Digimon: Digital Monsters - The Official Second Season (DVD) Review
Every bit as entertaining as Season One...
I surprised a lot of people, myself and my wife included, when I gave a glowing review to the mega DVD set of Digimon: Digital Monsters ' Season One. A show I once thought of as a simple Pokemon clone wowed me with a gripping, season-long plotline, some well developed characters, nicely produced visuals and even some decent English dubbing. And the fact I could watch it all at once in a super-sized, eight-DVD set just sealed the deal; I'm now a Digimon fan. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review the second season, again presented as a single set across eight DVDs. Is the second season of this surprisingly excellent series as good as the first? Or is it a huge, Prison Break or Heroes-style season two suckfest?
I was teasing you there; this second set of 50 episodes is as entertaining as the first, albeit with an ending that borders a tad on the ridiculous side. Digimon: Digital Monsters season two picks up about four years after the first season's final act. The DigiDestined (a fancy way of saying the Digimon-using group of protagonists) are a little older and off at high school (at 14 years old?). Things remain peaceful on Earth following the defeat of Apocalymon, but trouble soon stirs in the form of the Digimon Emperor. This new enemy, a human this time (I won't say who), uses control spires to prevent Digimon from evolving. Former leads T.K. and Kari, a little older now, join with a new group of DigiDestined to combat the Digimon Emperor, with a finale that feels natural and even a little heartbreaking.
That isn't the end of the story; far from it. The DigiDestineds' previous enemy joins the group and teaches them a new way to Digivolve, which is less like a Pokemon evolution and more like a Voltron or MegaZord 'multiple into one' transformation. Eventually, an old villain reveals himself, nicely tying these events to the first season, and it falls to the DigiDestined to eliminate him once and for all. The final battle leaves the entire world changed in a way that feels totally bizarre and even a little 'jump the shark,' but setting skepticism aside reveals a natural ending to these characters' stories.
A lot of season two's appeal comes from both seeing old characters again and a feeling of progression that nicely fits with the first season's complete storyline. The new characters are just as fleshed-out and charming as the original Digimon and DigiDestined, and the new evolution forms up the excitement level to around 11. Everything else has been turned up, too; the animation is better, the dialogue (and dubbing) is improved and the overall tone, though a bit darker, still serves to draw the viewer in. And I can't really say enough about how nice it is to see an entire season offered as a single DVD set, rather than the 'volume one, volume two' or random episode nonsense we see far too much of these days.
My main complaints are two-fold: The ending is just plain weird and, as with the first season, the only available voice track is the English dub. First, I want to discuss the finale. It will be tough seeing as I won't tell you what happens, but bear with me. Chances are if you are reading this, you won't remember shows like Dallas, Roseanne and St. Elsewhere, but that is what Wikipedia is for. Those shows ended on serious WTF?! notes (Patrick Duffy in the shower, Dan's dead and the last season was a dream and the autistic kid's snowglobe, respectively), and Digimon season two leaves the viewer with the very same 'wha?' feeling. I was left wondering where the show might go for a third season but as it turns out, the third season reboots the entire show and leaves this storyline totally alone. Somehow that knowledge made my impression of the ending even more mixed, but I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions on things.
My other beef, about the lack of a Japanese language track, will only be a beef with the select group of people who actually care about that kind of thing. Personally, I prefer to watch everything in its original language with subtitles, but I realize I may be part of the minority, especially when it comes to shows aimed at kids. Because I reviewed the first season, which was also English-only, I didn't expect a Japanese track, but I secretly kind of wished for one. Oh well.
Digimon: Digital Monsters season two wasn't the personal revelation that season one was, but it was every bit as entertaining. Seeing the old characters again was a nice treat, and the new ones had personality and style all their own. The technical aspects of season two trump those of season one, and the plot benefited from having an entire 54 episodes previous to build on. If you took a chance and checked out the first season on my recommendation, check out the second as well. Its 50 episodes of quality, and it can truly speak to fans of all ages.
Transmitted: 2/20/2019 2:44:42 AM