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Anime / Digimon Tamers

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"Three Digimon once met three children. Three children once met three Digimon. They laughed together, fought together, suffered together, and they understood each other... until their hearts became one."

The third anime series of the Digimon franchise, Digimon Tamers was the first installment to set itself in a different continuity entirely. It tends to be described as "Neon Genesis Evangelion with mons," or "Serial Experiments Lain for kids", and for good reason—series head writer Chiaki Konaka was also the man behind Lain and is reportedly a big fan of Evangelion and Ultra Series. In The New '10s and The New '20s, the themes involved can also be compared to Black Mirror. Distinguished for deconstructing the Mons genre and being Darker and Edgier than every other Digimon canon before and since (with one possible exception), it is significantly more cerebral, psychological, technologically minded, and becomes one hell of a Cosmic Horror Story by the end. As a result of all this, it's rather debatable just how appropriate the show is for its "target" demographic, particularly in its last acts.


Takato Matsuda (Matsuki in the dub) is an ordinary kid who is a big fan of the Digimon franchise and the associated Collectible Card Game. One day, a strange blue card transforms his card reader into a Digivice, which in turn brings a Digimon of Takato's own creation to life: Guilmon. But having a fire-breathing red dinosaur as a pet is only the start of Takato's problems: the walls between the Digital World and the Human World are beginning to break down, and hostile Digimon are appearing in the real world to wreak havoc.

Furthermore, there are other "Digimon Tamers" who have secured a Digimon as their partners in the real world: Ruki Makino (Rika Nonaka), a cold-hearted gaming champion who only cares about becoming the strongest Tamer; and Jianliang Li (Henry Wong), who believes that Digimon should be free to choose whether to fight or not. As the three Tamers clash over their conflicting ideals, a mysterious government organization is monitoring the digital invasion and developing counter-measures that could see the trio's Digimon partners ripped from their side forever.


Tamers focuses more on the real world than its predecessors, with the Digimon franchise as a whole a Franchise within a Show that the main cast are fans of. Much as you'd imagine as a result of its alternate canon, Tamers was the first of many causes of dissent among many fans. Though Tamers is one of the most popular Digimon series among the fanbase, it certainly has its detractors who consider the Adventure canon to be the superior works. Even so, it still stands alongside its predecessors as one of the most popular installments in the franchise—if one were to ask on a Digimon board about peoples' favorite Digimon series, the bulk of answers are almost guaranteed to be either Tamers or Adventure.

Tamers got a sequel in the form of an Audio Drama CD called Digimon Tamers 2018: Days -Information and the Unordinary-, showing the new threats on the rise! Taking place on the year mentioned in the title, organization NYX is formed, recruiting the main tamers but with Takato and Renamon missing from their respective sides.

Its predecessor was Digimon Adventure 02, and it was succeeded by Digimon Frontier.

The dub is now on DVD in the US.

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Digimon Tamers contains examples of:

    Tropes # to C 
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects:
    • A minor example is Beelzemon's Double Impact bullets.
    • As is series custom, the two main boys' Digimon have their Ultimate and Mega Digivolution sequences rendered in CG. Taomon and Sakuyamon's Digivolution Sequences did not get this treatment, which isn't a bad thing. Sakuyamon has one of the most beautiful evolution sequences ever.
    • Deliberately invoked with the D-Reaper to show how alien it is and how it really doesn't fit in either the digital or real worlds.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Unlike most of the main characters, Takato's first name is not changed in the dub. It's just pronounced with accent on the second syllable instead of the first.note 
  • Accidental Kiss: Hirokazu and Kenta have one that is cut from the dub.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Possibly to Bridget Hoffman, the voice actress for Juri, also worked on another Chiaki J. Konaka production, voicing the eponymous Lain. Definitely in the case of Yoko Asada, who voiced Juri in Tamers and Alice in Lain.
    • In an early episode, Guilmon unwittingly draws a Star of David with Calumon on the school's soccer field (which was originally a pentacle; goodness only knows why the Star of David was chosen as a replacement). His English voice actor is Jewish.
    • The German voice actor of Makuramon is Tommy Morgenstern, best known for voicing Son Goku in Dragon Ball Z. Makuramon is the monkey Deva, Goku is a Saiyajin (some kind of monkey Human Aliens) and both characters are inspired by Sun Wukong from Journey to the West.
    • Similar goes to Makuramon's seiyuu Ryo Horikawa who voices Vegeta, the Prince of all Saiyajin.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Diablomon, MetalSeadramon and Mugendramon all respond to the Four Holy Beasts' call to protect the Digital World from the true enemy.
  • Adult Fear: Your children putting themselves in danger of dying out of necessity. In the third act, this is hammered in especially hard when said children are revealed to be directly fighting a supposedly invincible monster.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the scene where Jeri's father drives a van into the D-Reaper in a futile attempt to save her.
  • Adults Are Useless: Subverted. The kids are still on the frontline of battle, but if it weren't for help of the adults of this series serving actively as mission control the kids wouldn't make it half as far as they did.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted by the Digimon themselves. Though they've gone far beyond their original programming, the sentient ones are subject to Rousseau Was Right and tend to either be good or act for understandable reasons. The Big Bad is an inversion, adhering strictly to its original purpose with nihilistic glee.
  • All Chinese People Know Kung-Fu: Henry is half Chinese, and he's studying Tai Chi. His father also knows it, and uses it to effortlessly knock out a couple of Hypnos guards when getting out of the building.
  • All Deaths Final: The only Digimon continuity (except, maybe, the games) where nothing comes back from death. There isn't a Village of Beginnings. Also, Digignomes, Digimon, and humans (military, bystanders, car drivers) die both in the series and in the movies.
    • There is one exception, though. Vajramon is revived for no apparent reason after he is destroyed the first time, though he stays dead the second time.
  • All for Nothing: Taking into account Ryo's backstory, the ending becomes an example of this trope. Since Cyberdramon was separated from Ryo and there isn't any way to get back into the digital world,note  it is extremely likely that without Ryo to reign him in he'll rampage and evolve into his mega form: ZeedMilleniummon. Unleashing an infinitely greater threat than the D-Reaper and rendering the heroes' sacrifice completely pointless.
  • All There in the Manual: Ryo only makes sense as a character if you play the games in which he stars. Also, the epilogue, from the CD dramas. Furthermore, Chiaki Konaka's website explains virtually everything that went on over the course of the series. Then there's Chiaki Konaka's short story, Digimon Tamers 1984, a quick little bit about the team that created the Digimon.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
    • The American version uses a remixed version of the rap of the first two seasons.
    • The Korean dub composed its own theme song rather than translate the Japanese theme song. Averted with the dub of "Runaway Digimon Express" which did use a translation of the Japanese theme.
    • Initially the Greek dub again reused their translation of "Butterfly" from their dub of Adventure, but this time, muted the lyrics out of the second half of the song that referenced the chosen children from that season. Later averted when they used a translation of the Japanese theme song.
  • And Then What?: The question any Digimon partner who tries to strike out on their own eventually comes to — first Renamon, and then Beelzemon.
  • Angels, Devils and Squid: This features notably in the finale. The three most powerful entities during the climax are Dukemon: Crimson Mode, Beelzebumon: Blast Mode, and the D-Reaper.
  • Animal Motifs: The three key Mons take their influence from real-life animals (lizard, dog, fox), while the twelve Devas are based on the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac. The four Sovereigns are also based on the animals of the Four Symbols in Chinese astrology: vermillion bird of the south; black tortoise of the north; blue dragon of the east; and white tiger of the west.
  • Animation Bump:
    • The Stock Footage Transformation Sequences from Rookie to Champion, and Taomon and Sakuyamon's sequences.
    • Episodes 30, 38, 44 and especially the Tamers' first movie (Battle of Adventurer's) were all supervised by Naoyoshi Yamamuro and feature some of the best animation on this series. He also supervised the animation of the Digimon Frontier movie.
  • Animation Lead Time: The second movie, Runaway Digimon Express, was released on March 2, 2002, while the final episodes weren't released until March 24 and March 31. Despite being ostensibly set after the series, the movie doesn't even seem slightly aware of the finale or how the Digimon were sent back to the Digital World.
  • Apocalypse How: The D-Reaper will cause a Class 5 or 6, both on the Real World and the Digital World.
    • The D-Reaper has already caused either a Class 1 or 2 in the Digital World, where it's reported that at least 60% of the Digimon in it were killed.
  • Arc Word: "Destiny" is used a lot after (and right before) Leomon's death. It applies to not just Jeri's situation, but Calumon as well as he realizes his true nature.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Girl: Rika doesn't see Digimon as living creatures, just tools for fighting. She quickly grows out of this.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Clockmon constantly lives this trope (in the dub).
    Clockmon: (To Renamon) That's why Megadramon is interested in your data. He's a scoundrel, he's a beast, well he's not all that bad.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Riley, one of the two virtually interchangeable Hypnos operators is revealed to be Yamaki's live-in girlfriend halfway through the series. Chiaki Konaka has stated that he took the writing staff completely by surprise when he revealed Riley was Yamaki's girlfriend.
