Unlike in Pokémon, Digimon Humans Keep Aging

Illustration for article titled Unlike in iPokémon/i, iDigimon/i Humans Keep Aging
Illustration: Digimon Adventure

In the Pokémon anime, Ash is ten years old. Eternally. But in the Digimon anime, the human characters are getting older.

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The upcoming Digimon movie, which marks the franchise’s 20th anniversary, stars a 22-year-old Taichi (“Tai”) and Yamato (“Matt”).

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When the anime started, both characters were boys and now, years later, they’re adults.

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The fact that the characters age gives greater depth to the anime, moving out of an abstract timeline closer to reality.

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Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

The fact that the characters age gives greater depth to the anime

Has it?

In 02 the original Chosen Children (sans TK, Kari, and Izzy) stayed out of the spotlight until the second act where they started to share spotlight with a growing number of characters. Even then, they were mostly involved in Digital World stuff and didn’t really talk about how their lives have changed since their Adventures. Tri’s pendulum swung in the other direction; writing the 02 kids out and attempting to rectify this ... then putting the breaks on fleshing out our protagonists once the plot kicked in.

Digimon Adventure, the first take on this, was the best demonstration of “this is not Pokemon” by having more death/violence and showing how our protagonist’s personal struggles co-mingled with their before-mentioned Adventure. They literally needed to develop their characters further to get back home which was sort-of the point of their journey.

I think what made people mad about 02, in addition to how it ended, was that the focus of the show seemed to shift away from the human character’s personal development and towards a Digital Adventure of the Week-type format.

You know, the thing that made them different from Pokemon.

Tri was a hot mess that attempted to rectify this all the way up until the plot kicked in. To be fair, we’re not going to see much in the way of personal struggles and/or character growth in what was essentially a glorified movie about nine(? I guess if you don’t count the Beta Digidestined) different characters. There’s too much ground to cover.

That’s how I feel about a new movie. It won’t capture the Adventure magic, either, simply because it does not have time to go that far.