I recall with great clarity the first airings of the commercial for Digimon: The Movie and the playground arguments that followed. The general impression was that the characters "looked weird"- I was the only one I knew who found the character designs very interesting and was excited to see Digimon in higher quality animation. When the movie arrived, I was there in line, ready to get my ticket and trading card. I was expecting the movie to be little more than a longer episode, but it surpassed my expectations in every way. The first of three parts was an origin story detailing the events of when Tai and Kari were first exposed to Digimon in early childhood. -You see, in Japan, these are all separate movies and specials, but combined here into one full-length film.- After that short came the highlight of the three, and an important influence on my early self: Our War Game. Like the first part, it is directed by Mamoru Hosoda who would later go on to direct major theatrical releases The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars. This is a very interesting look at his early directing and how he has progressed since. In it the events of season one have ended and the characters have returned to their daily lives. A new Digimon has been created inside the internet and is quickly growing in power by eating data. All machines are beginning to malfunction, and Izzy and Tai are on the computer trying to do something about it. The Digimon appear on screen as little sprites and the digidestined are reunited with their monster pals to defend earth- except Tai can't get anyone else on the phone. Tai and Izzy are stuck fighting the enemy by watching their Digimon on the computer, until eventually Matt and TK arrive to help. As expected, evil is destroyed and the world is saved. For a Digimon fan, its a great movie. The character interaction is as lively as ever and the Digimon battles leave little to be desired. The ending was very conventional, but it successfully pulled off a lot of what makes Digimon great. But besides that, there are underlying elements that are a big part of what make the film to great. While all the characters were at least tangentially related in some way, I was surprised and impressed with how the story didn't force in all the characters having to unite and fight together. Really only four of them were needed for the battle. I could easily see it trying to cram in more Digimon fanservice at the expense of quality. This film is full of technology. The original Digimon series obviously has an element of this (see: DIGITAL Monsters), but much less directly that Our War Game's portrayal of a modern world so steeped in technology. In the beginning, the only foreseeable threat from the enemy was destruction of all technology- not physical world destruction. The viewer is shown how dependent our world has become on technology and how everyone is connected in this battle through the internet. This also sparked in me a love of stories that involve children and the internet. I am a big fan of series such as Serial Experiments Lain and Dennou Coil. While Our War Game is clearly lighter, I appreciate it on some of the same levels. These cyberworld themes may only be a backdrop to Digimon action, but it is there and left an impression on my fifth grade self. Hosoda's Digimon presents a much more interesting aesthetic than the television counterpart. The character designs are appealingly simplified, but with detailed backgrounds. Shots of computers, television sets, and telephones are meticulously rendered. Inside the internet, where the Digimon action takes place, is a surreal world with superflat design. It is interesting how Digimon introduced this style to such a large audience, even if that was not the intention. I like Murakami's Superflat style to an extant, but the way Hosoda uses it to define the openness of a world appeals to me more. The superflat style continues to evolve into some sort of self-parody and dark reflection of otaku and pop culture. Hosoda's superflat worlds are meaningful inside of the stories that they reside in. Hosoda has said before that visual simplicity appeals to him- this can be seen clearly in the internet world and shading-less characters. It delightfully contrasts with much of the highly detailed elements throughout. Our War Game was an important movie to my life at the time. It provided a satisfying conclusion to the original Digimon story, and introduced me to concepts that I would later learn more about and continue to enjoy. Hosoda knew how to convey the spirit and charm of the Digimon series, but infused it with his own ideas. It is clear how his directorial debut with Digimon laid the foundation for his later work.