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Guess what? Guess what?
I CAUGHT THAT CAMEO OF ALL OF THE PAST DIGIMON IN THE SHADOWS.
That was slick.
New opening theme, "Never Give Up". Okay, it's actually "NEBA GIBA". Because the Japanese absolutely love Gratuitous English.
Anyway, Kudou Taiki. Congratulations, you are the first leader of a Digimon team to have a katakana name! (Unless it's that way for Takuya's name, which I doubt, it's generally been that all of the leaders had their names in kanji.) I must say it's a little odd to see the name in katakana like that; then again it was pretty jarring to see Hikari and Takeru's names in katakana for me too. Whatever.
Already in this season I can tell there is a very huge difference in proportions in comparison to the previous seasons (except Savers, which obviously was trying to go for more realism). The huge heads kinda...bother me a bit, as it's much more pronounced than Tamers (which has the biggest head-to-body ratio). But I'm getting used to it (a little).
Conan Takayama Minami as Taiki, and I must say the voices are very different. I like it when seiyuu vary their voices (Miss Park, your voice acting was excellent, but I kinda wish Ken didn't sound like Ed sometimes). It definitely has a very different feel from the other "leaders" we've had in the past five seasons but if I had to draw a comparison I'd say it's closest to Taichi's. But already one can see Taiki having that excitable flair that others have, and I like it as it's not quite over-the-edge annoying like Daisuke tended to get into (no offense, I still like you, but occasionally you just kinda piss me off a bit), but not quite as impulsive as Taichi.
Oh yeah, and he's the "General" of prophecy. Or more accurately the JENERARU. More Gratuitous English.
Then we have
Ayasaki Hayate Shiraishi Ryouko as Akari. (I'm not seeing much of Hayate either, but then again...Hayate's a boy.) Akari is supposed to be the lead girl, so she's naturally a caring mother figure, right?
She's not a nurturing figure like Sora, Hikari, Izumi, and Yoshino, and she's not quite the punk-type like Ruki, but she's definitely very funny to watch. She's exactly the way the ads put it, a worrying wife, but I was expecting something of the Sora variety. But Akari's a genki girl. To the point where she calls Taiki's mom and asks exactly what kind of ball Taiki was carrying on his way out. That's one hell of an obsession. And she even stops to take a picture of herself, gets distracted for a bit, and yells after Taiki. Akari is easily my favorite character already purely because she's so goddamned funny.
Tsurugi Zenjirou...I was expecting another Yamato or Kouji but Zenjirou's one of those with an ego. Self-proclaimed master at kendo and wanting Taiki to always go against him...this is reminding me of...uh...the Computer Society President when he was challenging Haruhi to a computer game fight. (I'll think of a better analogy later, I promise!) But I can see room for character development. A lot. Yes, that's good.
Oh yeah, he's also Doumoto Kaito, and I can tell only when I remember that the two are connected.
Um, Shoutmon...I think it must be a tradition for all lead Digimon to sound weird. And he wants to be the "King of the Digital World"...is that good or bad? Because I remember the Kaiser wanting to be that...I suppose it's more of a "champion" thing. (English Dub Pun not intended!) The lack of bonding time between him and Taiki kinda sets me off a bit though...then again, Daisuke and V-mon had even less. He's played by Sakamoto Chika, whom I only remember as Mei from Totoro, so I can't make much of a comparison.
Aonuma Kiriha. Give me a moment to express my fangirl side, I will not be myself for that moment. Patience please.
KIRIHA'S VOICE IS SO. DAMN. SEXY.
I'm back. Anyway, Kusao Takeshi, who plays Mao in Code Geass (yes, you heard me, Mao) and Dororo in Keroro. Oh and Cless in Tales of Phantasia. The character is a lot smarter than the Digimon Kaiser will ever be (but giving credit to Ken, he was pretty much insane at that point). And he definitely doesn't have that EEEEEEVIL MUAHAHAHA SO BLATANTLY EVIL touch. He's a legitimate calculating war general and I respect him for that; he also seems to be using manipulation and propaganda rather than mind control to enforce his beliefs. Or maybe not even that. Since he doesn't resort to such cheap tactics, I'm really liking this guy (oh crap, I sense Draco in Leather Pants coming).
As for Amano Nene, by her appearance I was expecting a high-pitched "little girl" anime voice. She doesn't have one and I really, really like that (Akari didn't have one either). It's not deep either, it's like a cruel and calculating but still childlike entity. Not only that, I have no idea whether to put her as evil or good. More towards evil, I think, the way she watches over them and her methods, but she's more mysterious than anything. And Kuwashima Houko, possibly the most famous seiyuu in this whole group, playing AzuDaioh's Kagura, Chobits's Minoru, Clannad's Tomoyo, Inuyasha's Sango, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne's Maron, and Noir's Kirika. What a track record.
My favorite characters in order: Akari, Kiriha, Nene, Taiki, Zenjirou, Shoutmon. (No offense to Shoutmon, but there really hasn't been much character exposition for you quite yet.)
Series itself, final verdict:
The concept is interesting. It's yet another stuck-in-the-Digital-World scenario. I was expecting something like a mecha combination but the way it was played out was quite nice. It wasn't even long like the usual evolution segments, and Shoutmon actually did some physical motion for once (unlike those other merged Digimon just standing there). Shows a lot of promise, definitely.
Already I can see a lot of exaggerated animation (Taiki's basketball shot and Akari's catching him with the pillow), but it's actually kinda cute.
Still, I'd like to see a little more bonding and development between partner and Digimon (I shouldn't be talking since it's the first episode). What bugs me is Akari and Zenjirou's lack of partners. I suppose it's possible to bond with Dorulumon and Ballistamon like partners but not actually be partners, but unless Akari and Zenjirou really participate a lot without suffering from cheerleader syndrome (see Frontier), this show will lose a lot of favor for me. Potential. Lots of potential.
(And this is after only one episode...)
PS: The Digimon traditions. There are some traditions. Granted, I know this season has already broken a few, but I'm sure these have to stay. They are as follows: a Heel Face Turn, a Sixth Ranger, The Man Behind The Man, and two power-up evolutions.
- Heel Face Turn: Hm, I think it's most likely Kiriha, Nene, or both.
- Sixth Ranger: Kiriha, Nene, or both. Whoever makes the Heel Face Turn. Also, the potential for a third party, but unlikely.
- The Man Behind The Man: Likely will be revealed halfway through the season as I highly doubt Nene and Kiriha are working purely out of their own volition.
- Power-Up evolutions: Since I can only see one mecha Digimon, this will be very, very easy to implement, and it'll even avoid the "leader preferentials" seen with the other seasons.
Looking forward to the rest of this.
(And I do like those silly blurbs at the end.)