    • Kazu and Kenta, who start out as two Muggle Best Friends, unexpectedly join the gang when they enter the digital world and eventually get Digimon partners.
    • Jeri's first especially important role wasn't until the twenty-first episode. After that, she becomes much more involved in the overall plot.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Most of the cast. Guilmon was born from Takato's fanart, Rika is known for her Digimon Trading Card Game prowess, Henry had a computer game, Kazu and Kenta played the card game with Takato every morning before school. Even Jeri becomes a fan despite her initial disinterest in the card game.
  • The Atoner:
    • Impmon, after killing Leomon, spends the last quarter of the series trying and failing to do the right thing by helping Jeri. She forgives him in the end.
    • Yamaki starts out insisting that Digimon are dangerous data anomalies that need to be deleted lest they cause irreparable harm to the real world, later specifically citing the Tamers as troublemakers since Digimon, both good and evil, were far too dangerous to be left in the hands of children. After getting fired and having his building collapse around him, he finally rethinks his position and spends a fair bit of time trying to make up for the fact that his obsession with deleting Digimon from the real world may have done far more harm than good—in fact, it may have been his messing around that let most of the dangerous ones in in the first place. He even repeatedly defends the Tamers and insists that others trust them to handle a problem. He coordinates efforts to defeat the Big Bad in the end.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Various Digimon (both good and bad) and several of the D-Reaper's agents fall into this category. Vikaralamon is one of the biggest enemies to attack.
  • Audience Surrogate: Takato is designed to be like this.
  • Badass Adorable: Guilmon and Terriermon.
    • All the main kids, pretty much. They vary both in cuteness and level of badassery, but they all count.
  • Badass Longcoat: Rika. Trinity from The Matrix was an early inspiration, according to Chiaki Konaka.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: it is actually quite accurate to what occurs in the show. So what's missing? Kenta doesn't appear in the first version, but a hundred random kids with Digivices and Digimon partners do. Ultimately, Ai and Mako get a Digimon of their own, while they don't appear in the updated opening either.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Used to its full effect for the Biomerges, because otherwise, that would just have been the last straw. However, this is surprisingly averted in Takato and Rika's respective Biomerge sequences, as you can actually see his genitalia and her nipples.
  • Because Destiny Says So: In the English dub, invoked by Jeri on becoming Leomon's partner.
    Takato: Hey Jeri! Are you sure he's your partner?!
    Jeri: Yes!
    Takato: How come?!
    Jeri: 'Cause it's DESTINY!
    Takato: OK, thanks!
    Jeri: You can't escape destiny Mr. Leomon!
    • Becomes a really painful Ironic Echo after Leomon is killed and Jeri is left broken and in the thrall of the D-Reaper.
      Destiny... destiny... destiny...
  • Berserk Button:
    • Impmon is a bundle of issues to begin with and gets worse as the series continues.
    • Bad stuff happens when Takato's friends are hurt. Remember SkullGreymon? The giant skeletal Dark Evolution of Greymon without a mind with a nuke on his back? Meet Megidramon, whose mere existence causes the Digital World to begin to collapse. The one time we see him is when Takato's outright ordering WarGrowlmon to evolve to Ultimate/Mega level. He does. Beelzemon has to absorb so much power to defeat this thing that he almost explodes.
  • The Berserker:
    • Cyberdramon pretty much all of the time, which is why Ryo keeps a tight leash on him.
    • Terriermon during his first evolution to Gargomon.
    • Also Megidramon.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Mihiramon's Armor Tiger Tail attack.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Sweet little Takato might just make it up there on your list of the nicest, most sensitive kids you've ever had the pleasure of meeting... but if you manage to piss him off, you run the risk of him DISINTEGRATING THE UNIVERSE.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
  • Big Fancy House: Rika's Japanese-styled home.
  • Birthday Episode: Run Away Locomon is set on Rika's birthday. She finds out about and bemoans Jeri throwing her a surprise party from Takato. The movie essentially boils down to the Tamers going to Rika's house for the party and dealing with said Locomon on the way. Rika's Disappeared Dad issues are used against her by the Parasimon to control her and attack Takato. She does make it to the party in the end, but she's pretty much the only one not enjoying herself.
  • Bishōnen Line: Gallantmon/Dukemon. Renamon does this twice, with Taomon and Sakuyamon. Given how Digimon work in this installment, most of them should be expected to do it.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Subverted by Jijimon and Babamon. In a world where is said that "only the strongest survive", it's obvious that the nice old couple — who warmly welcome the Tamers in their house, offering food and bed — will just try to kill them at some point. Except that the couple is honestly nice, and sincerely enjoyed the strangers visit.
    • Worth noting that the moment we discover this is when Kazu and Kenta are freaked out about the possibility of the Mons being actually evil, and then go on peeping the couple reminiscing about their day with the Tamers.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Digimon are forcibly returned to the Digital World along with the D-Reaper, permanently separated from their teary-eyed Tamers. Possibly not completely, as Takato, while passing by the park he hid Guilmon in, notices the tunnel they used to get to the Digital World glowing, implying they may not be separated for too long.
  • Bloodless Carnage: There isn't a single drop of blood on this series, making it suitable for 7-year-old children and above. Averted for the second movie, where many Digimon are stabbed in the eye and ooze green blood.
  • Blood Knight: Cyberdramon. "Are you my enemy?"
  • Boisterous Bruiser/Cute Bruiser: Terriermon
  • Book-Ends: One of the first things Beelzemon does after Digivolving from Impmon is slaughter a group of Chrysalimon. At the end of the Digital World arc, another group of them overpowers a repenting Beelzemon and de-power him back to Rookie form.
  • Bowdlerization: Rare. The Disney adaptation of Runaway Locomon skips over the part where Gallantmon stabs Parasimon in the eye... but, since the last act of the movie is basically the mass destruction of invading Parasimon after Parasimon, certain hands appear to have been tied.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Usually the smaller a Digimon is, the more obnoxious it is (Terriermon and Impmon being huge examples). On the human side; Ai and Mako before their character development, and Suzie has one moment in episode 37 that nearly causes Henry to smack her.
  • Break the Cutie: Jeri, meticulously and horribly.
  • Bridge Bunnies: Riley and Tally serve this function at Hypnos.
  • Broken Masquerade: Hypnos tries to be an enforced Weirdness Censor, trying to keep the existence of Digimon out of the public sphere (by killing them on sight). Post-Vikaralamon, however, the Masquerade hasn't just been broken, it's been crushed into a billion pieces under a boar the size of a football field. Contrary to Yamaki's fears, however, once the existence of Digimon becomes public knowledge, people adjust to them fairly quickly.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "Biomerge Activate!"/"Matrix Evolution!"
  • Call-Back: "Here We Go" is on Rika's MP3 player in the dub. "Bolero" also happens to be Riley's ringtone.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The second movie was made without the consultation of the original writer Chiaki Konaka. It gets Retconned in the CD Dramas where the children never got to meet up with their partners, and instead sent out voice messages to them promising to find a way to see them again. Said CD Drama takes place a year after the end of the TV series (the sixth movie takes place sixth months later).
    • Chiaki has said on his website that although the second movie doesn't fit into the timeline of the series, he is happy with the way the directors and screenwriters stayed true to the psychological nature of the TV show and expanded on Rika's character.
  • Canon Immigrant: Ryo Akiyama rarely appears in the Adventure universe (not counting the games) but is very important to the story. He literally immigrated to the Tamers universe in Brave Tamer.
  • Car Fu: Attempted by Jeri's dad against the D-Reaper. It doesn't work.
  • Catchphrase: All together now — "Moumantai!"
    • "Aw, nuts!"
    • "Walk all over him/her/it."
  • Casting Gag: Nami Asaji, Takato's teacher, is voiced by Lara Jill Miller, who voiced Kari Kamiya in the previous two series. Kari became a teacher when she grew up, and Ms. Asaji bears a striking resemblance to her.
    • Makuramon, the Sun Wukong-esque Digimon, is most ironically played by none other than Ryo Horikawa, the Japanese voice talent for Vegeta.
  • Cat Smile: Suzie, almost all the time.
  • Central Theme: What is the line between fiction and reality? and What is the price of technology?
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The contrast between the first time the Kids go to the Digital world filled of dreams and hope (Set to upbeat Shonen music, no less) and the later episodes is appalling.
  • Chain of People: When Takato is chasing after the Ark.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The song "3 Primary Colors" even references this.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe:
    • This is ultimately revealed to be the basis of blue card technology, which uses emotions and faith to make ideas real.
    • How Biomerging is first unlocked (in episode 35).
  • Coincidental Dodge: In Guilmon's first fight against Renamon. Renamon gets a pile-bunker attachment scanned on her arm and aims it at Guilmon's head. At the last second, Guilmon turns and dodges when he goes over to Takato, causing Renamon to get blown back by the recoil.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Guilmon = red, Terriermon = green, Renamon = blue; whenever their digivolution sequences are shown, and their human partners' digivices have these colours.
