Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna is now officially available for anyone interested in watching thanks to its digital and disc releases in the West. DigiDestined around the globe can watch the film in English or Japanese, which means we can finally take off the spoiler gloves and talk about the movie’s intense ending: what happened, why it happened, whether or not it contradicts the canon epilogue at the end of Digimon Adventure 02, and what could possibly come next.
We’ve prepared a video discussing the ending of Kizuna! If you don’t want to watch the video you can instead read the video script in full below.
So of course this article will go into spoilers for the movie so if you haven’t seen the film yet and you do care about spoilers, now is the time to turn off the video. No more warnings, we’re going all in….now.
Sayonara Agumon, sayonara Gabumon. What will Taichi and Yamato do tomorrow? Well whatever it is, it will be without their Digimon partners of over 10 years. A vital plot point of Last Evolution Kizuna that has been on display since the very first trailer is the premise that every DigiDestined will reach a point near adulthood where their connection to their Digimon will end, and that Taichi and Yamato are the first of the main crew to have signs that their time with Digimon is running out. They’re also told that once the signs of their Digivice deterioration show up, forcing their Digimon into battle will only speed up the time left.
Taichi and Yamato initially reject the premise that their bonds with Agumon and Gabumon could ever break, but in the third act of the film realize there is a greater purpose that they need to commit to — defeating Eosmon and reversing the forced comas that the chosen children around the world have fallen into — and they sacrifice the little time they have left to press on into the future. The rules don’t suddenly not apply just because they’re heroes or because we like them, however, and sure enough, mere minutes after the Digivice’s final pedal falls off, Agumon and Gabumon fade away for good. Taichi and Yamato made their choice, supported by Agumon and Gabumon, but they don’t feel the impact until it’s too late, and both break down in tears at the realization that their partners are gone. The film ends shortly after, letting the viewers and the characters sit with the decision. No “Digimon never really die” scene with an egg washing ashore and Kokomon dancing along to Smash Mouth. It’s…over.
The Digimon Represent Our Childhood Hobbies.
There’s a lot to unpack with this ending and I know it’s going to be upsetting to some people. There are two main reasons and I’ll try my best to address both. The first is that well, it’s simply not the happy ending many fans hoped to see for Taichi and Agumon. Second, because it ostensibly contradicts the canon ending of Digimon Adventure story that we saw at the end of Adventure 02, you know, the one where everyone has kids, Agumon and Taichi became lawyers and Yamato and Gabumon went to space together. How could that happen if they’re gone? In my spoiler free review I alluded to how both the ending of Kizuna and the ending of 02 can exist in unison without contradicting each other, and I’ll use this video to explain how that is true.
This may sound obvious but I should introduce it once so we’re all on the same page: The Digimon represent childhood itself. And in particular our childhood hobbies. Agumon is Taichi’s video games. Agumon is Taichi’s LEGO. Agumon is Taichi’s soccer, just as Gabumon is Yamato’s music.
In the film, our new villain Menoa is dead set on keeping herself and the other stuck in the past, frozen in time, and Yamato and Taichi — who have always shouldered the weight of being the leaders and making hard, mature decisions in the group — make the call that as much as they love their Digimon they and the others need to be prepared to move past them, or else they’ll literally always be stuck as kids. It’s Toy Story 3 in a lot of ways. Agumon and Gabumon fading away is Andy giving Woody to Bonnie. And like how Woody and the gang understood that it was time for Andy to move on, Agumon and Gabumon understood that they had to say goodbye to their kids.
In this regard I find this ending extremely touching and while sad, optimistic, like saying goodbye to your high school friends to go to college in another part of the country or even planet. Of course you’ll miss them but it’s time for something new and your life is going to be so much bigger than one hobby or relation you cling onto.
But I hear you saying: wait, this still doesn’t explain how the 02 Epilogue is still canon. How are Gabumon and Agumon gone but not gone in the 02 epilogue? I’ll explain. They are gone at the end of Kizuna, but not gone forever.
Is the Adventure 02 Epilogue Still Canon?
I want you to keep in mind, this is not our heroes’ first goodbye with the Digimon. Digimon go away and come back again at certain milestones in the human characters’ lives. They said goodbye at the end of Adventure 01 when they left the Digital World and ended summer camp. They said goodbye again sometime between middle school and high school (after 02 and before Tri), as Tri insists that its first film was a reunion for these characters. Saying goodbye has been a key part of Digimon forever, this is really nothing new.
