Why are immediate sequels so often bad?

Seymour Butz

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Please read these first two paragraphs before you reply to this thread. This is going to be a controversial topic, but there’s no need to derail into into a hatefest. I’d like to ask some of the more knowledgeable anime and tokusatsu fans about a phenomenon that appears to be pervasive throughout the industry, but which is of particular relevance to Digimon, almost one-quarter of whose episodes are part of an immediate sequel to another series. As such, I made the topic here, though I won’t object if the mods move it to the general anime forum.

Obviously ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are subjective terms, and this isn’t about bashing 02 or Hunters — or, for that matter, any other sequel from another franchise that’s brought up. The fact remains, however, that it seems that most people — at least as adult fans, looking back — have a conspicuous dislike of most sequel series that air immediately after the original, which, in this franchise, currently covers Hunters and 02. (I’m aware that Toei considers Hunters to be the third arc of ×ros Wars, but it was optioned and written like a sequel, which is all that matters for the sake of this discussion.) The goal of this thread is to find out why this is, which will involve treating the belief that these sequels are unenjoyable and bad as objectively true — for the sake of this discussion only. This isn’t about trying to argue that they actually are bad; it’s just about acknowledging that many of us think they are, and trying to find out why — so please don’t feel compelled to step in and defend any of these series if you personally liked them. We’re not trying to discount your opinion, so whenever I (or hopefully, anyone else) refer to a series as ‘bad’ in this thread, understand that it’s just shorthand for ‘considered bad by a large part of the fandom’. However, if you feel that the fandom in general liked a series more than someone is indicating, by all means, please speak up! I’m frankly not an expert on this subject.

Now then, while there are all kinds of factors that can make any series good or bad, sequels have additional liabilities, in terms of how they relate back to the original show. Not using previous characters enough or effectively is a common complaints, as are change in tone, change in message, missing what made the original special, and stories that nullify something that happened in the original series. These are risked by every sequel, be it Digimon or Die Hard.

However, the modern children’s toyetic anime industry (and tokusatsu) is structured in a peculiar way which seems to have made many sequels even more susceptible to problems. In most perennially running franchises, sequel series begin airing immediately after their respective original series, and most adult fans generally consider those sequels to suck, even if they loved the original to bits. This is not limited to Digimon. Okay, Kamen Rider V3, a direct sequel to the original Kamen Rider, was beloved, but Black was, at its time, the most popular series since the original, while Black RX seems to be a footnote in history. I read one guy’s huge long spiel about how Black was a defining part of his childhood. There were pages upon pages about it, pictures of his huge collection of merchandise and even of the stacks of advertisement magazines that he saved. RX didn’t get one word, and that wasn’t just the guy, because nobody on the comments found this odd. As I think KaenKazui has mentioned, the sequel to the original PreCure, Max Heart, is widely despised by the fandom. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.) 02 and Hunters need no introduction on this forum, but if anyone has other examples, I’d love to hear them.

I want to ask three main questions:

1. What causes this? Marc (GodofChaos) has indicated that a large factor is the overtaxing of the writing staff. A year-long, fifty-episode anime series generally takes more than one year to competently write, so the writers get just enough of a head start to finish on time with the finale. (Could this also be why many final episodes of series feel rushed, even if the rest of the series and even the final arc don’t?) In a perennial franchise like Super Sentai, when the next series is written by another team, this isn’t a problem, since they can get started well before the finale of the previous series. However, sequels usually use the original series’ same writers, who are now out of time to come up with good ideas that they can fully flesh out while ensuring that all the pieces fit together. As a result, you get either a tangled mess of a plot like 02, or else a plotless void like Hunters, or maybe something in between. This might also be why Death Generals — which was substantially replotted from what the second half of ×ros Wars was originally going to be — has a lot more episodes that don’t advance the overall plot than does the first half of the series, despite the reverse usually being the case in anime.

Do you aficionados agree with that assessment, or are there other factors at play? Black seems to have been almost entirely episodic, so what could have made RX less likeable, and why is V3 considered good? Did the industry change that much in fifteen years, or is something else afoot? On a similar note, why have I been told that the only other PreCure sequel — Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo, a sequel to Yes! PreCure 5 — is actually good, despite following the same pattern of coming immediately after it’s original series? For example, I’ve heard the alternate explanation that 02 and Black RX actually sucked because they were shameless cash grabs, not just because they were immediate sequels.

