Digimon Savers

Also Known As: Digimon 05, Digimon Savers 05, Digimon: Data Squad (NA Release)
Genre: Action/Adventure
Format: 48 Episodes
Allegiance: Fuji TV/Toei Animation
Director: Naoyuki Itou
Vintage: 2006 – 2007
Intelligence Agency Report by: Drake
Daimon Masaru is a second-year junior high school student as well as an undefeated street fighter from Japan. One day, Masaru chances upon a Digimon named Agumon, who has recently escaped from a government organization known as DATS (Digital Accident Tactics Squad). After brawling with each other, Masaru and Agumon become friends and, together with other members of DATS, begin working to investigate and prevent Digimon from appearing in the human world.

Field Agent Report by: Drake
Overall 5.75
(not an average)

Well, I actually did it. I finally got through Digimon Savers and lived to tell the tale. And I have to say, my opinion of this anime has changed considerably, as I don’t outright hate it with every fiber of my body. However, while there was some redemption, it’s not enough to warrant a good mark. As readers of my other reviews will note, I am a Digimon fan, and with my completion of Savers, I have now seen every season and movie released in the franchise. It should also be noted that I have attempted this anime at least four times, but I could never get past the fourth or fifth episode without getting really ticked off. So what motivated me to finish the series this time? To be quite honest, I blame the next incarnation of the franchise, Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Who Leapt Through Time, and reports of the return of a number of heroes from previous seasons, possibly including characters from Savers. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I like to view things in chronological order whenever possible. Until now, I’ve been able to exclude Savers for the simple reason that, with the exception of the Adventure seasons, no seasons connect to each other. However, they all connect now, so here I am.

To be honest, Savers isn’t as horrible as I imagined it would be, though in my opinion, this series ranked a 2/10 or lower prior to completion. I suppose I should start by explaining why I was so against this series in the first place. My biggest problem is, without a doubt, something I still hate: Masaru, the protagonist, punches enemy Digimon with his fists in order to evolve his partner, Agumon. Not only does he punch them, but in some cases, he is able to do ridiculous amounts of damage that should be physically impossible for a human. I don’t care how much you believe in your fists as the ultimate problem-solver; there are some things that just can’t be done. Just, no. If it weren’t for the punching, I would have probably finished this season the first time around.

Unfortunately, the problems don’t end with Masaru’s stupidity. The first twelve episodes or so are pretty boring and do nothing to further the anime or the characters (just my irritation with Masaru). The story is reminiscent of Digimon Tamers, with Digimon passing from the digital world to the human world and running amok while a secret organization works to stop them. The story doesn’t really get interesting until Mercurimon appears, but it really picks up when Kurata enters mid-series as a villain. Man, that guy makes the rest of the show a great deal better. In my opinion, though, this anime would be more compelling if it had cut the filler in the beginning and ended the series with Kurata’s arc, making it a twenty-six rather than a forty-eight episode series.

Unfortunately, the biggest flaw of this series is what seriously kills it. The characters by and large are one-dimensional, with the exception of Ikuto (who singlehandedly brings the character score up from a 1/10). Especially Masaru—he begins the series as a stubborn guy who solves everything with his fists, and he remains entirely unchanged the whole time. He is often compared to Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which I can see in some ways; however, even the mighty Kamina evolves as a character. The same lack of development holds true for Yoshino, although Touma at least changes slightly as he begins to show signs of actually respecting Masaru during the series. The Digimon characters are no better; none of them really change as the series unfolds. This is actually a major disappointment; in all the other seasons, the human and Digimon characters develop and go through many changes as the series progresses. Digimon is typically an action-adventure series as well as a coming-of-age story, and while Savers has much of the former, there is no sign of the latter, which makes me really sad.

Amidst all this bad, there is a little good. The animation, while of a different style, is pretty strong and solid. Although the CGI animation of the evolutions looks a bit weird with the cel animation, overall I can’t complain too much about it. The strongest point of the series is the soundtrack, which features perfectly-placed background music to set the mood in every scene, from intense fights and teary family reunions to chilling out and having dinner.

In terms of Digimon shows, Digimon Savers is very weak. If you’re a diehard fan of the franchise, then you have probably already seen this anime, but if you haven’t, proceed with caution. This anime is not for everyone; as far as shounen anime go, there is nothing really special here. In fact, if you’re interested in seeing a great anime, I would highly recommend Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann instead. It presents and executes eons better the theme of never giving up and forcing a path forward no matter what. My final judgment: do not check this one out. There are better series to spend your time watching.