Digimon Adventure V-Tamer (Manga) Volume 9 (FINALE) + Full Manga Review

Plot: Taichi and Zero’s battle against Neo and Arkadimon is reaching a peak. Thanks to the data Hideto and Omegamon gained from Arkadimon, Zero manages to dodge the Dot Matrix attack several times, draining Arkadimon of its energy and giving Zero an edge. However, Neo isn’t done yet. He uses the power of the Digimental to evolve Arkadimon into its Super Ultimate form, which can use an even more powerful version of the Dot Matrix called the God Matrix.

Zero valiantly sacrifices himself in an effort to save his friends, but just when all hope seems lost, Zero’s ability to overwrite his lost data causes him to reform into the amazing Alforce V-dramon!

Able to rewrite his destroyed data even faster and shield himself from impending attacks, Alforce V-dramon, with the help and support of Taichi, gains the upper-hand yet again.

Incredibly angered by yet another miracle Taichi and Zero pulled off, Neo yells in rage at these ‘bugs’ seeing as them as nothing but accidents that he wants to wipe clear from the world – so people like Rei will never suffer from another horrific ever again.

Upon hearing Neo’s words, the group tries to convince him that this isn’t the way to stop terrible events like that from happening. Rei also admits that her devastation after the accident wasn’t because she lost the ability to walk – it was because Neo changed so much after it happened.

After Rei nearly sacrifices herself to get Neo to come to his senses, Arkadimon suddenly reverts back to Ultimate form. Neo’s will to fight seems to have waned, but the battle’s not over yet.

Arkadimon suddenly speaks and reveals that it’s actually Demon, having finally been able to retake the Digimon’s body after being absorbed by him. The combined version of Arkadimon and Demon proves to be too much for Zero, and Demon moves on to his true plan – opening a portal to the real world and causing mass chaos by infecting them with his Dark Virus. With them out of the way, both the real world and the Digital World will be his to command.

In a last-ditch effort to save both worlds, Taichi grabs the Digimental and uses it to turn Alforce V-Dramon into his Future form! Powered by the support of Taichi and his friends and fueled by the light of the future of both worlds, Zero strikes down Demon, destroying Arkadimon once and for all.

With Arkadimon defeated and Neo stood down, Taichi and Zero bid farewell to the Digital World and all of their friends so they can return to the real world.

Taichi meets up with Sigma, now without his mask, Mari, Hideto, Rei and even Neo as they enter another Digimon tournament…..only for Taichi to be turned away when Zero is, yet again, not recognized as an official Digimon, thus making him ineligible to enter.

Neo declares himself unfit to be a true Tamer unless he defeats Taichi, making them friendly rivals. When Neo wins the tournament, he, Taichi and the rest of the group link up for more Digimon battles as they head for the bright future Zero and Taichi set them on.

Breakdown: Going into the final volume, I was worried about a couple of things.

1) How they’d deal with redeeming Neo, and 2) How they’d manage to defeat Arkadimon.

In regards to the latter, it was a bit on the predictable side, particularly with Zero’s sudden evolution, but it was well-written and exciting. Plus, Alforce V-Dramon is too awesome. I’m so disappointed we only got him for a few chapters.

I won’t lie, I was tearing up when Zero seemingly sacrificed himself to save the others. I pretty much knew he wouldn’t be gone for good, but that scene really got me.

The reveal that Arkadimon was taken over by Demon was….not really as predictable, and it did save Demon from being merely a footnote villain, but I feel like there wasn’t enough written into Demon for his reveal to really be all that grand. He’s about as generic as his name.

His motivations are that he’s tired of Digimon being subservient to humans despite their massive powers. He plans on taking over the Digital World with his power and taking over the real world with his Dark Virus that will manipulate everyone’s emotions and cause chaos.

It’s a far cry from the plans Neo had of just flatout destroying both worlds and making a new one.

Speaking of Neo, we have to address the Elephantmon in the room – How is Neo going to be redeemed?

I’ve said a few times now that Neo’s pretty much gone beyond the point of redemption in my eyes. He’s been so malicious and horrible to pretty much everyone, including Rei and Hideto, that any redemption for him would feel cheap.

And I wasn’t wrong.

Neo’s redemption is in the ‘reveal’ that he’s been doing all of this to create a utopia, or Arcadia, so accidents like the one that robbed Rei of her ability to walk would never happen again.

