosen ones. You cannot empathize with them since you don’t feel they are going through important shit. They are messiahs amidst dozens of transformations and special attacks per episode, which makes the whole thing to be hollow spectacle instead of character drama.
The power scaling is another issue with the new version. They were rushing to introduce all the different evolutions instead of doing it gradually. As a result, because of their frequency transformations quickly became redundant. More importantly the last evolutions eclipsed the lesser stages very quickly and made them feel like filler, something which wasn’t the case with the original, since over there every new evolution would stick around for a dozen episodes before the next one comes up.
Another issue is that in the reboot Taichi and Agumon are always at a far higher level of power than the rest. In the original the kids were at the same level the whole time and thus felt equally important. Over here Taichi monopolizes the action in every final showdown and the rest feel like a bunch of Yamchas waiting for Goku to arrive and save the day with his broken powers. It just makes them to not be important. Even as far as spectacle goes, most of the times they don’t even get the impressive transformations of Agumon. If the very animators don’t care about them, why should you?
Along with that, the conflicts don’t feel important either, because they are same-y. Instead of gradually introducing more and more powerful enemies that raise the stakes as the episodes go by, in the reboot you get planet-threatening monsters since episode 1. The writers had the brilliant idea to begin the show with Our War Game, which is the first movie and a major highlight that happened after the end of the first arc. You get god-level Digimon enemies in the freaking pilot episode! There is no room for escalation after that; every other big bad had to be planet-threatening and thus the order they fight them doesn’t matter. Furthermore many of them were supposed to be lieutenants of even bigger bad guys, which didn’t make any sense power-wise because they were all equally powerful.
So yeah, as a whole it was hollow spectacle and nowhere near the quality of the original. There were only two minor improvements compared to it, one was the much better visuals (which don’t mean anything if the characters are Yamchas) and the other is the removal of the naughty stuff that were making the original unnecessarily creepy at times. Beyond that I don’t recommend it, stick with the original because retro always wins.
When I decided to watch this version of Digimon, I thought it was going to be a remake of Digimon Adventure from 1999-2000.
The adventure the children have is different from the one told in the original version, but not as good.
As for the animation, it is not very different from the original version. It is noticeable that it is a more recent animation, but it did not change the design of the characters at all.
Regarding the music, I thought this was going to be based on the original soundtrack. While the new music isn't bad, in my opinion the original is much more nostalgic. Even the opening, which is unchanged throughout the anime, ends up being a bit boring compared to the original anime.
The character development and evolution was what I found most disappointing about this anime. Taichi and Agumon have too much protagonism in this new version, not giving other characters much of a chance to develop or have much of an impact, at least individually. The digimons digievolute very quickly, never return to their most basic state after weakening, and are able to go back into action without restoring power. These points take away from the essence of the original digimons. However, it was interesting that they added alternative versions of some digievolutions and also added all the Mega Digievolutions of the digimons.
The story, despite not being bad, occurs in a very rushed way, mainly in the first half of the anime. It's also worth mentioning that there isn't a gradual evolution of the villains' power, as in this version they always highlight a boring villain with a strange design that seems to get stronger as he's faced until his final defeat.
Overall, not a bad anime for anyone interested in seeing a new version of Digimon Adventure. But if you loved the original I think watching this version might lead to an unnecessary waste of time.
Fine story and smoother animation. I personally like it more than the old version. Some of the main characters don't have as much dramatic development but I like it that way because the old version's full of puberty nonsense. These characters are much cooler, kind of more mature and likable.
It's a good show to enjoy in spare time.