Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Digimon Marathon: Digimon Tamers: Dark reboots before they were cool

It's not often you see the same team do a darker reimagining of their own idea. "You thought Adventure and Zero Two was to cheerful, well, time we hit you in the feels". It's a brand new world, new Digi Destined and the kid friendly version of hacking. Time for the Tamers to take the lead.

In this new world, "Wild ones" are escaping the Digital World, each one stronger then the last. A Government organization called Hypnos does all that it can to stop them, including a program to suck all the Digimon back into the Digital World, but the three new Digi Destined, Takato, Henry and Rika often end up doing the job better. As the plot progresses, the Digimon Sovereign starts sending Deva's into the Digital World to try and capture a Digimon called Calumon, who has the power to activate Digivolution. Later still, it is revealed to be because of a program called the D-Reaper, a "fail safe" created by the original developers of the Digital World who were trying to create digital life, starts trying to destroy the Digital World and the Human world. The plot structure is similar to that of Adventure and Zero Two, but each arc builds on the other up until the grand finale that is the D-Reaper. Unlike Adventure and Zero Two though, each arc affects the next one and several minor plot points become the catalyst of the next arc. One of which is the most well known moment in the series and arguably the entire franchise. Nothing I say can do this moment justice, just watch these episodes

Digimon Tamers Episode 34: Lionheart

Digimon Tamers Episode 35: Give a Little Bit

One thing I should mention, the reason why these moments are so important. In Adventure and Zero Two, along with the films, it was established that once a Digimon "dies", their data gets re-formatted and they get reborn. Now for a children's show, that's normal. Tamers doesn't establish that, in fact that they establish the opposite. Once a Digimon dies in Tamers, they're dead, they ain't coming back. So this is, for the first time in the anime for the franchise (I'm also willing to say first time period, but I could be wrong with that) that a Digi Destined's Digimon dies. As for Takato's behavior, what has actually been established before this. Digivolution can actually be affected by the emotions of the Digimon's Partner, and if a Digimon is forced into Digivolution like that, you get something like that. Now why is this so important, because that's the catalyst that leads into the D-Reaper arc and the nightmare fuel that comes with it. Call it sick, but I actually like the change that they did with the rebirth. It adds a sense of risk into the conflicts, it makes the emotions the Tamers feel more genuine, which I like as it helps with their characters. If you think that's bad, it gets worse. The entire final arc has a focus on depression and rarely knows when to cheer up. The D-Reaper is akin to something like Cathulu in terms of foreboding presence and even the finale ends on a pretty sour note except for the last few seconds. To the MLP fans that read these, imagine Sombra with better execution and up there on the creepy and unnerving factor and you have the D-Reaper in a nutshell.
"Pit, I'm getting you out of there!"

With a plot like this, to me its a crime to spoil the characters, I think they're really well done, practically perfect (Suzie being the exception, not a fan). The plot mostly focuses on Takato, Henry and Rika, along with their Digimon Guilmon, Terriermon and Renamon for most of the season, only bringing the other characters in later on. Even still, all the major characters get development time, giving us a cast of unique and interesting characters. I know this seems like a cop out, but I just can't do it.
Anyone hungry for pork?

My only fault with the season is the soundtrack, or to me, lack there of. Aside from the main theme and the Digivolution theme, which is just a remix of the main theme, I cannot for the life of me remember a single track, and I just finished watching it for this review. The art style is the same, but with a greater emphasis on lighting this time. There are a lot of times where the setting is at night, sunrise and sunset and the red glow the D-reaper has is beautiful... creepy, but beautiful.
Screw your missiles, I'm an abomination

I have to make this clear, you're meant to feel sorry for these characters, the story has a dark tone and it only gets worse as the series progresses, while this isn't the first death in the franchise, I do argue that this has a much greater impact then the death of Wizzardmon and Leomon in Adventure did (golden rule, if there's a Leomon of any kind, don't get attached to it, it's there to die). Tamers isn't for everyone and I can respect that people won't like it because of its very dark tones. If you like this sort of story, you're going to love Tamers, if you don't then you're going to hate it. Give it a look if you're curious, but be ready for MANY stabs at the feels. Up next though, we have another movie! Digimon Tamers: Battle of Adventurers
You can't just give us a happy ending can you?

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