*deep sigh*

He has said several times that he didn’t even so much care about that anymore. He just wanted power and to destroy both worlds. He’s even been a dick to Rei in the meantime to achieve this, and yet his motivation circles back around to his deep love of his sister and his guilt for her condition. How does that work?

Not only that, but they imply that Demon was manipulating him the whole time with the Dark Virus, amplifying his emotions and making him so ridiculously evil, which really feels like the bigger cop-out.

I feel it’s very appropriate to compare this plight with that of Ken from Adventure 02.

Ken was a tyrant. He wanted all of the Digital World under his control and every Digimon his slave. When the Chosen Children showed up, he didn’t care who he hurt, human or Digimon alike, or even if he’d end up killing Digimon or people. He just wanted power and control. Sometimes, he just wanted to see others suffer.

In a lot of ways, it was difficult to see redemption for Ken too. However, they did a pretty good job with it. He didn’t see Digimon as living, breathing creatures – he just saw them as data. He didn’t see the Digital World as a real world – he saw it as an escape; a computer program he could run off into and do whatever he pleased.

This falls apart when he starts putting the lives of other people in peril, however, especially in that episode where he pretty much made a game out of tormenting Daisuke over saving one of his friends or watching them all die.

However, you might say that’s due to madness because of his intense self-loathing over feelings of guilt with the death of his brother, Sam. It’s even possible that, given he believes the Digital World is just a game and nothing that happens there is real, that the lives of the others aren’t really in actual danger, but that’s extremely muddy territory.

Still, no matter what he believed, those actions are things he’d have to make up for, which he did. He paid for it in the loss of Wormmon, his partner, the realization that all of the pain and suffering he was causing in the Digital World was real and not a computer simulation, falling into such deep mental shock that he was essentially in a comatose state for several days, haunted by terrible memories of his past, and gets a massive tongue lashing by the reborn Digimon in Primary Village who had felt the sting of his whip firsthand. He even took it upon himself to start taking down the Dark Towers and making amends to the Digimon, no matter how harsh the scorn was from both them and the Chosen Children.

He also eventually joined the other Chosen Children to help save the Digital World time and again.

Even though it is later revealed that Ken also has something amplifying his dark feelings with the Dark Seed, that didn’t really matter. He still took responsibility for what he did and what he was. He accepted the mistakes he made and worked towards making up for them and being a better person.

Neo, however, doesn’t go through the same suffering. Despite doing as much damage if not worse in this manga, his redemption amounts to him just getting a dose of reality from Rei talking to him about never giving up and her nearly getting herself killed (or killing herself? It’s never really made clear) to talk sense into him. He just suddenly realizes that he was wrong and joins the good guys.

This is an actual page.

Neo doesn’t suffer at all. Sure, he beats himself up a little for Rei’s accident, but his drive is moreso trying to wipe the possibility of tragic accidents from the world. If he sees what happened as truly an accident, he’s not guilting himself too much.

He also doesn’t own up to all of the pain and suffering he caused, both for people and Digimon. He yells when he realizes he’s been stealing the futures of others for his own means, but it only lasts about three panels.

He never feels guilt for destroying Piemon, treating Greymon like garbage and deleting him, deleting him again as MetalGreymon after he suffered so much to come back from death just to be of use to Neo, nearly destroying Omegamon, any of the other Digimon he destroyed to feed Arkadimon, wanting Arkadimon to use a slower version of the Dot Matrix so Zero and Taichi will suffer more during Zero’s death, he never apologizes for hurting the other kids or saying the terrible things he’s said – he just frowns and saves Taichi from falling off a cliff.

Never is there a moment of actual suffering or repentance. He doesn’t even stick around in the Digital World to help rebuild the place or make amends to the Digimon. He leaves for the real world and calls it a day.

There is one moment where Taichi and the others meet up before he departs for the real world, and they explain that Neo was too ashamed of what he had done to face them so he left without them….which is about 1000x worse. Ken not only went back and faced his mistakes, he actively went into the Digital World to fix things and make up for what he had done, as much as he was able to anyway.

Neo’s such a bitch he wouldn’t even look everyone in the eye? He just lolnoped out of there and never looked back?

He did all of those terrible things and never even apologized to anyone for it. Back in the real world, Neo is just another one of the group now, even back with the friends he betrayed. The only thing he says is that he can’t be a real Tamer unless he defeats Taichi…..which is basically looping back around to his beginning motivations, only seemingly not malicious this time.

