Ahh Digimon, or as many kids in the 90s saw it as, the Pokemon copycat. Oh but how wrong they were and how little they knew.
Digimon started out as a digital pet called "Digital Monster", similar in style and concept to the Tamagotchi. It was planned by Wiz and released by Bandai on June 26, 1997. The toy began as the simple concept of a Tamagotchi mainly for boys. The V-Pet is similar to its predecessors, with the exceptions of being much harder and being able to connect to fight other Digimon v-pets. Every owner would start with a Baby Digimon, train it, evolve it, take care of it, and then have battles with other Digimon owners to see who was stronger. The Digimon pet had several evolution capabilities and abilities too, so many owners had many different Digimon. In December, the second generation of Digital Monster was released, followed by a third edition in 1998 (copypasta from wikipedia because I'm lazy)
So yeah, we know the story after that. Eventually this Tomagotchi line digivolved into a very popular anime series. What made this series truly special was the manny mature themes it dealt with, especially in later seasons. For me personally, that's what made it stand out among other typical shoenn anime. Not to mention the characters were usually developed being with their own strengths and weaknesses that they had to discover or overcome. Watching these characters grow and develop to see how they changed towards the end so part of the fun watching the show. Of course, their Digimon partners are what usually guides them through this development, and as characters themselves they are usually more one not, as they serve to help the human partners become stronger people.
The series currently has 6 seasons, 5 of which where dubbed for english viewers, lets start with the first shall we?
Digimon Adventure began it's run in March 7, 1999 and ended on March 26, 2000.
The story was about 7 kids who were attending summer camp until they were wisked away to a completely different world inhabited by creatures known as Digimon. The series starts out on a simple little island inhabited that was being harassed by the the evil Devimon. From there the season sprawls out as the kids dissever more about the the Digital World, and the role they serve within it.
Personally this season switches with Adventure 02 occasoinally as my second favorite season behind Tamers. It was probably the season that had the most development out of all the others, especially in characters like Matt, Mimi, T.K, and Joe as a result all of them are pretty likable. Though my favorite has got to go to Izzy, I fucking love that kid as well has is Digimon partner Tentomon, possibly being my favorite Digimon ever, if only because he's probably the most well spoken and probably the funniest.
If there was one negative thing I could say about this series it's that the villains just seem to....pop up from nowhere, Myotismon being especially guilty of this. Though if anything he's the main villian during my personal favorite arc of when the kids managed to return to the real world.
As for favorite episode....well I don't know if I'm being generic but is has to be the one where Tai and Koromon end up back in Japan, it just was an all around heartwarming episode with some fantastic animation.
Moving on to the next season
Digimon Adventure 02 began it's run it April 2, 2000 and ended on March 25, 2001.
Taking place a few years after the first season, this story is about a new group of Digi Destined who have to work on protecting the Digital World from the Digimon emperor while the original Digi Destined go on with their normal lives, only helping the new guys occasionally.
The series arguably started delving into more darker territory with this season, especially when it comes to the themes of death and redemption. Ken, the Digimon Emperor is the one who definitely steals the spotlight when it comes to development, the more you learn of his backstory the more you see how fucked up this kid's past really is, it's quite sad. As for the other characters they really don't get to much in the way of development. TK and Kairi already had theirs in te previous season, usually serving as the knowledgeable ones who show the new guys the ropes, Yolei and Cody pretty much stay the same unless I'm missing something, and Davis just gets some minor alterations to his character, usually just him learning not to be an egotistical jackass.
Of course I would be insane not to mention the breakout character, BlackWargreymon. Again this is where the theme of redemption comes in as BW goes from a pretty ruthless guy who mows down anyone who gets in his way, to a martyr who sacrifices himself to save the Digimon World, it's reall6 good stuff and makes for a nice character.
Some criticisms I (and most people) have for this series was that Davis served as a poor replacement for Tai, having almost none of his charm and half his wit. The plot lines that went nowhere (Dark Ocean), and the finale that just tore the fan base asunder with some ridiculous conclusions to certain characters. (Matt as an astronaut, seriously). Overall though I can still say it's one of my favorite seasons, as I watched it a great deal when I was a kid while it was on Jetix.
Trucking on to......
