Taiki Kudou, an upbeat seventh-grade boy who always helps people in need, encounters a Digimon named Shoutmon, who brings him and his friends to the Digital World. With his friends Akari Hinomoto and Zenjirou Tsurugi, they form Team Xros Heart to compete against rival teams battling for supremacy, with their ultimate goal of taking down the evil Bagura Empire, who plans to conquer the Digital World.
This review will contain preliminary thoughts on the series thus far at nine episodes. Another may come after it's over.
I consider myself a Digimon fan as much as the next young boy who woke up that fateful day and found this....strange Pokemon clone on Fox Kids. At the beginning, I didn't like it but it grew and became my favorite toyetic franchise ever. Now, here I am years later having watched nearly all of Digimon's media and rewatched the previous five series in original japanese to make sure my memories of it are not belittled by a nostalgia filter. They've all had ups and downs but I have always found Digimon's approach of approaching each series with a new perspective and universe after the first two seasons refreshing and a unique take on the mons franchise. So here we are in 2010 with the sixth series finally on our hands. Digimon Xros Wars (Because poor literacy is KEWL!)
Never in the franchise's 10+ years will there ever be a fanbase as broken and divided as there will be on Digimon Xros Wars. The loosely-defined rulebook that remained has been completely thrown out the window as well as any semblance of any rules that can remind any nostalgic fan of the past series, outside of previous Digimon returning and many many homages to the past. This series is almost a complete re-invention of the concept of Digimon and the Digital World to the point that it becomes the most unique and bafflingly different compared to the previous five series (officially removing Frontier as most unique concept for Digimon). No, this series is completely intended for the newer children to become fans with a few elements for the older kids. No levels are introduced for Digimon (removing any doubt about whether one type can beat another), Evolution is removed to make way for DigiXros (an ability to unite one Digimon with another, similar to Jogress, so that it compensates for the main Digimon's weaknesses) and multiple battles with more than one participant (unlike previous seasons where it would be one on one or two on two. Here it's like army on army) But enough of the franchise itself. What makes Xros Wars tick
STORY-8/10: The story is as straight-forward as the older ones as they develop into more. Kudou Taiki, our goggle-head of the season is pulled into the Digital World by the voice of the season's Digivice, the D-Xrosloader, as well as his two friends Akari and Zenjirou accidentally. They form the army Xros Heart and together seek to stop the evil Bagura Empire from ruling the shattered Digital World with their Digimon friends (Shoutmon, Ballistamon, Dorulumon and more) and the power of DigiXros. However other humans lie in wait with ulterior motives than Xros Heart It's completely a good vs. evil setup akin to the first series of Adventure and it is not the most original out there, but it gets the preliminary setup down. And that's really all Digimon needs to grow into a flower of eventual greatness.
ART-8/10: I am no animation buff so it could be that I am completely wrong, but Xros Wars' art is quite beautiful. The landscapes are no longer single ugly stills like the Adventure days. They are fully rendered areas of the world each location giving off a unique digital vibe in some way, such as the ash in a "Magma Zone" being clearly made of digital matter. Plus, the art style itself no longer uses the generic teen look in Savers and has them look more like children (even though they're 13 or so). Sometimes the animation can be inconsistent but it is rare and never in a heavy action scene.
SOUND-7/10: The opening song "Never Give Up" is not great like the typical opening by Wada Kouji but it grows as a catchy addictive tune. The real winner of the series however, is the insert evolution (or Xros) song "We Are Xros Heart" sung by the actual Wada Kouji. It's hot-blooded, it's pumping, it gets your heart ready to see some action and Bagura ass-kicking. The instrumental and quiet pieces are quite well done as well but they tend not to be noticeable too much thus, the 7 score. However, personally, I find the music for the Bagura Army quite chilling and is a memorable listen.
