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Digimon Ghost Game

Aug 21, 2022

Important!  As of now, the anime has not completed its run and is only 38 episodes in.  I am only writing a review right now because this series seems to be more of a "monster of the week" anime. 
This anime also feels more like a giant advertisement for the Digimon Vital Bracelet (which is a great product, but still just wanted to mention that).  Just note that you can't actually control your digimon's battles on the bracelet if you like the anime enough to buy one (I've never done a versus with someone else, but AI battles are heavily RNG based).



In some near (or distant) future, technology has advanced to the point where holograms with artificial intelligence are commonplace.  Amongst these spring rumors of some which go berserk, labeled as "Hologram Ghosts".  As Hiro Amanokawa soon finds out, these are actually creatues called Digimon who somehow got into the human world.

Though they aren't fully materialized, they can still do things such as hack into devices and interact with objects in the world (as well as sometimes with humans) enough to put people in danger.

As Hiro and his friends have to stop the new horror of the week, he attempts to learn more about the Digital World where his father currently is located.

There have only been a couple episodes thus far which actually pertained to the plot, and none of them explained anything.  In 38 episodes, we have a basic understanding of how digimon can interact with the human world, but nothing about Gammamon or what Hiro's father is doing (besides making more DiM cards), or any sort of advancement with the plot. 
As an episodic anime, 8/10. 
As a show with an overarching plot...2/10, as it fails to make much of any progress in furthering aforementioned plot.



Not going to lie; the characters are mostly wishy-washy and somewhat hard to connect with (except for Kiyoshiro, as he actually has a personality).

Hiro Amanokawa is a people-pleaser sort of character.  Not to the level of Iruma Suzuki (Welcome to Demon School, Iruma-kun), but he will often do tasks when asked.  He's very inquisitive when it comes to the Digital World, and treats Gammamon very well.  He is bold and will do whatever it takes to protect his friends, and has shown to be stragetic by coming up with plans in the middle of combat.

Gammamon is your typical protagonist's digimon; ignorant of everything in the world, loves chocolate, and is like a toddler.  He may have a hidden side to him, however.

Ruli Tsukiyono is a strange girl who seems to enjoy the occult and rumors of the Hologram Ghosts.  She appears to always be looking for "something" to cure her boredom, which honestly presents her as a selfish character.  Despite that, she is very much a team player when it comes to working with the others.
Her character is the most wishy-washy, and feels flat and uninspired.  She has potential to have personality, but her character just feels...blah.  Perhaps she should look for her own character; maybe then she wouldn't be so boring...I mean, bored...all the time.

Angoramon is laid back and chill in terms of personality, and recites a haiku at the end of each episode (much to Ruli's confusion).

Kiyoshiro Higashimitarai...holy-Angemon, that's a mouthful.  This is why everyone just calls him "Kiyo" or "Kiyoshi" most of the time.  He's a boy genius, but not the type Digimon fans are used to.  Rather, he has some rather amusing yet cringey moments of displaying Chuubyou Syndrome...
...when he's not freaking out or being a complete scaredy-cat.  Despite that part of his character, it never gets annoying or dull whenever he freaks out.  Rather, he is the most interesting character in the entire show. perhaps for Jellymon (Kiyoshi's partner), though I personally find her overbearing personality super annoying.  She is very full of herself, impish, and isn't above stealing to get something.

If it wasn't for Kiyoshi, these characters would be as interesting as watching paint dry.  Hiro has his moments of being an interesting protagonist, but I feel like I still know next to nothing about him except that he's brave, helpful, and compassionate.  I feel like I know even less about Ruli.  Kiyoshi occasionally shows some signs of character growth by joining the group when he's scared, but otherwise I really haven't seen much of any character growth.
Granted, episodic shows tend to struggle with character growth.  5/10


Sound & Animation

As anyone who has seen my other reviews knows, I rarely cover these unless they're either really good or there's a glaring problem.  Sadly, it's the latter for this one.

Sound:  The voice acting is amazing and brings the otherwise dull characters to life.  I personally enjoy Akira Ishida's work, so hearing him as the voice of possibly the most interesting character on the show (Kiyoshi) was a treat.
Despite that, sometimes Gammamon gets a little pitchy, and Jellymon's high-pitched voice combined with her overall "call me 'sama'" attitude makes her difficult to listen to for any period of time.

I suppose if they were going for annoying then they nailed it, but sometimes I wonder if anime companies intentionally seek out screechy voices for some of their characters.

The soundtrack is hit-or-miss.  The opening song is, and this is subjective, bad. It not only makes the anime seem like it's going to be more action-y than it actually is, but the song just feels very jarring.  The first ending song follows this trend, and while not as bad as the opening, I never want to listen to it again.

