Masaru, a second year Junior High student and undefeated street-fighter, is about to learn the meaning of the word "teamwork." After Agumon escapes DATS, an organization that deals with Digimon, it winds up in a fight with Masaru. Soon Yoshino and Lalamon come to capture Agumon, and the two fighters escape. After an evil Digimon appears, it's up to Masaru and Agumon to defeat it with their DNA Charge.
Soon, Masaru must join DATS to put an end to the Digimon coming to Earth. With the help of Yoshino, Ikuto, and Touma, the group must stop any evil Digimon that appear, and return them to the Digital World.
I absolutely loved this anime, and everything about it, I can't help but give everything a 10, for some though, if I could, I'd give more than a 10, as I'll have in my reasons below
This review is being given after watching the Japanese version of this anime
You could say that this anime starts out a little slow, with the meeting of the main character, Masaru, and Agumon (once more the main characters digimon) and the introduction of all the other characters that will later play a big part in the series. I had this anime on-hold at episode 14, and when I started
it back up again, I became completely addicted to the series. Though I remember the beginning being slow (which is why I put it on-hold for such a long time), once I began watching it again I couldn't stop. I non-stopped watched the series and it's action-packed plot.
The whole storyline mainly focuses on the 'main' main character, Masaru Daimon and his digimon with some of the side main character, Yoshino Fujieda and her digimon, Raramon, Touma Norstein and his digimon, Gaomon, as well as the later introduced character, Ikuto Noguchi and his digimon, Falcomon, as they all aim to help protect the Human World as well as the Digital World from both attacks from Digimon, and even other humans.
Unlike the other Digimon series, Digimon Savers (or Data Squad as it is known in English) doesn't focus on young kids getting Digimon, this time it's older teens who get/have Digimon. The age of Masaru, Yoshino, and Touma would average around 17 years of age, with Ikuto being the youngest main character at the age of 10. With teens getting Digimon this time around, the art is a bit different in terms of the art of each of the human characters.
And yet again, the art for every time the Digimon evolve is excellent as it takes on a totally different form from the normal images that are seen during the viewing of each episode.
This is one of the ones that I couldn't help but give it a higher rating than what's aloud here. I found myself absolutely addicted to the both of the opening and ending theme songs as well as some of the music that was played during the episodes. Sometimes I would even dance to the music while it was playing on the episode. Which was hard when I was trying to read the subs on my iPod ^^;
Anyway, the music was absolutely amazing and all the voices for the characters fit them perfectly, I have no complaints at all.
The personalities of each character were well planned (in my opinion) and there were no 'split-personality' characters in this anime.
Each character was unique and had pasts that would later on become a large part of the series. (at least most of them)
By the end of the series, I had become extremely attached to almost each and every character, especially Ikuto, Falcomon, and Masaru, and was crying at the end because of the fact that the series was ending and it would be the last time I'd get to see them unless I rewatched it.
I couldn't say I have enjoyed a series THIS much in a long time!! Being a fan of not only Digimon, but action-packed, adventure, and comedy animes, I loved this series!! It has a nice balance of action, adventure, as well as even it's bit of comedy that almost every anime needs to succeed!
If I kept the normal ratings of 10 for each, I'd end up with a 50 out of 50 score for overall. The anime was great, the characters couldn't be better, the music is absolutely addicting. I couldn't ask for anything better than what this anime managed to pack into its 48 episodes.
If you're looking for an action-packed, adventure, comedy, and something that you'll enjoy even if you've never watched a Digimon episode before, I know you'll want to watch this series!! Go on! Try it out, you won't be regretting it.
You may like or dislike this series, but there's an undeniable fact: Digimon Savers actually saved the Digimon anime franchise, that's why we got the sixth series, Xross Wars. People who dislike (or even hate the series) are usually 2 types of people: 1) people who saw barely 3 or 4 episodes and abandoned it and 2) people who watched it from the beginning to finish annoyed by the fact that this series is way too different from the previous Digimon series. The first I can understand, as Savers doesn't have the strongest first arc (like every Digimon series), but the second one I don't:
every single Digimon series is different and distinctive from each other, so what if this one is more mature and darker? I think that is one of the strengths of this series, because it aimed to those children who grew up watching Digimon, offering them something they can almost equally enjoy, with new layers of depth, great character insight, darkness of despair and the always reliable power of believing in your dreams: now that is a Digimon series! That is what made Adventure so rich, and amazingly executed, even when it was a bit lighter. I respect the people who say that they don't like this series, because I accept we may not share the same taste, however if you look at the execution, everything here works in every level, and we'll see why now:
Story wise: Savers have 4 distinct story arcs. The first one relays too much on the comedy side, but the following 3 goes deeper into the drama side (while never fully abandoning its comedy roots) and delivers some really deep emotional moments along with satisfying story arcs and some tearjerkers moments.
