The Digital World is in a state of war, with the evil Bagra Army attempting to collect fragments of the Code Crown. Whoever manages to collect all 108 fragments will become king of the Digital World. An evil group of Digimon, known as the Bagra Army, are determined to get their hands on the Code Crown.
Digimon Xros Wars features Taiki Kudou, a soccer-loving middle schooler who will always go out of his way to help people in need. When out with his friends Akari Hinomoto and Zenjirou Tsurugi one day, he hears a voice calling out for help. Investigating the situation, he meets a Digimon named Shoutmon who has been severely wounded in a nearby alley. Using the power of a strange device called a Xros Loader, Taiki manages to save Shoutmon's life, but is pulled into the Digital World alongside Akari and Zenjirou.
Determined not to let the evil Bagra have their way, Taiki and his friends join with Shoutmon and other local Digimon to form their own army known as Xros Heart. Now Xros Heart must fight their way across the Digital World to collect Code Crown fragments and defeat the Bagra Army, but Taiki and his friends are not the only humans caught up in this war of monsters…
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 Taiki
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)
Xros Wars (or Fusion for those watching the English dub) is the 6th entry to the highly successful multimedia franchise, Digimon. The series has similar roots to the Pokémon series, popping up at around the same time in the mid-90s, and spawning many spin-offs and successors across multiple media platforms over the next 20 odd years. Xros Wars exists independently of previous entries to the Digimon saga, both canonically and tonally. With each successive addition to the series, the creators strive to reinvent the franchise, not just through introducing new characters, but often drastically altering the world and any major elements within.
This 30-episode run is
launched by 7th-grader Taiki Kudou (or Mikey for those watching Fusion) rescuing the fatally injured Shoutmon, and being granted a X-Loader by an unknown entity. He is immediately thrust into the Digital World alongside his two friends, Akari and Zenjirou (Angie and Jeremy.) As far as Digimon introductions go, this is quite generic, essentially being some basic variation of the introductions used in previous seasons. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it does do a sufficient job of introducing the human characters, as well as giving some brief insight into the severity of the situation within the Digital World.
The key conflict of the series is with the Bagra army, an evil force lead by 3 Commanders with a single-minded goal of conquering the Digital World. As the series progresses, more detail is given as to the history of the Digital World, and to the conflict itself. What starts as a fairly straightforward ‘Good vs. Evil’ battle for control of the world slowly escalates, as we can see more and more of what’s at stake. While it never fully escalates into a genuinely epic conflict, there is certainly enough of a plot here to pull you through the 30-episode run, though it is a little barebones at times. There is a fairly large amount of filler content spread throughout the series, but even within the filler episodes there is usually something new and interesting to keep it worthwhile. For instance, one particular filler episode started with ‘love-love dancing’ to appease a guardian Digimon, and ended with tragic backstory for one of the major characters. Such revelations, whether they’re plot related, character related, or simply a new power-up for the Digimon, are spread evenly throughout the series, so there’s almost always something to look forward to.
Previously, I mentioned that this series represents a fairly significant shift for the Digimon franchise. This comes in the form of “Xros,” or “Fusion,” as the dub elects to call it. In basic terms, Xros Wars does away with the staple of Digivolution in all forms, replacing it entirely with straightforward combination sequences. This gives the series more of a classic Mecha feel than the Proxy Battle feel that it has had for every season prior. Every Digimon has the capability to combine with each other, so there is essentially limitless potential for crazy new designs and power-ups. Unfortunately, this is rarely used to interesting effect, as it eventually boils down to the same few combinations used throughout the series. The ability to Xros is shared among the Bagra army too, leading to some interesting escalations within the otherwise standard Monster of the Week format.
Taiki, Akari and Zenjirou act as the anchors of the series. They drive the plot forward, and keep it chugging at a reasonable pace. Unfortunately, these 3 characters also suffer the most in terms of character development. Because of that necessity to keep consistency, the three protagonists end the series essentially the same as they were in the beginning. Taiki is the same brash, headstrong, yet totally devoted lead, Akari is the same caring, yet oftentimes selfish support, and Zenjirou is the same complete blank slate, comic relief character. Fortunately, development is present elsewhere, particularly within the additional human characters, Kiriha and Nene. Kiriha acts as direct rival to Taiki, but his motivations are expanded upon throughout the series. Nene has a particularly interesting backstory, one that I don’t particularly want to spoil here.