2. Short of just never having a sequel series — the pattern that Super Sentai has followed for thirty-five years — what could fix this? Putting a profitable toyetic show on hiatus for several months in order to let the writers recoup is out of the question, especially since even badly written series like 02 frequently meet the business goal of selling tonnes of merchandise to their young fans. Would alternating sequels and non-sequels work; for example, might 02 have been better if it had come after Tamers, giving the writers an additional year to plan out everything? From what I’ve heard from Gundam fans, this exact strategy seems to have worked for SEED and SEED Destiny, which were separated by Superior Defender Force. What’s the likelihood that it could become a common practice in Digimon or PreCure? Do you think the production and toy companies just haven’t considered this, or do they actually have reasons for avoiding it? For example, part of the appeal of immediate sequels in shows aimed at young children is that the property is hot right now, but how much is another year really going to hurt that, especially since promotional material comes out several months in advance of the premiere anyway?

3. Am I just imagining all this? I’ve given a whopping four examples of immediate sequels that are considered bad, matched by two that are considered good. Is it just an illusion that writing crunches are the kiss of death to immediate sequels, and do Hunters and 02 merely suffer from the same problems that can afflict any sequel, or even any series? Or is the writing crunch a genuine obstacle, but not an insurmountable one, as shown by V3 and 5 GoGo?

Anyway, food for thought. I’m hoping lots of you have some light to shine on this phenomenon, since I honestly haven’t watched that much anime or tokusatsu myself. Additionally, I’m running this thread by several people who I’m paraphrasing, to make sure I got their statements right. If they correct me on anything, I’ll edit it into the end of this post.

Edit 1: Kaen has corrected me. Max Heart, the sequel to the original PreCure, is popular, whereas Yes! 5 GoGo, the sequel to Yes! 5, is unpopular.
 
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KaenKazui

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First of all: No, PreCure Max Heart is not really hated. I am active in the PreCure-fandom and... Well, PreCure in general had starting problems, so after seeing the later seasons most people realize how flawed the original Black/White Futari-wa seasons were. But Max Heart is not really worse then the first season - the actual story is stronger, though it is told in less episodes, resulting in more fillers - nor is it really disliked in the active fandom. Though Hikari, the new character, is not that popular among most fans.
But really... I don't know much people who like "GoGo!" on the other hand. "Yes! PreCure 5" is the season, where the fandom differs most. People either love or hate it, because more then any other PreCure season (till smile) it was more of a generic Magical Girl series and... The strong point about PreCure was always, that it was different. "GoGo" on the other hand is hated even by a lot of people that love "Yes! PreCure 5" - A friend of mine loves the first season of those two, but has just a lot of complaints about GoGo! as it was simply the same thing over and over. Though Kurumi is more popular in the fandom then Hikari, I guess.
But GoGo was a big flop, both in Merchandise and TV ratings. They actually considered giving up on the franchise, as far as I heard (I was not an active fan at that time), but due to some contracts they at least made another season - Fresh - which again did really good on sales and ratings (and so did the two following seasons... Actually haven't looked into the sales of Smile...)

The problem with Zero Two and Xros Hunters is not, that they are sequels, but that they were a) extremely rushed and b) sequels to a story that just did not leave much open questions (that were not plotholes) in the end.
I know that a lot of people at Toei went against the idea of making "Zero Two" just because a lot of the writers and directors felt that the end of Adventure actually was a kind of closure. There was just not much plot where you could attach something new. I mean, Adventure itself had not much "plot" to begin with, due to being written in Arcs with no real connecting plot-element. Considering that the whole "chosen children", with the people who chose them long gone, thing was also a problem for making a sequel... Well, what did Yoshimura and Maekawa had to work with? And again: It was extremly rushed and the writing team was really big, so it was kinda confusing... And then we had Hiromi Seki with all her love for doing unwanted executive meddling.
To put it that way: Zero Two just never had a chance to become a good, not to mention a great season. The short amount of time they had made it impossible. As did the pretty much finite end of Adventure itself.

For Xros Hunters I am pretty sure it was rushed, too. They just wanted to do a Crossover and they needed something to fill the timeslot with, I guess. So they made Xros Hunters, at least it feels that way.
Apart from that... Xros Wars also had a lot of problems storywise, ESPECIALLY during the whole Death Generals Arc. There was also not much to work with for a sequel.
So... Yeah..

Another problem, I feel, is, that it is not that uncommon that the head writer changes between an anime series and its sequel... Which, obviously, makes it had for the writing team
 

Seymour Butz

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First of all: No, PreCure Max Heart is not really hated. […]
But really... I don't know much people who like "GoGo!" on the other hand.
Hmm, maybe I mixed up those two. I’ve never seen a PreCure, so I’m going off of, like, two conversations with other people. One of those was with you several years ago, in which you said that a bad sequel nearly killed the franchise, so I guess I did get them mixed up.