  • Comic Books Are Real: Digimon is a well-established franchise in this universe, with nearly all the kids being regular players of the card game, and Jian in particular owning a computer game. There are some strange ontological questions, however, such as how directly the Show Within a Show maps to the digital world.
    • Renamon, for example, arrived directly through a portal from the digital world, while Terriermon came to earth from a Digimon computer game. Culumon is introduced narrowly surviving a fight between a maildramon and a metaltyrannomon, which just so happens to directly mirror a card game Takato (metaltyrannomon) is playing with Hirokazu (maildramon).
    • Of course, this leads to a few Dub-Induced Plot Holes.
  • Commonality Connection: Takato and Henry got along perfectly fine and avoided the Rule of Drama, the only lead males in the Digimon franchise to do so. On a broader level, all the children were fans of Digimon.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: In "The Messenger", Professor Tetsuo Uchiharato. While being interviewed by the news, he reveals what he knows about Hypnos, and believes that the program was responsible for the D-Reaper and Digimon. Unlike most Theorists, he's not overtly paranoid (though he should be, as he works at Miskatonic University), is creditable, backs up his reasoning, and is partly right.
  • Continuity Nod: Several cards Takato and Lee use to assist their partners are throwbacks to Digimon Adventure and its sequel. Examples include a power up that summons WarGreymon's shield and a card that by all intents and purposes is the Digimental of Fate.
  • Cool Teacher: Averted with Miss Asaji, Takato's (et al.) teacher at school. She's lazy, barely motivated to teach, dozes off when she should be watching the kids on a school trip, and (voice of Lara Jill Miller notwithstanding) is basically the opposite of Kari. In the original Japanese, it's an explicit character note of hers that she's doing the job because it looks good to the community and when the kids tell her they're going to the Digital World, she tries to stop them because it might reflect poorly on her. She has enough of a change of heart at the end of the series to run out and cheer Takato on during the final arc.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: It's brief and temporary, but Takato's Unstoppable Rage after Leomon's death has very serious ramifications.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Of the (debatably) kid-friendly variety.
  • Creating Life: The Monster Makers' research project accidentally lead to the creation of true artificial lifeforms that later became known as Digimon. This comes back to bite them.
    • Takato wished for his own Digimon. The Digignomes were happy to oblige.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The Bittersweet Ending can also come across as this, seeing as it was never really foreshadowed.
  • Cut-and-Paste Translation: Quite a few in the American dub. See Dub-Induced Plot Hole for serious examples.
    • The Shaggai program was renamed to "Juggernaut" in the American dub.
    • Dialogue concerning Rika and Renamon was changed to make them more suitable as love interests. For example, Terriermon sings about Guilmon and Renamon Kissing In A Tree, and Ryo calls Rika "pumpkin".
    • Similarly, Rika's dialogue with Takato became more flirty, as did Impmon's dialogue with Renamon.
    • Interestingly, the bit where Henry and Takato ask Jeri if she's ever been in love was changed to them asking if she's sure Leomon's her partner and why.
    • In the original Japanese, the D-Reaper is said to be indestructible and presumably remains in its devolved form forever. In the American dub, Janyu states that it "disappears forever".
    • Janyu's last line was changed from "It was the only way!" to "It'll be all right!". This turns Jen's head-shake and smile of forgiveness into one of resignation.
  • Cyberpunk: Most Digimon series tend to focus on Post-Cyberpunk. Tamers is closer to the flip side of the 'punk spectrum, exploring traditional themes of the genre: A government conspiracy is conducting dangerous experiments and monitoring everything. Young people befriend otherwise-dangerous A.I.s, and do battle in the urban jungle. They end up opposing the conspiracy and other equally dangerous A.I.s. Society is on the edge of radical change, and questions about "How do we define life?" and "How do we respond if that life turns out to be hostile?" arise. Compared to previous series, Tamers is darker and cynical.
  • Cyberspace: Obviously.
    Tropes D to G 
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: The reason Jeri's father acts so distantly towards his daughter is because, after her mother died, he was forced to fill in the role of both parents for her and, try as he might, he couldn't. By the time he remarried, the damage had already been done.
  • Damsel in Distress: Jeri in the third act. Justified, as she's only ten years old, and suffering an intense Heroic BSoD.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Not entirely, but Jeri does manage to break open the "Kernel" keeping her trapped inside the D-Reaper. Had she not done so, rescuing her would have likely been impossible.
    • Jeri also attempts to get Orochimon drunk when she's captured so she could escape. Unfortunately, he got stronger when drunk...but she does manage to finish the job by giving Leomon a power-up to kill Orochimon.
  • Darker and Edgier. You've got to wonder who thought it was a good idea to give a children's show to the scriptwriter of Hellsing and Ultraman Gaia, no matter how enthusiastic he was about the project. That said, with some influences from Gaia, Tamers, although very dark for a Mons show, still had some general tones of a Kaiju show.
    • One small sign that this series was different from the others, especially in how it was adapted for English-speaking countries, eventually ballooning to its extreme existential themes: In shows that dealt with mature-for-its-audience topics, nothing pertaining to death would be mentioned on the show, instead opting to use euphemisims like "destroy" or "lead to demise" or other variations. In episode 6 of the English dub, after Renamon has defeated a rogue Digimon and absorbed its data, Takato explicitly calls out Rika for commanding Renamon to kill said Digimon.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Renamon. Terriermon in some instances.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: It's not just Darker and Edgier, it deconstructs many of the tropes present in Mons and Kaiju works, as well as the Digimon franchise in general.
    • In most Mons works, no one considers sanctioning the possession, let alone the use of monsters to fight proxy battles, especially by children. It's... different in Digimon Tamers, being more in line to the early Kaiju films. (Think Gojira.)
    • The first series in the franchise to depict Digivolutions as physically tolling to the Mons.
    • Yamaki is the first adult to discover that children are controlling Digimon. His initial reaction is that of horror and repulsion out of the assumption that they only see it as a game. He's not too wrong.
    • When Impmon jumps on cars stopped at a red light, the police arrive and raise their guns at him. The SDFnote  is called in for bigger Digimon and the D-Reaper.
    • Rika initially sees Digimon valuable only for their combat prowess, no different from the card game, and struggles to get Renamon to Digivolve by Level Grinding. Not only is she not the first to Digivolve her partner (that would be Henry), the first thing the new Champion does is destroy a parking garage and nearly shoot her in the face.note 
    • Impmon easily mocks the idea of Digimon-Human relations. His own Tamers, Ai and Makoto, were selfish children who treated him like a toy that they refused to share; he was left traumatized and began walking the path of murder.
    • The main characters' parents (and teacher) understandably freak out when they discover their children have been fighting the monsters ruining Tokyo with other monsters, and are planning to venture into an uncharted world populated almost entirely by said monsters.
    • The main appeal of Mons are their combat abilities. In this respect, digimon are perfect, having been designed solely for battle and not for things like taking care of eggs. Digimon Tamers doesn't hold anything back when it shows how dangerous real Mons and Kaiju would be.
    • You know what should have been citywide devastation in the first two seasons, how the streets and buildings usually ended up unharmed? Well, the show has no qualms with that, showing and detailing the damage to buildings and entire blocks.
    • A culture and mindset based on being a master of combat is depicted as unhealthy, to say the least.
    • Terriermon needs to have a good fight every now and then. He starts knocking against windows like a fly when he senses strong Digimon outside, and if it's been a while since his last, he completely loses it when he finally does get to fight. He makes a point to frequently remind Henry (an avowed pacifist, no lest) that he's not human, and needs to fight.
    • Ryo left the Real World for the Digital World for a year solely because Cyberdramon's pugnacious tendencies and quest for a worthy opponent made him extremely dangerous and impossible to control in the Real World.
    • Beelzemon is what happens when the Harmless Villain has had enough of being so and makes a Deal with the Devil to get power. The results of the ensuing Power High? He spends his time running around and killing things, and goes toe-to-toe with two different Megas.
    • Impmon is a pint-sized Deconstructor Fleet: His backstory with two bratty kids was not funny. In the present, he plays Butt-Monkey and Harmless Villain very straight, and shows how frustrating it would be, how far he would go to become strong, and the consequences.
  • Defictionalization: While for the most part, the cards that the Tamers use in the anime correspond to actual cards in the Japanese card game, there are some original ones. Those cards were then released in an anime-based booster for the card game.
    • Also, the actual Digimon in-universe. Played not entirely straight in that this continuity's Digital World does not exist as a direct result of the fiction.
  • Determinator: Eh.... let's just go with everybody.
  • Deus ex Machina: Delivered by a girl named Alice and her partner Dobermon, a messenger from The Four Gods. They pop out of nowhere and give the Tamers the power to Biomerge in the real world.
    • How did the amazing Ryo get this power when he wasn't there to receive it? The show doesn't explain it.