That aside though, the real reason you’re watching this show is the Digimon. That much is clear, even early on. The Digimon cast here is varied and expansive, each with a different personality, and most of them overflowing with charm. Taiki leads a rapidly growing army of Digimon known as Xros Heart. I could be here all day listing them out one by one, but to be concise, they are a dynamic bunch, with each character contributing something different to the team. They all have their moment in the spotlight, though some more than others. The Bagra army however, are given little to no background, and so they’re generally just painted as ‘evil to be evil.’ Each commander has different means, so they’re not entirely devoid of character, but they are a fair disappointment.
Aesthetically speaking, Xros Wars is a very well designed series. The creature design, though often generic and overdone, is very pleasing to the eye. With a nice range of bright colours, and some interesting use of lighting effects, Xros Wars has some very pleasant eye candy on offer. Stock footage is used with a fairly heavy hand, being generously sprinkled throughout the 30-episode run. However, this stock footage is generally well crafted and animated, and for the most part it is used effectively to fill in the gaps between action sequences. The world design however, I feel is a bit of a step back from previous seasons. Gone are the abstract designs of the Digital World, replaced instead by myriad generic regions, each with a distinct theme, such as Forest Zone or Desert Zone. They do serve as appropriate backdrops for the action, and they are well drawn at the very least, but I feel like more could have been done with them. The human character designs are generic, fitting with their cookie-cutter character archetypes. Not necessarily a bad thing, just don’t expect to be wowed by their design. The sound design was overly well done, with a catchy OP and some well written Insert tracks, complemented by some punchy sound effects and a fitting background score. Nothing really to write home about, but it all served its purpose. Both the English and Japanese voice cast performed well, so pick whichever one you prefer. Just be ready for a slightly more light-hearted approach in the English dub than in the Japanese.
Xros Wars is an interesting beast, to me. Looking at the sum of its parts, it shouldn’t amount to much. It’s a late entry to a long running kids franchise, with a fairly generic plotline and some uninspired characters. But somehow, despite that, I had a lot of fun watching this series. It’s by no means perfect, but it is an enjoyable ride. The shift from proxy battles to mecha was an interesting gamble, and I think it paid off, creating a fresh atmosphere for what could be considered a fairly stale franchise. It doesn’t really have much to offer, outside of a bit of fun and some eye candy, so I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. But for those of you willing to jump in, there’s a lot to like here.
I haven't really sat down to watch a Digimon Series since the original two. I sort of lost hope on digimon after Tamers, and then Frontiers (I keep debating on Savers). That said, I wasn't really hopeful when I sat down to watch XROS wars. I mainly attempted it because the newest season coming up sounded good.
I was pleasantly surprised, and found myself enjoying XROS wars. It's overall an enjoyable show, and I found myself liking the characters a whole lot, especially the digimon. The couple of episodes featuring Ba'almon story really struck an emotion in me. Some of the things are completely cheesy,
but it's easy to get sucked in and excited.
The one thing I found myself disliking a little bit was the DigiXros. I enjoyed it for what it was, I thought it was a neat and interesting new concept to the series, but I disliked how robotic it looked sometimes. I sat there staring at some of the XROS and wondering how they formed that when it looks nothing like any of the digimon combined. The sequences for awhile got annoying after seeing it over and over and over again to (It wasn't half as bad when they finally changed it and shortened it later on in the series).
I also didn't like how one episode sort of just threw you into the middle of it, then changed. I found myself wondering for a moment if I had skipped an episode.
Overall though Digimon Xros Wars is an enjoyable series that I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of Digimon but is wary of getting back into the series after the past ones.
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.
Edward Elric. Zero Kiryuu. Broly. Vic Mignogna has an impressive voice acting resume, and it's only getting longer. I sat down with him at Anime Weekend Atlanta to talk theater, anime, fandom, and faith. Was there alchemy? Read on!