Digimon Tamers (デジモンテイマーズ, Dejimon Teimāzu), known as Digimon: Digital Monsters (Season 3) in English-speaking territories, is the third anime television series of the Digimon franchise, produced by Toei Animation. The series takes place in a setting separated from the preceding series, Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02, where the characters utilize cards from the collectible card games. Tamers aired in Japan from April 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002. The English-language version by Saban Entertainment aired in North America from September 1, 2001 to June 8, 2002. A manga adaptation by Yuen Wong Yu ran from April to October 2004.
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Yukio Kaizawa|
|Produced by||Hiromi Seki|
|Written by||Chiaki J. Konaka|
|Music by||Takanori Arisawa|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||April 1, 2001 – March 31, 2002|
|Battle of Adventurers|
|Directed by||Tetsuo Imazawa|
|Written by||Yasuko Kobayashi|
|Music by||Takanori Arisawa|
|Released||July 14, 2001|
|Directed by||Tetsuji Nakamura|
|Written by||Hiro Masaki|
|Music by||Takanori Arisawa|
|Released||March 2, 2002|
|Written by||Yuen Wong Yu|
|Published by||Rightman Publishing Ltd.|
|Original run||April 2004 – October 2004|
Takato Matsuki, a fan of the Digimon card game, finds a Blue Card, which transforms his card reader into a D-Power.[a] His original Digimon creation, Guilmon, materializes into real life when his D-Power scans his drawings. Takato meets Henry Wong and Rika Nonaka, two other children who are partnered with Terriermon and Renamon, as well as Calumon and Impmon. As wild Digimon began roaming Shinjuku, the Tamers defeat them and defend the city. Using their D-Powers, the Tamers can Digi-modify[b] through scanning cards or help them Digivolve.[c] After each Digimon is defeated, their Digimon obtains their data.
Hypnos leader Mitsuo Yamaki attempts to send Digimon back to the Digital World. The Tamers began working together with Hypnos when the Devas invade the Real World. Calumon is captured, and the Tamers enter the Digital World to save him. When Impmon betrays the Tamers and kills Leomon, Jeri Kato falls into depression. After resolving conflicts with the Digimon Sovereigns, the Tamers learn that the Digimon are protecting themselves from humans and the Real World after the Digital World is invaded by the D-Reaper, a rogue clean-up program. As the Tamers return to the Real World, the D-Reaper kidnaps Jeri, manipulating and trapping her inside the body. When the D-Reaper begins to materialize in the Real World, the Tamers defeat it, using the program and saving Jeri. With both worlds restored, the children are forced to say goodbye to their Digimon partners, when they end up returning to the Digital World by the effects of the program. The series ends with Takato discovering the portal in the tunnel under his hiding place.
After the success of Digimon Adventure 02, Hiroyuki Kakudo and staff did not know what to do now that the series was finished.[clarification needed] The team was satisfied with the release of Digimon Tamers, as Kakudo believed the setting could have also been applied in the previous anime. Chiaki J. Konaka was concerned that the portrayal of the Digimon as "kind-hearted creatures" in Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02 might affect the "monster-like spirit" of Digimon." As a result, Konaka wanted to explore the primitive nature of Digimon, where they instintively harm other creatures to become stronger and would learn morals from their partners. This aspect would be primarily explored through Guilmon.
Konaka was also worried about Digivolutions losing impact due to their repetitiveness. In order to solve this, the D-Power was designed as the new Digivice so that it could be used alongside cards and give the characters another "ace up sleeve." The writers wanted to limit the use of cards to one at a time. The main characters being more responsible of the evolutions and their adventures was another of Konaka's priorities as a message to children from modern society. For the last episodes of the series, Konaka believed the final enemy is the D-Reaper. While making the series, Konaka had conceptualized the idea of the Tamers combining with their Digimon to reach the highest level of evolution, Mega. Shinji Aramaki joined the design team in the CGI animation, which including the Bio-merge scenes.