Another way they balk out on Neo’s evilness is through the Digimental. It’s only meant to activate with someone’s pure heart, so they were shocked to find that Neo could use it. Hispure feelings of wanting to make a utopia for Rei was what fueled it…..

Pile the influence of Demon on top of that and I guess we’re just supposed to accept that Neo’s actually a good guy and not expect him to have consequences for his actions. Bull. Shit.

He was an asshole seemingly even before he came to the Digital World, hence why Rei started becoming miserable. Even before her accident, he was a jerk. Remember when he told Hideto to just delete Wargs and Melgs because they were seen as weak in his eyes?

He also knew from the beginning that the Digital World and Digimon were real, but he didn’t care. In addition, his drive during the first few volumes was to be the best Tamer, then it evolved into him wanting to destroy both the real and Digital Worlds. I’m not sure how much Demon’s influence counts here, but I can’t imagine it’s much.

The overall battle was really great, though. Taichi and Zero’s interactions were amazing, and I love that their faith in each other never wavered for a second. They are a team of legends.

The absolute ending was good. I was bracing myself for Zero to die due to the effects of the Ancient coding within him, but I guess Zero’s going to live a long life now. I was at least expecting him and Taichi to need to part ways after everything was said and done, but I forgot that they can communicate through his v-pet device.

I was a bit upset that Piemon or at least a Digi-Egg for him was never recovered. Poor Sigma.

It’s a tad annoying that Zero STILL isn’t recognized by official sources and thus Taichi can’t enter tournaments, but he has friends to battle with whenever he wants and all he really needs is Zero by his side.

Overall Manga Breakdown: As a whole, I really enjoyed this manga. I think it’s a great read for both Digimon fans and non-fans alike. The pacing is a bit fast, but nothing too break-neck. They do slow down every now and again when it matters.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Taichi and Zero. I’d definitely rank them pretty high on my list of favorite Tamer/Chosen Children/Digimon pairings. Taichi and Zero don’t really change much over the course of the series, but that doesn’t really matter. Character growth isn’t always a necessity, and I don’t think it was needed too much here. They definitely teach each other to not be so hot-headed and when to take things seriously.

Taichi and Zero pull a lot of wins out of their asses just because friendship and determination and what have you. Even Neo calls out these ‘miracles.’ I feel like this was more of a problem in the first half of the series since the second half, while still having plenty of these moments, has many more moments where they’re down and out or on the ropes. In addition, they make it clear that it’s not just Taichi and Zero winning these fights – without everyone else helping out in their own ways, hardly any of Taichi and Zero’s battles would’ve been won.

Some of the battles were really intense and creative. I especially enjoyed Taichi and Zero vs. Sigma and Peimon and the battle with Hideto and Omegamon. Despite the emotional moment getting to me, I don’t think the final battle with Arkadimon topped either, so that was a bit disappointing in that regard.

I came to really like all of the side characters, barring maybe Mari. Sigma in particular had a great story, and he’s adorable in the real world.

I loved the bonus chapters that allowed them to crossover with the anime characters in nearly all seasons. That was a fun little addition. I didn’t much care for the poop chapter, though….

My main problem really does lie with Neo as our main villain. He just wasn’t handled well at all. He was made ridiculously over-evil then we’re pretty much made to just forget every horrible thing he did and forgive him when he never even says he’s sorry for what he did just because he felt bad that his sister was paralyzed (but might be cured some day?)

The influence of Demon being a factor is way too weak for me to consider it a significant issue, and the role of Rei almost seems like a hasty mid-way rewrite since most of his motivation at the start was proving he was better than Taichi. He never thought about Rei back then.

Demon also wasn’t a compelling villain, especially as a final baddie. He’s just an evil power-hungry dude. The fact that he returned was a decent twist, but his motivations and goals are way too weak (much weaker and less interesting than Neo’s, anyway.)

Volume Rating: 8/10

Overall Manga Rating Average: 8/10

Recommended Audience: There’s much more blood in this series than you’d normally see in Digimon, particularly with the Digimon themselves as Digimon typically aren’t supposed to bleed, really. There’s even some stuff that might constitute as gore. There’s no real swearing, nudity or sex. It doesn’t really get any worse in the final volume, and considering I’ve kept it at 8+ for most of the run, I think it’s safe to leave it that way for the entire series.