The problem with Zero Two and Xros Hunters is not, that they are sequels, but that they were a) extremely rushed and b) sequels to a story that just did not leave much open questions (that were not plotholes) in the end.
[…] And again: It was extremly rushed and the writing team was really big, so it was kinda confusing... And then we had Hiromi Seki with all her love for doing unwanted executive meddling.
To put it that way: Zero Two just never had a chance to become a good, not to mention a great season. The short amount of time they had made it impossible.
Omoshiroi. So was Max Heart — and any other good immediate sequels you know, in any franchise — not rushed? How could that be? Were they planning a sequel? They couldn’t have been expecting the franchise-launching first series to be that popular, certainly not if they didn’t expect the same thing from Digimon. So what was the difference, in terms of the rushed writing schedule?

I know that a lot of people at Toei went against the idea of making "Zero Two" just because a lot of the writers and directors felt that the end of Adventure actually was a kind of closure.
Really? I’ve heard the opposite from anons on 4chan’s /m/, who’ve said that the 02 ending was the one that the Adventure staff had wanted to write, but they ran out of time in the first series. Is that just a rumour, or is it true only of the epilogue?

For Xros Hunters I am pretty sure it was rushed, too. They just wanted to do a Crossover and they needed something to fill the timeslot with, I guess. So they made Xros Hunters, at least it feels that way.
That seems indubitable. In an interview, Sanjou himself (or maybe Endou, but one of the two) said that the order for a third arc came as a surprise.
 

Garmmon

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I'm kinda half-awake so forgive me if what I say doesn't make sense or something. I just felt like talking about it too :p

I agree that the hate they receive isn't solely because they're sequels. But yeah, I think people in general tend to be resistant to change, which is why not only in Digimon but in lots of fandoms you get some fans who go 'only the original is the best' or 'only the one I watched during my childhood is the best'. When the sequels don't live up to their expectations (not necessarily quality-wise; the decisions made/unfolding of events also matters. Like how you get fans who are unhappy about how the Taichi-Yamato-Sora love triangle in 02 turned out, among other things), they just write it off as bad. And also as you get older you tend to notice more things you didn't notice as a kid, so you probably get more critical of shows and more likely to see sequels as worse shows as compared to the similar quality prequels you saw when you were younger.
I personally quite liked 02, but I agree Adventure ended off in a nice way which kind of didn't need a sequel.
Xros Hunters is more of bad pacing than just being rushed and having too few episodes...I'm sure most of us can kind of agree that if they cut out some of the irrelevant monster-of-the-week episodes they could probably use those episode slots to flesh out the main plot more; Digimon series usually have quite a number of monster-of-the-week episodes but Hunters just has too many of those for the number of episodes it was allocated. I'm not so into plot when I watch shows but I think it's very clear Hunters really needed more planning pacing-wise. Xros Wars might have had some pacing issues but I don't think it's as bad as Hunters.

Well in the end I think regardless of how well written both series were, the fact that they're sequels will still generate some haters because there really are some people who just like the original because it's the original and shun everything else. But yeah I do think it would've helped both seasons a lot if they were able to plan in advance..I understand they probably can't plan too far ahead since they don't know how well each series will sell, but I'd say Adventure and Xros Wars both ended with quite satisfying endings that give good closure to their story, which could also be why sequels for them feel weird, because their ending just doesn't leave much room for a very relevant sequel so they have to invent new mechanics and characters to continue the story which probably wouldn't sit well with some fans.
 

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I think Hunters really was just a filler season. Literally. Someone check that please. And I think besides the Dark Ocean thing, people only hate the ending for 02. Or am I missing a plot hole?
 

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I watched the Digimon seasons out of order, and I still think 02 is bad. I don't think it's because I was too loyal to the "original" or anything like that. I had no attachment for the Adventure kids going into it. Maybe it's what's been said above: That the questions of Adventure are all resolved. And bringing back BelialVandemon (yeah, I didn't even finish one season before another, so I knew about Vandemon, already) just left a bad taste- it's like 02 wasn't taken seriously as a series unto itself but rather the little brother of 01 who's always living in its shadow. It didn't try to be unique. It didn't try to be original. Daisuke was a clone of Taichi but somehow less lovable, and they tried to capitalize on the success of the first season but somehow didn't pull it off well.

And for a long time the plot didn't seem to know what to do with itself. I thought the characters weren't well developed either. Takeru used to be a pretty awesome character but after Ken came along he was pushed into the background (like everyone else. Hikari just didn't do much...). Iori was somewhat interesting but he didn't get enough spotlight either. Daisuke... I just don't know what to think about him. He seems more like a caricature than a character.

In the end I think what made 02 bad was 02, not because it was sequel to 01.
 

Seymour Butz

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Well in the end I think regardless of how well written both series were, the fact that they're sequels will still generate some haters because there really are some people who just like the original because it's the original and shun everything else.
So you think a lot of it is just an audience perception thing? I think that’s valid. Major changes in the story don’t even require a sequel series to turn off fans; see my reaction to how the San Gen Shi were treated in Death Generals. However, lots of people who like series that are very different from Adventure — by which I mean, all of them — still don’t like 02. Ditto for ×ros Wars and Hunters. Hell, I’m one of them, for both of those pairs of series. I think it must be that we object to doing something very different with the characters, setting or story of the original, not just different from the original. Like I bitched up a storm about the Adventure gang not showing up enough in 02, but it never even occurred to me to make the same complaint about Tamers, because I understood that they were their own creatures.

