Reviews: Digimon Tamers
I wanted so much to like it...
But I couldn't. I'm sorry. I must admit, it was a good idea and was interesting at times. The one thing I couldn't stand were the characters. I honestly didn't mind any of them- at first. Then Rika came along. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but Rika was perhaps the most annoying girl in any Digimon series. Sure, she gets better and less absolutely intolerable, but I was not willing to wait that long. Wait just for what? To see a little ten-year-old girl getting mind raped? Many like it for being dark, which makes me laugh. What, the other seasons were all nice? Nothing bad ever happened there? They also say how brilliant this season is because of all the research, which makes me wonder if they ever saw an episode of the second season. Also, on the characters again: They all soon became annoying. I couldn't stand them. They turned what could have been a very good Mons series into something I really couldn't take. Above that, though, it was boring. The first few episodes were very frustrating to watch. I wanted to be able to like it, but I just found myself waiting to see if anything actually happened before this episode was over. So, in short: It was a good idea, but it was ruined by the characters and how dull it was.
My favorite season
Pros: - Great character development. Takato is not a Taichi clone (and by this I mean Hotblooded, impulsive, etc.). He's your everyday kid who happens to be a fanboy of Digimon. Like every ten year old kid, he was a bit of a coward but becomes stronger in the end, evolving with his digimon partner. The other two leads are great as well, and the way they're characterized you feel like you know them in the end. It takes place mostly in the real world and because we get to see the kids with their friends and parents, we get to know them better. We have the BEST digimon partners in any season, period. And by that I mean they are actually characters with their own personalities and are not BOUND to like their Tamers mindlessly, unlike 01 and 02. And need I mention... Impmon... Digimon are usually NOT good characters in this franchise. Impmon ranks among the best CHARACTERS in Digimon, not just the best DIGIMON character. - Plot: Personally I find Savers has a more exciting plot, but that series turned out to have shitty character development. Sometimes that just makes you feel like a fiction can't have both a good plot and good character development. Not so here. The way Digimon is explained, the way adults are involved, and how well the rules of the universe is set out (and also how the plot unfolds) are all masterfully done. - Darker and Edgier... But not in the usual sense. If you want death and destruction, Digimon has it all. Tamers is a kids show that dares to explore deeper issues (and the ones I personally have been asking ever since I started Digimon), like why should Renamon be Ruki's partner? What is fate and how do we deal with the past? What does it mean to evolve or mature? And it has something for adults too, considering how deeply it delves into the history of computing. There are definitely things only adults can understand. Cons: - Unnecessary side characters. Shuichon, Kenta, Kazu. Ryo as well. Personally, it's perfectly in keeping with Digimon tradition to have a sixth ranger, but only in TAMERS do we get one who is so wholly uninteresting and hogs the spotlight like a glutton. But in summary: Intelligent plot, difficult concepts, fascinating, relatable and realistic characters (who DON'T have broken power levels) all make Tamers my favorite Digimon season.
Ambitious attempt at maturity for kids
If nothing else, Digimon Tamers is hands down the most mature title in the franchise. The three main characters are more nuanced, and feel like real 10 year old kids. Their characterization is subtle, and the way they change is not overly pronounced or given to "character of the day" format. The little moments they have, as they learn to cope with what "evolution" (read: growing up) really means, are little, but they are substantial, and serve to make Takato, Jianling, and Ruki my favorite Digimon heroes ever. That serves itself well to the main characters, but while it's admirable, Tamers' maturity is sometimes not as balanced as it could be. Most notable is the idea that the Devas are not evil but merely doing what they think is right, and that good and evil is not absolute. It's an interesting moral, but it doesn't work, because only one of the Devas is shown to have any redeeming qualities. If there was more work on differentiating their morality from humans, it might work, but their ultimate purpose is only as monsters of the week. Tamers is pretty much the same as other titles in the franchise as far as production values go—it has animation that ranges from decent to awful, a good soundtrack with AWESOME battle songs, and good voice acting with occasional bouts of greatness (Hiroshi Takahashi's Beelzebumon is a personal favorite). It does however, have probably the greatest fight in the entire franchise with Dukemon and Beelzebumon. All in all, I really like Digimon Tamers and consider it probably the most well-written show in the franchise. That writing sometimes struggles against its nature as a kid's show, but even with its flaws (and Toei's really poor subtitles), it deserves a watch.