Unlike the previous series, Konaka did not introduce the idea of Digimon being reborn after death, as he believed death should be portrayed realistically in a show for kids, especially since the main characters were risking their lives. As a result, the staff decided to portray death as a shocking event by using Leomon like in Digimon Adventure, even though Konaka had doubts about it. While the series was presented as dark, Terriermon and Calumon balanced out the tone of the series.
The characters were designed by Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru and was based on the concept of "a normal elementary school student has a great adventure over the span of a year." Producer Hiromi Seki had wanted the three main characters to be of mixed genders and consist of an immigrant or someone not raised in Japan. Rika was designed with a "strong" image and character in an attempt to boost sales for products based on female characters, which traditionally did not perform well in the market. Henry became the basis of the proposed non-Japanese or emigrant character, and Konaka decided to make him half-Chinese and half-Japanese based on the statistics of non-Japanese students in elementary schools. Originally, the main cast from Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02 was set to appear as mentors. The idea was scrapped and only Ryo Akiyama from the WonderSwan games was used.
The series aired 51 episodes on Fuji TV in Japan from April 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002. The opening theme is "The Biggest Dreamer" by Kōji Wada, which peaked at #59 on the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart. The ending themes are performed by AiM, the first half of the show being "My Tomorrow" and the second half being "Days (Aijō to Nichijō)" (Days-愛情と日常-). "My Tomorrow" peaked at #70 on the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart, while "Days (Aijō to Nichijō)" charted at #68. Insert songs featured in the show include "Slash" by Michihiko Ohta as the Digi-modify theme, "EVO" by Wild Child Bound as the Digivolution and Matrix Digivolution themes, and "One Vision" by Takayoshi Tanimoto as the Biomerge Digivolution theme.
The English-language version produced by Saban Entertainment aired on Fox Kids in the United States from September 1, 2001 to June 8, 2002 as the third season to Digimon: Digital Monsters, receiving various changes to character names, music and sound effects, as well as edits pertaining to violence and cultural references. The show also began airing on ABC Family in fall of 2001, shortly after Disney had acquired the rights from Saban Entertainment, which later also included a package deal with Digimon Frontier. The show was released on Hulu with English subtitles in January 2011. New Video Group release the dubbed version as a DVD boxset in North America on June 11, 2013. Manga Entertainment released the series in the United Kingdom in 2018.
The series was added to the Netflix Instant Streaming service on August 3, 2013 in separate English dubbed and Japanese subtitled versions. The series was removed on August 1, 2015, after nearly two years on Netflix when Crunchyroll acquired streaming rights to the English dubbed versions and Funimation acquired rights to the English subtitled versions, the English dubbed version of Tamers returned to Netflix while the English subtitled version of Tamers are now exclusive to Funimation.
Digimon: Battle of Adventurers (デジモンテイマーズ 冒険者たちの戦い, Dejimon Teimāzu: Bōkensha-tachi no Tatakai) was released on July 14, 2001 as part of Toei Animation Summer 2001 Animation Fair. The film was featured along with Mōtto! Ojamajo Doremi: The Movie: Kaeru Seki no Himitsu and Kinnikuman: Second Generations. The film takes place during the Tamers' summer vacation, where Mephistomon sends Digimon to invade the Real World through a virus called the "V-Pet." The film's ending theme song is "Moving On!" by AiM, which peaked at #95 on the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart. An insert song in the film, "Tomodachi no Umi" (トモダチの海), was performed by Sammy and released as a single on September 29, 2001. The film's original soundtrack was released on December 5, 2001.
Digimon: Runaway Locomon (デジモンテイマーズ 暴走デジモン特急, Dejimon Teimāzu: Bōsō no Dejimon Tokkyū) was released on March 2, 2002 as part of Toei Animation Spring 2002 Animation Fair. The film was double-billed with One Piece: Chopper's Kingdom on the Island of Strange Animals. The film grossed ¥200 billion. The film's story is centered on the Tamers battling Locomon, who has been infected by Parasimon and led into the Real World. The film's ending theme song is "Yūhi no Yakusoku" (夕陽の約束) by AiM.