I think Hunters really was just a filler season. Literally. Someone check that please.
Well, it was surprise-ordered, and if it was only surprise-ordered for half a year originally, maybe it really was just to kill time until Saint Seiya Omega. Nobody knows whether it was originally planned for a year or not. An early ad said the series was entering its second year, but not that it would air for another full year, and even if it had, it might have been wrong (look at how often V-Jump fouls up even simpler information). A full year-long run still would have wrapped up Hunters in mid-late 2012, which means Omega would still have been on schedule for the twentieth anniversary of its original series, so that doesn’t tell us anything either.

And I think besides the Dark Ocean thing, people only hate the ending for 02. Or am I missing a plot hole?
Naw man. There are lots of fans who hate a lot of things about that series, and — pertinent to this discussion — perceive those things as stemming from incompetent or inconsistent writing, rather than just unwelcome choices like ‘turning into digimon’ or ‘punching digimon in the face’ or ‘replacing evolution with fusion’. I can list these gripes if you want to hear them.

In the end I think what made 02 bad was 02, not because it was sequel to 01.
I think most fans feel that that is the case, and likewise with Hunters. Nevertheless, this seems to affect sequels a disproportionately large amount of the time. The goal of this thread is to try to figure out what the hell is going on in the anime industry that causes this to happen, but why it doesn’t always happen. However, thank you for bringing that up, because you’ve given me an idea: we might be able to test the ‘rushed writer’ theory by looking at other series — regardless of whether they’re direct sequels or even part of the same franchise — where the writers have just gotten off of another project. Toshiki Inoue of Heisei-era Kamen Rider fame could be a freaking case study in this, and there might be a lot of successive Super Sentai series that share writers as well. I’m going to look into this and get back to you guys, although even definitive evidence of the overtaxed writer theory doesn’t explain how Max Heart was good.
 
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Rubicon

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I'm not sure it's purely an anime issue... A lot of sequel in other media fall short too (and what I meant by "not because it's a sequel", I mean it falls short for me not because I hate it not because of any sentimentality for Adventure or 02 not "living up" to it). If there's one thing I can pinpoint is that they couldn't decide whether to go into a whole new direction or please the old fans (and whether continuing the series MAKES SENSE, which I felt it didn't but I can't blame production companies for wanting to cash in on their previous success). In the end they try to do both and achieve neither. The difficulty involved with that is they're going to get flak either way. There are some who feel 02 didn't distinguish itself as a SEPARATE SERIES (I'm in that camp) and there are those who felt they didn't want the old characters pushed to the side.

Compare 02 to Tamers... There are those who STILL thought the Adventure universe should have had another sequel when they clearly RESOLVED EVERYTHING, even before the epilogue (and that's why they hated Tamers). If I were a writer I would honestly not know how to continue that season (even if you disregard the far flung future epilogue). But one thing that made it good is that Chiaki Konaka pretty much got free rein to go wherever he wanted to, so there was no leftover baggage from previous seasons. They only had one nod to the Adventure universe, which was that the kids in Tamers are obviously fans of Digimon as we are.
 
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Seymour Butz

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I think I’m going to head over to 4chan’s /m/ board tonight and ask the mecha fans if any of them know the workings behind SEED (Destiny) having a year to breath, why it happened, and whether it served the latter series well. If any of you have friends who are into mecha, by all means, direct their attention here.

I'm not sure it's purely an anime issue... A lot of sequel in other media fall short too […].
Certainly. So, do you feel that the whole ‘rushed writer’ theory is a red herring?
 

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The main problem (beyond obvious issues with writing/story/characterization) is something I like to call 'concepting'.

Let's look at a few popular franchises and their initial sequels.

Digimon- If you watch any Digimon series, then go back to Adventure, you can still see that core and origin of the franchise, which goes back to having a pet/friend and battling. But go from Adventure to 02, and it muddies the water. 02 has that, but it definately takes a backseat to more focus on the armor and fusion forms, and the villians, all things that generically, fans did like. Fans of Adventure had little problem with large elements of the show, rather they had issues with specific elements (some core) that cause them to dislike the show on the whole.

We actually see this in other franchises, anime and not anime.

Transformers- Many fans did not like Beast Wars early. Beast Wars effectively had to plow through based on being good, but even today, despite being the show that brought that franchise back from the brink, the focus is still inherently based on concepts from G1, even when Beast elements do show up (with the upcoming Beast Hunters arc being the first time beasts have played a MAJOR role since RiD.) Beast Wars by and large is the concept of Transformers, but shunted through a different concept 'they aren't vehicles anymore'. Then you take Beast Wars to Beast Machines and we end up with a literal direct sequel, with a new concept of spirituality. Beast Machines purely on a logical level if an excellent series. But it's often negatively remembered because of certain aspects- Characterization changes and changes to the concept.

