Disclaimer: Minor Spoilers Ahead
The biggest problem with the last two Digimon Adventure Tri films has been the pacing. Because the story is split into six parts, each film faces the difficult task of trying to provide enough plot development to keep the larger narrative progressing while trying to be its own movie. This tactic has worked for the most part despite the plot progression feeling agonizingly slow depending on how you look at it. We’ve reached the halfway point, and there are still so many questions left unanswered. Sure the films look great, and the writing has been top-notch (by anime standards), but considering these films are meant to be primarily fanservice it’s getting harder and harder to see them as good movies. Going into Confession, the latest Digimon Adventure Tri film, hoping that there would be some big moments to finally get the plot to a point where we can finally get a sense of what is going on. Well, I have a good and bad news. The good news is that a lot of big things happen in Confession, almost enough to make up for lack of plot development in the last two films. The bad news is that by the time the end credits roll, there’s a lot that the audience is still left unclear about.
The film starts in the immediate aftermath of Determination. When we last left the DigiDestined, newcomer Mei’s Digimon Partner Meicoomon went rogue (so to speak) and ran off into the Digital World. Unlike the last two film’s more positive atmosphere with the odd moment of angst, the tone has indeed shifted to reflect an air of hopelessness and desperation. Izumi desperately tries to find answers to the infected Digimon attacking the real world, while each character struggles with trying to stay optimistic. To complicate matters further, Patamon is revealed to be infected himself, and Takeru doesn’t want to tell the others. Certainly, one thing is clear about the story Confession is trying to say, what’s worked for the Digidestined in the past isn’t going to work now.
The show has covered our heroes being powerless before, but never on this scale. Without going into too much detail, it becomes increasingly clear that the “infection” threat is nothing like they’ve ever faced before. Unfortunately for us, we never get the big picture. We have a better idea what’s happening and we know what is causing the infections (sort of), but that only leads to more speculation to what on earth is going on. I also felt that part of the confusion is also due to the film’s slightly confusing story structure. While Joe and Mimi were the primary focus of the last movie, Izumi and Takeru are the focus of this one. The problem is that unlike the last film where the focus was primarily on two characters, Several other subplots are going on at the same time and its hard to keep track of everything. Perhaps if the team had been better at communicating with each a lot of the bad stuff that happens in the film could have been avoided, but I suppose that wouldn’t have made for a very exciting movie.
Still, I will say that what the film does better than most of the entirety of Digimon Adventure is capture some very powerful emotion from the characters. The scene when Patamon reveals to Takeru that he already knew he was infected in particular is almost too painful to watch. I could probably make a comment about how this is all a giant metaphor for growing up, but that’s something the films have been trying to convey since the beginning. However, it does feel like that theme is finally starting to payoff.
In general, the darker storyline of Confession makes it better than the last two films, both in plot progression and complexity. I can’t say that I’m happy with the constant cliffhangers and hanging plot threads, but at least we’re finally in a spot where we’re ready to learn even more in the next film. Though, if I thought this movie was dark for Digimon, I can’t imagine what the next film, called Loss, has in store for us. Overall I’m enjoying the direction that the films are now going in, with their darker tone and more mature themes. It’s just a shame we have to wait so long between entries for what promises to be a satisfying conclusion.