Takuya Kanbara is an average city kid who one day gets a text message from an unknown source instructing him to board a train "towards his destiny". Taking up the Call to Adventure, he finds the train in question and is whisked off to the Digital World, which is currently under threat from the malevolent Cherubimon. Cherubimon and his minions are consuming the very building blocks of the Digital World (its "Fractal Code") to increase their own power, and if nothing is done then the entire Digital World will be devoured.All is not lost, however. Takuya and the other "chosen" children who boarded the train inherit the power of the Ten Legendary Warriors that saved the Digital World in the distant past, allowing them to transform themselves into Digimon. With their new powers, they fight to take back the stolen Fractal Code and restore the fractured Digital World to its former glory.The fourth anime series in the Digimon franchise, following Digimon Tamers, and basically the antithesis of its predecessor. While it does have its share of dramatic, intense, and introspective moments, it is light-hearted, fun and often childish.While not necessarily bad, the series was heavily criticised for basically discarding the Mons concept in favour of a safer, more marketable Henshin Hero gimmick, and suffered in the ratings for it. The lack of popularity forced the ''Digimon'' franchise onto hiatus for three years, eventually resurfacing with Digimon Savers.
Cherubimon doesn't die until we've already learned that he's not responsible for what happened to him. He was corrupted by forces outside his control
A minor one involving Cherubimon is when Ophanimon offers to turn him good again. You can easily tell he wants it to work, so he draws in close... and, as it turns out, not only is he too corrupted for it to work, but Ophanimon also uses the chance to steal back the D-tecters-and that's if you don't assume that she was lying just to get them.
There wasn't much to Arbormon besides being a Dumb MuscleVillainous Glutton, but his death at the hands of Duskmon did have a twinge of tragedy to it, as he seemed to genuinely believe the other Evil Warriors (including Duskmon) were his friends, being completely oblivious to the fact that none of them really cared all that much for him.
Arbormon: A friend in need is a friend indeed, right?
Alien Sky: The Digital World has three moons of different colors, but that has nothing on Sakkakumon's internal environments. The skies all have a palette-swapped swirly pattern. Even the relatively normal-looking area where Zoe defeats Ranamon has clouds that form that pattern.
Alleged Lookalikes: People marvel at the near-identical Koji and Koichi, who like Kagome and Kikyo, don't particularly resemble beyond the things everyone has in common due to having the same art style (meaning they resemble about as much as any one person resembles anyone else with the same hair color.) Maybe you could handwave the totally different skintones as one spending more time in the sun than the other. (It leads up to their being revealed as each other's long-lost twin. Fraternal twins do exist, but again, we get "they look exactly alike!" Once an Episode.)
Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The English dub uses a completely new theme song, and while it's different from the Japanese version, it brings a whole different feel from the rap song that was used for the previous seasons.
Batman Gambit: Mercuremon pulls off an impressive one roughly halfway through the series, during the Sakkakumon arc. May also qualify for Xanatos Gambit, because if the kids get killed inside Sakkakumon, he wins. If they win, he still does... what he ended up doing.
Bazaar of the Bizarre: Episode 17, from beginning to end. The dub title copies the trope name, almost verbatim.
BFS: Susanoomon's Heavenly Wings Slashnote 天羽々斬, Ama no Habakiri attack (Celestial Blade in the dub) involves a MASSIVE sword-gun thing appearing in his hands, followed by an equally massive holy energy beam coming out of it, effectively becoming a humongous lightsaber that does Lucemon Chaos Mode in one swing, and in the final battle, the dragon that protects Lucemon Larva in one swing. Beowolfmon's Beo Sabre should definitely count also.
Bishonen Line: deliberately invoked, at least in reverse, with the new evolution system. (Which is immediately spun into a Running Gag for Ranamon.) Takuya and Kouji in particular cross back over the line at Mega/Ultimate level.
Bittersweet Ending: Par for course, though has to be the least bitter ending of the bunch, as the heroes don't have Digimon partners to have torn from them. They still have to leave the Digital World and all their friends there behind, however.
If we count the legendary warrior spirits, then they actually do have Digimon partners. Cue the waterworks.
