Digimon is one of the better franchises out there and they have always come out with some pretty solid shows in the past. The first two Digimon Adventures both cracked a solid 8/10 which is pretty impressive. Digimon Tamera takes a few steps away from the previous two series as it uses a completely different approach in how the plot progresses. Would this be a welcome change or did they fix something that was not broken?
The story takes place 10 years since the end of Digimon Adventure 02. The human world doesn’t really know about the Digital World aside from a government agency that tries to stop them from materializing. It’s their life’s work, but they are unable to stop just about anyone from actually appearing. Rookie level Digimon are more than a match for them which can make things a little dicey. To clarify the earlier statement, people do know about Digimon, but they believe that they are fake and from the TV show. They play with the cards and just have a lot of fun.
Takato decides to make his own Digimon and he uses his creative art skills along with his powerful imagination to create Guilmon and they quickly become pals. Unfortunately, the Digimon Queen (Rika) wants to destroy Guilmon and a third tamer steps in to stop this while claiming that his name is Henry. Whether or not he is telling the truth doesn’t matter as much as the fact that he seems to be one of the good guys. The three tamers must now team up to fend off the evils of the Digital World.
There are two main story arcs to Digimon Tamers. The first 10 or so episodes as the heroes leveling up and building their bonds of friendship. Once that is taken care of, then it’s time to take down the Devas. They work for the Digimon Sovereign and it would appear that he may be able to crush the whole world in an instant. At least, that’s how the Devas act as they oppose the legendary Tamers. There are several Devas and each one possesses abilities that are beyond Guilmon and friends. To stop them, it is time to Digivolve and unlock their true powers!
After the Tamers challenge the Digimon Sovereign and learn of the untold truths of the Digital World, they are attacked by the D Reaper. Right away, The heroes know that they are outmatched and the D Reaper begins to erase the universe. They must use all of the past experience that they have gained so far and unleash their ultimate power. Nothing seems to work against the D Reaper, but there’s got to be a way!
That’s the jist of the plot so let’s start talking about the Digimon Tamers. Takato is the main character and he’s a lot different than his predecessors. Tai was a bold leader who took charge and recognized the value of friendship along with the ability to protect his friends. Davis was always ready to act and he possessed courage that was basically unheard of along with his limitless self confidence. Takato doesn’t really possess any of those things or not in such large portions. He’s not exactly the bravest fighter and he’s not as bold or daring as the others. He lacks confidence and he’s definitely not a leader. He does tend to panic and he didn’t stand a chance against Rika when they fought the first time since he forgot to use his D Cards.
Arguably Takato gets better as the series goes on and arguably he gets worse. He’s pretty sad for the second half of the series because of what happens to Jeri and he never becomes the main character that you would have expected. This guy is definitely no Kaz Gordan, but he does have his “hardcore” moments. Unfortunately, they can’t be taken seriously because he just isn’t that guy. It may help that his voice just doesn’t have the same level of coolness as the other main characters. His main Digimon is Guilmon who is a fire type. Guilmon is a decent character, but he can also get a little annoying. He’s at his best when he’s in his Champion or Ultimate mode.
Rika is another one of the three Tamers and she’s a step up from Takato. She was at her best during her Digimon Queen days as she could quickly defeat opponents with Renamon. They were a dangerous combo and it’s not really known how many Digimon she deleted back in the day, but it was likely a lot. As the series went on, she started to bond with the other Tamers and showed them that it’s never too late to turn good. Unfortunately, she lost her edge and Renamon also seemed to lose power. Renamon’s ultimate form was easily the worst one from the three heroes and her champion form wasn’t really impressive either. Her mega form is pretty solid and that’s likely what counts in the end. Guilmon stole the best forms for each of the levels aside from Rookie anyway. Renamon is still superior in her rookie form and she seems like a pretty capable fighter. She has a good level of speed and she can fight in hand to hand combat.
Henry is the third tamer and he’s definitely a mixed bag. On one hand, he doesn’t really like to fight all the time and he’ll have his moments where he yells at Suzie and shows why he lacks the strength of heart that the other two have. By the end of the series he has gotten better at this, but he got fooled to the very end. At least now he will know better than to hand out his Digivice no matter what the reason may be. He’s pretty experienced, but he doesn’t have a lot of battle experience since he usually skips that part. I didn’t really care for Henry and he just wasn’t as likable as the other heroes of the past. Terriermon was pretty cool and he was the best from the three Digimon. He always knew when it was time to win and he could definitely hold his own in a fight. He was pretty cool and never backed down from a fight. That’s something that I won’t forget! Terriermon may have thought he was tougher than he actually was, but the idea that he could win is the important part.
