Wednesday, August 16, 2017

REVIEW: Digimon Adventure Tri: Determination

It’s been 3 years since we first found out about Digimon Adventure tri., the sequel series to the original Digimon anime that changed my life eighteen years ago. Thanks to Crunchyroll we’ve been able to see each new chapter of this saga the same day they’re theatrically released in Japan. Last year we got a chance to see the first chapter, dubbed in English, in a special one-night event. And now, thanks to Shout! Factory, we can finally watch Chapter 2 Determination dubbed in English.

I’m not going to talk much about the story here. This movie came out ages ago and I already reviewed it on The Digimon Rewatch podcast way back when. Determination is a story that focuses on Joe and Mimi, my two favorite characters from the original anime series. Mimi struggles with fitting in after moving back to Japan after living in America for a few years. She’s also trying to correct the public opinion of Digimon after the events of Chapter 1. Joe is trying his best to not be involved at all. He’s glad Gomamon’s back, but is sick of fighting and being forced to fulfill the duties of the DigiDestined - duties he didn’t ask for.

I loved the dub of this movie. Reunion took a few attempts at sprinkling in Saban style jokes, and Determination brought them back in full force. Mimi is, in addition to being one of my favorite characters, one of the funnier characters even in the original Japanese, so her being at the center of the plot allowed for even more hilarity. Although I would’ve loved an “I’m gonna sing a song” reprisal in that spa. Another favorite of mine is Tentomon. I always thought that on some level, conscious or otherwise, Jeff Nimoy always gave himself the best lines. But here we have Jeff Nimoy serving as just an actor and still getting the best and the funniest lines. I’ll chalk it up to Tentomon being the only main Digimon whose mouth never moves, making it easier to add jokes even when no one was talking in the original.
One thing I was wondering about this dub was how they were going to translate jikochuu, a Japanese insult directed at Mimi by her classmates. The word translates roughly to something like selfish, self-centered, and/or lazy, but doesn’t exactly have a 1-to-1 translation. Since this very word is what sets off Mimi’s entire character development in this chapter and connects her arc to Joe’s, so they had to get it right. The dub writers chose the term “narcissist” which works pretty well.
Out of all the voice cast replacements, Robbie Daymond (Prompto from FFXV) was the one who I personally wasn’t too thrilled with after Reunion. He just didn’t sound anything like Joe to me. So I was worried going into a chapter all about Joe. He still sounds nothing like Joe, but I think I’m just used to the performance at this point that it really didn’t ruin Joe’s big scenes for me. The good thing is that R. Martin Klein is still spot on as Gomamon, so it’s alright in my books.

The Shout! Factory release also included a featurette on voice directing. It follows director Ryan Johnston as he explains his workflow behind the recording booth and working with the actors. In between interviews with Johnston and the cast we also get some behind the scenes footage in the recording booth. It’s nothing spectacular, but then again voice recording usually isn’t the most exciting part of any production. It was a neat peek behind the curtain though.

While I find that Reunion tells a better story and has better fights, Determination has a better dub with way funnier dialogue and jokes added in to bring up the nostalgia for Saban’s Fox Kids days. And I say it’s always nice to have more Mimi. Get your copy of Digimon Adventure tri. Determination on Blu-Ray and DVD here.