CHARACTER-7/10: Here is most likely where the most debate will occur. In previous seasons (except for maybe Tamers), the Digimon had little personality. Oh, they definitely had their own quirks to make them lovable, but they were never their own characters or they never had a chance to grow. They mainly served as the human's surrogate. In Xros Wars however, this is reversed. The Digimon are the ones that have the most character. Each one of the Digimon have unique characters and goals regarding the Digital World. For example, Shoutmon truly wants to become King of the Digital World so he can protect hsi villaige from harm, Dorulumon has a backstory that may not be expected, and even the cute mascot, Cutemon, has a tragic past and a goal all his own. The humans, on the other hand, still have room for development past their primary characterization. On a personal note, the mysterious beauty, Amano Nene is quite the unique character for Digimon as she seems to have no one side and has the most mysterious goals of all the humans. It'll stand to see if the humans, at the end of the show's run, can have a full development cycle like Adventure, Tamers and Frontier before.
ENJOYMENT-9/10: Just as subjective as Character is the enjoyment factor. The show prides itself at being completely different from the previous seasons and rides that all the way. And to tell the truth, I really like it. As a longtime fan, I cannot say that I don't miss natural evolution but the production head, Riku Sanjou has really pulled the show out. The main draw of the show, besides the battles themselves is the fact that many Digimon from long before that haven't been animated are finally being animated (notably Lilithmon and Leviamon, two of the fan-favorite Demon Lords). The battles are always at a high pace and the battles regarding the armies only add to that. It really awakens the kid in me who loved seeing these kinds of shows on Saturday morning. However, if you still focus on the past, seeing this show only as "too different" then you won't have a good time. The production clearly shows how much fun they are having with the show and how much enjoyment is being dealt to the Japanese children. One won't be impressed if they go into this with the mindset that this will be like their own childhood memories.
OVERALL-7.5/10: At the current time of episode 9, Digimon Xros Wars is not a fantastic series like Tamers or a great one like Adventure. It is, however, a good series that should be watched by the fans and children alike. It gives that feeling of childhood happiness when you wanted to see monsters go at it but still learn about who these characters are. It offers much to the viewers but whether it can hold it's own to the future episodes will remain to be seen.
It's been almost 3/4 years since a Digimon series. The last one started in 2006 and ended in 2007: "Digimon Savers" ("Digimon Data Squad" in other countries), which is by definition the most mature of all the series made until that point
I was overjoyed by the fact that there would be a Digimon series comeback, since what I've saw from "Digimon Savers" was a total disapointement (I have, however, to see it all to give a better opinion about it). The more information was getting developed before its start, more I fell head over heels for it ;)
Well, it's been 9 episodes now and... I wasn't dissapointed (unlike other anime fans) ;) I like it very much at this moment, quite original from other Digimon series (especially the Digi-transformations, which it has been the big letdown for many anime-goers)
So far, the story is still in the beginning, so I'm not bothered by its pace. The art (altough with a few incoherences) and the sound are very good
The best, however, are the characters: Taiki Kudou (the fact that Minami Takayama is doing the voice for the character is a plus) and Shoutmon (so funny) caught my attention for sure. Noting also Dorulumon and its captivating personality
Altough my #1 Digimon series is still "Digimon Tamers", "Digimon Xros Wars" has pretty good chances to be my #2read more
This is my 6th Digimon review, and the hardest one to write: I always try to be as objective as possible, but there is always a bit of taste and personal like in every single review, not just mine but everyone's; still, I like to think that at every time I re-watch a Digimon series (or in this case, to finish something I dropped) I do it with an observant eye, trying to see everything good in it, what works and what doesn't work, and Digimon Xross Wars had a handful of things that worked on early going, the first episodes showed potential and were enjoyable, but sadly the following episodes were just so badly executed that it's hard for me not to insult this series. The thing is, after Savers aimed to a teen and young adult audience this series was meant to aim to young children again, so it couldn't be as dark, I understand that, but I'm just really annoyed by how shallow they meant to make this. Digimon Adventure aimed to children as well, and still managed to be mature, as Tamers did too, but this one just fails or it doesn’t even try: of all the Digimon series this is the one that had the worst character treatment, and somehow it managed to be successful enough to get 78 episodes, making it the longest Digimon series. I don’t understand it (seriously, I don’t), but somehow this show managed to forge a strong fanbase, and that’s ok, if you like it then good for you, I sure wish I could have liked it, but the thing is I couldn’t, mostly because it just didn’t embrace the potential it showed on early going.
