This movie takes place after the Adventure series ends. It begins when a new Digimon Egg is found on the internet, and manages to penetrate into almost every computer system in Japan. When the egg hatches, it's identified as a new kind of Digimon, a Virus-type. It sustains itself by eating data from various system, and starts wreaking havok in Japan. As it consumes more and more data, it continues to evolve. And Taichi and Koushiro decide it's time to stop it.
They're off, sending Agumon and Tentomon through the internet to fight off this new enemy. But, with the Virus controlling systems like the American military, all too soon, this digital menace may become all too real. Calling in the help of Yamato and Takeru, they hope that they can stop what's already begun, and maybe save this world a second time.
Digimon Adventure: Bokura no War Game was aired in theaters as a double feature alongside the One Piece movie as part of Toei's Spring 2000 Anime fair.
In the US release titled Digimon: The Movie, three of the Digimon films were edited together into one single film due to the low individual run time of them. It was released nationwide on October 6, 2000. Several heavy changes were made in this edit such as plot changes to make the story connected and a soundtrack featuring insert songs from artists such as Smash Mouth. Cumulatively, over 40 minutes was cut from the original releases. The movie was divided into three parts, which are respective of the original films.
Before Summer Wars, there was Bokura no War Game, the unsung masterpiece of Mamoru Hosuda. Ill-fatedly tied to the Digimon brand, it was never to be taken too seriously by anyone other than the Digimon fans who grew up with it. Hosuda himself seems to lament that fate, as he has continually attempted to recapture its magic: First, in a Loui Vuitton ad of all things and later in the aforementioned Summer Wars—a film that's pretty incredible in its own right, but one that owes almost everything to this film.
Summer Wars had nearly two hours to work with, so it made sense to fill
that space with a much larger cast, whose complex interwoven plot lines took that film in a number of different directions. Bokura no War Game feels effortless in comparison, and is the more focused of the two; at only forty minutes in length, it has to be. With that in mind, the creators made the smart decision to only involve a handful of the cast from the main series.
Taichi and Koushirou are the central protagonists here, and their chemistry is the main reason that the film is so enjoyable to watch at the surface level, as they act very casually and naturally together. There's a great deal of humor between the two of them, and between the cast as a whole—nothing of the laugh-out-loud variety, but enough to keep the film from feeling too heavy.
And, although this is a direct sequel to Digimon Adventure, only cursory knowledge of that series is required to fully enjoy this film. You'll catch on soon enough that there's this group of friends who've made connections with certain Digimon partners in the past. Anything past that is for the fans to be concerned with, as no direct mentions to the main series' plot are ever made.
Regardless, Bokura no War Game feels very different from the series. Characters are now animated with lifelike mannerisms and realistic movements, qualities rarely seen of them in the series. Hosuda's influence is very noticeable, most evident in the single-tone shading of the characters and their rather blobby proportions. Additionally, almost every shot here feels purposefully framed, resulting in a film that's consistently pleasant to look at.
It's also here where Hosuda begins to show his apparent love for modern technology, especially from a visual perspective; there's no shortage of telephones, cell phones, computer screens, clocks, keyboards, or other mundane electronics occupying the shots. They feel like a very physical and real part of the world that the characters live in—as they should in this modern age. These elements are contrasted with shots of the more rural countryside and of households where this technology isn't so prevalent. Yet, both elements seem to compliment each other more than anything else, as if to remind us of how quickly technology has progressed; it's incredible to think that a vast and complex network such as the internet does actually exist alongside much simpler ways of life, as shown here.
Being that this is a Digimon film, battles will be fought between digital monsters, and here the internet is their battle ground. Imaginatively, the internet is depicted as a web of large spherical structures, all lined with psychedelic designs and filled with floating debris. Characters in this space are either drawn with orange-colored outlines, or with no outlines at all, making them stand out in visually interesting ways. The admittedly dated Windows XP-styled messaging prompts are also used to great effect while inside the net, materializing in midair for the characters of the real world to communicate through. As a whole, this creates a very distinct and striking aesthetic—one that Hosuda would continue to use in later works such as Summer Wars.