The second ending song is alright, and further ones are also pretty good; and the evolution song is really catchy and certainly inspires a little bit of rooting for the protagonists.  Not as much as other seasons, but I suppose it's the best they can do without Wada Koji.

Stellar voice-acting balances out the pitchy voices, and the evolution song and subsequent ending songs balance out the first opening and ending songs.  7/10

Animation:  Can be rather static.  There is even some repeated footage at one time, and it's not the evolution footage.

There are also moments with the animation of a character "running" is pretty much just seeing their portrait sort of bobbing up and down, or some other weird movement which looks like it belongs in a visual novel instead of something animated.  They even do this during combat, which are major points off.

Battles don't feel very high-energy (though they are also sometimes broken up by other factors) mostly because of this lazy animation.

The character designs as well; these are 13 year olds, but they look like they're 10 or 11.  Even adults have that stout, young-ish appearance.  I suppose that could be a design choice, but it makes it hard to take the horror aspect seriously.  I understand that Higurashi uses cute characters and then turns into a bloodbath, but this doesn't have that same cognitive dissonance to it; it just feels like somewhat lazy design, particularly since the characters don't really have that distinctive "digimon character" style to them.

To me, the animation feels sloppy and unpolished.  There are a lot of "still frame but moving" moments, sometimes during the supposedly scary/horror moments and battle.  While other movements are fluid, these strange moments are super obvious and detract from the experience, making it hard to be immersed. 
What in the world were they thinking?  4/10



While it's amusing, it's not a page-turner.  I'll maybe watch a couple episodes here and there, and even skip around and still know what's going on.  While that's not a terrible thing for a series to have (particularly the "monster of the week" sort), this anime also included a background plot and just sort of shoved that plot so far to the back that it's been collecting dust.

I've seen plenty of other anime which featured "monster of the week" sort of episodic formats, and none of them ignored their overarching plot as much as Digimon Ghost Game does.

Again, 38 episodes in and most of the information we have are from the first 13 episodes with maybe one or two episodes beyond that point showing any sort of glimpse into the plot is not a good thing when you have an overarching plot.

This anime went for a darker approach, but in terms of a Digimon anime being dark, Digimon Tamers has it beaten hands-down.  There's certainly a lot on the horror angle here as the digimon are presented as actual monsters which can hurt, and even kill, humans.  Even still, Digimon Survive (game) actually did the horror angle slightly better, as some of the situations in Ghost Game are either predictable or broken up with humor.

Especially considering how dastardly their enemies are, one would think that the kids would find a more...permanent...solution to these digimon who are putting humans' lives at risk or actively harming them for fun. 
Ehhh...not really.  A digimon doesn't actually die until episode 13, and while opponents obviously are defeated (else there wouldn't be more episodes), the battles don't feel resolved because most of their opponents just sort of...leave.

There are the occasional ones who become a "good guy" or neutral as they go their own way, and there are ones sent back to the Digital World to be someone else's problem.  Most of the time, the enemy digimon just decide to stop fighting and leave, or get thrashed and run away (and the kids let them go despite how much trouble they've already caused).
Other digimon just become agitated (particularly when the protagonists show up) and lash out; they can't be reasoned with for some unknown reason until after they've taken a beat-down.

Thus, the conclusion of each "monster of the week" is often highly unsatisfying and feels extremely unresolved.  A couple of those digimon do come back in later episodes (as expected). 
Combine that with little to no forward movement on the overarching plot, as well as characters who don't really change, and you've got a recipe for a repetative series which starts to feel like it's essentially nothing but filler episodes.

Once more, a lot of moments in this anime feels like it's meant to be an advertisement for the Digimon Vital Bracelet (going as far as to have DiM cards for these new digimon...with more on their way and a waterproof Vital Bracelet in the works).  And while I can say from experience that the Vital Bracelet is cool, I'd rather see something in this anime explaining exactly what the DiM cards they use are.

Hiro's father gives them next to no explanation of how they work; it's just "stick it in the bracelet".  Nothing about how he programmed it, created it, ect.  DiM cards IRL for the Vital Bracelet allow you to have various digimon (and of course, once they evolve they can't de-evolve), but they aren't explained in the anime.

Certainly, the series has potential.  I would like to see a little more character growth as well as a bit more focus on the plot.  Right now, it feels like Ghost Stories met Digimon, only Ghost Game gives next to no explanation for why things are happening.  It's sadly yet another "quantity over quality" anime which seems to be the trend lately, and has made it difficult to find good anime these days.
I'll give it a 6/10 since some episodes are interesting and for the potential, but it barely scraped that 6.

5/10 story
4/10 animation
7/10 sound
5/10 characters
6/10 overall
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