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by Richard Eisenbeis,

Digimon Adventure 02 The Beginning

Digimon Adventure 02 The Beginning Anime Film Review
Two years after the events of Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna, a giant digi-egg appears in the skies above Tokyo Tower. When, Rui, a young man with a battered digivice falls from Tokyo Tower after trying to reach the egg, Davis and his friends leap into action to help. But little do they know that this will be the start to an adventure that will force them to question the very foundation of their relationships with their Digimon partners.

While Digimon Adventure 02 The Beginning may feature the return of Davis, Yolei, Cody, Ken, T.K., and Kari as the central team of DigiDestined, this movie isn't really about them. Oh sure, they are present in almost every scene. There are numerous fun interactions between them (some even setting the stage for Digimon Adventure 02's infamous epilogue), and each gets their chance to shine throughout the story. However, when it comes down to it, this film is about a new character, Rui, the first DigiDestined. Our heroes serve as both audience proxy and a supporting force to help Rui in the closing chapter of his story.

Overall, Rui's tale is a Digimon-themed psychological horror story. Centered around a child suffering from severe domestic abuse, it's built around the idea that children and Digimon are innocent—they only want to be happy and make others happy. However, the fact remains that great evil can come from such innocence—that both goal and purpose can be pure and entirely without malice but still cause untold suffering. This is not a movie about some big evil enemy that needs a hearty beatdown. It's a story about how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

On the other hand, the moral of the story is one of the importance of communication in any relationship. Things go as bad as they do in Rui's life because he and those around him make assumptions about what others are thinking and feeling—too caught up in themselves to see the world around them properly. Instead of reaching out to get to know each other, everyone takes everything at face value—setting up a tragedy that could have been easily avoided with a few conversations and some self-introspection. It's a good, if simplistic, moral—and one we could all stand to remember a bit more often in our everyday lives.

As a standalone story, Digimon Adventure 02 The Beginning is solid. However, as part of the greater Digimon Adventure series, it does a lot to alter the series' lore—implying that vast swaths were either misconceptions or manufactured by an outside force. As a longtime Digimon fan, this will be the aspect of the film that tests your suspension of disbelief.

Visually, the film looks great. Mixing 2D and 3D animation throughout, there is a lot of fanservice when it comes to the actual Digimon. We get both normal Digivolutions and DNA Digivolutions (though, no Armor Digivolutions, sadly), and the big action set piece of the film has tons of cool shots and dynamic camera work to show them off. The music also plays heavily into the Digimon Adventure 02 nostalgia with new versions of the series' iconic theme songs.

All in all, there's a lot here for fans of the original Digimon Adventure 02 to love. On the one hand, it's a welcome change to have this team of heroes right back in the thick of things after being sidelined for much of Tri and Last Evolution Kizuna. Moreover, we get a great original story with a deep theme and solid morals. On the other, it throws such a major wrench into Digimon lore that I can't help but feel more than a few people will be upset. When it comes down to it, if you're a fan who can accept the retcons and their implications, you'll probably enjoy this film. If not, you likely won't.

Overall : B+
Story : B+
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B+

+ A Digimon-themed psychological horror story centered around the innocence of children and Digimon alike. Lots of Digimon Adventure 02 fanservice.
Retcons vast swaths of Digimon Adventure lore.

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Production Info:
Director: Tomohisa Taguchi
Screenplay: Akatsuki Yamatoya
Music: Harumi Fuuki
Original Concept: Akiyoshi Hongo
Character Design: Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru
Art Director: Ayu Kiyoki
Chief Animation Director:
Rie Nishimura
Seiji Tachikawa
Animation Character Design: Seiji Tachikawa
Sound Director: Satoki Iida
Director of Photography: Shinya Kuwabara
Executive producer:
Satoshi Shinohara
Atsushi Suzuki
Katsuhiro Takagi
Fumio Yoshimura

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Digimon Adventure 02 The Beginning (movie)

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