This tends to be a continuing pattern.

Ben 10, very popular franchise. I haven't watched it in years. The first direct sequel was a more 'action comic booky', that changes the concepts of the show, and characters, I saw a few episodes and never went back, but arguably from waht I know the show is 'better' qualitywise than what it was in the original series when I watched it.

In the case of 02, we can easily say it isn't of the quality of Adventure, but the problem many of us have are emotional.

Let's look at Pretty Cure quickly, with the caveat that I admit while I have friends who like it, I haven't really seen it. Based on conversations with people, the first sequel appeared to be 'more Pretty Cure', with a new character, but still a heavy focus on the original 2. Thereby fans can dislike elements, but enough of that original series is there for fans to latch onto.

It's largely not something specific to direct sequels (Transformers up through Beast Machines is arguably direct sequels, so counts for that specific example.) It's rather that it's easier to notice with direct sequels, because with sequels, there is an expectation of 'more of the same'

The original Turtles cartoon was quite popular, and the 2000s Turtles quite hit it off with fans of that SPECIFIC show, but fans of the Turtles generically loved it. And now the same happens with 2012 Turtles. It skews close enough to the original cartoon that fans of that show like it, but fans of the 2000s stuff (in general) dislike it.

This is also the 'flaw' of GI Joe. Deep down, the thing every GI Joe fan wants, is the intro to GI Joe the Movie. That 3 minutes is inherently what GI Joe 'is'.


There will never be something 'more' GI Joe than this intro, and that's the problem. Which is why I felt it was worth an embed. More than any other franchise, GI Joe has this problem (maybe He-Man...) Fans want THAT specific thing, even if they don't know it. That is what GI Joe is expected to be.

Over time, as we mature, it's possible to slightly look at things objectively, not always, but sometimes.

A good chunk of Digimon fandom who especially loved 01, and enjoyed 02 despite it's flaws, at the time at least, despised Tamers. Not because it was bad, but because it wasn't what they were looking for next from the franchise.

You actually DO see this with 'nonsequel' series ala Kamen Rider and Sentai. Where fans nitpick over the concept and the direction of the series any given year.


Many more things to say, but perhaps time to stop for a bit and let that sink in.
 

digitalx

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Sequels can be good or bad but I think specifically for the Digimon franchise it works better as stand alone seasons work best from a writing stand point. Part of the reason I feel 02 didn't work was because you had a cast of new characters, evolutions, & rules as to how the universe works piled on top of the of Adventure universe. As a result you have the writers trying to rewrite aspects of the Adventure universe to accommodate the 02 universe. Now compare that to two random, unrelated seasons like Tamers & Frontier. Both had their own set of rules & how things work & could take those concepts as far as they'd like without having to worry about what the season before did.
 

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@MarcFBR: I don't know most of these franchises you mentioned. Can you be more specific in the Digimon case? What specific elements did you feel the fans did not like?

Not all sequels suffer. For instance, The Empire Strikes Back is usually seen as a better movie than A New Hope, and ROTJ was certainly not a disaster. The key difference is George Lucas knew what he was doing when he created Star Wars, whereas, I heard (don't know if it's true) that Digimon Adventure was originally meant to be 13 episodes long!

Sequels can be good or bad but I think specifically for the Digimon franchise it works better as stand alone seasons work best from a writing stand point. Part of the reason I feel 02 didn't work was because you had a cast of new characters, evolutions, & rules as to how the universe works piled on top of the of Adventure universe. As a result you have the writers trying to rewrite aspects of the Adventure universe to accommodate the 02 universe. Now compare that to two random, unrelated seasons like Tamers & Frontier. Both had their own set of rules & how things work & could take those concepts as far as they'd like without having to worry about what the season before did.
I don't mind having a multiseason story, but it seemed to me that they didn't even know 02 was going to be a thing, until someone decided to make it (but I'm not well versed in Digimon history, so I don't know if 02 was planned in the beginning). To do it well, they should have had 02 in mind when they were writing 01. Basically, the problem is the lack of strategic planning, which is also a major problem 02 faces itself. It all feels very haphazard.

I sort of buy into the "rushed writer" theory. The whole plot was weakly linked together. We could have NEVER seen Oikawa and Vandemon coming back, which makes me think the writers DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HE WAS GOING TO BE BACK when they first started writing 02. The whole season was just one thing after another with little attempt made to link them. A better final villain would have been Milleniummon since they threw in Ryo and all that, and Milleniummon is the one responsible for turning Ken dark. There are other bad things, too, but the weak plot is a huge part of it.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/reviews.php?target_group=Anime&target_title=DigimonAdventure02

This page summarizes a lot of my feelings regarding 02. When it's good, it's REALLY GOOD. When it's bad... Don't even mention it. Lots of great concepts that never came into fruition because of stupid strategic planning.
 
