15 years… Wow! that can be a really long time. I must admit, I was far too young to remember the first release of Digimon but, if you are like me and don’t know a thing of Japanese, it wasn’t a great loss, not until August of 1999 (we are talking about a year when ‘dumb phones’ were revolutionary) when the series hit the small screens across the U.S.A and U.K and pretty much all those countries fortunate enough to have ‘Fox Kids’ (those were the days). Digimon, that’s what we will be talking about here, not to be confused with Pokemon (apart from the 'mon' suffix these anime have nothing siginificantly similar). It is a series, I believe, to be so under appreciated that it’s about time time it rises from the ashes… or more accurately, hatches from it’s digi-egg!
Some of you reading this, especially those of you more seasoned in Japanese anime, may be more familiar then others with the series, Digimon Adventure. But, for you newbies, here’s a summery of what you’ve been missing out;
Seven totally ordinary children, and when I mean ordinary, I mean totally ordinary, who barely know each other all happen to be at the same summer camp. However, a freak snowstorm (that’s how bad climate change is getting) causes them to seek refuge together before mysteriously being teleported to another world. This world, which is a shadow of our own, is known as the Digital World. It is a bizarre, fantastical world inhabited solely by digital monsters, Digimon for short.
In this strange world the children meet with their own Digimon partners, little programs purposely created with powers to protect them. The series follows their journey across the Digital World in an attempt to return home. Throughout their journeys the Digidestined, for that was what they were called, must discover the true purpose behind their mysterious arrival and, unexpectedly, an eighth Digidestined. However, as expected from all great stories, their journey is littered with evil Digimon . They must fight these dark creatures, each one testing the Digidestineds' limits, as they unravel a plot which not only concerns the Digital World, but the fate of the real world as well!
This summery does not do the series justice, if you want to really understand what makes Digimon so amazing I recommend watching the series yourself. You can even pick in what langugue to see it! Japanese with English subs are a personal favourite. But, before you begin your own journey across the web to find Digimon Adventure's episodes, let me at least introduce the main protagonists which contribute greatly to the amazingness of the series. Just a little note before you read on, if you know the series then you know what I am referring to when I speak of crests, if you don’t- let's just say it's what makes these particular children special but, as promised, no spoilers.
Taichi "Tai" Kamiya
Profile; The ‘leader’ of this little group of Digidestined. This impulsive google-head has caused the group much censured cussing (it’s a kid’s show, so duh) with his rash ‘act first, think later’ attitude. However, when the going gets tough he is always there when his friends need him, no matter the cost. He’s the novice, fallible leader everyone loves.
Yamato "Matt" Ishida
Profile; Tai’s best friend and biggest competitor at the same time. Matt is everything Tai isn’t- calm, cool and collected- unless his little brother is involved, then tread carefully. It’s no surprise that he and Tai butt heads more often then not but when he is needed (like for saving the world or cooking an amazing meal) he’ll be there without hesitation. He’s the quiet one you wouldn't expect to care.
Digimon; Piyomon (Biyomon in the English version)
Profile; One of the most prominent female characters in the series, she’s the one the others turn to, especially the younger members, when either Matt or Tai are out of commission. She’s the Tom Boy of the group most of us can relate with.
Koushiro "Izzy" Izumi
Profile; This loveble smarty-pants is the whizz-kid of the team. If you're going to meet this guy in the Digital World you’ll definitely find him typing on his trusty laptop, most likely desiphering the meaning of life in the Digital World. He’s the introvert with a lot to say.
Crest; Purity (Sincerity in the English version)
Profile; The whiney one who you initially think won’t make it to the end but surprises you when she finally grows a back bone. When she does, it will be her newly found courage that will tip the scales in the Digidestined’s favour. She’s the one you wouldn’t want to mess with when she’s in a bad mood.
Profile; Being the eldest member of the team he’s responsible for the team's safe return home, even though, most of the time, he doesn’t know how to do that. He may be indecisive at times but he’d do the craziest things to keep his friends safe. As his crest implies, he’s the one who will always be there for them.
Takeru "T.K." Takaishi
Profile; Significantly younger then most of the other Digidestined (until Kari joins the group, that is) he’s the one everyone wants to protect, especially his big brother, Matt. Being the youngest he has been targeted by numerous dark Digimon and has, most probably, been trough the most hardships from the whole group (as promised, no spoilers). T.K is also one of the main protagonsists in the second season, Digimon Adventure 02. He is the adorable little kid with the equally adorable but ultra-powerful digimon.
Hikari “Kari’ Kamiya
Digimon; Tailmon (Gatomon in the English version)
Profile; The last Digidestined to join the group. She is Tai’s younger sister and, more or less, the same age as T.K. Initially being perused by a dark Digimon, Kari becomes a vital member of the team and, as season 2 implies, of the digital world. Like T.K, she too is a main character in the second Digimon season. She is, literally, any dark Digimon’s worse enemy, possessing the crest of light and all.
I hope I have, at least, peaked your interest concerning this series. However, if you are seriously contemplating starting Digimon, I’d suggest starting soon because, to much of the delight of Digimon fans, this year the franchise is celebrating their 15th anniversary from the first Digimon release and will be releasing a special season where all the beloved character from the first season will return! However, this new season has been shrouded in mystery and has kept enthusiasts teetering at the edge of their seats with little tit-bits of information but not a singe spoiler- not even a release date!
Oh well, the rest of us will just have wait until the rest of you catch up to join us in our wait for 6th May. Until then, enjoy! :D