At first, I didn't really think I'd like Digimon Fusion, because a key part of every Digimon series is that they digivolve. Whether it's humans turning into Digimon or Digimon using armored eggs, they always digivolve. But this show has them fusing together into a super warrior like Mushrambo from Shinzo, and while I liked Shinzo, I still didn't appreciate the change.
(Funny side note, Shinzo was also licensed by Saban Brands; between Shinzo, Power Rangers and Digimon Fusion, the people at Saban Brands really like things fusing into bigger, more powerful things.)
Anyway, I gave Digimon Fusion a chance and at first I thought they were essentially DNA Digivolving - that's skipping, like, four stages. Still, I was pleasantly surprised that the show is very enjoyable.
So the digital world is in peril, yet again, and it's up to our goggle-clad hero, Mikey Kudo, and his friends to save the world. I had actually watched the Japanese version prior to this version, so the name change was the first thing I noticed. Though ultimately not a big deal, the reason I mention it is because his original, Japanese name was "Taiki Kudo", which served to link him to the original goggled hero, Taichi "Tai" Yagami/Kamiya - both heroes also share the trait of each having been sent to the Digital World to reunify it while having no real way back.
The good thing about this show is that it takes a little from every previous season. The name and storyline from Adventure, the V trademark and the golden evolution from Adventure 02, companions traveling without digivices from Tamers, retrieving codes to reform the digital world from Frontier and humans fighting alongside Digimon from Data Squad. It's nice to see that this one is still original, but uses small things from each incarnation to link them all together. It also returns to its originally more bright and colorful design rather than the somewhat darker Tamers, Frontier and Data Squad.
As far as the cast, it's a solid one, with the voice actors being some of the more well-known names in anime:
- Mikey "Taiki" Kudo: Nicolas Roye - Shingo Tsukino - Sailor Moon
- Angie "Akari" Hinomoto: Colleen O'Shaughnessey/Villard - Sora - Digimon
- Jeremy "Zenjiro" Tsurugi: Derek Stephen Prince - Ken Ichijouji/Impmon
- Christopher "Kiriha" Aonuma: Vic Mignogna - Every Anime Ever
- Nene Amano: Melissa Fahn - Rika Nonaka - Digimon Tamers
I did have a bit of an issue with Jeremy, though. Zenjirou had been a respected swordsman with high ideals and a sense of justice, but in Digimon Fusion, that character became Jeremy, an annoying gamer whose kendo lessons are pushed into the background. I didn't mind that this part of his character was pushed into the background almost immediately, but I do wish he had a little more prestige, especially since he doesn't have a digivice but still fights and uses the Rare Star Sword.
Here, I think Digimon Fusion might be misreading who their target audience is. A Digimon watcher is somewhere between 7-14 years old, with some adults, like me, still watching. But sometimes, the dialogue seems a little more like it's aiming for 3-6 year olds. Kids don't need their shows dumbed down anymore. Not every show needs to be Steven Universe or Inside Out, pushing the boundaries of what children can emotionally and mentally handle, but still I feel there needs to be a higher standard for kids shows in 2015. There is humor, though: I found myself chuckling once or twice, as did my niece and nephew, who were watching it with me.
Favorite Form: Shoutmon X4K
I really loved this digivolution. It reminded me of Gallantmon, which I loved. Also, the cape. How can you not love the cape? His weapons were a bit different than the original Gallantmon, but he had a sword and shield and was super awesome. There are plenty of other great forms for Shoutmon, but this one is definitely the coolest to me. I now want a cape.
One practical issue I did have was that the features and format of the discs do leave something to be desired. A personal problem for me with the DVDs were a lack of English subtitles. I have a bit of a problem with my hearing so I watch my shows with subtitles when I can. Of course, there is not always a subtitles option for every DVD, but it was still something that could easily be remedied. Still, I understand that for most people it wouldn't be a problem.
In closing, if you're a Digimon fan, then this isn't a show you should miss - definitely watch it to form your own opinions. And if you're not already a Digimon fan, this is as good a place to start since this series essentially restarts the series with no homework needed.