The battles fought between the Digimon in this trippy internet world are quick, exciting, and creative, often making good use of the setting. The fights are Dragon Ball-esque, for lack of a better term, featuring characters zooming across the screen at high speeds, firing projectiles and throwing hard punches. All of the actions have a nice weight to them, so you'll feel the impact of every hit. The talented animators, choreographers, and sound designers definitely deserve major props for that.
The soundtrack of Bokura no War Game is mostly orchestral, save for the few returning J-rock tracks from the series, which are always nice to listen to. The soundtrack otherwise gives the film a particularly old fashioned sort of vibe; the more lighthearted scenes are accompanied by whimsical woodwinds, bells, and swells of strings, while the more intense scenes feature great thematic interplay between bursts of brass and sharp staccato strings. The angelic choir near the end is worth noting, as well.
Perhaps the best quality of this film is how it effectively builds tension and momentum. What starts out as a lazy morning for Taichi, snowballs into a frantic race against the clock to stop the detonation of a nuclear missile—all within a few hours. Help is always just out of reach for our heroes, while the main villain, a computer virus that has taken control of the internet, is always one step ahead. Stakes are raised by the minute, and in a multitude of layers. Hosuda highlights this tension by constantly cutting back and forth between unrelated events that are happening in parallel, the culmination of which ends up feeling very satisfying. While the pace of the film is slow-building, it's also ever-accelerating, much like the rapidly approaching nuclear missile of the story itself. This results in an unexpectedly powerful emotional scene near the end—one that would undoubtedly feel hammy if left in the hands of a lesser director.
Ever since this film, it seems Hosuda has been fascinated by the turn of the century and the ways that society will continue to interact with newer technology, whether that be for better or for worse—fitting, then, for this film to have been released in the year 2000. If you can believe it, despite having Digimon in the title, this film manages to feel very grounded and relevant. The fantastical Digital World makes no appearance here, and instead it's the internet as we know it that becomes the main stage for the plot and for the film's themes. There's also no inclusion of a hypothetical virtual reality like the OZ network of Summer Wars. A real point is made here about how even now, society is reliant enough on the internet and its related networks that if things were to go haywire, chaos would ensue. It feels like a warning sign to the present, not one to a possible future.
However, that would all be meaningless if the film itself weren't just simply enjoyable to watch. It's got heart, personality, and style, and its relatively short length is sure to keep your attention the whole way through. There's a reason I keep coming back to it; there's also a reason Hosuda keeps coming back to it.
Taking place months after their first adventure in the digital world, the kids are all off doing their own thing, but when a viral Digimon is mysteriously hatched within the Internet, everyone available must band together to take it down before Tokyo is blown off the map. With this much more immediate suspense, and an absolutely gorgeous look, Bokura no War Game really stands out as one of the strongest parts of the Digimon franchise.
The story is rather quickly developed, handled, and solved with very little lulls between movement. Though there are only three battle scenes, Taichi and Koushiro are dealing with the effects of
the viral Digimon in the real world which keeps them and the audience on their toes while they look for new strategies one after another as they are thwarted at every turn. Though it is quite formulaic in its execution, it certainly isn't boring, and though there are plenty of inconsequential sidestories, they all add something to the immediate action required throughout the movie as parallels.
Everyone's back, though not everyone is part of the main plot. Some contribute through the above-mentioned sidestories while others fight. The characters, already established, stay true to who they were in the series with very few exceeding development. Relationships are remarkable though, as Taichi and Sora seem to have progressed theirs, slight as it is.
Of course, it'd just be another Digimon episode if it weren't for the phenomenal animation. If the style looks familiar, don't be surprised. Directed by Mamoru Hosada, better known for his latter work, Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, the movie features fluid, detailed animation and a gorgeous metaphorical style for the Internet as it becomes the battlefield for the Digimon against the latest threat. If there is only one reason to give this movie a look, even if you're not a Digimon fan, it's to check out the animation which for its day and age is close to quality bar none.
Performances are all good, and the BGM is rather dignified, so much so it may be surprising to those of us who grew up watching the dub. It's all quite fitting, especially in the climactic sequence where, spoilers aside, it adds something wonderful to it all.
There's a lot to enjoy about the Digimon franchise; the surprisingly mature execution, the partnership between the kids and their Digimon, and more, but this movie stands out in technical quality above all others. Combined with tight and well-paced execution, it's a movie no Digimon fan should miss, and maybe even one for purveyors of quality animation all-around.
