People that know me can definitely say that I love Pokemon: from knowing all 700+ Pokemon, to the plot for episodes, down to even knowing the whole first Pokerap by heart. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be oblivious to the fact that the Digimon series has a maturity to its plots (usually making it a stronger story than in Pokemon most of the time) that can attract an audience. I enjoy watching Digimon almost as much as I enjoy watching Pokemon (if you want me to explain why Pokemon is stronger/weaker as a show, I can go into that into another article if you want). That being said, I watched the first two episodes of the newest Digimon series: Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters. And frankly, I’m rather disappointed.
There’s a few big things with the new Digimon that disappointed me. The first is the blatant “What-does-the-Pokedex-say?” ripoff. In this case Gatchmon is the Pokedex and Gatchmon is the one identifying new Digimon and giving the encyclopedia description of them. In previous Digimon series there wasn’t a big emphasis on what the Digimon naturally do, and for some reason the series needs to contextualize their existence (being
Digimon Applimon, I guess). If I recall correctly, Digimon used to do this as well but eventually phased that out as new series popped up.There never was a reason to know why Agumon breathed fire or Gabumon wearing a pelt; the audience just accepted it and it worked out fine. And that main difference helped differentiate Pokemon from Digimon: Pokemon seen more as animals and Digimon seen more as characters.
And on the note of ripoffs, they even added a “Who’s that Pokemon” segment at the end where the audience would guess who the
Digimon Applimon was. I understand that it’s a children’s show, but I was hoping they’d use a method they’ve used before: mention their names so often that you wouldn’t forget.
Finally to top the list of ripoffs off all the Applimon are stuck inside their “Pokeballs”, which looks like a physical version of an app’s icon, until they’re called upon. What use is the Pokeball if the Digimon can exist outside the chip in hologram form or in physical form in the real world and the physical world? In fact, because of this Pokeball method, I feel Digimon are treated more like tools than the characters they used to be.
But the most upsetting thing in this anime is not all that I just mentioned. The most blasphemous thing about this anime is that they never refer to the creatures as “Digimon” and, in fact, refer to them as “Applimon”. Is “Digimon” a dead term? Outdated, maybe? I never really thought so. Is it because the word “digital” is seldom used anymore? Who really knows. But that doesn’t escape the fact that their creatures are not called “Digimon”. That’s almost like saying, “We want to make Digimon fresh, so let’s forget the old Digimon and make a new set of monsters that has cultural relevance today.” To an extreme extent, not calling the new monsters “Digimon” is the biggest betrayal to Digimon fans. I guess this is where I say, “R.I.P. Digimon.”