    • The Digivices were somehow unexpectedly designed to scan fanart of Digimon, just like how Takato created Guilmon, and designed to work on fake Digimon cards that were drawn; like drawings, sketchbooks, fan art, and etc, just like the blue card that Kazu drew so Takato can use it to make Growlmon digivolve into WarGrowlmon in order to defeat Indramon.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Henry and Terriermon, as MegaGargomon, beat the ever-loving daylights out of Zhuqiaomon with their bare hands.
  • Discontinuity Nod: As it says under Canon Discontinuity, Message in the Packet retconned the movie. However, note  there's a brief scene of Rika humming the same song she sings at the movie's climax.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • While Takato is struggling to get a freshly-evolved Growlmon back down to his child stage Guilmon in episode 9, he encounters Juri and ends up asking for her advice. While his awkward I Have This Friend... explanation convinces Juri he's having romantic problems with an older girl, the specific language also makes it sound like he has certain issues with puberty.
    • When Sakuyamon gives her powers to Justimon, she ends up stripped off all her clothing, and the sword on his arm grows to twice its size. Really subtle, guys.
  • Downer Ending: The manga, even moreso than the anime. Not only do the Digimon have to go back to the Digital World, but Takato never finds the portal into it at the end, implying that he, the others and their Digimon are indeed separated forever.
  • Dramatic Irony: Takato summons up the courage to give Jeri an Anguished Declaration of Love in episode 41, not knowing that it's not really her.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole:
    • In episode 18, Riley was on the phone apparently turning down a date offer because of work. Though, in episode 24, it's revealed she is Yamaki's girlfriend.
    • "Destiny" was an Arc Word for Jeri. As Leomon lay dying in episode 35, he told Jeri it was probably his destiny. In the American dub, however, he said to her that a part of him would always be with her, and that she had "a lion's heart". Yet the dub still had Jeri say, when she referenced the scene five episodes later, that Leomon had called his death "destiny."
    • The American dubbers merged the voices of the Bio-merged Digimon and their partners, and their conversations can be heard clearly. However, the rest of the cast failed to recognize Ryo and Takato during their first battles as Megas. Oops!
    • In the dub, Jeri asked Leomon to tell her father about their trip. Mr. Kato later gets mad at her, claiming that she left on her own and refusing to pick her up, implying she lied to her friends about telling her parents.
    • In "Runaway Digimon Express", Ruki has problems trusting adults — she's upset that her family is in on her not-so-surprise party before she is, her mother Rumiko is carrying what is heavily implied to be a present for her, the instant Yamaki calls her she passes her phone off wordlessly to Takato, she later declares she doesn't trust adults, and then there's her quite conspicuous Flashback about another certain adult to make suggestions about all of this. "Runaway Locomon" instead focuses on how she mistrusts Yamaki specifically, making it look more like Arbitrary Skepticism.note 
  • Eastern Zodiac: The Devas are twelve antagonistic Digimon, each representing an animal from the eastern zodiac, but are named for warriors from Sanskrit legend. The rabbit Deva, Antylamon, became the partner of Henry's little sister after devolving into Lopmon. If we take into account certain events, Impmon/Beelzemon could be considered the cat Deva, even if it wasn't mentioned officially, or even considered a proper Deva. Let's see... His appearance resembling a cat (sorta)? Check. Beelzemon's powers coming from a Deva? Check. He couldn't be detected at first by the Digivices? Check. The tamers confusing Beelzemon for a Deva the next time he appears after his debut? Check. As said before, that's just a possibility.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The D-Reaper.
    • Helps that Chiaki J. Konaka actually writes for the Cthulhu Mythos, which definitely helps cement the D-Reaper's similarities, especially to Shub-Niggurath (it's Mother form spews out upgraded forms of it's stronger Mooks). Bonus points in that its Mother form has a mask similar to Lilith's.
  • Eldritch Location: The D-Reaper eventually becomes so massive that it'd probably be more accurate to describe it as this.
    • The Digital World itself qualifies too.
  • The End... Or Is It?: In the final episode, it appears that the kids will be permanently separated from their Digimon.The appearance of a red light in a gazebo for the last few seconds at first suggests that there may be a way to change this, but when they analyze it, they find it too small and not powerful enough to enable the Tamers and their partners to reunite.
  • Expy:
    • Impmon looks like a Darker and Edgier version of Mickey Mouse. His white face, gloves, and proportions are all lifted straight from Mickey, though notably Impmon's proportions are actually more child-like than Mickey Mouse's. It makes his backstory more poignant.
    • Some have pointed out the similarities to Neon Genesis Evangelion characters, with Takato, Rika, and Li corresponding (very loosely) to Shinji, Asuka, and Rei respectively. But Hirokazu and Kenta take the cake, whose roles and design are similar to Touji and Kensuke.
  • Evolving Credits: The Japanese opening changes to reveal who the shadowed figures are as they are revealed in the show. The English opening subverts this by consistency using the first version of the crowd shot.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Generally averted. For example, Takato has an Imagine Spot in episode 8 of the police shooting Guilmon.
    • Beelzemon's weapons don't look that real but quite clearly fire real bullets. Well, except for his Death Slinger, but then again it's an upgraded form of a toy ray gun given to him by Makoto.
    • Another shot features police officers with realistic looking guns, but dialogue was added stating that they were not loaded. Japanese Self-Defense Force soldiers can be seen later on armed with assault rifles (specifically the Howa Type 89 used by the real-life JSDF), but are never shown firing them on-screen.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Janyu Wong, in a metaphorical sense. While he initially encouraged Henry to explore the Digimon meta-franchise, once Impmon takes a shotgun to the Masquerade right in front of his face, he goes running to Hypnos offering to help Yamaki literally fight back against the dangerous fantasy. This causes tension between him and his son.
  • Fast Tunnelling: In Episode 17, Takato used the Steel Drill/Digmon's Drill card to equip Guilmon with one on each hand to quickly get to the enemy below.
  • Final Death: Every single Digimon that dies in Tamers will never come back as a Digi-egg, as most Digimon absorb the data of the Digimon they defeat in order to get stronger.
  • Foreshadowing
    • Takato and Guilmon have a conversation about Guilmon one day Digivolving and becoming a different Digimon. Guilmon assures him that will never happen because he will always be the same Digimon in the inside. Takato even says he wishes he could Digivolve in the same conversation...
    • Once they reached the Digital World, but even before then, most conversations between Jeri and others takes on new meaning if one knows in advance that Leomon dies and there's an impending Break the Cutie session.example . It really is just not fair.
    • Gee, Takato sure seems to stress about the possibility of losing Guilmon forever a lot, doesn't he...?
  • The Four Gods: The Digimon Sovereigns are based on them.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: Growlmon gets tickled while being painted in an attempt to hide him. Terriermon also tickles Guilmon during a flashback in episode 16, and in episode 5 this happens to Calumon when Guilmon is sniffing him.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: The US dub changes sake to "milkshakes" in the tale of Orochi(mon). Orochimon's Sake Breath attack is likewise changed to Inferno Blast. Jeri being a server at her parents' restaurants is left in, as is her knowledge that enough "warm milkshakes" will get Orochi tired. Also, Jeri and Rika can tell milkshakes from a distance by their distinctive scent...
  • Full-Boar Action: Vikaralamon, as one of the Eastern Zodiac-themed Devas representing the pig.
  • Fusion Dance:
    • Takato, Henry, Rika and Ryo all merge with their partners when it comes to Ultimate level.
    • Gallantmon merges with Grani in the penultimate episode to become Gallantmon Crimson Mode.
  • Genre Savvy: Deconstructed. Most of the main characters all have experience with the card and video games, and have varying expectations of how things are meant to go when it comes to taming Digimon. Which turns out to be a lot harder than they ever could've imagined.
  • Genre Shift: Slice of Life with Mons becomes a Post Cyber Punk Kaiju Cosmic Horror Story.
  • Gentle Giant: Growlmon.
    • Also, Antylamon the Rabbit Deva. In the episode where he/she first appeared, she played with Henry's kid sister, Suzie. Heck, she even defended her from Makuramon, the Monkey Deva. As a result, Antylamon was stripped of a large portion of her power and dedigivolved to Lopmon, and Suzie was made her Tamer.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Takato, of course. Subverted when he really does use them underwater a couple of times, as well as when he enters a digital field (which manifests as a cloud of fog). Henry and Rika usually wear sunglasses to enter digital fields, so it's not just him.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: Takato's red digivice is destroyed, but his replacement is gold. His and his partner's Super Mode, Gallantmon Crimson Mode, does stick with traditional red, though.
  • Gone Horribly Right: When Takato, in a fit of rage, orders Guilmon to evolve to Mega, he does exactly that. Completely understandably, Takato regrets it almost immediately.
    • All the D-Reaper was supposed to do was delete information that fell under a certain criteria. The only problem was that the human race ended up falling under that same criteria.
