Digimon’s anime can be more than a little hit and miss. For every adventure or tamer you get a Digimon Frontier, the remake of last year’s adventure or whatever universe: App Monsters. While there have been some useful streaks (Data Squad was fun, someone hit an Agumon in the face), none were particularly Great.
This year’s series is special, however. Digimon Ghost Game takes Digimon in a radically new direction and, so far, has delivered on all of its promises. When I say Ghost Game is the best Digimon since Tamers, I really mean it.
Digimon Ghost Game takes place in the near future where hologram technology has become commonplace. Everything from advertising to tour guides has been replaced with holograms, and they can roam the world freely as if they were real people. However, with this new technology, a number of urban legends have come – missing people or worse yet because of the âHologram Ghostsâ. You can see where it is going: the Digimon are starting to appear, using holograms as a means of reaching our world from the Digital. It’s up to a team of three children and their Digimon partners to investigate Hologram Ghosts, the newly discovered Digimon world, and deal with their personal demons at the same time.
While still designed for kids, Ghost Game takes on a much darker tone compared to other recent series. Each episode is a Monster of the Week affair with a different Digimon posing a threat to the real world, but he does incredibly well. Each episode builds its mystery in an unusually tense way for Digimon, and the six episodes we’ve had so far have already been filled with spooky moments.
In the very first episode, a “Hologram Ghost” is caught stealing the remaining lifespan of its victims, leaving them quickly aged envelopes of what they once were. When we see this happening, it’s a horrific display of digitized screams. A few episodes later, we see veteran Digimon Pumpmon as a lone ghost who mistakenly interprets Halloween as a celebration of him, causing him to kidnap people, force their heads into pumpkins, and cut eye holes with them while shouting inside. None of this is particularly bloody or disturbing (it’s Digimon, not Another), but it’s remarkably intense.
The real driving force behind Digimon Ghost Game is how it gradually discovers new things about this digital world. Ghost Game is a reversal of the normal format of kids going into the digital world that Digimon follows, causing the Digimon to find themselves lost and adapt to the real world instead. Most react badly, giving us our Monster of the Week, but there are plenty of examples of Digimon doing just fine – one ‘haunts’ a shrine, while Angoramon has developed his bond with his partner. Ruli listening to him play the piano. So far, there have been no evil villains to fight; they are individuals trapped by circumstances, and it is fantastic.
To match the tone, the characters are also much less Digimon-y that others. The leader of the team is Hiro Amanokawa, an intelligent, calm and reserved boy who is nothing like the usual “Goggle Kids” that we have had so far, like Tai, Davis, Takato orâ¦ Mikey. Kiyoshiro Hagahimitarai and his partner Digimon Jellymon all have a hint of something more below them, with Kiyoshiro being a tech genius with an unexplained pathological dread of all things paranormal.
It’s impossible to watch Ghost Game and not compare to fan favorite Digimon Tamers. Both have a darker tone that deals with heavier topics, both take place in the real world, and both are more about the ongoing mystery than just fun getaways with Digimon friends. And yet, by not being afraid to shed the usual tropes that Digimon is known for (not a mask in sight!), And by taking a slower, more natural approach to world-building compared to the role of Tamer. from being a vehicle for selling the card game trade, Ghost Game has the real potential to overtake it as the best series Digimon has ever had.
If you have Crunchyroll, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not giving Digimon Ghost Game a chance.
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