It’s a testimony to the creator’s craft and love for the Digimon franchise as well as their acknowledgement of the fanbase that ensured the Digimon Adventure Tri series have consistently high-quality movies. With equal respect to its characters and an eye for continuity, the story has successfully upgraded our heroes from wide-eyed youths to young adults facing complicated decisions that goes beyond their once childish conceptions of the world.
Last time on Digimon Adventure Tri, our heroes found out Meiko’s Digimon, Meicoomon, was Patient Zero of the infection that has corrupted Digimons everywhere. In an effort to fix this mess, the Digital World opted to reboot the entire system and cleanse the whole plate, unfortunately taking the Digidestined’s partners with them. The kids venture into the Digital World after to reunite with their companions in spite of their memory loss, hoping to rekindle their friendship.
Confession was a game changer, daring to end the movie by having our heroes fail. The Digidestined couldn’t stop the reboot or at the least, save their Digimon Partners from being affected. The kids remain hopeful, but they’re forced to start from scratch. Loss is an appropriate title, but this time around, the plot is a mixed bag.
The good news is we finally get a smĂ¶rgĂĄsbord of answers that explains the purpose behind the reboot, the motivations behind certain characters’ actions, and an amazing callback to an expository footnote from the original anime that briefly highlighted the Digidestineds that predated the current group. One of them is revealed to be Agent Maki Himekawa, whose role in the reboot is both sympathetic and desperately questionable. The hefty amount of information serves as the movie’s biggest saving grace because otherwise, Loss is a dull of a film. Confession’s epic intensity was hard to top, but it’s ridiculous how much time Loss wastes, with nearly an hour of the eighty-minute film spent on the Digidestined twiddling their thumbs until the plot finally tells them to get moving. While we get a couple of lovely introspective moments between them and their Digimon partners, it’s all old hat at this point. The slow pace is further emphasized by only focusing on one Digidestined this time around instead of the usual two per film. Regrettably, Sora’s personal arc suffers by being the worst one yet.
The Team Mom of the group, Sora is a sweet girl who often dotes over the others at the expanse of her own issues (something her Digimon partner Biyomon has always been quick to notice over the years.) Loss has Sora reaching a tipping point where she gets fed up that no one ever paid attention to her inner dilemmas and subsequently gave her the validation she could have used during those trying times. It’s a good subject to explore: the conflict between caring for others to the detriment of your mental health, the guilt for feeling even an ounce of selfishness, and the realization that she can’t help others if she can’t support herself. These are genuinely common and relatable problems many teenagers face today and the opportunity to explore it was well within Loss’ table. Sadly, Sora’s story is never given the ounce of depth it deserves, nor does it conclude with a satisfying answer. Tai and Matt notice something is off about her, but it merely serves to remind the viewers that the dumb love triangle is still dangling around like a loose nail. Just as contrived is Biyomon hating her for no reason other than to get Sora to have some kind of discourse for her to angst over. It’s shameful how clumsy Sora’s character development is. She gets better, but that’s like slapping a band-aid over a cement crack.
Equally disconcerting is a reoccurring character who at one point creepily assaults Sora and Meiko in a manner that is blatantly sexual in nature. It’s not only degrading, but completely out of place in Digimon.
Digimon Adventure Tri: Loss is available in both a Blu-ray/DVD combo or as a standalone DVD release. The only extra is “The Evolution So Far”, a nine minute recap of the first three movies as narrated by Joshua Seth (Tai’s voice actor). Both the English dub and original Japanese language versions of the film are included.
While the first three movies kept topping each other, Loss is a noticeable downgrade. It answered some much needed questions, but disappointing character growth and a sluggish plot means it’s a struggle to sit through. Let’s hope the fifth movie picks up the pace.