Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna Discussion Thread

Deep Saver

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Have I ever mentioned how great your analyses are Theingo? I think you make some really great points about some of the poorly thought through aspects of the movie I really struggled to put into words.
 

Roy130390

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Regarding some comments here and on orher forums: This is merely subjective, but this is my take on why people that think that this movie slapped them and told them to outgrow of Digimon took it the wrong way:

I think that the movie actually tries to make people that are scared of growing up and that want to return to the "better days" (childhood) realize that life is full of new experiences. It's not that you need to get over something, it's more like "if something ends, more things will come" and even so, you still have your experiences and memories. That without mentioning that supposedly the producer (I think?) sees the 02 ending as canon so they eventually become adults and yet they reunite with their Digimon, meaning that while the circumstances might have made them separate for some time, they ultimately found a way to be together in other ways than being the "Digi destined", just as we find time to include our childhood hobbies when we really want to, not exactly as when we were children but in other ways.

Also, Tai and Matt say in the end that they feel like they'll see their Digimon again so it even fits more with that 02 ending.


Keep in mind that throughout the movie, Tai and Matt are told that they no longer had that limitless potential that they possessed as children, but from my understanding they proved that to be fake because they achieved a new evolution. In a certain way, they proved that as long as there's life there's always a chance for something new and unexpected.

I loved the fact that thanks to their sacrifice as maturity reached both, they spent bond energy in order so that other digi destined didn't have to. After all, battles and evolution accelerated the process. I'm not sure if the last evolutions also consumed that energy since they were special, but the point is still true since they did decide that before and throughout the battle, aware of the consequences.

Regarding Sora and Joe "inconsistencies" , I disagree. I think that Sora had a good reason to stay apart and as seen in the intro and last scenes, her time with her digimon was already reaching an end when all of that happened, even before Tai and Matt because it also seems to depend on the growth of the person. Sora did know already what she wanted and showed more maturity than them, making sense that it happened before them. About Joe, he had similar problems in Digimon Tri but found his peace with it, making sense that despite being older, he found a way to keep that process of happening as fast as the others, not to mention that he fought and participated the least of every Digi Destined by a considerable amount.

Overall, I think that the movie was great and yeah, it was a bit painful but in a good way and in my case with a more positive message than what people got from it.
 
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This movie was incredible and blew my mind. There were a lot of scenes in this movie that were extremely sad, but that’s part of the mood of what makes this franchise great. It’s not scared to experiment and play with your emotions. The final scenes were beautifully animated, and I went silent during the final battle. It was like watching an elegant ballet of colorful lights and movements, with a beautiful score behind it. This movie was very reminiscent of Hurricane Touchdown and the episode of Tri where the Digimon partners are going to lose their memories. This anime grew up with the fans and it’s not scared to tell the fans it’s hard to let go sometimes.
 

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I've just watched it and to be honest, I had low expectations as I've heard all over the place that the movie was pretty mediocre/bad and full of glaring holes that were never adressed, but having watched it myself, I must say I'm impressed. It's a good movie (And great looking as well) with a really good and strong message.

This is the 'final huzzah' that Adventures deserved instead of Tri.
 

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I watched it today. Damn, that ending. I already knew about it, but oh the feels...
Animation was great and fluid in many scenes, and the action was exhilarating.
Plot fast and with potential holes, but still powerful in its message to the audience.
Makes one think how dreams may/must end one day, upon reaching adulthood.
Still, the ending was open and filled with enough hope to reach 02's final scene.
As many stated before, it was a great farewell to this story's original continuity.
 
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Solomon

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Am I the only one who's tempted to call it overrated?
Not saying it is yet at least, or that it's bad. Just curious.
 

HarleyThomas

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Watched it the other day and while visually impressive on top of a good soindtrack, the premise is not only not new to the franchise as a whole, but not new to Adventure as a franchise which makes the premise hold less weight since the 02 epilogue is still a thing and in all honesty further mucks up an already messy continuity.

And more sequel baiting after six movies that also ended on sequel baiting.
 

EHT30J1981

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Can I post this for pictures and list?

Because I want ask you something about 30,000 Digidestined and Digimon partners.

I have been watch Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna again about 30,000 Digidestined has Digimon partners on this list

But another 30,000 Digidestined and Digimon partners that I not sure what Digimon name with 30,000 Digidestined partners.

So can you tell me there another Digimon name with 30,000 Digidestined partners?

Gatomon
Patamon
Palmon
Gomamon
Tentomon
Meicoomon
Syakomon
Betamon
Seadramon
Gotsumon
Floramon
Elecmon
Otamamon
ShogunGekomon
Kiwimon
Blossomon
Numemon
Chuumon
Gazimon
Leomon
Vegiemon
Tyrannomon
YukimiBotamon
Datirimon
Tapirmon
Tsubumon
Kunemon
Ninjamon
PawnChessmon (White)
Mushroomon
Botamon
Poyomon
Bakemon
Frigimon
Punimon
Drimogemon
Gizamon
Pagumon
Yuramon
Pabumon
Terriermon
Lopmon
 

Vande

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As posts have been removed. Fair warning here: If you are complaining it isn't on the usual streaming sites, when you have legal DVD/Blu-Ray releases in your country, it's going to get removed. Not everywhere has it and chances are not everywhere will get it. Support what you got people.
 

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So I finally watched Kizuna, and I must say that I quite liked it. It's much better than Tri. I liked funny face expressions the characters showed from time to time or how Tai can be acrobatic when hiding his porn mags stash. Takeru wearing a double hat was something funny too. It's funny how one scene he wears Patamon on his head and then a hat on Patamon, and the next scene he wears a hat on his head, and Patamon on the hat. In Tri we had Taichi wavering while Yamato stayed calm, and here we have Yamato wavering while Taichi stayed calm. It was nice to see Meiko and Wallace, and other Zero Two kids, too bad Ryou didn't get his ticket too...
 

Lilimonblooms

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For me I loved this movie, it was very well animated. The atmosphere in the end in that dark dimension was nice.
I'm not a fan of yamato but he was so emotional in this movie and kinda mature.
The villain was amazing too and the story was extremely sad, however what disappointed me is the lack of ultimate/mega digivolution for others!
I wished phoenixmon, seraphimon, garudamon, lilimon, rosemon fought too.
Even then, it was well written in my opinion. Although angewomon could have done better.
Too bad sora didn't participate too, but I felt that she gave us a lot to think about with this abstinence to fight.
Biggest disappointment is how the 02 heroes were treated, no evolution, no real fight.
The ending was very nice though and very emotional.
 

MidnightWolfie

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I, personally, could not have been happier with the movie. It was so, so good. My only drawback was the music choices - I wish they kept using the original soundtracks more but that's just a personal preference. There were so many feelings that the movie gave me, and I don't think anything hit me that hard in a long, long time. Hell, I even cried at the end! Amazing movie.
 

Ricardolindo

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I'll add Kizuna to Wikipedia's coming-of-age stories list, as it definitely fits the theme.
 

JR9386

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A rather comprehensive critique of Kizuna

[Note: All this was written without me having read the novelization, any of the cast interviews, listened to the audio drama or engaging with other side media related to Kizuna (with the exception of the Sora memorial short). While auxiliary media can be interesting, I would argue that all that truly matters initially is what actually ended up on the screen. The movie deserves to be dissected on its own first, before other influences are allowed to color the overall perception. I might write a follow-up, once I've read all side material. For the same reason I also stayed away from most discussions about the movie but I inevitably picked up a few general reactions to it]

The movie is first and foremost a triumph of style. It's a very pretty, featuring some of the best animation in the franchise so far, save for perhaps the first two Hosoda movies.
It is however completely choosing style over substance. It goes for MAXIMUM spectacle and MAXIMUM melodrama with little care about actually making sense, properly exploring its characters' thoughts or fitting into the setting.
I guess for many people just seeing their favorite characters (minus Sora) having a big high budget Adventure trumps all such concerns and criticisms and those people might as well stop reading now.

