Digimon Tamers is the third season of the popular Digimon anime franchise, and the first to stand alone away from the main series. Produced by Toei Animation (Sailor Moon, One Piece), the series aired in 2001 to great popularity much like the show’s other seasons. Tamers takes a different approach than the first two seasons, instead taking place in an alternative world (much like our own) where Digimon is simply a popular TV show and game series. When one of Takato Matsuki’s own Digimon drawing scans through his game card reader, he unknowingly brings to life his creation, a red raptor-like Digimon called Guilmon. Takato then meets fellow ‘Tamers’ Rika Nonaka and her partner Renamon, and Henry Wong and his partner Terriermon. Together the three work with their partner Digimon to stop a mysterious threat from affecting both the digital and human worlds.
I grew up watching the first few seasons of the Digimon anime, and I had a particular fondness for Tamers. Although as many years have passed since originally watching this season I was sceptical about how it would stand the test of time. I’m pleased to say I had an absolute blast rewatching this season. The storyline of Tamers definitely feels more mature than the first two seasons, with a lot of emphasis on death and suffering of the Digimon, both from their perspective and humans. From reading interviews with the season’s director Yukio Kaizawa (Zatch Bell) I found he wanted to add some weight to the show and portray more depth and complex emotions. I personally love the shift in tone between the first two seasons and Tamers. I even found myself appreciating it all the more as an adult.
The animation still looks great and the Digivolutions -while different- are still just as exciting as I remember. The new characters are wonderfully designed and the city backgrounds look great. I always loved the scenes in the Digimon franchise taking place in Japan rather than the Digital World – it always seemed so cool to me as a child. So naturally the fact that Digimon Tamers takes place mainly in Japan and not the digital world excited me and drew me to it even more than it’s colourful new cast.
While the story and tone of this season is darker and more emotional than it’s predecessors, the season has moments of excellent comic relief that balances it all out and nothing ever feels too heavy. I never got bored rewatching the season and really wish there was more to come from the Tamers story. I feel like it had potential to continue it’s story arc but at the same time the ending is a sweet and sitting way to conclude.
I highly recommend picking up Digimon Tamers on DVD to any fan or newcomer to the franchise. Check back net month for my review of the fourth season, Digimon Frontier, the one season of Digimon I somehow haven’t managed to see yet!
Digimon Tamer is available on DVD September 24th.
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