The other evening I finished watching Digimon: Data Squad, which is the English dub of the fifth season of Digimon. Now, I’ve seen the first ten episodes of the original version of this season (called Digimon Savers in Japan), and have begun to see the differences between the versions. But there are always differences between the Japanese and English versions of Digimon.
To start off, this is the first new season of Digimon since 2002’s rather different Digimon Frontier, so there was a lot of anticipation leading up to this season. Each new season of Digimon centers around new methods of the Digimon companions gaining power and advancing to the next level (known as “digivolution”), and this season is no different in that regard. The first season’s special digivolving mode was “Warp Digivolution”, wherein Agumon and Gabumon would bypass their Champion and Ultimate forms and go directly to their Mega forms (WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon, respectively). Season two had Armor Digivolution, which was necessary since the Digimon companions couldn’t advance beyond their Rookie forms. Third season had the Digi-Modify ability, where the Tamers could alter their Digimon’s powers using cards. Fourth season introduced a drastic change from the norm with the kids themselves tracking down Digimon Spirits for the ability to transform into Digimon themselves.
And here we are with this new season. There are no no drastically different digivolution methods. On the contrary, it’s all pretty normal. Warp Digivolution returns, although this time it just bypasses the Champion level and goes to Ultimate. A new mode called Perfect Digivolution is introduced, and this allows the Digimon to go from Ultimate to Mega. Later on, the series introduces Double-Warp Digivolution, which works as the original Warp Digivolution did (going from Rookie to Mega in one move). In a move reminiscent of Imperialdramon’s alternate mode from season two, each of the four main characters gain a Burst ability towards the end of the season that allows their Digimon companions to switch to a more powerful mode when in Mega level.
Now on to the story. The main focus is definitely on Marcus Damon, with secondary focus on Keenan. The story revolves around events that occurred ten years ago, when a group of humans ventured into the Digital World on a mission of peaceful exploration. Of course, as is expected, things quickly go wrong, in a series of events that sets in motion the trouble that our cast of characters must deal with.
The tone of this season is far more focused on action than previous seasons, but there is a good amount of character development. Unfortunately, the vast majority of that character development falls upon Marcus and Keenan, with some for Thomas, with Yoshi not really changing that much as the season progresses.
There are a good amount of twists to the story as the season progresses, and it’s neat to see the main characters adapting to the changes. However, one thing that I like so much about the first two seasons of Digimon is how the story makes character qualities so important. If any character qualities can be said to be at play here, it’s determination, with Marcus never willing to give up a fight.
Compared with previous seasons if the show, Data Squad just doesn’t hold up in terms of story quality. There are a lot of elements here that recall previous seasons, with many main character Digimon returning, albeit as new characters. It is neat to see all of these references to what has come before. However, after watching this, I’m still going to stick to recommending the first two seasons for anyone new to the show. On its own, though, Data Squad is an exciting, action-filled anime with a good story. It’s just not quite as good as previous seasons.
I give Digimon: Data Squad a 4 out of 5.