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Digimon Adventure V-Tamer (Manga) Volume 8 Review

Plot: Taichi and Zero finally go head to head with Neo and Arkadimon, but even though Zero looks like he might be able to topple the powerhouse Digimon, Arkadimon retaliates with a new trick of its own – the Dot Matrix; an ability that allows it to turn energy into data and absorb it. Arkadimon destroys Zero’s arm, then his wing and finally skewers him through the chest.

Zero starts dissolving into binary code, and they rush him to Holy Angemon Castle to see if they can save him. Holy Angemon, Leomon, Hideto and Omegamon and other powerful Digimon decide to evolve and confront Neo and Arkadimon.

Meanwhile, Zero is somehow managing to fight off being completely destroyed, but he’s losing strength quickly. The other Digimon from the area, many that Zero and Taichi have helped over their time in the Digital World, give their energy to Zero to help him fight.

Omegamon nearly destroys himself trying to attack Arkadimon. He’s unsuccessful in damaging him, but it wasn’t a total loss. The Dot Matrix was an invisible attack and no one could see where it was coming from. Omegamon’s attack allowed them to finally see that the attack was coming from Arkadimon’s torso.

Zero manages to get himself back to full strength with the help of all of the Digimon, and he and Taichi rev up to take on Neo and Arkadimon one more time. But, will it be enough?

Breakdown: The big battle is here, and it’s pretty good so far. I didn’t expect Zero to be down for the count in this volume, but we only have one more volume left so maybe I should’ve expected them to be down and out at least once this time around.

The Dot Matrix is a terrifying ability for a Digimon to have. Zero was only able to survive, supposedly, because he was an Ancient type and could hold his code together while the other Digimon gave him energy to recover. However, if it hit another Digimon in a vital area, they’d certainly be dead. And since Arkadimon absorbs the data, they wouldn’t be able to come back.

The scene where the Digimon give their energy to Zero to help him recover was very touching, and Omegamon nearly sacrificing himself was also emotional, even though he really didn’t die. We finally have some small moments where Neo seems like he might be caught off-guard, but he ultimately comes out on top time and again with that dumbass cocky grin on his face.

Neo’s falling further and further away from any sort of chance at legit salvation in my eyes, and that chance was already insanely slim. Wanna know the real reason why Zero had the opportunity to recover? Because Neo told Arkadimon to purposely use a slower version of the Dot Matrix to have Zero slowly vanish so both him and Taichi will suffer longer. Screw this guy so hard.

We also have another bonus chapter, this time with Taichi teaming up with Ryo.

If you don’t know who Ryo is, I don’t blame you. For a quick refresher for purely Digimon anime fans, he’s the guy that suddenly gets introduced in Tamers when the kids go to the Digital World. The one that basically becomes Rika’s love interest kinda?

He’s not purely a one-off random character, though. He’s actually a pretty popular character due to his prominence in the Wonderswan game series for Digimon.

Wonderswan and Wonderswan Colors were basically Game Boy Advanced right before Game Boy Advanced was a thing. They were released by Bandai in 1999 and were the last pieces of hardware to be created by game and gaming hardware designer Gunpei Yokoi before his death. They were never released in America, possibly due to oversaturation of the market at the time in regards to gaming consoles, and only a handful of the games, like Final Fantasy, Gundam titles and Digimon games were released in English.

Even in Japan, the handheld console just couldn’t compete with Nintendo (Which is a little ironic because Yokoi designed the original Game Boy) and Bandai not only stopped production on both devices in 2003, but they also bowed out of the console wars altogether.

The Digimon games created for the Wonderswan crossed over with Adventure, 02 and Tamers, the last of which Ryo also made a long-standing cameo in, so technically Ryo is the only character to be canon in all three original Digimon series. I should note that this does NOT mean all of the Digimon series take place in the same canon. From all I’ve gathered so far, it seems like the most logical conclusion is that all of the Digimon series take place in different dimensions – Ryo just has the ability to jump through dimensions.

Ryo, like Taichi, is rather hotheaded and confident while also being heroic and proud. Because their personalities are so similar, when Ryo enters their dimension, he gets along quite well with Taichi but quickly gets into a ‘Who will save whom?’ contest with him. Their hotheadedness somehow weakens the enemy Digimon they were fighting, and before they can even start an actual battle the Digimon is somehow vanquished by their pride.

