So, Tri: Saikai is about how Yagami Taichi awkwardly deals (or rather, does NOT deal) with things when too many variables are outside of his control. It’s a different picture of Taichi than we’re used to - even the other Chosen seem confused as to why he won’t take the lead like he always has before. But I would argue that, contrary to what Yamato says about Taichi “changing,” this is actually par for the course with him. He’s changed, certainly, but not in the way Yamato thinks. Taichi has always frozen up when he feels overwhelmed.
In this long, self-indulgent piece of Digimon meta, I’m going to talk about the four times in Adventure where I feel Taichi has a “freeze up” of the same style as what happens in Tri, and then speculate on why the same thing happening drives the whole story in Saikai.
When the kids first landed in the digital world, Taichi was an unstoppable bullet of energy. The others’ caution only propelled him to take initiative, to take greater risks.
But then the group was separated and Taichi glimpsed what was really at stake - from Yamato, whose fear for Takeru’s life drove him to be riskier than Taichi had ever been. He empathized with Yamato by imagining it was his own little sister who was lost somewhere. He empathized… but he didn’t quite understand, yet.
He got a burst of determination on learning that they were specifically chosen to come to this world and that they had a goal to work toward. But reaching that goal killed Takeru’s partner. Once again, Taichi observed, but was an outsider to another’s grief.
Freeze-Up Number 1
Then he trusted the Pagumon, which led to Tokomon’s capture and Agumon ending up in danger. Then he found his Crest. It was that Crest that set off the string of changes in his character that lasted till the end of the season.