First arc, DATS: From episode 1 to 11 we have an episodic format, a case of the week if you may, in which our DATS member have to face Digimon cases and handle them "quietly". Here we are introduced to our main trio, Masaru, Yoshino and Tohma, and their digimon. These 11 episodes are way too light on the drama and character background side, only foreshadowing for later, while being too heavy on the comedy; every Digimon series starts slow, so I guess the choice to rely on comedy was made in order to make it more passable, however it is because of this that the first inserts of drama feels out of place, but everything changes in episode 12 and then onwards we have an outstanding shounen anime.
Second arc, Mercurimon and the inter-dimensional conflict: here is where Savers passes from enjoyable time killer to be actually good to great. We get insight in our characters, the story plot thickens, and we feel like we finally are being told a true conceived and thought through story rather than just random cases. The drama side starts taking over the comedy and I must say, it is good drama, as it develops from what was foreshadow earlier and both story arcs and characters arc start to go along.
Third arc, Kurata and the genocide: Here Savers just shows its teeth and becomes great; if by the second arc we peaked at characters depth now we sink into their darkness, we get to see the best and the worst of our heroes, and they start to truly grow and mature by the experiences of the previous arc; we get to see them being reckless, feeling jealousy, betraying, losing faith, but we also get to see them standing right back up, facing their own flaws, and take a step forward against a seemingly hopeless situation, despite their fears, and as the character work is just right, it is incredibly satisfying.
Fourth and final arc, Yggdrasil and the crisis: Now, if we already saw darkness in the previous arc then prepare yourselves to go even deeper. Here we are in one of the worst crisis any Digimon series has faced since Tamers; if the previous crisis was seemingly hopeless, this one is even more. Our characters have already grown, they know they have to stand still, yet the doubt is there and as they work out their own issues they find the strength to move forward, and I must say that these episodes are the most moving of the series, and successfully made me cry in various episodes; I know that's just me, but I have to say it, because it aims for a great emotional impact and delivers.
Characters: Digimon Savers has great story plot and pacing, but lacks on the beginning. However, it does have something that it is almost flawless: character work.
Masaru: In the beginning he is the typical shounen hero, strong headed, stubborn, bad attitude and borderline stupid. His best quality in the beginning is that he is mostly funny to watch and be with, so I can understand some people not liking him. But don't be rash! Even the most stereotypical characters can work with the right character treatment and Masaru is proof of that. As the series goes forward he keeps his bad attitude and he always pick fights, but he grows more considerate, we are shown a background that makes sense with his personality, and successfully goes from annoying to really likeable. He feels like a different person and at the same time he's still Masaru. That is the best character treatment we can ask.
Tohma: Just like Masaru, Tohma is also stereotypical, but get the best character treatment. Of all the characters he must have the hardest background and it totally echoes with his reserved and a bit arrogant personality. He grows deeper as the show goes forward and episode surrounding him are usually the strongest. He so clearly goes from the “know it all”, arrogant, calculator guy to a reliable friend who learns to trust his friends more than his wits, once again, without ever abandoning his true self. His growth is always in place, his actions are never out of character, and he faces troubles in unexpected, yet satisfying ways. I'll admit it, I have a soft spot for the character, but I think everyone could see all this in him.
Yoshino: when your weakest character is still well developed you know you are looking at good material. Yoshino is the lazy yet responsible girl who- in the beginning- have some kind of inferiority complex, which she resolves as the series goes on and becomes an important asset to the team as well as a strong and determined person. The only thing I truly dislike about her is her background; it's not bad, but it's not fully exploited, and as such I would have liked to know a lot more about her family, but this is just a little complaint to an otherwise very well done character work.
