Digimon Adventure tri. Preview: Staff, Character Design, and More!

On August 1st, 1999, a group of children at summer camp went on an adventure they'd never forget. Today, that adventure continues.

Digimon Adventure captured the hearts of many back in 1999. Although it wasn't the worldwide sensation that Pokémon ended up being, Digimon Adventure managed to secure an audience thanks to its memorable characters, vivid worlds, colorful monsters, and surprisingly deep stories--and it's still resonating with fans today. Just last August, a special Digimon event was held in Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay that set the stage for a good chunk of Digimon Adventure's stories. This event, which was broadcast live on the Internet, celebrated the anime's fifteenth anniversary and announced its second sequel, Digimon Adventure tri.

Digimon-Adventure-tri.-key-visual Digimon Adventure tri. Preview: Staff, Character Design, and More!

We can only speculate what "tri." refers to. The fact that it ends in a period suggests that it's an abbreviation, and the triangular symbol in the logo implies that it might stand for "triangle" or a similar term. The suffix "tri." also suggests that this new sequel to Digimon Adventure will retain the canonicity of and take place after Digimon Adventure 02, the anime's direct sequel that aired in 2000. Other hints suggesting the canonicity of Adventure 02 include the fact that Taichi is seen without his iconic goggles--since he gives them to Daisuke in 02's first episode--as well as the presence of the green middle school uniforms worn by Hikari and Takeru, which were previously only seen in Adventure's first sequel. Despite all of these hints, though, whether or not Adventure tri. will acknowledge Adventure 02--let alone include characters from 02 like Daisuke, Miyako, Iori, and Ken--remains to be seen.

Of course, Adventure tri. isn't the first Digimon anime since 2000's Adventure 02. Later incarnations of the show--including Digimon Tamers, Digimon Frontier, Digimon Savers (Data Squad in North America), and Digimon Xros Wars (Fusion in North America)--continued right after Adventure 02, but featured new casts in new fictional settings, telling stories that were completely independent from the Adventure and Adventure 02 titles. What makes Adventure tri. stand out is its return to the Adventure canon (and, presumably, the Adventure 02 canon).

The Anniversary Event: Initial Reveal

At the end of the previously mentioned anniversary event held in Odaiba earlier this year, attendees and online viewers were treated to a short, nostalgic video that looked back on Digimon Adventure before promising "new stories" for Digimon fans all around the world. The only bit of information we were given was five words: Taichi, seventeen, high school days.

For all “DigiDestined” in the world ver. DIGIMON ADVENTURE 15th Anniversary Project

Afterwards, the fifteenth anniversary website updated with an egg and a counter. Clicking on the egg (or "rubbing" it with a nade-nade sound effect, a nostalgic reference to the Digimon eggs from Adventure) would lower the counter, which could be done once per day per computer. The first egg revealed the silhouettes of Taichi and Agumon along with some text detailing Taichi's morning, while the second revealed the full silhouettes of the eight Chosen Children and a written promise: "We can meet again." Magazine scans also leaked some silhouettes, like Hikari's, before the eggs were cracked--the latest scans showed off the silhouettes of the remaining partner Digimon.

Digimon-Adventure-tri.-key-visual Digimon Adventure tri. Preview: Staff, Character Design, and More!

Character Design

Digimon-Adventure-tri.-key-visual Digimon Adventure tri. Preview: Staff, Character Design, and More!
Atsuya Uki

Over the weekend, the next batch of eggs was hatched, presenting us with the first key visual for the sequel that announced its title along with three leading staff members: character designer Atsuya Uki, series composer Yuko Kakihara (series composition refers to overall story composition, not music composition), and director Keitarou Motonaga.

Character designer Uki is known for his recent work on Tsuritama, and--comparing the key visual above to a sample of his work from Tsuritama below--it seems that he'll bring this style with him to Adventure tri. Director Motonaga has worked on a large variety of anime titles in many different capacities; examples include directing two episodes of Fushigi Yugi, the third Persona 3 film, and many episodes (as well as opening and ending sequences) of Magic Knight Rayearth, including the OVA. Writer Kakihara also provided series composition for the Stitch! anime; in addition, she wrote the screenplay for Persona 4: The Animation along with episodes of My Bride Is a Mermaid.

Digimon-Adventure-tri.-key-visual Digimon Adventure tri. Preview: Staff, Character Design, and More!

The character designs appear similar to those from Mamoru Hosoda's directorial work in the Digimon franchise, most notably the film Digimon Adventure: Bokura no War Game. Hosoda's Digimon film, which involves a malicious Digimon on the Internet and the threat of nuclear war, would later inspire Hosoda to create his award-winning anime film Summer Wars. With a style reminiscent of Hosoda's, along with a director and writer who have both contributed to the Persona franchise, many fans hope that Digimon Adventure tri. will offer a slightly more mature take on Digimon, as if suggesting that the franchise has grown up alongside its fans.

Digimon Adventure tri. premieres in spring 2015. If you can't wait that long, the original Digimon Adventure will be available on Blu-ray in March 2015, while a Blu-ray boxset of the Digimon films from across the franchise will be released next month. Both boxsets are Japanese, and as such, they only include the original Japanese vocal track without any English subtitles. An international release has not yet been announced.

by John Sotomayor

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