Digimon Season 1: Digital Monsters

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MordredMS's avatar By MordredMS on Feb 11, 2011

As tpeople who know me personally can attest, I often make conceited efforts to pull this series out of the abyss of prejudices it is sometimes thrown into. Because it often gets treated like "just another pocket monster series for kids", which is seriously underrating it for what it has to offer: beneath that there's a lot of content much more mature and "adult" than what you'd probably think at first.


STORY: 8.5/10
Let me state this clearly: those, like me, who grew up with this anime getting broadcasted on TV, most probably experienced it too soon. Infantilisations brought upon it by the various dubs aside, 8-9-10 years old kids are simply not old and mature enough to understand all the various themes and nuances. Every aspect is told for a target audience of 13-14-15 years old kids, and therefore it can't be considered a 100% adult series, but if you scratch slightly below the surface and can forgive the dumbest and goofiest moments (and there's a lot of them, expecially in the first and last arc), you'll notice the story and situations are much more "mature" in nature than those of most "kids shows" like Pokemon or Beyblade: stranding a bunch of kids alone in an unknown land full of things out to kill them, forcing them to fight and kill putting their life on the line to return home, slowly having them realise the destiny and the burden on their shoulders, having them choose between their homes and families and that burden while facing their inner demons, is certainly different than the hot blooded shounen hero of the day simply wanting to become the best (insert game taken far too seriously here).

The plot, in itself, is kind of simple, and can be reduced to the usual "good guys fighting bad guys to save the world". But it's well told, and it's made more interesting by the way in which it interwines with the development of the characters, in which it gets "spiced up" with the usual themes of self-sacrifice, courage, nakama, friendship, fighting to protect the loved ones, and so on. Even though most shounen series always had this kind of themes, Digimon Adventure manages to make them feel fresh in this kind of setting, and manages to move and excite the viewer: many fights are thrilling, the death scenes (yes, characters actually die here) are moving, the characters are sympatethic, and the final revelation on the nature of the evil they'd been fighting is well pulled "Cry for the devil" material. To be fair, the story takes its bloody time (10-12 episodes) to pick up pace seriously, but episodes such as the 21st, the entire Vamdemon saga, and the last 8 are of HUGE quality.



CHARACTERS: 9/10
This being a "monster series" nontheless, the focus is surely on the main 7 (later 8) human characters. All of them are given various degrees of backstory exploration and character development. They all start off with a general character type and not much of a depth, but as the series moves along we gaze deeply into their souls, their weaknesses, their backstory, their doubts, their desires, their motives, we see their relationships and conflicts change and develop, we see them growing up, reacting differently to their role and to their adventure. Some get a lot of development, others get more backstory, others get more interaction between one another, but they all have their share. Gazing into their story we also get a taste of such themes as divorce, adoption, and overbearing parental expectations, which sure help raising the maturity level of the anime.

About the Digimon themselves, there's more to them than the simple cute critters of the day. The main eight all have a distinct personality and some of them, like Tailmon and Patamon, also get their share of development and pathos, while characters like Wizarmon or the villains Vamdemon, Pinocchimon and Apocalymon really have enough charm and strenght in themselves.



ANIMATION: 7/10
Animation and art in this anime are "average". Nothing exceptional, but nothing disgusting either. The character design is nice and, at least for the main ones, strong and memorable. Some Digimon are a bit goofy-looking, but some others, expecially the later evolutions of the protagonists and the last five main villans, are gloriously awesome. The animation has some pretty low points, with episodes like the 41st being serious facepalm material, but overall it's decent. The backgrounds are a little strange, in that they're made in a different style, a bit "watercolour"-like and with strange... glowing... dot... things all over them, and thus at times the characters may seem not to blend in well, expecially in forest environments, but if you can get used to it you might even come to like it as a particular, distinguishing characteristic of the series.



MUSIC: 10/10

The soundtrack is, all-around, extremely good. Of course I'm not talking about the USA dub, here... man, at least the Italian one left that poor soundtrack alone. So, besides the catchy opening (Butter-fly), the epic main insert song (Brave heart), and the two endings sung by Maeda Ai, Takanori Arisawa (who sadly passed away in 2005), already composer for Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, gives us a wonderful collection of original themes ranging from hard rocking and pumping, to sad and melanchonic, to ethereal (and unbelievably nostalgia-inducing to people like me), to a memorable set of character themes.