Third season,third best,...it's not a Magnum Opus
Digimon Tamers Year:2001 Dub Voices of: Brian Beacock,Dave Wittenberg,Melissa Fahn,Bridgett Hoffman Grade:B+ Okay I'll admit,I gave up on this season very quickly the first time around. Back,then those ten years ago with Digimon Adventure 02 just finished and also having a taste for Pokemon (yeah I'll admit that to),I expected the series to be like Pokemon,same universe for each season,familiar characters all the time. The rules to mostly be the same,so when I found this show did not have TK or Tai or Matt or Izzy or Ken, and apparently,Digimon could be created by anybody's whim,rather than already existing,that already left a bad impression,and then Rika was a Jerk Ass,and then there was Digital World shown,only told,and then half the time the episodes focused on the boring adults,rather than the kids,..so I gave up In hindsight,I wished I had stayed on longer,for then I wouldn't have missed the Character Development they all undergo,especially Impmon,who might arguably be the most developed Digimon character,no question. Giving it a fair trial this time,I found the first few episodes to be a nice Slice Of Life feel,of course it still was formulaic,and focused on Yamaki,but at least I knew what was going on. However it quickly downgraded around the point when Growlmon has to de-digivolve and became as bad as I remembered it,and it didn't really get better until they reached the Digital World. Now I may be in the minority,but I actually like this Digital World a lot,with it's layers system,and how it's very much like a Wild Wild West. But this is also where Impmon really becomes detestable,and then he kills Leomon which also to greatly understate things,upsets Jeri who is also Takato's crush. This is where all the characters except Kazu,Kenta,and Canon Sue Ryu develop And this where the weak points other than taking forever to Grow The Beard begin,uneven characterizations plague much of this arc,and this extends to villains,which truthfully there just aren't any. Sure there's the D-Reaper,but it's an extreme Punch Clock Villain, so indirectly the closest thing is Zhuqiaomon whose hatred of humans indirectly caused Leomon's death,which caused Jeri to despair,which caused D-Reapers gain. But he didn't do much It's superb when it reaches,but it does miss
Slow to Awesome in 34 episodes.
First off, let me say that the first half of Tamers is really boring, the best comparison I can think of is the Royal Knights arc from Frontier. That's not to say there aren't good moments to be had, but just that it seems to go at a snails pace. The turning point is Beelzemon going into action. Once he comes in you get all the action and psychology that was promised. After him things come to fruition and you get a rather unique final villain. The whole ending is well worth it, so even if the beginning is slow please believe me when I say that we weren't lying that this show is awesome. You just need to get through to it.
NOT a typical Mons or Shonen show.
I'll start by saying this: When this series was originally broadcasted, I was one of the "They Changed It Now It Sucks" guys and decided not to watch it. How wrong I was. Over 10 years later, I regained an interest in Digimon, and I can safely say that Tamers is my favorite season; And is also among my favorite Anime series. As for the plot, the series problems aren't resolved within the span of an episode, and for the first 13 episodes, it focuses on the main trio, their lives and their interactions with Digimon ("Are they sentient beings or just tools born to fight?"). In Episode 25, things start to look more "childish" and light. Don't be fooled, though; This is just a set-up for what's about to come. Episode 34 marks a "before" and "after": What was a Slice Of Life with Mons show became a progessively Grim Dark series and a Cosmic Horror Story at the end. The difference between both parts is astounding. While the previous Digimon Series were merely Campbellian “hero's voyage”, the plot of Digimon Tamers is more complex with many plot twists and figures switching sides. While the other series only used computer culture as a mythical backdrop (for example, in the first series, the protagonists had to stop the “evil behind the firewall”), Digimon Tamers uses these elements as important plot elements, and technology becomes an integral part of the fight in the last arc. Also, there's LOTS of reference to the history of computing and programming. The three main characters are all well-developed and you can note how different they are at the start and the end of the series. Takato was a well-developed character. He wasn't your typical Idiot Hero, or an Instant Expert that would solve things by being Hot Blooded and reckless. He started as a normal, sweet boy that most would consider "wimpy" that had to learn toface his fears and be good Tamer. Juri's backstory is just shocking. It is not without it's flaws: The series starts slow, and some characters like Kenta, Xiaochung and, most notably, Ryo, don't get a lot of development. But overall, I found it good and satisfying. Just prepare tissues for the last episode. Tamers is a special series. Although it is aimed at a younger audience, it is very enjoyable. I can only recommend it and let you decide for yourself.