Bond Villain Stupidity: Ranamon has two great opportunities to attack the kids while they are unable to Spirit Evolve in episodes 15 and 16. Instead, she wastes half her time bragging and the other half of her time being whisked off by her own Beast Spirit's spinning attack.
Book Ends: Though it didn't end up being the last season, Frontier appeared to be for a while. In the last episode, Susanoomon declares "AND SO, IT ENDS!" just before dealing the final blow, which parallels the dub name for the first episode of Digimon Adventure. Furthermore, the last shot of the episode has the caption "The End," rather than "To Be Continued" as it had for all the episodes of the show's US run.
The dub's episode naming had this as well; the first episode was entitled "All Aboard" while the final episode's name was "End of the Line".
Most of the digimon the Digidestined fight due to Lucemon's corrupting influences/viruses, most notably his direct corruption and mind control over Cherubimon).
Breather Episode: The Man in the Moon is You, comes right after the defeat of Cherubimon and the first battle with the royal knights and right before the last arc of the series. This episode mostly consists of comic antics as the digidestined try to escape the moon and get back to the digital world. Notable events include Metalkabuterimon shooting Agunimon out of the cannon on his head.
Call Back: The series has its own completely unique soundtrack and doesn't reuse from previous series... except for one or two instances which fall under this trope. When Patamon is born, they play "Victory ~Theme of Good #2~", a lighthearted track from the Digimon Adventure soundtrack as an obvious callback to Patamon's role back then.
It also repurposes Locomon's theme from the second Tamers movie, Runaway Digimon Express, for the various Trailmon in the series.
The dub version will also use a snatch of music or two from Tamers when appropriate, just as Tamers borrowed the "Digi-armor, energize!" music from 02 now and again.
Channel Hop: Because of the fact that Disney bought out Fox Kids/Saban a year prior, this one ended up airing on ABC Family and in the last season of Disney's weekday/Sunday block on UPN stations, "Disney's One Too" (a spinoff of One Saturday Morning over on ABC), though by this time it had dropped that name. (It likely didn't get onto ABC because Power Rangers was already on there, and it didn't make sense to have both former big Saban franchises on one network.), and it didn't air at all in the UK.
Cheaters Never Prosper: ShadowWereGarurumon and Doggymon in episode 18. Unusually, they cheat quite openly and yet never get disqualified for it, but their dirty cheating habits annoy Takuya to the point where he ends up fighting them fist-to-fist on top of the Trailmon in a Traintop Battle.
Conservation of Competence: Most Digimon series have this to an extent, but in Frontier it becomes so strong in the back half of the series that four of the six main characters are rendered completely useless in combat until the climax of the final episode.
Cross Counter: Episode 7 has Takuya and Kouji defeat a group of ShadowToyAgumon by making them do this after they've combined into a pair of Humongous Mecha.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The Royal Knights arc can be described as follows: 1) The Royal Knights target an area to absorb its data. 2) The heroes try to stop them. 3) The heroes lose. Badly. 4) Wash, rinse, repeat until Lucemon is freed. The series will Never Live It Down.
Lucemon against EmperorGreymon and MagnaGarurumon, they don't have a chance. Every time Susanoomon shows up however, Lucemon is the one that gets beaten very badly, usually by 1 single attack on each form (the final form has 2 separate Digimon, so two attacks there).
Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The dub adds some lines that say that Koji has problems getting along with his stepmother because "it hurt so much when Mom died", with the distinct implication that he was there to see it. As later episodes prove, this is clearly incorrect because not only is she not dead, but also if he had been around to ever see his biological mother he would have remembered Koichi, and it's established clearly that the two did not know each other existed. Particularly egregious about this is that the living proof of this contradiction (Koichi) appears in the very same episode.
Dub Name Change: While every dub of Digimon has this happen, this show's dub use of the trope was just plain ridiculous in how much was changed. An example of this is that almost all of the children's Digimon forms name were changed, sometimes pointlessly so (Wolfmon became Lobomon in the dub, for instance).
The dub also changes "DigiCode" to "Fractal Code". It's possible that this was changed in order to differentiate it from the Digimon franchise's Cypher Language known as DigiCode, which in Japanese is デジ文字 (literally translated as Digi-Letters) rather than デジコード ("DigiCode" written phonetically).