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digitalx

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I don't mind having a multiseason story, but it seemed to me that they didn't even know 02 was going to be a thing, until someone decided to make it (but I'm not well versed in Digimon history, so I don't know if 02 was planned in the beginning). To do it well, they should have had 02 in mind when they were writing 01. Basically, the problem is the lack of strategic planning, which is also a major problem 02 faces itself. It all feels very haphazard.

I sort of buy into the "rushed writer" theory. The whole plot was weakly linked together. We could have NEVER seen Oikawa and Vandemon coming back, which makes me think the writers DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HE WAS GOING TO BE BACK when they first started writing 02. The whole season was just one thing after another with little attempt made to link them. A better final villain would have been Milleniummon since they threw in Ryo and all that, and Milleniummon is the one responsible for turning Ken dark. There are other bad things, too, but the weak plot is a huge part of it.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/reviews.php?target_group=Anime&target_title=DigimonAdventure02

This page summarizes a lot of my feelings regarding 02. When it's good, it's REALLY GOOD. When it's bad... Don't even mention it. Lots of great concepts that never came into fruition because of stupid strategic planning.

As far as the history of Digimon it wasn’t even supposed to go past Adventure episode 13 but the ratings were so good & it got more episodes ordered. By the time Adventure came to an end I recall someone mentioning there was no intent for Adventure to have a sequel but one was ordered anyway. As far as the writers not knowing I think that played a part as well as too many writers at the helm putting ideas into the show. Everything after the Kaiser arc probably wasn’t thought of until late in development & it shows because its like a bunch of ideas thrown at you.

I’m personally not too fond of a multi season story for Digimon only because its not really the type of show that needs it. The writers generally cover a lot of ground & wrap up the season within the story over the 50+ episodes they have so I’m left satisfied. That’s why some people want a Tamers sequel. Some things are just best to be left open ended. Regardless of length I do think like you said planning is very important as well.
 

viperzerof-2

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if you are going to be a direct squeal you need to consider a few things, one you need most of the old staff or if you have new people make sure they have some experience on the project. it should be like the old show in some ways but thats not a requirement, our war game is very different from adventure but fans love it because a major element was carried over the characters, even though they don't really develop in the movie we get to see them in this fun action packed real world setting, which while different from the digital world in adventure doesn't have them act much differently
 

MarcFBR

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As far as the history of Digimon it wasn’t even supposed to go past Adventure episode 13 but the ratings were so good & it got more episodes ordered.
I'll respond to more later, but this needs to stop being passed around.

This is fiction invented by early fans.

It's not even GOOD fiction. Anime is often worked on until the last minute and delivered at the last minute. I can see practically no way to make this happen without SOME sort of break. Episode 13 aired, and the next week, episode 14 aired. There is no way they had another episode ready to go in 3 months after seeing how episode ONE did and going 'this show is doing well, after one episode, we must have more ready.'
 

Blue Lightning

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I can't help but think that 02 would have worked better if it had been set in its own universe. They basically nerfed normal evolution to make armor and jogress evolution necessary, essentially contradicting everything we've been told about how evolution works up to that point. In a new universe you could just say that this is how evolution works now--in fact, this is what every subsequent series did, and it worked much better. Also, if you're introducing new Chosen, having them in their own universe works better too. Sure, being that this is the first time we had new Chosen meant that comparisons to the original Chosen wer going to be inevitable, but having the new Chosen standing side by side with the old Chosen just begged fans to make the comparison, and that's not going to work in the new kids' favor. Daisuke was notTaichi, Ken was notYamato, Miyako was notSora, Iori was notKoushiro, and Taichi, Yamato, Sora, and Koushiro were all right there to remind you of the fact. Of course, having 02 take place in a new universe would make the inclusion of Takeru and Hikari damn near impossible, but, and I say this as a Takeru fan, they really didn't add anything since they weren't allowed to take the spotlight away from the new kids. Might as well have two new characters in their places anyway.
 

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I can't help but think that 02 would have worked better if it had been set in its own universe. They basically nerfed normal evolution to make armor and jogress evolution necessary, essentially contradicting everything we've been told about how evolution works up to that point. In a new universe you could just say that this is how evolution works now--in fact, this is what every subsequent series did, and it worked much better. Also, if you're introducing new Chosen, having them in their own universe works better too. Sure, being that this is the first time we had new Chosen meant that comparisons to the original Chosen wer going to be inevitable, but having the new Chosen standing side by side with the old Chosen just begged fans to make the comparison, and that's not going to work in the new kids' favor. Daisuke was notTaichi, Ken was notYamato, Miyako was notSora, Iori was notKoushiro, and Taichi, Yamato, Sora, and Koushiro were all right there to remind you of the fact. Of course, having 02 take place in a new universe would make the inclusion of Takeru and Hikari damn near impossible, but, and I say this as a Takeru fan, they really didn't add anything since they weren't allowed to take the spotlight away from the new kids. Might as well have two new characters in their places anyway.
Eh... that's not necessarily true.

