Shout! Factory sponsors today’s review on their home video release for Digimon Adventure tri. Confession. For those unaware, the film is the third 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, and was followed by Chapter 2 – Determination in Spring 2016. Chapter 3 – Confession released in Japan on September 24, 2016 whereas it released in North America on July 1, 2017. Eleven Arts produced the English dub for the films, and reunites several of the original cast members. However, not all cast members are able to return either due to other commitments, or due other legalities like unions/ studio contracts. Now, Shout! Factory distributes the home video release as mentioned earlier in Blu-Ray/DVD combo packs. Shout! Factory originally released Chapter 3 – Confession on December 5, 2017. However, it arrived with our copy of Chapter 4 – Loss, which we will be looking at that installment within the next week.
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 artwork is a combination of the original Japanese poster on the front, and some screenshots on back. The screenshots 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 a screenshot of T.K. and Patamon with a marigold filter atop of it. Also, there will be a voucher to obtain a digital copy of the film which also promotes the previous releases.
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. It is a cycle of muted scenes from the movie, and accompanied by the end credits theme, “For Me” by the fictional Knife of Day (Yoshimasa Hosoya/ Yamato “Matt”). However, 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, Anime Expo 2017 Premiere Panel, and set between the Play and Scenes options; we will not discuss the panel, but suggest fans should watch it if they did not attend the event or panel. 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. It is a minor feature people may not care about, but we thought it was cool and important to share otherwise.
Now as for the film, I will begin by saying I am very indifferent on the current series, where I like and dislike certain parts/ elements of them. It is to the extent that I am 70/30 in disliking to liking Digimon Adventure tri. Yet, Chapter 3 – Confession is probably my preferred favorite installment out of the six films, since all are currently available for streaming through Crunchyroll. A lot of my issues towards Digimon Adventure tri. cannot be blamed on Shout! Factory, or Eleven Arts because they distribute/ dub the films; the blame mostly resides in Toei Animation as well as expectations whether it be my own, or from others.
Toei Animation made questionable choices in the production and execution of the story; especially when it pertains to the demographic of die-hard fans that constantly re-watch the series. For those unaware, Toei Animation decided to recast the DigiDestined, but not the Digimon for all six films. Their new cast heavily features popular modern voices actors, two of them being Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger‘s Junya Ikeda (Gai Ikari) as Joe, and Mao Ichimichi (Luka Millfy) as Kairi. In addition, the story while being a sequel to both Adventure, and Adventure 02 plays around with the established canon; it changes things in either subtle or major ways. Furthermore, since it is exclusively meant to be an anniversary for the original Adventure series, the second generation of DigiDestined are omitted. They are omitted by being defeated in the opening sequence of Reunion and afterwards they go missing. However, their friends, the original DigiDestined, do not seem too concerned about as to why they are missing. Yet, the whereabouts of the second generation is mildly relevant to the plot, so it is ironic.
I personally feel the dub takes the liberty to make our heroes feel more concerned for their missing friends. In addition, the dub adds more dialog and humor to the overall scripts. Furthermore, it helps that Eleven Arts made several attempts to reunite the original voice cast for the dub unlike Toei did for the original audio. Also, I find that the simulcast on Crunchyroll has issues with its subtitles omitting parts of the narrative, unlike the home video release which has more context. People may not expect there to be a huge difference between the subtitles, but the change does seem significantly for the better. The only thing I do not like about the dub is the “new” English Digimon opening.
Now, as stated early Chapter 3 – Confession is probably my preferred favorite, due to the focus on Izzi and T.K. This comes immediately off the heels of discovering Ken has returned to being the Digimon Emperor, or at least there is an impostor running a muck. In addition, the DigiDestineds discover the newest member, Meiko, is partnered with the Digimon to blame for their newest threat. Meiko’s partner, Meicoomon, is somehow the cause of the virus affect both worlds. Yet, Izzi is bent on discovering how Meicoomon is the source of the virus, while coming to terms that Digital World is attempting to reset itself to save itself, like an actual computer.
In the meantime, TK discovers Patamon is the first of the partner Digimon to become infected by Meicoomon. They have several heartfelt moments between one another, as Patamon realizes he may need to deleted before he too can spread the infection. This leads TK to urge the others to spend more time with the their partners, because they may infected or have their wiped once the reset/reboot occurs. Luckily, Izzi manages to figure out a way to preserve the Digimon’s memories, but it comes down to last minute where it results in being unsuccessful. Yet, our heroes become determined to reforge their bond with partners leading into Chapter 4 – Loss.
What stands out about this film is how the characters finally begin to feel like their old selves. Reunion and Determination had the problem where many of the DigiDestined seemingly regressed to earlier points in their lives. Joe Kido is one of the obvious characters to be seen regressing until Determination’s climax; he became scared and easy to avoid conflict. However, Joe grew more content with who he was and became the most mature member of the original team during Adventure 02. Ironically, Izzi was not affected by this, as Confession shows him as serious as always. Whereas, T.K. (or Takeru), did not receive much screen-time until this point! In the previous two films, T.K. is depicted as very flirtatious towards the opposite sex, until Patamon becomes infected. It is here where he returns to being the serious and caring individual willing to save not just Patamon, but everyone in his life. The film also tries to touch on how T.K. does not handle loss well, ever since Patamon’s temporary sacrifice to defeat Devimon.
The newer characters introduced in the films seemingly are not too remarkable at this moment in time. Currently, the government agent, Maki Himekawa is just evil for the sake of being evil. Whereas, Daigo Nishijima is unknowingly abetting the love of his life’s evil agenda, and Meiko the new DigiDestined is just here. Also, there is another character introduced, but that could be considered a spoiler. Yet, the dub introduces this character as the pre-existing one, even though he is either an evil doppelganger, or the evil half. Luckily, our review of Chapter 4 – Loss will better explain Maki and Daigo’s relevance to the series! Yet, that will have to wait…
It is hard to paint a perfect picture of Digimon Adventure tri. because not everyone will love it. People who remember it fondly through nostalgia will easily be able to accept, and die-hard fans may have more trouble with it. I personally think Digimon Adventure tri. is a series that will be remembered and enjoyed by fans through the debates on if its good, or bad. Yet, everyone will agree that Eleven Arts and Shout! Factory distribution of the films is amazing. We have had Fandango Event screenings for a majority of the films, and the home video releases are simple and to the point. In addition, the releases on home video are below the price of $19.99; they range between $12.99 to 16.99 and that is incredible! They truly put in a lot of effort to please the fans, and that is why I support the distribution and dub!
This concludes our review on Digimon Adventure tri. Confession, and we thank Shout! Factory for this opportunity. Fans can expect our review on Chapter 4 – Loss within the upcoming week. Furthermore, readers can leave comments on this review, or the product in the section below, or over on the forums!