With five new kids and an exciting new mission in the Digital World, Digimon Frontier brings back all the great action and adventure of the last three seasons. Takuya, Kouji, Izumi, Junpei. and Tomoki meet each other in a train that takes them to the Digital World where a war against evil is being fought. The Angel digimon, Cherubimon, one of The three angels sent to save the World from the power-hungry Lucemon, has turned to the dark side and the entire Digital World is in peril. To fight this great battle, the five CHOSEN ONES must find the Densetsu no Spirit (Legendary Spirit).
This Review is Being Given after viewing the Japanese Version
The fourth season at Digimon Frontier, this was the creators attempt at bringing back the faze of Digimon that was widely spread around the year 2000 but slowly began to die as the third season, Digimon Tamers, proved to be a disappointment to many Digimon fans.
In this season, the main characters, instead of having Digimon as their partners, the 'Digi-Destined' themselves turn into the Digimon. With provides a very interesting twist in this series compared to other Digimon seasons. Though I really liked this series, there were a few things I found disappointing in it, and
I'm writing these things out for everyone can see the pros as well as the cons of this Digimon season.
To put it simply, the storyline was overall good. Your everyday, rescue the Digital World from being destroyed plot line. There were many points that could be easily guessed as to the results of the ending as the story draws to a close, but it also includes its many surprise twists that will surprise you no matter how much you've been paying attention to the story and each and every detail.
There are some points where I felt like it was just repeating the same thing over and over again and eventually it became quite boring since I could easily guess what the results were going to be. Though it wasn't to repetitive to the point that each and every detail was alike, but it was still at that level that it was a bit boring to watch through.
I give this one a 7 because of the fact of many things in the art of it that particularly annoyed the hell out of me. For one, there were many incidents where the mouths didn't move in sync with the words, at all. Not just slight out-of-sync, but major out-of-sync, it didn't occur often though, which was a relief.
But. . .that wasn't the main reason this got a 7 out of 10, my main pet peeve about the art in this was how characters would get injured, major injuries, and hardly be able to stand, the next second they'd be standing and all their injuries were totally gone.
Then there were other points when the injuries would last long. It just seemed to really piss me off about this fact of the art.
Well I could say the sound was really good! Great sound effects, I loved the opening song and always sang along to it, I also like the first ending, but when it came to the second ending it just seemed to become to slow for the way things were moving in the series and totally ruined it for me that I fast-forwarded through the ending from then on.
Don't really know what else to say about the sound so I'll end it there.
To many. That's what I've got to say about it. There seemed to be to many main characters to give to much information about. In equal amounts that is. The story plot managed to tell you about each of their actual lives before they went to the Digital World, but for a couple of the characters, it was just a single episode used to reveal some of their past, after that it didn't seem to be very important. Then there were a couple characters who their lives seemed to have almost half of the story line revolving around them.
It seems to start out with one of the characters, Takuya, having the role as the main character, but as the story plot deepens it seems that that staring role is transfered to another character. Not that I found anything to wrong with that though seeing as the new 'star' was a favorite character of mine.
I will truthfully say that I enjoyed this anime very much! Despite the things I stated before that I disliked, it was very good ^^ I became attached to some of the characters and cried when they cried, laughed with them, cheered them on, I'll never forget this wonderful anime!
Overall this an outstanding anime! Though it may not appeal to some of those who are fans of the original (seasons 1 and 2) of Digimon. I'm sure it will be a favorite to those who have chosen this season to watch before the others. Both new and even some older fans of Digimon will enjoy this season. As unlike some of the earlier ones, it seems to be much more in-depth and much darker than some of the other season.
If you didn't like earlier seasons of Digimon and saw them as 'childish', then you may prefer this season as it appears to be a much more 'dark' type of anime.
Digimon Frontier is the fourth installment in the Digimon franchise, and is unconnected to the previous three shows, or "seasons". It follows the main character, Takuya, and his friends as they go through the digital world, and it is absolutely my favorite in the Digimon series.
STORY: The plot develops quite well, actually surprising me with some of the twists. Keep in mind this series IS made for kids, so the messages that the story produces are things about growing up and making friends. On top of being a wonderful kids show, it actually has quite a few more adult like themes that surprised and
pleased me as a teenage rewatcher of the show.
