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“Digimon: Digital Monsters” Season Two Collection Review

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It’s getting digital now!

The sad truth is that, no matter what one does, evil will always be lurking within the darkness of shadows. The voices in our heads tell us to stand tall against adversity no matter how many times it tries to get you down and the only way to truly survive is to listen to those words and do as described. Never let the forces of negativity get you down.

Always rise up time and time again because no matter how many battles you win, there will always be another just around the corner and this is all to evident for the cast of ‘Digimon: Digital Monsters’ who, after conquering the Dark Masters in the first season of the Anime, return alongside a group of other young ‘DigiDestined’ to save the ‘Digital World’ like they did all those years ago. Unfortunately this time they’ll be fighting a force much more formidable than the last.

It has been three years since the events of the first season and we now follow a new group of ‘DigiDestined’ as they are introduced to their digital monster partners as well as the ‘Digital World’ in which most of their adventure will take place. These ‘rookies’ are being mentored by the older and wiser original ‘DigiDestined’ who take them through everything a life in the ‘DIgital World’ can offer while also battling alongside them to defeat the ‘Digimon Emperor’s’ army of mind-controlled monsters.

Unlike the first season, this one doesn’t have too great of a focus on adventure. Rather, they’re immediately thrown into a ‘kill or be killed’ battle for the fate of the ‘Digital World’ which, over the course of the series, becomes more and more perilous to the point where both the human world and the ‘Digital World’ reach the verge of total annihilation. Season Two takes somewhat of a turn in regards to it’s themes: The first season tried it’s hand at teaching the audience about positive human traits like love, compassion and friendship. This season, however, chose to focus on some darker themes; the most predominant being loss and rehabilitation. There are more that feature alongside these two but I felt as though they were the ones most highlighted by the events of the season.

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The first antagonist that the team come across eventually becomes their friend after a long time of soul searching and self-investigation that eventually leads this young boy into a state of humanity he felt as though he once lost. The same happens with the next big foe they’re to face. Made from pure negativity, this enemy eventually sacrifices it’s own life to save the ‘DigiDestined’ showing that change is something present in all beings. Certain characters, including another antagonist of the series, must deal with the trauma that comes with the death of a loved one. This is shown several times throughout the story and each of those times the characters showed true ‘heart’.

Ditching the silly dialogue and writing from the first season, this one features some of the most heartfelt lines I’ve ever seen in a show aimed at young men and women. Some lines forced me into thinking about my own life, bringing to the surface feelings of regret, disappointment and simple sadness. It is the overcoming of these bleak mindsets that really makes the series what it is. It basically tries to prove to audience members that anything can be overcome, even the things that feel far too powerful for any one person to handle.

It also deals with friendship; it shows the audience that having trusted people at your side is much more beneficial than being a lone wolf and even shows this through the symbolism of ‘DNA Digivolution’. It’s simply two becoming one. There’s no greater show of working together than that. Thankfully season two has been written wonderfully with just enough of a sense of humour to have you smirking but not too much to take you away from the deep story that it has to tell. All the characters show signs of growth, they all interact well enough and it does everything it can do to fill itself with substance while also simply being another season of ‘Digimon’. There’s a fine line but season two knows where it is and knows how to go about walking it.

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Season two features a similar soundtrack to season one and features a lot of the musical tracks you’ve come to know and love. Many of them light nostalgic fire into the hearts of audience members and the others are simply just well-composed songs. Something I had forgotten about was that the series featured much the same soundtrack as the English ‘Digimon: The Movie’ which, if you don’t already know, was actually a composition of three different ‘Digimon’ movies that were released separately in Japan. The soundtrack, something I actually own, features some fantastic alterna-rock songs that are so typical of the 90s and I absolutely love them. I believe these were only present in the English dub of the series seeing as they’re English songs written and performed by American bands.

With musicians like Jason Radford, Paul Gordon and bands like Showoff adding their talents to the already-wonderful ‘Digimon’ series soundtrack, it’s very hard not to get pumped up by each and every song that’s played over a fight scene of ‘DigiPort’ teleportation scene. Now the series didn’t feature works from Fatboy Slim and Smashmouth like the movie but that doesn’t mean it is any less likable. The voice acting was quite good too! Much like how I described the story writing; the voice cast did a good job at portraying the comedic and fun-loving sides of their characters while also being able to bring gravitas to a scene through words alone.

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Seeing as ‘Digimon: Digital Monsters’ is an old series, I can’t exactly say it had the very best level of animation but it did good enough of a job to keep me satisfied the entire way through. It did indeed use recycled animations that dated back to the first season but I tended to overlook that seeing as how I’m such a massive fan of the series. There was quite a bit of CG animation throughout, only because the main two ‘Digimon’ partners (Veemon and Wormon) had ‘Digivolution’ sequences that were entirely animated in that style which, by the near end of the series, was present definitely once per episode and sometimes up to three times per episode.

What did get a little monotonous was having to watch the same ‘Digivolution’ sequences time and time again. They were present every episode and there were enough ‘Digivolving’ monsters to have you watching the same thing an average of six times per episode. That was, of course, when each of the ‘Digimon’ discovered their ‘Digivolved’ forms. This was probably the one thing that drastically let the season down but any old-school fan of the franchise will be able to put it behind them and enjoy it simply for what it is.

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‘Digimon: Digital Monsters’ season two takes what season one gave us and kicked it into overdrive. Directed at a slightly older audience, it taught watchers about the more desolate side of life. With some fantastic character to lead you through the hard times and a brilliant soundtrack that makes you feel a sense of heroism inside, I can’t recommend this series enough. Now the thing about ‘Digimon’ is that it will always be more appreciated by those of us who grew up with the series and still, to a certain degree, find ourselves addicted to the franchise.

It is to those people I suggest this release but, to a certain degree, I also think a lot of other Anime fans should pick this one up, even if they hadn’t watched it at a younger age. ‘Digimon’ is a franchise that has lived for fifteen years now and will live for fifteen more. It all started with a Tamagotchi-like virtual pet and cemented itself in pop culture history as a series. That’s something you can’t take away from it, no matter how well it stands up against contemporary pop culture catalog.

The ‘Digimon: Digital Monsters’ Season Two Collection can be found at Madman Entertainment.

Grade: B+

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