Guilmon Comes Alive (Digimon Tamers: Episode 1)

(Check out my review series for Digimon Adventure 01 and 02)

Digimon Tamers is the third season of the Digimon anime. Chiaki J. Konaka was the writer and series creator for this installment of the franchise, and unlike his previous counterparts, he had some strong ideas about where his season would go and what themes it would explore. In order to reintroduce the monstrosity and uncivilized nature of Digimon, in this Universe of the franchise, Digimon are mere brutal constructs before being socialized by humans. Digimon have no moral guidelines and live and grow stronger through the destruction of one another. This makes them something akin to ubermenschian beasts, ciphers for humanity before we developed large social units and developed religions and morals to keep one another caged, herded as cattle in an effort to promote social stability.

Konaka added in a feature of card usage to the series, which is limited to the use of one card at a time in an effort to promote responsibility in the young viewers of the show who previously saw Digivolution and power-ups as infinite and usable at any moment without any other consideration. In the past, when a Digimon is destroyed, as long as its DigiCore remains intact, the Digimon can return as a DigiEgg. In Tamers, when the Digimon die, that is their true death and they do not reappear. The influence behind this choice is partly Konaka’s own religious belief, or lack thereof, and partly an urge he had to strengthen youth reverence for life in a time when video games and television news have some minor potential to weaken that reverence in at least some types of people.

The series begins with a large computer screen on which is displayed a tracking sequence. Inside the Network that this screen symbolizes for users in the real world, a diminutive Calumon is running from an aggressive Maildramon (an Ultimate level Armor Digivolution equivalent Digivolved from a Gatomon through the use of the DigiEgg of Miracles). Just as the beast seems about to stomp Calumon to death, a DarkTyrannomon appears, Digivolves into MetalTyrannomon, and defeats the Maildramon. Calumon is thrown far into the air above and past the grid containing the Network, falling eventually into the real world.

Also in the real world, at a Tokyo park, within a dinosaur-themed clock art piece, two kids- Takato and Kazu- are playing the Digimon card game. Kazu uses a Maildramon and Takato, a DarkTyrannomon that he Digivolves into the Ultimate-level MetalTyrannomon to defeat Kazu. It seems that through the game’s use of card readers, the real world battle is somehow symbolized or matched within the Network, which may or may not be merely an area created for the game. Kazu puts his cards and his card reader away and into a shoe box that he leaves within the clock-dinosaur, and runs off to school. Takato hastens to follow behind, but finds that a new card has manifested itself within his collection: an odd Blue Card with a dragon Digimon’s image upon it. He scans the card through his card reader, which begins to act erratically, blow smoke and produce excess electricity. Takato leaves the cards and box behind, then runs off to school, worrying all along the way about what is happening with his card reader and what the purpose of the Blue Card was, as well as where it came from in the first place.

Takato is late to class on account of the previous disruption and his teacher Nami Asaji chides him for his tardiness (incidentally she is voiced by Kari’s voice actress). As he sits outside of class in time-out, he draws fan art of an OC Digimon character designed to be better than Agumon in almost every capacity. After some waffling over the name of this character, he eventually settles on Guilmon. Takato has to write an essay explaining why he was late to his teacher and after class ends, a young girl comes up to Takato and reminds him of this. She is a playful girl who is looking for her flute that she left in her desk at the end of the previous day. But something isn’t quite right with her either. She maneuvers a dog hand puppet on her right hand with which she projects her voice, as if this second voice gives her the confidence to speak that she wouldn’t normally have without it.

The scene shifts back to the lab where individuals were tracking Calumon within the Network. Two cyberpunk data analysts work from suspended chairs high above the ground where they analyze data for a mysterious man (voiced in the dub by Steven Blum, who is also the series’ ADR screenwriter!). One of the girls talks about an ‘abnormal germination energy pattern’ she is picking up. The man asks about the level of the force and inquires about its wildness. The woman doesn’t currently know if it is a wild force, but is awed by how quickly its ‘levels are increasing at an exponential rate.’

In the outside world, a storm is brewing. Takato has returned to the park where he finds that his box of cards is glowing. When he opens it, the Blue Card is emanating a white light and subsequently transforms into a D-Power Digivice. When he returns home, he decides to scan his Guilmon sketch and stat specifics into the device, which generates a DigiEgg based on their designs. And Takato is on cloud nine as his imagination begins to wander and he daydreams of what it would be like to have his own Digimon.

Later, in his sleep, Takato finds himself inserted within an interesting scene. He is floating precariously high above the ground as a battle commences in the street below. A girl with a yellow fox Digimon partner called Renamon fights a fire-beast Digimon named Lynxmon (the Champion-level equivalent Armor Digivolution of a Gatomon using the DigiEgg of Courage). The match between the Rookie-level partner Digimon and the Armor Digimon should be extremely one-sided, but Renamon is tough and her partner uses a Digi-Modify skill card, ‘High-Speed Plug-in B’, to give Renamon the power to quickly use her finishing move, Diamond Storm, to destroy her foe. During the attack, Renamon rises into the air beside Takato and sees him frozen there in mid-air.

The scene fades and when Takato awakens the next morning, he finds that his DigiEgg is pulsing on the D-Power. After leaving home and making it to the park where he plays a few games with his friends Kazu and Kenta, then finds that his DigiEgg has hatched while he wasn’t paying attention, and that the D-Power contains a compass-scanner application that will lead Takato to where his Digimon partner should be.

Back in the lab, one of the girls explains that the bio-emergence currently occurring is of a ‘high-level wild type.’ The second girl asks her boss if she should stop the event from occurring, which means that the lab presumably has the ability to prevent Digimon from appearing within the real world and breaking through from the Network. It also gives us an immediate hint about the nature of this lab as something akin to a government laboratory meant to protect the world from Digital Monsters. The boss is interested to find out what kind of being will come through the portal, so he holds off his assistant for the time being.

Takato, meanwhile, has been running throughout the city, through alleyways, and sewage drains and tunnels, until he finally comes across an unpopulated construction site where, within a large crater, a vortex of mist and light is emanating without. Back at the lab, the girls explain that the breach is inevitable and that the wild type force is about to emerge somewhere within west Shinjuku. As the mist begins to intensify and the vortex spins, a reaction occurs and within, Guilmon emerges. But he is wild and unruly, doesn’t understand human language, and seems a complete unsocialized brute. Hungry, this newborn Digimon sees two rats on a nearby pipe. He uses his fire breath to destroy them, not knowing his own strength, thinking he might just char them and eat them. He then turns to see Takato, and the moment is uncertain, as Takato realizes that he may just be the next being burned to a crisp by this wild, unruly Digimon who is currently anything but a trustworthy partner.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued Here]

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3 responses to “Guilmon Comes Alive (Digimon Tamers: Episode 1)”

  1. mattdoylemedia says :

    I’ve been looking forward to seeing your thoughts on this series, as it is by far my favourite of the franchise. Are you watching the dubbed or subbed version out of interest?

    • theboronheist says :

      Hey! I’m watching the dubbed for it. I really dig the early series’ voice actors on a nostalgic level. I don’t remember a ton about the series, just that it was more thematically dense and courted philosophy, tech, and sociology more than any of the others. It’s gonna be a fun ten weeks!

      • mattdoylemedia says :

        I don’t think I’ve actually seen the subbed version all the way through, though I understand that the dub changes far less here than in the first two seasons. Thematically dense and courting philosophy is about right. It felt like it had a lot mroe depth to me, especially once things really got going.

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