The storyline will often show the kids being bullied, or having very real problems that I myself have experienced in life. It shows how that effects them once making new friends, and it shows them grow throughout the series. It's heart warming and very wonderful to watch.
Besides that, the plotline was actually very well written (definitely a step up from Digimon Adventure 02, in any case) and kept you interested throughout the fifty episodes of the show.
ART: The art, as it's a very old show AND made for children, leaves a lot to be desired. The world is absolutely beautiful, though, and they do a great job with the scenery. I don't believe the art is terrible, but it is definitely not great, especially compared to the art in anime nowadays.
SOUND: Both the original and the English versions of the soundtrack are pretty good, in my opinion! They are both very upbeat and really fit what's happening in the show. Very enjoyable to listen to.
The voice actors in the original for the characters are much, much better, though. In the English, true to most children's shows, they change a lot of things including names and whatnot, so I would suggest watching the sub instead of the dub.
CHARACTER: Every character is well thought out and well designed and well developed. Even though there may be parallels to other Digimon series (Takuya being similar to Taichi, for instance), they all develop very differently and in their own ways which was pleasing to watch.
Digimon Frontier delves more into character development then I feel the other Digimon series had, and it really allows you to get inside the character's minds. It's very intense, especially for a children's show, and very interesting to watch. They did an excellent job at making the characters very relatable in their own respects while also teaching people about the problems bullying and other real life issues will cause later on in life. As a child, the characters in this show helped me out greatly with life, and I find even as an older teenager the messages are universally important.
ENJOYMENT: I have watched this series three times now -- once as a young child, once recently in English, and again in Japanese -- and I have enjoyed it every time. As I said, the messages are universally important and useful, and I've found them helping me in every day life.
The series is very different from the other installments in Digimon, and I think it increased the enjoyment factor for me greatly. It's my favorite in the Digimon line, and for good reason.
OVERALL: I will gladly give this an overall ten, without a doubt. I love watching this series from start to finish and it's highly enjoyable.
Delving into character's minds is something of a hobby for me, and watching a Digimon series allow me to do that was a wonderful experience. As I said, it's my favorite in the Digimon line, because everything worked so much better.
It had an original plot that was fun and interesting to follow, wonderful characters that were all very different from each other, believable character development, and so much more. Everything about Digimon Frontier was done well, if not very well, and I highly recommend it as something fun to watch and take your mind off of things.
It's also, of course, an excellent show for kids, and I would recommend showing it to your children if you have them. It teaches wonderful messages that I still carry with me in my day to day life, and it does it in a wonderful way that I really appreciate now that I'm older.
I feel that this season of Digimon really pales in comparison to every other season that I've watched. The entire point of the original season was camaraderie, the two seasons to follow did the same thing but refreshing it. Season four tosses that out the window and just has the digidestined turn into digimon spirits. It's like DNA-Digivolution but without the partner, which in my eyes, doesn't make any sense.
You may wonder how I could give the story and art a good grade and give everything else either fair or lesser. For starters there's nothing wrong with the story, I think that it does
very well in presenting itself. And the artwork is fantastic, while I don't agree that the characters serve the purpose that they should, they do however look really cool, as digimon mostly have. To be honest because of how the the characters are, it might as well be called Power Rangers: Digital World. You have Kids or teens that say a few special words hold out their cell phone like thing and magically put on armor that often has to do with a positive trait or animal.
Now really, be honest with yourself if this was made with the title power rangers and live action you wouldn't think that it had any relation with Digimon. Why? because compared to the other four existing seasons of Digimon, this is remotely different.
Please note that this is how the anime came across to me and just because you don't like the review I gave it doesn't give you the right to shoot it down in a review of your own, if some people like it fine, but there are people who don't like it and have their reasons, l feel that it's not the way digimon should have been but that's my opinion and everyone is entitled to one.
(Edit) I've recently come to the conclusion that Digimon Frontier is worse off than I initially thought. Do I think it's bad to begin with? Yes. My opinion will likely never change on that. But I've gotten enough direct messages so some of the fanbase for Frontier just comes across as petty and even sanctimonious, further putting me off from this series. Why would I want to be remotely associated with that?