Remember how I mentioned the Digimon being stand-ins for childhood hobbies, like video games or music or sports? Think about the times in the kids’ lives that they said goodbye to the Digimon. Now think about the moments in your life that you had to put away or tone down your hobbies. I’ll use my life as an example:
Kid me loved video games. Then from the ages of 12-14 I completely stopped playing games, in an effort to seem cool or mature I decided to label games as childish and put them away. I see a lot of teens do this; condemning things like games or cartoons to seem mature, only to come back to them later in life when they’re more confident in liking what they like. Sometime around 16 or 17 I got back into games in a big way; I suppose I had felt more comfortable with myself and had a better idea of what I did and didn’t like. I then carried on my gaming hobby throughout university; I wasn’t playing a LOT but I made friends who were into games and I didn’t hide the fact I liked games from like minded individuals. After graduating there was a time where I was playing significantly less as I hustled and scrambled to get my foot in the door of companies, gain professional experience and a career. Now I’m in my mid 20s, I’ve got a stable job and relationship, and yeah, I’ve found a way to fit games back into my life.
Think about those periods where I backed away from my childhood hobby; my Digimon. in middle school, in the first half of high school, and then for a period of time after graduating from university. Sound familiar? It should, because they’re the exact same phases where our heroes and their Digimon separated. You go through these periods where you need to turn off your game console, say goodbye to your Digimon, but in adulthood and maturity you find your way back to each other.
So Taichi and Yamato say goodbye to Agumon and Gabumon in the movie as they exit university and yet we see them with Digimon again in the 02 epilogue. Something changes in Taichi and Yamato’s adult life that will let them see their Digimon again in the future, and that is…having children of their own.
Children Are The Key.
Now this breaks from my personal example a little bit as I don’t have kids but I’m claiming to have reunited with my Digimon already. But consider this: think about all of the times you’ve heard people say that when they have kids they’re going to get them all the toys they wish they had when they were younger; that they’re going to make them play the games they used to play; that they want to watch the remakes of the shows that they grew up on with them. Parents of new kids are always saying that they get to be a kid again through their children.
I believe that what happens in between Kizuna and the 02 epilogue that allows Taichi and Yamato to see their Digimon again is that they establish careers for themselves, they fall in love, and then they have children of their own which opens the door back into the world of Digimon for them — metaphorically for us but literally for them. We know that Digimon never truly die just as our hobbies don’t ever go away.
The movie claims to be the last evolution for Agumon, the last time he’ll evolve and fight. That appears to be true but it doesn’t claim to be the last meeting between Taichi and Agumon. It cleverly frames itself as the end of the story, as Taichi’s final goodbye, but it’s not Taichi angrily denouncing Digimon and never thinking about them again or having his memory wiped. He will think about Agumon throughout his adult life, think about how he wants his own future child to have experiences with Digimon just like he had, and when his child is old enough Taichi gets to introduce his kid to Digimon and reunite with Agumon – just as parents get to play with LEGOs or Hot Wheels again for the first time in decades when their kids enter the picture.
This is what I believe is really happening in Digimon Adventure Last Evolution Kizuna and it’s how I believe both its ending and the 02 ending work in canon. Taichi and Agumon did just say goodbye, similarly to how they really did say goodbye at the end of Digimon Adventure 1999. That ending was a tear jerker and so is this one, but like last time, Tai and Agumon will find each other again in the next phase of Tai’s life.
Last Evolution Kizuna Sequel?
There is possibly a story left to be told in between these two points in the timeline — either the DigiDestined gang first re-establishing a connection to the Digital World thanks to their young children or something like my real world scenario where once Taichi gets settled into a career he realizes he does in fact have the time in his life to allow Digimon back in and finds a way to reconnect with Agumon. That could be a kind of cool story for the 25th anniversary of Digimon, but to be quite honest I’m perfectly content with this gap between Kizuna and the 02 Epilogue existing where we know Taichi and the others somehow reforged a connection with Digimon, kind of like how you and I did…I’m guessing that there were probably a couple years whether it was in high school or your early 20s that you said goodbye to Digimon, and here you are back watching the new movie!
So that is my attempt at breaking down the end of Last Evolution Kizuna, I hope that made sense to you. Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments, if what I said made sense of if you think I’m completely wrong and Kizuna’s ending is a huge retcon, plot hole, or breaks the canon. What other questions do you want me to answer about Kizuna? Ask them in the comments and if I get enough good questions I’ll make another video answering your Kizuna questions! As always please subscribe if you haven’t already for Digimon content like this and coverage of the new 2020 anime reboot. I know subscribing is a pain but it really does help the videos reach more people and it’ll help me reach my goal of 1000 subscribers before the year end!