TL;DR – A surprisingly mature and emotional end to a long
Post-Credit Scene – There are images during the mid-credits through to the end
Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna Review –
When I was growing up in the 90s, there was not enough time in the morning to watch Cheez TV, so you would stick the tape into the VCR and just waited all day to see what was taped when you got home. One of those shows that I still think back fondly on was Digimon Digital Monsters. It was this tale of these young kids getting trapped in a digital world, but they were not alone because they made friends with the local Digimon. It had two solid seasons where we followed their stories, but after that, they did the animated equivalent of Skins and shifted the whole world up and along the way I just got lost. Well, today I get to go back in time and revisit an old past with the conclusion to that story started so long ago. Just before we dive in (because I know this is important to some people), I watched the dubbed movie for this review, not the subbed. Purely because this is the version I grew up on, so this was the version I was going to say goodbye to.
So to set the scene, years have passed since the series and other movies and the DigiDestined have grown up and are going about their lives. However, across the world, an Aurora has been dazzling the night sky from New York to Tokyo. There is nothing to fear … the government says … right up until a portal to the digital world opens and Parrotmon (Yoshihito Sasaki) bursts forth. Luckily Tai (Joshua Seth), Matt (Nicolas Roye), T.K. (Johnny Yong Bosch) and Kari (Tara Sands) along with their Digimon can send it back to the digital world. However, in its wake, DigiDestined around the world have begun falling into a coma, and no one knows who will be next. Now in this review, I do want to spend some time exploring some of the themes, but that will head us into spoiler town real quick. So I will start with some general impressions before delving in more in-depth.
I liked that they opened the film with a little introduction, a little mystery, and then straight into a classic battle set to the music of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero. We see Angemon and Angewomon crash through the air, Agumon (Chika Sakamoto) Digivolve into Greymon, and even Garurumon come in to save the day. I am not sure anything has transported me back in time so fast, bar maybe the Power Rangers movie. It is here where we get to see the animation in all its glory. It cuts a delicate balance by still being reminiscent of the past but being brought into the future. There are moments throughout the film that gave me chills because they were so stunning.
With the story, they do go into this, assuming that the audience knows the fundamentals about the franchise because they don’t spend any time setting up the world that we know—only setting up what has changed since our last outing. I will say that even if you have not watched the show before, you will probably be able to follow along if you pay attention in that first fight where there is a lot of show but no tell. I will say that I didn’t think the story itself, especially the setup, was the film’s strong point. There were a lot of moments where you go ‘oh this is going to happen’ and sure enough. However, while it is not doing anything revolutionary, it hits all the marks it needs to. Also, just about everyone in the series gets a mention or visit at some point in the film, but there are only so many minutes in the movie. This limit means that they focus in on only a couple of the group, which means if your favourite is not one of them, then that might be a bit of a drag for you.
Now even though this has been out in Japan for a while, I do still want to warn people that we are about dive into some deep [SPOILERS] for the film and if you have not seen it probably skip over these next two paragraphs. Where the film does shine is in its exploration of growing up and experiencing loss. Both Tai and Matt are at the point in their lives where they are trying to find out what they want to do with their lives, but nothing is coming together, a feeling that hit a little too close to home. Seeing them all grown up and having a beer over dinner was such a shock at first but is all explore with care. So the revelation that time is coming to an end with their Digimon hits them hard, and so too the audience. There is a reality that as you get older, you don’t get to see as much of your childhood friends as you used to, and that is a sadness that I think we can all sympathise with. This coming loss means that everything they do comes with a cost, which makes every choice they make impactful in a way that it would not have usually been (even if they do throw in a single line of dialogue that might let them retcon some things if they choose).
This also extends to the main antagonist of the film which I think people will pick coming a mile away even with the twin ‘me are the bad guys but like so obviously which means that we are not’ the film deploys. Menoa Bellucci (Erika Harlacher) is women haunted by her past, but the actions she took, and those she didn’t. It is a grief that gnaws at her soul and drives who she becomes as a person. Greif has shaped and defined who she is because she has let it grow like cancer in her body. Her grief is contrasted with the two main leads that also have to experience a lot of sadness and suffering, but they deal with it differently. This makes the final confrontation an emotional moment that I found myself tearing up during. There are moments when the film swings into a full menacing mode, and times that comes for the heartstrings and it always gets that tonal balance right. It is a goodbye that works both in the context of the movie, but in a meta sense in as a goodbye to the characters themselves.
In the end, do we recommend Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna? Absolutely. If you were a fan of the show growing up then make sure you get a chance to watch this goodbye. If you liked Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna, I would also recommend to you Mirai.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna
Directed by – Tomohisa Taguchi
Screenplay by – Akatsuki Yamatoya
Based on – Digimon Digital Monsters by Akiyoshi Hongo
Music by – Harumi Fuuki
Editingby – Kentaro Tsubone
Production/Distribution Companies – Yumeta Company, Toei Animation, Toei Company & AnimeLab
Japanese Voice Cast – Natsuki Hanae, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Suzuko Mimori, Mutsumi Tamura, Hitomi Yoshida, Junya Enoki, Junya Ikeda, Mao Ichimichi, Chika Sakamoto, Mayumi Yamaguchi, Atori Shigematsu, Takahiro Sakurai, Kinoko Yamada, Miwa Matsumoto, Junko Takeuchi, Yuka Tokumitsu, Fukujūrō Katayama, Ayaka Asai, Yoshitaka Yamaya, Arthur Lounsbery, Junko Noda, Kōichi Tōchika, Megumi Urawa, Naozumi Takahashi, Mayu Matsuoka, Daisuke Ono, Yuna Taniguchi, Hiroaki Hirata & Yoshihito Sasaki
English Voice Cast – Joshua Seth, Nicolas Roye, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Mona Marshall, Kate Higgins, Johnny Yong Bosch, Robbie Daymond, Tara Sands, Tom Fahn, Kirk Thornton, Cherami Leigh, Jeff Nimoy, Anna Garduno, Laura Summer, R. Martin Klein, Griffin Burns, Jeannie Tirado, Bryce Papenbrook, Derek Stephen Prince, Christopher Swindle, Robbie Daymond, Paul St. Peter, Erika Harlacher & Kaiji Tang
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: G; Germany: na; New Zealand: PG; United Kingdom: na; United States: G