Failure Hero: All of the heroes are turned into this during the Royal Knights saga.
Fantasy Kitchen Sink: While Tamers really started the push to start bringing mythology in, incorporating the Four Gods and the Chinese Zodiac, Frontier turned west for its Digimon. Takuya's various Hybrids are derived from Hindu mythology; Garmmon is Garmr, the guardian of Hell alongside Hrelsvelgr (who you might know as Velgrmon); Shutumon is based on a Sumerian god of wind (and illness and pestilence); Blizzarmon is very likely a Norse Berserker (short version: legendary bear-coat warriors); and Bolgmon is named for the proto-Celtic god of lightning, though the Digimon's actually associated with Ancient Egypt and scarabs.
Gigasmon is derived from ancient greek giants, Sephorotmon is one huge shout out to the Kabbalah (see Rule of Symbolism below). Koichi, post-reformation adds a lot of Ancient Sphinx derivations, and then there's Susanoomon, named for Susanoo no Mikoto, the ocean god who slow the Orochi. Orochimon doesn't make a significant appearance, however; Susanoomon instead wields a weapon called the "ZERO ARMS: Orochi".
Faux Action Girl: Izumi. She loses her first fight as Kazemon and, well, things hardly improve from that point onwards. She is even Brought Down to Normal for several episodes, forced to watch the male characters fight in her place. The only enemy she manages to defeat on her own is her Arch-Enemy Ranamon in a Designated Girl Fight, and even that's a tough sell. The single positive step in her development is when she acquires her Beast Spirit and gets upgraded to "somewhat effective" as Zephyrmon.
Forgot I Could Fly: Izumi in "A Molehill Out of a Mountain". She is as scared of falling as any of the others, when she could just turn into Kazemon and fly up.
Similarly, in "The Swiss Family Digimon", Izumi was the only member of the crew who still had her Digivice. Everybody else had their Digivices stolen, and the (non-dangerous) thieves flew to a (non-dangerous) nearby island that's specifically stated to be inaccessible by sea. Rather than just have Izumi fly over to collect the Digivices herself, the crew fusses over trying to find a flying Digimon for a while, then opts to just build a raft.
In the fight against Ice Devimon, you have Kouji and Takuya's digivices frozen. Would have been really useful if one of their teammates had the elemental affinity for ice and could have unfrozen them, huh?
Foreshadowing: When Kouichi talks about how he ended up in the Digital World, he states that he at first thought he had ended up in the afterlife and was a wandering spirit. He may not have ended up in the afterlife...but he wasn't far off.
In the original Japanese, Wolfmon's attacks are all in Gratuitous German. So, interestingly enough, are Duskmon's. Guess why.
Forgotten Phlebotinum: In one episode, Takuya learns that being a legendary warrior also gives him the power to control/predict the weather which he can use to increase his attack strength. After that one episode, it never comes up again.
Inconsistent Dub: Frontier marks the point where Bandai of America simply stopped giving a shit about keeping Digimon consistent. None of the dub supporting material's information about attacks is even remotely consistent with the dub itself for Digimon introduced in Frontier, and even several names are way off!note most egregiously Cherubimon/Kerpymon, Ranamon/Lanamon, Sakkakumon/Sephirothmon, Crusadermon/LordKnightmon The dubbed show itself certainly isn't devoid of problems - it had a chronic habit of mismatching attack names with the correct attack, though it at least had the decency to keep names straight. It's also worth noting that the first episode of the dub had "spirit evolution" called "digivolution," which is the only time the series calls it that.
Internal Homage: A number of minor characters are references to Digimon from previous series. Most apparent in a episode in which the heroes visit a school, consisting of the baby-forms of many main character Digimon from previous series, plus a Tsunomon who can evolve to Gabumon. The dub played this up by having most of the homage characters use their previous voice actors - including one who was a Fusion Dance originally. Gallantmon the store owner - originally a non-speaking role - brought back Steve Blum and Brian Beacock to say "Wish we could help" in the simultaneous voice of Guilmon and Takato.