When Digimon Adventure tri came out it was sometimes accused of (somehow) needlessly pandering to nostalgia. Kizuna is basically Toei jumping out of their seats shouting "You haven't seen anything yet!", because Kizuna is, perhaps not exactly cynical, but very much shamelessly pandering to all forms of nostalgia, a firework of references with little attempt at originality.
The exact amount of shamelessness in play depends on how much you believe that the story's own ambivalence towards nostalgia makes up for its own content.
I for one don't believe that a movie that claims to warn about the dangers of nostalgia while also almost completely relying on that same nostalgia as its main selling point is any more virtuous than any number of kung fu or action movies that are filled with adrenaline pumping, exciting action (clearly why anyone actually wants to see them) and then attempt to backpedal by including some message about "actually fighting is bad".
That is not to say that those sort of films can't be fun and entertaining but it's hard to take claims about their profound philosophy and lessons seriously when the execution itself never truly commits to the point it claims to make.

But let's start at the beginning, that is to say at the Parrotmon fight.
It's an immensely impressive and energetic intro, but even during this early scene Kizuna shows its tendency to milk any spectacle to the point of absurdity.
Note how a single Digimon, that we know can be taken on by Greymon alone, suddenly requires the strengths of four Digimon, three of them Perfects, to even immobilize it. They are a lot of very cool shots and the scene is choreographed well but as it goes on it just seems very strange how indestructible Parrotmon is and why Angewomon suddenly has terrible aim (You could argue that they were going easy and trying not to hurt it but that is difficult to reconcile with MetalGreymon firing his Giga Destroyers right into Parrotmon's face.)
Now perhaps another approach to explain the situation would be to assume that the duration of the fight could have been foreshadowing that the Digimon partners are already growing weaker, as their bonds start to diminish.
There are a few reasons why I think this is not the case:
For one Greymon did seem to manage to physically overpower Parrotmon… it's just that none of his follow-up attacks had any effect.
The other part is that with no one being aware of the upcoming separation and the weakening of the bonds, that downgrade should be very notable to all characters involved.
It's not like when Yamato accused Taichi of being careless there was any mention of the fight being about five times more difficult than it had any right to be, even though that would have been a pretty good point to make.
I think it is fair play to not spell everything out for the audience. It is not fair play if it requires the characters to straight up ignore stuff that is going on in front of their eyes that should seem strange to them as much as to the audience.
In this sense the interpretation that the length of the fight was not the result of diminishing bonds makes the movie look better in retrospect.

One of the first key visuals that truly interested me in the movie was Taichi wearing those square and somewhat cyberpunk looking VR-goggles, but unfortunately only a single shot of them remained in the movie but that one shot is worth talking about, because to me it says a lot about the general feel of the film.
The VR goggles seem to be portrayed as an evolution of Koushiro's distortion detection technology in tri, but it's a prototype so Taichi doesn't want to bother using them. The scene works well in establishing that Taichi still has his familiar shortish temper and less than graceful handling of technology but is also a bit off-putting because by now exists solely as a reference to (semi) scrapped design concepts. Outside of that context it really doesn't work.
In any other story if there is a glimpse at a specialized gadget in its prototype stage, you naturally expect it to become important later, perhaps with some of the kinks worked out. You would also think that when your main enemy is a Digimon stealing people's souls and is heavily implied to do so mainly by jumping through people's smart phones and other electronics, having a device for detecting analyzing Digimon data could come in really handy for tracking it down (it's not unlikely that this could have been part of the original concept)… But instead a cameo is all we get. That is the overall problem with pandering, because it's basically showing the audience something just for the sake of showing it and not for the sake of the narrative.
And there is lots and lots pandering in the movie and it started to get annoying within the first few minutes, which has to be a new record. One full length evolution sequence copied shot-for-shot from the original is a nice reference, a second full length evolution sequence copied shot-for-shot from the original less than three minutes later just looks desperate.

But as mentioned earlier, the visuals are what really makes the film shine. One of the most interesting stylistic choices is the lighting on the characters, which is made to look very bright and "solid" which most of the time looks really neat. Sometimes however, it looks like everything is weirdly overexposed. The overall design of the human characters is nicely detailed and doesn't look as generic as some of the concept art made it seem, although it is still strange that the characters don't actually look older than they did in tri... but visualizing age differences is something that most anime styles struggle with.

After Parrotmon is defeated we get to a couple of scenes that have to be the most memorable part of the movie for me. This early part, following Taichi and Yamato, really works well in evoking a feeling of existential unease, as we watch those characters live lives that are not hard or awful but just generally unfulfilled. Most conversations they have end up being somewhat awkward, but it's the sort of awkwardness that creates valuable tension for the audience.
The framing and lighting is also spot on and many of the shots of Taichi and Yamato being on their own say as much on their own as their conversations.
However, the rest of the movie has no time for things like building atmosphere or giving characters time to actually process their thoughts; if there's some point to be made, or some instance of symbolism, you better believe some character is going to point it out directly, preferably at full volume.

If there is something to criticize about those scenes and their general theme, it has to be the awkward (negatively this time) non-existence of proper world building, the Adventure universe's stubborn reluctance to acknowledge that having saved the world multiple times and being partnered with a monster possessing basically god like power could least somewhat impact the characters' life in general.
When the writers have to finally admit that by now, yes, some other people should know who they are, they try to turn it into a mere curiosity, the sort of "oh, you're famous" response that would seem appropriate had their fight against Diablomon witnessed by countless people around the globe been nothing more than a viral video, rather than a conflict with nuclear annihilation at stake.

Having the characters feel demotivated and directionless like so many young adults feel, even if stylistically it is executed with skill, kind of relies on them ignoring that they are simply not like those many other young adults. They belong to a tiny majority of people on the planet, with insight into other worlds no one knows about, controlling powers no one else can control.
And it's not like no one else knows or believes in Digimon, that excuse has sailed a long time ago.
So why are companies and all sorts of organizations and governments not kicking their doors in, begging them to work for them, with the help of their partners?
Think about the difference a super powered monster like WarGreymon or MetalGarurumon could make for a fire department, for a construction company for any sort of job that involves dangerous environments that are actually only dangerous for humans. If there is a point in there about Taichi and Yamato explicitly not wanting to rely on their partners, it is never addressed. And with the Digimon basically portrayed as unchanging and infinitely loyal pets as opposed to actual characters themselves, the very concept that they would have something better to do or just want to lead their own lives simply does not seem plausible (The attitude of not involving Digimon with their normal lives could have made at least some sense if the countdown was a known factor but… well it wasn't).
At this point the growing number of chosen should really be something the world is aware of (they don't seem to hide their identities either), and perhaps also that everything from the military, general infrastructure, even the economy is going to be heavily impacted if Digimon start to play a bigger role in society. At the same time chosen children are still rare enough that there aren't a lot to "choose from", anyone in japan potentially trying to get some Digimon power on their hands would end up dealing with one of the Adventure characters.
Even if the characters are still in university they should not be completely unaffected. It is strange how "Digimon research" is portrayed just a weird isolated field of study when a lot of scientific fields, physics, computer science, biology, philosophy and countless others should desperately want to get their hands on beings whose existence basically necessitates revising a lot of existing science.

All in all I can't shake the feeling that the movie is awkwardly trying to postpone anything that has to do with Digimon becoming more relevant to the characters or the world at large.
"Let's not bother with that at this point", it seems to say. "Everything is still normal. Stuff will happen eventually but not yet, somehow."

Anyway, after this enjoyable interlude we are brought back into the main action of the plot, which in quick succession introduces us to new characters, the main enemy Digimon and a surprising new natural law of the Adventure universe.
I'll get into the new characters later but for now it should suffice to say that it is pretty damn obvious that something weird is going on with Menoa, given that in a setting where Koushiro and Gennai exist there isn't really any room in the narrative for another benevolent, exposition providing genius unless there's more to the character.