Ryo is a tamer who came into the show during the final episodes. This guy was more experienced than the original three tamers combined and he was also the most skilled. Not even Rika could defeat him in the card game as he became the Digimon King. Ryo uses Cyberdramon and together they make a pretty deadly combination. He’s the best character in the show and it’s easy to see why. He basically takes the whole thing in stride and acts like how Tai probably would have if he were here. He also gets a pretty intense Mega form as well. He was a solid addition to the team and it makes me wish that he had come around a little sooner. This guy could have definitely used some more screen time. His Digimon partner is also pretty cool and he’s always ready for a fight. He reminds me of Black War Greymon and that’s definitely a good thing.
After those characters, there were other kids who tried to help in the ultimate fight against the villains. Jeri was a classmate of Takato and she used to be a pretty chipper character. After a traumatic event happens, she becomes sad and shuts herself off from the world for essentially the rest of the series. It can get a little tiring as she makes things a lot tougher for the heroes and was not strong enough to give the D Reaper a good fight. She definitely has the most traumatic history from the main characters, but I’m pretty sure that Tai or Davis would have tried to do something about it. There may not be anything that can be done, but they would still find a way. If Takato can turn a piece of paper into a Digimon, there is always hope.
We also have Kenta and Kazu who are basically around…to be around. They don’t really add anything to the show and there isn’t much of a point to really have them around. They provide the playful banter and try to keep the atmosphere light, but it’s not a very significant job. Kenta is the guy that Kazu messes around with a lot, but they’re still good friends deep down. Kenta gets his own Digimon by the end of the series, but he doesn’t really try to fight the D Reaper anyway. The Digimon is usually there for support and epicness. Kazu is more of a leader and aside from the fact that he was scared along with Kenta when Takato got a Digimon, he’s more of a decent character. I can’t really say that I care for him overall, but he’s a decent fighter. He tries his best and that’s what counts in the end I suppose. He ends up with a pretty weak Digimon which limits his fighting capabilities.
Suzie also gets a decent role as she helps to remind the other kids that they’re not the only ones who can put up a good fight. That being said, she is far too young to be a Digidestined and I don’t think that she should have been chosen. More often than not, she’s just a hindrance in battle and she really has no idea on how to fight. She’s not quite as motivated as the others and she doesn’t really realize the gravity of the situation. I think that she would make a wonderful Tamer if they had just let her train for a few more years.
Alice is a mysterious figure who appears during the final episodes of the series. She comes in with Dobermon to save the heroes and let them unlock their full potential. After saving them, she left and vanished back to where she had come from. She is shrouded in mystery and it would be interesting to get an OVA about her adventures and what happened along the way. Could it be that she’s stronger than she lets on? She seemed to be pretty experienced as she fought alongside Dobermon against D Reaper agents.
Yamaki is the leader of the Government squad that is dedicated to defeating Digimon once and for all. He starts out as one of the big villains who wants to defeat Digimon no matter what and he uses very extreme methods to get the job done. He was essentially another Light Yagami who thought that what he was doing was right. Luckily he turned over a new leaf and realized that Digimon can actually be pretty cool. Unfortunately his character development is arguably crushed in the final episode and makes him do a complete 360 which changes his character a lot. He’s a pretty fun character to watch and he tends to get the better of whoever he is talking too, but he also loses a lot. It’s a win/lose situation and you’ll either like him or you won’t.
One of the worst characters in the show is definitely Janyu. Janyu tries to get away from the whole Digimon business, but he’s quickly drawn back in and forced to make the “tough” calls. He chooses to make the call that banishes some people to another world from which they have no hope of returning. It’s supposed to be Heroic, but I couldn’t agree with the move at all and it just made him look like the next big villain. I had to take a few steps back myself as I realized the dire consequences of it all. Janyu is definitely not a character to look forward too and I didn’t like him even before the big decision.
Shibumi is another character that you can write off as an unlikable fellow. He talks a really good game and he is able to travel between worlds with ease which makes him look pretty cool. Unfortunately, those stunts don’t tend to impress me and I have to say that he could have looked better. He was purposely vague for a lot of the show and he knew a lot more about Digimon than he should have. It just wasn’t right!
Impmon is one of the bigger characters in the series and he has a lot of hardcore moments. He is another character who starts off as a villain and then sees the light. He wasn’t completely evil at first, but power quickly consumed him and brought him over to the dark side. While he was evil, Impmon had a pretty big fight with Gallantmon and he showed that he was one of the strongest Digimon in the Digital World. Once he turned good, Impmon continued to gain new abilities and he could defeat just about anyone. He was a pretty fun character to have around and he was one of the best members of the supporting cast.