This review only goes through the first 30 episodes (I still have to make up my mind to watch the following 2 parts) and now we'll see why I think this serie fails so much:
Story wise: I don't have much to complain here, the story is no masterpiece but it's not awful. Kudo Taiki, a 7th grade boy, is transported to the digital world with his friends Akari and Zenjiro where they are involved in the middle of a territorial war among many armies to win code crowns (a kind of crest which allows you to travel to the zone you conquered). Now that's a really strong premise for a Digimon series and a lot could be done here, but the focus is really into making this a good v/s bad kind of series, in which our team Xross Hearts (Taiki, Akari, Zenjiro and the digimon) are the good guys and the rest are usually just outright bad guys with no background, actual reasons other than being bad guys, and the worst of all, they are not even compelling. It's flawed with clichés and there's no sense of danger whatsoever as at the end of almost every single episode Taki find out a solution and everyone ends up smiling; that also gives the series a sense of being procedural, each episode being "the zone of the week" with just a little bit of story plot going on in the background. That's one of the things that hurt Xross the most. In the early first 9 episodes (the strongest of this show) we get little by little the dynamic of the series: it has elements from all the previous series: we have a protagonist that looks like Taichi from Adventure, we have digimons going through fusion (xross) like in Adventure 02, a support system like in Tamers (the digi memories), a territorial conflict like in Frontier and human facing digimon head on like in Savers (Zenjiro and his sword); with all that one can’t help but feel excited, I thought that Xross could make use of all these things and create a series out of the best of each Digimon series. I was dead wrong. Aside from the already mentioned flaw on the focus and aproach of the series in the good vs bad, the more episodic nature and the lack of good villians, Xross also fails when it tries to connect the peripheral storylines with the main war, resulting on just forced connections to move the plot along. But the worst of all its flaws is not the story, it is the characters.
Kudo Taiki: No character has been as flat and shallow in a Digimon series as this one, and even when they tried to give him some more deepness it just fell flat. His main trouble is that he doesn't need to grow, he doesn't need to evolve, because he is already kind a perfect, in a bad way. He is the definition of Gary Stu, a character who has no real flaw and the story revolved around him. He is considerate, a bit smart, a good friend, never gives up, he believes in the best of people, he's just so perfect that it is annoying. And why that is? Because he stays the same, he never gets developed, and we grow bored of it: he is like a broken record that keeps playing. You can't have a character (even worse, the lead character) that won't grow up as the series continues, this is just frustrating, the events of the series are supposed to change him, but he stays the same, no matter the situation. Character development is nothing but a joke here, and with no character development, it doesn't matter if the story plot is brilliant (which is not) the series just will feel shallow.
Akari: She's a little better than Taiki, but just because no one can be as flat and shallow as he is. This character is annoying, and she doesn't add anything to the group aside her usual yelling and be a burden to everybody else. She has no xross loader (this season's digivice), no abilities to support the team, she really has nothing... she is just the friend who tag along, complains about everything and gets nothing done. Seriously, what were the writers thinking involving her in this series? Even her character development is weak at best.
Zenjiro: probably the best of the human characters. He is a comic relief and usually he adds nothing more than that. Sure, sometimes he fights with a sword and helps out, but he is mostly there to joke, and that makes him the one who bothers the less, but there's no background nor real conflict, so he is just one dimensional.