Now let's talk about Eosmon. in general it makes for an okay villain, but the impression is tarnished by the movie's endless visual references to Our War Game, always reminding you how the unpredictability and playful viciousness of the Diablomon line was just more interesting than a barely emoting puppet.
Overall Eosmon's design is themed around being some warped sort of cyber-angel, more specifically angels as presented in the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, which share Eosmon's preferred method of communicating via a pitched chorus of distorted ethereal sounding voices while the use of teleporting shields resembles the ever more elaborate AT Field shenanigans seen in 2.00 and onward.
The fights against it are entertaining, and Eosmon's creative use of summoned platforms adds another interesting dimension to its tactics. Overall the action scenes are all looking great and mostly avoid the chaotic and sometimes confusing choreography style of the later tri parts. There are still a few slip ups, mostly involving the CG rendered Omegamon which looks good most of the time but gets a few close up shots where the detail on his head is really lacking.

With that out of the way, we can finally get to the big reveal, the timeout, or countdown or whatever it is officially called.
My general impression boil down to this: It is something that could have been called interesting or even daring if it had been better executed and didn't basically come with the implied promise that it would soon be negated in some form.

It's also a mechanic that comes completely out of nowhere and seemingly contradicts the epilogue the movie claims to work towards.
The only potential hint of such a mechanic existing in the setting were Oikawa's ramblings about the digital world rejecting adults from entering it but Oikawa himself was also one of the better arguments against any sort of limit concerning Partner Digimon when he got one himself.
The cursory explanation of the phenomenon in general leaves open quite a few nagging questions.
At first it might seem that because this initial explanation was provided by a character who turned out to be a villain, we didn't get the whole story, that there is a more layered approach waiting to be revealed later. But this never happens. Perhaps this could have been on purpose, to leave the door open for some or other exceptions to these laws that might allow them to get their partners back but that would be a bizarre and insulting case of "actually we lied for the sake of sentimentality".

One of the first natural questions arising when thinking about the concept of partnerships being bound to potential is: How is potential even defined? How practical or psychological should that statement be approached?
Kizuna as a story seems to treat it as a psychological matter but there are plenty of factors that influence potential that are independent of choices.
Let's take the classical tragic example, imagine that there is a chosen child around middle school age, who's a pretty decent student but who especially enjoys sports and is in great physical shape in general. And let's assume they get hit by a car.
They survive in a wheelchair but clearly a lot of potential simply no longer exists. Any career in sports is off the table. Quite a few parts of life are much more restricted now. Of course they can still manage live a good life but does this very practical diminishing of future choices in their life weaken the bond with their partner? Are they going to lose their Digimon are few years earlier now because they lost potential even though it wasn't based on any choice?
Does the system just not count it because it wasn't based on their choices? Did the system already know the accident would happen and was that already taken into account in their "base" potential? (This does not seem likely because if the system knew the future, "potential" wouldn't really apply; People would only have a single potential road they could go down, the one the system already calculated for them).

A similar question could be asked about social circumstances:
Exhibit a would be a female chosen child from an upper-middle-class or even upper-class family in a democratic first world country, with access to good education and at least a reasonably non-discriminatory job market. Lots of possibilities here.
Exhibit b would be a female chosen child in some backwards country (not naming any names) where women are denied education and basic rights and are forced into traditional roles of housewives basically subservient to their husbands. Not as many possibilities there.
Would the chosen b have a much weaker bond to her partner compared to chosen a because they are simply much less likely to to be able to make as much meaningful choices and actually develop towards meaningful potential?
It's doubtful we will ever find out, simply because it's unlikely that this issue will actually ever be acknowledged.

But even if we go back to the parts that Kizuna decides to acknowledge about the situation, there are still parts that don't seem quite coherent.
Starting from the very top, that Taichi would be one of the first Chosen to be "timed out" even though he's also one of the least committed to moving on (which he freely admits) doesn't make sense.
Tentomon Should have disintegrated years ago. It's such a big deal that Menoa skipped grades but holy shit, Koushiro skipped a hell of a lot more. He had a fancy business office while still in high school, he is a CEO. He has moved on his life so goddamn far that most adults are probably not going to catch up to him their entire lives.
Even if he wasn't at Menoa's level back then, but he had Tentomon for 8 more years. 8 years that involved battles and Ultimate Evolutions (Menoa was never implied to be involved in either of those things) which on their own more than bridge the gap between them, if it worked for Taichi.
But Sora is first. Because she's "getting serious about flower arrangement". Really?
(At least the credit sequence implies that the other older chosens' Digimon vanished soon after the events of the film)

Oh and we have Gennai show up to explain, very unconvincingly, that they weren't told basically because "You don't talk about death". The characters (and by extension the audience) are not expected to question it because it comes from Gennai, but the analogy simply doesn't work.
Because even if is something humans don't like to admit, even if it is something that most people won't or even can't fully comprehend, people are certainly aware of the concept death, even if just in an abstract and biased way. No one is actually shocked by the statement "you'll die at some point", no one goes to a cemetery wondering why old people like to spend so much time in the ground. No, this is something that was hidden deliberately.
But the weird thing is... the Homeostasis doesn't even really have anything to gain by hiding it from the chosen especially if it's not their design.
Sure, maybe the chosen would be pissed if they were told it earlier. But maybe they'd take some time to train up some successors among the other chosen children because once they are all gown up and the Zero Two crew's Digimon go poof within the next two or three years, whenever the next force of darkness arises the Homeostasis will have to make due with a bunch uncoordinated newbies who all speak different languages with partners who can't make it past the adult level.
The audience knows that it's not going to happen because (somehow) everything will be reversed and the epilogue is still in play but none of the characters could know this including presumably Gennai so it should have been worth a thought from their perspective.
There's also the question if the Holy Beasts are affected by any time limit bound to their partners.
If yes, Baihumon should have suddenly keeled over the moment Daigo got his college degree or something, not really a plot hole considering he hasn't shown up in the story, but it would make the Holy Beasts even more unreliable protectors of the world than they already seem to be.
If no, this implies that there actually is some way the Homeostasis can declare a partnership void, preventing the timeout from occurring… which makes Gennai's claim of ignorance a bit doubtful.

And I'm reaching a bit ahead here story wise but since it's in the end another complication dealing with the timeout, I feel it belongs into this section:
None of the characters seem bat an eye at the revelation that Menoa was a chosen in 1997, which basically implies that this is somehow not an uncommon occurrence.
Previous Adventure material established that the world wide process of random chosen children mostly occurred after the massive Digimon sightings in 1999. Anyone chosen before that, like the original eight or the very first chosen tended to be someone the Homeostasis chose for a very specific reason.
Even when tri introduced Meiko as an additional chosen from around that time, her role as Libra's "safeguard" explained both the reason for her having a partner and the reason why the Homeostasis would want to keep her away from any of the previous conflicts. [Side Note: what does the revelation of the time limit imply for Homeostasis' intentions when it comes to Maicoomon? If Libra was actually something important for the Digital World, why put it in a situation where it could just vanish? Was the idea less keeping it safe and more killing it in a very slow and indirect way?]
But for Menoa there is no indication why she was chosen, or where she was during any of the previous events. She just shows up and doesn't really fit in with the bigger picture. The only comparable case is Wallace; A character whose main defining trait throughout Adventure was not fitting in anywhere.

But let's assume that those sort of special cases are actually not special, that at least since 1995 the Digimon Partner Fairy was going around, handing out Digitama to children everywhere, even if there was nothing to do for them. But if there are more chosen from before 1999 running around, at same age or older than the protagonists, perhaps even Daigo and Maki's age, and with everyone now connected with Koushiro's network (and years ago already through Takeru's blog) some chosen or other should already have experienced that timeout already, maybe not as soon as Menoa but within the last few years plenty of chosen should be at the same level of maturity and readiness for real world responsibility as Taichi and Sora, which is not that high of a bar to meet, especially in countries where it is more common than in Japan to not go through college before entering the adult world of work and responsibility and so on. The surprise factor really only worked under the assumption that the situation was as it was originally shown in Zero Two, where all international chosen seemed to be either around the age of the Zero Two group or younger, and even that is pushing it for the previous reasons. And so the two most vital additions the movie introduces are also the most problematic. Either Menoa's existence should have been a big deal, or the countdown shouldn't.
And also somehow nothing is made of the fact that a Digimon made it on the front page of a 1997 Newspaper, a time when no one should have known about their existence. Especially since it's not just some background detail. What did the Photographer think he was photographing exactly? Especially since Menoa doesn't seem to go for the "stuffed animal" angle with Morphmon pretty obviously standing up and supporting itself.

