Over the years there have been many animes to resurface in the confines of pop culture. Among these titles is none other than the popular franchise known as Digimon. What started off as virtual pet became a major franchise with a variety of shows, games and movies to its name. While the series continued in Japan, Digimon’s time in the states had been all but over as the franchise quietly left the limelight. That was until 2016 when the series made its international return with Digimon Tri. Tri was a series of six films that told the story of the original DigiDestined reuniting with their digimon partners. The series had its up and downs but one of things that surprised me was that Tri did not serve as ending to the original adventure. Well it seems that a conclusion was inevitable as it comes in the form of the new movie Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna. Directed by Tomohisa Taguchi, Last Evolution serves as a finale to the original show as well as marking the 20th Anniversary to series itself. The film came out in Japan back in February and was scheduled to be seen in theaters this past March. However, due to a certain pandemic, plans of the film’s release changed and after a few delays the movie finally arrived on digital platforms. Now that it is out on both digital and blu-ray, I finally got a chance to see the new movie and while it may not have been what I was hoping Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution was certainly a noteworthy conclusion.
Taking place after Tri, Last Evolution tells the story of the DigiDestined taking on a new enemy named Eosmon: a digimon that is capturing DigiDestined and their partners. However, after the first fight Tai and Matt discover that their connection with their partners is fading and once the timer on their digivices expires they will have to say goodbye to Agumon and Gabumon. The plot to this film was less grandiose than I anticipated. While the story presents a major conflict, its delivery was rather subtle as the movie seeked to tell a personal tale about growing up; and I cannot say that this approach was a bad decision. One of the strongest elements to the original series was its ability to confine strong themes that are effective even to this day. Last Evolution was no exception to this as its themes of change and moving on were strong elements to ground this conclusion. While its them were effective the plot’s structure on the other hand was a bit problematic. The story was easy to follow but its pacing was a bit quick and this led to elements, such as the mystery behind Eosmon, to feel rush in execution. Furthermore, while I like that the personal touch of this story, I felt as though Last Evolution had a minimal connection with its predecessor Digimon Tri. There were aspects in Tri’s plot that were seemingly left unanswered and I was hoping that Last Evolution would clarify on them. However, that was not the case and, although I do not hold it against this plot, I feel that this absence prevented this finale to come full circle.
Digimon has always had a vibrant cast of characters and it was good to see this aspect remain true in Last Evolution. Tai and Matt understandably got the most development and it was good way to end both their respected arcs. When it came to other DigiDestined I thought their roles as supporting characters was lacking. While characters such as Izzy and TK had suitable roles in the film, the other characters such as Kairi, Mimi and Joe had a limited presence-and Sora was barely in the film. While their arcs were practically complete in Tri, these characters lacked significant moments in this film that would have been a good way to send off these heroes. Along with the original DigiDestined the film also featured Davis, Yolei, Cody and Ken-the main cast of Digimon Adventure 2. While they had a small role to play in this film, their inclusion was fine as it was a way to broaden the world of Digimon. As for the Digimon themselves, the digital monsters were fun additions to the cast even if many of them had a limited time to shine. As for the villain, Eosmon was a suitable enemy for the cast by not just being a powerful threat but working as a strong antithesis to the characters’ personal dilemma.
When it came to animation Last Evolution was quite sound. Along with refining the style established in Digimon Tri, the film’s animation had a crisp execution that really captured the cinematic aspect behind this movie. This was also vital in establishing the movie’s action which was an exciting aspect to say the least. Despite the movie’s subtle direction, the action brought a larger than life aspect for the film, and it captured the excitement fitting for both the movie and the series as a whole. The music by Harumi Fuuki was a satisfying score for the movie. Much like other aspects to this film, the music had a subtle touch to it and that helped to compliment the tone of this animated finale.
As endings go Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution was a solemn conclusion. The movie keeps true to the themes and aspects of Digimon and this managed to work for both series and the movie itself. Yet because of its narrow direction, the film was lacking in its presentation as many of its aspects needed more emphasis in order to truly flourish. In the end Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution may not be the perfect finale, but it did hit home in the right areas; and that was more than enough to make this film a good send off for the series as well as just being a solid animated film.