Digimon: Digital Monsters - The Official First Season|
Anyone remember the Tamagotchi pets that everyone and their mothers were carrying around back in the day? I do, and I remember you had to pay attention to those things 24/7 or they would die from not being fed, or watered or even if you forgot to clean up their poop! Digimon started in the same way, small handheld devices with little monsters you could raise and walk around with. Created by Akiyoshi Hongo and produced by Toei Animation the show was based on the same virtual pet. Unlike the Tamagotchi pets though they weren’t just for playing, they were for battling too. Friends could connect them together and battle each other with their little monsters and see whom had raised theirs the best; thus started a phenomenon called Digimon.
Digimon, or Digital Monsters, as it’s truly named, was a kid’s show that aired originally in 1999 on Fox Kids and was based on the same handheld game from Japan. It follows the adventure of seven kids who, while at summer camp, were transported to the Digital World, a place inhabited by creatures known as the Digimon that were chosen to be the “DigiDestined” or “Chosen children” in the original show to save both their real world and the newly found Digital world. Each child was given a device aptly named a Digivice and a partner Digimon to help them in their travels. This all came about when Pokémon and Monster Rancher were arriving on the scene; the age of the monsters as it were for the U.S. Many have said that Digimon was a rip-off of Pokémon but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Digimon: Complete Season 1 Collection is the U.S dubbed version with all 54 episodes in splendid DVD quality for everyone to enjoy. The collection also includes a 36 page character guide booklet featuring the seven original characters plus Kari, the 8th DigiDestined child. The DVDs themselves also have a gallery featuring some behind the scene sketches that makes up the digital world and its digimon. The show itself is the exact one that was aired on TV with no edited scenes or animation updates, so it still has that old nostalgia feel to it just like it was another Saturday morning where I woke up just to catch this show. One of the days did happen to be a Saturday morning when we started watching this at 7 a.m.
When I first saw this show I was probably 10 or 11 years old and didn’t quite catch as many of the innuendos and jokes that are snuck in throughout the show. Even if they are highly inappropriate they say it with such lighthearted humor that you wouldn’t even think twice about laughing at it. The animation itself has some parts where things look skewed or have the wrong color but otherwise you really can’t complain about the art. In one of my favorite episodes one of the Digimon called Metalgarurumon is as big as a house; in another scene he is no taller than a 10 year old boy.
With a run time of 1140 minutes consisting of 54 episodes spread across eight discs you see the adventure begin with the children landing on File Island and defeating the evil Devimon after first helping their partner Digimon reach their potential and level up in strength and form by a process called “Digivolution”. I would like to point out to any fans of the show that it took Patamon until the 13th episode to show up, where he single handedly beat Devimon, then died and came back as an egg then doesn’t make another appearance for 20 episodes, what a waste of an awesome character design.
After that small adventure they leave the Island and go to the continent of Server, noticing a trend here? Along the way to the new continent they find out that the partners can reach a new level of power using something called the crests. In this new place they fight a creature known as Etemon who is in fact…an Elvis impersonator, or rather sounds like one even going so far as doing the whole “uh-huh” thing that Elvis is known for and calling himself the “king of rock-n-roll”. Here is where having the knowledge I have now I started to notice particular things such as the fact that the actual levels of power aren’t really mentioned and everything is just “the next level of power” to everyone including the bad guys.
The levels of power, in case you were wondering, are as follows; baby, in-training, rookie, champion, ultimate, and mega. Another thing you should know is that in the English dub, the monsters aren’t all classified correctly. Sometimes a champion was called an ultimate or vice versa. I think I just showed how much of a nerd I am…oh well.
After the children all find their crest and defeat Etemon the next chapter begins with the rise of Myotismon, the third villain of the series and actually the main antagonist of the second series. Myotismon is a vampire looking humanoid with gray/blue skin and his sole intention is, as always, to destroy the digital world and take over earth for himself. This arc is where the children finally return him only to see it’s been less than 10 minutes since they received their Digivices and reached the digital world. The Rest of the show after they reunite with their parents and the appearance of the only two mega level partner Digimon, Wargreymon and Metalgarurumon is much faster paced as they return to the digital world to save it from yet another set of bad guys called the dark masters which consists of a puppet, clown, a metal sea serpent and giant robot aptly named in order as Puppetmon, Piedmon, Metalseadramon and Machindramon.
The show itself has weird character development if you try to take it too seriously, so you have to keep in mind this was a kid’s show and you have to take a lot of things with a grain of salt such as one person going from being tone deaf to a pop star in another episode. The children themselves, especially the one named Sora, (no relation to Kingdom Hearts) is all happy-go-lucky and then turns into one of the most emo characters I’ve ever seen with such statements as “I don’t know if I can even feel love “. That sort of stuff kind of annoyed me as they tried to do all this development in the span of four episodes just to have a sort of moral-to-the-story kind of ending for those episodes.
As far as music goes no one can ever forget the original Digimon theme song, but for a show about some pretty awesome fight scenes I really expected something better than an a cappella group going, “hey Digimon” with lighthearted music playing in the background. I want to hear something showcasing the power that these fights were showing. It really ruined a few of the fights having such light music playing as something got cut in half or vaporized.
As much as I loved seeing this show again I really wish they had put a little more work into fixing it up. As mentioned earlier, this is the exact same version you saw on TV back in 1999 including every wrong voiceover, weird color pallet and especially the obvious signs that the original version was toned down for U.S audiences. The standard turning of all alcohol into orange juice, the random stranger that finds them and gives them a lift is inexplicably a specific characters cousin and pink poop. I sincerely hope that if and when a Blu-ray version is ever released its updated to have a better flow and better animation to get rid of these annoying issues. Retailing for $80 and already discounted to half that for 54 episodes is not a bad buy, but I definitely expected a bit more for my buck.