But again, I'm getting ahead of myself. Chronologically speaking we're only now getting to the part of the movie that mostly deals with Yamato being incredibly suspicious of Menoa's assistant. And if I'm honest, just the general predictability and contrived feel of this mystery section of the movie has to be weakest part of it, and it's probably more annoying than all the previous questionable world building because at least there I had the feeling that the writers were trying to be ambitious while the whole whodunnit part just feels pretty lazy.

In a well written scenario there could have been at least a slight element of doubt about the identity of the villain.
Even fiction on the level of generic Shounen anime has realized by now that a villain hiding among other characters needs a motive, some sort of indication of purpose, preferably hinted at before they drop their act. Kizuna does a good job with it in Menoa's case, with each new revelation about her character also revealing part of the reason for her villainy.
The problem with Yamada is that he movie never gets around to establishing anything about him. He's rude and acts shady. But without a believable motive you can't fool the audience into taking the bait and get invested in the possibility of him being the main villain, the fact that he receives the same (lack of) characterization as your typical side character tells us what we need to expect of his role.
And so the attempt at misdirection fails and the chunk of the movie devoted to literally everyone becoming more and more suspicious about him becomes nothing more than obvious filler while the audience waits for the characters to finally notice that they are following the wrong lead.
The main purpose of this particular plot thread seems to be less to contribute anything relevant to the story and more about giving the Zero Two characters something to do, to justify having them in the movie in the first place (and I guess many people are satisfied by that alone).
Never mind that we end up with a scenario where the FBI is trying to catch a suspected criminal genius with an agent who they provide with an identity so obviously fake that even a bunch of random college students figure out the ruse within a day or so.

Governments in general seem to get the short end of the stick as far as the story is concerned; After tri made the sensible point that of course the chosen would be monitored, somehow the Japanese government has just completely stopped keeping an eye on them to the point that a rogue university researcher can just abduct them in broad daylight like it's nothing. And the FBI's single guy (or maybe two guys if we count the contact with the gun) is never actually helpful to the situation for the sake of plot convenience.
For starters, what was acquiring a gun meant to accomplish in the first place? If he suspected that Menoa controls Eosmon and if he has been researching Digimon for a while he should be aware that he might as well have gone to a toy store for a water gun that would held the same amount threat to her, especially if, as he somewhat implied, Menoa already figured him out.
Certainly just telling the people who would actually have the tools to take her down if she doesn't manage to ambush them would have been a smarter move (doubly so if Eosmon's consciousness stealing is tied to mental preparedness).
But no, the film goes to ridiculous lengths to milk the "suspicious" assistant for drama, descending into complete silliness during the actual "twist" scene, where Yamada has absolutely no reason to act as weird and suspicious as he does, no reason to wave his gun around, chuckling menacingly while Gabumon is about to blast his face off… and then he makes all suspicion go away by flashing his badge. Because it's not like the protagonists were screwed over by another similar character a few years before.

After the extremely unconvincing mystery is solved, over a third of the remaining movie is dedicated to Taichi and Yamato's big confrontation with Menoa and the final (or not so final) farewells to Agumon and Gabumon.

Menoa is, as it turns out, basically a rehash of Maki. For both of them the loss of their partners triggered a descend into obsession and madness, the main difference is that Maki did not care who she screwed over in order to get her partner back, but Menoa was a little bit placated by the creation of Eosmon and decided to externalize her obsession to everyone around her. That Menoa has this sort of twisted empathy is what makes her and Maki not strictly interchangeable.

The arena for our final showdown is neverland where all the captured chosen spend their time suspended in isolated childhood bubbles, hallucinating for all eternity.
Visually (like the rest of the movie) it is a striking view of blue flying mountains over a dark void, a fittingly apocalyptic frozen land, suspended in stasis. But thematically I was hoping for something more… actually tempting?
The problem with this neverland as a concept is how it just kind of beats you over the head with how regressive it is. The lack of subtlety basically cripples the core metaphor and instead of "testing" the characters about some very specific theme it's actually only testing if they have at least one brain cell left inside their skulls.
A handy test for "big" themes, metaphors or statements in fiction is viewing them from a pragmatic angle: If a theory is applicable to basically anything, chances are it's not actually saying anything interesting, or at least nothing practical.

You wouldn't want to be a billionaire if it meant being suspended in an isolated billionaire bubble, hallucinating for all eternity.
You wouldn't want to be a movie star if it meant being suspended in an isolated movie star bubble, hallucinating for all eternity.
and so on and so forth.
At least BelialVamdemon's illusions were shown to offer more interactivity.

The point is, Neverland blows the theme of arrested progress so out of proportion that it barely resembles what it was supposed to achieve in the first place and isn't really a seductive offer for anyone's who's not a hardcore Zen buddhist. Some of that is probably intentional and works well for illustrating Menoa's degenerated extremist mindset but the problem is that the movie kind of seems to want there to be some sort of ambiguity about the other characters' supposed "choice" to stay in neverland, and this attempt is simply laughable when their situation is so obviously terrible. And that in turn takes the wind out of of any of the supposedly big decisions Taichi and Yamato have to make, the situation offers little to illuminate anything specific about Taichi and Yamato's actual thought process because to any sane person the solution is obvious from the start.
But the question was never if Taichi and Yamato are sane or not. It is supposedly about how they deal with loss and growing up and from that perspective they are not exactly getting challenged.

Imagine someone presented you a person tied to a chair and told you, if you kill that person you could have the special limited edition Blu Ray of Kizuna. You are told that whether or not you kill the person for the Blu Ray says a lot about the kind of Digimon fan you are. But does it really?
Due to the complete lunacy of the proposition it says very little about anything at all.

By getting caught up in its one-track metaphor the movie also fails to get the most of the effects of Menoa's plan from a broader perspective. There would certainly be people who would welcome all chosen children being kept in indefinite stasis as a matter of security. Once again, we are talking about forces beyond human control, one kid who can't get his feelings under control could cause a dark evolution and level a city, and just having a few hundred of them spread across the globe isn't really making the situation any safer. It is another missed opportunity brought about by focusing on too small a scale when the scenario should have much wider ranging implications and consequences.

While I did try to steer away from general discussion of the film, I caught some bits and pieces and one point that I did see come up a bit was the question if Meiko's cameo means that Maicoomon was reborn or not.
To me the situation is quite clear: Eosmon's ability to recreate dead partner Digimon is not a thing and basically just something people pulled from nowhere without proof.
First, none of the other Digimon we saw in neverland were illusions. The Digimon physically disappear from the human world, and they just as physically show up in neverland. If Eosmon could recreate Digimon partners from memories, it could have recreated Morphmon for Menoa, and she could have the paradise she wanted without needing to externalize her madness to other people.
Secondly: As far as we've seen Eosmon never attempted to approach Sora. If Eosmon could recreate any Digmon partner then Sora should appear to Menoa as the perfect victim, someone who has just lost his partner, still processing their loss, someone who should be most grateful for a chance to join neverland. And sure, it's reasonable to assume that having "naturally" outgrown her role, Sora might be able to resist Eosmon (if there is indeed any actual choice involved in being taken which is debatable) but this is an inapplicable out-of-universe argument, it's something that the writers and the audience know, but not the characters and if anything Menoa is defined by her inability to understand why Sora might not agree. Despite Menoa claiming that Eosmon is attracted by desires, in practice it is shown to be basically completely indiscriminate about who it attacks.
And nothing of the sort seems to have happened off-screen; I don't believe the movie handled Sora well in any way but an encounter with the villain happening and just not being shown would be unthinkably silly (I do believe a scene like that could have added for Sora to do and give some actual purpose to her situation).
Anyway, it seems clear that Sora wasn't a valid target anymore at this point and that once a partner is gone, it's really gone and Eosmon can't do anything about that with or without memories.
This in turn means that in all likelihood Meiko still is an active partner of an existing Maicoomon at the time she was captured by Eosmon.