Oddly enough, when a pack of Gomamon made an appearance, the one obvious reference wasn't made: having R. Martin Klein (who voiced Gomamon in Adventure) reprise the role. Klein had already done a large number of roles in Frontier before the episode, notably a Toucanmon in the same episode that sounded exactly like Gomamon.
Kiai: Dear god, Frontier loved it. Everything involved shitloads of yelling, especially later forms of Spirit Evolution (giving the impression that the process was in fact quite painful). It got to the point where so much yelling was required that Michael Reisz (Takuya) point-blank refused to voice EmperorGreymon for fear of permanently damaging his voice; Dave Wittenberg instead filled in there - where, ironically, almost no shouting was involved.
Leitmotif: All of the human characters have one in the Japanese version, titled "Theme of (character's representative element)". They're actually re-arranged instrumental versions of the characters' respective Image Songs (with the exception of Kouichi, whose Theme of Darkness is a rearrange of Kouji's Theme of Light).
Lethal Chef: Takuya and Koji in the Kitchen Battle episode, their burgers range from stacking every kind of meat imaginable into a patty, to piling seafood up inside the same bun, to, well basically anything that makes everyone at the restaurant feel sick.
Lighter and Softer: The series certainly wasn't complete sunshine and rainbows and did have very dark and introspective moments (especially around Kouichi), but considering that its immediate predecessor was Digimon Tamers and its successor was Digimon Savers... yeah, this was inevitable.
Love Triangle: Takuya <-> Zoey <- J.P. and Cherubimon -> Ophanimon <-> Seraphimon show up with some regularity in canon, and of course Fanon interprets more as existing.
Lower Decks Episode: By the time Takuya and Koji get so overpowered and even gain powers that take the others' powers away, it really felt like this the times the main two were absent or disabled so that the others got to do something.
Lyrical Dissonance: Kouichi's image song is an upbeat, catchy rock song... but it's titled "With Broken Wings" and its lyrics contain things such as "a stray dog without a collar is laughing at me."
To an extent, Blader, the Villain Song from his Duskmon persona. Also catchy and upbeat, among what's featured in the lyrics are doing nothing but fighting and not forgiving anyone.
Meaningful Echo: A three-parter involving Kouji and Kouichi in the original Japanese version.
Kouji: I'm happy I came to this world. I got to meet you and all.
Two episodes after, Kouichi's Famous Last Words as he sacrifices himself to Lucemon and entrusts Kouji with the Spirits of Darkness:
Kouichi: I'm glad I came to the Digital World. I'm glad I could meet you.
And finally, as Kouji returns to the Real World and brings Kouichi back to his body via miracle:
Kouji: Can you hear me? It's Kouji! I came back to meet you, Kouichi!
Kouichi: Kouji...I also wanted to meet you.
Merchandise-Driven: Some criticized the series for appearing notably more so than the previous series. Takuya, Kouji and Kouichi's combined forms, as well as their respective Ancient Digimon, were quite clearly designed as simple amalgamations of their earlier Hybrid forms and thus easily able to be made into toys. Susanoomon, the final hero, was also a visible amalgamation of EmperorGreymon and MagnaGarurumon. Of course, considering Digimon always was based on a toyline to begin with and that the toy necessity otherwise had no effect on the series, the criticism isn't the most valid.
Missed the Call: A group of four kids, including two who bullied Tomoki. They were explicitly told to turn around and go home after the real Chosen were picked out of the masses, but instead of going home, they decided to wander the Digital World and an Angemon had to be sent to protect them.
Near Villain Victory: They're able to completely destroy the world and its three moons before they are stopped. The world gets better.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: In all fairness, this is a Digimon series and a shounen series. In an amusing case, one episode had Takuya realise he could draw strength from the weather... then never used this ability again.
Although it isn't weather, he later uses heat/fire to make his attacks stronger.
No Social Skills: The Digimon Analyzer says that Datamon is "good with machines, but not so good with people."
Older Alter Ego: With the exception of Tomoki's, all of the kids' Human Spirit Digimon forms, along with Takuya and Kouji's Hybrid Spirit Digimon forms, have this effect.