I was really underwhelmed by this bonus chapter. There was no nice lesson to learn, the story wasn’t interesting, the resolution is bullshit, quite frankly, and it was just boring. They bring up Tamers in this chapter but don’t take the opportunity to bring in any of the Tamers. I never played any of the Wonderswan games, and I never cared much for Ryo in Tamers, so I was pretty divorced from this plot as it was, but what they did with it was less than I expected.

All in all this was a good, but not fantastic volume. We’ve only got one more volume to go through, so here’s hoping we have an amazing finale!

Rating: 7.5/10


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Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 Volume 7 (Manga) Review

Plot: Neo nearly kills Omegamon while trying to take down the Aliases, but both Hideto and Omegamon manage to escape to tell Taichi what’s been going on.

Meanwhile, the other Aliases, now imprisoned by Neo, give Rei a chip with Arkadimon’s data on it. If Zero and Taichi can use that data, they’ll might have the advantage they need to win.

After Hideto and Omegamon reach Taichi and relay their information, they set off. On their way, they run into the fierce Callismon, a Digimon Neo made from some of Arkadimon’s power. Callismon has set out to stop Rei and bring her back to the castle, but Taichi and Zero save her, showing off Zero’s new powers after his newest data overwrite.

Taichi and Zero leave an unconscious Rei in the hands of Gabo as they set off towards the castle and stop Neo once and for all.

Breakdown: I’ll be honest, this volume’s a bit boring. Not much really happens in it. Callismon is such an obvious speed bump. He’s there to solidify some of Zero’s new power and that’s about it.

Rei never gives the chip to Taichi because she’s unconscious, and we learn that Zero should never use Dragon Impulse again for fear of a more massive and possibly fatal data overwrite.

We also learn that Neo can create Digimon, but it’s too little too late for that revelation, is it not? The final showdown’s coming up very soon, and even Neo himself outright states that Callismon was essentially an experiment. He only had a small amount of Arkadimon’s power, and he was using him to see how powerful Taichi and Zero really were.

One last minor story element is solidifying that Neo really doesn’t seem to give a crap about Rei or making a world for her to walk in – he just wants both worlds under his thumb for himself. We already knew that, but there is 100% no signs of remorse or caring in his face. It’s just the same cocky smirk he always has no matter who’s talking to him or what they’re saying.

Even Ken faltered in his expressions and speech when he was challenged in such a way. If they try for a redemption with Neo, they’re going to have to work incredibly hard for me to believe it.

Other than that, we have another bonus chapter, this time with Digimon Frontier’s Takuya!….Which means they skipped Tamers…..feh.

I guess understand why they skipped Tamers, because it’s not set in the Digital World, but they do go there in later episodes. You could write something to make it work.

The bonus chapter is the best thing in the volume. Even though I’m not a huge fan of Frontier, it was nice to see the generations come together….though that does raise a metri ton of questions in canon.

Takuya is upset at Kouji for taking the last hit in a battle where he did most of the damage (and loot distribution is complete BS when it comes to last hits.) Kouji cooly brushes him off and explains that he hates attitudes like his. Takuya goes off to pout only to be transported by a Jijimon into a weird parallel Digital World that is being ruled by an evil Metamorphmon, who can copy any Digimon’s data and transform into it, restoring its power to full when it does.

Jijimon summoned two saviors, Taichi and Takuya, to save them. Takuya, at first, thought that Taichi’s and Zero’s fighting arrangement was terrible. Why have a tamer and a Digimon when you can be the Digimon and fight on your own? He thinks Spirit Evolution is much better since you rely on your own strength to fight.

Takuya runs into battle headfirst and doesn’t listen to a thing Taichi and Zero are trying to tell him about teamwork. He gets in the way of their strategy by not even trying to listen and, after getting their asses kicked, he berates Taichi for not being able to handle his Digimon. He then tells him to let him do everything.

Metamorphmon returns, and Taichi and Zero run into battle since Takuya is too wounded. Zero, as a Digimon, has a faster recovery rate. As Takuya watches them battle, he realizes that they have a lot of advantages as a team. Taichi can see things that Zero can’t, and they can communicate strategies that work on Taichi’s keen eye and his tactical instinct and Zero’s power and trust in his partner.