Another point I've heard made about the movie, and that I just can't help addressing, is the notion of Menoa skipping grades having some sort of negative moral implication for her. It's just baffling to me how anyone could come to that conclusion, this interpretation is almost offensive in its lack of empathy for the social struggles common for children in Menoa's position. All she gave up were potential years of frustration, of being unable to connect to her peers, living in an environment where she wouldn't be able to challenge herself and where her gifts were unlikely to be truly appreciated.
So she managed to get out of this predicament. And this is setting a bad example for… who exactly? And what is there to actually criticize? Nothing, really. And the movie seems to agree, if the line "What you've chosen was not a mistake" is taken to be indicative of the of the general attitude of the story. If there were aspects of criticism in the writing, this view, that people with special needs are doing themselves some disservice by acting according to their needs instead of keeping their head down and sticking with the herd, is something that could have only originated in the unquestioning collectivism of Japanese society.
There's also the point to consider that growing up as a matter of cognitive psychology and neurology is not really something based on conscious choices; Sure, attitudes change but that change is only made possible by the development of the mind and the brain, not the other way around.
What happened was that Menoa acted under the influence of a system she didn't control (her brain and body) when another system that she also couldn't control (The digital world's partner system) suddenly acted up and pretty much told her to fuck off.

But to clarify, while I think nothing back then was something Menoa deserves to be blamed for, the following descend into denial and madness is pretty much completely on her.
We also arrive at the biggest flaw of Menoa's character in general: It makes no sense that Menoa could go on about how "only she" knows the experience of losing her partner when every single one of the protagonists (and most likely every other chosen child in existence) lost their Digimon partner during the reboot in tri just a few years ago. They might have come back a while later but there was definitely a time, where literally everyone went through what Menoa went through, even if it was only temporary. Her whole messiah complex is hard to take seriously from that perspective.
And like mentioned before, it's also never really made clear how seriously we can take Menoa's assertion that everyone she brought to neverland secretly wanted to go there. The crucial moment when a consciousness is taken is never shown, we never really see anyone make any choice and inside neverland itself everyone just seems like a zombie without any personality… so that makes all talk about choices pretty questionable. If the ambiguity here was intentional it was clearly the wrong choice in the grand scheme of things because actually knowing that the decisions were not entirely faked would have been the one thing to lessen the sense of overall over-the-top denial of reality that makes the rest of her rambling ineffective and cartoony.

So Menoa is nuts, Taichi and Yamato are not. A back and forth of more well animated fighting ensues, culminating in the titular final evolution.
From the moment they were first revealed, the Bond forms sure were some of the more divisive parts of Kizuna.
I honestly like the designs, they are certainly strange looking but the strangeness has a purpose. They are uncannily human because they were born of an uncanny amount of human influence, even compared to the other evolutions. They represent a Digimon/human partnership pushed to its absolute limit, and so close to the dissolution that their evolution was something that wouldn't naturally happen at all.
And that which transcends what is natural has every right to make you feel uneasy when you look at it.
But as much as I appreciate their designs, I really don't think they were utilized very well because they simply didn't get to do much. Each of them got to blast out one normal and one extended attack, throw two punches and that was it. For the big finale of a movie like this, their "fight" was completely underwhelming.

The scene was further hurt by another factor: The music, which ranged from pretty good to serviceable throughout the whole film failed at the crucial moment of the final battle. It wasn't just that it didn't enhance the scene, it was downright distracting. It sounded like the sort of schmarmy pop song you'd hear at the end of one of Makoto Shinkai's fantasy romance films when there's kissing happening instead of blasting. Yes, parts of the "fight" went for a more redemptive feel but they would have had more than enough time to transition from a more straightforward action piece to something more melancholic considering how long they dragged out delivering the final blow on Eosmon and Menoa's kinda sorta redemption, again one of the movie's more formulaic moments.

After that, the big farewell scenes for Agumon and Gabumon. Like the scenes of Yamato and Taichi's ordinary life in the first third of the film, they are executed well, with lots of moody lighting, decent dialogue and also the fact that the characters did not find a way to keep their partners because they are super special was a good move for the story.
But it is the wider context that makes the effect questionable; If this was truly the end of Adventure as we know it then yes, it would have been a great goodbye but looming in the distance is the epilogue and it seems like there is every intention to still have it count. This puts those last scenes into the very awkward position of making some grand point only to advertise its eventual irrelevance at the same time.
And all we know is that the epilogue will somehow happen. But "This will happen because we know it happens" is not good storytelling. Good storytelling means that there are reasonable connections between events. There is currently no good reason or mechanic in play that would bring their partners back (assuming that what we see in the epilogue are indeed the same individuals), that wouldn't be completely far fetched weirdness.
And the point isn't that weird or far fetched scenarios are outright impossible; The digital world is weird enough that it would be possible that all Digimon could randomly turn into hamburgers but this possibility doesn't make it any less of a bullshit scenario if it happened in a story. Part of the author's purpose is to navigate the system of fictional elements making up the setting and ensuring that, even if those elements could enable random nonsense to happen, the end result is something that is actually sensible.
If the only "justification" anyone can come up with (that isn't completely circular) is some sort of magical thinking and "you just have to believe they'll come up with something", then well, I don't remember joining any religion, so it just means that the writers have dropped the ball and try to offload it on the audience.

At this point some people might claim that I expect too much and that the writers don't need to explain everything. It's true, they don't. And I am completely fine with not every detail being explained and there are indeed parts of the film that are not exactly explained and that I'm still completely fine with.
One could for example argue that Menoa approaching the Koushiro and the other chosen as openly as she did and siccing them on Eosmon herself was putting her plan unnecessarily at risk while also providing the chosen with a connection between her and Eosmon.
I believe that it is reasonable to assume that the true purpose of that operation was to get access to Koushiro's computer and try to steal the list of chosen children (but he had the list on his phone, so that approach failed), and that the Eosmon that was trapped was just one of the many decoy Eosmon from Neverland and nothing would have actually happened if Omegamon managed to defeat it. The "salvaged" consciousness data would have been fake junk code prepared in advanced that Menoa could insist on "researching" herself, although that is the more risky part considering Koushiro would probably want to be kept in the loop if he felt that they actually accomplished something.
But I do genuinely feel that we know just enough about the characters and their motivations to be guided to that conclusion without explicit exposition.

In the end this is about a perception of trust. Did the writers think this through, and trust the audience to figure out the answers they had in mind, or are they simply stacking up "dramatic" events while hoping the audience wouldn't figure out the discrepancies?

Perhaps a similar issue regarding audience expectations can be found in the way the movie treats its main theme and subtext in general, an approach that I would basically call "preaching to the choir". The tactic boils down to setting up a point, then defending it against an cartoonishly warped antithesis, and finally ending on a general and very open ended affirmation of a standpoint most of the audience already agrees with.
The desired effect being that the feeling of general agreement and familiarity would create the impression of having watched something truly insightful. But it really wasn't, because in the end you're not really being told anything new. While maybe you could interpret a bunch of lessons into it, it becomes more of an exercise of projection into the symbolic equivalent of a Rorschach test. But even if it was intentionally designed as such you have to ask yourself how much of the resulting interpretations can actually be credited to the movie itself.
I am not bringing this up because I personally expected any insightful point to be actually made, which would be a rare occurrence in general, but rather as a counterpoint to people who will inevitably act as if it did.

That might sound harsh, but I believe if you take an objective look at what Taichi and Yamato experience during the movie, it just kind of breaks down into a bunch of fist clenching and teeth grinding before they just decide to go with the flow. Watching this, I don't exactly feel I've learned any new information about them as characters because their reactions are just so completely generic.
They are told they will lose their partners. They don't like it and have a bunch of sad feelings about it. Yes, not surprising.
After not finding any way to reverse the process, they kind of get over it. Good for them. Most people manage to kind of get over losses, or else the world would be filled with whiny idiots (perhaps it is but don't remind me of that).
The specifics are what could have made it interesting. But in the second half of the movie there is barely any time for the characters to actually step back and process what all of this truly means to them. What did their relationship with their partner mean to them, what exactly did they lose, what did they gain in return and what are their new perspectives?
Emotions are shown, but not actually explored. Time is running out, and circumstances hurry them along.
The force of external circumstances, this necessity, is a part of the point but the problem with it being the main focus is that "sometimes you have to make hard choices and those choices are usually not nice enough to wait for you" is a lesson we saw Taichi already learn in tri, where it was also presented much better because back then he had to deal with dissenting opinions that were decidedly non-manipulated. It doesn't seem like Kizuna had much to add, which is a shame. There was room for more profound realizations but instead of transcendence, all we find "It is how it is". Is this wrong as a conclusion? No. But just because it's true doesn't mean it's actually interesting.
It could be argued that their state of mind was left open to interpretation on purpose. I argue this would be boring and basically a way to escape from having to make a definitive statement that might not agree with a part of the audience. Characters that act as the canvas the viewers can project their views on can work, but they are awkward if they are supposed to drive the story. "You decide" is not really that satisfying, because I already know how I think about the topic, and what great fiction manages to do is to make you empathize with the feelings of characters that think differently than you do, that are not just mirrors.
Again, leaving things to the audience is fine. But I do have an issue when what is left to the audience is actually the only actually engaging part about the situation.
...so much for pathos.

