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Shout! Factory sponsors today’s review on their home video release for Digimon Adventure tri. Loss. For those unaware, the film is the fourth installment in a series of movies Toei Animation produced to celebrate Digimon Adventure‘s 15th anniversary. It was the first in the Digimon anime franchise, and was immediately followed by Digimon Adventure 02 in 2000. Saban Brands originally distributed and dubbed the series in English for North America as apart of the Fox Kids television block.

Digimon Adventure tri. began with Chapter 1 – Reunion in Fall 2015, followed by Chapter 2 – Determination in Spring 2016 and then Chapter 3 – Confession in Fall 2016, which we reviewed last month here at Henshin Justice Unlimited. This time, we are looking at Digimon Adventure tri.: Chapter 4 – Loss which released in Japanese theaters on February 25, 2017 whereas it released in North America on February 1, 2017. The English dub is produced by Eleven Arts, and reunites several of the original cast, with Shout! Factory serving as the home video distributor. Each set is sold as Blu-Ray/ DVD combo packs.

Now, starting with the physical content, the case is simple and immaculate. It features a cardboard sleeve that mimics the case’s artwork and information. The art is a combination of the original Japanese poster on the front, and some screenshots on back. These stills are used to separate the summary of the film and special features from the overall disc specs/ legal material. However, that is not all, as the cover features an opposing image that fans will see by removing the slip, or viewing it through the case. The image is of a screenshot of the film with a cast billing, but unlike previous releases, this screenshot could be considered a spoiler. Besides the cover slip, the interior contains the Blu-Ray and DVD discs which have matching disc art; it is an image of Meiccomon with a red filter atop of it. Also, there will be a voucher to obtain a digital copy of the film. Furthermore, some copies may provide an additional micro flyer which promotes the May 10th screenings for Chapter 5 – Coexistence.

The discs do not open with trailers, and quickly arrive to the main menu. Both the Blu-Ray and DVD feature the same style of menu; a cycle of muted scenes from the movie, and accompanied by the new American theme, “Digimon Are Back (Again)!” Yet, each disc menu is composed of different scenes from the film. At the bottom is the taskbar that consists of the Play, Scenes, Audio, and Subtitle options. The special feature option is labelled specifically under its proper name, The Evolution So Far with Joshua Seth, and set between the Play and Scenes options; it is a 9-minute recap of the events from the previous three films. In addition, one would expect to only use subtitles for the Japanese audio, but if they are kept on with the English audio selected, the subtitles are presented as close captions.

Now, similar to the previous review I am still not entirely in love with Digimon Adventure tri., as an overall series. I find Toei Animations approach to this anniversary to be odd, especially when they recast half the cast. Whereas, the English dub took the liberty to reunite as many actors as possible. Furthermore, when it comes to the overall storytelling for this series of films it is sort of a slow burn, and attempts to keep the audience guessing.  However, as answers to problems are revealed more questions arise, making the story feel rather endless. Toei is really cutting it close, especially since this is part four of six films!

Yet, luckily enough Chapter 4 – Loss is decent follow up to Chapter 3 – Confession. It does not start immediately right where Confession leaves off, but does open with an interesting prologue-like flashback. This flashback actually reveals the origins of Azulongmon and the other Sovereigns! They turn out to be the partners of the true original Digidestined, and Baihumon is revealed to be Daigo’s partner. Whereas, Himekawa’s partner questionably sacrifices himself, so the others could digivolve to push back the Dark Masters’ first attack on the Digital World. The event traumatizes the young Himekawa, and eventually leads her down the dark path that brings us to the present; where currently the Digidestined attempt to rekindle their bonds with their Digimon, who have no memories of their past adventures.

Luckily with the reboot all the Digimon together unlike in the original series where Nyaromon was abandoned. However, while some of the Digidestined are immediately able to make a new connection to their partners, Sora seemingly is unable to. Yokomon is currently quite spiteful, and is not enthusiastic with Sora. It leads Sora to believe that she and Yokomon/ Biyomon will never be friends again. Whereas, in the real world Meiko longs to help Meiccomon and mysterious falls into the Digital World by her will alone, as Daigo attempts to investigate Himekawa. Daigo discovers his former lover is plotting something devious with Gennai, and Hackmon appears to further inform him on the situation at hand; Meiccomon was created to be the “Libra scale” for the Digital World, but she was infected with a virus and now it alone is bring forth trans-dimensional chaos.

Back in the Digital World, the Digidestined are scattered about by the now evil Gennai who commands the Dark Masters to attack them. However, this causes the Digidestined and their Digimon to reconnect further allowing the others to evolve to their Mega levels. Yet, through the battle the DigiDestined also discover why Meiccomon is source and key to all their problems…

Now, this film is a fairly decent sequel to Chapter 3 – Confession, which I find to be the best in the entire series. Chapter 4 – Loss features several callbacks to the original series, such as the various areas and settings that the characters are placed in. In addition, the ways the Digidestined attempt to rekindle their bond with their Digimon have them refer to past events. Furthermore, I like how the series gave Nyaromon a better start in life even if it was temporary (spoiler alert: they get their memories back by end of the series), but then made it difficult for another Digidestined like Sora. Another example of this is with Mimi easily scaring Tanemon, which is the other way for their original first encounter.

Besides the Digidestined reforging their bond with their Digimon, I love the various moments where they are confronted with the revived Dark Masters. There are a lot interesting scenes where the Rookie level Digimon seemingly are able to stand their own against this revived villains. It also helps that the new corrupted Gennai joins the action too, as he has a psychotic tendency to assault our heroes himself. The “new” Gennai goes above and beyond to impose himself to be one of the greatest villains the Digidestined has ever face. Yet, his corruption is mused to being an act of King Drasil, as Drasil has new intention for the Digital World; however, this element is confusing for returning fans as King Drasil is an element established within the meta-canon years later within the franchsie. The abridged explanation is King Drasil is an super-computer program to manage the Digital World, but often in all multiverse it turns evil. Bringing in this meta-canon character/ property throws sort of a monkey wrench to storytelling and lore of Digimon Adventure.

However, this film thankfully did something impressive with the flashback/prologue explaining not just Daigo or Himekawa’s presence in the films, but the Sovereigns! Back during Digimon Adventure 02, Azulongmon appears as a divine intervention to assist the Digidestined. Azulongmon mentions how the legend of the Digidestined came before his time, which sort of imposed the theory that he and the other Sovereigns actually were the original partners to the mythical Digidestineds. Just the only problem was back in Adventure 02, Azulongmon was the only Sovereign to appear on screen making fans also believe he is the solo survivor. The others only appeared as silhouettes, and did not make an actual anime debut until the following season, Digimon Tamers, which is a series that occurs in our actual reality. Just having this sequence alone made me enjoy this addition to lore, and honestly made me think that Drasil’s addition is just overkill.

Overall, I think Toei Animation tries to bring a lot of new things to the table, but actually foregoes to ensure that it properly connects to the older material. However, while I find most of it to be too ambitious, I am still able to find some of the new elements to be interesting. I think a lot of my displeasure is the execution, and their allure to make this story more of a mystery than a straightforward battle of good versus evil. I still believe that the entirety of Digimon Adventure tri. will be remembered for being a divisive series fans either love or hate, similar to the newer Star Wars films. Just the one thing everyone will be able to agree on is that the distribution for the films have gone above and beyond expectations! There are Fandango Events, and the home video releases are affordable for all consumers.

This concludes our review on Digimon Adventure tri. Loss, and we thank Shout! Factory for this opportunity. Readers can leave comments on this review, or the product in the section below, or over on the forums!

 

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