Takuya thinks back to the earlier battle with Kouji and realizes that it was better for Kouji to take the final hit because he wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings and could’ve been attacked without warning. Kouji was trying to have his back, and he saw it as taking the spotlight in a battle when battling isn’t about being the strongest or getting attention.

Takuya overcomes his injuries for the time being and Spirit Evolves to help Taichi and Zero. Utilizing their strategies and trusting them as teammates, they manage to take down Metamorphmon, but it’s not that simple. He tries to copy Vritramon, but Takuya devolves. Since Metamorphmon can’t copy humans, he seems stuck. He tries to copy AeroVeedramon, but he Dragon Impulses his ass before he’s able to complete the copy.

With the threat defeated, Taichi, Zero and Takuya return to their proper worlds having learned that there are many styles of fighting, but fighting in a team without teamwork never wins.

I really like how this story played out, and it’s a great way to address the criticisms Frontier had in not having partner Digimon. This chapter isn’t saying one or the other is best, but that relying on your friends for help and support to protect you and achieve victory is always best.

I think Takuya may be a little OOC, but I’m not sure I know Frontier enough to say that. Also, they just said that Dragon Impulse was way too dangerous to ever use again, yet here Zero is using it without a thought. I get that this is probably non-canon, but still.

Rating: 7.5/10

Next time, we’ll finally see Neo vs. Taichi. How can they hope to take down Arkadimon?

Recommended Audience: Nothing worse than usual. 8+


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Digimon Adventure V-Tamer Volume 3 (Manga) Review

2

Plot: After Zero gets some much needed medical care at Hospitown, Taichi and Gabo meet the evolved versions of some of the Agumon that he met back at Holy Angemon’s castle. They are determined to help stop Neo and Demon from taking over the Digital World, but it’s an uphill task even for their newly evolved forms, and Holy Angemon’s army continues to suffer massive losses.

Taichi and Zero finally reach the tree where Neo stands with the final tag. While Taichi and Zero are more than ready to take him on, they haven’t seen every trick up his sleeve.

Later, Taichi and Zero meet another human in the Digital World – a girl named Rei, and while she seems normal enough, there may be more to her than meets the eye.

Breakdown: Really the only notes I have between the anime and manga are that Piyomon makes an appearance and needs a boost of bravery when faced with the trail of fallen allies Demon and Neo have left in their wake.

Also, the new human character, Rei, has a haircut that looks a lot like Sora’s, but eh.

———————————————

This volume is where the stakes get amped up a hundred fold. The battle against Neo takes center stage in this volume, and it’s definitely the biggest and most nail-biting battle of the manga so far, but surprisingly that’s the ‘second act’, so to speak. A lot more happens in this volume than you’d first think, and we have quite a bit of ground to cover.

We start off learning where the other Digi-allies are in their fight against Demon and while there is some good news, such as the Agumon who were being trained in the first volume evolving and Leomon evolving, though his evolved form is never seen on-panel, there’s no denying that the battle against Neo and Demon has taken its toll on Holy Angemon’s army. Holy Angemon himself even catches some of the damage.

Piyomon’s reluctance to brave the frightening circumstances and continue to help the battle are a highlight to this, but the one who brings the shining light of hope back into her very skeptical eyes is Taichi…..and his goggles.

Yes, we get the backstory to Taichi’s goggles. You may faint now. And because I’m such a nice person, I’ll share it with you. A Piyomon is frozen with fear after surviving a massacre lead by Neo. She makes fun of Taichi’s goggles when explaining how ridiculous it is that he and Zero can do anything to help. Taichi explains that the goggles were given to him by his grandpa when he was a young kid.

When he was younger, he saw a kid getting bullied. He knew he should do something about it, but couldn’t find it within himself to do so. Taichi’s grandpa gave him the goggles, knowing he liked airplanes, and called them goggles of friendship and courage.

The goggles belonged to a childhood friend of his who was known for being brave and a great friend. When he was older, he became a great pilot but later fell ill and passed away. He kept his friend’s goggles as a reminder of him and his old saying of ‘courage will give you wings to fly’ (which is actually kinda foreshadowing something that happens later.) Taichi received the goggles happily and knew at that point that he had to be brave in order to protect his friends – a lesson he has never forgotten.