Shoutmon: I usually group the digimon in just one section, but Shoutmon deserves to be on his own because he might be the ONLY character that could make this series worth watching. Bad attitude, hot headed, a bit arrogant and funny, while portraying some interesting behavior. He gets easily irritated and likes doing things his way, but he's also a good friend. He has many traits that make him feel like a more fleshed out character even when we don't get to know much of his background. It seems as he was the only one thought through.
Kiriha and Nene get more developed through the second part (from episode 31 to 54) so it feels unfair to talk about them here, so I'll be brief: both add almost nothing to the series; they both have xross loaders and they have their own teams in their race to get the code crowns, but none of them are more than one dimensional in this first part. Kiriha is the apparently bad guy, but who is not so bad in deep down and Nene is... well, she is just looking for her brother. Make of that what you wish.
Sound: Luckily the soundtracks are usually great. The opening theme is catchy, the soundtrack lands almost perfectly with each scene, but sometimes they feel a little bit over the top. However it must have been the part that I enjoyed the most of this series.
Enjoyment: The first time I watched I endured 20 episodes before dropping it. Now, a few years later, I came back, trying my best to take it on with good will and I almost couldn't stand it. It rarely drew a smile out of me, it mostly felt like I was watching something meaningless, because it never really changed, it never really used its potential.
So far I've seen some positive reviews of this series, but most of them just cover up until episode 9, where there was still hope for this show to become better. When it started it seemed as this show could add some conflict to Taiki, give some importance to Akari and Zenjiro, develop a deep (yet lightly delivered) tone to what happens in the story plot and have the villains flesh out and become compelling. I wish that was the way it turned out, but that didn't happen.
Digimon Xross Wars started trying to take all the elements from previous Digimon series and thus it had the potential to take the best of them and becoming a great, memorable Digimon series; instead, it took the worst habits of each series, created a lot of shallow characters that couldn't exploit the potential of the story plot and utterly destroyed the quality that most Digimon series had. And that just makes me sad.
-Episode 2: Taik to Shoutmon: “If you want to become king then do that yourself”. Shoutmon: “I need to become one to help my friends.” Taiki: “I’ll help you!”. Well, that escalated pretty quickly.
-I don’t remember which episode, but Shoutmon once said: “I think I’m starting to fall for you Taiki!” Disturbing.
-There was an attempt to make Taiki a deeper character in episode 10: We see a flashback in which he refused to help a fellow kid and the kid died. It was dark and it gave some good and necessary context to Taiki’s trait to help others. Sadly, in the next scene everybody just laughed out of Taiki being traumatized as it was some kind of joke.
-Baalmon was another Digimon that had good fleshed out personality and good background, but as soon as he evolved into Beelzebumon and joined Taiki’s party he just had one function: to xross with Shoutmon. What a waste of a good character.
-It takes 22 episodes to finally get to know the relation between the digital world and the human world. This might have been the only interesting fact delivered in the whole show.
And that's it for now. I really don't know if I can stand the next 2 parts of Digimon Xross Wars, so this might as well be my last review. If so, thank you so much for reading them, many people have commented about them and said that they were "spot on" which really makes me happy and encouraged me to re-watch them all again, and that was really a wonderful experience.
If I do come back, this might be the headline for the next one:
Next time: Digimon Xross Wars tries to convinces us it had matured, but destroys any good will with an excessive amount of Deus Ex Machina and the same annoying Kudo Taikiread more
Digimon Cross Wars is done.
Well actually it isn't, this shitty website split it up into two entries, but whatever. For now I'm going to review the first part of the series.
Cross Wars is the best non-Mazinkaiser SKL mecha series that Japan's made since Gurren Lagann. The title says it's Digimon, but really it's something entirely different that is neither better or worse than what all the cool kids enjoyed so many years ago. It carries over Adventure 01/02's themes of our childhood monster fighting fantasy quests, but adds a twist of righteousness and giant combining robots that only Japan is capable of delivering properly. I've followed this show for 30 weeks straight, longer than I've followed any other subbed anime, and I have no regrets.