Now let's talk about the mysterious Aurora that pops up at the start and seems like it is a big deal... only to be ignored for the rest of the movie outside of a single other scene. It seems like a missed opportunity to just have this sort of phenomenon hanging around without it having any influence on Eosmon and Menoa's actions beside a flash of inspiration a few years earlier, and it seems too widespread to simply exist for the sake of justifying the Parrotmon fight at the start. Visually it acts as a bookend, just as an aurora signaled the beginning of their adventure in episode 1 of the anime, here it signals the end. But this doesn't explain what it means practically.
Could it represent the influence of some higher power? Was Menoa partially manipulated? It would make her much less interesting, but Zero Two pulled the same stunt on Ken before, making him much less interesting, so I don't think it's completely off the table. If that is the case the aurora could be seen being placed in the movie for the sake of sequel bait. There's more going on, and if the story is continues we might find out what it is. This could work out if and only if there is indeed going to be a sequel, otherwise it's just another loose end in a movie that already has way too many of them.

And that's about it. In conclusion the movie is decent but it struggles when it comes to most of its ambitions.
What remains is something that I would most fittingly compare to Movie 4, Revenge of Diablomon. A good time, with some very nice visuals and fun character moments but with lackluster story and imagery borrowed from better and/or more iconic entries in the franchise.



Addendum on color symbolism
[I originally had my observations on the use of color sprinkled in together with the rest of the review, but as the amount of text grew and most of it turned to out to be rather critical, the occasional mention of "they are still doing really neat things with colors" started to sound strangely dissonant, perhaps even dishonest. But I really do want to convey how great and effective the visual style was throughout the movie, it's the one thing it never struggles with, its big saving grace, and presenting it in its own section highlights the point much better.]

So let's take a look at color and lighting throughout the whole film.
The first part of the movie, the Parrotmon fight, starts out with bold colors and almost exuberant lighting, a yellow and golden sheen covering everything. The overall theme emerging here is that obviously the lighting references the attitudes of the characters. Because even as they are fighting, they are clearly having a great time, they are in their element as chosen children and this is, or at least reminds them of, their golden times. But the golden times don't last and in fact we don't see this kind of lighting for most of the movie, it is reserved for only a few truly special moments.
Instead, after the fight is done the lighting changes into a more neutral mode, there is no longer any specific dominating color for a few minutes (And this style predominates in other more "neutral" conversations throughout the movie). The color comes back when Taichi and Yamato start to realize the truth about their situation, that they are soon about to enter a new stage in their lives. The accompanying colors are red and orange, they are colors of change. There are still hints of yellow and gold, the promise of potential greatness, but the red is also dark and threatening, a sign of coming danger and conflict. The reddest part of the movie is the first confrontation with Eosmon, it is pure conflict with just a splash orange novelty, reminding us that things are not exactly as before.
After the Eosmon battle there are a few neutral scenes as the characters try to figure out what happened, but the most colored scene during this part, Taichi showing Agumon his apartment, is once again drenched in orange, change has become inevitable and some has already happened.
Neutral lighting also predominates in scenes with the Zero Two characters who are not yet as caught up in the conflicts of change as the older chosen. From time to time they get a few splashes of oranges as their lives have changed as well but it is rarely as intense as in the other scenes, they are not quite at the same stage.
About halfway through the movie the third and most ominous color is introduced, a cold blue. If red and orange is the approaching change then blue is stasis, it is indecision and resignation. Of course it is especially associated with Menoa but it also pops up in other scenes in which characters are confronted with situations that they don't want to face. Taichi's conversation with Gennai is lit in blue and so is the conversation of Taichi Yamato and Koushiro in the bathroom. But the characters are not completely enveloped in it. In Taichi's scene with Gennai there is still a hint of red from the dusk, and in his scene with Menoa he is consistently framed in orange whereas Menoa is always on the blue side of the shot. Oh and most scenes of Yamato's investigation are heavily desaturated, perhaps because Yamato tries to distract himself from dealing with any "colored" themes.
Blue is of course the main color of neverland, in a clear contrast to the red of the first Eosmon fight. When they finally manage to push Menoa to her limit, red enters the pallet again, her fusion with Eosmon is accompanied by a flash of purple and makes purple veins grow throughout the landscape. It is a form of red, vital energy, a form of change, but it is still infused with blue. In contrast to that, when Taichi and Yamato trigger their final evolution the resulting glow is golden like the sunlight in the movie's first minutes, for the final time they are connecting with everything that accumulated during their partnership.
The last scenes with Agumon and Gabumon, are dyed in the colors of inevitable change yet again, as the blue of the sky transitions into red and orange.
And then there is the last scene before the credits, which again uses a lot of the golden lighting from the movie's beginning, a new time of hope, but there is a last change: The light is now filtered through cherry blossoms, gaining a new pinkish hue. It is still a form of red, a sign of more change to come, telling us that the character's lives are still in flux, but it is no longer the deep and dark red that is warning of danger; Now fading into white, the concept of change has lost its ominous edge.
An excellent articulation of my own thoughts concerning the film, and by extension 02 (I had to...).

I'm glad to have stumbled across this today.

I'm not the biggest fan of the Neverland theme in a lot of recent fiction (World of Winx oddly enough explored a similar theme...). I'm not sure whether this means the property entered the Public Domain, but I digress.

The film in retrospect is basically an homage to Diaboromon Strikes Back, super mega evolutions and all.

I know I harp on about Crests this and Crests that, but the most I could fathom is that the countdown applies in a permanent manner for regular Chosen Children and not the Chosen Children of Virtue. Mind you, I suspect that the Crests draw inspiration from Aristotle's Twelve Virtues, but only very loosely applied.

As we both observed, these bonds take upon a more human form, as physical incarnations of those virtues through both Agumon and Gabumon. However, and this may be a stretch, I suspect that most partner digimon never achieve the Mega level, with the exception of the partners of the Harmonious Ones and the original Chosen Eight of Virtue (I don't want to include the 02 cast here...), and as such, those bonds are indeed, limited. Whether this means that they cease to be, or just return to the digital world with no memory of their previous partner, I don't know. Still, I maintain that those virtues are what sustain BOTH worlds.

Which brings me to Ken and by extension, Sora. I harp on the matter of Ken, but it's because I in earnest believe he never manages to actualize that virtue. The Crest itself was sentient enough to forge a digimental to bring Ken down (Miracles), but never potentialized. This is why I would have liked Ken to have been more involved if they were going to go down that rabbit hole with Menoa. I have begun to come to terms with that in relation to why his digivice and Crest Phone remain black/darkened. It's as if Ken carries within him the digital world equivalent of Original Sin. Sure he was corrupted by that spore, but he willingly allowed himself to be corrupted (There's something of a Cain and Abel relationship between him and Sam IIRC.). He was a tool of course, but one which necessitated the revival of Armor digivolution to circumvent the barriers he put into place, and to some degree, Jogress was born of that (I found Gatomon's tail ring a bizarre way around this, but I digress.). I've heard the argument that the Crests are no longer necessary to evolve, but I'd argue that has to do with the physical Crests, not the virtues they possess inside of them. Sorry to get sidetracked, but as you stated, the writers expect us to fill in the blanks, even if the explanations people may come up with aren't their original intention. Curiously, the 02 Children seem to rely on using the OG Team partners as power boosts to achieve Ultimate, though that seems flawed because as far as we know, Stingmon never became Ultimate. They could have switched things up and made Gatomon and Patamon evolve into Silphymon and Shakoumon respectively, but that's getting off topic.