One-Winged Angel: The Double Spirit Evolution, a rare example of the heroes undergoing OWA.
Out-of-Clothes Experience: The transformation sequences involve characters' clothing instantly dissolving, though conveniently reappearing upon turning back. We also get Tamers-esque naked spirit scenes once the kids all become Susanoomon near the end.Barbie Doll Anatomy is thankfully in full play.
Redemption Demotion: After being freed of Cherubimon's mind control and given a pair of proper spirits, Kouichi routinely gets his ass kicked by enemies. This is justified as his victories took place on the continent of Darkness which gave him a field power bonus and his later fights where in a place of great light. Nevertheless, he is rendered useless in combat by Takuya and Kouji's later evolutions but so are the others.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Takuya and Kouji, who of course are associated with red and blue respectively.
Reset Button: The Digital World gets restored after Susanoomon finishes royally pwning Lucemon Satan Mode (the dragon and the Lucemon Larva it's protecting. Also, Kouichi's death (see Dead to Begin With above) also gets reversed when the rest of the Digidestined get sent back to the time when they left, and they hurry to the hospital where Kouichi is dying, before they save him and their digivices turn back into mobile phones. This is is part of the Digivices. Returning the data taken by the Monster of the Week and seeing the area restored stops happening really early on, but after their final victory, the entire world gets the treatment.
Rule of Symbolism: There's alot of pretty clever symbolism present in Sakakkumon, pointed out by this blog. It works pretty well with Mercurymon's Smug Snake hamminess. He's a pretty smart guy and he likes to rub your face in it at every opportunity, and what better way than religious motifs to make him seem deeper than he really is.
The Metal Area where Mercurymon first fights Takuya is in the head, or Keter. Not only is it the obvious home for Mercurymon, the many mirrors strewn about and the tough time Takuya had finding his bearings works well in a world symbolizing things beyond man's comprehension.
The creepy church is Chokhmah, symbolizing divine wisdom, intuitiveness and insight. The church and Seraphimon's presence fit into this picture.
The Darkness Area where Koji and Duskmon duke it out is Tiferet. It means “adornment” and represents balance. Light and dark, giving and receiving, wisdom and emotion all come together here, the sphere that connects to all but one of the others. That could explain its “light on the outside, dark on the inside” portrayal.
The Ice Area where Takuya battles Ice Leomon is Gevurah, meaning Strength. It's the judgment sphere, where even a usual good guy like Leomon has to face Takuya's wrath.
The Earth Area JP finds himself in is called Yesod, meaning “foundation.” Basically, it does the dirty work of collecting the energies from other spheres and making something tangible out of them. JP having to balance himself and his shadow in order to discern reality would be the symbolism here, as does making earth the dominant element.
The Flame Area is Binah, which represents understanding. While the top right sphere is a sort of divine wisdom, the top left here is rationality and common sense. Tommy figuring out what his brother has been trying to tell him fits well here.
Koji goes to the Wind Area Hod. It represents majesty and, to borrow a page from the landscape, seeing the forest from the trees. In order to get stronger, Koji needs to learn to rely on his friends. Someone has to tell him that first.
Zoe's epic final battle with Ranamon takes place in Netzach, the victory sphere. It's about having the tenacity to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals. Pretty self-explanatory.
Takuya and JP's pit stops are in the Chesed and Malchut sphere, representing kindness and the physical world respectively. Um... also self-explanatory!
The Sacred Darkness: The element of darkness enjoys the same sanctity and importance as the other nine. Kouichi's purified spirits resemble a heroic Black Knight instead of a demonic one.
Sacrificial Lion: Even if he isn't a Leomon, Kouichi's forms are lions and thus he is still considered to carry on the tradition. In Japan, JagerLowemon's name is KaiserLeomon; while he was not in this form when he died, this is typically counted as yet another victim claimed by the Leomon curse. Also, IceLeomon, a Monster of the Week; Agunimon suspected that he was being controlled by Sakkakumon and thus had to destroy him. However, as no digi-egg was left behind, it seems likely that he was not a real Digimon to begin with ( much like the Mercurymon they fought at the end of that arc proved to be, as the real Mercurymon was himself Sakkakumon and had a lot of fight left in him.)