Two CD dramas written by Chiaki J. Konaka were released. The voice cast from the series reprised their roles.
Digimon Tamers: Original Story: Message in the Packet (デジモンテイマーズ オリジナルストーリー メッセージ・イン・ザ・パケット, Dejimon Teimāzu: Orijinaru Sutōrī: Messeji in za Paketto) was released on April 23, 2003 and follows the lives of each Tamer after the events of Digimon Tamers.
Digimon Tamers: 2018 Days: Information and the Unordinary (デジモンテイマーズ 2018 Days -情報と非日常-, Dejimon Teimāzu: Ni-sen-jū-hachi Deizu: Jōhō to Hinichijō) was released on April 3, 2018 as a bonus with the first-press edition of the Digimon Tamers Blu-ray disc set. The story follows Takato being transported by Yamaki into the year 2018, in order for him and the other Tamers to reunite with their Digimon Partners to stop a new threat more dangerous than the D-Reaper from destroying the world.
Digimon Tamers 1984, written by Chiaki J. Konaka and illustrated by Kenji Watanabe, was published on July 5, 2002 in Volume 5 of SF Japan, a Japanese science fiction magazine. The story focuses on the creation of the original Digimon program by the Monster Makers at Palo Alto University and dealt largely with the philosophical and technological issues surrounding the creation of artificial intelligence. In 2018, Konaka uploaded an updated version of the story onto his website.
Due to its differences from the first two Digimon series, Tamers received mixed reviews when it first aired in the United States (September 1, 2001). Tim Jones of THEM Anime writes, "Although Digimon Tamers has its faults (slow character development, a sudden change in new characters from the last series, and a less-than-exciting first half), the more you watch it, and the further you get into it, the more you'll enjoy it." In comparison to the first two series, Tamers also displayed darker undertones in its plot. According to English-language dub voice actor Dave Wittenberg, the new series possessed "an element of seriousness" that was not present in the first two series. Additionally, some parts would be better understood by older viewers due to the introduction of more difficult concepts. Jacob Chapman of Anime News Network notes that Tamers is by far the most terrifying, and at certain points disturbing season of Digimon ever produced, due to Konaka's Lovecraft-fueled influence. Regarding this, Konaka believes that Calumon and Terriermon were able to tone down the grim and serious atmosphere of the occasionally tough scenes throughout the series.
The airing of the series coincided with the September 11 attacks, and in at least one case, the events have been analyzed within the context of the series. Margaret Schwartz of PopMatters writes, "As NPR and other […] media began to debate the September 11 images, I began to see just how important it was to consider how we as a culture define and experience 'reality' […] Some argue that the shocking video footage […] is a necessary experience of the catastrophe—even a condition of it." She points out the metafictional story of Tamers where "bits of forgotten computer data have fused to become a separate world inhabited by live creatures". In acknowledging the line drawn between good and evil in the series, Schwartz writes, "The evil here consists in refusing to see that Digimon are 'real', real creatures, and that destroying any one of them is in fact murder." Through the existence of intangible communication networks as a "product of human ingenuity", she concludes that "those of us in the 'real' world have become so good at playing creator, at making 'things' appear much like 'real' creatures, that we tend to confuse the two."
- A D-Power (ディーアーク, Dī Āku, "D-Ark" in the Japanese version) is a type of Digivice that allows a Digimon to Digivolve and includes a card reader.
- Digi-modification (カードスラッシュ, Kādo Surasshu, "Card Slash" in the Japanese version) is the process by which a Tamer scans a card through a D-Power that allows a Digimon to access better battle abilities or Digivolution.
- Digivolution (進化, Shinka, "Evolution" in the Japanese version) is the process by which a Digimon evolves into a higher-leveled, more powerful form.
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