As to Sora, it was extremely unfortunate that she wasn't featured more prominently. But moreover that her "countdown" wasn't a cause for concern amongst the rest of the team, but we have to hear it from Menoa and later Gennai. How appropriate would the Bond of Love have been to the plot?!!? This leads me to believe that she willingly suppressed that bond/virtue. This is a theme reminiscent of Susan from The Narnia Series, which oddly enough MAY provide a solution for the epilogue.

I'm not what you would necessarily call a hard-core fan of Digimon. I enjoyed the show in my youth and if I were to choose my favorites within the franchise, Adventure and Frontier for sure. But that said, Adventure is that the characters literally grew up with me. Joe and Gomamon were always my favorite, and wouldn't you know it, I grew up to be a lot like Joe, interest in the medical field and all. So in some way, I believe that the characters deserved a better and more complete send off. While Tri wasn't perfect, I think it did a better job of this. Kizuna, at least the aspect of farewell, could have been incorporated into Tri as an homage to their leaving the digital world the first time, but coming away different this time. We already see them coming to terms with growing up in Tri, why double down in Kizuna?

So, the more I have reflected on this, the more I have come to the conclusion that Kizuna may not have been the worst possible way to wrap up the series, whilst keeping *some version* of the epilogue intact.

I see the digimon in many ways closer to Guardian Angels. Angels that will always remain *with* their partners, even if they can't see or interact with them as they did in their youth. In some respects, I view the relationships between the Original Chosen 8 as unique amongst digidestined. I believe that they are the ones to most FULLY potentialize and immanentize their virtues which is what allowed them to accomplish all that they did. I'd go further and argue that the Bond Forms are their partners' TRUE forms and that the forms we see usually are phases of that potential. I think that the latter is a given, but not so with the former, though implied.

We know, or at most can infer, that most partner digimon do not achieve the Ultimate or Mega level, with few exceptions. Those levels are the exception and not the rule amongst partner digimon. However, those higher levels are achieved via the agency of those bonded virtues which subsist in the Chosen 8 (Poor Ken...). Digimon partners who from their very inception were conceived with those virtuous bonds in mind. As such, they concealed within themselves those Bond Forms. Anyone familiar with most literature on angels in the Judaeo-Christian tradition knows that angels are known to have terrible appearances which instill fear and trembling. Not terrible as in hideous (Demons being the exception, but that's a discussion for another time.), but they inspire as stated, fear and trembling. I think this plays nicely with the influence that a given human partner has on their digimon's evolutionary course. So this is why something like Tai's rashness leading to SkullGreymon makes sense, or why Ophanimon Fall Down Mode works when Kari's compassion/faith goes awry.

As much as I harp on about the 02 Team, this is why I find the Original Chosen 8 unique. While we don't see ALL of them achieve the Bond State, we know that it's potential is there. Those virtues are immanentized in a unique way by the partner. They can't go about swapping partners exerting different Virtues to force a different evolutionary form. The Digimentals on the other hand, aren't necessarily partner specific. We do know that they can theoretically be swapped between the 02 Team, because they're all Armor Evolution compatible. For the purposes of the show, of course, they don't go through all of that. However, for those who accept the contents of external media outside of the continuity of the anime to be valid, you know this to be true.

As to the epilogue of 02, perhaps it would have worked out best if the emphasis had been on just ONE of their children inheriting a member of the same Digimon species, with a portion of their parents'partner's data comprising it. The Bond Forms (Even if they weren't conceived of then.), could have been alluded to be the state that they exist in now, and should the need ever arise, who knows, maybe they'd make themselves known again. I'm sure as adults the Bonded State would have been more aesthetically appealing than adult Tai arguing with Agumon. The one problem to this is where this leaves the 02 Team which I speculate can't achieve these forms, and if a Digidestined elected not to marry (I could have seen Tai remain single.).

Edited to add the following:

So one thing that bugs me is Menoa's emphasis on digivolving further exacerbating the severing of ties between partners, namely in that it exhuasts whatever resource sustatains that bond. That said, I *would* have liked for the 02 Team to have been involved, and showcasing Armor Evolution. While the series does have the built-in gimmick that thehuman partner yells out "Digi-Armor Energize!", the evolutionary form itself is not dependant on the energy of teh human partner to sustain, but is contained within the armor itself. They really could have gone somewhere with that thematically, and perhaps even employed that to circumvent that severing of partner relationships.
 
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AquaKai

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I think people got the meaning of the movie, but if it violated established lore and the core theme of symbiosis . . . it probably would've been more accepted as the end to Adventure: . . . That's kind of how I interpret it these days.

You have no idea how much the random Perfects bothered me.
Maybe I just need a revision of Adventure and 02, it's been 20 years afterall, but how exactly does it violate estabilished lore? If you will, I'd really appreciate if you elaborated more on this (in the appropriate thread, of course).
Everything to do with partnerships!

1) Over 3 seasons we've never been told that Digivices are powered by "childishness" and we've seen both in flash forwards and from Owikawa that adults can have partner Digimon.

2) There's no incentive to separate Digimon and Chosen Children even if the partnership ran out because Digimon can exist independently in the real world just like humans can exist independently in the Digital World.

3) If anything, it would be safer for Agumon, Gabumon et al to live in the real world after the partnership ran out because they wouldn't be able to evolve and cause property damage anymore.

4) In the three series, Digimon typically grow stronger as the child ages and develop their characteristics. To go "Whoops! You developed too much now you're garbage" doesn't make any logical consistency and if you follow the Kizuna's logic through to the end the "best" Chosen Child of all would be a newborn with so much potential they could blink their eyes and create Jesmon GX Ultra Power Light Holy Mega OmegaGodmon. Which isn't what we typically see in the series.

There's a lot more, but let's just say that it took a big Scumon all over the canon and themes of the series.
1) Neither does the movie state something like that, it just introduce a further level of understanding to the bond, basing it on potential and personal growth, something not everyone seems to have understood. Being an adult physically, doesn't mean to be really an adult. There are many so-called adults who are more immature than children. That could explain why Oikawa still had a partner Digimon, but he is also quite a unique case with everything that happened to him, so we don't really know.
As for the flash forwards, if you mean the ending of 02, that's not estabilished lore, it's history. Admittedly, we don't know what will really happen from Kizuna onward till that ending. Maybe they will meet their Digimon again, but not as partners (no Digivice). Or maybe that was the ending of the novel written by Takeru, but the reality is quite different. We don't know (yet), we can just speculate.
Is it satisfying? Of course it isn't. The movie does leave us with many questions.
Does it "violate estabilished lore", as you said? Nope.

2) 3) 4) It appears to me this is your interpretation, not estabilished lore.

Let's talk a bit about potential, shall we?
I'm more familiar with this concept, because I found it in other instances in narrative, for example in Shaman King. I may be mistaken, but I suspect is a typical eastern way of thinking (this is a big assumption).
Children have more potential than adults because they theoretically can become anything. A child could become an astronaut, a teacher, a clerk, a cook, and so on. (exactly like a Digimon can evolve in many forms, in theory). They are like a blank tablet.
However, as we grow, we make experiences, we take decisions, we form ourselves, our way of thinking, our character, going in a specific way, specializing ourselves in a sense. That way we gradually lose that starting potential, as we acquire a more definite form. We fill that tablet until there's no more blank space. This is an adult, a statue fixed in stone, molded from the clay that was the child.
It's like the education system, if you will: the higher you go in grades, the more you specialize in a subject. A lawyer isn't a nurse and neither are engineers, but a child could become any one of them.

For those interested, in Shaman King there was a character saying something along the lines of adults seeing the roof and knowing they cannot break it, while kids can't see the roof, so they're able to pierce through it and reach new heights, with the sky as their only limit. That unlimited growth is potential.

