26 July 2016 | BrianDanaCamp
Action-packed Digimon movie about a destructive computer virus
DIGIMON TAMERS: BATTLE OF ADVENTURERS (2001) is the fifth movie spin-off of the popular "Digimon" TV franchise, a Japanese animated program which posits kids as partners of digital monsters—Digimon—from a digital world. This movie, which I watched in its English-dubbed version on the ABC Family Channel, uses the characters from the third season of the TV series, Takato, Henry, and Rika, and follows them during their summer vacation. Takato and Henry each visit separate sites on Okinawa, while Rika stays home alone in Tokyo, waiting for her mother to come back from a business trip. They're each aware of, if not actually following, a new on-line craze called V-pets (Virtual Pets). At sea, Takato and his cousin Kai rescue a girl, Minami, from a digital sea monster and, after getting her to safety on land, gradually learn that her laptop computer contains the very first V-pet, a dog modeled on her late pet, May. We also learn that Minami's father, Takehito, had invented the V-pet to console Minami over the loss of her pet, but had watched his creation taken over by an unscrupulous partner, Tomashiro, who has other plans for it. When the V-pets begin destroying data on public computer systems, affecting transportation, water supply, electricity distribution, and air travel, among other things, the three kids and their Digimon are forced into action and eventually come together to battle the monstrous Mephistomon in an underwater digital world. These kids, unlike earlier "Digi-destined" protagonists in "Digimon," have the ability to merge with their Digimon, giving them greater control over them during a battle.
It's all quite exciting and suspenseful, packed with incident and detail throughout its 45-minute running time. There's little of the humor we often find in the "Digimon" movies and TV episodes. Season Three adopted a more serious science fiction tone than the previous seasons and is considered a favorite by many fans. That tone is evident in this movie. There are some spectacular battle sequences which more than compensate for the lack of any light touches. This was followed by two more Digimon movies, RUNAWAY LOCOMON (2002), also featuring the third season characters, and ISLAND OF LOST DIGIMON (2002), featuring the fourth season characters. While BATTLE OF ADVENTURERS is a high point of the Digimon movies, the two later ones are recommended as well.