Digimon, the show for kids cooler than Pokefans but, at the same time, less cool. Figure that one out...
The man behind the creation of the flawlessly wonderful digital monsters (Digimon, for those of you mentally challenged among us) was a Japanese fellow by the name of Akiyoshi Hongo. Don't bother to try staging a luncheon with the man, though. He is credited as being exceptionally mysterious and not much is known about him at all. His name may even be an alias, not a joke. If any of you wish to read the very detailed Wikipedia article on him, please feel free. I'm sure you'll find plenty of stimulating reading materials about the mysterious overlord, and what's to come. Or, you'll find a paragraph shorter than the one I've typed. Moving right along...
A photo of what Hongo may have looked like during Digimon's inception.
A mock-up of what Hongo may very well look like today.
The only friends I'll ever need.. (sniffle) ..
The year of 1997 was a crystalline cavern filled with many a jewel for the man or woman deemed "Nerd," as Bandai released the first (yes, there were many more, and yes I had three. Problem?) form of the Digimon shown above. Look like a Tamagotchi? They are. For more information on the Tamagotchi style Digimon, or the Tamagotchi, please refer to the god damned Tamagotchi. Onward!
I may have cried watching this. I didn't but, I might've.
Around two years after the Tama--ahem..Digital Monster Virtual Pet, (1999 for those of us who, like myself, have poor skills in the area of arithmetic, and all fields that surround or inhabit it) we were treated to the first in a line of Digimon animated cartoons aptly named Digimon Adventure. It starred kids Tai, Matt, Sora, TK, Mimi, Izzy, Joe, and possibly Dolph Lundgren (Not really but, I thought I'd add in a little spice) as the mysterious eighth child in line to get their own digital monster, as they went to camp for the summer, got sucked into a freak tidal wave, landed in a digital world, were rebranded as "Digi-Destined," and met a group of sharp-toothed talking testicles called, you guessed it, Digimon.
One of few times in life where a guy can come face to face with one, or more testicles, and it not be considered gay in the slightest.
After they meet their Digimon partners, they go off on a grand adventure that goes from Joe speaking to a mysterious operator on a telephone hooked up on a random beach, to the relentless advances of a giant world-destroying vampire monster's looming crotch.
Also, these "Digi-Destined" fight a close cousin of the Lament Configuration from Hellraiser as a "final boss," if you will.
No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering.
To get to that point in the series, though, there had to be a formula put in place. Obviously, going through around 60 episodes with the same monsters would get boring, (See Ash's Pikachu.) Enter in the trump card, harkening all the way back in time to the Digital Monster Virtual Pet.
Digimon - The perfect representation of the pro-athlete in training.
Ever gotten the holy fuck beaten out of you by a guy who was easily twice your size? What if I said that by the power of believing in yourself, you could transform into a forty ton monster? Would you believe me? If you do, then please go up to the guy that's twice your size and provoke him. Also, I'd like you to set up a video of your ensuing victory, and send it to my email. I've gotta have somethin' to wax my carrot to, yah know? But, regardless of your success, or utter failure, that was Digimon in a nutshell.
The formula would run as follows: Let's say there are three Digimon. Catmon, Dogmon, and JaniLaneFromWarrantmon. They are all Rookie level, the base level for the Digi-Destined's Digital Monsters. Episode one would entail Catmon coming up against an enemy much too large and powerful in stature. By the power of believing in itself, it digivolves into the bigger and more powerful (called Champion level) Lionmon, beats the fuck out of the enemy, then returns to the form of Catmon. Now, Catmon can basically become Lionmon whenever it needs to. Next episode, same happens to Dogmon. Becomes Jackalmon, beats enemy, returns to Dogmon. And so on and so on the Digimon gain more levels of power, from Rookie to Mega, and we basically get to the end of the series. Need more elaboration? Look it up. I'm not here to be Wikipedia for you.
JaniLaneFromWarrantmon, digvolve to!!--
So, that, in a rough translation, is the formula for Digimon as a whole.
So, we have a Tamagotchi for boys. We've a "more interesting than Pokemon "cartoon. What next? What next, indeed. How about toys with all the grandeur of the horse shit we all got in Happy Meals as children? Like that? No? Too god damned bad.
These kids were just way too badass to handle in grade school.
So, action figures that didn't do much in the way of "action." Fairly typical marketing, and that's all that happened. There isn't any sort of fourth wall-breaking gimmick that this writer can think of. It was all just your average shit. Shit made of plastic, digital shit, paper shit. Shit in a shitty video game, shit on a back pack, shit for your kids, shit to annoy your parents with. Whole lot o' just plain ole garden variety shit.
But, there was one thing that was truly worth one's time. Digimon: The Movie. Not much to make fun of here. It was just badass as hell. Action, a high octane soundtrack, your favorite characters saving the world from some digital ass stain trying to destroy the internet from the inside-out. It had it all.
The Miles Davis of childhood entertainment.
The future of this beloved franchise, well, it's up for debate. For many, Digimon is still alive and well. There are video games. There are odd little gadgets. There is even a new show or two out now. So, for some, it's still as full of life as it used to be. But, for a lot of us, Digimon is a memory. A beautiful lover from many a year ago who just slipped away as time went on. So, with that in mind, where do we go from here? What do we do? Well, we do plenty of this.
PLENTY of this.
And we just remember the good times. Digimon may not be what it once was but, that doesn't mean it's dead to us either. It will remain as lovely as it was, years ago. Again, like the lost lover. She comes back years later. She is older now, wrinkled. But, she's just as beautiful as she was back then. Maybe even better, like a well-aged wine. So, no fretting Digi-fans. Remember what you love, and embrace it. Choke the living hell out of it.
And fuck all the rest.