Do I respect that it's been made and the effort taken to make it? Yes, of course. But if you're going to once again try to convince me otherwise, note that I don't care what you think. You're more than welcome to enjoy this series. I quite simply don't.
After the breakout success of Digimon Tamers Toei renewed Digimon for a 4th season, and here they had 2 choices: they could do Tamers 02 (just as they did Adventure 02) or a whole new series. As Adventure 02 mostly failed to keep the audience it would have been a huge risk to do Tamers 02, as it could go the same way, and so Frontier was born, setting a brave new world and timeline, once again starting from scratch. The concept of the series lies in one of the thing most Tamers fans loved: humans becoming one with digimon. The thing is, Tamers did
this around episode 35, once we knew who the characters were and their story arcs matched this evolution almost perfectly. Starting from episode 1 with that kind of evolution is risky as we don't know anything about the new characters and so it could feel unearned, weird and anticlimactic. Many viewers turned off after just a couple of episodes and I can't blame them, the start is very shaky, but once Frontier figured out what worked and what didn't work it started becoming better. Sadly, it was just a little too late, and so the ratings declined to a point of no return and the Digimon franchise would be buried in the ground until Savers comes out several years later.
Now, is Digimon Frontier really a bad series? No, not at all, but is it great? Again, no. It does many things right and many things wrongs. Let's see the hits and miss.
Story wise: The plot is simple; once upon a time, in the digital world, there were 10 warriors who stopped the world from destruction. As a new threat rises, human kids are called to participate on a "game" that will decide their future. That game is going to take place in the digital world and the kids must become one with the spirits of said warriors in order to save the digital world.
Now, there's a lot of juice to that plot, you can explore this brand new digital world while adding layers of complexity to the plot by discovering the past of the warriors, what kind of trials they went through and how it affects the current situation. Sadly, Frontier doesn't bother going there; we just follow the children who got a power beyond their understanding. Ok, that can work out too if you have good characters, but character work isn't really that good either (we'll see that later), and the plot moves mostly ignoring any development the children make. Frontier has 2 bad habits: 1) it set character development mostly in filler episodes that add almost nothing to the story, and there's many episode that feels like this and 2) when the plot finally moves it usually sacrifices character development in order to compensate for the lack of movement in filler episodes. As such pacing is really troublesome here, sometimes slow as a snail, sometimes fast as a train, and as such we can't really get to enjoy it all that well. There are two main story arcs, one that takes place for 37 episodes and other one that uses just 13 episodes.
The first arc is a mixed bag: the first 10 episodes are outright boring, with simple plot and no depth to it, but as we move forward we slowly start to dip our toes into darker themes and get into the depths of the series. By episode 21 we can see the Digimon Frontier it should have been from the beginning, but as I said it was already a little too late for becoming good, at that point most of it audience might have as well left. As the arc continues, there are some really good moments, but also many that lag, and as such enjoyment is just fair.
The second and final arc is also a mixed bag as it starts rushed and only finds real momentum in the final 4 episodes or so, becoming the highlights of the series. The final episodes are smartly crafted and find the right pace to end the series, but anything before that I got through by sighing mostly hoping it would end quickly. As such, I can't think it was a great or even a good arc, it had its moment, but it constantly sacrifices some important character development in order to move as quickly as it can, and that's just a mess.
Characters: Just as I said in the story section, this is a mixed bag. This is not the worst character treatment in a Digimon series, but it's not the best either. Takuya is a good lead; he gets the usual broad strokes at the beginning and then is developed into a more complex kind of character. We get to explore his fear a lot, and because of it his bravery feels real. However, sometimes it gets repetitive and one might find it boring, but usually the character work is right.
It's the rest of the children who really have the trouble as their development is mostly scattered. Kouji is the cold one who gradually warms up, Tomoki the youngest of the group and the cry baby that grows up (doesn't this remind you of Takeru?), Izumi the girl who is figuring out how to be kind, Jumpei who wants to make real friends and Kouchi who is conflicted by family issues. All of that sounds good and with the right treatment you can get great characters. In fact, in early going Jumpei made a case for breakout character as his issues were the ones that could be pointed out easily and he grew around them. I expected a lot from him, but then the show just forgets it has ever developed this character. And the same happens to Izumi and Tomoki.