  • Good Parents: For most of the main characters. Even Jeri's dad, who told her to find her own way home since she left on her own, breaks down when he sees what's happened to her and realizes his part in it.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: This series has many of these in order to keep the rating appropriate for kids. Examples can be seen as early as the first episode when the camera pans out before a Digimon get crushed alive. The scenes where Renamon rips holes in enemy digimon with tiny white shards are either skipped or out of focus, and the audience is also spared from the sight of military personnel getting sickled by the D-Reaper's agents. Naturally, this makes the few times that the series averts this (like episodes 34 and 35) especially memorable.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
  • Gratuitous English: Most of the Digimon shout out their attack names in English, with Renamon and all her (digi-)evolutions being the exception to this.
  • Green Rocks:
    • The blue cards, which can be used to create d-arks, evolve digimon beyond champion, summon digital life forms into the real world, you name it. Ordinary cards can be transformed into blue cards when you Clap Your Hands If You Believe.
    • DigiGnomes have similarly vaguely-defined but powerful abilities, being essentially capricious genies.
    Tropes H to M 
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Brown-haired Jeri is sometimes mistaken for a redhead.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Impmon is so tightly wound he actually sounds like Joe Pesci, an actor famous for his pyrotechnics.
  • Harmless Villain: Impmon, before he becomes a Not-So-Harmless Villain.
  • The Heartless: J-Reaper.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Several, but mostly notably Beelzemon and Yamaki.
  • Hellish Pupils: Whenever Guilmon senses a Digimon or is fighting, his eyes do this. Also happens to Takato on the one occasion that he loses his temper. when Beelzemon kills Leomon. Needless to say, he goes out of his mind with anger.
  • Heroic BSoD: Pretty much every major character has gone through at least one. In case you can't tell yet, it's one of those kinds of shows.
    • Special mention goes to Jeri, who plunges into a terribly depressing one after losing her Digimon partner, and doesn't make it out until the end of the series.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Hirokazu and Kenta, to the point that the Accidental Kiss was almost superfluous.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Terriermon's reaction when someone else tells him to 'Moumentai'? "That's a really irritating thing to say!"
  • An Ice Person: There are three cards used in this series that augment the Tamers' Digimon with ice powers. They are YukiAgumon, MetalGarurumon and Yukidarumon, used by Ruki, Takato and Jianliang respectively.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: Takato and his friends enjoy a relatively peaceful time in the beginning. An utter ignorance by their side, that there exists a secret organization trying to wipe out their partners, also the everliving nightmare that is the D-Reaper, and finally the harsh reality that tamers would have to say farewell to their Digimon, once and for all.
  • I Have This Friend...: When trying to ask Juri's advice about how to devolve a freshly-evolved Growmon while still keeping digimon a secret, Takato's awkward explanation leads Juri to think that Takato has a crush on a teenage or adult woman, prompting her to launch into largely useless romantic advice.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: The Tamers fight with Beelzemon is initially this until it reaches its climax with Leomon. Leomon pleads with Beelzemon to realize he is being used and his reasons to fight for evil are meaningless, but Beelzemon ends up killing Leomon. Having crossed the Moral Event Horizon, the Tamers stop sympathizing for Beelzemon. It’s not until Leomon’s partner Jeri convinces Takato to stop that they spare Beelzemon, and the latter begins to see the fault to his actions.
  • Image Song: Three for each pairing (a solo by each partner and a duet) for a total of 24 songs from the eight Best Tamers CDs, plus a whole bunch of others scattered through various discs.
  • Imagine Spot: Takato is prone to these.
  • The Imp: Impmon, naturally enough, starts out as this.
  • Improbable Age: Lampshaded by Yamaki, Deconstructed in Impmon's case, and Justified in that Digimon is mostly played by children, so only they got the real ones.
  • Interrupted Suicide: How they got that scene to air is still anyone's guess...
  • Ironic Echo: Even in the dub, Jeri was talking about how it was destiny for her and Leomon to be together. About 15 episodes later, she's wondering if it's her destiny to be alone.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: (Digivice beeps) "There's never a dull day around here."
    • Another example in episode 39.
    Kazu:(Calumon)'s about as tough as butterscotch pudding.
    Calumon: It's not like I'm butterscotch pudding or something.
  • I Wish It Were Real: Guilmon was born from Takato's imagination and a disastrous amount of Applied Phlebotinum.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rika, Yamaki, and Impmon, all post-character development. Impmon in particular is a Jerkass Woobie.
    • Kazu is painted as a mild version of one in the dub.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Yamaki was right about Digimon being dangerous and children probably being too irresponsible to be wielding sentient weapons of mass destruction.
  • Job Title: Digimon Tamers basically translates to trainer and caretaker of said Mons and Kaiju.
  • Joshikousei: Rika, though she's in elementary school.
  • Jumped at the Call/The Unchosen One: Every Tamer in this season (except Ryo, it's complicated) got a Digimon because they wanted one, but unlike the previous two seasons nothing was expected of them — the kids made the active choice to involve themselves further and ultimately save the world.
  • The Kid with the Remote Control: Unusually for the genre, this is actually one of the major themes of Tamers, and it is Takato and Guilmon who better explore this trope.
  • Killed Off for Real: Leomon.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Two of them. The first of these is Beelzemon, who's the first character to really show how dark and serious the series is by permanently killing off Leomon. He is then done one better, however, by the Eldritch Abomination that is the D-Reaper, which takes the serious out of "dark, but still appropriate for most children" territory and into the What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? realm its most known for.
  • Lady of War: Renamon and her evolutions.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: Hypnos, inside the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: The second verse of The Biggest Dreamer plays in the penultimate episode when the protagonists square off against the D-Reaper.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Dub Text. With less than three and a half minutes to go in episode 15, Renamon tells Guilmon that their team doesn't have much time and needs him to digivolve.
  • Leap of Faith: Rika and Renamon have no idea how they will beat the D-Reaper, but they leap down to it anyway, becoming Sakuyamon in the process.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When Guilmon's pupils shrink, you know something's going down.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: Qinglongmon and Zhuqiaomon, but this specifically applies when they clashed in #38. The Foil between is revealed further from there:
    • Zhuqiaomon, believing humans to be irredeemable, wanted to destroy the Tamers for killing the Devas, while Qinglongmon intercepted and pointed out that they were the ones attacking the Tamers first and they fought back in self-defense.
    • Zhuqiaomon believed that evolution was the key to defeating their true enemy, while Qinglongmon believes that Digimon evolving was the one that strengthened them in the first place.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Everyone has winter clothing and school attire, but everyone usually wears the same thing day in and day out.
  • The Little Detecto: The D-Arc.
  • Little Miss Badass: Rika, whose debut has her rocking a Badass Longcoat and Cool Shades. according to Chiaki Konaka, she was originally modeled after Trinity.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Inverted with Megidramon, whom threatens to collapse the Digital World by merely existing. Things only stabilise when he's defeated.
  • Love Bubbles: When Takato tries to tell Jeri that Growlmon won't devolve back to Guilmon, she thinks he's talking about a girl he likes. Cue pink bubbly background as she envisions this.
    • MarineAngemon's Kahuna Waves releases 'bubbles' in the shape of hearts. They also heal D-Reaper affected data and allow travel within it as well.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The (WarGreymon's) Brave Shield Card, used by Jianliang a few times to equip his partner Digimon with protection.
  • Madness Mantra: When the D-Reaper analyses Jeri's father Tadashi it gets stuck on the word 'father', repeating it over and over again. When Guilmon wonders whats wrong, Renamon says it's because D-Reaper doesn't understand the word. Being born from data rather than biology, it has no concept of parents or what a 'father' even is.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: SaintGalgomon/MegaGargomon
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: Runaway Locomon has two. The introduction sets up a storyline about the tamers trying to put on a surprise party for Ruki (which Takato has already given away by the time he enters the story), only for Locomon to seize all the attention and immediately make the story be about trying to get rid of the latter. The second is when the Locomon problem is Hijacked by Ganon and suddenly the plot turns into an Alien Invasion.
  • Mascot: Calumon can be considered to be this for Digimon Tamers, and arguably the concept of Digivolution as a whole.
  • Meaningful Echo: In the original Japanese, when Rika goes out right after coming home, she says she's coming home soon. Her mother asks, "When is 'soon'!?" When Renamon reverts to her baby form and leaves for the digital world, Rika asks the same.
    • Leomon's last words in the dub get repeated in a more positive light in the penultimate episode by Gallantmon after Grani's sacrifice.
  • Mechanical Monster: MegaloGrowmon (WarGrowlmon), Rapidmon, SaintGalgomon (MegaGargomon), Guardromon
  • The Men in Black: The entire Hypnos organization.
  • Meta Sequel: Instead of being set after the earlier Digimon stories, it's set in a world where the earlier Digimon stories are only fictional, which allows for commentary on how the franchise usually works.
  • Militaries Are Useless: During the D-Reaper arc, the Japanese Defense Force attempt to destroy the D-Reaper and its Agents, but fail miserably. Several choppers were destroyed by a lone Pendulum Feet Agent whom they couldn't even scratch.