Overall, I give Digimon Adventure: Bokura no War Game a 7 out of 10.
Bokura no war game is an interesting Digimon movie, but one that doesn't really exploit all the potential on the storytelling, while portraying some strong character moments. This movie is actually an important link between Digimon Adventure and Digimon 02, and yet not every Digimon fan has seen it; it's not all that relevant to be fair, but Digimon 02 goes assuming you've seen the movie, now the question is: is it worth our time? As I just said, worst case scenario you end up watching a very interesting 40 minutes movie, but as I finished watching the movie I have to say that, while
satisfied I also was left wishing for more and better development.
This takes place after Digimon Adventure ended and it deals with a digimon who is on the network, eating data and growing powerful.
Through the movie there is a lot of tension and good moments of suspense as the plot moves forward, but I have to say that the writers were really lazy at times; leaving out so many characters like Sora, Mimi, Jyou and Hikari off the main plot is a bad gesture, especially considering how the anime was so well recognized for being able to handle 8 characters at once. Granted, they all get believable excuses for their absence, yet you can feel how the writers just wanted to minimize the amount of characters as much as possible. Aside from that, the plot develops and it's fairly enjoyable, still the ending is quite anti-climactic and may leave you frowning; ok, it's not that bad, but it ended quite abruptly and as such a story with so much potential kind of feel like it works, but it works at half of its power.
As I said in the story section, the writers minimized the amount of characters to just 4: Taichi, Koshiro, Yamato and Takeru, and of those 4 Taichi takes the spotlight, with Yamato and Koushiro having some moments too. For a 40 minutes movie, it has many good moments; these are characters that are quite beloved and really likeable, and among them Taichi gets some extremely good moments in the film, and not just him; whenever we see each character frustrated it feels real, whenever we see them nervous, anxious or anything at all it works because it carries on well with their previous development in the anime series, and as such the character work is great, almost reaching to outstanding.
Sound: There are great tracks in the movie, the very same ones used in the anime plus some new ones. In general, they are all as well scored as in the anime and the timing is also impressive, though there is a moment when Brave Heart runs in a loop and become annoying, but it's just some mere 15 seconds or so.
As a whole, I'd say the movie is worth watching, it's very good and quite entertaining, still I'm not sure if I would call it a must see: Digimon fans will likely enjoy the movie, but there's no doubt that most of us can feel that, while being quite good, it never really tried to be as good as it could be.
Okay, to start off - I first watched this movie at the age of 5. I rewatched it a few times over the years, and now at the age of 22, I still love this movie.
Let's face it, not everything from the early 2000s was good or aged that well. This movie aged really well! I still laugh at all the bad jokes every time, the silly puns, and still love the story.
Story: This is a good spin off from the original Digimon series, and fits in well with the events that went on. It does a good job to connect to the
series. I do have to say though, you you watch this as the US version "Digimon: The Movie", right after watching the original series, the timeline of events will never quite add up. So just enjoy it as a standalone piece.
Did you like Summer Wars? This is very similar, but we're set a couple years back (In a time where a dial-up connection could stream crystal clear quality video to a million people, apparently). Also the military did not care if you used their satellite connection back then.
Art: Fairly good for the time it was made, I feel, although not 100% up to par with the original anime. If you continue onward to watch the second Digimon movie, you'll think it's fantastic because the art is pretty rough in that one.
Sound: I actually feel this movie is best watched as an English dub - the jokes are funnier, the soundtrack is really good and reminiscent of all those songs we loved in the early 2000s (Smash Mouth, the Barenaked Ladies).
Characters: They did not change between the series and here, so it's all good.
Enjoyment: Seriously, this movie cracks me up every time I watch it and makes me smile. It might be old, it might not be perfect, but it is just super fun to watch every time.
Look at the top ten most successful anime at the American box office and its... almost all Pokemon, other toy/card game show adaptations, and Studio Ghibli films. But what other anime films have managed to make money in their limited releases?
Mamoru Hosoda makes heartfelt, beautifully-animated films that appeal to all ages. His latest, The Boy and the Beast, is coming soon to theaters in America and Australia! Learn how he got to the point where many have called him "the next Miyazaki."