Many of us have grown up with the beloved series, Digimon. With its excited story, diverse characters, and incredibly fantastic designs for the Digimon themselves, there was something about this show that stuck with its audience even long after the adventures of Tai and the gang concluded all those years ago. Toei Animation decided to release a collection of movies to celebrate the fifteen year anniversary and fans could not be more excited.
Until there was a dub for the movie announced.
For weeks, fans would check their news feeds to see who was going to be added to the cast list. Who would be replaced? Who would be brought back? Would they get the same feeling watching the movie they did when they watched the show? After all these years, would Digimon still hold up?
First off, I’ll tell you a little bit about my experience before the movie even started. I found out the movie was playing near me, so I decided to ask my friend if she wanted to go. I had no idea if she even liked Digimon, but I was very pleased when she sounded just as excited as I was. When we got to the movie, there were twenty, maybe thirty tops, people in the theater. Not a huge crowd, but certainly more than I was expecting. What really surprised me though is that some of the audience members were still talking about Digimon. They talked about their favorite characters, favorite episodes, favorite Digimon. These guys were just as excited as I was and it was hard not to be even more hyped up when surrounded by other fans.
Now, onto the meat of the movie. How does the dub fair?
Many fans were very excited to see a huge list of returning actors from the original series, but for me, nothing was more exciting than when they announced the return of Joshua Seth as Tai Kamiya. The moment he starts speaking, it was like seeing an old friend after a long time. He was absolutely stellar returning to one of his most well known roles. While it’s debatable that another actor would be capable of pulling off this role, it’s very hard to distinguish Seth from Tai because that character was a part of him for so long.
Seth isn’t the only one who brings a fantastic performance. The entire cast, new and returning, does absolutely superb on reviving these characters and even bringing out some new personalities that have cropped up. All the characters have matured or changed in some way and that has been shown wonderfully through the actors. There may have been some skepticism about a few of the new actors stepping into these roles, but those doubts were dashed almost instantly.
That’s not to say that this dub isn’t without a few faults. While the cast is absolutely wonderful, there were a few awkward parts when the movie would have quiet moments and the script would sometimes fill it with a some unnecessary dialogue. The biggest offender of this were some of Tai’s internal speeches, something the original dub was very well known for. These lines feel out of place and it almost seems like the writers don’t think the audience is going to understand what’s going on without them. It would be easy to say they were hoping to still target this movie to kids, but the limited release in theaters and things like Matt telling Tai that Tai is “pissing” him off makes it seem like this is meant to be for the older fans. It creates a muddled tone for the dub that may alienate some fans who have watched the movies in Japanese.
However, I can’t deny how much I loved watching this movie. It’s exciting to see the characters that I loved as a kid grown up and in the next stages of their lives, something that was sort of touched on in the second season of the show but never really developed. Having a majority of the original cast certainly helps the experience and really gets my nostalgia going, but it’s also cool to see actors that I love now be a part of something that is so important to me. Even if there were a few things that I thought were lackluster or not the best, I’m already thinking about how they will dub the next movie and how excited I am for it. Here’s hoping that there was enough positive response that the rest of the movies will be dubbed and brought to theaters as more of Digimon Tri is released.