  • Mind Rape: Boy, did poor Jeri suffer a lot...
    • J-Reaper partially succeeds using her "mind scan" attack on Takato, just before deploying her wings in the park, in episode 45.
  • Mixed Ancestry: The Wong family is headed by a Chinese father and a Japanese mother; they have four children, including main character Henry and supporting character Suzie.
  • Mood Whiplash: Despite the dark tone, the series can sometimes skip over into jokes, normally involving the characters snarking. The eyecatches in the Japanese version can also result in this.
  • Mukokuseki: Zigs and zags all over the place. Henry and his dad are drawn with obviously chinese features, but they have blue hair, and that's before you learn Henry's younger sister's hair is... purple. Hirokazu and Kenta look Japanese enough, and Takato is even passably - but there's no telling what Jeri and Rika are supposed to be. The adult secondary characters don't help swing it one way or another, either.
  • Multiple Head Case: Ebonwumon, a colossal turtle with two heads. The dub amuses itself by having one head speak Irish and the other Scottish.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Nearly every main character has a different, epic, method to slide a card through their Digivice, complete with fancy card spinning and flipping, and kung-fu moves. The payoff comes in the form of two sequences which come close to being actually epic, including a split-screen triple slash, and the final one where all four mains slash the same card.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Takato's reaction to evolving Megidramon.
    • Beelzemon, after having his life spared in a lost battle, has a Heel–Face Turn and spends a good long time stuck in a stunned state of regret.
    • Jeri's father, after discovering that his daughter has been taken by the D-Reaper, feels terrible guilt for treating her coldly ever since he lost his wife, and then makes a very desperate attempt to save her.
  • Mythology Gag: In an early episode of the dub, a couple mistakes the digital fog for the Northern Lights. The original DigiDestined of Digimon Adventure mistook the lights they saw before being taken to the digital world as the Northern Lights as well.
    • Kari/Hikari from Adventure and Adventure 02 wanted to be a teacher (and became a Kindergarten teacher in the epilogue). In Tamers Takato's teacher bears a striking resemblance to an adult Kari, and in the American dub is even voiced by her actress Lara Jill Miller.
    • In both versions, Henry/Jianliang became a Tamer through playing a Digimon video game. In the Japanese version, when Yamaki first meets Takato and Jianliang, he mispronounces Jianliang's name (due to the difference in how to pronounce the characters between Chinese and Japanese) as Lee Kenryo.
    Tropes N to S 
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: With the exception of Antylamon, Zhuqiaomon and the Devas, particularly Caturamon, are responsible for the D-Reaper's empowerment and rampage in the real world. Indramon's curb-stomping of Impmon leaves him so desperate he accepts Caturamon's bargain to kill the Tamers in exchange for power, which led to Leomon's death and Jeri's ensuing breakdown, which fed and accelerated the D-Reaper's evolution after it captured her. Worse yet the combined assault on Hypnos by Makuramon, Vikaralamon and Zhuqiaomon crippled Hypnos's system, leaving them unable to help the Tamers while they rebuilt their infrastructure, and ultimately left them wide open to the D-Reaper's initial attack on the real world.
  • The Nicknamer: Ebonwumon, Mr. Analyse McTroperton (in the dub, anyway).
  • No Antagonist: For the first 13 episodes. One of the reasons this series is unusual; the protagonists initial struggle is in how to deal with the fact that Digimon are real, and this may have been one of the reasons why the start is widely considered to be slow. Yamaki doesn't get more active in the plot until near the end of this arc, and even then he's outsmarted by the Devas.
  • No Biological Sex: All of the Digimon, although the more human-looking ones often have gender identities.
    • In the dub, all of them do, since English doesn't have any gender neutral pronouns that wouldn't sound disrespectful.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Guilmon, Renamon, and Impmon get one each at some points in the series. The cast as a whole gets it even more.
  • Non-Serial Movie: As stated above the second movie was made without the involvement of the original staff, and aired in theaters weeks before the last episode aired on television in Japan.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: The Tamers reflect upon their histories and adventures before their first Biomerges in the physical world. All three speeches have elements of this trope, but Henry's speech in particular has him come to the realization that he has to stop holding back if he wants any chance of winning.
  • Not Quite Dead: Vajramon manages to hold on after what looked like death.
  • Numerological Motif/Rule of Three: The number three:
    • This is the third television season of Digimon.
    • There are three main human Tamers.
    • There are three backup human Tamers before and after Leomon's death (And Ryo).
    • There are three core members of Hypnos.
    • Yuggoth is conceptualized as three interlinked spheres.
    • The Devas all have three horns on their heads.
    • The three main Tamers and their digimon take on Mihiramon, one team at a time. Takato and WarGrowlmon go last, and they win.
    • Beelzemon has three eyes.
    • The three main Digimon have a team attack called Trinity Burst.
    • The Crystal Matrix on Calumon's forehead and Rapidmon's Tribeam attack are both triangles. Not to mention the triangular shape of the Digital Hazard symbol on the chest of Guilmon et al.
  • Offing the Mouth: Beelzemon does this to Makuramon.
    Makuramon: What are you doing? If you continue this fight, not only will this domain of our gods be destroyed, but the whole world!
    Beelzemon: Shut up...
    Makuramon: Foolish Chatsuramon... Why did he allow you to evolve?
    Beelzemon: I said shut up! (Grabs Makuramon's head and crushes it.)
  • Off-Model: In general, the animation of Tamers is more off-model than the others where faces are concerned. In particular, out of the nine animation teams, the one directednote  by Toshio Deguchi (also responsible for many off-model One Piece episodes) consistently pumps out subpar animation. The most glaring examples are episode 15 as well as the last episode. This is especially obvious when compared to the best animation teams, which are noted for smooth animation and having realistic shading everywhere (see Animation Bump above).
    • In the last episode, the left half of Takato's face visibly wobbles.
    • In one episode, Beelzemon was missing his tail twice.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Chrysalimon against Beelzemon after the latter fires a few shots at them.
  • Older Sidekick: Yamaki, Riley, and Tally (Post Heel–Face Turn), and the Wild Bunch/Monster Makers. Hilariously enough, once he's convinced of their maturity, Yamaki seems to get along better with the kids than most other adults.
  • Older Than They Look: For Rookie level Digimon, Renamon and Guilmon are much larger and developed than the norm. They could be easily confused for Champion-levels. Guilmon of course was born at a higher level than most other Digimon.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: In the Japanese version, Impmon calls Makoto "Mako-chan." The dubbers must not have realized it was a nickname/term of endearment because everyone, even people who don't know him (like Henry's sensei), calls him "Mako" in the dub. Impmon even introduces him as "Mako" to Takato and the gang.
  • Orochi...mon.
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience: The Tamers were completely naked when merged with their Digimon and during a soul-searching experience before Biomerging in the real world for the first time. The dub, surprisingly, retained these moments.
  • Out of Focus: Ai and Mako show up in person in a total of four times in the show, two times without dialogue.
  • Papa Wolf: Don't even try to hurt Henry, not even indirectly by hurting somebody he loves. His dad knows martial arts.
    • Upon discovering that his daughter has been taken, Mr. Katou drives his car into the D-Reaper at full speed.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Usually on display through Janyu, or, as JesuOtaku frequently puts it:
    JesuOtaku: Lying to your children/parents! ...It's a thing now.
  • Parents as People: While it's extremely common in children's media for a kid to lose a parent, it's extremely uncommon to show what the realistic consequences would be. See Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You.
  • Phantom Zone: The Digital World.
  • Police Are Useless: When Impmon is held at gunpoint by some police officers, one of them asks "Should we tell him we weren't issued any ammo, sir?"
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The D-Reaper is scary enough even before you realize that it runs on the misery of a depressed little girl. It does everything in it's power to increase said misery, going (arguably) beyond NGE levels.
  • Power Copying:
    • A human running a Digimon card through a digivice results in his or her partner temporary gaining the attacks of the Digimon depicted on the card.
    • Beelzemon can steal attacks from the Digimon he kills if he is also able to absorb their data. That's how he's able to use Fist Of The Beast King after killing Leomon
  • Precision F-Strike: An unusual semi-Gosh Dang It to Heck! example in the dub:
    Beelzemon: "I'm gonna save you Jeri, IF IT'S THE LAST THING I FREAKIN' DO!"
  • Previously On…: Davis does the narration in the dub. Rika would do the same for Frontier.
  • Prophetic Names
  • Protagonist Power-Up Privileges: Played with. Takato, Henry and Rika, as the main trio, have their Digimon reach Mega level. The highly promoted Sixth Ranger Ryo also gets to reach the level, but Takato and Guilmon are the only ones whose Biomerge gets a Super Mode. Those Two Guys member Kenta's MarineAngemon is a Mega by default, though not good for fighting. The Digimon of the other outliers, Jeri, Kazu and Suzie, never reach Mega.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In both the dubbed and original versions, Beelzemon calls Leomon's Beast King Fist in such a halting manner. "Juu! Ou! Ken!"/"Fist! Of! The Beast King!"
  • Put on a Bus: Renamon does not speak in the Digimon Tamers 2018 drama cd, due to her seiyuu needing time off for her family. What exactly happened to Renamon is not answered and the CD ends on a Cliffhanger.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Yamaki reunites the Monster Makers, sans Shibumi, after twenty years in hopes of learning of a way to contain the Digimon. The group is happy about the reunion.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Devas. They run the gamut from laughably pathetic (Kumbhiramon, Pajiramon), to credible threats (Vajramon, Indramon, Vikaralamon), to outright Manipulative Bastards (Makuramon, Caturamon), and one Heel Face Turner (Antylamon).
  • Real-Place Background: The iconic Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building. Also, many other locations from Digimon Tamers exist in real life Shinjuku, such as Guilmon's hideout, Henry's apartment building, Takato and Henry's school, The street Takato lives on, and the park Takato, Kazu and Kenta played in.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Beelzemon first appears, he has red eyes and is bent on eliminating the Tamers and their Digimon (though later gets the green eyes of his Rookie form after Mode Changing to Blast Mode). Somewhat subverted with Takato; while he's generally the kindest and most innocent of the three main tamers, God help you if you do make him mad...
  • Red Herring: Impmon factors ominously in the early promotional material (as seen above), but proves to be rather pathetic as a villain...until he Takes A Level In Badass and became Beelzemon.
    • Further justified by the fact that Impmon as Beelzemon was originally planned to become the Big Bad of the series.
  • Redemption Demotion: When Antylamon turns against her master, the Sovereign, she de-Digivolves to Lopmon. However, in the face of a mutual enemy, she is allowed her Digivolution back. In the midst of getting over Honor Before Reason, when Andromon becomes Kazu's partner, he de-Digivolves to Guardromon.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Almost for Beelzemon. While desperately trying to save Jeri to atone for killing Leomon, he suffers a fatal attack to his back. His data disintegrates, and he plummets into the D-Reaper mass. Grani manages to save him, and he instead reverts to Impmon.
  • Redemption Equals Life: Antylamon turns against Zhuqiaomon, and is the only Deva to not be destroyed.
  • Redemption Promotion: Not a "redemption" per se, but when Impmon agrees to serve the Sovereign, he recieves a Betrayal Promotion. A bit more involved than If Friendship Then Upgrades.
    • Then he gets a true Promotion after making amends with his Tamers.
  • Refuge in Audacity: How does Takato take Guilmon out for walks around the city? He just does, he walks around with him. Right next to him. In plain view. He tells a couple of curious kids that Guilmon's actually just a really good cosplayer; other then the occasional odd stare, nothing ever comes of this.
    • Subverted in the case of Jen and Terriermon, due to the latter's insistence on being a Head Pet. In one episode Jen remarks that people are giving him weird looks due to Terriermon being on his head.
  • Remember the New Guy?: In part because the games detailing his backstory never left Japan, Ryo. Some may have remembered him in Adventure 02 (If you blinked, you probably missed it) but outside of that, he has no foreshadowing and comes completely out of nowhere while the characters react to Ryo like he was always there.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Sandiramon is the only Deva who uses his last words to taunt his enemies. Guilmon gets a pass from this trope by being a dinosaur, although he is a virus-type nonetheless.
    • Orochimon is particularly nasty even by enemy digimon standards, being a bullying alchoholic who manipulates a tribe of Gekomon.
  • Rescue Arc: The second major arc begins with the Tamers entering the Digital World to get Calumon back from the Devas.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Culumon, Guilmon, Terriermon, Lopmon, and MarineAngemon.
  • Rocket Jump: Gargomon uses his canons to do a Rocket Jump to the top of a skyscraper.
  • Running Gag: Guilmon or Takato wondering if Takato can/should have redesigned him whenever a problem occurs (ie, needs longer legs so he can run faster).
  • Sacrificial Lion: Leomon.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Renamon's Ultimate(Japanese)/Mega(English), Sakuyamon, is named for Konohanasakuya-hime, the cherry blossom princess which keeps Mount Fuji from erupting. Sakuyamon takes the form of a humanoid clad in fox themed garments that makes use of Onmyodo magic, neither of which Konohanasakuya-hime was associated with.
  • Save Both Worlds
  • Say My Name: Just as Beelzemon's about to kill Takato and Megidramon, the other Tamers friends shout Takato's name in slow motion as Beelzemon's bullets approach him.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses:
    • This is Yamaki's defining trait through out the first half of the season.
    • Takato's googles make him scary (really!) when they shine. Just watch one of his card-slashes (or digimodify) closely, or even in slow motion.
  • Sequel Hook: The Digimon Tamers 2018 Drama CD ends with one.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: A recurring plot element in the Hypnos and the early Devas arcs is the difficulty of returning to Rookie stage after evolving to the Champion stage. It's inconvenient enough with Galgomon, whom Henry puts through a rigorous workout to burn off the energy, but in episode nine, "Not As Seen On TV", Growlmon's sheer inability to devolve leaves Takato and Henry to try to camouflage him until whatever Deus ex Machina that will devolve him occurs. Kyuubimon does not appear to have this problem.
  • She's a Man in Japan:
    • Lopmon in at least the US dub.
    • Renamon is voiced by a man in Germany, except for in the Mega-level. She is also referred to as a male in the Filipino dub.
    • Calumon/Culumon sounds distinctly more boyish in the English dub than the original, though both are fairly ambiguous.
  • Ship Tease: Present in the American dub:
    • There appears to be a slight but long-running one between Renamon and Impmon in the series' second half.
    • One between Guilmon and Renamon.
      Terriermon: "Renamon and Guilmon, sittin' in a tree..."
    • Between humans, there's some chemistry between Takato and Jeri and some overt teasing between Rika and Ryo, mostly Ryo teasing Rika and Rika threatening him in return).
    • The second movie has several scenes between Rika and Takato, Takato saving Rika from falling to her death and shouting at Her while hanging on to keep her from falling off of a speeding train as she BEGS him to let her go. However, the later CD Drama Message In A Packet re-focuses the Jurato and Ryuki.
  • Shout Outs: See the subpage for details.
  • Show Within a Show: Tamers treats Adventure as fictional. Contrary to popular belief, not just in the Dub. In later franchise cameos and guest appearances, Takato can recognize Taichi and Daisuke.
  • Shown Their Work: And how! There's more details on the Shown Their Work main page, but you can also look at Genius Bonus in Tamers' YMMV page and the lead writer's minisite on the show.
  • Sigil Spam: The Zero Unitnote  and Digital Hazardnote  both debuted with this show and appear with some frequency. The zero unit is most commonly seen as the symbol on Culumon's head, and the digital hazard is Guilmon's Chest Insignia, but they do appear in several other locations.
  • Silence of Sadness: Following the death of Leomon, Juri sinks into a deep depression that leaves her in a borderline catatonic state. Seeing his friend go from talkative and enthusiastic to mute and distant is enough to make Takato cry tears of despair.
  • Silent Whisper: Subverted in episode 14: "Grow Mon Grow". When Terriermon whispers to Henry, the words are actually intelligible to the audience before Henry repeats them aloud to Takato.
  • Sixth Ranger: Ryo
  • Slice of Life: This is what Chiaki Konaka wanted, and succeeded spectacularly, at introducing in the series.
  • The Slow Walk: Done by Gallantmon.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Henry and Suzie's Chinese names, Jiànliáng and Xiǎochūn Lǐ.
  • Spoiler Opening: Everyone's evolutions are previewed—Gallantmon, MegaGargomon, Sakuyamon and Beelzemon (even worse, Blast Mode) all appear in the opening of the very first episode, but they're obscured by shadows until the start of the Digital World arc at which point, all bets were off. Jeri, Kazu, and Suzie are shown with Digivices—again, this would eventually happen; Beelzemon is teased as a major threat—and boy-howdy is he ever; right after his appearance the D-Reaper is shown taking over the Hypnos building. It even spoils Jeri and Kazu getting Leomon and Guardromon as Digimon partners.
  • Spoiler Title:
    • The Japanese title of episode 34, "The Kind-Hearted Hero, Leomon Dies".
    • The images behind the titles also spoil new developments every few episodes. With the help of the Spoiler Opening, you can figure out which of the main characters' digimon will be reaching the next level that episode.
  • Starfish Aliens: The D-Reaper and Digignomes.
  • Stationary Wings: Judging from the visuals, it would seem that Digimon with flight abilities can accelerate air across their skins.
  • Synchronization: Bio-Merging again.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: One episode featured an anomaly of the Hypnos mainframe that manifested in a tunnel and abducted Guilmon, keeping him bound in web-like strands in a white void inside itself.
