Digimon Adventure Tri Part 6 closes out a marathon run for the series. With expectations high after the dramatic end to Part 5, it will be interesting to see how the team wrap up this final theatrical release.
In the aftermath of Taiichi getting swallowed up by the earth and Hikari triggering an almost Eva-like conclusion at the end of Digimon Adventure Tri part 5, this latest entry echoes the formula of its predecessors by picking up where the previous entry left off and follows this entry through to a logical conclusion. The collapsing of the physical and digital worlds continue with what I’m going to refer to as Eva-mon traversing the boundaries and causing chaos in the physical world. The DigiDestined travel back and forth, uncovering a little more of the conspiracy before settling on a dramatic finale loaded with henshin sequences and the power of love and friendship. The finale rests on the team reflecting on their journey and where the future lies, before a pretty damn awesome credit sequence featuring all the main seiyuu smashing out Butter-Fly.
The synopsis is deliberately a little vague to avoid spoilers, but in and of itself that’s a pretty accurate account of what happens. This reflects how Digimon Adventure Tri Part 6 is caught in an awkward position – it’s coming on the back of 5 theatrical releases, owes its heritage to super-lengthy TV series’ born out of Toei’s production schedules of the late-90s/early 00s and it’s a series that has previously focused on short-length movie adaptations (two of which punch above their weight owing to Mamoru Hosada’s directorial skills). Then you compound this with the film’s need to wrap up loose ends, apply enough fan service to build on Digimon Adventure 01 to keep everyone happy, add the right mix of melodrama and gravitas to follow on from the end of the fifth movie and crunch together an interesting storyline.
It’s an enormous amount of pressure, and if we’re being completely honest, it definitely stumbles in this entry.
That’s not to say it’s a bad movie – it’s a fun ride. But it fails to capitalise on the momentum leading up and the various story threads that had been woven throughout the entire narrative. I felt Himekawa and Nishijima’s past histories and their interaction in the conspiracy warranted some more depth – same with the mysterious experimentation with Meiko’s father’s research. The reliance on canned evolution sequences felt like unnecessary padding, same with the frequency of leaning on motifs and covers of Butter-Fly to try and drive some emotional reactions in certain spots. The dramatic battles came off as underwhelming since there wasn’t much in the way of consequence and some elements of the narrative seemed rushed.
In Digimon Adventure Tri Part 6’s favour though, the production values are still solid and there were enough little tweaks and twists to keep you interested in how things progressed. I also felt that the concluding battle sequence and proverbial coda managed to make up for a seeming lack of ambition in pushing this forward in the theatrical format – the beautiful animation between Meiko and Meicoomon in particular was gorgeous. Queue up the credit sequence and it’s all sorts of awesome.
By concluding strongly, Digimon Adventure Tri Part 6 softens some of the disappointment. This last point probably needs to be emphasised since this review’s been a little fixated on what didn’t go right. It capitalises on the human element which is what has always made Digimon Adventure interesting and plays strongly to the characters before finishing with a really solid staff roll. Perhaps it’s not just the film at fault – given the Digimon Adventure Tri movies have since been edited down to an episodic format, perhaps this inadvertently drove some of the direction to make it episodic-friendly and the repetitiousness is felt as a consequence of this. On reflection, perhaps the flip-side is that my expectations going into this were a little skewed. While I’ve enjoyed the Digimon Adventure Tri releases, at this point it could be that my interest has waned a bit and as a result I had unrealistic expectations of the emotional ride I wanted to see the series take in this final release. It’s an interesting though not unpleasant conundrum.
The local release for Digimon Adventure Tri Part 6 is solid. Encoding is good and the film looks great. Once again we have the DTS-HD 5.1 tracks for the English dub as well as the original Japanese language version. The extra included is a fantastic recording of the Digimon Adventure Tri panel from Anime Expo 2018. While I normally don’t follow much on the dub side of things with anime, I’ve got a soft spot for the English localisation for Digimon Adventure and can really appreciate the effort gone into achieving consistency with Digimon’s English language editions given how long the series has been going!
So with Digimon Adventure Tri Part 6 we come to the end of this rather ambitious series of theatrical releases. There have been some great moments and a few misses, but overall it’s been awesome to revisit this classic series. This final release falters a little under weight of its predecessors but ultimately ties things up nicely. Very much recommended if you’re a fan, especially if you’ve come this far down the rabbit hole!
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.