Everything ends eventually, but it’s always special when a story gets to close out on its own terms. It allows the creators the chance to really make their point as powerfully as they can. That’s what makes the bittersweet tone of Digimon: Last Evolution Kizuna so heart wrenching.
A recently released plot synopsis for the upcoming film suggests this will be a final farewell to the characters from Digimon Adventures — and sounds like an emotional gut-punch for anyone who grew up with the original series.
THE ORIGINAL DIGIDESTINED
The original DigiDestined was the group of young, reluctant heroes for the first season of Digimon. Seven preteens — Tai, Matt, Sora, Izzy, Mimi, Joe and T.K., as they were called in English-language versions — are suddenly taken from their summer camp and dropped off into the bizarre Digital World, a place full of strange creatures, dangerous locations and mysterious powers.
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There, they were bonded to a particular Digimon (Agumon for Tai, Gabumon for Matt, Biyomon for Sora, Tentomon for Izzy, Palmon for Mimi, Gomamon for Joe and Patamon for T.K.), who became their protectors. Learning to work with each other and their new monstrous friends, the DigiDestined were, over time, able to unlock new powers and forms for their Digimon.
Together, they were able to save the Digital World from multiple universes’ world-ending threats. They were even eventually forced to protect Earth itself from an invading Digimon army led by the devilish Myotismon. During these battles, they recruited the eighth DigiDestined, Tai’s younger sister Kairi, who’d missed the camp because of an illness, and her Digimon partner Gatomon.
The second series focused on the second group of DigiDestined after a multiple-year time-skip, with only T.K. and Kairi remaining in the main cast. But the original DigiDestined and their digital friends remained on the sidelines, even assisting in battle on occasion. They returned to a more prominent role in Digimon Adventures Tri, a revival that brought the DigiDestined back together to try to deal with conflicts between Digimon and the rest of humanity. But now it seems that the creators behind the franchise are willing to let things end once and for all with Digimon: Last Evolution, and they’re making sure it hits where it’s hurt.
THE FINAL ADVENTURE OF TAI & AGUMON
The synopsis hints that Tai is somewhat disconnected from the rest of the DigiDestined. He’s going to university, while the rest of their friends continue to help soothe over human and Digimon relations. But as the chosen children inch closer to adulthood, a timer sets off on their Digivice. When it runs out, the bond between the humans and Digimon partners will be broken. The process is only amplified by using the Digimon in a fight, meaning whatever battles await the DigiDestined comes with an additional layer of threat. The synopsis even promises that by the end of the film, this will be the “last adventure for Tai and Agumon” — and likely the other DigiDestined as well.
That means the series seems to be baking the ending into its very concept. It’s about growing up and putting away childish things — which the movie implies includes Digimon itself. This is explicitly touted to be the final adventure of Tai and Agumon (along with the rest of the DigiDestined), at least for some time.
The promise that battle will weaken their bond makes things even worse, given how heroic the group has become. The DigiDestined and their connection to their partners are defined by the strongest emotional aspects. All of that fuels into their individual heroism — they use their positive traits to literally empower their Digimon to save the day. During most battles, that’s a real strength. But here, their heroic nature will make them incapable of staying out of battles to protect the innocence, meaning they’ll likely lose their bonds quicker. Doing the right thing is going to cost them, in a very real sense, one of the things they hold most dear.
If that wasn’t enough to hit you where it hurts, the story outline also specifically addresses the idea of growing up and having to say goodbye to parts of your childhood. For an entire generation of fans, the Digital World was a place of pure imagination, absurdity and adventure. It’s basically the anime equivalent of Toy Story 3.
But, in a more positive way, it does also give the franchise a place to really close out the story with a meaningful finale, as opposed to something like Ash’s endless arrested state of competition in Digimon‘s direct rival, Pokémon. It ties that sense of finality fans will feel with the film to the emotions of the characters themselves, giving everyone involved a final moment together.
It could even end with the DigiDestined moving on with their lives but their Digimon finding new human partners, symbolizing how its universe and characters can live on with new generations of fans.
Digimon: Final Evolution Kizuna will screen in select theatres across the United States on Mar. 25.
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