CAST: 9/10
Finally, the voice acting cast is stellar: some careful listeners may recognize Naruto's voice actress Junko Takeuchi as Gomamon, Cromartie High School's Noboru Yamaguchi's voice actor Yuuto Kazama as Yamato Ishida (Matt), and they would probably not recognize the incredible performance of Takahiro Sakurai, of Code Geass and Final Fantasy fame, as Tentomon (and also as Mimi's father). Other great performances are old glory Toshiko Fujita's Taichi Yagami, Ai Maeda as Mimi Tachikawa, prince of bishounen characters Akira Ishida (Gaara, Kaworu Nagisa...) as the unforgettable Wizarmon, Umi Tenjin as Koushirou (Izzy) and good ol' Chika Sakamoto (Mei in My neighbor Totoro, among others...) as Agumon.



OVERALL: 8.7/10
This one is a great anime, much better than what most people would expect from a series with "-mon" in its title. If you've watched it as a kid, and like me find yourself drenched with crippling nostalgia of the good ol' days whenever memories of it surface, give the original Japanese a shot, you'll find yourself liking it even more. If you haven't, then I think that any anime-lover willing to wait for the story to pick up and able to rid their mind of prejudices and see the maturity underneath could like it, or at the very least realise that it's as far from a Pokémon knockoff as Gundam is from a Mazinger Z knockoff.

8/10 story
7/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
8.7/10 overall
MonjaElisa's avatar By MonjaElisa on May 29, 2011

Digimon is for me one of the First animes I was ever able to see.. I couldn't really get myself to remember anything about it exept that I really Loved the show.. In which made me rewatch it..

Picture yourself getting ready for a summer vacation Camp.. Once you finally get to the camp something really unexpected happens as you unknowing get sucked into another dimension along with five other people...
The story takes place in the Digital world where six humans after falling from the real world gets introduced to the Digimon. After finding out that they were choosen to protect the Digital world they have to go through some rough an dangerous battles to save the digital world.. And If they don't, Not only will the Digiworld cease to exist but so will the ''real'' world.. (the earth)

The show characters has some strong personalities, While the story also later in the show will have you keep watching as it comes with twists you will have never imagined..

If you like Adventure typed Animes this is truly a must watch..

9/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
10/10 characters
9/10 overall
darkdante14's avatar By darkdante14 on Jun 9, 2011

Introduction:

Digimon is one of those anime that I've seen when I was a kid and I originally decided to re-watch this show out of nostalgia. HOWEVER, rather than watching English dubbbed version as I did when I was kid, I searched the deep world of the internet and found Japanese (fan)subbed version. Keep in mind that I'm reviewing Japanese version of Digimon Adventures not that dumbed down, censored by 4Kids (company that is notorious for censoring anime) English version.

Story: 6 (almost good)

The story beggins with 7 kids in summer camp when suddenly it starts snowing (in the middle of summer) and some weird objects fall from sky. Children get sucked into some weird wave and they wake up in Digital World. Kids meet creatures called Digimon and are attacked by one. So that was Episode 1 in a nutshell.

The start is rather weak and first arc may seem a bit slow-paced but it's nessecary for introducing all characters. The show picks up at second arc and continues to get better as the story progresses.

The story itself is decent but the most interesting thing for me was seeing how characters become more mature and learn to overcome many difficulties.

And just think about it. Seven kids all alone in strange unknown world. The age of group ranges from 8 to 16 years old but most of the characters were about 11 or 12. They need to learn how to survive and more importantly find way home.

The bad thing about the story was this constant use of deus ex machina trick which basically means sudden problem solving without making any sence. Example: If a character is about to die the he either must die or have a slow recovery and NOT be healed by friendship and/or become stronger than ever. This trick is so overused in shonen anime, Bleach being the best example. It gets really annoying towards the end.

Animation: 7 (good)

Digimon use this unusual style for backgrounds which seemed to be coloured with watercolours. Overall the animation seemed good and keep in mind it's year 1999 anime. A slight CG use in Agumon's and Gabumon's Perfect and Ultimate (or Ultimate and Mega for ENG version) evolotion scenes, however the CG looked decent and didn't ruin the experience for me.

Sound: 8 (great)

Now this is where Japanese version prevails over English one. The soundtrack used conists from both cheerful melodies and sad compositions. The songs used were great just so great that it makes me even more mad that it all was gone from English version. Human voices are a lot better in Japanese, however, if it comes to Digimon voices I somehow prefer English dub. The problem with Japanese digimon voices was that they sounded way too human while English voice cast did try to make them more...digimon(?)