    Tropes T to Z 
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: You know how Digimon are supposed to have either vaccine, data, or virus attributes that behave this way? In most of the TV shows they're completely ignored, but in this season it actually makes a noticeable difference in battles, though it's only obvious if you're a really dedicated fan. For example, when vaccine attribute Rapidmon uses an attack against two devas at once, virus attribute Pajiramon is deleted instantly, while fellow vaccine attribute Vajramon is only badly injured and is able to reform later. Soon after, data attribute Taomon proceeds to defeat him with ease. Before that near the beginning, data attribute Renamon attempts to one-hit virus attribute Guilmon, but her attack literally bounced off him harmlessly.
  • Take My Hand: Culumon, when Takato is struggling to get on the Ark.
    • Then later, Beelzemon to Jeri, in one of the most emotional scenes in the whole season.
  • Take That!: The final episode is a Take That! to Status Quo Is God and "everything is back to normal" endings.
    • In the dub version of episode 21 ("Jeri's Quest"), both Jeri and Takato make comments on how over-designed and bizarre-looking Kumbhiramon looks. Since these lines were not in the original version, we can assume it was the translators poking fun.
  • Tail Slap: Mihiramon's Samurai Tiger Tail, which he nearly kills Renamon and Terriermon with.
    • Renamon does this to a Flybeemon, and as Kyubimon she does this to Vajramon.
    • Also Allomon does this to Renamon.
    • Horn Striker does this to Justimon as well.
  • Team Title: The title refers to the Power Trio and their friends and allies.
  • Tear-Apart Tug-of-War: Impmon observes this happening when his tamers Ai and Mako, a pair of siblings less than 10 years old each, fight over a doll they both want. It serves as the impetus for him to run away, declaring be doesn't need a tamer to get strong. When Impmon eventually returns to the children during the latter half of the series, he's surprised to find the children have repaired the doll. It seems in the interim they'd come to realize their constant fighting is what drove their digi-friend away, and they were determined that, should he return, they would prove they were capable of getting along.
  • Tender Tears: In the first act or so, Takato can barely go two episodes without crying for one reason or another. He toughens up a bit after Character Development, but still remains the series' most sensitive major character.
  • That Man Is Dead: Beelzemon about Impmon.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: "Yuuhi no Yakusoku" in the second movie.
  • They Look Like Us Now: Happens twice. The first time is Makuramon's human disguise—it doesn't really pass muster, and falls into Uncanny Valley territory, even in-universe. The Tamers know there's something wrong with him, they just don't catch onto what is wrong until it's too late. The second time is even worse. The D-Reaper's copy of Jeri was perfect except for being very pale and having creepy mannerisms, which are written off as her simply being broken with grief. Takato doesn't clue into what's really going on until she sprouts wings and nearly Mind Rapes him.
  • This Is a Drill: The Steel Drill/Digmon's Drill card.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Renamon will routinely cite this reason for not participating in some battles. The most plot-relevant example is her standing back and letting Impmon fight Indramon alone. Rika has to goad her into intervening out of concern for Impmon's life.
  • Those Two Guys: Kazu and Kenta.
  • Time Travel: Such an effect occurs during the final arc, produced by Operation: Doodlebug. By installing the Shaggai/Juggernaut program into Terriermon and having SaintGalgomon reverse the spin of the wormhole connecting the digital world and earth and accelerate the reversal beyond the speed of light, Operation Doodlebug is able to make time flow backwards and force the D-Reaper to be reduced to its original state.
  • Tokyo Tower: Actually it's Tokyo's ominously-designed city hall that's featured prominently throughout the series.
  • Toy Disguise: Terriermon masquerades as a plushie when other people are in the room because of his cute appearance. Unfortunately for him, this makes him the butt of many of Suzie's antics, such as getting dressed up in girly clothes.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: In Japanese, episode 33's On the Next spoiled Leomon's death.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: One of the underlying themes of the show (particularly in regard to the adult characters) is the responsibility that comes with creating life, and what happens if that life you created turns against you, of which Zhuqiaomon and the D-Reaper are examples.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: According to Konaka, the series is set in 200X. However, a set year of 1984 for the Monster Makers project (said to be 20 years ago in-series) would more specifically set the events of Tamers around 2004.
  • The Unchosen One: According to the early planning notes on Konaka's website, this was a very important thing he needed to emphasise:
    In Season 3, the main characters Realizenote  the Digimon out of their own will, and leap into adventure under their own will. This is something important that the children of today, who passively accept and enjoy what is given to them, need to gain from fiction.
  • The Unfought: Technically speaking, although he plays the largest villainous role of all the Devas, the Tamers never fight Makuramon, aside from Leomon charging after him and taking the force of his attack, and Antylamon fighting him off to protect Suzie (before she becomes Suzie's partner). The only damage Makuramon ever receives before Beelzemon kills him is when Suzie bites him.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: One early episode had Takato taking Guilmon out in public just to see what the reaction would be. The kids thought it was awesome, the adults passed it off as animatronic or cosplay.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Monster Makers to Yamaki. The Makers think they're being brought together to help study the Digimon, and find a way to contain them. What they don't know is Yamaki is using their knowledge to wipe all Digimon out.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • In the American dub, Guilmon adds "-mon" to everyone's names (mostly Takato's). Lampshaded by his voice actor, Steve Blum. Guilmon drops the -mon bit after one scene in the Japanese version. Instead, he speaks in childishly in third-person and occasionally makes sounds like "giru".
    • "Culululu~"
    • In the original Japanese, geko.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Beelzemon could perform the attacks of the Digimon he absorbed, including Leomon's Fist of the Beast King, which he uses to try to break Jeri out of the D-Reaper Kernel Sphere.) It's implied that any Digimon could do this, but Beelzemon's the only one who does it on-screen.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Yamaki gets closer and closer to this as the series goes, culminating when Juggernaut does not work as planned and he actually grabs Henry by the throat before stumbling away and yelling at himself. He does not, however, go through one when he's fired after his building is destroyed. Instead he mopes in his apartment until Riley says something that snaps him out of it enough to do a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Villainous Rescue: Makuramon shuts down Hypnos when Juggernaut is about to destroy WarGrowlmon, Rapidmon, and Taomon. Granted, his intent may have been to save Vikaralamon, who was also under attack from Juggernaut, but WarGrowlmon killed Vikaralamon shortly after.
  • Vocal Dissonance: In the dub, Biomerge Megas speak in two voices, both their Tamer's and their own rookie form's. Renamon's the only one with a voice deep and mature enough to pull this off. The original Japanese version merely has them speak in the base Digimon's voice with different inflection (such as Dukemon/Gallantmon having a deeper, more formal version of Guilmon's voice), and they still apply for this trope.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: In the beginning, Guilmon, Renamon, and Terriermon were able to defeat any wild Digimon coming into the real world as themselves or at adult level if need be. Then comes the Deva story arc, where they encounter Mihiramon, who easily one-shots Kyubiimon and Galgomon in rapid succession. He almost does the same to Growmon, until he evolves to the perfect level, MegaloGrowmon.
  • Walk Into Camera Obstruction:
    • "Digimon, Digimon Everywhere" with Takato when Kazu yells for him to hurry up because they're late for class.
    • "Boar Wars" where Jeri is chasing after the weird kid in the red hat.
  • Walking Away Shot: In the movie Runaway Locomon after a fantasy of Rika singing, "You promised that you'd stay for the sunset."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zhuqiaomon and Yamaki.
  • Wham Episode: "Lionheart". The kids are on an adventure in the Digital World! They've fought some bad Digimon along the way and have gotten separated, but everything always turns out all right. Then Beelzemon kills Jeri's partner Leomon, Takato's rage causes Guilmon to Digivolve into the mindlessly destructive Megidramon, and Jeri suffers an Heroic BSoD that will take her the rest of the series to snap out of. The group's innocence is quite violently lost.
    • Then it gets worse when they introduce the D-Reaper, a simple data cleanup program Gone Horribly Right. Just when it appears that our heroes have defeated it and returned home, it turns out not only has it survived it's hitched a ride to the human world.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Data vs. DNA is a major theme in this series.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: The worst antagonist the series has is ultimately a corrupt A.I. with no real sense of malice. Most bad Digimon have their reasons and moral codes despite their antagonistic position, and the scary/unapproachable adults are really just paranoid or overprotective at worst.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Inverted; Jeri's stepmother is actually an extremely kind person, it's Jeri who doesn't want anything to do with her.
  • Worthy Opponent: Guilmon to Renamon, as he was the first Renamon failed to beat upon first encounter.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After Dobermon's sacrifice, Alice begins to feel glum. The light show that was once Dobermon reforms into its head, licks her face, and sticks around long enough to hear her say "Oh Dobermon, you came back?" before exploding again.
    • The Digital World portal that appears in the final episode is covered up by concrete in the Message in the Packet audio drama and protected by a firewall to prevent the worlds from crossing again.
  • You Are Not Alone: One of the main themes of Tamers, particularly in Jeri's case.
  • You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You: What the main characters say to their parents in the American dub.
  • 0's and 1's: Apparently, it's actual ASCII code. Yamaki isn't amused.


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