Ikuto: if there is a character that can compete with Tohma for saddest background it's him. He is a boy raised by Digimon, and as such he is mostly conflicted about his duality as human/digimon, and the series explores this issue with no fear and he grows around it. He goes all the way from wild reckless boy to what we could say is a very mature grown man. His character work is just outstanding, as it doesn't matter how many episodes pass by we see that he is always dealing with his duality as human/digimon, even when he seems to have accepted it, and that's just gold.
The 4 main digimon: though the series is called "Digimon" the series focus way more in the human characters and their relation with their digimons. The digimons themselves are all fleshed out with their own quirks and personalities and show growth over the series, but it's mostly shadowed by the amazing character work of the human characters, but you can't stop noticing how much Agumon changed from the first arc to the last, and the same can be said about Gaomon, Lalamon and Falcomon; I won't go into details, but they all grow.
Supporting: There are several! And all of them get their screentime and their due development in their limited time. Sayuri might be the weakest link, but she still has her moments as she shows how mothers have to struggle about seeing how their children might get hurt, but acknowledging that they must get hurt in order to grow, and as such she doesn't bother much. The rest of the supporting characters all have their own functions in different themes, and they show develop through the series.
Sound: After feeling that Digimon Frontier lacked a little bit, I was glad to see that Savers came back with great tracks. "Believer" is a perfect evolution song as it fits every single character and "Hiari", the second opening, just shows us how this show came from its comedy roots embracing the darkest side of itself while never abandoning important themes as dreams and hopes. The tracks were masterfully chosen and scored.
Enjoyment: The first time I watched Savers I was 17 and I loved it, as I was thrilled to see a Digimon series that dared to be as mature as it could be, to tell us a story about teens and their conflicts, and to see them overcoming such incredibly, almost hopeless, situations. I watched again at 19 and I was still as pleased as the first time. Now I'm 21, this is my third time, and I still enjoyed as much as the first time; even if you know our heroes will make it to the end, you can get so much joy out of their journey and their growth that I think I can watch it several times and never be bored.
As I said before, I respect people who disliked Savers, but I don't understand them. I've read some of the reviewers who hated the series and they say "this is not the Digimon I grew up with!", now are they talking of Adventure, Tamers or Frontier? They are all different, and what is important is not to be similar, but to manage to exploit the storytelling and character potential that each series has: Tamers is way different from Adventure and still it triumphed because it denied its past and just wanted to create its own storytelling with the digimon elements. Savers does the same, and even surpasses Tamers (and almost reaches Adventure greatness) as it tell us a meaningful story that only lacks a bit on the first arc (with only 3 bad episodes) and delivers satisfying conclusions to each arc.
I'll respect your opinions, and so I expect you to respect mine: for me Savers is the 2nd best Digimon series ever made, just slightly edged out by Adventure.
Stray observations (funny bits of information I got while re-watching. May contain some spoilers):
-In episode 5 we see Tohma bleeding; I think this is the first time ever a human has bled in a Digimon series.
-These are the makeup exams Masaru took on episode 7: "Modern Japanese Language", "English", "Japanese history", "Physics", "Mathematics", and of course he didn't know anything about any of those subjects xD
-Apparently Masaru likes to play the drum in Rock Band as seen in episode 7.
-Every time a family matter is discussed Masaru grabbed his pendant, thinking about his father, which was a very good detail.
-Banchouleomon laugh in episode 28 is epic!
-Yoshino is so lazy that even in the short training sequence in episode 29 she didn't do anything xD.
-Episode 31, Gaomon reaction to Masaru taking credit for Tohma's plan: "It was master's plan" I also got angry at Masaru back then too.
-One great Yoshino moment: when she strikes a barrel at a Gizomon she finally shows some backbone!
-The Masaru vs Tohma thing in episode 34 felt very much like Taichi vs Yamato from Adventure, it gave me goosebumps!
-Masaru to Tohma in episode 35: "Apologize to them with tour life! DIE!" Now, that's the darkest side of Masaru. I applaud the writers for going there.
-Gaomon in the finale, bringing tea to Tohma: "It's my own blend. I call it 'my vow to meet you again'" that was so utterly cute that it got me to tears. I want a digimon like Gaomon!
-At last, I'd like to mention that, in my opinion, the finale is as perfect as Adventure's and Tamer's finales and left me with a wide open smile in my face. I didn’t want it to end!
