Hey guys, Josh here, and for those who have known me for any length of time, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Digimon franchise. So when I head that there was going to be a new Digimon series, I knew I had to do my due digi-diligence and jump right on it, especially since the previous series, which wrapped up last week, was so…lackluster…I really wanted to check this new one out and give it a fair shake, and so, here I am. I also want to get the chance to review something GOOD before the inevitable “What the heck am I watching” first impression comes up. It seems as though I sometimes get stuck with these series. But I digress. Can this new Digimon series be a step above what we left behind? Let’s jump right into it. I’m The Blue Socked Samurai (Trying out a new name…lemme know what you think), and this is my First Impression of Digimon Ghost Game Episode 1.
It seems as though there’s a big rumor going around Japan about people seeing holographic monsters popping up around town. Some think they’re just a new style of holographic advertisements (Darn you Google…)while others think they are something more serious–actual holographic ghosts. There’s even a story about a girl who was attacked by a sewn-lipped holographic monster in a school auditorium. When the monster asked the student the time, and the clearly terrified girl replies she doesn’t know, the monster “steals her years”, leaving her passed out as an old woman. And this is why I always wear a wristwatch, boys and girls. You never know when your phone will run out of power or a digital monster will ask you for the time.
This story eventually reaches our protagonist, Hiro Amanokawa, a first year junior high student at Hazakura Academy who lives on campus in the dorms. His mom is often out on business trips abroad (surprise, surprise) and his father, a noted inventor, mysteriously disappeared from their home six months before Hiro started school, leaving behind three mysterious watches. Our little green eyed bro doesn’t take much stock in the rumors, even when his friend Nomura tells him that the victim of the sewn-lipped monster was a student at their school, and the incident happened in their auditorium, which has since been roped off.
At school, Hiro and Nomura decide to check out the crime scene where the girl was attacked. After picking the lock (because all middle school students know how to pick locks it seems…) the two boys go into the darkened auditorium during which time, shocker of shockers, they are attacked by the sewn-lipped monster. Yeah, dopes, they roped off that area for a reason. Though I wonder why on earth they didn’t have the police guard the area? Anywho, Hiro is spared in the nick of time by a teacher who walks in at just the right time, but poor Nomura has his years stolen leaving him old and disheveled in the hospital.
Later that night, Hiro comes across three little jump drives that seemingly work in the three watches he got from his house when his father disappeared. Two are marked as backups, but one causes a holographic forrest to appear in his room along with a small white creature who identifies himself as Gammamon. Not long after that, a hologram of HIro’s father appears and tells him that he is in the Digital World and that Gammamon is a Digital Monster, or a Digimon; a creature unknown to mankind. Before disappearing, pops also tells Hiro that Gammamon is his little brother and to take good care of him. Dang, Hiro. Daddy just ups and leaves you with a little brother but not a yen for child support? Cold blooded. Gammamon seems very thrilled to meet his new big brother while Hiro is understandably shook.
Before the two have a chance to get to know one another, the Sewn-lipped monster pulls a Kool-Aid man through the window. The monster, known as Clockmon, seemingly gets a thrill from looking at the time he steals from humans, and has come to collect from Hiro. However, Gammamon ain’t about to let his new big brother go down like that and headbutts Clockmon out the window for the big fight. Tanjiro would be proud.
For a minute, it looks as though Clockmon is about to steal Gammamon’s time, however, when Clockmon sees the time that is in our new little digi-bro, which includes a very demonic looking apparition, he gets a little scared. This gives Hiro enough time to throw a stick into Clockmon’s time-stream, causing it to grow rapidly into a large chestnut tree. You know, this reminds me of a scene from the first episode of The Orville. But I digress…This throws off Clockmon and gives Gammamon enough time for a Breaclaw attack which shatters Clockmon’s clock face and forces him to return the time he stole. Clockmon, seriously wounded, dashes away in the night, leaving Hiro to wonder what in the heck did his father just get him into.
You know, having come from Digimon Adventure (2020), Digimon Ghost Game feels like a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Adventure crew, and I really wanted Adventure (2020) to be a success, but it ended up becoming more about the Digivolutions and less about the characters, which, to me, is the heart of Digimon. Yes, the fights are cool, but I wanna know about these characters. I wanna know who these kids are. I wanna see how they change and evolve along with their digimon. If this first episode is anything to go by, I think we’ll get a lot of character development with these guys in addition to some great battles.
Speaking of battles, I’m VERY glad that this wasn’t a big “Fire all the big laser guns” type of battle, and I’m also glad we didn’t start off the series with any digivolutions. Since we’re just meeting these guys, it just wouldn’t seem right for them to start getting power-ups right off the bat. This is a very organic battle, no pun intended, and I think it sets up just how Gammamon and Hiro will work together. Also, I love the fact that our bushy-haired bro keeps up the tradition of trying to fight the giant monster with a stick, except this time, it actually works!
While on the subject of our protag, Hiro looks like he’ll be a pretty reliable leader. I would like to know WHY exactly he carries around a lock picking kit with him to school…I don’t buy his whole “my dad is an inventor so I’m influenced by him.” Dude. LOCK-PICKING IS NOT INVENTING!! I would be remiss in not point out is that it looks like our de-facto leader Hiro will NOT actually be a goggle-boy. I know this is only the first episode, but it just seems weird for our leader to not have that fashionable and sometimes functional piece of eyewear. Yes, I know that at least one other Digimon leader did not have goggles, but still…it just feels weird.
Also, can we just talk about how adorable Gammamon is? I mean, just look at this adorable ‘mon! He puts me in the mind of both Guilmon from Tamers and Gatchmon from Appmon.
The OP, “FACTION” by Wienners is VERY nice and very Jeep Jammable. Here’s hoping that they do NOT take a note from Adventure 2020 and actually change the OP every so often. Seriously, “Mikakunin Hikousen” is a good song, but I really got tired of it after a while. The ED, “Pedal” by Aiiro Apollo is equally Jeep Jammable and I love the animation stills that play over it! Say what you will about the shows, but Digimon is known for making real bops when it comes to music.
So, where does that leave us? Well, Digimon Ghost Game looks very interesting. It’s giving me strong vibes of both Digimon Tamers and Digimon Universe: App Monsters, yet it feels like it’s own animal. Admittedly, I was afraid that this show was going to be an off shoot of the Digimon Card game, something I never got into, truth be told. Thankfully, this doesn’t seem to be a cartoon just to sell game cards and action figures. The creators actually seem like they want to tell a good story without relying on gimmicks I am PRODIGIOUSLY interested in following this one and I am also very interested in seeing how this show develops its characters. Will Digimon Ghost Game be a much needed bounce-back for the franchise, or will this show, like Digimon Adventure (2020), start out strong but…give up the ghost? We shall see.