It's been over 20 years since Digimon first premiered, and that's undoubtedly a long span of time. It's blink-and-you-miss-it, in retrospect, but so much changes in 20 years. You get older, your life starts to change, your priorities shift, and hanging out with your group of childhood friends begins to seem less important than holding down a job and securing your own future. It's the same for the eight original DigiDestined in Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna. As they continue to grow older, their adventures with their Digimon best friends begin to take a backseat.
In celebration of the franchise's 20th anniversary, Last Evolution Kizuna sets the DigiDestined out on one final adventure with their Digimon pals. The past, present, and future all seamlessly blend with one another as Tai and Matt are forced to accept that not everything lasts forever, making for a highly emotional, nostalgic, and cathartic experience all wrapped up in one place.
Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna takes place a few years after the events of Digimon Adventure tri, and several years after the events of Digimon Adventure 02. When the mysterious Eosmon arrives in the Digital World and begins to steal the consciousness of every DigiDestined, Tai, Matt, and the rest of the original eight children try their best to put a stop to it. All the while they have to contend with the fact that their adventures are on a ticking clock as their Digivices begin to count down to the literal end.
For those curious about this final adventure but have not kept up to date with tri, there's no need to worry, as Last Evolution Kizuna is a complete experience that only draws from the first two seasons of the anime series. There are a few nods to the continuity created after, but eagle-eyed fans will most likely notice several nods to the original anime more so than anything else. In fact, it's a much stronger film for dialing it back and honing in on the dynamic between Tai and Matt one last time.
Much like the best episodes of the original anime series, Last Evolution Kizuna draws most of its power from portraying how differently Tai and Matt contend with the idea of growing up. But unlike that first time around, growing up has a far more weighted consequence now that they're so much older than before. It's a palpable emotional through-line that those who grew up with the series will feel the most, as many of them are most likely up against those same crossroads.
The blend of nostalgia into the film also intensifies many of the later scenes as well. The older character designs for many of the kids will undoubtedly strike a chord as much as seeing that initial flash forward to the future at the end of Adventure 02. Yet, rather than feeling like it's pandering, there's a hint of malaise to everything that even makes the nostalgia of seeing elements from Mamoru Hosoda's original short films or a return to the original Digivolution visuals bittersweet.
But that's just the nature of goodbyes, and that's just the nature of Last Evolution Kizuna, an incredibly exciting experience that delivers the peak of the Digimon franchise that will be hard to top, and one you don't want to end. A film of excruciating heartbreak, acceptance, growth, and the much-needed glorious final stamp that fans have been wanting to see for a long, long time. Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna is the finale the franchise has been waiting the last 20 years for.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna will be releasing digitally on September 29th, and on Blu-ray and DVD October 6th.