And that's it. As always, I hope you enjoyed this review. I'll make an effort and get through Digimon Xross Wars (the only Digimon series I dislike) and make a review, so… this might be the headline:
Next time: Digimon Xross Wars tries to be every single Digimon series and manages to be none.
Well... I'm glad that's over.
This is my first "review" on MAL, and I will be blunt here. Take some of my thoughts with grain of salt, because the review is less organized, than I'd like it to be.
Before you leave, I won't bash Savers, because it "ruined my childhood anime". I went in hopeful for a change of setting.
There will be some spoilers.
Digimon Savers is the first full length Digimon series since Digimon Frontier in 2002-3. I've seen quite a few people praise it for "saving Digimon" and being more "mature", than it's predecessors. For starters, it has more aggression and main cast aging from
mid teens to early twenties (with some variables), so it must be more mature. Right? Well.. no. It's not. I dare say it's even more childish than Frontier was.
But would that be a bad thing on it's own? No. Definitely not. Seeing the first few episodes, I actually thought it would become a silly shounen adventure by the end.
It was actually aimed at a more "mature" audience, unlike the series prior and for that reason, after the initial few episodes went down, it turned into a "serious business" show.
It didn't hit the mark.
(I won't give points. Since everyone rates differently, I find them generally less useful than they're shown to be. What a 5 means to one person can be very different to what it means for another. I will give impressions instead.)
The story is about a cardboard cutout shounen manga protagonist saving the world with his fists. (Take this at face value.) Everything else is just a semi-bland mesh of spices.
I don't dislike simple stories. Simple stories can be great. However even the simplest of stories need something entertaining going for them. This story you can experience by reading almost any shounen manga or by watching almost any shounen anime in a much more entertaining manner. The only thing different here are the Digimon as a choice for Monster of the Week monsters. You can predict most of it by looking at the first 15 episodes. Or watching every 4th one. Doesn't make a lick of difference. Considering all this, the story could have been charming if it was somewhat played for laughs. It wasn't. The plot takes itself extremely seriously and given it's subject matter it's completely laughable. Except I cried.
What if it had a nice set of characters?
The main cast is a mess, but there are some unpolished gems. Too bad next to nothing is expanded on any of the characters except the main four and 1 or 2 others.
The main four are:
Masaru doesn't grow even a little bit as a character. He is depicted and is supposed to be accepted as an idealistic view on a "MAN". This is demonstrated though him beating up others (including Digimon) and through this they start to respect him, because he "talked to them with his fists" and "that's the way a man does things". He is like this until literally the last frame and is presented extremely seriously. I hoped that he would grow out of this personality or do something productive with it, like all other digimon protags, but he didn't. The other saving option would have been that the story and he himself turns purposely corny. This doesn't happen either. He is a worthless character in every sense of the word.
Tohma has a little bit more growth as a person than Masaru, but it's still filled with overdone clichés and exaggerated, meaningless drama. He is mostly only there to be the rival trope for the self-insert protag.
Yoshino is there, because "cool older sister" trope. That's it. She has no character arc. No, that one episode doesn't count.
Ikuto has by far the most well made character arc, but sadly, as many a reviewer said before me: No matter how much you polish a turd, it won't become a piece of gold. He is a little shithead through the first ~20 episodes he's featured in. After that he becomes completely docile until the end. He has two agendas. The first one: HUMAN=EVIL, next one HUMAN+DIGIMON=GOOD. He's supposed to represent the "humans' potential to live alongside digimon peacefully" and "HUMAN EVOLUTION" ((within the context of the Digimon shows: growing up)). (In contrast, in all other Digimon series before this, all characters had this happen to them very naturally and mostly without being constantly hammered through the "retarded viewer's" skull.)
Some of the others:
The partner digimon are cute but that's it. They have basic personalities. Agumon is always hungry and is the same as Masaru. Gaomon is a butler. Lalamon is... well.. sometimes a straight man to Yoshino I guess? Falcomon is mostly a mirror to Ikuto. Kamemon had some potential, but he is mostly just there, saying and doing nothing. Sometimes he fights alongside Yushima. The two PawnChessmon are purely for support, same for their tamers. Kudamon and Satsuma combo is fun to listen to sometimes, but they're filling the bare minimum roles of "a father to his men"-type boss characters.
