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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Digimon Adventure: Volume 1
Digimon Adventure: Volume 1
New Video // Unrated // November 6, 2012
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted April 24, 2013 | E-mail the Author
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Digimon - Volume 1 - DVD Review


Digimon
(Digital Monsters) received a lot of negative responses when it first premiered on US airwaves, at least from those who didn't tune in to see the premiere. The series appeared to be nothing more than a cheap Pokemon derivative at first sight and many people were probably convinced they could dismiss it as an obvious attempt at making some money off of the big popularity of the Pokemon franchise.  However, Digimon has much more to offer than just imitation: this series is a genuine creation and it is creatively smart, and it became another success in America and it even went on to receive a theatrical film release stateside (that complied several shorter Digimon films from the Japan versions).

Digimon is one of the best children's anime series around and it's one of those rare series that won the hearts of children and has managed to stay just as meaningful and well-made for that audience over the many years since the original incarnation of the show was completed. This creative and energetic anime focuses on a group of kids (known as DigiDestined) who have become intertwined in the Digital World and must save it, teach Digimon how to Digivolve, explore the newfound world, and eventually find their way home.  

The first season of Digimon did a tremendous job of introducing all of the central characters. In the first outing, the series focused on introducing the entire main cast of characters, including Tai, Matt, Sora, Izzy, Mimi, Joe, and T.K. The characters learned that they were transported directly into the Digiworld to save it and they set out on a journey to do so and to return to "home" after becoming mysteriously transported into the DigiWorld during summer camp.

The first volume release contains two storylines, one of which is the introduction for these characters, and the other of which introduces the concept of "Crests" that help them in the process of getting their Digimon to Digivolve (which gives the Digimon new appearances, strengths, and abilities to protect and defend each other and the kids from Digi - baddies).

The series is often lighthearted and silly in tone and sensibility. Much of this has to do with Digimon's English language adaptation, which takes many liberties, but most of which are suitable for bringing the show to American audiences. I typically prefer for shows to be as authentic in keeping to the Japanese version as possible, but as I grew up myself watching (enjoying) and loving the American version of Digimon and all of the quirky one-liners in Digimon's English language scripts, so I guess I've always enjoyed this edition. It has the charming qualities necessary for this sort of fantastical story.

The series could always shift into dark and serious themes as well (at least for a children's series), because it involved some themes about growing up and the setting of having these characters be away from home and having to find their way back was always a bit weird, mysterious, and Narnia-esque. The journey wasn't so simple.

I enjoyed every step of the energetic and well-crafted story along the way to the resolution. This was one of my favorite anime series as a kid, and it definitely holds up well today. My fondness for Pokemon may be stronger still, but at least with the Digimon series and franchise it actually managed to set a course towards an actual resolution for all of the characters -that's something new and unaccustomed audiences will have to discover themselves by following up on this 1st volume with future DVD installments.

The DVD:


Video:

Digimon is presented in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.33.1 (full frame) and it looks about as good as it did when it was broadcast on television. The sources can be inconsistent occasionally and it's clear that the episodes as presented on this set come from a couple of sources.

Most fans won't notice the minute differences in the encodes but it does appear as though some episode feature more in interlacing and edge enhancement than other episodes: some episodes are softer and others featured greater clarity in focus. It's a mixed bag, but it's consistently an agreeable (if unremarkable) presentation.

Audio:

The 2.0 English language audio preserves the original English dubbing and its accompanying sound mix, but the original Japanese language version has not been included (which is likely because of a combination of licensing issues and because some moments were edited in the North American version). The sound quality is decent: clean, clear, and easy to understand. There isn't much to this sound design but it gets the job done.


Extras:

No supplements are included on this release.


Final Thoughts:

Digimon - Volume 1 is a curious DVD offering, because most fans will probably want to shell out for the complete first season set (available separately). For fans who just want to own the series piecemeal for a reasonable price this is a good option. However, I'd imagine most will want the full set (which comes with a nice slipcover and character booklet).  Some might be inclined to purchase the series in volume form more than season form because of cost but a complete run of the volumes will cost about the same as the season set.

I recommend putting something aside piecemeal to get the full season release instead of buying these volumes. That just seems like the best option for fans. Casual viewers may disagree and would probably prefer this release. Regardless, getting the volume releases is a decent deal to purchase. The discs included within are identical to the season release. The anime series is as good as it was when it first aired and it's a classic anime at this point in time. This is a wonderful creation: a magical and thrilling show that can be enjoyed by viewers of all ages.

Recommended.

Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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