Following the complete reboot of digital life due to the infection of their partner Digimon, Tai and the other Digidestined leave behind a distressed Meiko and head to the brand new Digital World in order to reunite with their partners. However, the Digimon the gang meet are not the same as the ones that perished, having lost all memories of the adventures they had since meeting the kids. Everyone soon starts to reconnect, however it isn’t easy for everyone, as Sora discovers the newly reborn Biyomon is very wary and openly cold towards her, rejecting her attempts at rekindling their friendship. Meanwhile in the real world, Nishijima, the Government agent involved with the Digimon-related happenings, discovers his partner Himekawa has gone missing, determining her hidden agenda behind executing the reboot, involving a past event that changed both of their destinies forever.
Three entries into the Digimon Tri franchise, and so far it has been a rollercoaster of quality, starting strong with the first film, dragging with the second then really hitting its stride with the third, which was easily the strongest entry so far. The heart-wrenching and dark finale saw the original Digimon meet their demise and be reborn with no memories, so I had a lot of hope that the fourth entry, Loss, would go in an interesting direction with the series, but instead, we have a something that is comparable to Tri Chapter 2, interesting in places but overall underwhelming.
After a rather bizarre opening flashback sequence that is stylistically reminiscent of a silent film, which includes having the dialogue written on intertitles and fake grain, Loss picks up immediately where Chapter 3: Confession left off, with the DigiDestined about to meet their Digimon for the first time all over again, which is easily the highlight this time around. Given the tonally dark and bittersweet ending Confession had, the significantly lighter tone that opens Loss is a welcome change of pace. Although initially quite sad, seeing everyone meet again is quite heartwarming and adorable, even managing to get quite a few chuckles out of me due to the character interactions. The opening sequence is a nostalgic experience, as it harkens back to the very first episode of the original Digimon Adventure, albeit with a more mature group, and this alone makes for an enjoyable watch if you grew up with the show as I did.
It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows however, as we see Sora and Biyomon fail to reconnect as they had before, and this soon becomes one of the main focal points of the film, as the two attempt to restore things back to the way they were. This definitely presents some interesting character development for Sora, who is often the maternal figure of the group, as she comes to realise that without Biyomon, she doesn’t really have anyone to be her maternal figure in her time of need, with the leaders Tai and Matt being hapless in helping her out. It puts a spotlight on her, as well as her relationship to Biyomon, and how close the pair actually were. Honestly, I’d have liked to have seen the other partner Digimon undergo some sort of change in personality too, as the vast majority of them are just the same. By the end, it’s like everything is back to before the reboot even happened, which undermines the ending of the previous movie, and makes you wonder what the point of it was to begin with if there was no everlasting change.
Once you get past the, admittedly great, character-bonding stuff, you’re left with a somewhat meandering experience that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. There is a decent chunk of the run time where everyone is split up for no particular reason, before they’re reunited in about ten minutes, which I think is just telling in how little story the writers had for this particular entry, and how stretched thin what’s there is. There are some revelations, such as our first glimpse of the big bad of the series, a character whom we’ve seen before that comes as quite a shock, but overall the film is more preoccupied with repairing the status quo that Confession ruptured, which is disappointing. What little story there is culminates, after a series of overly long Digivolution sequences that harken back to the bad old days and also reek of filling time, with an ending that is jaw-droppingly abrupt. You could call it a cliffhanger, but that seems like it’d be overselling it, it just seems more like the second half is plain missing. In my humble opinion, this is once again due to Tri originally being a TV series as opposed to movies, as the structure very much feels as if we’re going to see the conclusion next week, when that’s obviously not the case anymore.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the story in Loss is only given a few minutes of screentime, and that is the secondary story featuring the government agents Nishijima and Himekawa, which has some massive implications for the franchise as a whole, yet is largely glossed over and not particularly explained well. I can only hope this is expanded upon and integrated into the main plot in future chapters.
In terms of the technical aspects of Digimon Tri Chapter 4: Loss, it remains as consistently high quality as the earlier entries, continuing to make sure it’s the best the Digimon franchise has ever looked, not to mention the consistently fantastic dub cast. There aren’t any particular improvements on either front, but at the same time, I don’t think any were needed.
A step down from its predecessor, Digimon Tri Chapter 4: Loss certainly has its moments in terms of characters, but the plot only serves to undo the previous movie’s consequences, using far too much padding in the process.