Characters: 6 (above average)

May seem nothing special at first. Seven (later eight) different kids with different personalities. They have their certain growth and chemistry between them. Watching last episode and looking back to beggining you really understand that the characters have become more mature and overcome many diffculities

It's easy to get attached to minor characters like Wizardmon and sympathise with children parents which I didn't notice when I was a kid.

The problem is the villains. While they have their charisma and Devimon, Vamdemon (Myotisimon) and Piemon (Piedmon) become my favourites for some reason, they all (except the last one) lacked motivation. Why did they want to control or destroy digital world? Because they were evil. That's it. Now, I understand that it's kids anime and essentially it's just a story about good vs evil but c'mon! The villains had no real motivation to do that all except the very last evil digimon who kids encountered. Only he gave an explanation for his actions.

Overall: 7 (good)

It has it's strong and weak points and while it is targeted at kids, I belive only at mature age you can aprecciate Digimon Adventures to it's full potential. I strongly advise to go for Japanese version because it's more emotional, uncensored and makes more sence. Rewatching Digimon Adventures I noticed so many aspects about it what I wasn't aware of when I was kid.

6/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
6/10 characters
7/10 overall
chronosis2012's avatar By chronosis2012 on Jul 26, 2011

This anime is hard to get in to in my opinion. it starts off reaaly fast but its really lame off the begining. ok, so the whole show is pretty lame, the voice over in dubbed (couldnt find subbed if there even is any :`() for the digimon, it doesnt suite 80% of them, i loved edomon, puppetmon, gotemon, and gomamons voice, thery suite, and there cool XD.

oveall story makes sence, although it takes forever to fill the loop holes of how they got to digiworld and why, but it all made sence by epidoe 45ish out of 54 lol.

animation, is good for how long ago it is, corny for the digivolutions and even some of the explosions,

sound, minus the shitty voices, is pretty good, and the background sound is really good too.

characters are great, the digimo, some may be lame, but i watch this anime justbecause i keep wanting to see what each digimon will digivolve into, its cool. overall ill give this an 8. id recomend this to anyone that liked pokemon, or even the watchers of bleach that were curious of seeing the different zanpakutous.

8/10 story
7/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
9/10 characters
8/10 overall
FreddyCrab's avatar By FreddyCrab on Oct 29, 2011

Story: This has to be my favourite anime ever, period. I can remember from when I was only about 4 or 5, standing by the tv watching this show and marvelling at how great it was. Over 10 years on I still think its absolutely great and one of the best animes out there- but I'm a bit biased, since it was the first anime I ever watched its bound to hold a special place in my heart. Anyway, I digress. The general story of this is 7 kids get transported from Summer Camp to a place called the DigiWorld, where they befriend some odd creatures called Digimon. And off they go on a magical adventure to save both their world and the DigiWorld. Ok, the story isn't backbreaking, nothing absolutely out-of-the-water amazing, but back in the late 90s it sure was. Judging it as if it were 1997 now, this was one of the most popular shows out there, even if it IS a Pokemon copy.

Animation: Compared with other 90s anime's I've watched, Digimon 01 seems to me to have superb animation in comparison. The art is clear, the monsters and people both looked impressive and the backgrounds too! I don't think you can really flaw it, maybe its a little cartoonised, with a hint of American cartoon, but its still great nonetheless.

Sound: The music to this is catchy and attractive, admittedly it can be annoying and very VERY repetitive, but it was good.

Characters: I love the characters of Digimon, I don't think there are any other character who I know better from any anime or anything. There's Tai, headstrong and fiesty, Matt, the cool guy whos protective of his little brother Takeru Takaishi, Mimi the girly girl, Joe the sweet worrywart and Izzy the computer nerd as well as a whole host of other characters who I love. Even the Digimon were given very distinct personalities, which is one other thing that makes Digimon appeal more to me than Pokemon. The Digimon all were unique, every last one of them and I thought it good how the children learned stuff from the Digimon and the Digimon learned stuff from them, they both treated each species like equals which I found sweet.

Overall: Yes, its like Pokemon, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh! and every other one of them 90s shows and yes its very predictable and kinda old, but its a classic must-watch nonetheless, and if you don't watch it, then you're definitely missing out, my friend.

8/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall