July 19th, 2011

Firechick's Anime Reviews: Digimon Tamers


I give this awesome kids show a 92/100!

In my early childhood years, I watched two anime: Pokemon and Digimon. Those were the only anime I've been exposed to, and then my love for anime totally expanded and exploded once I "discovered" what it really was. Digimon is one of those anime, and currently it has six series. Sure, the first season was good because it was the first and sure the 4th season has Crispin Freeman and stuff, but strangely enough the Japanese versions of both Pokemon and Digimon have become IMPOSSIBLE to find!...well, mostly for Pokemon, but not anymore for Digimon! The only Digimon series I finished in Japanese is Digimon Savers, which was awesome. But my favorite season of Digimon HAS to be Digimon Tamers (and apparently a lot of other people agree with me). This morning I just finished watching the Japanese version of this on Hulu (Yay!) and I'm glad to say...it's as wonderful now as it was back then!

So basically the story's about three children: Takako, a cheerful and friendly boy who loves Digimon and has the imagination the size of my brain, Henry, the biracial boy who's quiet and good-natured, and Rika, the no-nonsense girl who solely believes Digimon are meant to fight and nothing more. By fate, all three of them receive Digimon (Well, in Takato's case, he CREATES one): Guilmon, an innocent and funny looking dinosaur, Terriermon, the cute and adorable floppy eared rabbit who says Mouh Mahn Tai a lot, and Renamon, the beautiful and elegant but fierce fox creature. Soon, Digimon start appearing in the real world when they're not supposed to be, and these three tamers have to make sure they don't cause any trouble. What doesn't help is that a secret government agency is trying to get rid of all Digimon in order to keep the world safe, but their methods are rather unorthodox and it only creates more problems.

In terms of the animation, this is a 51 episode anime and animation is normally not very consistent when it comes to that number of episodes. Thankfully, even for 2001 standards, this anime manages to avoid that pitfall (though with a few animation errors here and there, but they're relatively small) and is consistent throughout it's entire run. Though you have to admit the 3D effects for the second-tier digivolutions are a bit choppy. Well, it WAS 2001 after all, so I can forgive them. The soundtrack...is a bit of a mixed bag. It doesn't sound like it has more than 10 pieces of BGM. Some of it's nice and jazzy while some are totally epic, but the epic ones are usually the insert songs, and this anime uses a LOT of them, which isn't a bad thing, though there's a limit to how many times you should play insert songs in one episode (and throughout the entire series at that).

The thing I love the MOST about Digimon Tamers are the characters! Yes, I say this a lot, but I'm usually serious, and here I AM serious! These characters are just awesome! Takato's not your average male lead who screams and boasts about everything every three seconds. Rather, he's a creative and artistic soul who loves doing what he does and is basically a normal kid, which is pretty refreshing in a world full of anime stereotypes. Henry's quiet and somewhat stoic at times, but he's kind, smart, and keeps his cool when needed, and he's responsible too. What I like most about him is that he truly believes that just because Digimon fight in a game, it doesn't mean they have to do it in real life too. Rika doesn't share this opinion at first. She believes that a Digimon's sole purpose is to fight and nothing else. Thankfully, she grows out of this thought later on in the show. Of course, one thing I need to confirm here is that my rating for this show is ENTIRELY personal. I mostly love Tamers because so many of my all-time favorite Digimon are in this series! Like Lopmon (my all-time favorite! Squee!), Terriermon, Calumon, and MarineAngemon! They're my favorite Digimon, and this series made me like them! Yes, I know it sounds silly and yes I was exposed to the English dub of this show when I was a kid, but I clearly remember it well (especially Lopmon and Impmon's voices!). And speaking of Impmon's voice...UGH!!! I ABSOLUTELY HATED HIS JAPANESE VOICE!!! I love Hiroki Takahashi and all (especially as Beelzemon), but...my God, Impmon sounds like he got stoned after he smoked a million packets of meth! I honestly feel Derek Stephen Prince did a WAAAAAAAAAY better job as Impmon than Hiroki Takahashi did. Forgive me, but that's my opinion. Plus, I didn't mind that they changed Lopmon to a girl. In fact, I kinda really liked this change. It kinda makes more sense, doesn't it? Plus I LOVE Michelle Ruff's voice for her. She sounds so polite and lady-like and I love it a lot! Anyway, the thing that surprised me the most about this show? The villains. In this series you don't have an evil Digimon who's evil and wants to destroy both worlds just for the sake of being evil. Heck, there are like NO evil Digimon in this series! At first the villains are the secret government agency who believe the world's fine without Digimon and wants to get rid of them. They're not really EVIL, per se. They're just normal people who don't really understand why Digimon truly exist and think they'll do more harm than good. Thankfully their opinions change and they become allies. The TRUE villain is actually a computer program that has evolved along with the humans and the Digimon. That's pretty awesome, isn't it?

But the main reason why Tamers is so famous among Digimon fans is pretty simple: the undeniably dark tone of the show. It's not Madoka Magica dark, but it's much darker than the other shows and doesn't pull punches, especially when it comes to death (in this Digimon universe, Digimon REALLY die and they don't get turned into DigiEggs), and sometimes it can get pretty durned scary. I don't remember how my little child self reacted when I saw those particularly scary scenes, but I do remember them well. Another reason it's so dark is because Chiaki Konaka, the scriptwriter for Serial Experiments Lain (which is supposedly even darker, though I am NOT watching it!) was involved with the series' composition. Why would you give someone who writes dark stories a children's show? Who knows? Maybe it was to show that there's no such thing as a totally totally happy happy joy joy universe and that people always go through hardship in a myriad of forms, but there's still hope for a happy outcome. Oh! In case anyone's wondering, this season is why I'm writing my Digimon fan fic! It's my inspiration!

All in all, Tamers is undeniably the best season of Digimon and is totally awesome as heck! Now if only someone would release it (and the other Digimon series) on DVD already!