And So It Begins… (Digimon Adventures Episode 1)
(For the pilot episode and first film of the series that frames episode 1, click HERE)
This blog is amorphous. Its content has never been steadily forthcoming or of the same general category. This new blog series is my attempt to grapple with Digimon from Adventures 1 through Fusion and the new Digimon Adventures Tri film series being released in Japan. Watching Digimon was a formative experience for me and I hope to understand more about why while simultaneously producing a series of commentaries for your edification and use. This one’s gonna be a doozy.
“And So It Begins.” Seven young kids are enjoying their summer camp experience, whilst the rest of Japan experiences strange climactic conditions (cold and icy precipitation in mid-July, odd weather patterns, flooding, and other occurrences linked to climate change, but here, derived from more metaphysically sinister machinations) and disruptions in telecommunications and electricity supply and service. At summer camp, things progress per usual, until one day a snowflake lands on our narrator Tai Kamiya, presaging a blizzard.
The kids being kids, they adapt to odd circumstances (with the notable exception of tech-head Izzy, who complains about lack of internet connectivity) and decide to go play outside in the snow. What happens next shatters the viewer’s complacency and comfort in the digital reality of Digimon’s Japan, which has hitherto been a world experiencing nothing more than environmental and climatological changes. An aurora borealis manifests itself before the children and launches electronic devices at their feet. They are sucked into a whirlpool and arrive some time later in a different world.
The children once lived a life of childlike adolescence with innocence intact and sexuality null. Now, in the digital world, they meet their fighting partners in their Digimon, or “digital monsters,” diminutive creatures with special abilities they will put to good use against a large insectoid creature known as Kuwagamon who attacks and threatens the lives of the children. They have been spirited away, as it were, into a new reality with new dangers and responsibilities, new vistas of near-total freedom and discovery. They have successfully moved from one state of being onto the threshold of another. This liminal move discards their past identification as carefree children into children with new digimon they must develop bonds with as the digidestined (but more on this later).
My own knowledge of the series makes this a difficult episode to cover objectively because the outside knowledge of future events colors my perception on re-viewing. However, it seems obvious by the time the children arrive in this world, that the odd climactic conditions and telecommunications disturbances are not the cause of climate change, but of some problem in their new world. The two worlds are connected in some profound manner, but we will not find out how or why for some time.
At this point, the whole episode generates a feeling of mystery and confusion, of excitement and identification with these children thrust into a fantastic new situation. Elation might be the only proper word to describe the feeling consuming me as I write these last few sentences. I can’t wait to watch the next episode.
Till next time,
The Digidestined Cody
[Check out Part 2 Here]