In Tamers, Frontier, and Savers, it largely was the same as in Adventure (and frankly 02) but with small modifications. Xros is the only animation that really changed up (Frontier of course being unique in that while the kids evolved in a different way, Digimon themselves seemed relatively the same.) Everything for 02 was relatively strict in that armor evolution was an artificially induced evolution, which to a point means it doesn't HAVE to follow the rules that were previously set forth (which Adventure itself had no problems breaking it's own rules frankly.)

And it's relatively common in fiction to have the 'passing of the guard' to show comparisons (and frankly, was done on purpose, I mean, they literally had Taichi hand his goggles over.)

Arguably 02 in and of itself required Adventure to work, because it uses that connection to at times 'avoid' explaining things, using the inherent knowledge of the previous series (which is what sequels do.)
 

Devkyu

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In my opinion, the reason 02 (and Young Hunters) aren't that great is... because they aren't that great, rather than it being directly related to them being "sequels". There are concepts and writing in it that was excellent, but overall, the pacing for many elements was rather poorly done for both series, plot points that would have been extremely interesting were cut short or ignored entirely and at times entirely too much time is spent on mindless filler that could have been batter put to use expanding on good things they already had going. If the staff was perhaps given more time, perhaps they could have paced the sequel series more effectively. Sometimes it can't be helped much if studios rush these things and don't give their writers time to do anything other than crank out filler and play catch-up.

For specific examples, HOW many episodes did we really need to spend on Jessie and James/Archnemon and Mummymon turning Dark Towers into random digimon that the Chosen would then fight and feel bad after killing? Was the "World Tour" arc really necessary? There are tie-ins to the Wonderswan games and Ken's (and also Ryou's) backstory that could have been substituted. For the finale, BelialVamdemon didn't really do much other than kill his minions, be ominous, and get OHKO'd by Daisuke wanting to have a ramen stand.

For Young Hunters, minus probably the last three episodes, everything was monster-of-the-day filler. They introduced the characters from the card game based on Journey to the West and their involvement with Gumdramon's little tail ring, but were never mentioned ever again. The rival Hunters got almost no character development whatsoever (nothing is known about Ren, Airu apparently goes to the beach with her family and likes cute things, and Ryou saw Taiki's battle and... that was it apparently). All of that mindless "Tagiru gets a new Digimon he'll probably never use!" could have been better spent on developing the personalities of the new characters, building up towards the crossover, and putting in hints towards the true nature of Quartzmon. Instead you get a long stretch of filler and an extremely rushed ending.

And while not a sequel, I feel fit to mention that even Frontier suffered from a similar pacing flaw near the last quarter of the series: A ridiculous amount of episodes were spent with the Royal Knights trouncing the Chosen, scanning and area, then running away, rather than on the final villain.
 

KaenKazui

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Hmm, maybe I mixed up those two. I’ve never seen a PreCure, so I’m going off of, like, two conversations with other people. One of those was with you several years ago, in which you said that a bad sequel nearly killed the franchise, so I guess I did get them mixed up.
Yeah, the "nearly killing the franchise season" was GoGo! Like I said: Bad Sales and bad ratings.
It is actually quite interesting: First season did good on ratings and okay on sales, second season did okay on ratings and quite well (for its time) on sales, third season did okay on both, so did the fifth... And then everything went down. Still they made Fresh PreCure and with that did get the best ratings and the best sales since the birth of the franchise till then. Heartcatch did yet even a little better with sales.

Omoshiroi. So was Max Heart — and any other good immediate sequels you know, in any franchise — not rushed? How could that be? Were they planning a sequel? They couldn’t have been expecting the franchise-launching first series to be that popular, certainly not if they didn’t expect the same thing from Digimon. So what was the difference, in terms of the rushed writing schedule?
Well, the thing with PreCure was: It was the follow up Anime on Sailor Moon and Ojamajo Doremi - from Toei's perspective. For them it was just the next magical girl series done as a Bandai-collaboration. So I am actually pretty sure, that they considered the sequel all along, especially when the Merchandise did not bad. I actually guess MaxHeart got greenlighted around half a year, before it aired. Because they just had always one Magical Girl series in their programm since 1992, which was always aired on the same timeslot and so on. So I guess it was like: "If Futari wa PreCure does not take a complete nosedive there will be at least one sequel."
And actually I think I read in one interview, that they were quite confident of PreCure doing well.