Sailor Earth: Most of the time, they are created to either fill in the roles of the keepers of the remaining four spirits, or give the series more girls so Zoe isn't alone.
In the German Dub, Seraphimon, Cherubimon and Lucemon became all female like Ophanimon. Oddly enough, since Ophanimon, Cherubimon and Seraphimon's Rookie level forms got voice actors from previous season who played the same digimon, Patamon is male.
Ship Tease: Takuya/Izumi, Kouji/Izumi, and Junpei/Izumi all had their moments.
In the English dub, a Candlemon village leader invites the kids to "please, be our guest!"
At the time of the original airing, Disney owned Digimon's dubbing rights.
A lightsabre-wielding hero duels with a villain in black armour wielding a red sword, which is followed by a certain revelation...
Possibly Sorcerermon to Gandalf the White, considering that's he basically Wizardmon, but only in brighter, whiter clothes and has a cool staff. Considering like Gandalf that Wizardmon sacrificed himself to save his friends, and has links to angels, its only fitting.
In Izumi's Flashback in Episode 8, she is seen reading a book called "Prince of Star" which is the Japanese title of The Little Prince
There's also the terminology question of "Rose Morning Star" or "Venus Rose" for Bara no Myoujou. (The dub goes with the former, and is probably a more accurate translation, but the part of the fandom that follows the Japanese version has latched onto the latter.)
Spoiler Opening: The series' second Japanese ending is one of the franchise's most notable examples. It begun playing at the end of the episode revealing Duskmon is a human, and showed Kouichi as a member of the group, his natural Darkness Human and Beast forms AND Takuya and Kouji's new D-Scan designs that were not introduced for another 8 episodes!
Ironically,another opening averts this; most Digimon series had openings that, once a new member of the core cast was introduced, would change to show the new member, but Frontier's opening never changes even after Kouichi joins.
Stock Footage: The spirit evolution sequences, which are reused and almost never edited down; par for the course with Digimon. Another use of Stock Footage also caused continuity problems in the last episode. When the children are about to Spirit Evolve together into Susanoomon, all of them raise their D-Tectors, and the screens glow. This was reused footage from an earlier episode. It wouldn't be a problem or even a noticeable issue if it weren't for the fact that the reused footage contained Kouichi's raised D-Tector as well, making the total of raised Digivices into 6 rather than 5, and the fact that Kouichi was "killed off" two episodes ago. Though one could argue that Kouichi was still with them "in spirit" so to speak.
Several variations of a montage of the four other children contributing their spirits so Kouji and Takuya could Hyper Spirit Evolve was reused for a couple of episodes during the Royal Knights arc.
Transformation Trinket: D-tectors and Spirits, such that when Gigasmon steals the Kazemon and Kumamon spirits, or the Toucanmon steal their D-Tectors, the kids concerned (which at one point is everyone except Izumi) swiftly become The Load to their comrades and worry about it.
Unwitting Pawn: A lot of characters turn out to be this during the Sakkakumon and Cherubimon arc. It's implied during Agnimon's fight with IceLeomon that even the enemies the kids face in Sakkakumon are being controlled or manipulated by Mercuremon.
Weirdness Censor: Demonstrated with this rather brilliant quote from the final episode:
News Announcer: The disturbance was apparently the result of an electrical discharge. When asked why an electrical discharge looked like a giant dragon, the city spokesperson said "That's what electrical discharges do."
What Could Have Been: The first character design sketches released in V-Jump showed some of the characters with different color schemes. Additionally, Kouji was originally going to sport long, black slacks instead of the grey capri sweatpants he eventually dons in the show. One of the fanbooks reports that Kouji was originally going to be a female character, an idea that was presumably discarded because the previous season also had a female lone wolf.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Arbormon loses his beast spirit to Wolfmon. According to Duskmon, that makes him useless to the evil legendary warriors. Duskmon then disposes of him, giving the horrified kids a taste of what to expect in the following Wham Episode.
You Shall Not Pass: Sorcermon in episode 13, to hold off the Dark Legendary Warriors and buy the kids time to escape.