Plot: Taichi is a very talented player of the V-Pet game, Digimon. When he tries to enter a tournament, he’s disqualified for having an unknown Digimon, V-dramon, known by the nickname of Zeromaru or Zero for short. He eventually gets transported to the Digital World; a world where Digimon are real.
After he teams up with Zero, he is told by one of the great leaders of the world, Holy Angemon, that the Digital World is in danger of destruction by someone named Demon. Since a good tamer makes a Digimon immensely more skilled and powerful, he sends them on a mission to collect the five tags needed to enter Demon’s castle and save the Digital World.
Breakdown: I’m a big fan of Digimon, and I’ve always been interested to see if there was a manga version. Much to my delight, there are several with this being the first. Much to my confusion, it’s not really even close to the same as the anime.
Let me back up. Digimon, as a franchise, is actually derived from Digimon V-Pets, little devices aimed towards kids where you could raise a virtual monster. Sound familiar? Of course it does, it’s one of many Tamagotchi clones. More to the point, Digimon V-Pets were specifically designed to be aimed towards boys since Tamagotchis were aimed more towards girls. To push the masculine aspect even further, the Digimon V-Pets included the ability to sync up devices and battle other Digimon.
This manga is based off of those V-Pets and the anime was ‘loosely’ based on the manga.
Since the differences are so drastic, I want to handle this as a purely standalone feature with no AniManga clash hanging off of it, but I know some people will be curious as to the main differences between the manga and the anime, so the sate those curiosities I will list all of the major differences at the start of each review.
The anime showcases seven and later eight children each with their own Digimon, and these children are referred to as Chosen Children. It’s not until season three where the kids are described as Digimon Tamers. Also, Digimon have never been heard of in the real world beforehand, except in Digimon Tamers.
In the manga, only Taichi is present. And he doesn’t even have Agumon; instead he has a V-dramon. Also sound familiar? He’s the Adult version of Daisuke’s Digimon, V-mon, from Adventure 02. Weird, huh? Zero’s design is bulkier and less humanoid than Adventure 02’s V-dramon, though. I prefer Zero’s design much more. Also, this Taichi is quite a bit different from his anime counterpart. He’s much more laid back and excitable, kinda like Daisuke only much less stupid and jealous.
As for any of the anime’s Chosen Children Digimon making any appearances, we get Gabumon, named Gabo here. He’s a bit neurotic and follows Taichi and Zero on their journey. Gomamon, named Gon here, is roughly similar, but he’s more responsible than anime!Gomamon, and eventually becomes tasked with being the guardian of the oceans after evolving to Ikkakumon. Greymon makes a brief appearance, but it’s an enemy and doesn’t even talk. Known Digimon such as Whamon and Etemon (called Etemonkey here) make appearances, but no other Chosen Children Digimon except maybe counting Leomon, who is more strict and uptight here.
The Digivice is still a thing, but it’s different. First off, it’s a super cool kick-ass watch I’m mad at the anime for changing. Second, it doesn’t prompt evolution, at least not yet, and instead shows the stats of other Digimon and allows Taichi to communicate ‘telepathically’ with Zero to give him precise commands that no one else can hear.
The crests are gone, but there is something similar in the tags. Unlike the crests which embody traits and help prompt Perfect level and Ultimate level evolution, the tags embody elements in earth, sea, sky, spirit and iron, and their function is to enter the castle that Demon lives in.
I think that’s everything important, so let’s address the actual story for this volume.
This is a pretty simple story, which is to be expected since it’s based off of a game that is literally ‘raise monsters, fight them’. Taichi is transported to the Digital World because of a great leader named Holy Angemon/MagnaAngemon. While he looks entirely different from the MagnaAngemon of the anime here, apparently he looks very similar to MagnaAngemon’s priest mode, which is never shown in the anime.
He requests his help in saving the Digital World from a terrible virus Digimon called Demon. I would call them out on their uncreative name, but the main villain for much of the first series was called Devimon….
Taichi and Zero are the only ones who can do it since Tamers bring out something very special in their Digimon – something that makes Zero incredibly powerful. Something else is brought up to support this; Taichi has ‘Ichi’ or ‘One’ in his name and his partner is Zero. The Digital World’s base is data, which is binary; a series of ones and zeroes.
With good intentions, Taichi and Zero can restore and protect the data, but failure would result in data deletion. This is further supported when Whamon explains that the good guys are all data and vaccine Digimon while the bad guys are virus types, since viruses delete data. Taichi proves his worth time and again as his teamwork, tactical skills and friendship as well as Zero’s trust and faith in Taichi lead them to victory time and again even against Perfect level Digimon.
I will say, this does cheapen the manga a bit. Taichi pulls something out of his ass nearly every chapter. Zero will maybe take one hit, sometimes a couple, then Taichi will have a eureka moment and instantly defeat the enemy. While he does train, the fact remains that the training seems inconsequential when these moments arise. Teaching Zero to swim was vital, yes, but the way he beat Marine (Marinedevimon) had really nothing to do with swimming. Triceramon was beaten in the first try without training.
The plot is similar to the anime in that he has to beat several Perfect level Digimon in order to get to the big bad, like the dark masters, and that the big bad is a virus Digimon who wants to destroy the Digital World.
Taichi and Zero make a great team. They have a wonderful dynamic and friendship that seems real from the very start. I would like to see their origins sometime to get a better idea of the foundation of their strong bond.
The enemies, besides maybe Etemonkey, don’t really have personalities besides ‘Urgh, I’m evil.’ It’s a very black and white, good versus evil, light versus dark story so far with not really much in regards to tension. That’s not to say it’s at all bad. It’s a very entertaining manga so far. You can just sit back and have some fun with the story and characters. I don’t want to say it’s watered down in comparison to the anime, but it kinda is so far. We’re one volume in and he’s already got two tags. He’s zooming through these challenges like nobody’s business.
Hopefully we get a bit more tension in the second volume, but I’m alright with keeping a lighter tone if need be. Still, maybe slow the pace down a bit.
Recommended Audience: A Digimon dies, but not really since Digimon don’t really die….unless you’re evil, in which case, screw you. Other than that, nothing. E for everyone.
Final notes: Why was Anime!Taichi screwed out of his awesome yellow cape? First the Digivice now this? You did me wrong, anime. You did me wrong.
Next Volume, Taichi and Zero face off against the evil Vamdemon, and a familiar face to Taichi appears, and he’s helping the enemy!?