Digimon Tamers, which began it's run on April 1, 2001 and ended on March 31, 2002
The series takes place in a different universe than that of the original two seasons, where the concept of Digimon are only that of a simple trading card game, and are only believed to be just fictional. Until one faithful day where a boy name Takato Matsuki creates of Digimon of his own and it comes to life in the form of Guilmon. And it just sprawls out from there. Over the course of the series he encounters fellow Digimon Tamers Rika and Henry, and together they fight wild Digimon that manage to manifest themselves in the real world. In the shadows a secret organization called Hypnos are devising a way to stop the appearances of Digimon in the real world once and for all.
This series is pretty much the height of the mature themes that the series has been striving for, as shit gets really intense the further it goes on. It was all well and good until the iconic death of Leomon, from that point on it got worse and worse for everyone, ESPECIALLY for Leomon's emotionally crushed partner Jeri, she goes through several phases of depression through the help of D-Reaper, who was by far the creepiest villain I ever seen in a Digimon season, especially when it takes control of Jeri
Not to mention there is some excellent development to be had, the main characters who get the most of it is Impmon and Rika. Impmon started outs as a little troublemaker who usually couldn't back up the trash his mouth was spewing, to a genuine hero who uses his strength to save the ones he cares about. And Rika was just a classic case of "defrosting the ice queen", and went from that into a kindhearted individual who learns to treat Digimon as more than just tools for fighting. And I don't think I need to mention Takato, who goes from a soft spoken kid to a hot-blooded warrior who gives his all to save both his world and the Digital world. Oh yeah, there is also Kazu and Kenta who I pretty much adore. They mostly serve as comedy relief and failing at it, which makes them charming for me, that's not to say they don't have their heroic moments.As mentioned Jeri, goes through a lot of shit in the series, and while in the beginning she was a cheerful individual, you start to learn that her life isnt as good she wants other to believe.
And I have to mention the excellent cast of Digital Monsters this time around. Guilmon is a playful goof who is more obsessed with eating then fighting. Terriermon, a sarcastic little guy who loves to make wisecracks at those around him. And Renamon is a badass fighter who doesn't take shit from anyone but her own Tamer. Also there is Lopmon, who gives up her nearly god like powers as a deva to protect her Tamer which was very noble.And the lets not forget Calumon, a playful little guy who wants nothing more than to play and have fun, but little does he know, he has a very important role to play. Really, to me nearly the entire cast is lovable probably my favorite out of the entire series.
All of these factors really make Tamers my favorite season easily.
Now moving on to the less than impressive.
Digimon Frontier began it's run on April 7 2002 and ended on March 30 2003.
Five unrelated kids go board a train when they get a call from an unknown figure and they end up in the Digital World. All five of these individuals obtain Digivices and are forced to traverse a world they know nothing about. It is from here that each of these kids must discover their human and beast spirits in order to digivolve into Digimon themselves that are based are the ancient warriors from a long time ago.
Yeah, this series' "gimmick" is that they whole Digimon/Human partner angle is cut completely in favor of the kids themselves being the ones who fight and digivolve to fight the evil Digimon, and I......really don't like that angle to be quite honest. Part of the charm of Digimon for me was the fact that the Digimon partners help the humans develop as characters, all this does for me is just completely cut out a part of the series I enjoyed and to me, that's just lame.
The only regular Digimon on the show are two annoying characters named Bokomon and Neemon, they really don't do anything but occasionally provide information and giving annoying comedy relief.
As for the characters, eh. None of them really stuck with me in a meaningful way other than J.P, but I can at least say they get a good amount of development. Koichi learns to let others help him and learn to work as a team (I swear to god, her reminds me so much of Sasuke from Naruto), J.P learns not to be a brave and not always take the cowards way out, Tommy learns to grow up and stop whining to get what he wants etc, it's all nice but it's hard for me to get enthusiastic when I don't really care for most of the characters.
Also other problems for me include, the abandonment of mature themes for the most part, and the whole Royal Knights Arc sucking immensely.
Overall, this season is just average to me it has it's moments but as a whole... meh.
I'm going to be moving into unfamiliar territory with the next two seasons, so ill cover those in a new post.
Edited by The Noodle, 28 July 2012 - 09:47 PM.