Ain't got no mojo...
Show User Social Media
Hide User Social Media
- Oct 21, 2017
I'll use the word agency a lot because my problem really stems from not being able to believe in these characters taking the actions that they did or not being able to buy into them. If this term is too specific, you can just broaden this critique to over all character writing.I (partly) understand that argument for Ken but how were other characters lacking agency?I feel like most series could be cleaned up a bit so I'll just put in a list of stuff I think should be changed fundamental from the ground up from least work to most.
Frontier: I just think it's kind of boring overall. Use all of your characters more, be a bit less repetitive near the end. Have Kouichi's character arc be more than just a mystery.
Tri: Have everyone deal with their problems in a different that doesn't equate to all of them running away from confrontation with each other. (Don't make them literally run away from confrontation with each other.) I think all of their character arcs need to be cleaned up and focused on more and some of them should get new ones like Takeru and Sora. Sora's who boiled down to an forced inverse of her original episode with Piyomon and Takeru who's arc was just wasteful angst that gets spread around to everyone else and to be the mouth piece to forgive Meiko for the group.
Homeostasis was a cop-out antagonist so the kids could do the right thing the second time around and should have just stayed an over watching force that had Huckmon enforce it's will earlier. Dark Genai was a waste of a mystery, just brainwash the 02 kids instead. This last bit is also for Kizuna, if one of your major over arcing theme is "growing up" show us "growing up" in more positive and negative ways instead of just needlessly wax on about it without anything to show for it. I guess I'd like a better distinction between "growing up" and "getting older."
02: I think this whole show is a mess. It biggest problem is that the longer it goes the more agency the characters lose. So let's try to give characters as much as they can.
No Vamdemon possession, in fact he could be cut, a bit too pander-y for my taste. I guess you could just have Oikawa work with Daemon with both planing to backstab the other eventually. No dark spores, that was the final nail in the coffin of Ken's agency as the Kaiser, meaning I can't buy his redemption arc as a whole. Continuing with Kaiser/Ken, they still don't feel like the same character so we can keep the dark ocean's plot points but you could also give it it's own arc and villain instead of just being a plot contrivance. Also use that time to give Takeru and Hikari full arcs.
Don't focus Ken's arc on redemption and but put focus on trying to figure out what type of person he is and wants to be. And seeing how that narrative spot is taken up, either cut BlackWarGreymon completely or hold off on Ken being a member of the group and make those two team up. You can cut the Holy Stones as well, and replace that with the Dark Ocean.
02 has a lot of plot points I don't care for and then it executes them poorly so that's as close as I can get without changing it completely.
02 is a very reactionary plot for our protagonists, which is fine. There is something to be said for them choosing the go and save another world, especially in the environment they get to do it in. The 02 kids aren't trapped like the original are so that speaks a lot for their character but in the end they hardly struggle with the idea of being protagonists. The show does try to give them interesting points that I'll bring up later.
The real problem stems from 02 being a very active plot for our antagonist, who I think lack major forms of agency. We've talked about Ken, motivated by the plot device that is the dark seed. Then we have Arukenimon and Mummymon who might have the most agency because they choose to act for the sake of someone else. I think the show takes to long to make that a plot point, and they had already become jokes way before then, but it's there. They then lead into BlackWarGreymon who's entire arc is about agency. However, for him to become a proper antagonist, you have this very forced plot device that Holy Stones hurt him when they are damaged but he also powers up by destroying them. It's very confusing and takes a full extra episode before it relates back to he character arc. Daemon existed for two episodes, I guess he had some agency for as little as he mattered. Finally, we have Oikawa who is also being manipulated by Vamdemon. His saving grace is that his wants and desires are his own but failing point is that his actions aren't as much his. When your villains move the plot forward I want it to be more than, "the plot device forced me to be bad."
Oikawa brings up another part of agency in that, it's just not that you do something, but why and how you do something. That's not just relegated to character writing but also how the plot puts those characters in those situations. This is the main point of the children's agency. I think the best of their defining moments are the ones where they get their second digimentals. They're all fine for the most part, but I think Iori's is the most stand out of them all, with the crest of sincerity/reliability.
The real problem is when you get to the larger moments like the attack on the Kaiser's base. Because of the way it was written I don't care that Daisuke was the first one to continue moving forward to the power room. In fact in most group situations I feel like Daisuke only gets pushed forward by holding the other characters back. From a narrative direction, the monster just stops, allows him to go to the macguffin, leaves so getting the macguffin becomes easier, and then comes back just to die. I think that writing choice was very transparent and shallow and takes the wind out of any character motivation.
The first over arcing form of agency comes when they have to decided if they want to team up with Ken. On its own, it's a valid plot point. I just can't buy into it because I don't buy into the idea of the Kaiser and Ken being the same character. However, it still has its own problems in and of itself. Daisuke is the driving force for this plot point, but that doesn't matter much when he is being motivated by the macguffin that told / let feel that Ken was a good boy at heart. Daisuke doesn't have to think about what he's doing because he can feel that he's right. Miyako gets it the best in this arc even through Iori is the most against it and Takeru and Hikari might as well not matter.
The final biggest point of agency is when they have to kill real digimon, that is only a real problem for all of two episodes. In those episodes none of the children get to make that choice because their digimon do it for them by being forced into situations where innocent humans are at risk. No one makes the call to do, the digimon just do.
For me digimon 02 is story full of strong personalities with shallow characters that the plot strings along until it ends. Any form of character that starts show up is then overshadowed by the plot that needs to move forward.