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Digimon Adventure: Volume 4 (Season 2, Part 1)
While it appeared as though everything was going fine in the Digital World at the end of the first season, it's certainly a place that faces brand new challenges this season. The Digiworld now has an Emperor who is determined to rule it and eventually take over the world. Thus there is a new quest involving many returning characters from the original DigiDestined team but it also begins a new storyline that involves the new characters, who are to become appointed as DigiDestined. The stakes this time around are not for the fate of the Digital World alone - or in finding a way home. This time around the stakes are in saving the entire world.
The second season of the show offers some good similarities and differences to make it distinct enough and with its own charm as separate from the first season outing. The return of the main characters from the first year of Digimon was a great choice. While the first season reached an acceptable level of closure for those characters, it still didn't feel complete in an ideal way for fans and it was a pleasant return to revisit these characters. This allows the show to give more closure to fans looking for a new adventure with Tai, Matt, Sora, Izzy, Mimi, Joe, and T.K.
Some fans felt the second year of the show was a major disappointment and yet there was also tremendous support from fans who felt everything about it built upon the first outing in an interesting and satisfactory way. The series does build, but in an unexpected direction. It dramatically shifts focus as it brings the natural world to the forefront. Characters can be transported back and forth between the two worlds this time, and the stakes involve both environments.
The season brings back the signature brand of humor at times but everything has a newly added coat of darkness that surrounds the intense plotlines, as the DigiDestined have to bring back peace to the DigiWorld and save Digimon from the new "Digimon Emperor" determined to make Digimon evil and to take over our natural world.
The series is just as delightful in its second season as it was in its first. The show is great entertainment for kids because it offers an opportunity to see characters of both genders undergoing challenges with intelligence and skill, and it's a well-written storyline that dramatically excels in the craft of storytelling in comparison to many other creations.
This volume contains only the beginning of the second season, which ends up being the conclusion to the original era of Digimon storytelling. The main characters and the new characters introduced in this volume get a chance to develop some more over the season, eventually these characters close out a series of storylines so that a new one can begin. In exploring these episodes, however, fans will find that the series is still in its early footing.
Digimon Vol. 4 expands the show by delving into the second season, which features great action-packed adventure, fun characters, stellar animation, and a well-told story. For fans of the original journey into the DigiWorld, returning to the saga of the DigiDestined is great entertainment and is worth the journey beyond being a nostalgia trip, with this volume set containing the first 21 episodes of the second season (other-wise known as Digimon: Adventure 2).
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.
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.
No supplements are included on this release.
Digimon Adventure Vol. 4 is the first volume edition release of the Digimon series that contains episodes from the second season. Volumes 1 through 3 contained the entire first season of the series across the three releases. This three-disc release contains the first 21 episodes from the second season, which is picking things up four years following the events of the first season outing. Season 2 manages to excel at continuing Season 1's story while expanding the Digi universe beyond what the first season established.
Whether or not fans will want the fourth volume release of Digimon is an interesting question: fans who already own the complete second season set or the complete seasons 1-4 collection won't gain anything from it (unless they must have everything Digimon related). Fans who already purchased the first three volumes of season one are encouraged to pick it up and to continue enjoying the Digimon universe within this volume, which amounts to being the introduction of season 2. If you can't afford to get all of the seasons or the 4 season set it definitely isn't a bad consideration to get the volumes.
However, I'm certain that some fans might prefer purchasing the stand-alone season sets or the four season set as you get more content all at once. The discs included within this volume are identical to the 3 discs within the full season 2 release. (You won't get the booklet from the complete season set release, though).
Ultimately, the disc content remains the same and you get Digimon on DVD. Just decide: complete season sets, complete set, or volumes? Pick the method that best fits your own collecting and any of these releases on DVD is worth merit for Digimon fans.
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 as meaningful and well-made for that audience over the years since the original series concluded. Regardless of the way a fan ultimately decides to own the series on DVD it's certainly worth adding to a collection.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.