Image Source: 東映アニメーション公式YouTubeチャンネル on YouTube

[This article contains spoilers for both Digimon Adventure tri: Loss and the previous films in the series.]

When we last saw our heroes, they were dealing with the repercussions of the mid-series climax: In order to save their digimon and the digital world from the virus causing them to go berserk, the digital world was reset to default. While this cleared the digimon of the virus, it also reset them to back before they first met the DigiDestined—meaning the digimon have no memory of our human heroes or the bonds they formed together over the course of their adventures.

In Digimon Adventure Tri, Growing Up Means Facing Frustration and Loss

Thus, the first part of Loss deals largely with the DigiDestined reintroducing themselves to their respective digimon partners—attempting to rekindle a bond that no longer exists. However, all too soon, the reunion is cut short as our heroes, digimon and human alike, are scattered across the Digital World.

This, in turn, pairs many of the humans with Digimon other than their own. Gabumon ends up with Tai; Matt and Izzy with Agumon and Gomamon; Joe with Patamon and Palmon; and Mimi with Tentomon. With our heroes split up in such a fashion, the Digimon are able to learn about their respective partners through their partners’ human friends. This shows us how the DigiDestined really feel about each other—as they have to talk simply and from the heart in order for the child-like Digimon to understand. And they do.

Even after just meeting a mere day before, the Digimon already long for their true partners and want to know more about them. The connection between Digimon and DigiDestined is one of personalities more than memories. So even with the memory loss, we are shown that their friendships can be regained—if in a slightly altered form.

But while most of the characters reconnect easily with their digimon, such is not the case for Sora and Biyomon. While Sora is as eager as anyone else to reunite with her partner, Biyomon is standoffish and rejects Sora’s attempts at friendship, often brutally. Having her closest companion, the one being who truly understood her, reject her is emotionally devastating for Sora—especially considering her defining character trait.

Sora is the DigiDestined tied to the crest of Love. But, as we have learned through the past films, each of the DigiDestined’s defining trait is a double-edged sword. As a loving individual, Sora works hard for her friends. She helps out wherever she can—occasionally going too far and butting in where she’s not particularly wanted. But the root of the problem is that, in a very real way, she defines herself through helping others.

Seeing Sora’s codependant nature, Biyomon comes to a simple, if dark, conclusion: Who it is doesn’t matter. As long as Sora has someone to love and support, she will be happy. Biyomon wants to be loved for who she is as an individual. If she can be replaced with anyone else in Sora’s heart, she has no interest in becoming friends with the girl.

Thus crushed by her every attempt to approach Biyomon, Sora sulks in a way that disconcerts even her closest friends—i.e., Matt and Tai. The two boys know something is wrong and want to support her; however, they honestly don’t know what is wrong. This upsets her. She knows what bothers each of her friends. Why don’t her closest two friends understand what is destroying her?

The problem is that love and support are a two way street. Sora is so selfless that she rarely thinks of herself and her problems—she is so busy helping others. This leads to the impression that she’s so together that she doesn’t need any help. Tai and Matt have clearly had no cause to help her in recent memory. She’s never shared her weakness. She’s never let them in. The only person she ever let in this way was Biyomon, which is why it hurts so much that Biyomon is pushing her away so cruelly.

So while Sora may be eager to help those around her unconditionally, what she comes to realize is that she needs to ask for support too. Just because you want to help others doesn’t mean you should neglect yourself. Everyone has limits—and when those limits are hit, you can and should ask your friends for help.

She is a human in a world of monsters, after all.

As danger mounts and the two rely more and more on each other, Biyomon and Sora both come to realize is that Biyomon already holds a place in Sora’s heart. And, in the end, Sora learns that Matt and Tai do care about her and want to be let in if she’s willing.

The other major aspect of the film is that it finally reveals some of the true threat facing our heroes. It begins with the major revelation that Himekawa and Nishijima, the government agents tasked with helping the DigiDestined, are actually DigiDestined themselves.

Near the climax of the original Digimon Adventure, it is learned that there was a group of DigiDestined that saved the Digital World before the appearance of our heroes. Himekawa and Nishijima are two of those. However, while they won their final battle against the Dark Masters, it was not without a cost: Himekawa’s Digimon was permanently erased. With her partner dead, Himekawa spent decades trying to find a way to bring it back. In the end, there was only one way to accomplish this: Reset the digital world.

The name of this film is Loss. During it, we see how each of the characters cope with the loss of their digimon’s memories. But Himekawa has lost far more than any of our heroes. And while Nishijima tried to give Himekawa a new purpose in life beyond seeing her partner digimon again, it is clear that this move simply caused her to further her efforts in secret.

As she no longer could count on the support of her friends, she in turn eventually allied with the dark forces of the Digital World—namely a twisted version of the mentor to the DigiDestined, Gennai. Following the will of a mysterious villain, Gennai has come to believe that the best way for him to fulfill his role as a “digimon supporter” is to rid the Digital World of human influence—hence the reset.

Moreover, his argument for doing so isn’t without some merit. Many Digimon died permanently in the human world. He also states that the Digimon had become slaves to the humans—which flat out happened in the second season with Ken’s stint as the Digimon Emperor. However, he also rants about it being time to invade the human world—something that would no doubt lead to the deaths of more Digimon—so his true motivations are questionable at best.

Regardless, whatever dark force masterminded the digital world reboot has corrupted both Himekawa and Gennai. But what it truly wishes to accomplish remains a mystery—well, at least until later this year when the next film, Symbiosis, hits the silver screen.

Digimon Adventure tri: Loss was released in Japan on February 25, 2017. It can be seen (split into four episodes) with English subtitles on Crunchyroll and Daisuki (starting on March 25, 2017).

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