For all of the Digimon Adventure reboot’s narrative similarities to the original anime that it’s based on, the new series has been carefully introducing unique elements to its telling of the story about human children partnering with Digimon to save the digital world.
While the reboot’s yet to fully introduce all of its important characters, it’s already teased out a number of developments that didn’t pop up in the original until much, much later episodes and films in the series — like the process through which Digimon can fuse together in order to evolve, and how, in the right circumstances, a Digimon’s actions in the digital world could have a serious, devastating impact on the real world.
But Digimon Adventure’s most recent episode upped the stakes considerably by establishing wholly new elements to its mythos, while also nodding to the source material in novel ways that really hammer home how the new anime is ultimately going to end up going in something of a different direction.
Though the episode’s primary plot focuses on Koushiro and his partner Digimon Tentomon strengthening their bond in the midst of a fight against a swarm of shark-like monsters being manipulated by a mysterious force, “The Holy Digimon” also answers a handful of questions that all of the chosen children have been mulling over since the beginning of their journey. While Koushiro and Tentomon are busy battling for their lives inside a whale Digimon’s stomach, Taichi and Sora find themselves drawn to a mysterious light emanating from a floating feather in the centre of a ruined structure that makes both of their Digivices glow in response.
Much to the children’s surprise, when they approach the feather, it begins to transform into a winged Digimon called Valdurmon that neither the humans nor their partners recognise, but viewers might recall from the divine bird’s appearances in various Digimon video games. Valdurmon takes it upon itself to explain that children like Taichi, Sora, and Koushiro are actually a rather new development in the larger goings-on in the Digital World, which is a place that wasn’t actually created by humans. While certain humans may now be able to cross over into the Digital World, and Digimon into the human world, thanks to the proliferation of telecommunication systems, Valdurmon details how the Digital World itself predates the human-constructed architecture of the internet and modern computing.
Long before the children were able to travel to the Digital World, Valdurmon — alongside a fleet of classic angelic Digimon, like Cherubimon, Ophanimon, and Seraphimon — waged war against the forces of darkness with the help of a group of specially chosen Digimon, presented in a vision to Taichi and Sora as shadows of what are clearly the mega forms of Digimon Adventures’ partner monsters. As Valdurmon lays all of this out and projects images of the past for the children to witness, Agumon and Piyomon can’t stop themselves from crying, because on some level they both know that they’re connected to the legendary monsters who fought in the war, and their lives are part of a grander cycle of events that’s repeating itself.
In the past, Digimon series have almost always taken their sweet time to lay all the cards on the table and dive into the complicated, deep lore that defines elements of the heroes’ journeys that they can’t fully understand until the story’s nearly though. The new Digimon Adventure, however, appears to be perfectly comfortable going balls to the wall with the assumption that viewers will be able to keep up with its brisk pace and dense dumps of information. Even though Digimon Adventure’s throwing new plot points into the mix at a breakneck pace, it is making sure to keep just enough of the old tale intact to make it recognisable — as evidenced in the closing moments in “The Holy Digimon,” when Devimon, the first significant villain the chosen children ever faced, makes his first appearance.
But the deeper we get into Digimon Adventure, the more it becomes obvious that what’s coming next is likely to be something unique to this specific branch of the larger Digimon franchise — which is exactly what you want from a reboot that understands that pure nostalgia isn’t enough to tell a good story.