Kouji and Kouichi mostly get treated as just one character; their background is interesting, and smartly crafted, but they take the spotlight from the rest of the characters and once Kouichi is added in the series every single character moment from either of them have to include the other, making difficult to see them as separete individuals. And also, the more we spend with this duo the less we see of the others, and it seems as if Frontier is all about them, and that just frustrates me as I don't just get bored of being handled the same thing, but I also see a lot of characters who have potential not being used.
Talking about potential not being used, there was a pretty strong character combo in early series: Takuya and Tomoki had a great brother’s like chemistry, but Frontier seems to abandon this. The same happens with Jumpei and Izumi, who get a couple of strong episodes together and seem to be a good fit. But the show mostly explores two combos: Takuya/Kouji and Kouji/Kouichi.
As such, Frontier hurts itself by forgetting some character with real potential.
Still, everybody gets their screen time and we can see them becoming more mature, it just feels... rushed, convoluted and sometimes unearned. Takuya, Kouji and Koichi get the best treatment, the other 3, while somewhat developed, are mostly left in the air, which makes the character treatment somewhat lacking, but with some great moments, so it's only fair.
Sound: Though it shares some music that comes from the previous series, it is mostly new music, just like Tamers did, but not as great. It's still pretty good, but some tracks just don't land as they should. As such, it's no more than an 8. Very good, but something is lacking.
Enjoyment: very scattered. At times I just wanted to skip episodes because I couldn't stand the slow pace of the fillers episodes and at times I just didn't want the episode to end because I was really enjoying it. Digimon Frontier have a chunk of good episodes, but I'm afraid that the amount of filler is just too damn high, and when the plot moves it also forgets what the filler gets right, the character treatment. So it's really hard to say: I decided to go with "fair", because in the end I'm glad I re-watched, but I don't think I'll do it again. There are great moments, sure, but as a whole there are way too many troubles.
Overall, I think this series could have been really great, outstanding, but it didn't really know how to handle it. The fact that there are no digimon partners also hurt most of the audience it built over the years; if the spirits at least talked to our human characters then maybe it could have felt like we were watching a Digimon series. Even when Tamers set a whole new world, we still could recognize it was a Digimon series. In Frontier we get that by the huge amount of callback we get (including digimon from previous series, the crests, and many others element of earlier series), but not really because of the dynamic. If we could see this as a standalone series, without the Digimon name, maybe I'd go easier on it, but we can't due to the heavily amount of callbacks. And even if we could, it still wouldn't be great, as the story plot and character treatment are so scattered. As I said multiple times already, there is great potential there, there are some moments that shows us what this series should have been, but the writers don't dare go beyond the comfort zone all that often, and as such we get a series that is neither bad nor good, it just is.
Stray observartions (may include some spoilers):
-Through episode 2 to 41 we see Jumpei giving chocolates to a great amount of digimon. Just how many does he had with him before going to the digital world?
-In episode 18 we get the mother of callback, as we get to see many main digimon from previous series, such as v-mon, agumon, dukemon, taomon, wormmon, armadillomon, etemon, terriermon, among many others.
-In episode 38 Takuya finally explains why they have been fighting, as he says: "Right, we are human, but we are also half digimon". For me, that was a winning moment, as it finally gave some context as to why they have been risking their life all this time and it landed perfectly on context.
-Every time, in any digimon series, when someone says "did we get him?" the enemy always emerges from the damage. Every. Single. Time.
-As usually, per season, we got to see Leomon dying, this time killed by Takuya. Don't worry, he was just a random enemy, not an ally this time, and so it's not really traumatic.
-In episode 26 Frontier decided to do a kind of Snow White story with Izumi. It didn't really work, but it was fun to watch, even though the episode was mostly bad.
-It was interesting to see that Kouji has a dog and that he had to take care of a Tsunomon (who evolves later into Gabumon and then into Garurumon); it seems he has a connection with dogs and wolves, as all his evolutions are wolf related.
-In episode 31 Takuya outright says he is the main character. Sorry Jumpei, for what is worth I did think you could make it as a great character and lead before the show forgot about you.
And that's it! Two more Digimon series to go, and the following (Savers) is one of my favorites, so I'll be happy to review it!
Next up: after a long time nap, Digimon reawakens, as Savers come to save the franchise with excellent character treatment and the darkest plot to aim to an audience that already grew up
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