Dammit, considering how important the aspect of the gogglehead is in this franchise, why the hell have we never gotten a backstory for them in the anime? Plus, considering the strong connection the goggles have to Taichi’s courage, his crest no less, you’d think they’d jump on that chance. This revelation, if it can be applied to the anime, makes me a little madder that he just handed his goggles to Daisuke in Adventure 02. That wasn’t a reminder of courage for Daisuke, he was just given a new pair since his broke and Taichi basically proclaimed him as the new leader with them.

Onto the main event, Taichi’s battle with Neo. As I mentioned, Neo has several tricks up his sleeve for combating Zero with his own two Digimon, now a Kuwagamon and Akatorimon that he can merge and separate as many times as he wants. Not only that, but he takes their Perfect form, Megadramon, and merges it with another Perfect, Jureimon to make an Ultimate level Digimon, Deathmon. And it looks about as disappointingly uncreative as the name is. It’s basically a cyclopic (or tricloptic, considering it has eyeballs on its hands) monster with bat wings.

Despite its bland look and uncreative name, it is a huge threat to Taichi and Zero considering that Zero is still merely an adult level, they are still at a disadvantage on the ground while the enemy can fly and they’ve never once faced an Ultimate level before. As you can guess, this results in Zero getting the ever-loving crap beat out of him to the point where, again, you’re seriously wondering if they’ll make it out alive. Even Taichi and Gabo have near-death experiences.

This really was the perfect opportunity to spotlight Zero’s first evolution, and they took advantage of it. It’s probably one of the best evo events of the franchise, at least that I’ve seen. Granted, V-dramon doesn’t change very much when he evolves, but it’s a much needed change to his design and power structure that gives him plenty of edge in the fight.

I’ll also give them props for how Neo was handled in the end. They cop out at the end of the volume, but it was still pretty shocking when it happened. Neo did get a little too crazy and villain-like for my liking, though. Seriously, he’s basically surpassing Kaiba and Vegeta now for how obsessed his is with beating his rival.

After the events of the ‘second act’, we see that portals to the human world have opened and people are being sucked into the Digital World either because they’re being called there or they just happened to be sucked in on accident through their computers. In comes Rei, who comes off as very abrasive. She finds herself in a strange world filled with monsters and when she finally finds some friendly faces, a human one no less, she makes fun of them, insults them and leaves to find more ‘normal’ people to help her.

When they save her life, she pulls a complete 180 and practically flatters them while agreeing to join their group and even asks them to take her to Demon’s castle, but Taichi is soon suspicious of her.

Meanwhile, the egg of the Super Ultimate Digimon has hatched and Neo has to start training it. He sends out a new team of tamers who recently came to the Digital World through the portals, a group called Alias III, to take care of other matters in the battle against Holy Angemon’s army.

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But that’s not all, we also have our first mini-chapter in which Taichi and Zero run into a Sukamon while training. He takes advantage of the fact that his special ability is to emit pheromones that induce the need to poop to completely distract Zero and Taichi from the battle. It’s only made worse by the fact that Zero doesn’t want to fight a pile of crap because that’s gross. They can’t even fight from a safe distance with his V Breath Arrow because it will probably redefine explosive diarrhea.

Zero then can’t fight the need to crap anymore and dumps a load so large that it takes up 80% of the page, he can sit on it like a hill, and it intimidates Sukamon into leaving.

Yeah……that just happened.

And I thought that one Naruto OVA where he craps his pants was ridiculously stupid. I will admit, this mini-chapter is a little tiny itty bitty bit funny, though.

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All in all, this is the best volume yet. This series really just seems to get better and better as the ball keeps rolling. We got to start off fairly calmly while also getting some info on where Holy Angemon’s efforts stand, we got a huge battle, some more strengthening of Taichi and Zero’s friendship and we ended on plenty of interesting details for the next volume, such as the Super Ultimate hatching, Rei’s true intentions, who exactly the guys in Alias III are and what they can do, if any more humans came through the portals and even if we’ll see even more evolutions from Zero. Deathmon was a disappointment in regards to design, and I would’ve liked to see some real character development from Neo in this volume, but still a very solid vol—oh yeah the mini-chapter……

*sigh* That really does tarnish this whole volume quite a bit, doesn’t it? Like I said, it’s a little funny, but it’s an entire nine pages dedicated to fighting poop, talking about poop and actually pooping – a house-sized poop, mind you. So, yeah, I’m gonna take off at least half a point for that, but we’re still standing really strong with this one.

