This is not what I expected to write about when I heard of Digimon Adventure Tri, to be honest I didn’t expect to write about it at all. My expectations was it would be a simple nostalgia trip a way of renewing interest of a loyal and aging fanbase and infusing some new blood all at the same time in short I expected Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. That is not what we got instead we got pure fanservice for the fans a movie crafted with the happiness of only the pure digifanatics in mind we got Toei’s love letter. If you’re new to Digimon Adventure you’ll get NOTHING from this and instead walk away wondering what all the fuss is about, hell if you liked Adventure 02 more (really...) you’ll also be disappointed, however if you grew up with these characters you’ll likely walk away quite content as “Reunion” is everything the title implies.
Lets get some things out of the way here this is meant to be watched as a movie, if you watch it episodically you made a horrible mistake. Crunchyroll’s divides were clearly made with minutes and seconds in mind not logical sense and pacing. If you watch it episodically it could potentially ruin the entire experience as the pacing of the movie itself is generally quite weak. In every possible sense of the word this is build up but its important build up all the same.
For the first “episode” we spend nearly all our time with the Leader of the Digidestined Tai Kamiya as he spends his day effectively trying to hold together his group of friends. To some this may seem an odd choice of opening a long awaited series however there is a certain emotional resonance to it. Right from the start Digimon Adventure Tri is showing us things are different, things did change, Digimon is showing that just like you the viewer it also grew up. Indeed it’s hard not to sympathize with Tai and his emotions as everyone is growing apart and he’s helpless to stop it a feeling anyone who has grown older can relate too. Tai the leader is now Tai alone.
Eventually Tai is reunited with his partner Agumon in a very touching scene; however the threat that brought the two together causes the reunion to be short lived. Kuwagamon the very first Digimon the Digidestined ever fought is attacking Toyko forcing Agumon to Digvolve into his Champion form Greymon to fight. However being in a city the two cause untold damage and destructure that has a profound impact on Tai in a way it did not previously.
This is the point where I have to pause and say though the animation is top notch. Some may be disappointed if you compare it to other high budget anime but for a Toei Digimon movie this is quite good. Greymon vs Kuwagamon at times really invoked the feeling of old school kaiju films with Greymon as an easy stand in for Godzilla. It may not be up to some peoples standards but compared to Digimon of the past which is the entire goal of this production it’s quite good.
By the end of the fight all the Digidestined save a couple are reunited with their partners and the movie slowly moves on to the meat of the situation. “Infected” Digmon are coming from the Digital world and a secret government agency is there to stop them (sounds very Digimon Tamers to me...). Of course all this is kinda besides the point as really nothing much in terms of the plot happens... instead we spend the majority of screen time reviving every Fanship that ever had set sail.
Tai/Matt/Sora well you’re back in action (although Matt/Sora is clearly the canon ship), Izzy/Mimi ADORABLE, fan favorite TK/Kari (without Davis in sight) oh you better believe it. Once again the writers showing they know exactly what they are doing. Honestly the middle section of the movie was the writers giving long time fans exactly what they want Digidestined doing Digidestined things just like the old days.
Except Tri quickly reminds you things aren’t like the old days people have changed. Tai the former hot head is now reticent to do anything that may cause harm and damage while Matt the one time voice of reason is raring to take the bad guys on! It’s a familiar dynamic except the roles have been reversed within the key relationship of the series; lending to the feeling that Tri is a different beast but one we can feel at home with.
Finally the last part of the movie confirms a character introduced earlier by the name of Meiko (and Tai’s likely love interest if the hints are anything to go by) is indeed a Digidestined as she is attacked by a Mega Level threat Alphamon which Omegamon manages to subdue. However at the end where where the series will go from here is unclear and it’ll be a few more months before we find out. Which is annoying as there are inconsistencies that need answering; where is the second generation (confirmed to exist by Kari and TK’s Digivices being D2’s), how on earth can Gabumon Warp Digivolve while all other Digimon seem to only be able to reach the Champion stage, stuff like that fans will argue about for months which to be honest was likely their goal.
In the end though none of that really matters because the goal of the first movie was to welcome fans home. This is Toei’s love letter to long time fans and no other, the mysterious absence of the second generation just shows this isn’t their show its ours. For now does it matter if the canon makes no sense? For me the answer is no, as questions beget answers which will come in time, however right now we should be content our old friends are back and it’s likely to be a good time. For everyone on the outside though Reunion as the name implies wasn’t for you its ours and I doubt Tri is going to change anytime soon.