Digimon S2: Digimon 02
The second generation of the Digi-Destined goes on various adventures. However, they must face new foes, such as the Digimon Kaiser, and eventually the fate of both the Digi-World and the real world is at stake.
Once upon a time, I really didn't care for Digimon. I'd tuned into several lackluster episodes of the first series, and I figured that a review for the second season could wait - so that a more avid Digimon fan could write it.
I never once imagined that I'd end up being that fan after all.
Granted, Digimon 02 has its share of occasional plot holes and silliness, but by and large, they can be easily ignored. Out of all the shows in this genre, none have a more involving plot, engaging characters, or simply wonderful execution than Digimon 02 - and I really appreciated the fact that even the English language dub never truly panders to the audience to the extent that so many other shows do.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the introduction of the most psychologically imbalanced character of the series, Ichijouji Ken. While his tragic back story leads him to terrible acts, his fall and redemption are light-years beyond the storyline of an average kiddie-show. Hikari (Kari in the US version) is also very interesting, since she too comes from a rather messed-up background. Even the original characters from the first season (as well as all those cute Digimon) seem just a bit more interesting in this go-around - even if some of those Digimon names occasionally seem a bit goofy.
And for all the liberties taken with the dub (mainly in the portrayal of characters), there aren't a huge amount of cuts made to the series, as I've seen a majority of the original Japanese episodes. Any changes made were to make the characters more appropriate for a North American audience - after all, children here in the States aren't generally as fawningly respectful of their parents as their Japanese counterparts, and it would make no sense to portray them that way.
Technically, it's pretty solid for a children's show, with relatively simple character animation and reasonable CG. Of course, ninety percent of the action sequences is really meant to sell all those Digimon toys, but I can forgive the merchandising angle just because the actual writing on this series is simply too good to ignore. Granted, the music is largely forgettable, unless you're watching the original Japanese (man, those Japanese children are *spoiled* when it comes to cartoon music).
While Digimon 02 never truly lets you forget that it's a children's show, parents can walk into a room while their children are watching and actually enjoy it for what it is. Whereas Pokemon occasionally drowns in cheesy "morality lessons", especially in the later seasons and movies, Digimon 02 doesn't really resort to that, preferring let the storytelling teach what lessons the children can draw from it.
All in all, I went into Digimon 02 expecting it to be a *little* better than the first season ... but instead, I found an exciting, enjoyable, and eminently entertaining anime that no fan should ever be embarrassed to admit watching.
Wonderful characters, a solid storyline, and a fully realized world elevate this above the rest of the genre. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: Some violence and intensity make this unsuitable for most under-sevens. There are character deaths in this series, and I advise parents to watch this series with their kids in case they want to talk about it afterwards. (Some parents may like it enough to watch it for themselves!)
Version(s) Viewed: Broadcast airing, English dub; Japanese release, without subtitles
Review Status: Full (50/50)
Digimon S2: Digimon 02 © 2000 Toei / Fuji TV
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