Rating: 9/10

Recommended Audience: Zero gets even more badly beaten in this volume, and there’s one instance where a character kinda sorta commits suicide by falling. You don’t see anything, and it’s later revealed that his life was saved so I guess we’ll stay with 7+

Next volume, it’s the debut of Neo’s Aliases!

….Previous Volume

Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 Volume 2 (Manga) Review

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Plot: Taichi and Zero are well on their way to collecting all of the tags. They enter a strange castle of nightmares protected by the Perfect Digimon, Vamdemon, who tries to turn Zero against Taichi. Taichi shows off his ability to uplink data collected from previous battles to have a competition with a local Starmon. And Taichi meets an incredibly powerful new foe; a human tamer with two digivices named Neo Saiba, the reigning Digimon champion who is now siding with Demon.

Breakdown: Let’s get the connections to the anime out of the way; Patamon appears, but is really a Bakemon in disguise.

Myotismon is one of the tag protectors.

Starmon appears, obsessed with being famous.

Devimon, Ogremon, Greymon and MetalGreymon are all Neo’s Digimon, with Greymon/MetalGreymon seemingly being his intended partner.

Fusion is introduced here, called Jogress Evolution.

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With that out of the way, let’s go on to the story. We’re getting a bit further out of the whole ‘Taichi meets a guardian, battles him and pulls a win out of his ass over and over’ trope that was growing old in volume one. While Taichi and Zero do defeat Vamdemon fairly easily because, pretty much, the power of friendship, they struggle with him much more than the other two guardians.

Zero and Taichi’s bond really does get a lot of highlight in this volume as it saves their asses on more than one occasion, especially in the very end in their battle against Neo Saiba, but it does seem kinda tropey sometimes like Zero going over his maximum analyzed power level because he wants to protect Taichi.

Neo as a character is hard to compare to any character from the anime. I guess you might say he’s an amalgamation of early-series Ruki and Ken, with a touch of Vegeta and Kaiba from DBZ and YGO respectively.

Neo Saiba is the reigning Digimon champ with a 100% win rate like Taichi. He was the winner of the competition that Taichi couldn’t enter in the start of volume one, though Taichi still challenged him because he had a 100% win rate. The match ended up in a tie with both being announced the winner, something supposedly impossible due to how the game works. Despite claiming it’s a mere program error, Neo wants to take his revenge against Taichi and prove himself as the strongest tamer.

Neo has not shown any inkling of deserving sympathy here so far. His desire to beat Taichi is petty, he’s a complete asshole to his Digimon, and he doesn’t care if either the Digital World or the real world get destroyed because of Demon. He just wants to tame the strongest Digimon and be the best tamer in the world. Taichi is a very stark contrast to him on almost every level.

Demon summoned him to the Digital World after Taichi was summoned by Holy Angemon. He is the one who will hatch and tame the Super Ultimate Digimon from the Digiegg Demon has. For the time being, though, he tames an Orgemon and a Devimon.

His intended partner Digimon is a Greymon that he deleted because his win rate wasn’t high enough for his expectations. His leftover data decided to become more powerful in order to make Neo happy, so he became MetalGreymon and paired with Neo yet again. Yup, he just decided he wanted more power and was granted it by nothing.

MetalGreymon’s story is very tragic and it’s one of the hinge points in the series so far. As a comparison, if you thought Ken was a jerk for the way he treated Wormmon, you’ll be seeing red when you see how Neo treats MetalGreymon. And, like Wormmon, he stays loyal to his partner through and through no matter how badly he’s treated.

Taichi gets the tag of spirit (Illusions according to this translation) and iron (metal empire in this volume) and only needs one more tag to gain entry into Demon’s castle, where Neo will be waiting as well.

Overall, this volume was a step up from volume one, but I’m still waiting for Taichi to actually lose for once. I know one of his catchphrases is saying he’s a 100% tamer, which would be lost if he did lose, but seeing him always come out on top will make this series pretty boring after a while. I will say that the final battle between Skull Satamon and Zero was the most intense so far, and one that actually had tension given how beat up Zero actually gets.

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Audience: Zero nearly dies and we learn that Digimon actually bleed here with blood flowing from Zero’s nose as he’s basically being crushed. Other than that, though, nothing too bad. 7+

Next volume, the debut of Rei.

…..Previous Volume

Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 (Manga) Volume 1 Review

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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.

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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.

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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.

Rating: 7.5/10

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!?