The new Digimon reboot series, Digimon Adventure 2020, has been an exciting ride so far. However, there is just as much discord as there is praise amongst the fanbase concerning whether or not the reboot is really working for the beloved franchise.
The reason fans flock to reboots is for the opportunity to see old favorites revamped with new storylines, updated visuals and, in general, a better experience than the first time around. Digimon was one such property that had all the right ingredients brewing for a revival, especially after the warm reception the six-episode Digimon Adventure Tri sequel series received.
Now that the first 3 episodes of Digimon Adventure 2020 have been released on Crunchyroll, fans are torn over the direction the new show is taking, particularly as some of the series’ most sacred laws are being broken with little to no explanation besides senseless plot boosting. In only the second episode, the Mega Level fusion Digimon, Omnimon, made a surprise appearance, which was a treat for some fans and a big disappointment for others.
In the original Digimon continuity, Omnimon could only be formed if WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon were present. There was no exception to this rule from the beginning. The issue in this new series is that, despite how awesome the scene was, Agumon and Gabumon were not even close to the levels needed to perform this kind of advanced digivolution. It retcons something that once made concrete sense while applying absolutely no explanation as to why it is possible.
On a positive note, the series had made a shift towards developing in a more serious way this time around, as shown in the first two episodes when a nuclear warhead is launched towards Tokyo by way of a Virus Digimon. It places this newer rendition of Digimon in a class all its own. After all, this all happened before the rest of the Digidestined are even introduced. The stakes in this show are already way higher than the last — one misstep could mean the end of the world — while the wild Digimon are more menacing than ever before, moving in masses across the Internet and spreading deadly viruses. They were able to hack into the United States Defense System as a horde even though they were relatively easy for Agumon to defeat on his own. But their ability to absorb data and digivolve almost at will when threatened with extinction was what really made this rather harmless virus a daunting villain.
On the more negative side, Digimon Adventure 2020 has noticeably recycled a lot of plot beats from Digimon: The Movie. Reboots usually draw inspiration from the original source material in order to carve out new and exciting stories. There are often even a few Easter eggs thrown in to thank fans for all their years of faithful service, but when you recreate scenes directly — save for a few minor alterations — it comes across more as a disservice to fans.
It’s a missed opportunity for Digimon Adventure 2020 to really branch off and cement itself as something completely different from Digimon’s first run. Not only does the new show break the rules of digivolution, but it does so only to have one of the franchise’s greatest warriors fight a copycat of Diaboromon, an enemy everyone had already seen him defeat.
Fans of the Digimon franchise have a lot to love with Digimon Adventure 2020 because of the serious tone, new storyline and gorgeous visuals. The show is still very new so it will take time for older fans of the series to get adjusted to the changes but if this reboot doesn’t have more content than old recycled fights from the glory days, it can’t really be called a reboot.
Because of the show’s forced hiatus, however, don’t expect the bickering or division amongst the fans to die down anytime soon.
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Digimon Adventure 2020 is just a few episodes into its run but viewers are already polarized about the direction the reboot is heading in.