There is one supporting character who's constantly mentioned through the entire series. He's Masaru's dad. He is the same as Masaru and nothing is really done with him other than constant praise by everyone. He's basically a "means to an end" character. He's mainly used to justify happenings in the story.
The enemy characters were explained with:
"He's a cackling evil scientist, kill him." and "He's an emotionless algorithm, kill him."
The first one has a long and drawn-out buildup, basically shoving a shitton of "kick the dog" moments to show how he's evil because he's evil. The other antagonist on the other hand comes out of nowhere and blames the entire humanity for one man's actions and decides in his infinite wisdom to kill everyone. His followers obey him without any questions or showing any character until the last two episodes.
The characters I enjoyed seeing were few and far between, but here they are in no particular order: Mercurimon, Craniummon, Satsuma, Kudamon, Yushima.
I also love hearing that voice actor from the mouth of Dukemon (even though at first it was a bit jarring to hear Tamers Guilmon's voice back from Savers Dukemon).
Mediocre, but I won't fault Toei. Making Saturday morning stuff with limited time (and lack of direction and probably a lack of faith from the higher-ups) is definitely not easy. Especially in the mid 2000s, making a promo, monster of the week show for Digimon. At least the battles were spectacular and a lot better than the first two and the fourth series' battles and most CGI wasn't bad. (Except for the MachGaogamon evolution. Every time the frame-rate drops form 24 to 3, a little bit of my soul evaporates.)
One of the better points. The openings are nice and energetic, the endings are calming (though not sure how fitting they are for this kind of presentation). The Evolution song is one that I really like. It's the perfect song to just shout loud. I love it. The other OST is not bad, but I can't hum any of it after watching the whole series. It's just there. Sometimes I remember it fitting the atmosphere, but most of the time I can't recall any of it. The voice acting cast is good enough, though Yoshino's voice actress sounds extremely uninterested half the time.
Poor. I enjoyed how they showed us the characters in the first couple of episodes and I remember thinking "Huh, this is vastly different from before, but so far I like it! I wonder how they'll make them likeable or what story will go around them!"
If you've read this far, you already know the answer to those questions.
I did not enjoy Digimon Savers. It was a copy-paste of the first volume of any shounen manga story about school gang-fighting and how that's honorable. Add some Digimon and that's it. The characters don't change, which was one of the cornerstones of the previous four Digimon series. The story is by the numbers and even like this, it's taken bloody seriously. Last but not least, the show treats the viewers like morons.
I can't find a single reason to watch this anime over basically any other shounen of similar length or indeed any Digimon series that aired before it. If you honestly enjoyed it or can take the piss out of it, I'm happy for you. Sadly I couldn't.
In my opinion an insult to the Digimon franchise. Its not the Digimon I raised up with, it changed completly.. to worse.
I dont know where to start. Maybe with the art, since its the thing wihich annoys me most. The last forth seasons were in the same art style. When turning on TV and Digimon was airing you knew "Ah, thats Digimon", because of the art. But no, Savers looks like some 08/15 Anime, it does not fit anymore and I just cannot understand why they changed the style. Because the "heroes" are older now?
Come to speak
of them, I cant help but just like Ikuto. Although we have our typical stubborn hero Masaru, the calm guy Thoma and the mature girl Yoshino, it does not feel right. I cannot sympathize with anyone on the human side. Well lets see what we have as Digimon. Ridiculously large digimon. A poor Agumon rip-off, which I cannot stand, since I loved Agumon in the first season so much. Gaomon, which is the loyal type, following his master and Lalamon, which scares me with his blank stare. Oh yeah, and Piyomon has a comeback and..some other Digimon are around there, whom I did not pay much attention. The only Digimon which totally rock are the Royal Knights, nevertheless I wished they could have been spared.
The story itself is okay. I guess after human turning into Digimon themselves they wanted to go back to the roots with Digimon and human fighting side by side. I must say thats fine with me, at least they could have done better with it!
The only thing I can give the season credit for is the music. The theme and ending songs are enjoyable, but thats it.
I guess if I would not now know Digimon for so long, if I would be a bit younger and stuff, I could enjoy this season, but, under those conditions, I just can say that I dislike Savers a bunch. Frontiers was not the best season either but compared to Savers, Frontiers is heaven.
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