One day a goggle-headed hero kid with all the righteousness of every 60's superhero comes across a dying virtual red dinosaur named Shoutmon. He and his stupid friend and female friend are then transported to the shambled Digital World and are commanded to save the place from a bunch of tyrannical dicks called the Bugra Army. And so they do. Goggle kid and his friends form their own badass army called Xros Heart and travel through the many different parts of the Digiworld gathering allies, beating other armies, getting into rivalries with other humans and their respective forces and etc all to see who will take control of all of the dimension's various zones and reformat the place into something that's not a hellhole.
The story flows via series of miniature 1-3 episode arcs taking place in various zones of the Digiworld. It's a nice thing to watch every week, these kids going on their adventures and shit fighting evil. New-age nostalgia, I love it. It also adheres the oldschool super robot rules of new combinations, weapons and power-ups on a regular basis, but that comes hand in hand with the episode structure of the show anyways.
WHAT'S DIFFERENT is that only the main character has a Digivice, and not his two friends. Also, there is no Digivolving/Levels, only combining. It's really not a big deal though.
TAIKI: He's a kid with poofy brown hair named Tai and has goggles. He fights for the right, but still has no qualms about ruining the shit of most enemies.
AKARI and ZENJIRO: Taiki's girlfriend and his self-proclaimed rival who mans the goggles while's he's indisposed of.
SHOUTMON: He's like Bloo from Foster's Home, but with the dream of ruling the Digiworld like a pimp.
NENE: The myterious awesome girl who also has a digivice and her own army of dudes.
KIRIHA: The mysterious powerhungry kid who kicks ass but doesn't care enough to take names. He has a Greymon and fights against(and sometimes with?!) our heroes on a regular basis. Cool rival bro.
TACTIMON: Bugra Army's CO. Means serious business and looks radical.
BLASTMON: Thier other CO. This guy's awesome. He's a huge crystal dude who eats jewels and shits failure. He has a majestic voice.
LILITHMON: Bugra army's other other CO. She's conniving and kind of a bitch and has big boobs.
The animation is okay. Except when it's either really bad or really awesome. It wholly depends on the episode/scene. Usually when the most awesome shit's going down you get some Gainax-quality beams and transformations, but if the characters are just sort of trotting around, eh. It's still presentable.
The style bugged me at first. The series is back to using designs that are reminiscent of the first four seasons, as opposed to the crap they used in Saves/Data Squad, and that's really awesome. However, I nitpicked the setting a lot because it's a lot less abstract than I want it. The Digiworld is season 1 was a freaking bizarre place, full of weird scenery that didn't make sense. And that was cool. This series' settings are just sort of okay and more standard fantasy-styled. But that's just me.
The music's some of the best ever. It's like GaoGaiGar or some shit, where everything important has its own passionate theme by some guy who's almost Masaki Endo full of lyrics about combining robots, blazing souls and never giving up. I love that.
DO YOU LIKE DIGIMON?
[Y] Watch this
DO YOU LIKE DIGIMON TO THE POINT WHERE YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THE METASERIES UP UNTIL THIS POINT?
[Y] Watch this, but don't come into thinking it's a Digimon show. Your favorite Mega-level Dark Master will be used a a villain of the week and there's nothing you can do about it.
DO YOU LIKE GURREN LAGANN OR GAOGAIGAR OR GETTER?
[Y] Watch this
DO YOU LIKE GUNDAM?
[Y] Watch this, but expect nothing actually like Gundam (unless it's G Gundam, the good one) read more
The ultimate fantasy for any anime fan is the anime crossover. How cool would it be if one of your favorite anime characters teamed up with another one of your favorite characters to make animated magic? Very, indeed. Let's explore some of the most creative anime crossovers of all time.