Calumon is around for the majority of the series and he’s not someone to be trifled with. He is pretty oblivious to everything around him and he just liked to have fun. He is able to outsmart Mega Level Digimon which is a pretty good feat, but he’s not really any good in a fight. I don’t really mind the character, but he doesn’t really add anything to the show either. He’s just around.
Leomon is around, but he never really got the chance to be likable in this show. He put up a pretty good fight as per usual, but it was still hard to take him seriously. He’s only a Champion level, but he’s always hyped to such incredible levels that it’s a little scary. He really shouldn’t stand a chance against such powerful competition. He’s not an awful character, but not a really likable one either.
The D Reaper is the final boss of the series and he’s a being of unimaginable power. Some have said that he may even be a Universe Buster depending on how deeply you look at the episodes. While I’m not sure about that, he’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. The D Reaper is essentially a giant blob of goop that consumes everything that it touches. That doesn’t really sound impressive at first because you can just keep on blasting it while avoiding the goop. The Chunk could probably outrun the goop and that’s saying something! Well, the D Reaper is far more than just a giant blob of goop. The D Reaper has many forms and it can assimilate Digimon and use their abilities.
The D Reaper has a bunch of puppet creatures that it can shoot out to overwhelm weaker Digimon and it even has Sentries that can deal with Mega level Digimon. Justimon had a tough time and he was only fighting one of them! The D Reaper assimilated Jerry and created an evil clone of her that should not be underestimated by any means. Finally, the D Reaper also showed off its master form and it’s huge! That’s not necessarily a good thing, but it looked pretty cool and that’s what counts. It was a solid way to show off its power. The D Reaper may not really have much of a personality as it just wants to delete and find out the meaning of emotion, but it was a decent final boss. Beelzemon may have been a better final boss, but this was a way for Humans and Digimon to team up!
The Animation in this series was a large step up from the previous seasons. I’m not sure why, but the animation was just big improvement and also looks better than season 4’s animation. This one felt a lot more modern and like it could be a 2000’s anime while the others were more dated. The animation boost also meant that we could finally have some hand to hand fights like Gallantmon vs Beelzemon. That was definitely a big bonus and helped the season big time.
The Soundtrack is also top notch. I didn’t think that it would be possible to top season one’s themes, but this season managed to pull it off. The Digivolution theme is really intense and one of the best themes out there. The Biomerge theme isn’t that good, but it can be overlooked since the other forms were all pretty intense. The show used a lot of the same music as the 90’s Avengers show which was pretty interesting and very nostalgic. That’s how you win the fans over!
Continuity wise, you can make a lot of cases for the show. Personally, I would say that it takes place during or after Season 2. Basically, the fact that everyone could basically have a Digimon was a threat to the status quo so the Government decided to get rid of them. It’s pretty dark, but they must have tried to eradicate the Digidestined as well. I doubt that they would succeed so I like to think that Tai and friends are duking it out in another part of the Digital World. At least we know that Omnimon is okay so that’s a start. I would have liked some cameos from the first two seasons, but maybe next time.
Digimon Adventure has been my favorite season for a long time, but it has finally been surpassed. Digimon Tamers is just That good. It’s pretty different from the first season as its a lot darker and there’s more drama. The characters don’t take things in stride as much as the original main characters, but they’re decent in their own right. The show didn’t suffer from any bad insert songs like Season 2 and we got more high speed action. The animation also gave it a bit of an edge.
If I had to name a negative for the show, it would be the amount of drama. During the D Reaper arc, they definitely add a lot of it and it can be a little overdone. The series was actually similar to the first two seasons in tone during the earlier part of the series with the first few Devas. Things got more emotional once they went into the Digital World and during the D Reaper part. The Tamers also don’t look good since they actually give up at certain points and seem to lose their drive to win. The show could have used a little of the light atmosphere from the first two seasons during the climax with the D Reaper. The Tamers lacked the strength of heart and the determination that the older generations had and it would have helped a lot in the climax. Still, aside from some of the characters and the drama, there really isn’t much to negatives to mention in this show. There is a rushed romance between Rika and Takato that doesn’t really go anywhere and is just there for the lolz, but you can ignore it. You may not even count it since it’s only a few lines on it.
Overall this was a pretty solid show and actually one of the all time greats. In the end, it actually managed to surpass the original two seasons. That was pretty impressive and this show is well rounded. It is pretty good to great in all areas and there aren’t really many negatives about the show. I recommend it to people who like to see some good action, watch a 90’s feeling anime, or just like Digimon and Pokemon. You won’t regret it and the soundtrack/animation also make it worth your while. I wonder if Season 4 can match up to this one.