Movie Reviews

Digimon Adventure & 02's Ending Explained, What Was Each DigiDestined's Final Fate

digimon adventure 02 and 2020 ending digidestined

Digimon is one of the most iconic multimedia properties to come out of the 1990s, a combination of games, virtual pets, and anime spanning far past the ending of the original Digimon Adventure. Even the anime’s second outing, typically dubbed Digimon Adventure 02, takes place within the same place of the Digimon multiverse while wrapping up its stories. While spin-offs and new stories have sprung forward since then, fans look back upon the ending of Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02, along with their favorite DigiDestined.

Digimon Adventure premiered in 1999, running for fifty-four episodes before its sequel series delivered an additional fifty the following year.

While there is a modernized reboot series from 2020, fans commonly admire the originals. But for fans looking back, especially since the epilogue of Digimon Adventure 02 coincidentally takes place twenty-five years later, the common question remains: where are the DigiDestined now?

The ending of Digimon Adventure (1999) is a bittersweet one for the franchise, with the original DigiDestined discovering and defeating the root cause of the Digital World’s waves of terror. The Dark Masters, previously thought to be the final threat dominating the Digital World, were created by Apocalymon, a construct made of the deceased Digimon, who failed to evolve. Its existence caused time dilation in the Digital World, and in its final moments, he tried to destroy both worlds, only for the blast of its attack to be absorbed by the power of the Digivices.

The resulting peace is harsh for viewers, though, as Gennai reminds the DigiDestined that they must return to Earth before too long, or else they’ll be trapped in the Digital World forever. They go home, believing they will see their partners again, which they do in Digimon Adventure 02. While some elements differ from this in the 2020 Digimon Adventure reboot, the canon isn’t too affected, but it’s still worth comparing.

While the ending’s basic premise and overall gravitas remain the same between Digimon Adventure (1999) and (2020), the animation isn’t the only thing updated in this modern reboot. The existential threat is a more abstract yet remarkably more sinister construct: Negamon, a Digimon who feeds on the discord and destruction wrought by the rest of the show’s events. But the most surprising aspect of this reboot is how its epic final clash between Negamon and Omnimon (Omegamon in Japan) is like something straight out of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Evangelion’s influence is already noticeable when comparing Digimon Tamers‘ D-Reaper to the LCL fluid used by EVA pilots and its effects. However, the Evangelion-lite elements shown in Digimon Adventure (2020)’s ending also incorporate a more mature, rounded look at Negamon, an otherwise unfeeling, gluttonous enemy. In the end, it’s a Digimon, meaning defeating it preserves the way of Digimon life while reverting Negamon to its basic form, a symbolic second chance, with Omnimon referring to its unlimited potential. It’s a hopeful message with respect for individuality, conscious consciousness, and choice.

Digimon Adventure 2020’s ending also showcases the other DigiDestined instead of sidelining them in favor of Matt and Tai. Save for a few instances like MagnaAngemon saving the day, Adventure (1999) was essentially the “Tai show”. The team gets unprecedented exposure, including all their partner Digimon’s mega forms. Finally, Digimon Adventure 2020’s ending is worthwhile entirely as a showcase of Omnimon’s incredible design and battle variants. While the ending is a retcon with the DigiDestined getting to keep their partners and Tai even staying in the Digital World to explore with Agumon, it doesn’t hurt the overall Adventure canon.

With a surprising loose end satisfyingly tied off in Digimon Adventure 02, this series’ conclusion is hopeful and mindful of the threats that never entirely disappear. MaloMyotismon, an empowered form of the malicious Myotismon from the original Adventure, loses his dominance over the DigiDestined and the Dark Spore-infected children brought to the world by Yukio Oikawa. MaloMyotismon’s ambitions to rule Earth and the Digital World are thwarted by a united front of DigiDestined around the globe, their partner Digimon, and more, who open all gates to the Digital World from Earth. The resulting cooperation weakens and destroys MaloMyotismon.

However, Oikawa, trapped in the dream dimension after MaloMyotismon sapped his strength to leave him near death, tragically doesn’t recover at the end of Digimon Adventure 02. Oikawa meets his partner Digimon, Datirimon, in a heartbreaking moment where he realizes his dreams of seeing but not getting to cross into the Digital World. In his final moments, Oikawa channels the power of the dream dimension to dissolve himself into the Digital World, restoring its light while watching over it in perpetuity. Through this, Oikawa redeems himself and arguably achieves his dream.

After Digimon Adventure 02, Earth and the Digital World are more inextricably linked than ever, with their gates thrown open. With this unprecedented global access, everyone eventually receives a Digimon partner, and the DigiDestined follow their careers as they grow up in the world post-linking. The ensuing epilogue details what happens to each DigiDestined following the ending of Digimon Adventure 02 by jumping twenty-five years into the future.

The epilogue talks about how it matches the light of the world with the light in its people’s hearts and how, as long as there is light, there will always be darkness. Characters in Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto would echo this sentiment, as it’s a reasonable proverb in both series that isn’t afraid to explore dark places. In the final moments of the ending of Digimon Adventure 02, Oikawa’s presence is felt as his dying wish is fulfilled, lighting up the Digital World.

Impassioned debate has emerged Digimon Adventure Tri, Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna, and Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning. These recent anime films are visually appealing, but fans complain about the writers’ perceived contempt for franchise canon and the characters. The most contentious aspect of these productions is how they seemingly retcon the DigiDestined’s connection to the Digital World, such as in Last Evolution Kizuna with a devastating finale where the DigiDestined’s devices turn to stone. However, Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning ends more hopefully, with Digimon and their partners eventually able to communicate without the need for digivices.

This type of farewell conveys the message of the DigiDestined’s transition to adulthood and independence as they pursue their careers. While the reception is polarizing, the storytelling of the Digimon movies should still be assessed independently of the established canon, even to see the characters in a new light. However, fans generally point to the Adventure 02 epilogue as the gospel truth, even as the 2000 series continuously shows its age over the passing years.