Digimon S1: Digimon: Digital Monsters
Children encounter cute little critters known as Digimon (short for Digital Monsters). The Digi-Destined, as they are called, must learn to work with their animal friends in order to protect the world from other, evil Digimon.
After watching more of this series, I have decided that the original, highly negative review of the series is no longer accurate.
The problem was that the first few episodes of the first season had led me to believe that Digimon was going to be a casualty of copycatting, a Gobots also-ran in the chibi-monster fad of the late '90s. But time, and more TV episodes, proved us wrong.
Unfortunately, I had not had time to rewrite this review, and in the meantime, a very vocal (and quite ticked off) Digimon fan list began e-mailing Eric Gaede and myself about our review, saying it was wrong, biased, and inaccurate, though in not quite those terms.
As of 1999, when we originally wrote this, we, in fact, were as correct as we COULD be. Very little was being said about Digimon in the animation magazines, and we were only starting to get snippets of the then-atrocious dub.
Since then, things have improved quite a bit, as Digimon's voice cast really stepped up to the plate and produced a much better production later on. The series also got its plot rolling, and though it may not be the most complex storyline ever told, it's fine for a kid's show. And the characters themselves have earned some respect among some of the THEM members.
However, I'm not going to give this series glowing marks out of any sense of penance or overreaction. After all, it's still got cheesy dialogue, smart-alecky critters, and a little-sibling attitude that's bound to annoy as much as it charms.
The animation is actually of better quality than its main competitor, Pokemon, and though some of the character designs take getting used to, they're not nearly as minimalist as those of other kid's series, though it's obviously not even close to designs intended for series meant to attract older audiences. The American dub music, of course, is atrocious, but I've come to expect that.
I won't make a habit of watching this show religiously, but it is an adequate and at-times entertaining children's cartoon whose hype isn't going to attract any followers in the hardcore anime fan audience - but that's not who this show is marketed at to begin with anyway.
However for those Digimon fans who are convinced this is the be-all, end-all of Japanese animation (and there are some out there) - I must say there is a much bigger world out there, and there are many better series that you can spend your time on.
We have never received such profanity-laden, vehemently stated criticism from any other review than the original review of Digimon. While we do not regret or recant our opinion, we did preface the review by categorizing it as a preliminary, and it should have been taken with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, many fans of this series were not mature enough to take that advice, and I must comment that I don't think this series merited all the fuss and bother. In fact, the lessons taught in the episodes of this series - lessons of friendship, compromise, and tolerance, seem to be quite lost on a proportion of its fandom. Thank you, however, to the few respondents who were civil in their e-mails.
Fine for children and younger teens, yes. Older teens and adults are probably going to laugh at (or cringe at) the simplistic plot and the stupid dialogue, though it is occasionally clever. These viewers may remove one star. — Carlos Ross and Eric Gaede
Recommended Audience: Again, mostly children's fare, with little to no offensive material.
Version(s) Viewed: Broadcast airing, English dub
Review Status: Partial (20/54)
Digimon S1: Digimon: Digital Monsters © 1999 Toei / Fuji TV
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