Back to Digimon, based on what we see in Kizuna, it would seem that the bond between a Chosen Child and a Digimon is dependant on that kind of potential. When it runs out, the bond ceases to exist.
To me, it doesn't seem to contradict anything stated in previous Adventure seasons (aside from the 02 ending, but we're talking about lore here), but as I said to the person I replied to, it's been 20 years since I last watched them, so I may be forgetting something. I have them on a rewatch list, but in the meanwhile I would be very pleased if anyone could prove me wrong.
 

JR9386

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I think people got the meaning of the movie, but if it violated established lore and the core theme of symbiosis . . . it probably would've been more accepted as the end to Adventure: . . . That's kind of how I interpret it these days.

You have no idea how much the random Perfects bothered me.
Maybe I just need a revision of Adventure and 02, it's been 20 years afterall, but how exactly does it violate estabilished lore? If you will, I'd really appreciate if you elaborated more on this (in the appropriate thread, of course).
Everything to do with partnerships!

1) Over 3 seasons we've never been told that Digivices are powered by "childishness" and we've seen both in flash forwards and from Owikawa that adults can have partner Digimon.

2) There's no incentive to separate Digimon and Chosen Children even if the partnership ran out because Digimon can exist independently in the real world just like humans can exist independently in the Digital World.

3) If anything, it would be safer for Agumon, Gabumon et al to live in the real world after the partnership ran out because they wouldn't be able to evolve and cause property damage anymore.

4) In the three series, Digimon typically grow stronger as the child ages and develop their characteristics. To go "Whoops! You developed too much now you're garbage" doesn't make any logical consistency and if you follow the Kizuna's logic through to the end the "best" Chosen Child of all would be a newborn with so much potential they could blink their eyes and create Jesmon GX Ultra Power Light Holy Mega OmegaGodmon. Which isn't what we typically see in the series.

There's a lot more, but let's just say that it took a big Scumon all over the canon and themes of the series.
1) Neither does the movie state something like that, it just introduce a further level of understanding to the bond, basing it on potential and personal growth, something not everyone seems to have understood. Being an adult physically, doesn't mean to be really an adult. There are many so-called adults who are more immature than children. That could explain why Oikawa still had a partner Digimon, but he is also quite a unique case with everything that happened to him, so we don't really know.
As for the flash forwards, if you mean the ending of 02, that's not estabilished lore, it's history. Admittedly, we don't know what will really happen from Kizuna onward till that ending. Maybe they will meet their Digimon again, but not as partners (no Digivice). Or maybe that was the ending of the novel written by Takeru, but the reality is quite different. We don't know (yet), we can just speculate.
Is it satisfying? Of course it isn't. The movie does leave us with many questions.
Does it "violate estabilished lore", as you said? Nope.

2) 3) 4) It appears to me this is your interpretation, not estabilished lore.

Let's talk a bit about potential, shall we?
I'm more familiar with this concept, because I found it in other instances in narrative, for example in Shaman King. I may be mistaken, but I suspect is a typical eastern way of thinking (this is a big assumption).
Children have more potential than adults because they theoretically can become anything. A child could become an astronaut, a teacher, a clerk, a cook, and so on. (exactly like a Digimon can evolve in many forms, in theory). They are like a blank tablet.
However, as we grow, we make experiences, we take decisions, we form ourselves, our way of thinking, our character, going in a specific way, specializing ourselves in a sense. That way we gradually lose that starting potential, as we acquire a more definite form. We fill that tablet until there's no more blank space. This is an adult, a statue fixed in stone, molded from the clay that was the child.
It's like the education system, if you will: the higher you go in grades, the more you specialize in a subject. A lawyer isn't a nurse and neither are engineers, but a child could become any one of them.

For those interested, in Shaman King there was a character saying something along the lines of adults seeing the roof and knowing they cannot break it, while kids can't see the roof, so they're able to pierce through it and reach new heights, with the sky as their only limit. That unlimited growth is potential.

Back to Digimon, based on what we see in Kizuna, it would seem that the bond between a Chosen Child and a Digimon is dependant on that kind of potential. When it runs out, the bond ceases to exist.
To me, it doesn't seem to contradict anything stated in previous Adventure seasons (aside from the 02 ending, but we're talking about lore here), but as I said to the person I replied to, it's been 20 years since I last watched them, so I may be forgetting something. I have them on a rewatch list, but in the meanwhile I would be very pleased if anyone could prove me wrong.

@Theigno addressed in the post I quoted above the problems with this.

Adventure never establishes that the partnerships cease to be upon becoming an adult, only that access to the Digital World is limited to children. The Narnia series has the mechanism in place, as do a number of other works of literature.

However, that says nothing about the nature of partnerships.

The ending of 02 is considered canon for the producers of Kizuna, that's why it's such a huge deal that they added this particular aspect to the lore.

There's actually an issue present between the films that I didn't realize until last night. In the epilogue, Stingmon goes in-between his Rookie and Champion form. In accord with Kizuna, that should force a strain on their partnership. Ken achieved his potential. So how is that possible?
 

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I still think that the “using up potential” idea is a red herring. The Stingmon thing I thus don’t see as an issue, since Ken would know what Taichi and company evidently discovered regarding how to get around or reverse the issue, whatever it was.
 

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@Theigno addressed in the post I quoted above the problems with this.
Sorry, I couldn't force myself to finish it, because it was too long and it digressed too often. I simply had no interest in continuing reading what appeared to me more as a rant post than a critique.
EDIT: I just finished skimming over the text (actually I almost read it) and, while the initial feeling of a rant does wane going on, I had already reached the part about potential the other day and I still think that he is overthinking things a lot.
The point was if the rules introduced in Kizuna did violate estabilished lore, and I still stand that it doesn't, it just adds to it. Complicating things, maybe, but only because we know so little that we have to speculate on the missing information.
Then again, when I'll rewatch Adventure and 02 (and maybe Tri) maybe I'll change my mind.

(On a side note, this reminds me of what happened with the totemic origin of powers in Spider-Man...)
 
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JR9386

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I still think that the “using up potential” idea is a red herring. The Stingmon thing I thus don’t see as an issue, since Ken would know what Taichi and company evidently discovered regarding how to get around or reverse the issue, whatever it was.
Right, because we're obligated to draw that conclusion, because of the 02 epilogue. Were Kizuna to be taken on its own, it doesn't support that conclusion. Tai's hope may be alluding to the afterlife, not necessarily the 02 epilogue.

That still presents us with the dilemma of Sora. Sora lost Biyomon before any of that happened. Theoretically, she shouldn't be able to get Biyomon back, unless Sora managed some sort of Bond of Love off-screen. Does what Tai and Matt unlocked work retroactively, or is it more a moving forward sort of deal that has a ripple effect?

I don't have a problem with Kizuna as it ended and the epilogue of 02 coexisting. My issue is that they could have easily resolved the issue by having some sort of confirmation within Kizuna that Agumon and Tai found each other again. It didn't need to be something exhaustive, but something as simple as his digivice rebooting/powering up again at some point in the future, perhaps when he has his own children, and his hearing a familiar voice. That's headcanon, and sorta fanficy, but it works. I don't think most of us are really interested in another Adventure film exploring how they get them back. Maybe that's just me, but yeah. That wouldn't be a vague "Well you guys figure out how these stories connect!", but would have added to the lore. Now that I think about it, taken in conjunction with my response to @Theigno in the Unpopular Opinions thread regarding the literary theme of gaining an immortal soul as explored in The Little Mermaid, I wonder if *part* of the resolution here ties into what I stated concerning them having children. I never read the original Peter Pan, but IIRC, aren't pixies/fairies born of the laughter from a child? It may not be a coincidence that they purposely chose the theme of Neverland to juxtapose the two against one another. Sorry if I'm not being clear with that, but my mind is going off on multiple tangents in that regard. The Lost Boys aren't necessarily a good thing, because they remain in a sort of stasis themselves (I'm drawing from the Disney adaptation and Hook.), but as we see in Hook, Peter is brought back to Neverland via extraordinary means and able to reclaim his bond with that magic. It was his children that forced him to achieve that anew. There are hints of Narnia in the digimon universe as well, so maybe there is hope after all.
 
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