A complete review
Personally, I really liked Digimon Tamers thus I shall indulge in a leghty review, but if you cannot be bothered, please do skip to the conclusion.
Main Tamers is labelled as a kids show, which means the sophisticated style may be unapreciated by most of the target audience (not to mention being dumbed down. I'm looking at you English dub!). Second, it is Digimon. Sadly, most of the Digimon fandom (not as much as today, though) wanted to see the old characters back, and were completely put off with the prospect of "card slashing"._To those who actually watched the season, it is not so much darker and edgier as it is serious, because the characters act like they're 10 (which they are), mistakes, death, etc. are permanent (unlike in many shonen anime) and, by the end, theire maturity is due to massive character development. Many critics deride this, but in reality it makes everything believable (in a MON SHOW!!!). Plotwise, it is as deep as a lake, Pokemon having no depth, the Adventure seasons being as deep as a pool and Serial Experiments Lain beeing as deep as the pacific ocean.It mainly has two speeds: character development or plot advance. There is no filler (unlike freaking Naruto), but at first glance the plot "evolves" slowly which, although not bad by itself, can be dull for some. It is good idea to check the source material, but overall the few Deus Ex Machina are well concealed, all references are real, the ending is both bittersweet and very emotional._With the great plot, came the superb BGM, inspired mainly by jazz, rock and the mandatory electronic music. Not so for the dub, which ruins the mood (I'm holding you responsibe for losing the mon wars, dub!!)._The CG animation is excellent, the background is like a painting, and people are detailed and proportionate, yet the characters move jerkily 95% of the fights. It is especially glaring when compared to the movies (why didn't they blow their budget, like Neon Genesis Evangelion did?)._All characters are interesting, if complex, and I could only wish they had explored Kenta more. Conclusion Tamers is special, truthfully the most mature of "mon shows". I fully recommend it.
Characters with characters, oh, and a great story
The series' main problem is the cast of unbalanced Character Development with the Tamers, which is terrible considering how the past two seasons managed to effectively tell every kid's story. Characters like Kenta and Suzie either get their Digimons haphazardly or mostly shoved into the background with little to add to their background beyond their base personality. Then there's Ryo. I'm aware he stars in his own games (which apparently explains why he came out of nowhere), but his flawless confidence and experience made him an annoying Canon Sue. He was so...sudden. Still, this is my favorite season of Digimon because they took the formula from the first two and twisted it into something different and non-traditional for the franchise. The characters that do get developed are magnificent and likable. Takato isn't a Shonen-ish cocky jackass, he's a sweet and meek kid who grows to be a hero. Henry starts off as a pacifist who realizes he wants to fight for the people he loves. Rika (my favorite character) turns from moody loner who views Digimons as nothing but battlers to a compassionate Team Mom-ish girl. What is most shocking is Jeri's story who meets Leomon in a comedic format before his tragic Heroic Sacrifice opens her depressing past. Some of the Digimon gains development or possess charming personalities that I prefer over the first two: Impmon who creates mischief on humans because of his (unintentional) mishandling from his Tamers, yet secretly missing them regardless, Terrimon's jokey self to Henry's Straight Man, or Guilmon's child-like presence to an exasperated Takato. Heck, even Yamaki, first seemingly a villain turns to be something much less straightforward then I initially believed. Each of them are intriguing in some form to compensate my complaints on the first paragraph. The final battle isn't an all-out brawl, but it's more strategic form of defeat works wonderfully. The "villain" in question isn't a generic "Grr, destroy the world!", it's merely a computer program gone wrong that does what it is programmed to do. It's highly effective, if not due to its Nightmare Fuel nature. The animation is darker and more atmospheric, yet reminds colorful, and the overall story paces well. All in all, I love it because it's different then the usual norm.