Really? I’ve heard the opposite from anons on 4chan’s /m/, who’ve said that the 02 ending was the one that the Adventure staff had wanted to write, but they ran out of time in the first series. Is that just a rumour, or is it true only of the epilogue?
Nah, that does not sound right. The epilogue is just one big thing of executive meddling, hated by most of the writers pretty much as much as by ost of the fans. And I KNOW that Nishizono really did try to talk the producer-staff out of the sequel, because he said that the story did not leave room for it (that was why he did not do the writing for Zero Two, nor did he do more then one episode as an author).
And well... From my last interview with Yoshimura I have the feel that she also was a little like "Well, this is not really a good idea, is it?"

That seems indubitable. In an interview, Sanjou himself (or maybe Endou, but one of the two) said that the order for a third arc came as a surprise.
I still don't quite understand what happened there. For me it has the feeling, that they planned doing another, complete new season after Xros Wars, which is why they had nothing else planned for that time slot on Asahi. But then, somehow (I still cannot understand, because Xros Wars did do quite well saleswise to my knowledge and bad ratings won't get the series cancelled) they turned around and said "No more Digimon Anime for now" and - as they needed something to fill the timeslot till SSO - they just made up some stuff to get the show going... At least this is what it feels like.

Xros Hunters is more of bad pacing than just being rushed and having too few episodes...
We are talking about "rushed" in the sense of "rushed through production". Like "Hey, we need another 25 episodes till in three month. So let's get going, guys."
Or for Zero Two: "Yeah, we decided to do a sequel which will air in four month, directly after the end of this season. So, now go and come up with a sequel-plot of 50 episodes NOW!"

And I think besides the Dark Ocean thing, people only hate the ending for 02. Or am I missing a plot hole?
What's hated about Zero Two, is that the characters are flat and forced into their roles, it has an aweful lot of really stupid fillers, the story has more plot holes then actual working elements and it just did not make much sense most of the time.

Not all sequels suffer. For instance, The Empire Strikes Back is usually seen as a better movie than A New Hope, and ROTJ was certainly not a disaster. The key difference is George Lucas knew what he was doing when he created Star Wars, [...]
That's not to talk about the animated movies. I mean, a lot of people consider the Toy Story movies to get better with every movie. Also many people like Shrek 2 better then the first Shrek (though the third movie sucked). And don't make me start with why Kung Fu Panda 2 is waaaaaaaaay better then the first movie.

I sort of buy into the "rushed writer" theory. The whole plot was weakly linked together. We could have NEVER seen Oikawa and Vandemon coming back, which makes me think the writers DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HE WAS GOING TO BE BACK when they first started writing 02. The whole season was just one thing after another with little attempt made to link them. A better final villain would have been Milleniummon since they threw in Ryo and all that, and Milleniummon is the one responsible for turning Ken dark. There are other bad things, too, but the weak plot is a huge part of it.
They did not know about Vamdemon, when they started. Believe me, it was one of my first questions, when I got the chance to talk to Yoshimura. Because it just did not do much sense.
From what I got, it was - here again - a lot of executive meddling. Yeah, Oikawa was kinda planned, but he was supposed to act on his own - which was considered to complex for children, I guess. The problem with the whole Ryo-plot was, that it was way to time consuming to get the anime team together with the games team.
Again: Pretty much the only time that even movie writer and anime writer got together in the Digimon franchise, was with the first Tamers' movie. And that was in their freetime!

I'll respond to more later, but this needs to stop being passed around.

This is fiction invented by early fans.

It's not even GOOD fiction. Anime is often worked on until the last minute and delivered at the last minute. I can see practically no way to make this happen without SOME sort of break. Episode 13 aired, and the next week, episode 14 aired. There is no way they had another episode ready to go in 3 months after seeing how episode ONE did and going 'this show is doing well, after one episode, we must have more ready.'
Apart from there being a LOT of interviews AND old VJump scans that actually PROOF that Adventure was always planned to air for one year -> Having around 50 episodes. I mean, I don't know how often I've read interviews with Nishizono, Kakudou and some other, where they actually said so.

It still buggles my mind, how that rumor is holding so steady.
 

Rubicon

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@Dekvyu I thought the Wonderswan story could have been the final arc too. It would have been an excellent way to tie Ryo/Wonderswan in with the rest of the franchise and maybe they wouldn't have had to put him in Tamers...

@KK: Ah. I thought executive meddling had to be involved. Basing off 02's merits I find it hard to believe professional writers capable of such good scenes can simultaneously write such an uneven plot. I'm actually not sure that they need to necessarily meet the game design team. Just playing through the games a couple of times should give them all the information they need. I mean, Bandai and Toei would probably have rights to make both anime and game so copyright wouldn't be an issue.
 
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