|Also Known As: Digimon 06, Xros Wars 01|
|Format: 52 Episodes|
|Allegiance: Toei Animation|
|Director: Tetsuya Endo|
|Vintage: 2010 – 2011|
|Intelligence Agency Report by: Drake|
|Taiki Kudo is a kindhearted seventh grader living in Japan, always helping those in need. One day while hanging out with his friends Zenjirou and Akari, Taiki encounters the Digimon Shoutmon and inadvertently transports himself and his friends to the digital world. Upon arrival, Taiki discovers that the world is under the control of the Bagra Army, and that other humans are present and fighting a war against them in order to gain Code Crowns. The person to collect all the Code Crowns will be able to change the Digital World however he or she desires. Taiki, Shoutmon, and all of their friends must band together to form the Xros Heart Army in order to take down the Bagra Army and bring peace to the Digital World.|
|Field Agent Report by: Drake|
|(not an average)|
I’ll be honest: I had very low expectations of Digimon Xros Wars prior to seeing the anime. Why? First of all, word of mouth indicated that the new Digimon evolution system was utter crap, resembling something from Voltron. Secondly, after the horrible failure of Digimon Savers, I had given up on the Digimon franchise in general. The only reason I entertained the idea of watching Xros Wars was because of the high recommendation of a good friend of mine, who loves the franchise more than I do. And dear god, was she right.
I guess it’s only fair to first address the complaints surrounding the new evolution system, as I have already made it clear that the series is not a complete failure. Evolution, for those unaware, is basically the merging of multiple Digimon together into one being (rather than individual Digimon evolving on their own to a higher form of power). The end product, in some cases, looks like body parts were just cut and pasted onto other Digimon. However, this is not true for all of the Digi-xrosses. Some of them turned out pretty well, but it all comes down to personal preference. Some people will be okay with the new system, while others will hate it to the core. My advice to the haters: give it an honest chance, and you might be surprised. All in all, I have no real complaints with the system.
Now, on to why I loved this series: one of the biggest reasons I absolutely loved Xros Wars is the change in pace of the storytelling. In every past incarnation of the Digimon franchise, the idea has been pretty simple: children from the human world encounter the digital world, gain a partner Digimon (excluding Frontiers, of course, but that was just weird), and fight to save the two worlds. In this series, children from the human world encounter the digital world, form armies to fight for control of it, and battle the evil Bagra Empire. So why does this slightly different take on the series win my support? Simply put, I’m a huge fan of wars, battles, and tactics in series, all three of which are shown extensively as Taiki moves against the Bagra Army.
Furthermore, I for one am honestly a fan of “Digi-xrossing,” the term for merging multiple Digimon together. Not only is it pretty badass (although sometimes predictable and seemingly unending), but it also brings forth a slew of amazing characters who otherwise would not exist. Almost every Digimon in the various armies has an awesome backstory that is revealed over time, even the stoic Ballistamon—I was entirely too surprised by that one! I must say that my favorite characters are Beelzemon, Kiriha, and Mervamon, purely for their stories. Personally, though, I really enjoyed Taiki and Shoutmon’s on-screen time. Taiki is one of the better goggle-heads since the days of Tai and Takato (from seasons one and three, respectively), and Shoutmon is fantastic at carrying the lead Digimon role.
The story itself starts off pretty light, following the characters from zone to zone as they gather Code Crowns and fight the Bagra Army. However, it quickly darkens as arc one comes to an end and arc two, subtitled The Evil Death Generals and the Seven Kingdoms, begins. In the second arc, the focus on supporting lead characters shifts from Akari and Zenjiro to Kiriha and Nene, with Taiki remaining the leader throughout. The second arc picks up directly where the first left off, but the entire atmosphere changes from a light tone to a bleak setting full of death and misery. The darkness, in my opinion, actually rivals that of Tamers, and the incredible ending matches the absurdity of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann’s own.
To be honest, the two initial reasons I fell for this anime were the stunning music and the beautiful animation. The music, simply put, is fantastic. It truly pulled me into the world, and it hyped me up, stressed me out, and depressed me at all the right moments. I pretty much felt as though I were a general in the war. Furthermore, the animation is very well done, with character designs that you can tell apart and actually remember.
I guess Xros Wars is a good example of the old lesson, “never judge a book by its cover.” I had many doubts, most of which were legitimate concerns, based on past legacy and word of mouth. However, Xros Wars wound up being pretty damned epic, even for an anime geared toward children six and up. I am most definitely looking forward to checking out the sequel anime, Xros Wars Hunter, when it releases in Japan.